Washington’s first newspaper…

June 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Interest by historians in Washington’s first newspaper may well be eclipsed by the press upon which it was printed, as it had a fascinating history.

The “Ramage Press” was well traveled. It originated in Boston, was sold to a printer in Hawaii only to never be used as the printer purchased another press before its arrival, then was sold to California where it was transported to Monterey to Sonoma and then back to Monterey where it printed California’s first newspaper, the “Californian”, on Aug. 15, 1846. Both the press and the newspaper moved to Yerba Buena where the newspaper continued printing, moved then to Sacramento City where it printed the first issue of the “Placer Times” in 1849. It then moved to San Francisco, then to Stockton, then to Sonora, eventually becoming the first press on which printing was done in Oregon, and then the same for the state of Washington.

During the 1850’s Washington was part of the Oregon Territory. The old Ramage press made its way to Olympia and on September 11, 1852 the first issue of the “Columbian” was printed, Washington’s very first newspaper. Just six months later in 1853 the Washington Territory was created causing the printers, James Wiley and Thorton McElroy, to change the name of their newspaper to the “Washington Pioneer”. After another name change the paper continued until 1861.

The second newspaper in Washington was the “Puget Sound Courier” which began on May 19, 1855 at Steilacoom but the newspaper lasted for just a year. Steilacoom was the location of Washington’s third newspaper, done by Charles Prosch and titled the “Puget Sound Express”, which began on March 12, 1858.

A legal conundrum…

August 1, 2009 by · 4 Comments 

legal_conundrumThe Olympia Transcript” newspaper of Washington Territory, Nov. 30, 1867, poses an interesting question:

“Suppose a man owns a skiff; he fastens the skiff to the shore with a rope made of straw; along comes a cow; cow gets into the boat; turns around & eats the rope; the skiff thus let loose with the cow on board, starts down stream and on its passage is upset; the cow is drowned. Now, has the man that owns the cow got to pay for the boat or the man that owns the boat got to pay for the cow?”

Any thoughts from our readers?