Sayville’s newspaper, The Suffolk County News, was founded in 1884 and was originally named the Sayville News. Walter Burling of Southampton was its founder and first editor. The first issue of the Sayville News appeared September 12, 1885.
On January 7, 1888, the paper again changed hands when it was purchased by A.L. Cheney of Port Jefferson, who renamed it The Suffolk County News, which allowed it more scope in news coverage, although it remained primarily Sayville’s paper.
On June 17, 1893, another editor took over, Charles L. Grubb of Bangor, Maine. He stayed only a year, for on July 1, 1894, Francis Hoag bought the paper and began his long association with it.
Mr. Hoag had published weekly papers in Schnectady and Schoharie counties, upstate New York, and worked on daily papers in Albany. Thus, he became the fifth owner of the local paper in nine years. With him came his wife, Lena Fischer, and their daughter, Jane. Daughters Catherine and Marion were born here.
After the death of Lena, Mr. Hoag married Alida Vanderborgh of West Sayville, who predeceased him. Francis Hoag was editor for 54 years. He was a dignified man who used a bicycle to calmly peddle to fires and newsworthy events in early years. He remained editor until his death in December 1948.
Joseph ”Joe” Jahn, who grew up in Sayville was first a reporter, then associate editor from 1938 until the death of Francis Hoag, when he became editor. Under his direction, the paper won many awards as an outstanding weekly. When Mr. Jahn left in 1967 to go with the new short-lived Suffolk Sun, the paper had a rough time editorially. Charles Halliburton was editor for a very short time, but he did not click as editor, although he had edited other newspapers. The staff got the paper out each week for a while but soon Marion and Catherine Hoag decided to retire. Jane had passed away several years previously. Lou Grasso of the Patchogue Advance became editor. In 1968, the paper was purchased by Mary Lou Cohalan, Joann O’Doherty, John J. Hart and Donald A. Rettaliata. Grasso stayed as editor until 1976.
When Mr. Grasso left in 1976, Mary Lou Cohalan, one of the owners who had been working with him, took over as editor.
In September 1984, The Suffolk County News celebrated its 100th anniversary. Less than a year later, in August 1985, The Suffolk County News and it’s sister paper, the Islip Bulletin, were sold to John T. Tuthill III and his wife Lorelei P. Tuthill, publisher of The Long Island Advance, based in neighboring Patchogue. Today, John T. Tuthill III continues as publisher of all three papers while his son John ”Terry” Tuthill IV, who joined the staff in 1992, serves as assistant publisher.