Washington County, Illinois
|Return to : Washington County|
Washington County, Illinois
1851 - 1863 ~ The First Newspaper in the County|
Washington County Herald
|Other Newspapers in the County|
Moudy's Democrat, Richview
|The People's Press|
Washington County Zetung
|List of newspapers is extracted from an article appearing in The Nashville News July 2, 1934|
|More Recent County Newspapers|
|The Nashville News||The Okawville Times|
Prior to 1851, no newspaper was published within the limits of Washington County. Residents were dependent upon the Missouri Republican and Shadrack Penn's Democrat, both of which were printed and issued from St. Louis. The news from the outside world came to them principally through these mediums. There was, however, prior to the time above mentioned, a paper called the Advocate and Banner printed at Bellevile in St. Clair county. It had, however, a comparatively small circulation in this region. In 1851, a few enterprising citizens, headed by Amos Watts, formed a joint stock company, with a capital stock of four hundred and fifty dollars, and purchased an office. The paper was called the New Era. First issue, April 1st, 1851.
They secured the services of P. W. Skinner, of Belleville, who was a practical printer, to take charge of the office, and attend to the mechanical part, while the editorial department was looked after by members of the joint stock company. The first issue of the New Era was in April, 1851. It was neutral in politics. Yet it reflected the opinions and views of each member of the company as his turn came to mount the editorial tripod, and if it was all shades of politics, it was owing entirely to the different views held by the parties engaged in editing it.. The management was very harmonious for a period of six months, but success financially did not crown the first efforts of establishing the press in Washington county. At the end of the time above mentioned, P. W. Skinner was retired from the mechanical department, and James T. Logan, another practical printer, substituted in his stead. The management was turned over to Amos Watts, George T. Hoke, and James T. Logan. The two first-named gentlemen were the creditors and responsible parties in the enterprise. It was understood that they would, to the best of their ability, manage it, and also give it financial aid, should the occasion require it: and if any stray profits came through the sanctum or any other avenues of the printing-office, they were at perfect liberty to pocket them. As the new board of management differed in their political views, Watts being a Democrat, Hoke a Whig, and Logan having no politics at all, it was arranged to continue the New Era on neutral grounds. This understanding was only partially adhered to, for when Watts furnished the editorials there was a slight Democrat coloring given to the articles that was apparent to even the casual observer, and when Hoke furnished the leaders, which was not so frequent as Watrts, the microscopic eye of the Jacksonian Democrat detected Whiggery at the bottom of it. The management of the paper, however, was in the main successful. Both editors were industrious, and both were thoroughly imbued with that kind of enterprise and activity that was necessary in that day to establish and keep affloat a newspaper. The business was not as remunerative as it should have been. The county was then sparsely settled, and the people had not yet been educated up to proper support of the press. Merchants and others depending for their trade and support upon the public, had not yet learned the importance of advertising. The income from the paper depended almost entirely upon the subscription lists which from various causes ere necessarily small and the payments frequently long deferred.
The partnership continued for nearly two years, at which time the subscription lists and good will, but not the material, were sold to Robert K. Flemming. He changed the name fom the New Era to the Nashville Monitor.
