Delaware's first and only professedly religious newspaper, "The Peninsula Methodist," formerly the "Conference Worker," dates from 1875. In that year W. S. Armour and Charles H. Sentman started the "Conference Worker" a religious paper devoted to the interests of the Wilmington M. E. Conference. Six months later, Mr. Armour retired and F. J. Lindsay and R. F. Cochran became partners with Mr. Sentman. The partnership continued for about one year, when Mr. Sentman became sole owner, and continued the publication for about ten years.
In 1885-6 the paper passed into the control of J. Miller Thomas, who changed the name to "The Peninsula Methodist," his father, Rev. T. Snowden Thomas, assuming editorial control. Ten years later Mr. Thomas sold his interest to a number of the members of the Wilmington M. E. Conference, of whom the Rev. Charles A. Grise was the agent to conduct the purchase. Shortly after this change of ownership, the publication office was moved to Harrington, Delaware, and the paper consolidated with another Conference publication. Later, "The Peninsula Methodist" passed to the ownership of the Messrs. Russell, of Chestertown, Maryland, and is now published at that place under the editorship of D. Bates Russell.
[History of the State of Delaware by Henry C. Conrad, Volume III, Published by the Author, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
EARLY LOCAL NEWSPAPERS
Mrs. R. H. McConaughy started a paper called the "Clayton Herald," at Clayton, in 1867, continuing the publication for about two years; the plant was then removed to Smyrna and publication resumed under the title of "Herald and Intelligencer." The new venture was short lived. The plant after several passages back and forth between Clayton and Smyrna, located in the latter place, and in the office of the "Smyrna Call."
THE DELAWARE GAZETTE, - WILMINGTON.
This journal has for many years been highly popular with all classes of the community throughout the Peninsula. In politics, it is Democratic, and ably looks after the interests of its party. Its columns contain all the latest news from all parts of the world, and special attention is given to local affairs in its immediate vicinity. It is published daily and weekly by C. P. Johnson, at No. 416 Market St., and is one of the best advertising mediums in the State.
[Industries of Delaware, Richard Edwards, Editor and Publisher, Wilmington, Delaware, 1880, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
THE DELAWARE REPUBLICAN,- WILMINGTON. Edited and published by George W. Vernon & Sons, at the comer Third and King Sts., is the leading Republican newspaper of the State, exerting an important influence. It is published daily and weekly, and is, in every respect, a live journal and popular advertising medium.
[Industries of Delaware, Richard Edwards, Editor and Publisher, Wilmington, Delaware, 1880, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
THE DELAWARE TRIBUNE, WILMINGTON.
Is one of the leading weekly papers of the city, and contains all the latest news, and editorial comments on all the topics of the day. It is independent in politics, and is published by the Every Evening Publishing Company, at the corner of Fifth and Market Sts.
[Industries of Delaware, Richard Edwards, Editor and Publisher, Wilmington, Delaware, 1880, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
EVERY EVENING AND COMMERCIAL,-WJLMINGTON.
This is one of the leading dailies of the city, bright and newsy, and highly popular with the community. It is independent in politics, ably edited, well printed, and bas a large circulation. It is published by the Every Evening Publishing Company, of which Mr. W. T. Croasdale is president, and A. S. Richardson, treasurer.
As has been already noted in this sketch of the beginnings and development of the press of Delaware, one of the first of these enterprises was started at Georgetown, Sussex County. In 1837-38 Henry H. Cannon started and continued for a year or two a paper called the "Republican." Coincident with the Georgetown enterprise, the anti-Clayton Whigs of New Castle County began the publication of the "Delaware Sentinel," at Wilmington. In less than a year the "Sentinel" changed ownership, name and politics, and for a few months the publication was continued under the name of the "Delaware Democrat."
In the meantime Mr. Cannon removed to Wilmington, and having purchased the "Delaware Democrat," merged it with the "Sentinel" in one paper under the name of "The Delaware Republican," this originating a newspaper title potent in local newspaperdom for more than a century, and still recognized as a valuable asset. There seems to have been no other effort to establish a paper at Georgetown until 1864. In that year William T. Crosdale, at the beginning of a notable career as a newspaperman, started a newspaper in that town called "The Union," and continued the publication for about one year. In 1878 Willard S. Pride started, at Georgetown, "The Delaware Inquirer." It was continued until 1881, when it was sold to other parties in Georgetown, and the publication continued under the name of "The Delaware Democrat." The paper is now under the editorial control of Edwin R. Paynter.
"The Sussex Journal" was first issued in 1867 by W. Fiske Townsend, who was succeeded by David T. Marvel and McKendree Downham. Later, the firm was Clark and Downham. From this firm the ownership passed to Mrs. Mary Clark, and from her to the present owners, Messrs. Jones and Lynch. "The Sussex Republican" was established at Georgetown, by the Rev. A. D. Davis, a member of the Wilmington M. E. Conference in 1886. From its founder, the ownership of the paper passed to Robert G. Houston, the present editor and owner. "The Union Republican," the organ of the Union Republican party, was established at Georgetown in 1898. It is published by the Union Republican Publishing Company.
On February 10, 1906, the "Sussex Journal," the "Delaware Democrat," the latter being the successor of the "Delaware Inquirer," dating from 1878, and the "Delaware Pilot," the successor of "The Breakwater Light," established at Lewes, 1871, by Dr. I. H. D. Knowles, passed to the control of the Sussex Printing and Publishing Company, with publication office at Georgetown; the three papers continuing to appear under the same titles.
The "Breakwater Light" was started at Lewes, Sussex County, in August, 1871, by Dr. I. H. D. Knowles, who conducted it successfully as a Republican newspaper for about twenty years. The plant finally passed into the control of a Democratic syndicate represented by Ebe W. Tunnell, and the name of the paper was changed to "The Delaware Pilot," under which name it is still published.
Middletown's first newspaper venture dates from 1868. In that year Henry Vanderford, formerly of the "Cecil Democrat," established the "Middletown Transcript." The founder of the paper was succeeded by his son, Charles H. Vanderford and he by Edward Reynolds, and he in turn by W. Scott Way in 1877. In the interval the paper has changed owners several times. It is now published by T. S. Fouracre. The "New Era" is of younger years. It is owned by Caleb J. Freeman.
The "Milton Times," published by the Milton Times Publishing Company, at Milton, Sussex County, was established in 1897. It was edited by W. W. Crouch.
THE MORNING NEWS, WILMINGTON.
Published by Conrad & Pennypacker, at No. 809 Shipley St., is the only morning daily in the city. It is an excellent advertising medium and popular newspaper. Politically, it is Republican, and has a large circulation.
THE NEWARK LEDGER.
The Newark Ledger was first issued on September 18, 1877, by S. D. McCartney. This gentleman conducted the paper for one year, and upon retiring, was succeeded by the present publisher, L. Theo. Esling. The Ledger is pre-eminently a local paper, publishing all the news for miles around, and as such is a valuable medium in which the business men in general should advertise their wares. Its circulation is steadily increasing, which is due to the fact that, in the language of a prominent Wilmington newspaper man, "its local department covers more space than any other paper in the State." Subscription, $1.50 per annum, in advance. Advertising rates and specimen copy on application by postal card.
