THE FULTON JOURNAL
- Feeling that it was essential to the growth and prosperity of Fulton to have an organ to represent its interests, Judge James McCoy and John Phelps got together and determined favorable for the project. Accordingly, in the fall of 1853, they sent to st. Louis and purchased a press and a newspaper outfit. The press was shipped by a steamboat, but it was so late in the season when the boat started that her passage up the river was obstructed by ice, and she was obliged to put in at Rock Island, where the material for Fulton's future exponent was stored for the winter. When navigation opened in the spring, the press was brought up.
Not being printers, the projectors of this enterprise secured the services of a practical printer in the person of A.McFadden of Freeport, who came and took charge, organized the office and issued the first number in May, 1854. It was issued as the "Whiteside Investigator" and was the first paper published in the county. It was a very respectable sheet for that period. Messrs. McCoy & Phelps had erected a two story brick building for the use of the press, on the corner of Short and Union Streets. McFadden bought the paper from McCoy & Phelps, and subsequently took in G.A. Laighton as a partner. Later on, Laighton became sole owner, and changed the name to Fulton City "Advertiser". He improved the paper, and was assisted in the editorial department by Dr. C.A. Griswold and Messrs. Goot & Lewis. In 1856, the Advertiser advocated the election of James Buchanan for the Presidency, which changed its editorial staff. Subsequently Laighton became involved in debt and quit the country, leaving the paper in the hands of subordinates, and after a few issues it suspended.
In 1859 the press was leased to G.J. Booth and B.C. Galliday, and a paper was issued by them under the name of the "Weekly Courier", which was Republican in politics. In a few months Galliday withdrew and Booth had entire charge. In the spring of 1863 MR. Booth purchased the plant from Laighton, and changed the name to the Fulton Journal, which name has been continued to the present time. In 1866 Mr. Booth took his son into the office, and the paper was carried on under the name of G.J. Booth & Son.
In 1872, Mr. George Terwilliger purchased the establishment and became editor and proprietor. In the fall of the same year he sold a half interest to Dr. W.C. Snyder, who relieved Mr. Terwilliger of the business department.
In March 1876, Mr. Snyder purchased the entire interest, retaining Mr. Terwilliger as editor. Mr. Terwilliger withdrew in November 1876 and afterwards, Thomas J. Pickett Jr., leased the paper from Dr. Snyder. Subsequently, Mr. Pickett and J.C. Snyder purchased it. In 1878 W.R. Cobb bought out Pickett's interest. In 1880 it was purchased by the Sterling Gazette Company and J.C. Snyder retained as editor. In 1881, Fred K. Bastian, who was local editor of the Gazette, purchased the entire interest. In August of the same year, his brother A.W. came in as a partner, and the Journal has since been conducted jointly by them. During this year the Journal was changed to a seven-column folio semi-weekly paper. It was first published as a Democratic paper. In 1859 it was changed to a Republican paper and remained so until 1881 when it became an independent Democratic journal. It has a splendid job office and one of the best composition rooms in the country.