Mr. Flemming did not retain the management long, and the owners of the stock not wanting to see the publication stopped, gave the office in charge to M. L. McCord. The transfer to McCord was at first not understood to the complete -- the precise understanding being that as soon as McCord got the run of things, the acquaintance of patrons, &c., he was to have complete control and publish an "independent newspaper." But early in the spring of 1856, the political pot began to boil, and some of the stock-holders being strong partisans, came to McCord and told him that he must make the paper democratic. He being a whig, refused to comply with the request, and recited the agreement, but all to no effect. McCord left the concern, and Henry Johnson was called to take charge of the Monitor. He conducted it into the presidential campaign of 1856, and advocated the claims of Buchanan for the presidency, and from all we know, did good service as a party organ. Mr. Johnson held control until in 1858, when he retired, and Elijah M. Vance became manager. His career was brief and not particularly brilliant, He changed the name to the Nashville Democrat. Soon after Vance sold out his entire interests to O. P. Hoddy, and in the summer of 1860, he in turn sold ou to P. C. Graves, Sr. Mr. Graves changed the name to the Washington County Herald. In looking back over the files of the Herald we find that Graves' name is placed at the head as publisher, and C. E. Hammond as editor. The later name gentleman had had considerable experience previous to his venture here, in the newspaper business. He was one of the original founders of the Freeport Bulletin of Freeport, Illinois, which is now recognized as one of the leading daily newspapers in the northern part of the State. In the winter of 1862, Mr. Hammond sold out the Herald to M. M. Goodner. Soon after the change of proprietor was made, Mr. Goodner changed the name to the Jacksonian. The distinguishing feature of the paper about this time was its entirely partisan tone. It was the democratic organ of the county, and under the able management of its editor and proprietor it did valuable service to pointing out the way, and piloting the party to the haven of political success. In 1863, Mr. Goodner sold the press and materials to Francis M. Vernor. He changed the name to the Constitution. Amos Watts assumed control of the editorial department. The paper continued under the charge of the above name gentleman until 1864, when the subscription lists were sold to Messrs. Madden and Ogden -- the press, material, and fixtures still remaining the property of Vernor. The last name gentlemen were unsuccessful in the management of the Constitution, and soon after their purchase of the subscription lists the publication ceased entirely. About one year later, Mr. Vernor shipped the press and material to St. Louis and sold it to the type foundry, and thus after fifteen years of an extremely hazardous and precarious existence, the material that brought into life the New Era, Democrat, Monitor, Herald, Jacksonian, and Constitution was resolved back into the original crude state to reappear again in a brighter and improved form, and go forth and proclaim to the world the wonderful progress of the press in the latter days of the nineteenth century. Through all these years and different managements, the paper had for its firm friend, Ho, Amos Watts. He ever stood ready to act as its friend, to encourage it, and give it substantial aid, and but for his generous support and timely assistance the enterprise would have long before stranded on the shore of financial disaster. Mr Watts as a political writer is far above the average, and had he entered the journalistic field, and made it the business of his life, he would have achieved success equally as well as he has in the profession of law.
In the spring of 1856, Mr. M. L. McCord left the Nashville Monitor as stated in another column, and accepted the offer of the business men of Ashley to take charge of a neutral paper of that place. The first number of the Enquirer appeared early in June, 1856. Its publication commenced in the midst of the great political excitement occasioned by the great presidential contest of that year. This excitement proved too much for a neutral paper, and its publication had to be abandoned in the latter part of September of the same year.
Several other attempts were made by different parties at different times to establish a newspaper in the village of Ashley, and all were failures after a few months publication. This was the condition of the newspaper business until 1876, when the [See Ashley Gazette]
First, the Ashley Gazette, by Hosmer & Pace, established in 1857;
next, the Experiment, by Robert Fleming ;
the next, the Ashley Herald, by David Benton; and then came the present Ashley Gazette, by J. W. O'Bryant.
Ashley Gazette was established by A. W. O'Bryant. The first copy was issued on April 5th, 1876, and its publication has continued regularly ever since. Mr. O'Bryant is a practical printer and is both editor and proprietor. The Gazette is independent in politics. It is a seven column folio, and has a weekly circulation numbering five hundred subscriptions. It is devoted to the interests of Ashley and the surrounding country.
In 1862 the Republican party gained, to a certain extent, control of the local offices of Washington county. Up to the present time, and through the political campaign in the following fall, they were without an organ. It was thought necessary by the local party leaders to have a paper that would sustain their organization and reflect their political views, and at the same time meet and refute the arguments of the Jacksonian, the democratic organ. Accordingly in December, 1862, James Garvin, an enterprising citizen who was at that time sheriff of the county, in connection with C. F. Hartman, a practical printer, organized a stock company, and purchased a press and the material, and on the 23d of January, 1863, the first issue of the Journal made its appearance. Mr. Hartman was made both editor and proprietor. Under his management the paper thrived, and the success of the party in the county was increased. He continued as editor and proprietor until 1870, when he sold out to G. F. Kmball and F. M. Taylor. James B. Matlock was made manager and also local editor. Kimball and Taylor sold their interests to Matlock and J. B. Anderson. The latter firm continued until 1874, when C. F. Hartman, the original proprietor, purchased Anderson's interest. The firm of Matlock and Hartman continued until May, 1875, when Hartman sold his interest to Matlock. A few weeks later Matlock sold a half interest to C. D. Wassell. The firm of Matlock and Wassell continued until December, 1876, when Matlock sold his entire interest to Wassell. One month later, J. B. Wassell purchased a half interest, and the firm of Wassell Bros. was formed, which continues down to the present time. At the time that the Wassell Bros. assumed proprietorship, Dr. W. M. Pierce was appointed editor, and he still retains the position. The Journal under the present excellent management, is a lively, wide-awake newspaper. Its columns have always been used in the support of the Republican party, and as a political organ it exercises a power and influence that is potential in the county and district. The circulation of the Journal is nearly 1,000. Its columns are well filled with home advertisements, and altogether it is a reflex of the business prosperity of Nashville and surrounding country.