Newark, Delaware's college town, was late in joining the State press procession. Charles H. Sentman, for many years a local newspaper worker, is credited with having made the original effort to establish a paper in that town, in 1875. He soon abandoned the project. J. H. Rowlinson, who moved from Centreville, Maryland to Newark, in the latter part of 1875, made the most remarkable newspaper venture recorded in the history of the State Press. It is said of him that he had but thirty-five cents in his pocket when he landed in Newark. Within a few months, on February 11, 1876, he issued the first number of the first paper published in the town. It was called the "Saturday Visitor." Only a few numbers of the "Visitor" were issued when the name was changed to the "Record."
In about a year Rowlinson had become discouraged and sold his interest to J. M. Armstrong, of New York City. A year later Armstrong sold out to Samuel D. McCartney, of Philadelphia, who changed the name to the "Journal." The new owner was quickly convinced of his inability to make the enterprize a success and he sold to L. Theodore Esling, an employee of the office. Mr. Esling changed the name of the paper to the "Newark Ledger," and under that title, by untiring industry and close application to business, established a newspaper still recognized as a credit to the town of Newark, and an influential member of the State Press.
At Mr. Esling's death, in January, 1881, the publication of the paper was discontinued for several months. The plant was purchased by Major F. A. G. Handy, of Washington, D. C, a well-known newspaper correspondent. Egbert G. Handy, a brother of the new owner, who had been connected with the "Philadelphia Press," was put in charge of the "Ledger." Less than six months after assuming control of it, the latter purchased the property, and changed the name to the "Delaware Ledger," under which title the publication has continued since. For several years it has been owned and published by Bowen & Brother.
NEW CASTLE NEWSPAPERS
"The New Castle News" is the successor of a long line of short-lived predecessors. It is edited and published by Edgar C. Bross, and is Republican in politics — "Independent but not neutral." It is now in its twelfth volume. "The Gazette" was published at New Castle, by Enoch E. Camp in 1836. A few years later George W. Mahan established the "Diamond State and Record." Both enterprises proved abortive, and were abandoned after about a year's trial.
Seaford joined the State newspaper procession in 1869 with the "Seaford Record," established by Donoho and Stevens. The paper was neutral in politics. Mr. Stevens retired, and was succeeded by his son, who with Mr. Donoho continued the publication changing the name to the "Sussex Record." The new firm sold to a Mr. Kavano, of Maryland, in 1872. The latter owner made two changes of name in the paper, first to "The Sussex Democrat," and then to "The Seaford Democrat." The enterprise was not successful and was soon abandoned. Some time prior to 1878 Joseph F. Penington started a paper called the "Seaford Enterprise." In the year named it passed into the control of Thomas N. Williams and J. B. Clark, who changed the name to the "Sussex County Index," continuing the publication until 1881. In the summer of that year the Rev. John Teasdale revived the "Seaford Enterprise" and in September, 1882, disposed of it to Charles D. Judson. The "Seaford News," edited and published at Seaford by William H. Stevens, was established in 1891. It is Democratic in politics and is the only paper now published in that town.
Smyrna's original newspaper enterprise, the "Delaware Star," dates from 1832. The "Smyrna Telegraph" appeared in 1839. The projector of this enterprise, Samuel L. Jones, is said to have gotten into debt and into jail, neither of which seems at all improbable. The name of the paper indicates great expectations on the part of the publisher; the Telegraph as an adjunct of the press was then unknown. In 1847 the paper fell into the hands of the temperance people who were very active at that time, and they continued the publication as an advocate of prohibition under the editorial control of Abraham Poulson. Succeeding to the ownership of the paper Mr. Poulson changed the name to "Delaware Herald and Peninsula Advocate."
In 1854 Abraham Poulson sold his interest in the property to his son Thomas L. Poulson and Robert D. Hoffecker, the new firm continuing the paper under the old name. A few months later Mr. Hoffecker became sole owner and changed the name to the "Smyrna Times." In 1866 Robert D. Hoffecker sold the paper to his brother Joseph H. Hoffecker. In 1877 Robert D. Hoffecker again assumed the ownership and editorial control of the "Smyrna Times" continuing that relation until this date, having in 1893, associated with him in the work, his son, Robert D. Hoffecker, Jr., who is the present active editor and publisher.
The "Smyrna Record" was started in 1881 by F. S. Phelps who disposed of it to Gilbert S. Taylor in 1886. In 1889 the plant was sold to William George Hill and John B. Book, who removed it to Clayton and established the "Clayton Call," under the management of W. G. McFarlane. In 1897, the plant was bought by the Delawarean Printing Company and was removed to Smyrna, the name of the paper being changed to the "Smyrna Call." In March, 1905, control of the plant passed to Frank Whelen, the present editor and publisher.
Augustus M. Schee was the publisher of the first newspaper issued at Dover. The "Federal Ark," recognized as the organ of the Federalist party, was started there in 1802, continuing for about two years. In 1805 it was succeeded by the “Record" and “Federal Advertiser," published by Joseph Robertson. February 1, 1825, "The Delaware Intelligencer" was started by Samuel F. Shinn, and published in the interest of the presidential candidacy of John Quincy Adams. In February, 1838, William Huffington, a member of the Bar, and a man of considerable literary ability, started at Dover the first monthly magazine that was published in Delaware. It was called "The Delaware Register and Farmers' Magazine" and showed careful editing especially in its historical and graphical departments. It deserved to succeed, but the publisher becoming discouraged, its publication was discontinued at the end of a year. Occasional copies of this publication turn up and command a good price. Mr. Huffington resided in Wilmington in his later life and was Mayor of that city from 1848 to 1850.
A political publication in Dover in the campaign of 1828 called “The Political Primer" or “A Home Book for Jacksonites," had for its motto the word “Retaliation." It strongly advocated the re-election of John Quincy Adams as President. The nominal editor was Joseph Robertson, but contributions to its columns were made by the leading politicians of that time; among whom were Caleb S. Layton and Samuel M. Harrington, and they had no hesitancy in pouring hot shot into the ranks of their political opponents. Some of their utterances would almost put to shame the yellow journalism of the present day, and the warmth and vindictiveness shown in the discussions are convincing that there was even more bitterness between political parties in that day than in these opening days of the twentieth century. The ''Primer" was published about six months. A small sheet called "The American Freeman and Legislative Reporter" was issued at Dover during the legislative session of 1830 under the direction of Henry W. Peterson, who kept a book and stationery store in that town. But six numbers were issued. The first newspaper organ of the Whig party in Kent County was "The Sentinel," published by William Wharton in 1851. The “Delaware State Reporter," a Democratic and strongly anti-Prohibition newspaper, edited by George W. S. Nicholson, was published in Dover from May 7, 1853 to August 8, 1859. On May 7, 1859, the Delawarean Company, James Kirk, editor, issued the first number of “The Delawarean," an ultra-Democratic organ. It became the recognized State organ of the Democratic party, known throughout the Eastern States as an embodiment of high class journalism for that day. Mr. Kirk retained the editorship of the paper until March 4, 1876, when the Hon. Eli Saulsbury became proprietor, and Charles E. Fenn, manager. January, 1884, John F. and John P. Saulsbury became joint owners of the plant, editing and publishing the paper in that relation until the death of John P. Saulsbury in 1887, when John F. Saulsbury became sole owner and editor. On February 17, 1894, William Saulsbury became owner and editor of the "Delawarean" and conducted it until the organization of the Delawarean Company in 1902, of which William Saulsbury became president; Willard Saulsbury, vice-president; Samuel Isenschmidt, secretary; John S. Collins, treasurer. The paper is still published by the Delawarean Company.
