Weatherford Democrat

Top News

November 28, 2011

Former Democrat owner remembered

— The man responsible for making the Weatherford Democrat the first newspaper in the state to move over to modern day printing techniques and transforming the former weekly into a daily news source died Nov. 19. Wren Harold Hart, one of the Hart brothers who owned the Weatherford Democrat in the 1950s and 60s, grew up in the newspaper business but had other plans for his life when he went to Texas A&M for a chemical engineering degree, his daughter, Melissa Patterson, said.

Born in 1922 in Cooper, Hart graduated from Texas A&M and completed ROTC training before joining the military and serving overseas in England and France.  

Hart was the only one of the three brothers who hadn’t majored in journalism. But after his brother Wilbur was killed during the war, Hart returned home in 1946 and became became co-owner and publisher of The Cooper Review and The Delta Courier until 1952.

During that time, Hart married Janelle Witcher, of Honey Grove, and formed a Texas National Guard unit in Cooper.

She was a young girl and her sister was not yet born when her father and her uncle, Lyndol Hart, moved from Cooper, a much smaller town than Weatherford, and purchased the Weatherford Democrat in 1952, Patterson said.

The Democrat was a weekly newspaper at the time in a much smaller community than it is today.

The news was very locally oriented and her father, as co-owner, publisher and business manager, focused on serving the small town’s businesses, Patterson said.

“Everybody knew everybody,” Patterson said.

But the Hart brothers had big plans for the small town weekly.

“He was a hard worker, never knew a stranger, was an honest man,” Patterson said.

He worked long hours during his time running the Democrat, according to Patterson.

After working on the press, her father would sometimes come in with ink on his feet.

With no circulation department, those who had a missed delivery called the family and Hart would drive the paper to their home and knock on the door, Patterson said.

Hart often missed the family vacations during the 15 years he and his brother built up Weatherford’s newpaper, his daughter said.

Under the management of Hart and his brother several big changes for the Democrat took place.

In 1959, the Democrat added Associated Press wire and began publishing as a daily newspaper.

In 1962, the brothers bought out their competitor, The Daily Herald, and threw out that paper’s old equipment.

The Weatherford Democrat became the only newspaper in Parker County for the first time since around the turn of the century.

On Oct. 29, 1962, the Democrat became the first newspaper in Texas and one of the first in the nation to convert to offset printing, the modern newspaper printing process.

At the same time, the newspaper was moved from the building on 114 North Main St. to 110 Fort Worth St.

The major technology change from hot metal typesetting wasn’t an easy one, according to his daughter.

Though her father had many traditional values, such as honesty,  Patterson said her father was always very innovative when it came to business and wasn’t old-fashioned when it came to delivering a good newspaper.

In 1967, Hart and his brother sold the newspaper to the Donrey Media Group.

The brothers were the last family owners of the Weatherford Democrat. Her father disliked some of the changes made under the new owners that moved the news from a local perspective, Patterson said.

Hart, always sharp when it came to math, went on to successes in the insurance business and founding his own financial investment business, which he ran until he retired in 1996, according to his daughter.

Hart, a member of many civic and community organizations such as the Weatherford Housing Authority and the Water and Electric Board, continued to be active in the Weatherford community, as well as in his church, Grace First Presbyterian Church.

A memorial service for Hart will be held Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. at Grace First Presbyterian Church at 608 Mockingbird Lane.

Text Only
Top News
  • David May named Mineral Wells Index general manager-editor

    Weatherford Democrat Editor David May has been named general manager-editor for the Mineral Wells Index.

    April 18, 2014

  • Aledo City Council Place 2 Candidates.jpg Q&A: Aledo City Council Place 2 candidates

    With some contested races in area school board and city council races on the May 10 ballots, the WD will provide a closer look at some of those through a question-and-answer feature with the candidates. Early voting begins April 28. Today we look at the candidates running for Place 2 on Aledo City Council.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • USAF photo.jpg Heroes riding for heroes

    The 12th annual Ride for Heroes bike ride this Saturday in Aledo will include some VIPs: members of the United States Air Force Cycling Team.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    Not much is known about this Joseph’s life. The one thing I know for sure is that he was a very brave man.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: He is risen!

    “He has risen; The Lord has risen indeed!” (Luke 24:6, 34)

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Little league makes pitch to city for lower user fees

    Weatherford Little League officials have asked the city to lower user fees to the league.

    April 17, 2014

  • 0418 one oregel, oscar.jpeg Trunk full of cash leads to trip to jail

    After a traffic stop late Monday night in Parker County, the Texas Department of Public Safety seized more than $54,000 from a man who, DPS says, admitted to trafficking in narcotics for people he met in Mexico.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • easter basket.jpg Easter egg hunt times, locations

    Following is information provided to the WD on four local Easter egg hunts and celebrations planned for Friday and Saturday:

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • cigarette butts.jpg No butts about it, smoking ban nears

    Weatherford eating establishments have just over a week to get their no smoking signs in place and prepare for the no smoking ordinance enacted by the city council in February to go into effect.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet!

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Don't care
     View Results