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|Excerpt from : Nashville Journal|
courtesy of Jo House
|Nashville Journal History Through 1933|
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|Excerpt from : Nashville Journal|
Front Page Box
courtesy of Jo House
As announced elsewhere in this week's paper The Journal has changed ownership and with this issue the new management assumes active publication.
We come into Nashville and Washington County with high hopes for the future, with the anticipation of years of worthwhile service to our community, county, state and nation -- honest, efficient and courageous service to you, our readers and neighbors.
It is our firm belief that economic conditions and their contributing factors are bringing about a decentralization of the American Press as a whole and the new sector of progress -- the frontier of journalism in the United States -- lies in the weekly newspaper. In short, we have a lot of confidence in the newspaper business as well as in ourself and in you.
During the early negotiations for The Journal, we considered most important its intangibles -- good will, prestige and reputation as a news-rendering agency. The fact that we found these factors present and foremost is fitting testimonial to H. J. and C. C. Schmidt's capable management of this paper over a combined period of half a century. America's great newspapermen once said: "A newspaper is after all nothing but a mirror of the public mind, with the difference that a clouded mirror may help to make a clouded mind." For which reason The Journal with this issue will become an INDEPENDENT PAPER!
This does not mean that the editor will be muzzled in expressing his views on public questions. Editorially we will take sides as in our opinion the occasion warrants, politically and otherwise. It does mean, however, that the news columns of The Journal will be ABSOLUTELY INDEPENDENT and non-partisan. Neither the fear of reprisal or the hope of reward will influence us in the presentation of the facts, fairly, frankly and truthfully. THIS includes ALL political parties; and our news columns will be open to all with full assurance that we will "Publish the news" and give proper publicity to all events in the county as the facts merit.
We have some ideas for the further development of The Journal, both editorially and from the business die. (The cash register must ring with regularity if any publisher is to run a self-respecting newspaper.)
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|71-Year-Old Journal Becomes Property of Jos. B. Campbell|
Newspaper in Control of One Family 47 Years
No Change in Staff
The Nashville Journal Friday passed from the ownership of H. J. & C.C. Schmidt to
Joseph B. Campbell who purchased the newspaper plant with building and everything
pertaining to the business. Mr. Campbell assumed the duties of editor and publisher
We, the retiring publishers, wish Mr. Campbell all possible success and bespeak for him the good will of readers and patrons, feeling sure that as journalist and business man he will serve them well.
The office force that has given years of faithful service to the paper will remain under the new regime and each member will be happy to wait on the clientele as heretofore.
The outgoing management, in disposing of its plant to Mr. Campbell, feels confident that he will carry on the business to the advantage of the city and the county and that the Journal will by his efforts be improved in every department. It is the new owner's desire to meet and make the acquaintance of the patrons. The welcome sign at the Journal will be out for them at all times.
Mr. Campbell is a native of Southern Illinois, being the only son of Hon. Bruce Campbell, prominent attorney of East St. Louis, who is well and favorably known here and throughout the state. The new publisher was educated in the East St. Louis schools and the University of Illinois where he studied journalism. He has previously worked on several state newspapers. Mr. Campbell's specialty in recent years has been the advertising field, being on the staff of the Williams and Cunningham large Chicago advertising agency for the past five years. Mr. Campbell's experience and facility in the advertising line should be of great benefit to the business men of the county. He is married and has one son, Bruce Campbell II, who is 4 years old.
