Wyoming’s first newspapers…

July 9, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Wyoming has the interesting distinction of having once been part of four principal annexations: the Louisiana Purchase, the Oregon Territory, the Mexican Cession and Texas Annexation.  It became a territory in July, 1868 and gained statehood on July 10, 1890.

The “Leader” was the first newspaper in Wyoming, begun on September 19, 1867, the same year that the first settlement had been created at Cheyenne. The newspaper was begun by  Nathan Baker and J.E. Gates. Baker gained his printing experience in Colorado, working at the “Rocky Mountain Herald” and the the “Rocky Mountain News”. He went one to establish two other newspapers in Wyoming, the Laramie “Sentinel” on May 1, 1869, and the South Pass “News“. See the hyperlink for the interesting history of this town.

Also begun in Cheyenne in 1867 were the “Daily Argus” in October, and the “Star” in December, but neither one lasted beyond two years. Other early newspapers in Wyoming were the “Sweetwater Miner” at Fort Bridge in February, 1868, a vehicle to promote immigration, and a few months later the “News” at South Pass, noted above.

One of the more interesting newspapers from the West was the “Frontier Index” which began at Fort Sanders and moved along with the Union Pacific railroad going to Benton then to Bryan and then to Bear River City where it was completely destroyed by a mob. And no mention of Wyoming’s newspaper history should fail to mention the “Boomerang” (named for the editor’s mule), founded at Laramie on March 11, 1881 by Bill Nye. Subscribers were found in every state and some foreign countries. When Nye retired from the paper he became one of America’s best known humorists.

The first newspaper in Utah…

March 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Mormons created a great migration to the West in 1847 as 2000 Mormons crossed the western plains seeking a location in which they could follow undisturbed the precepts of their religion. The first party reached the Salt Lake valley on July 24, 1847, and among the items they brought were implements, seeds, cattle, sheep, hogs, chickens, and a printing outfit purchased in Philadelphia.

At the time the area was owned by Mexico, but with the treaty of 1848 ending the Mexican ar ownership passed to the United States. With no steps taken by federal authorities to establish a system of government for it, the Mormons took matters into their own hands and in 1849 organized the “State of Deseret” (land of the honey bee) with Brigham Young as governor.

The very first issue of the “Deseret News” was printed on June 15, 1850 with Brigham Young noted as the publisher and Horace Whitney, who had printing experience at the Mormon town of Nauvoo, Illinois, listed as the printer. This newspaper continued for just over a year when it was suspended for 3 months due to lack of paper. It began as a weekly but four months later became a semi-monthly until 1854 when it again became a weekly. It eventually became a daily on Nov. 21, 1867.  A sample of a volume 1 issues may be found at:  Deseret News, August 17, 1850

It was in late 1858 when Kirk Anderson started the “Valley Tan” in Salt Lake City, lasting for just over a year. The “Mountaineer” was started on Aug. 27, 1859 and “Farmer’s Oracle” was a semi-monthly which began on May 22, 1863, both of which lasted for less than two years.  A military newspaper titled the “Union Vidette” began on Nov. 20, 1863, done by soldiers stationed at Camp Douglass, a military post near Salt Lake City.

Pennsylvania’s first newspapers…

December 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It was only in Boston where a newspaper came off a printing press prior to any in Pennsylvania.  It was 15 years after the “Boston News-Letter” of 1704 (not counting the one-issue run of Boston’s “Publick Occurrences Both Foreign & Domestick” in 1690) when, on December 22, 1719, Andrew Bradford began his “American Weekly Mercury” (see image) in Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania’s first newspaper. This weekly would last until 1746.

But certainly the most successful newspaper in the colony, if not in all of colonial America, was the “Pennsylvania Gazette” begun in December, 1728 by Samuel Keimer. Within a year it was purchased by Benjamin Franklin. As Oswald notes: “…Under Franklin’s guidance, there appeared for the first time a colonial newspaper produced by a man of education who was in addition a capable printer, a versatile writer, and energetic news gatherer and an enterprising & resourceful businessman. This combination had the inevitable result of placing the “Pennsylvania Gazette” in the lead, and it thereby established a model for others to follow.” The “Gazette” would make Franklin a wealthy man and his name appeared on the imprint through 1765.

