WARREN - Although some people might think it would be natural for Dan Spencer to have newspaper publishing in his blood, the great-great-great-grandson of Tribune Chronicle forefather Thomas Denny Webb said Saturday that hasn't been the case at all.
"It was just always so far removed," Spencer, of New Orleans, said. Spencer and his family made the trip to Warren this weekend to attend the Tribune Chronicle-sponsored Founders Festival - held in honor of the newspaper's bicentennial celebration - to pay tribute to Webb, realizing the impact their ancestor had on this community was a significant discovery.
''It really wasn't something that was part of our daily lives or anything. The people after him went in other directions, other professions,'' Dan Spencer said as his eyes scanned across Courthouse Square in downtown Warren, where the Founders Festival was held Friday and Saturday.
"It's great," said Dan Spencer. "All of this is great. It's amazing to think our great-great-great-grandfather is so much a part of all of this, such a significant part."
It was Webb who had published the first, four-page edition of The Trump of Fame in his adopted home of Warren on June 9, 1812. That newspaper published every Tuesday from an office at the corner of Market and Liberty (Park Avenue) streets and was forwarded "as early as possible'' to subscribers at $2 a year in advance or $2.50 if not paid until the end of the year.
Now 200 years later, that newspaper has grown into the Tribune Chronicle, a full-color daily publication offering instantaneous updates and video around the world via the Internet.
Lorna Spencer, mother of Dan and Dave, who also attended Founders Festival with her sons and daughter-in-law, Jane Spencer, exchanged some information and historical facts about Webb with local historian Wendell Lauth as her family listened in.
"I have some old clippings and some memorabilia," she said. "I'm a historian at heart so it really is nice to exchange information with another historian, especially when it's about your family, your husband's family."
Dan Spencer said it was Sue Shafer, Tribune Chronicle community events coordinator, who contacted and encouraged him to attend the Founders Festival. He and his wife traveled from their home in New Orleans. His brother and mother came in from Collins and Delevan, N.Y, respectively.
"It was worth it to be part of all of this," said Dave Spencer, who recalled seeing a family photograph in his grandmother's home that is now displayed at the historic Edwards House in Warren, once the home of Thomas Denny Webb. "I know I've learned a lot. It's just been a great experience being here among all of this. There's a lot of family history here. It's good to be here."
The Founders Festival was part of a yearlong calendar of events the Tribune Chronicle has hosted in celebration of the bicentennial of newspaper publishing here.