The journal is now in its 31st volume, with a large and increasing circulation. It is a bright newspaper, containing all the important news of the day, devoted to the interests of Fulton and the country, ably edited and one of the leading papers in the county. [From the Portrait & Biographical History of Whiteside County, 1885]
THE FULTON STAR was established by Rev. George W. perry, the first issue coming out Jan. 4, 1883. It is a neat, newsy, five-column quarto weekly journal, well conducted, with a circulation of about 500. It was established as a Republican paper. In March 1885 it became Prohibition sheet, accepting a proposition extended by this party to be their official organ for Whiteside County. It is the prospective organ of this party of this Senatorial District. Mr. Perry is a retired member of the Rock River Methodist Episcopal Conference. He has been a zealous advocate of prohibition for many years. On account of ill health Mr. Perry recently retired from the paper, and it is now owned and conducted by his sons, George T. and W.F. Perry. [From the Portrait & Biographical History of Whiteside County, 1885]
ROCK FALLS has been blessed with good, live local papers since the city was started. The first one was published by Cadwell & Tuttle, The Rock Falls Progress. Then Searle, of Morrison, started the Investigator, a free thinking, liberal paper. Then Searle and Thomas Hyde ran the Times for awhile. The Whiteside Times by A.J. Booth was a very newsy paper and had a large circulation. Two young men ran the Tribuen for a few months but it was not a success. About the same time one Foley, of Hahnaman, published a paper in the interest of Greenbackism. The present paper, the Rock Falls News, was started by Capt. William Parker fifteen years ago. A few years later he associated with him his son-in-law, C.l. Mentzer, and they have been running a good paper ever since. (From the Sterling Standard December, 1896)
THE STERLING BEOBACHTER
Lindsay Young - Challand Middle School, Sterling
"Good news travels fast," and from 1878 until 1912, a German-language newspaper in Sterling, Illinois, carried good, and sometimes bad news, to the German population in northwestern Illinois. The Sterling Beobachter (Observer) became an important communication link, not only among German immigrants who settled in Whiteside and surrounding counties, but also with families and friends throughout the U.S. and Europe. By 1870 the foreign-born population of Illinois numbered 515,198. Of these, 203,000 were German immigrants, and 8,890 were Swiss of Germanic descent. In 1877 the estimated population of Sterling was 7,500. Although the exact number of local German citizens in Sterling township at the time is not known, there were enough to form a German Catholic church and school, a German Lutheran church, and an Evangelical church. The nearby townships of Jordan, Hopkins, and Geneseo also had German churches.
Old World customs and traditions were also established in the community. A popular group called the Germania Mannerchor was organized in 1869. By 1877 this group had its own building equipped with a stage. The membership of the Mannerchor was then more than one hundred, composed of many of the best German citizens of Sterling. There was also a group known as the Sterling Turnverein. In 1873 this organization was established as an athletic or gymnastic club. With a membership of more than eighty in 1877, this group also consisted of people of German descent. Newspapers were of great importance in the 1870s, because they advertised goods and services and shared community news from Dixon in the east to the Mississippi River in the west. Two Sterling newspapers at the time included the Sterling Standard and the Sterling Gazette. With support of the German population, the Sterling Beobachter was established on February 9, 1878. Carl Strack, a well-known resident of the area, was the first publisher of this newspaper. The Sterling Beobachter was proudly advertised in a city directory as the only German newspaper published in Whiteside County and five adjoining counties.
The Sterling Beobachter was an eight-page weekly published each Friday. Politically, it was a Democrat newspaper with a wide local circulation. It was often sent to other parts of the United States and to Germany, where many relatives of local citizens lived. A yearly subscription to this paper cost $2 in Sterling and $2.50 for those living in Germany. There are no issues of the Sterling Beobachter known to exist today. The paper contained world and local news as well as notices of church, organizational, and social events of particular interest to German subscribers.
Advertising was an important function of this newspaper. A city directory described the paper as "a valuable advertising medium, both for the German and English-speaking merchants and manufacturers." This sort of information was a valuable resource to those new to the area in search of work, entertainment, and various products. Carl Strack published the paper for four years, selling it to Henry Mathey in 1881. Two years later it was purchased by Louis Oltmanns. Oltmanns was born in Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1865. When he came to Sterling, he worked in a dry good store until he decided to shift to newspaper work. Under the guidance of Louis Oltmanns, the Sterling Beobachter was published for thirty-four years. In 1912 the newspaper was sold to the Clinton Anzeiger. Louis Oltmanns died on November 6, 1912, just six months after he sold the paper.