Journal Founded in 1862
The Journal was founded in December 1862, by C. F. Hartman and James Garvin, two Republicans, and has been the party organ ever since that time. This partnership continued until 1870 when they sold the paper to G. F. Kimball and F. M. Taylor with James B. Matlack as Manager and editor. Mr. Matlack and J. B. Anderson purchased the business from Kimball and Taylor and continued the publication until 1874 when Mr. Hartman bought Mr. Anderson's interest. From '76 to '86 Mr. Matlack, his brother-in-law, J. B. Wassell and Joe Preston had interests in the paper and aided in editing the publication. These men have long since died, with the exception of Mr. Preston who resides in St. Louis. Among the editors of former days who are still remembered by the older residents are Dan Hay, Walter Way, Dr. Wm. Pierce, A. W. Tharp, and Mrs. H. J. Schmidt.
Emil Schmidt, who had come to Nashville from Chester, established the Illinois Volksblatt in 1876 jointly with Dr. H. D. Schmidt, who retired from the firm in 1884. About ten years later Emil Schmidt acquired a partnership in the Journal. H. J. Schmidt, eldest son of Emil Schmidt, had as a lad of 11 years begun as apprentice on the long defunct Washington County Zeitung, a German paper, but in '76 began work on the Volksblatt and when that paper was combined with the Journal was employed on both publications. He has therefore rounded out 61 years in the newspaper business in Nashville, a record few printers in the state can equal.
In 1890 Emil Schmidt disposed of the Journal and Volksblatt to H. J. Schmidt and J. B. Matlack and Mr. Matlack subsequently sold his share to W.W. Watts. The firm of Schmidt and Watts was dissolved by the death of the latter. In May 1900, H. J. Schmidt became sole proprietor of both papers and in 1922 took his daughter, Clara C. Schmidt, into partnership. In January 1929, the Volksblatt was combined with the Journal.
Last week completed 61 years of newspaper life for H.J. Schmidt, while the junior partner has been connected with the Journal for 24-1/2 years, first in the capacity of reporter and later as editor.
The Journal was at first housed in the Adams building on West Main street, above what is now Windler's restaurant and was later moved to the J. A. Watts building on East Court Street, where it remained until June 1929, at which time it was moved into the Wagenhals building on South Kaskaskia street, which had a year previously been purchased by the publishers.
Changes During 71 Years
During the seventy-one years there have been many changes and momentous events chronicled. The old ___ tell of the time when the ___ ___ ___ and the boys in blue of Oakdale, Richview, Nashville and Okawville rallied 'round the war and departed for the front; their ___ and the exchange of soldiers ___ ___ ___ peace, the bitter and noisy campaigns with their parades, torchlight processions and fervid oratory; the silent transformation of prairie and forest into fertile fields; the short but victorious Spanish- American war; the spectacular 1896 political fight; the rising new world power and a nation leaving the chrysalis of isolation; the entraining of boys in khaki for service overseas and later the assimilation of these recruits in peaceful pursuits; the era of reckless expenditure and inflated prosperity with its disheartening aftermath of four winters of depression.
In season and out of season, in days of strife and in piping times of peace, in prosperity and adversity, the Journal has faithfully recorded the county, state and national news -- above all it was devoted to the best interests of Washington county and its inhabitants. We appreciate that the Journal was always a welcome weekly visitor in their homes bringing them the many incidents of their neighborhood which naturally were greatly enhanced because they were happenings of relatives and friends.
Grateful for Generous Patronage
We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to the readers who through their patronage have made the success of the Journal possible: to the advertisers and customers of the job printing department. Our greatest debt we owe to the efficient and ever faithful corps of correspondents who have furnished the news of the county which would otherwise never have reached the eyes of the readers.
Although our official connection with the Journal is severed, we continue to regard it with affection and trust that under the ownership of Mr. Campbell it will become an ever greater factor in the advancement of the community and county.