The “State Sentinel," a Republican newspaper, was started in Dover by Henry W. Cannon in May, 1874. Mr. Cannon edited and published the paper until 1891, when it was purchased by Edward W. Louderbough. During the period from 1891 to 1896 the “Sentinel" was edited by John H. Bateman. In the latter year the paper passed into the ownership of the Sentinel Printing Company, George W. Roberts succeeding to the editorship. In 1897 Mr. Bateman resumed his editorial connection with the paper continuing therein until his death in 1900. The “Sentinel" is now published weekly by Edward B. Louderbough, manager for the Sentinel Printing Company.
The “Index" was started by Francis M. Dunn, in 1887. Mr. Dunn died in 1894 and the paper has been published weekly since that date by his son, Thomas F. Dunn. The “Index" is Democratic in politics, and is the recognized organ of the anti-Saulsbury Democracy of Kent County, its editorship has been credited to various leading Democrats of the county, including the late Chancellor Wolcott.
The “Delaware State News" was established in 1901 by Monroe Ashmore. In 1904 Ashmore sold his interest to the State News Publishing Company, of which Arley B. Magee is president, and J. C. Wickes, business manager. Robert H. Wilson is editor of the paper, it is ultra-Democratic in politics and is published weekly. The editorial utterances of Mr. Wilson are as a rule unique. He is clear in expression, forcible in style and altogether clever, and under his management the paper is gaining an enviable place in Delaware journalism.
[History of the State of Delaware by Henry C. Conrad, Volume III, Published by the Author, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
John H. Emerson, one of the pioneer newspaper men of this Peninsula, a former editor of the “Denton (Md.) Union," afterward associated with Henry C. Conrad in the establishment of "The Morning News" at Wilmington, established “The Beacon" at Milford in 1848, the first newspaper published in that town. Three years later, in 1851, Mr. Emerson sold the paper to Colonel J. Hart Conrad, of Philadelphia. A year later, on the death of Colonel Conrad, the plant passed into the control of James B. Mahan, who had been assistant editor with and foreman for Colonel Conrad. George B. Mahan was admitted to a partnership in the business, the firm name becoming Mahan Brothers. The paper continued under his management until 1859 at Milford, when its publication office was removed to New Castle, and the name of it changed to “The Diamond State," the publication being continued by the same parties.
The “Sussex Gleaner" was the next newspaper to appear at Milford. It was short-lived. It appeared in 1856. In 1857 a Mr. Chambers, of Maryland, revived the “Beacon." The paper was sold to W. W. Austin, but was discontinued in a few months. Two newspaper ventures were launched in Milford in 1857. “The Peninsular News and Advertiser," and the "Observer," the former by James D. Prettyman and the latter by Truitt and Ennis. The "Beacon" and the “Observer" soon discontinued. The "News and Advertiser" having survived, entered upon a stormy existence; under its first management the paper was a radical advocate of the proslavery political regime. In six years it changed ownership five times, being successfully controlled by Prettyman and Hudson, Dr. John S. Prettyman, E. P. Alfred, James B. Mahan and William H. Hutchin. Out of this struggle the paper came finally to oppose the slave regime, in national politics, under the direction of Dr. John S. Prettyman. During the period of this evolution several attempts were made to wreck the office and destroy the plant. Happily this was prevented and the "News and Advertiser" survived to become one of the most influential Republican newspapers in the State. Between 1863 and 1878 several attempts were made to establish other newspapers in Milford, none of which succeeded. James B. Riggs of Wilmington started the "Milford Statesman," but only a few numbers were issued. In 1867 James B. Mahan started "The Milford Argus," and in a few months disposed of it to the Revell Brothers, who continued it for about one year and sold it to Justus Lowery & Co. The new owners changed the name of the paper to "Our Mutual Friend." In 1870 it passed into the control of Levi Harris & Co., who continued it for about one year and sold it to Dr. John S. Prettyman.
In 1872 Dr. John S. Prettyman consolidated “Our Mutual Friend" and "The Peninsula News and Advertiser" in one publication, under the latter title, associating with himself Dr. C. W. Davidson as editor, and William P. Corsa as publisher. In January, 1880, Dr. Prettyman sold the paper to his son, Harry H. Prettyman, who admitted Henry Harris, of Wisconsin, as a partner in March of that year. In August, 1880, Henry L. Hynson bought the Prettyman interest, and the paper was published by Harris and Hynson, until November, 1881, when Hynson became sole owner. During the Hynson ownership the control of the paper was transferred to a stock company, Henry L. Hynson continuing in the editorship. Mr. Hynson was succeeded by A. T. Thomas & Son; the latter by Millard F. Hydron, and he, in turn, by George B. Hynson and Robert Mears ; George B. Hynson being the editor. Later Robert Mears became editor and manager, and in 1904 sold his interest in the paper to G. Layton Grier and Frank L. Grier, who conducted it for about six months, disposing of it to Theodore Townsend, owner and editor of the "Milford Chronicle," who merged it in one publication with that paper.
The "Milford Chronicle" was established in October, 1878, by Julius E. Scott and Theodore Townsend, as a politically independent newspaper. In 1880 Mr. Scott was succeeded by William P. Corsa. This partnership continued until 1884, when Mr. Townsend became sole owner. It is now and for several years past has been conducted as a Republican newspaper and since its consolidation with “The News and Advertiser," ranks as one of the best and strongest papers on the peninsula.
[History of the State of Delaware by Henry C. Conrad, Volume III, Published by the Author, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
NEW CASTLE NEWSPAPERS
"The New Castle News" is the successor of a long line of short-lived predecessors. It is edited and published by Edgar C. Bross, and is Republican in politics – “Independent but not neutral." It is now in its twelfth volume. “The Gazette" was published at New Castle, by Enoch E. Camp in 1836. A few years later George W. Mahan established the “Diamond State and Record." Both enterprises proved abortive, and were abandoned after about a year's trial.
