First newspapers in Maine…

April 26, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

It may be a surprise to some that Maine did not become a state until 1820, much later than most of the other New England states which were among the original thirteen colonies. It was a part of Massachusetts in the 18th century and figured in the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, balanced by Maine as a free state.

Benjamin Titcomb, a native of Maine, was the first printer in the state and joining with Thomas Wait started the “Gazette and Weekly Advertiser” in Falmouth (now Portland) on January 1, 1785. But just a year later  Titcomb left the newspaper and Wait changed the newspaper’s name to the “Cumberland Gazette“, Cumberland being the name of the county in which Falmouth was located. It changed names again six years later to the “Eastern Herald“.

Titcomb’s son, Benjamin Titcomb, Jr., started Maine’s second newspaper on Oct. 8, 1790, called the “Gazette of Maine” and six years later these first two newspapers would be combined to be the “Eastern Herald and Gazette of Maine“.

The other 18th century newspapers published in present-day Maine were the “Eastern Star” in Hallowell. 1794, the “Tocsin” also in Hallowell, 1795, the “Kennebec Intelligencer” in Augusta (then called Harrington) 1795, the “Wiscasset Telegraph” in 1796, “The Gazette” in  in Portland, 1798, the “Wiscasset Argus” in 1797, the “Oriental Trumpet” of Portland, 1798, and the “Castine Journal” on Jan. 2, 1799. Many of these titles had a very short life.