The Madison Daily Leader, a business started in Lake County more than 140 years ago, will be joining Wick Communications, a family-owned newspaper group.

Francis Wick & Jon Hunter

FRANCIS WICK (left), president and CEO of Arizona-based Wick Communications, poses with Jon Hunter, publisher of The Madison Daily Leader and head of Leader Printing, next to the Madison newspaper’s web press on Monday. Hunter announced that The Daily Leader is joining Wick Communications.

Daily Leader Publisher Jon Hunter announced the transaction.

“Wick is a third-generation family newspaper business, just like the Daily Leader,” Hunter said. “They have demonstrated a commitment to communities they serve and are well-prepared to serve Madison. There’s a bright future ahead for our newspaper and Leader Printing.”

Francis Wick, CEO of Wick Communications, said, “It’s an honor to carry on the task of local journalism for Madison and the surrounding areas. Newspapering is key to the health and vitality of a local community, and what Jon and the superb team here at The Daily Leader have created is meaningful.”

The Daily Leader started as The Lake County Leader, a weekly newspaper, at the town of Herman in 1880. It moved to Madison in 1881 when the towns of Madison and Herman merged. The weekly Sentinel had been started at the town of Madison at a similar time.

A decade later, the two newspapers converted to dailies and competed against one another for nearly a half-century before merging in 1938. Three generations of the Stahl family were publishers of the Daily Leader until the mid-1940s.

George Hunter bought the newspaper in 1947 and was joined by sons Neil and Merrill. George Hunter continued as publisher until his death in 1966.

Merrill Hunter took over as publisher and served until he died in 1990. Jon Hunter has been the publisher since.