The only Sunday newspapers appearing in Delaware have been published in Wilmington. The first was called "The Sunday Dispatch." It first appeared in 1878, and continued for about two and one-half years under the direction of Francis Scheu. D. Taylor Bradford started the “Sunday Mirror" in 1880, but it only lasted six months, when it was succeeded by the "Sunday Critic," owned by William Bancroft and continued for two years.
The "Sunday Morning Star" first appeared March 6, 1881, with passed under the control of the Star Publishing Company and in 1905 was incorporated as the Star Printing Company. Mr. Bell continuing as editor and also controlling the company. The "Star" is now twenty-five years old, and it has not only occupied a unique position in Delaware journalism, but it has won its way through a pronounced independence in its editorial utterances, and by its vigorous advocacy of everything that tended to the betterment of Wilmington. It has steadily grown both in circulation and in public favor, and it is so strongly entrenched that would-be competitors have found it impossible to maintain another Sunday newspaper in Wilmington. Several attempts have been made, but they were all unsuccessful. In 1887 Charles H. Vary started the “Sunday Republic," but it was published less than a year. The “Jeffersonian," another Sunday venture appeared about 1904, but after a year's effort was abandoned and the "Sunday Times" took its place but at the end of six months it too ceased to be. The “Sunday Star" is the only newspaper published on Sunday in Delaware that has gained a substantial foot-hold. It gives promise of a long life, Jerome B. Bell as editor and proprietor.
HISTORY OF DELAWARE NEWSPAPERS
The history of Delaware newspapers begins in Colonial times. It descends in a direct line from the printing house of that famous printer, editor and patriotic American statesman, Benjamin Franklin. The secession of "the three counties on Delaware" from Pennsylvania occurred in 1704; the Delaware State government dates from the adoption of the First Constitution in 1776. Between these dates, fifty-eight years after the first, and fourteen years before the latter, in 1762, the first number of the first Delaware newspaper was printed in Wilmington.
The first printing press set up in the State was at Wilmington in 1761. The projector of the enterprise was an Irishman, James Adams, who had learned the printing trade in Londonderry, and came to this country shortly after attaining his majority. He landed at Philadelphia. Previous to his advent in Delaware he had worked for seven years in the printing house of Franklin & Hall, Philadelphia. One year after setting up his press in Wilmington in 1762, he started his first newspaper, "The Wilmington Courant." It was short-lived, being discontinued after six months fruitless effort. The next newspaper venture in Delaware was made by James Adams and his son Samuel, twenty-seven years later, about 1790, when they issued the first edition of "The Delaware Eastern Shore Advertiser." It seems to have been continued during the life-time of James Adams and afterwards appeared with his sons Samuel and John as proprietors. The printing business appears to have been successful, and was continued by James Adams until his death in 1793, when he was succeeded by his sons Samuel and John Adams. Many books printed by James Adams have been preserved. Most of them were of a religious character. The mechanical quality of his work was good, comparing favorably with the work of other publishers of that day. In 1784 he published a history of Kentucky by John Filson. This author had been a resident of, and a school teacher at Wilmington. He went to Kentucky with Daniel Boone, and wrote the first history of that State, bringing his manuscript across the mountains on horseback to be published by his old friend and neighbor, James Adams. An earlier publication by James Adams was "The Citizen's and Countryman's Experienced Farrier," by "J. Markham, G. Jefferis, and Discreet Indians." This work was published in 1764, three years after the beginning of his Wilmington enterprise; it covers 360 pages, and was for years the leading authority among the "horse doctors" of the country. The authors were residents of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Adams printed an almanac annually He was a book-binder and book-seller. He printed many of the pamphlet laws of the State and the proceedings of the State Assembly. As already stated, his death occurred in 1793. He was buried in the graveyard adjoining the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington. He was spoken of as an exemplary Christian, who won and held the respect of the community in which he lived.
Samuel and John Adams continued the printing business, established by their father, for a year or two in Wilmington, and then moved the plant to New Castle, nearly opposite the Court House. Somewhere about 1800 the plant was moved to Baltimore, where, it is probable, the new owners had established a printing business previous to their father's death. There is evidence that they were so engaged in that city in 1789.
Next in order in the chronological development of the printing business in Wilmington appears the firm name of Jacob A. Killen & Co., composed, as far as known, of Jacob A. Killen alone. He was the son of William Killen, the first Chief Justice of Delaware under the constitution of 1776, and the first Chancellor under the constitution of 1792. Jacob A. Killen was born near Dover, and presumably learned the printers' art with James Adams at Wilmington. He established himself in the latter city as early as 1784, and began in that year the publication of the proceedings of the State Assembly. He was located "on Market street nearly opposite the postoffice," and later "on Market street west side, above Second street."
James Wilson started a newspaper called “Mirror of the Times," in Wilmington in 1799. This paper was a novelty at that time. It was printed on pure white paper, made at the mill of Thomas Gilpin on the Brandywine. Gilpin was one of the early American paper-makers. He was the inventor of a continuous-web paper machine, a necessary antecedent of the modern newspaper press, and had recently discovered the art of bleaching paper-pulp to a pure white. In the use of this “pure white paper," Wilson anticipated the use of fine paper in the high-class publications of to-day. The name of Wilson's paper was changed to "The American Watchman" in 1809, and shortly afterward was merged with "The Patriot." Then came Peter Brynberg and Samuel Andrews. Brynberg, a scion of the Swedish Colonial stock, was publishing "The Christian Repository" at Fourth and Shipley streets in 1803; later he was one of the projectors of the Delaware State Journal, one of the first newspapers to attain a permanent place and influence in State affairs. The "Federal Ark" also appeared in 1803 with Jacob A. Killen as publisher. "The Museum of Delaware," Joseph Jones, publisher, appeared in 1804, and continued for six years. The firm of Bonsai & Niles started in the printing business in Wilmington about 1800, but removed to Baltimore a few years afterward.
"The Dawn," a small semi-monthly magazine, "containing original and selected essays, anecdotes, etc., devoted largely to the instruction and amusement of the rising generation," was published by Lewis Wilson, a son of James Wilson, in 1822. It was printed at the Watchman office, and only twelve numbers appeared. "The Monitor and Wilmington Repository," edited by William C. Smyth, appeared in 1801, but continued only a short while. "The Delaware Free Press" was published one year, in 1830, by Henry Wilson, son of James Wilson. Peter Brynberg was succeeded by his kinsman, Robert Porter, and later Peter Brynberg retired and was succeeded by John B. Porter, son of Robert Porter. In this same line of succession came the printing firms of Porter & Naff and Porter & Eckel. All the early printing firms of Delaware were job and book printers and publishers, with a natural inclination toward book-selling as a distinct avocation.
The newspaper as a phantasy, a dream, was persistent. Few printers escaped it. James Adams, the pioneer printer and editor of Delaware, Jacob A. Killen, the founder of the “Delaware Gazette," James Wilson, one of the very early Delaware newspaper men, and John B. Porter, were booksellers. Craig, Porter and Wilson were represented by book-stores on Market street, Wilmington, up to a comparatively recent date. Edwin A. Wilson, son of James Wilson, was a partner with the late Joshua T. Heald. Of the early printers and booksellers named here, James Adams, James Wilson, Jacob A. Killen, Frederick Craig, Peter Brynberg, Henry H. J. Naff and Henry Eckel, were editors. The book and newspaper business in Delaware are akin, having a common origin and development.
