My dear Neverlandians, just last week we celebrated the 154th anniversary of the founding of Neverland, Ohio, by J.M. Barrie. Every year, my brother Michael, my sister Wendy and our friend Peter Pan (of Peter’s Panels fame) go on an expedition, retracing the path of J.M. Barrie and the people who originally settled our town. This year, we were happy that many of you, our dear friends and neighbors, accompanied us. And this time around, we decided to immortalize our journey on Twitter. As I mentioned in my editorial last week, the KensingtonChronicle.com will very shortly be adding a Storify section to our site, to highlight many of the local stories that make Neverland such a wonderful place to live. As soon as that is up and running, we will be posting an archive of our expedition, for those of you who were unable to attend. During our tour, I mentioned in passing the name Kensington Darling, my ancestor and this newspaper’s namesake. Back in 1862, Kensington founded this very paper, and in honor of our town’s 154th anniversary, I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you about this seminal figure in Neverland’s history.
Kensington Darling was born and raised on the streets of London, living in poverty for most of his formative years. At the age of 5, Kensington got a job as a newspaper boy, where he worked all throughout college to be able to pay his tuition. After studying literature and business at university, a 25-year-old Kensington Darling set sail for America, the land of opportunity, where he hoped to fulfill his dream of owning his own newspaper. Kensington landed in Boston, and he quickly discovered that jobs were in short supply. He traveled up and down the Eastern seaboard pedaling his own brand of journalism, one that focused on the people and their stories rather than just the cold hard facts. But when Kensington was faced with rejection after rejection, he was forced to buckle under and take a job as a laborer for a group of settlers heading west from Washington D.C. And as many of you no doubt have already guessed, this band of intrepid pioneers were the same settlers that our beloved J.M. Barrie saved from a pack of black bears in 1860, the folks who would soon become our town founders.
While the Kensington Chronicle has been an institution in Neverland for almost the entirety of the town’s existence, Kensington Darling is perhaps best remembered by the world at large not as the founder of our hometown newspaper, but as the human race’s first ambassador to the fairy people. After stumbling onto a Gentle Place he later dubbed the Garden of Light, Kensington became the first man of record to discover the existence of fairies. And in so doing, he put our fledgling town on the map, and reminded people the world over that the Earth truly is a magical place. Selling this scoop of a lifetime netted Kensington enough money to bankroll the local newspaper that he had long been dreaming of, and the Kensington Chronicle has been owned and operated by a Darling ever since. Kensington built this paper from the ground up, and made it his mission to tell stories of the people and for the people of Neverland until the day he died.