Under new ownership and with a new name, the former Perth Amboy Republican was launched as the Perth Amboy Evening News on March 30, 1903, with the intention of being more than a party organ. Daniel P. Olmstead and James Clevenger purchased the newspaper with Olmstead serving as president and Clevenger as editor.Clevenger had been raised and educated in New Jersey, later attending Drexel University in Philadelphia where he graduated from the private secretarial school and then spent one year training to be a lawyer before becoming a journalist. Before coming to the Perth Amboy Evening News, Clevenger had worked at the Asbury Park Journal and the Newark Evening News. He retired as editor of the Perth Amboy Evening News in 1930.
Published daily except Sunday, the Perth Amboy Evening News had an independent political stance, focusing on good government at all levels. Early editions of the paper had almost no international coverage, no gossip or chit-chat, and only cursory national coverage of anything other than major events. Instead, the paper devoted itself primarily to coverage of local activities in Perth Amboy and the surrounding municipalities, e.g., the paving of roads, building sewers and playgrounds, and the development of the fire department. As a stalwart supporter of good government, the paper supported Governor Woodrow Wilson who had promised to clean up New Jersey politics and instill faith in government. The paper also supported Wilson during his two terms as President. The Evening News opposed corruption and machine politics, and complained about the dominance of Essex and Hudson counties in state politics (Perth Amboy is situated in Middlesex County). On September 6th, 1922, faced with the prospect that the ticket of Jersey City’s Mayor Frank Hague, who controlled a powerful Democrat machine, winning in the upcoming elections, Clevenger published an editorial warning of “the slimy hand of the political boss reaching out from Hudson County into the various sections of the State besmirching even the judiciary.”
In 1929, Daniel Olmstead and James Clevenger sold the Perth Amboy Evening News Company to Col. Charles C. Kahlert, who was publisher and general manager. Despite the many publishers and editors who served in the decades that followed, the Evening News always maintained its independent political stance until it ceased publication in 1959.
(contributed by Deborah Mercer, New Jersey State Library)