The first Delaware newspaper to attain and hold a permanent position and influence was "The Delaware Gazette." The first number of the Gazette was issued by Jacob A. Killen in 1785. The paper continued in weekly, semi-weekly and daily issues until 1882. It has been claimed that Jacob Craig was the founder of the "Delaware Gazette." This is undoubtedly a mistake; the "Gazette" was founded by Jacob A. Killen in the year 1785. The writer has seen a copy of the "Gazette" dated April 12, 1786, being No. 44, which bears the imprint of Jacob A. Killen. How long Killen continued to publish it is not known.
In 1789 it was published by Frederick Craig & Co., and the announcement is made that it then appeared on Wednesday and Saturday of each week. In 1796 and 1797 the “Gazette" was printed by William C. Smyth, in "the rear of the Fire Engine House, Shipley street, opposite Capt. O'Flynn's tavern." From Smyth the ownership passed to John Vaughan and D. Coleman, who continued as publishers until September 9, 1799, when they announced that they had disposed of the paper to James Wilson. This is Wilson's first entry into Wilmington journalism. He seems to have combined the “Gazette" with a new publication for a while, as on November 20, 1799, James Wilson issued the first number of a new paper called "Mirror of the Times and General Advertiser." Later the "Delaware Gazette" passed into the control of Joseph Jones who published it from 1809 to 1814, when he sold the plant to Moses Bradford, and the latter was editor and proprietor until 1820. Samuel Harker was the next owner, and while under his control, in December, 1828, "The Patriot," a campaign paper published in the interest of the Jackson presidential candidacy, and “The American Watchman," the latter the successor of James Wilson's “Mirror of the Times," were absorbed by the “Gazette." The combined publication was continued under the title of "Delaware Gazette and American Watchman." Major Harker sold the paper to his brother, J. Newton Harker, who, in 1854 sold it to D. A. J. Upham. Two years later, in 1836, Mr. Upham relinquished the ownership of the paper to John C. Klonegar, retaining the editorship, and two years later Klonegar was succeeded by J. Newton Harker.
Upham, retiring permanently from connection with the paper, removed to Wisconsin, was elected Mayor of Milwaukee, and later Governor of the State. In 1842 Henry Bosee, formerly editor of the "Cecil Gazette," Elkton, Maryland, bought a half interest in the “Delaware Gazette," from J. Newton Harker, and it was published thereafter under the firm name of Harker & Bosee. January 1, 1843, Harker retired and was succeeded by Caleb P. Johnson, and the firm name changed to Bosee & Johnson. Just one year later, January, 1844, Bosee retired and was succeeded by J. Newton Harker, the firm name becoming Harker & Johnson.
Another year passed, and in 1845 Harker again retires, and Bosee resumes his connection with the "Gazette," the firm name becoming Johnson & Bosee. In 1846, Bosee again sells to Harker. The firm name is then Harker & Johnson. By this change, William Huffington, afterward Mayor of Wilmington, became editor of the paper. In 1847 J. Newton Harker retired permanently from the ownership of the paper, and was succeeded by William Penn Chandler. The firm then was Johnson & Chandler; the first named was publisher and the later editor. This firm continued for six years. At its dissolution, in 1858, Caleb P. Johnson became sole owner of the plant, to continue that relation for nearly thirty years, and a continued connection as publisher, owner and editor, of forty years, ending with the sale of the plant in 1882. The "Delaware Gazette," when Caleb P. Johnson retired, had been in continuous existence for ninety-seven years; a weekly publication from 1785 to about 1820, when it became a semiweekly, and a daily paper in 1872.
Caleb Parker Johnson, who by his long and successful career as publisher and editor became the dean of the newspaper fraternity of Delaware, was born at Elkton, Cecil County, Maryland, February 14, 1820. His family was of English origin. His grandfather, John Johnson, came to this country prior to the Revolutionary war, and settled near Darby, Pennsylvania. He served as a cavalry soldier in the patriot army. After the war he removed to Elk landing, at the head of Elk river in Maryland, and conducted the grain shipping business for Tobias Rudolph. John Johnson, son of this Revolutionary soldier, was the father of Caleb P. Johnson. He too served in the American army as a soldier, during the War of 1812. Caleb P. Johnson's school privileges were very limited, not only because of the character of the common schools of that day, but because of the early age at which he began his lifework.
He was an apprentice at the printer's trade at twelve years of age; first with Richard P. Bailey, in the office of the Cecil Republican; then with Lambert Wilmer and George W. Veasey, publishers of the "Central Courant," and later with Henry Bosee, in the office of the "Cecil Gazette." The first five years of his life after attaining his majority were spent in the printing offices of Philadelphia, New York and Washington. During the year 1842 he was employed in Philadelphia, and while there, in November, 1842, Henry Bosee, with whom he had been an apprentice, induced him to purchase a half interest in the "Delaware Gazette."
From the beginning of his connection with the paper it was what Caleb P. Johnson made it - the most forceful and influential Democratic newspaper in the State. Its publication office became the headquarters of that party, and the editor the custodian of all its secrets and records. With the public, under his management, the "Wilmington Gazette," was known as "the Democratic Bible." This influential Democratic editor had apparently no personal political ambition. Although frequently urged to become a candidate for Congress, and for Governor of the State, he always declined. In 1868 President Johnson appointed him United States Marshal for the district of Delaware, an office which he resigned after about one year's service. Financially he was successful, amassed a fortune, and lived to a ripe old age to enjoy it, highly respected and esteemed by the community in which he lived. He died at his home in Wilmington, on March 8, 1904, having just completed his eighty-fourth year.
"The Delaware State Journal," the leading Whig and Republican newspaper of Delaware until the advent of the modern daily papers at the close of the Civil war, was started in 1831, by Peter Brynberg and Robert Porter, under the firm name of Brynberg and Porter. Moses Bradford, father of the late Judge Edward G. Bradford, of the United States District Court, and the grandfather of Judge Edward G. Bradford, Jr., the present incumbent of that office, was the first editor of the "State Journal." A year or two after the beginning of the enterprise, Peter Brynberg retired from ownership in the paper and was succeeded by John B. Porter, son of the remaining partner, the firm name being Robert Porter & Son.
After three or four years' service as editor, Moses Bradford retired and was succeeded, 1833-34, by William P. Brobson, a lawyer and a forceful writer. Robert Porter died in 1836. He was succeeded in the ownership of the paper by Henry H. J. Naff, and the firm name was changed to Porter & Naff. Mr. Naff continued with the paper, as editor, until about 1849, when he resigned, having been appointed postmaster at Wilmington at the solicitation of John M. Clayton, Secretary of State in President Taylor's cabinet. His successor was Henry Eckel. The firm name then became Porter & Eckel, with Joseph M. Barr, who, in 1866, was appointed postmaster at Wilmington by President Andrew Johnson, as editor.