Immigrants who settled in northwestern Illinois communicated in their native languages at church, civic, and everyday functions. As a German language newspaper, the Sterling Beobachter, provided the German population with the keys to unlock the door to goods, services, and work opportunities in the area. Maybe someday a copy of this historic, ethnic newspaper will be found in an attic, or in an old trunk, providing the community of Sterling with a valuable historical artifact from the past.-[From Charles Bent and Robert L. Wilson, History of Whiteside County; W. W. Davis, History of Whiteside County, Vol. 1; Holland's Sterling and Rock Falls Directory 1875-1876; Sterling and Rock Falls, Illinois, Illustrated; "Germans Form a Turnverein," Sterling Daily Gazette Centennial Edition, June 1934; "L. Oltmanns is Dead," Sterling Evening Gazette, Nov. 6, 1912; "Churches of the Twin Cities," Sterling Daily Standard, Illustrated, Sept. 20, 1910; Theodore Calvin Pease, The Story of Illinois; 'The Sterling Beobachter," [The Sterling Standard, Illustrated, Dec. 17, 1897.]
THE STERLING BEOBACHTER as the only newspaper published in the German language in Whiteside or any of the adjacent counties,enjoys a liberal patronage and an excellent circulation. It was established February 9, 1878 by Karl Strack, a former wellknown resident, who was succeeded a little later by Henry Mathey. Louis Oltmanns, the present able editor, formerly city treasurer, purchased Beobachter on February 1, 1883 and has continued the management since then. It is a nine column folio, Democratic in politics and appears every Friday. Allt he Sterling papers have job offices, and there is also a small job printing plant known as the Gem Printing House, Charles T. Mack proprietor.(From the Sterling Standard 1897)
THE WHITESIDE CHRONICLE was established by Theodore H. and Charles M. Mack, in the spring of 1868, and was edited and published by them jointly for sometime, when the former purchased the interest of the latter. Theodore H. continued the publication of the paper under the name of the Chronicle until 1870, when he changed it to that of the Sterling Standard, which title has since been retained. The Standard is an outspoken Independent Republican paper, a strong and fearless advocate of the temperance cause, and enjoys a steadily increasing patronage.
THE STERLING CLEAR GRIT issued its first number on the 13th of October 1877, its editor and publisher being Ralph W. Norwood, a son of A. A. Norwood long connected with the newspaper press of Sterling. The Clear Grit has so far confined itself almost purely to local matters, but the ability it has already displayed shows that it is capable of entering a wider field. It deserves the gratifying encouragement it is receiving. When the Dixon branch of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad was finished as far west as the former place, the people of Sterling saw that its terminus would not remain there if proper efforts were made by the towns between that point and the Mississippi river. Iowa had been admitted into the Union; the country between Sterling and the great river was steadily settling up, while that on the other side also showed signs of rapid growth. It was a matter of interest, therefore, for the people west of Dixon to hasten the construction of a road which would pass through this country, and eventually reach far toward the Pacific Coast. One of the great aids in securing the consummation of all great projects is the newspaper, and it was not long before the citizens of Sterling determined to call to their assistance this aid in procuring the construction of a railway line so deeply vital to their interests. Several meetings were held at the Court House to devise means for the establishment of a newspaper organ, the matter finally terminating by the employment of Charles Boynton, who had recently published a paper at Albany, to edit and publish it. Every business in Sterling agreed to furnish assistance and patronage. Mr. Boynton brought his press and what material he had, from Albany, and upon adding additional type, etc., commenced the publication of the Sterling Times, the first number being issued on the 7th of December, 1854. There was considerable diversity of opinion as to the name of the paper, previous to its publication, the suggestion of Col. W. M. Kilgour, the name of time Times was finally adopted. Mr. Boymiton, in his introductory, said: “ Our paper is small, but it is young; and if it is so fortunate as to meet with its proper nourishment, we see no reaon why it will not very shortly be able to stand in the same crowd with its more portly neighbors. The location is one of the best of the best counties in the best state, with immense undeveloped agricultural resources. Within the range of ovision lies the dormant water power which would put in motion as many factories as now stud the Merrimac, and a virgin soil that will yield twice as much as it would feed the operatives. We have waited long for the slow and gradual development of the resources of this country; have grated corn on lantern for our daily bread, and more than once followed the trail to the Garden City, sounding the depths of every slough, and wading through miles of water.
