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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


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History of the Various Journals That Have Been Published in St. Louis.

OF all ventures in the business world, the publishing of a newspaper is the most precarious. It is far more hazardous and uncertain than commercial pursuits; is attended with toil that knows no cessation; and is daily liable to anathemas, which, if coming from holy lips, would consign it to eternal perdition; yet, in despite of this certain destruction of worldly hopes, which awaits the adventurer in a newspaper enterprise, there is some mystical fascination which causes thousands to venture upon its dangerous current, where they rarely escape the fate that awaited the mariners of yore when navigating the seas containing the fatal rock and eddying whirlpool.

It will be of interest to the reader, and a necessary portion of the history of St. Louis, without which it would be incomplete, to give a succinct account of the different newspapers that have had their existence in our city, and played their different parts in the political and literary drama of St. Louis existence. We will lift the curtain which has fallen, and once more look upon the parts which they played. We will not touch upon those again whose history we have before given.

The second newspaper was established by Joshua Norvell, in 1816, and was called The Western Journal. It was, soon after its birth, purchased by Sergeant Hall, who changed its name to that of the Emigrant and General Advertiser, a weekly sheet, which at first was somewhat popular, but, commencing to decline, it was sold to Isaac N. Henry, Colonel Thomas H. Benton, and Mr. Maury, and the name was changed to that of the St. Louis Enquirer, which, from the very first, became strongly partisan, advocating the Democratic political creed. It had an existence at the time when the question was mooted in what manner Missouri should be admitted into the Union — whether as a slave or free state. Colonel Benton, the editor in chief of the Enquirer, advocated the slave measure, and a pro-slavery constitution was adopted in 1820, when Missouri was admitted into the Union. A little while after this, the paper changed hands. Colonel Benton having been elected United States senator, and Mr. Henry having died, the remaining partner, Mr. Maury, disposed of the Enquirer to Patrick H. Ford, who, in 1823, sold it to General Duff Green, who was afterward the editor of the United States Telegraph at Washington, a democratic organ. He edited the paper until 1825, when he sold it to Charles Keemle and S. W. Foreman; and on the early dissolution of that copartnership in 1826, the Enquirer was sold to Luke E. Lawless, at that time a lawyer of high standing, and as a politician a stanch supporter of Colonel Benton. The paper, during the short period he held it, was edited with much ability. He became a jurist of much ability. In 1827, Charles Keemle, one of its old proprietors, again purchased the Enquirer, in conjunction with William Orr, and changed its name to the St. Louis Beacon, which name it continued to bear until 1832, when it died. It was always a weekly sheet, and Democratic through all its changes. During certain periods of its existence it exercised a very important political influence.

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In 1820, The Herald was established by Messrs. Orr & Fleming, which had but a temporary existence.

In 1827, The St. Louis Times, a Democratic journal, was brought into being by Messrs. Stine & Miller, and edited by S. W. Foreman. Though Democratic, it was anti-Benton, and rabidly opposed, without effect, the re-election of Colonel Benton to the senate. It afterward passed into the hands of Miller & Lovejoy, and then was conducted by Miller, Murray & Richards. It had some hopes at one period of its existence, but, from the want of popular support, soon became involved in pecuniary difficulties, and finally, in 1832, was sold under legal process, and the fixtures purchased by Colonel Charles Keemle. The journal was suffered to expire. When under Miller & Lovejoy, the paper was tinged with abolitionism.

In 1831, a paper was started by James A. Birch.

During 1831, The Workingman's Advocate was started by Mr. Steel, which strongly advocated the principles of the Democratic party, and, being bought out by James B. Bowlin & Mayfield, was changed to the St. Louis Argus. It was at this time very ably edited, advocating the cause of Democracy, and received considerable patronage. It was then transferred to Mansfield, Lawhead & Corbin. It continued under these last proprietors but a short time, with deserved popularity, and then came into the possession, successively, of Thomas Watson, Davis, and Colonel Gilpin. It was then purchased by S. Penn, a gentleman from Louisville, and an experienced and able journalist, who changed the title of the paper to that of the Missouri Reporter, and Samuel Treat was joined with him in the editorship — the Reporter becoming the organ of the Democratic party. After the death of Mr. Penn, it came into the possession of L. Pickering, when it underwent another change in name, being called The Union. It remained a short time in his possession, and was transferred to R. Phillips, who, finding it in a languishing state, sold it to William McKee, the publisher of the Signal, a freesoil sheet, and the Union and Signal were merged in a new name — the present Missouri Democrat.