The new arrangement continued but a short time - a few months - when John B. Porter sold his interest to John A. Alderdice. Barr retired and Alderdice, afterwards Mayor of Wilmington, assumed the editorship, assisted by Leonard E. Wales, a lawyer, who became an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the State, and later Judge of the United States District Court of Delaware. On the retirement of John B. Porter the firm name became Eckel & Co. Alderdice retired in about two years, selling his interest to Dr. James F. Wilson, a son of the founder of "The Mirror of the Times," and afterwards changed to "The American Watchman."
In 1855 Henry Eckel bought of Dr. J. H. Heyward, who was then Mayor of Wilmington, a paper called "The Statesman," which had been merged with "The Blue Hen's Chicken." "The Statesman" was united with the State Journal, the title being changed to "The Delaware State Journal and Statesman." Joshua T. Heald, afterwards the Republican candidate for member of Congress, was then associated with Dr. Wilson and Henry Eckel in the publication. Heald retired, and in 1862 Wilson sold his interest to Eckel, who for ten years was sole owner and editor of "The Journal and Statesman." The publication office of the Journal was, for many years prior to 1869, at the southeast corner of Market and Fifth streets. In 1869 the Journal and Statesman plant was moved to No. 510 Market street, adjoining the City Hall, a building that became known as The Journal Building. In May, 1872, the paper was sold to Croasdale & Cameron, editors of "Every Evening."
Henry Eckel was born in Philadelphia, December 30, 1816. His parents were Germans. His school days ended at the age of thirteen, when he began his career as a printer and publisher, as a "printer's devil" in a Philadelphia office. He removed to Wilmington in 1848, and was at once interested in newspaper publication, as a member of the firm of Porter & Eckel, publishers of the Delaware State Journal. Self-educated in the school of practice, the dominant traits of Henry Eckel's character were those of self-reliance, faith in the dictum of his own judgment, and a consequent tenacity in adhering to his own opinion. He was a Presbyterian in religion, a Whig in politics—a conservative. His active life included the period of the anti-slavery agitation and the Civil War. As a Republican of Whig origin, he was an ardent Unionist during the war, but was never entirely free from the conservatism of the old-line Whigs, finally joining many of his former political colleagues in the Democratic party a few years before the absorption of "The Journal and Statesman" by the “Every Evening." The only public offices held by Henry Eckel was membership in the Board of Health and Board of Public Education, in both of which he served faithfully and acceptably.
The "Delaware Republican," under the control of George W. Vernon, for many years the rival and competitor of the "Delaware Gazette," stands next to that newspaper in point of age, continuance under one control, and in journalistic influence and power. Caleb P. Johnson's ownership interest in the "Gazette" began in 1843. He became sole owner in 1853. George W. Vernon's ownership in the "Delaware Republican" began in 1845. He became sole owner in 1854 and thus for quite half a century these two men and papers worked along parallel paths.
The original of the "Delaware Republican" was the "Delaware Sentinel," an anti-Clayton Whig paper, started in Wilmington in 1840, with William Naudain as editor. In less than a year it was financially embarrassed, and those interested in it, led by Dr. James W. Thompson, took it in charge and changed the name to “The Delaware Democrat." Shortly afterward the paper was sold to Henry H. Cannon, of Georgetown, Delaware, who a year previous had published a paper called "The Republican." The two papers were then merged in one under the name, “Delaware Republican," published at Wilmington, beginning about 1841. John H. Barr became a part owner with Cannon, but shortly sold his interest to William T. Jeandell and William S. Miles, both printers. The firm name was Cannon & Co. In 1842-43 Cannon sold his interest to John A. Alderdice, and the firm became Alderdice, Jeandell & Miles, but the partners could not agree, and litigation followed, the outcome being that the court appointed a party to take charge of the property.
It was finally sold, the entire interest, to Henry S. Evans, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, who commissioned his brother, Columbus P. Evans, manager; and he shortly afterward, in February, 1845, took into partnership George W. Vernon. The firm was Evans & Vernon. It continued for nine years. Evans died in 1853, and Vernon became sole owner, and so continued until the admission of his sons, W. Scott Vernon, George F. Vernon and Howard E. Vernon, as partners in the firm of George W. Vernon & Sons. The firm was incorporated in 1877 under the name of "The Republican Printing and Publishing Company." The daily issue of the "Republican" dates from 1874.
George W. Vernon was born in West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania, November 20, 1820. He learned the printer's trade in the office of the West Chester "Village Record" with Henry S. Evans, whose purchase of “The Delaware Republican" in 1844 opened the way for him as future owner and editor of that paper. With George W. Vernon as fellow apprentices in the "Village Record" office, were Bayard Taylor, Judge William Butler, Edward Paxton and Columbus P. Evans, all of whom became men of repute and influence in their chosen callings, one of them. Bayard Taylor, achieving a world-wide reputation in literature. Under the management of George W. Vernon, the "Delaware Republican, “continuously Whig and Republican in politics, became as widely known and as influential in the State as did its Democratic competitor, "The Delaware Gazette."
With its political sympathizers it became a household necessity and but few of the older families of the State and particularly of New Castle County and Wilmington City, were not patrons of the paper. Always earnestly loyal to the political party of his choice, George W. Vernon was never an extreme radical partisan. Without any apparent remarkable gifts, except possibly that of almost infinite patience, his success was the fruit of continuous and unvarying application to the work in hand. In this way he made his paper, with a very large number of its patrons, an authority of last resort. What other papers, apparently more vigorous and pretentious, said, was by these folk held to lack some essential element until it was verified by the Republican. Its dictum was authoritative. Mr. Vernon was a Methodist in religion. He was twice married. He died at Wilmington, July 29, 1901.
At the death of George W. Vernon, the conduct of the Delaware Republican devolved upon his sons, who had been associated with him in the Republican Printing and Publishing Company. They could not agree. The rivalry between them over the control of the property created dissension, and finally the practical dissolution of the original company. On November 25, 1905, the "Daily Republican" was merged with the "Evening Journal" and as a separate publication it ceased from that date. Coincident with the appearance of the papers noted as having attained a permanent hold upon public support, were a number of newspaper enterprises devoted to some particular movement of the times, the lives of which were short, waning with the subsidence of the movement that gave them breath, or the exhaustion of the means of their originations. “The Standard," a temperance paper, owned and published by Dr. Henry Gibbons, appeared about 1840 and continued for several years. During the exciting political campaign of 1840 also appeared a number of papers of a strictly political character. Among these were "The Democrat," “Delaware Blue,” “Locofoco" and "Porcupine." They disappeared after a brief existence, leaving no apparent mark upon the history of the press of the State.
