RAPER, JOHN W. "JACK" (20 Feb. 1870-12 Dec. 1950), journalist, was born in McArthur, Vinton County, Ohio, son of John T. and Sarah Frances (Wolfe) Raper. He was raised in Chillicothe, where his father edited the Scioto Gazette. He began newspaper work at 19 and worked in several cities before joining the CLEVELAND PRESS in 1899. Beginning as drama critic, he caused a 2-year boycott of Press advertising by theater managers for such barbed reviews as his 3-word classic "Burn a rag." Raper began his daily column, "Most Anything," in 1900. It usually started with a down-to-earth philosophical observation by Raper's rustic alter ego, "Josh Wise." Once a week, events in an imaginary small town were chronicled in "All the News from Hicksville." The column's most popular feature was the "bullpen," first appearing in 1907, where the most pompous pronouncements by public figures were simply reprinted verbatim, alongside a bold cut of a bull, which ultimately came in 3 sizes, according to the egregiousness of the offense.
Raper was a frequent speaker and a member of the leftist "Soviet Table" at the CITY CLUB. Raper supported Franklin Roosevelt long after the Press had abandoned him. During WORLD WAR II, Raper published a detailed description of the Army's "Forbidden City" of Los Alamos, more than a year before the bombing of Hiroshima. In 1945, he compiled a book from his "Josh Wise" sayings titled What This World Needs. Retiring in 1947, he died in Pueblo, Colo. Raper married Marie A. Delahunt in 1899 and had a daughter, Dorothy (Mrs. Wick R. Miller). Raper died in Pueblo, Colo. but was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.