H. J. & C. S. Schmidt
In the summer of 1866, the leading Democrats of Washington county formed a joint stock company for the purpose of purchasing materials and a press to publish a Democratic newspaper, the party being without an organ since the demise of the Constitution. A sufficient amount of stock was subscribed and the money paid in, and with it the press and materials were purchased in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and brought to Nashville, and soon after the publication of the People's Press was commenced. Amos Watts was the responsible man in the concern, and acted as manager and proprietor. Col. W. H. Redding, a lawyer by profession, was editor, and O. P. Hoddy, a practical printer, was placed in charge of the office as foreman. This arrangement continued about one year, when Col. Redding resigned his position as editor to accept a clerk-ship in one of the departments of Washington. While he had charge of the editorial columns he gave the paper a reputation as one of the leading country journals in Southern Illinois. He was not what might be termed a brilliant writer, but his editorials ere plain, pointed, and well written, and gave evidence of his thorough knowledge of the political issues of the day. After his retirement the duty of editing the paper fell to Amos Watts. About this time, O. P. Hoddy resigned the foremanship. J. D. Moudy succeeded him, and continued with the Press for about one year and a half, when Joseph B. Anderson became publisher and proprietor. He changed the name of the paper to Nashville Democrat. One year's trial satisfied the latter gentleman that there was no "royal road to wealth" with newspaper business in Washington county. He passed the management and proprietorship over to Peter W. Baker, who took charge as both editor and proprietor. Eight months afterward he became dissatisfied, and sold out to D. A. Burton and O. P. Hoddy. These gentlemen continued the publication for one year, when J. B. Anderson and S. C. Page purchased all the right, title, and interests of the stockholders, and then for the first time the paper became an individual enterprise. One year in the newspaper business fully satisfied these gentlemen, and on the 30th day of November, 1872, sold out the entire office to W. S. and C. M. Forman. The Forman Bros. were both young men, CV. M. also a practical printer, and both full of enterprise and industry. They put their shoulders to the newspaper wheel, and for the first time in the history of the Democratic press in Washington county, brought it up to a paying basis. They gave the Democrat a character and standing which it maintains to the present time. They continued the publication for four years, or until the 15th of November, 1876, when they sold it to J. J. Anderson, the present editor and proprietor. The Democrat is a seven column folio; it is a neat newspaper, and is edited with ability. It is the recognized organ of the party in Washington county. Its circulation is about one thousand. The Democrat like its neighbor the Journal enjoys the confidence of its constituents, and shares with it equally the patronage of the county. Its columns are well filled with home and foreign advertisements, and it bears every appearance of a healthy financial condition.
In 1856, Mr. M. L. McCord issued the first number of the above-named paper. Its publication continued until in March, 1858, when the press and material were moved to Centralia, Illinois.
In 1871, J. D. Moudy commenced the publication of a paper in Richview having the above-named title. It was intensely democratic in its tone, and was edited with considerable ability. The publication was continued until in 1872, when Moudy died, since which there has been no paper published in the above-named place.
In March, 1874, the Forman Bros. associated themselves with Dr. H. D. Schmidt, and started the Washington County Zetung, which was conducted by them under the firm name of H. D. Schmidt & Co. Dr. Schmidt editing the paper. In March, 1876, the Foreman Bros. sold their interests to a stock company which was organized, and Dr. H. D. Schmidt and Bro. assumed the management of it. In the following July the Schmidts retired from the paper, it passing into the hands of a new stock company, the Foreman Bros. managing, and Herman Rieken editing it. It continued under this management until February 1st, 1879, when the Zetung was sold to J. J. Anderson, who is now the sole proprietor and publisher of the Zetung and Democrat.
After the dissolution of the firm of H. D. Schmidt & Co., in August, 1876, H. D. Schmidt in connection with Emil Schmidt purchased the printing material and presses, and in August, 1876, issued the first number of the Volksblat. The publication has continued up to the present time. Both of the German papers are well edited, and typographically are both fine specimens of country journalism. Dr. H. D. Schmidt, formerly editor of the Zetung, and now of the Volksblat, is a writer of more than usual ability, and has given the latter journal reputation equal to any German paper in Southern Illinois. The same may be said of Herman Reigan of the Zetung.
The history of Washington county press has been briefly traced. It has been full of trials and obstacles, has witnessed a few failures, but is fairly representative of the business history of the county. The influences and character of the county papers have grown with material and intellectual growth of those they have represented. No calling or enterprise can show a better record nor number more enthusiastic or preserving workers.