The "Blue Hen's Chicken" appeared in 1845. It was a more vigorous enterprise and attained considerable success. Its projectors were William T. Jeandell and Francis Vincent. Jeandell had been associated with William S. Miles, five years previous, in the ownership and publication of the “Delaware Republican." He retired from this new venture in about three months. Francis Vincent had learned the trade of printer in the office of the Delaware Gazette. He was now sole owner of a newspaper and destined to become a unique and important figure in local newspaperdom, and later in local literature and politics.
Physically he was a unique figure. Of good stature, round-faced and extremely corpulent, his bald head seemed to grow immediately out of his shoulders with a backward inclination; being very near-sighted he wore spectacles which he invariably pushed to the top of his head; at such times he would push his head forward, putting on his face an expression at once vacant and expectant. His voice was effeminate, his motion quick. He was a man of large general information and considerable literary ability.
Among all his local newspaper contemporaries he alone appeared to anticipate the necessity of localizing the attention and force of the local newspaper. He made that the distinctive character of "The Blue Hen's Chicken." It was, for that day, intensely local in news and editorial comment, and because of that is remembered as holding a unique place in the development of local newspapers. The paper continued for about nine years as a separate publication. Mr. Vincent sold it to Dr. Heyward, owner and publisher of “The Statesman," who united it with that paper. Heyward's venture failed, and within a year he sold his interest to Henry Eckel, then owner and editor of the Delaware State Journal.
Francis Vincent's paper, ''The Blue Hen's Chicken," was destined to a brief revival. Shortly after the absorption of the "Blue Hen's Chicken" by the "Journal and Statesman," Dr. White and Dr. Stradley started a paper called the "Democrat." Dr. White soon retired and was succeeded by Mr. Wharton, of Dover. Under Wharton and Stradley the paper became independent in politics. Then Wharton retired and was succeeded by William T. Jeandell, who had been Vincent's partner in the “Blue Hen's Chicken." The name of the paper was then changed to ''The Commonwealth." Its publication office was at the northwest corner of Fifth and Market streets. Joseph M. Barr bought the paper from Jeandell and Stradley, and later, in 1861, sold it to Francis Vincent, who restored the name of "Blue Hen's Chicken." Vincent disposed of it, and it came into the possession of Allen and Biddle, who discontinued the publication.
With this second failure of his newspaper ventures, Vincent's connection with the press ceased. He then turned his attention to literary work, and projected a History of Delaware. His fitness for this task was generally admitted, and the appearance of the book was the subject of some pleasant anticipations that were doomed to disappointment. But one volume was issued, appearing in numbers. In 1868 Vincent wrote an essay, for the Cobden Club of London, England, advocating an Anglo-Saxon Confederation. This work gained for the author a wide and generally commendable notoriety. He was elected to honorary membership in the Club in 1874. He was Alderman at Wilmington from 1864 to 1869, and treasurer of the city from 1873 to 1879.
Francis Vincent was born in England and came to this country in early youth, and shortly afterward located at Wilmington, where, as already noted, he learned the printer's trade. He was a Republican in politics. His death occurred on June 23, 1884. His widow and children are still living in Wilmington.
The "Temperance Herald," George Washington Lowe editor and proprietor, appeared about 1840. It was published in Wilmington. It, too, was short-lived. "The Delawarean" was started by J. Newton Harker, a former partner in the "Delaware Gazette," with the plant of the Temperance Herald, which he had purchased from Lowe. Within two years Harker sold out to Augustine Maille. The latter failed, and the plant was sold at sheriff's sale. H. H. J. Naff, formerly editor of the "State Journal," was the purchaser. The next venture with this plant was projected by Daniel Hulley, in the publication of the "Patriotic Politician," at the southeast corner of Sixth and Shipley streets, but it, too, was short-lived.
The “Delaware Inquirer," a Douglas Democratic organ, was started in Wilmington by James Montgomery in 1860. Its publication office was on the west side of Market street near Fourth street. After the political campaign which ended in the defeat of Stephen A. Douglas, and the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, the “Inquirer" became ardently Republican in its politics. The assassination of President Lincoln and the political apostasy of Andrew Johnson after his succession to the Presidency, aroused the most bitter partisanship in James Montgomery: the failure of the effort to impeach President Johnson was to him the most bitter political disappointment of his life.
The writer remembers an occasion when Montgomery, seated between his two sons, then mere lads, and surrounded by a number of his political and personal friends, put his arms affectionately around the boys, he swore that if it were not for leaving them fatherless, he would go to Washington and kill the President, without regard to consequences to himself. Montgomery continued to publish the "Inquirer" until the close of the Civil War, when the paper passed into the control of James B. Riggs, who shortly afterward failed and the plant passed into the possession of Caleb P. Johnson, of the "Delaware Gazette."
The many failures and the few successes recorded in this record of Wilmington newspaper development, indicate that the State has ever been a difficult field in which to establish a local press. This is due more to its geographical position than to any hindering cause. Lying between the great states of the North and South, and on the great mail route between them, the great daily papers of both sections being as easily available to local readers as local papers can be, the competition thus established has been almost prohibitory. The great demand for daily newspapers in this country was a product of Civil War times. The great journals of the country are a post-bellum growth. Their newsfield is the world.
It is due to the growth of the City of Wilmington since the Civil War, the multiplication and concentration of important local interests, in business, social life, and in politics, with the incidental happenings inseparable from large complex populations, that a successful daily local press has become possible. Under previous conditions, the failure of all ante-bellum efforts at establishing a daily newspaper in Delaware was foreordained. The first effort of this kind was made in Wilmington in 1856, by Henry L. Bonsall, who, until a few years ago, was principal of the public schools of Camden, New Jersey. His paper was called “The Daily Enterprise." It failed to win support, and of course was discontinued. Ten years later, in 1866, the first successful daily newspaper, "The Daily Commercial," appeared in Wilmington.
The subscription list upon which the "Daily Commercial" enterprise was based, was started in 1866 by a Mr. Tyler. Before his arrangements were entirely completed, Howard M. Jenkins and Wilmer Atkinson, young Pennsylvanians, purchased Tyler's interest and started the paper, Jenkins as editor and Atkinson as publisher. They made a bright, vigorous local newspaper that won the respect and support of the community. It was Republican in politics, and appeared destined for a long and useful career. For five years it had no competitor in the local field. Its publication office was at the southwest corner of Fifth and Market streets. It was sold at two cents a copy.
The naturally existing difficult circumstances to be overcome by the projectors of this enterprise have already been noted; and, probably these general hindrances, more than any other, contributed to its ultimate failure. One other hindrance may be expressed in what appears to be a paradoxical statement: the paper was, possibly, too good, too respectable. It catered to the exclusive rather than to all classes. Another thought in this connection. Politically ambitious editors and publishers have rarely, if ever, been successful in Delaware. Right or wrong in their judgment, Delawareans generally decline to confer eminent political preferment upon emigrant citizens. This fact may have something to do with the discontinuance of the "Daily Commercial."