In 1834, The Commercial Bulletin came into existence, under the conduct of Colonel Charles Keemle, William P. Clark, and S. B. Churchill. It then passed into the hands of William Clark, and shortly after was owned by Churchill & Ramsey, when it became Whig; and then afterward, being purchased by V. P. Ellis, it again changed its politics, and became the organ of a new political creed — "The Native American party," whose principles at that time were being promulgated in St. Louis. For a time, the new doctrines of political worship gained many advocates, and the paper flourished in the sunshine of popular favor; but soon the plausibility and novelty of the doctrines ceased to attract and delude, and the paper had but few readers. It was then purchased by Cady and Oliver Harris, and soon died for want of popular support.

There were some other journals that had so transient an existence that we shall not enter into any minute details concerning them — The St. Louis Pennant, a literary paper, established by G. G. Foster and Thomas Watson. The Evening Gazette was established in 1838, by David B. Holbrook & G. S. Allen; and was edited by William S. Allen. In 1841, P. A. Gould purchased Allen's interest, and the firm was titled Holbrook

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& Gould. In 1842, the Gazette was sold to Henry Singleton, and in 1843, was purchased by McKee & Ruth, and edited by Edmond Flagg. It was then sold in 1847 to Lord, and then died. The Mirror, established by Ruggles.

In 1837, The Saturday News was brought into being by Colonel Charles Keemle and Major Alphonso Wetmore, both gentlemen having large editorial experience, and the latter was justly celebrated for his literary attainments. The journal was purely a literary one, but it did not succeed according to its deserts. Colonel Keemle retired from it a short time after its birth, and it was continued by Major Wetmore, and then died.

In 1841, The People's Organ was established by Higgens, and then sold out to Anderson & Staley; Staley sold out to Edmond Flagg, and the firm became titled, Anderson & Flagg; Flagg then retired, and it was finally conducted by Anderson alone. Its existence was short.

In 1845, the Reveille, a literary paper of undoubted merit, was founded by Colonel Keemle, Matt, and Jos. M. Field; few journals were better conducted, and during its existence it was a weekly welcome to every family of cultivated taste. In 1850, it was sold to Anderson & Company, proprietors of the People's Organ, and blended with that paper.

In 1846, The Native American was started by V. Ellis, and had a fine run for a time, but it soon found how uncertain is popular favor, and finally died through neglect.

In 1848, The New Era was established by Paschall & Ramsey, and at once occupied a large share of public patronage. Its forte was its commercial superiority, and in politics it was Whig. It was sold to Thomas Yeatinan and J. B. Crocket, and changed to the Intelligencer, and afterward passed into the hands of George K. Budd, and then was purchased by A. S. Mitchell & Co., the proprietors of the Evening News, and blended with that paper, which is still in existence.

We will now select the number of the editorial fraternity, which have been coupled with the foregoing pages, who are yet alive, and who have become worthy of mention, from the prominent position which they occupy.

Charles Keemle is the oldest newspaper publisher and printer, west of the Mississippi, and is now the efficient recorder of the county of St. Louis. James H. Birch resides in Clinton county; was one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the state, and then register of the land-office. James B. Bowlin was for a long time judge of the Criminal Court for St. Louis district, and minister to Paraguay. A. R. Corbin was clerk of Committee of Private Land Claims at Washington, and such was his fitness for the office, and the influence of his personal worth, that he remained its incumbent for more than fifteen years, undisturbed by any administrations, though advocating political tenets at variance with his own. Samuel Treat is now an able jurist, presiding over the Circuit Court of the district of St. Louis. Josiah Anderson is the present proprietor of the St. Louis Price Current. Charles G. Ramsey and A. S. Mitchell are now the proprietors of the Evening News. William McKee is senior proprietor of the Missouri Democrat, and Nathaniel Paschall is one of the proprietors and editor-in-chief of the Missouri Republican, the oldest sheet in the state. Paschall is the oldest editor with the harness on in the Western country.

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William Allen has been register of the land-office. He was secretary of the Territory of New Mexico, in 1851, judge of County Court, in 1856 member of the Missouri legislature, in 1850-51, and is now associate editor of the Missouri Republican.

It will excite no envy, and be a just tribute to departed worth, if we say a few words concerning the literary abilities of the late Joseph M. Field, one of the editors of the Reveille. He was connected a long time with the New Orleans Picayune, and wrote under the nom de plume of "Straws." His productions under that signature were quoted extensively by the journals of the country, and his name became famous in literary annals. As a poet, he well could lay claim to that consciousness of inspiration uttered by one of the Roman bards — "Deus est in nobis." He was the author of several plays, became an actor of acknowledged merit, and was the first manager of the "Varieties Theatre" of our city. His high literary merit and warm social qualities are still interwoven with the pleasing reminiscences of the past in the memory of many of the inhabitants. His brother, M. C. Field, also deceased, is deserving of the same tribute, and was well known in St. Louis as a sparkling and classical writer.

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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
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