Pennsylvania has the distinction of having America’s first daily newspaper, the “Pennsylvania Evening Post & Daily Advertiser“, which started publication in 1775 as a tri-weekly and became a daily on May 30, 1783.

First newspapers printed in Oregon…

July 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It was in 1843 when the great migration over the Oregon trail to the Pacific Northwest began, with some 3000 settling in Oregon City just a few years later. Located on the Willamette River, this town became the Oregon Territory’s first capital.

It was also the location of the first  newspaper in the territory, titled the “Oregon Spectator” which began publishing on Feb. 5, 1846. This newspaper changed hands several times, and one of its editors, George L. Curry, left the newspaper in 1848 to start the Oregon City “Free Press” printed on a press he crafted by hand out of wood and scrap iron. This newspapers lasted for less than eight months.

On June 8 in 1848, at Tualatin Plains, a religious newspaper was begun by the Rev. John Smith Griffin titled the “Oregon American & Evangelical Unionist“. By the early 1850’s Portland was being settled and numerous newspapers made their appearance, the first being the “Weekly Oregonian” on Dec. 4, 1850.  As more migrated West, more newspapers (The Morning Oregonian & more) made their appearance in not only Portland but other settlement towns in the Oregon Territory. Oregon would become the 33rd state in early 1859. (credit: “Printing In The Americas”)

Rhode Island’s first newspapers…

July 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This history of Rhode Island’s European settlements goes back to roger Williams in 1604 but it was no until well over 100 years later that Rhode Island got its first newspaper. It was on Sept. 27, 1732 when James Franklin begin the “Rhode Island Gazette“, but it lasted for  only 20 issues. James Franklin also started the “New England Courant“, one of the first newspapers in Boston, and is perhaps most famous for creating an apprenticeship for his younger brother, Benjamin, who would go on to be a very successful newspaper publisher (among many other accomplishments) in Philadelphia.

It would be another 25 years before the next newspapers would be founded in Rhode Island, it being the “Newport Mercury” begun in that coastal town in 1758. Providence would have its first newspaper, “The Providence Gazette“, in 1762.

First newspapers in Nebraska…

August 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Nebraska Territory came about as an important event in American history, repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and allowing new territories to be slave or free as their citizens desired. It happened in 1854 and within the year three Nebraska newspapers were established, all in towns on the west bank of the Missouri River: Bellevue, Omaha City, and Nebraska City. Curiously, none of these towns had a printing office. Each newspaper was printed across the river in separate Iowa towns.

The first was in Bellevue, titled the “Nebraska Palladium” which began July 15, 1854 printed in St. Marys, Iowa. But in November of the same year a printing press was set up in town and on the 15th the first newspaper printed on Nebraska soil was issued.

The first newspaper in Omaha was the “Arrow“, printed in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It began just two weeks after the “Palladium” and only continued through the end of the year, succeeded by the “Nebraskian” which was printed in Omaha beginning January 17, 1855.

The Nebraska City “News” started in the fall of 1854 and was printed in Sidney, Iowa although the printing office would be moved to Nebraska City on Nov. 14.

The first daily newspaper in Nebraska was the “Telegraph” which began on Dec. 11, 1860.

First newspapers in Montana…

August 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Similar to other eventual states in the western portion of the country, it was the search for gold & other precious metals which took some of the earliest adventurers to the Montana Territory.

Gold was discovered in Montana in 1858 and a “town” immediately sprang up, named Bannack. A newspaper, title the “News-Letter“, was started but not being successful only lasted a few numbers. (Given its format and short life it is not considered Montana’s first newspaper by some, that honor given more commonly to the “Montana Post“.)

The following year a richer strike was made in nearby Virginia City, where the first issue of the “Montana Post” was printed on August 27, 1864. Its publisher, John Buchanan, sold the newspaper just two weeks later to Tilton and Dittes, and 4 years later when Helena became the state’s capital the newspaper moved to that location where the first issue from Helena was dated August 25, 1868.

The next Montana newspaper was the “Montana Democrat“, printed in Virginia City from 1865. It would be followed by a few more in the 1860’s: the “Montana Radiator” in late 1865, the “Rocky Mountain Gazette” in 1866 and the first daily newspaper titled the “Herald” from Helena late in the same year.

Collectors prize issues of the “Montana Post” from Virginia City, although those with a Helena imprint are the more commonly found.