The editor, Mr. Jenkins, came to be regarded as having political ambitions, and in 1876 was the Republican candidate for the State House of Representatives from Wilmington. His defeat followed, and the serious dissensions then existing in the Republican party of the State, together with various other causes, proved discouraging, and the "Commercial" lost rather than gained ground. In April, 1877, the "Daily Commercial" was sold to the Every Evening Publishing Company, and was merged into the Every Evening under the title of "Every Evening and Daily Commercial." Mr. Jenkins removed to Philadelphia, and became editor of “The American," and subsequently of “The Friends' Intelligencer," a religious paper under the control of the Society of Friends. Mr. Jenkins will always be remembered as a man of marked ability, and he earned an honored place in the newspaper world. His death occurred in 1903.
The decade between 1867 and 1877 must be regarded as a revolutionary period in the history of the local press. During that period all the established weekly papers in Wilmington began the issue of daily editions. Three new enterprises, "The Daily Commercial," “Every Evening" and “The Morning Herald," from which the existing daily press has been developed, were started; “The Daily Commercial," as has been noted, to be merged into "Every Evening" and “The Morning Herald" to become "The Morning News."
The first issue of the “Every Evening" appeared in 1871. The projectors of this enterprise were William T. Croasdale and Gilbert G. Cameron, the first named as editor and the latter as publisher. Croasdale had edited a weekly paper at Georgetown, Delaware. Cameron was a practical printer, having learned his trade in the "Delaware Republican" office. The original office of the paper was at No. 4 East Third street. It included but two rooms, an editorial sanctum and a composing room. The press work was done at the job printing office of James & Webb. Croasdale's editorial experience had given him the key to the local press problem. He put the price of his paper at one cent a copy and began at once to establish intimate and confidential relations with the masses of the people; and aside from its vigorous editorial utterances upon topics of public interest, the columns of the paper were open to the people in a spirit that was at once liberal and sympathetic. The appearance of the paper was opportune.
"Every Evening" soon became the leading newspaper of the State with a larger circulation than any of its competitors. In the second year of its history the firm was incorporated under the name of Every Evening Publishing Company. The new company bought of Henry Eckel the plant of the “Delaware State Journal and Statesman" and removed the publication office to the Journal Building, adjoining the City Hall on Market street. In 1873 “Every Evening" absorbed the "Delaware State Journal” and in 1877 the "Daily Commercial." The publication office was then removed to the office occupied by the "Commercial" at Fifth and Market streets. The Every Evening Building was erected in 1882. In the same year Mr. Croasdale retired, to become successively the editor of The Day, at Baltimore, Maryland, The New York Star, New York City, and The Standard, Henry George's labor paper, also of New York City. He was succeeded by Edward N. Vallandigham, who afterward joined the staff of the New York Mail and Express; he was succeeded by George W. Humphreys, and he by the present editor, Merris Taylor.
“The Morning Herald," the first morning daily paper published in the State, was the successor of “The Advertiser," established by George Chance in connection with his job printing office. The paper became a daily and its name was changed under the direction of John O'Byrne, a member of the Philadelphia bar, of whom it was alleged that he acquired a Delaware residence to forward political ambitions looking toward United States Senatorial honors. The paper was published under the firm name of George O'Byrne and Company; the firm included three sons of John O'Byrne and his sister, Miss Catherine O'Byrne. The first daily addition appeared in 1876. It started out well, was ably edited, but its editorial ability was handicapped by lack of good financial management, the latter involving difficulties to which it quickly succumbed. In 1880 the "Herald" passed into the control of John H. Emerson, a pioneer newspaper man of the Peninsula, who formed a partnership with Henry C. Conrad, a member of the New Castle County bar, under the firm name of Emerson and Conrad. The name was changed to "The Morning News." A few months later Mr. Emerson retired, and was succeeded by Isaac R. Pennypacker, the firm name becoming Conrad and Pennypacker.
In 1882 the interest of Conrad and Pennypacker was sold to The Morning News Publishing Company, and it passed into the editorial control of Watson R. Sperry, formerly a member of the editorial staff of the "New York Evening Post." Associated with Mr. Sperry as business manager of "The Morning News" was Edgar M. Hoopes, a native of Ohio and an experienced newspaper man. The new management moved the publication office to the present Morning News Building on Market street between Fifth and Sixth streets. The paper quickly attained a good clientage and a permanent place in local newspaperdom.
Republican in politics, it was regarded as the chief organ of that party in the State. Party dissensions, however, made its position a difficult one. Located in New Castle County, its normal party relation was that of an advocate of local political interests, and in this relation it opposed the party management in the campaign of 1882, causing a loss of considerable of its prestige. Changing its party attitude, the paper was again in opposition to the local party county interests in 1888. In 1892 President Harrison appointed Mr. Sperry United States consul at Teheran, Persia; he was removed by President Cleveland early in his second administration. Retaining his editorial relation with the News, Mr. Sperry remained in Europe for several years, and on his return resumed his place on the paper. The political situation was not any more to his liking on his return than it was before he went to Persia. The changes occurring in his absence had again put him out of touch and sympathy with his former associates and finding his position uncongenial, he retired from the “News" to become the editor of the "Hartford Courant" at Hartford, Connecticut. On the retirement of Mr. Sperry, William H. Hill, who had been the active editor of the “News" during the absence of Mr. Sperry in Europe, became editor-in-chief.
“The Morning News" plant is the most complete newspaper outfit in the State. It was the first to include a perfecting press, electric motors and typesetting machines. It is now the only morning daily newspaper in the State. "The Evening Journal," daily, was started in 1886 by Charles W. Edwards and Fred. Eden Bach, both of whom had been employed in "The Morning News" office. Later, The Evening Journal Publishing Company was incorporated, Mr. Bach became the editor, and Charles W. Edwards was the publisher.
“The Journal" was to be Republican in politics. The managers disagreed, and Mr. Bach retired. Under the Edwards regime the paper became Democratic in politics. Under that control it was also the subject of almost continuous litigation. The Edwards interests passing into other hands, a reorganization was effected, which brought "The Journal" under Republican control. George B. Hynson, who had been editor of the "Peninsular News and Advertiser," became editor of the paper. Mr. Hynson retired in 1904. In November, 1905, the paper passed again under new control, the new ownership including a controlling interest in "The Daily Republican," and the two papers were merged into one publication, Horace G. Knowles becoming the editor. "The Evening Journal" office is at Fourth and Shipley streets, in the Gawthorp Building, on the site of the historic Shipley House, erected by William Shipley, a Friend, who located in Wilmington in 1735.
"The Sun," a morning daily paper, was started in Wilmington in 1898, by Clement G. Congdon, formerly of the Philadelphia “Record." He bought the plant of a defunct job printing office, and established a publication office at No. 1005 East Sixth street. The Congdon management of the "Sun" continued for about one year, when the plant was sold at public sale. The purchaser turned the paper over to George W. Roberts, who, assuming editorial control of it, established a new plant at No. 623 Shipley street. "The Sun" continued as a daily publication until October, 1904, then, for a short time as a semi-weekly, issued on Sunday.