I am not related - this is part of a transcription project.
from "Printers and Printing in Providence, 1762 - 1907"
prepared by a committee of Providence Typographical Union #33 as a souvenir of the 50th anniversary of its institution
printed in 1907
"The Journeymen"(part 1)
pp. I - II.
"ARUNAH SHEPHERDSON ABELL (photo) - founder of the Baltimore Sun, died April 19, 1888, at Baltimore, in the 82d year of his age. His death was the result of gradual decay of the vital powers, due to advanced age, though he was confined to his room only two weeks during his last illness. Mr. Abell was born in Rehoboth, Mass., now East Providence, R.I., Aug. 10, 1806. He received the elements of a plain education and at the age of 14 years began life as a clerk. He subsequently learned the printing trade in the office of the Providence Patriot. He afterwards went to Boston, where he worked at his trade, and then to New York city, where he formed a business connection with William M. Swain and A. H. Simmons, both practical printers like himself, with the view of establishing a daily newspaper. They entered into articles of agreement, Feb. 29, 1836, and decided to start their business in Philadelphia. It was at first intended to call the new paper The Times, but on the suggestion of Mr. Abell the name of The Public Ledger was substituted. The first number of The Public Ledger appeared Friday, March 25, 1836. When the success of this venture seemed to be assured, Mr. Abell, with the assent of his partners, went to Baltimore, where on the 17th of May, 1837, he founded The Sun, which was also successful from the start. Mr. Abell identified himself with the conduct and management of The Sun. He sold his interest in The Public Ledger in 1864, and four years later became the sole owner of The Sun.
In the management of The Sun and carrying out its objects, he concentrated his personal ambitions. It was his life work - the work in which he saw the fulfillment of the ideas which he had announced in the beginning as controlling its policy - the furtherance of the common good. No other occupation, dignity or honor had any attraction to him. During his long and honorable career in Baltimore he contributed greatly to the growth and beautifying of the city. He was an intellect and earnest promoter of many important mechanical inventions by which the art of printing has been so much advanced and the field of newspaper enterprise widened. The Sun was printed on the first rotary printing machine, the invention of Hoe. Mr. Abell personally and in his paper took the lead in supporting that marvel of modern times, the electric telegraph. The first document of any length transmitted over the experimental telegraph between Washington and Baltimore was the President's Message, which was telegraphed to and published in The Sun with an accuracy that established all the claims which had been made for the wonderful invention by Morse.
Mr. Abell married in 1838 Mary, the daughter of John Fox, of Peekskill, N.Y. Mrs. Abell died in 1859, leaving a large family of children. On May 17, 1887, when he celebrated the semi-centennial of The Sun, he associated his sons - Edwin F. Abell, George W. Abell and Walter R. Abell - with himself as co-partners.
The sons are now all dead. Edwin F., the eldest, died a few days after the great fire which destroyed The Sun's iron building, which was the first iron building erected in the world.
Arunah S. Abell left an estate valued at many millions. He was buried in Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore, April 21, 1888.
The Sun is now conducted by his grandsons, Walter W. Abell, Arunah S. Abell and Charles S. Abell.
The Abell family is mentioned in Rehoboth (Mass.) history as early as 1654, when Robert Abell kept an "ordinary" in that town. Capt. Robert Abell, grandfather of A. S. Abell, was a Revolutionary soldier, and the latter's father, Capt. Caleb Abell, was in the War of 1812. The Captain was elected Town Clerk of Rehoboth in 1801, and held the office until 1812, when the town of Seekonk was set off from Rehoboth, and he fell within the limits of the former place. Seekonk continued him in the office until his death, and his son, Thompson, followed him in the position. The old Abell homestead is located in East Providence Centre. The Abell burial lot is in the old Rumford Cemetery.
Mr. Abell was always a friend of the Typographical Union; and from the time of the first issue of The Sun to the day of his death, no non-union printer was ever employed in either the composing room of the paper or the job office operated in conjunction with it. His successors have followed his example and the Baltimore Sun is the oldest continuous employer of union printers in the United States.
Baltimore Typographical Union was organized in 1831. One of the old-timers tells of an interview which he had with Mr. Abell while the Civil War was raging in regard to an increase in the rate for composition. The Sun was inclined to favor the South, and its columns were closely scrutinized daily by the military authorities of the United States Government for some evidences of treason, and the proprietor was frequently threatened with suppression. It appears that the committeeman from the Union entered the sanctum just as the Provost Marshal took his departure. The committeeman made known his business at once, and Mr. Abell replied: "Between the Provost Marshal and the Baltimore Typographical Union it is hard to tell who does own the Sun. However, you may tell the men up-stairs to go to work at the advanced rate and A. S. Abell will see that they are paid off on Saturday."
Mr. Abel never refused to pay an advance in the scale of wages established by the Typographical Union nor made a request for a reduction in wages."