This was a true picture of the country at that time. The land between Sterling and Chicago, where some of the best farms are now located, was in many places covered with water in wet seasons, and the settlements along the way were long distances apart. Among the first advertisements published in the Times, were the following: Mrs. D. R. Beck, millinery goods; Hall & Blakesley, hardware; Galt & Crawford, dry goods, groceries, etc.; Hlapper & Mcllvaine, dealers in general merchandise and produce, Albany, Illinois; R. L. Wilson, insurance agent, and lands, lots, cattle, and horses for sale; Alfred Bush, oysters, and bottled porter; A. McMoore, confectioneries, and paper hangings; Bixby & Shannon, booksellers and stationers; Samuel Emmons and A. McMoore, administrators of the estate of Daniel L. Smith, deceased, notice to creditors to file claims against the estate in the Probate Court, at the February term, 1855; H. L. Wilson, Clerk of Circuit Court, and recorder of deeds, office in the Court House; Edward N. Kirk, attorney at law, office in the Court House; M. S. Henry, attorney at law, exchange broker, notary public, and Commissioner of deeds for Massachusetts and Pennsylvania; Stillman & Sackett, attorneys at law; Dr. M. C. Auld, physician and surgeon; Dr. A. S. Hudson, physician and surgeon, office in the Court House; Dr. A. P. Holt, homeopathic physician, Lyndon, Illinois; Eagle Hotel, Albany, W. S. Barnes, proprietor. The Times was neutral in politics under Mr. Boynton’s administration, but upon its purchase by Messrs. Grattan & Norwood, in 1855, became a Republican paper. In the spring of 1856 Grattan & Norwood sold to L. D. Crandall,and the Times hoisted the Democratic banner, and supported James Buchanan for the Presidency, the editor being Wm. Hyde, afterwards managing editor of the St. Louis Republican. In the winter of 1856-57 the paper was purchased by Worthington & Biggart, and conducted by them until the publication was discontinued.
In July, 1856, William Caifrey commenced the publication of the Sterling Republican, and strongly advocated the election of John C. Fremont as President. In the winter of 1857-58 H. G. Grattan, who had previously purchased the press and material of the defunct Times, started the Sterling Gazette. The proprietors of these two papers afterwards united them under the name of the Republican and Gazette, and continued joint publishers and editors until Mr. Grattan sold his interest to Walter Nimocks. The partnership of Caffrey & Nimocks continued only a short time, when it was dissolved, and the material divided, Mr. Caffrey continuing the publication of the paper, and Mr. Nimocks taking his share to Kansas, where he established an office. Soon after this the name of Republican, was dropped, and the paper was called the Sterling Gazette. In 1861 the paper came into the hands of C. M. Worthington & Co., and shortly afterwards Mr. Worthington purchased the entire interest and remained editor and proprietor until he sold the paper, and the entire office, to George Terwilliger. During Mr. Worthington’s administration the paper increased rapidly in circulation and influence, and took a leading position among the newspapers of Northwestern Illinois. Mr. Terwilliger took possession of the office on the 3d day of September, 1870. He brought to his position a good deal of experience as a newspaper man, having been for several years editor of the Syracuse (N. Y.) Daily Journal, and also connected with the editorial staff of other papers. The Gazette continued to thrive under his charge, but being desirous 0f locating 00 the Mississippi river, at which point he had intended to settle when coming West, sold the office back to Mr. Worthington, and purchased the Fulton Journal. In January, 1873, Mr. Worthington sold a half interest in the establishment to W. F. Eastman,and the firm became C. M. Worthington & Co. In March, 1876, Mr. Eastman became the sole editor and proprietor, and so remained until July of that year, when D. J. Jenne purchased a half interest, and the present firm of Eastman & Jenne was established. Under the able management of these gentlemen the Gazette has continued to thrive, and it is now the largest paper in the county, having a circulation second to none in this section of the country. Its politics have always been Republican. [Bent - Wilson History of Whiteside County Pg 429]
THE STERLING EVENING GAZETTE changed to the Sterling Daily Gazette on May 24, 1915. The Sterling Daily Standard appears to have ceased publication at the end of December 1915. (Contributed by Larry Reynolds)
BACK -- HOME
© Copyright Genealogy Trails