At the present time Washington county supports five local papers. They are fairly up to the average of country newspapers in this great newspaper State of the Union. The gentlemen in charge of them as editors and proprietors are men of character and standing in the community, and to them are we indebted for many favors shown in the compilation of this history of the county, and for information furnished for the chapter, on the "Press" of the county.
This list of newspapers is extracted from an article appearing|
in the 75th Anniversary issue of The Nashville News :
FAMILY OPERATES NASHVILLE PAPER
One of Area's Newest
Schmitt Family Has Operated The Weekly News There Since 1934
Relatively new compared to some area weeklies, the Nashville News was established July 1, 1934 and is still under the original ownership. Ed Schmitt, the publisher, started the News. His wife is employed in the firm now, along with a son, Roger, his wife and his daughter, Mrs. Alf Meier. There are three other employees. One of them is Miss Alvina Brandhorst, a linotype operator, who has run typesetting machines since 1918. Serving this community of about 2700 persons, which is the county seat of Washington County, The Nashville News is published each Thursday. It averages about 12 pages per edition and has a circulation of 4940.
70th Year at Okawville
Paper Has Had Only Three Owners in Its 70 Years' History
The Times was founded in December 1893 by W. G. Frank, for many years president of the First National Bank here, and Jesse Gibbs, who also was an attorney, county superintendent of schools, and an author.
In 1926 the founders sold the Times to Grover Brinkman of Okawville who was one of the pioneers in news pictures for weekly papers.
During his editorship, the Times was voted one of the "50 best in the state," and at the time there were probably 50 more weeklies being published in Illinois than at present -- rising costs of production having taken a heavy toll of community journalism enterprises.
Brinkman is now a free-lance author - writer- photographer of international fame, with more than a dozen books published under various pen names.
Warren Stricker, the present publisher, acquired this community's newspaper in October, 1947. He had just returned from duty with the Merchant Marine, but had work part time for the Times since starting grade school.
While still a student, Stricker worked in newsphotography (including dark room work and later photo engraving), job printing, feeding cylinder press and so on.
One of the highlights of his part-time days, Stricker says, was on March 15, 1938, when he covered a tornado which ripped through Washington County. He was dismissed from high school (as a sophomore) for the day to photograph the tornado's destruction.
Life magazine early the next month devoted a half page to the picture of the twister taken the day before by Brinkman and also half page of pictures taken by Stricker of the storm's destruction.
Of this event the publisher says: "This was enough encouragement for a 16-year-old boy to consider journalism as a career."
In 1952 the Times (then a tabloid paper) was awarded first place for general excellence in Class A division of Illinois newspapers by the Illinois Press Association and has since received other awards.
Published here, the Times serves the west half of Washington County and reports news of interest from the entire county.
Its first issue was a four-page publication. Page size was 9" x 12" and about half the paper was devoted to advertisements. The present Times plant is a modern, air-conditioned shop, with two linotypes (one purchased from the Sentinel) and facilities for job printing, essential to a weekly newspaper.
The job department is built around the world's fastest automatic platen press, the Heidelberg. The plant is operated full time by Stricker and his wife, Virginia, and linotype operator William L. Hettenhausen, with Linda, Warren and Gary Stricker helping part time.
News gathering is supplemented by six correspondents.
As the Times observes its 70th anniversary this year, the community will be celebrating its 125th anniversary. The Okawville quasquicentennial will be celebrated Sept. 14 and 15 and already beards are sprouting and antique items are beginning to appear.
Okawville was originally known as Bridgeport but later, when a post office was sought, it was discovered that another town called Bridgeport already existed. The village was then named Okawville after the Okaw River (also Kaskaskia River) in 1856.
There are now about 100 citizens living across Plum Creek at the original site of Bridgeport, since nicknamed "Pinch."
1 1879 History of Washington County, Illinois
Brink, McDonough & Co.; Philadelphia; Corresponding Office, Edwardsville, ILL.; 1879
2 The Nashville News, Nashville, Illinois - 75th Anniversary, Wednesday, July 15, 2009
3 Centralia Sentinel, Centralia, Illinois, Sunday, May 26, 1963; courtesy of Jo House
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