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Early Newspapers Of Knox County, IL

The first newspaper in Knox County was the “Knox Intelligence”, edited and printed by Rev. C. R. Fisk, and first published in the early part of 1849. It lived about two years, during a part of which time the office was on the southwest corner of the public square.
The second paper, the “Northwestern Gazeteer”, was first issued September 23, 1849, Southwick Davis being editor and manager. It also suspended publication after about two years. These papers were religious journals, the first being a Presbyterian and the second a Congregationalist publication.
The “News-Letter” was started in the latter part of 1850 by W. S. Gale, G. C. Lanphere and Dr. James Bunce, taking the place of the “Intelligencer”. It was the especial champion of the railroad project, and published some very good articles on the subject. Its office was on the west side of the public square. About 1852, it was purchased by S. G. Cowan, who changed its name to the “News-Letter and Henry County News.” At first neutral in politics, it inclined to Free Soil doctrine toward the end of its existence. In the fall of 1853, J. W. Lane purchased the paper, and it became the “Western Freeman”. Mr. Lane injected an intense anti-slavery spirit into its columns, and it lived but two months. 
The plant was purchased by Southwick Davis and William H. Holcomb, who issued the first number of the “Galesburg Free Democrat” January 5, 1854, which was also anti-slavery in politics. November 30, 1854, William J. Woods purchased the paper and B. F. Haskins became the editor, and was succeeded by C. J. Sellon, March 8, 1855. On July 26, 1855 it was bought by R. H. Whiting, S. W. Brown, and D.H. Frisbie. November 1, 1855, S. D McDonald took charge of it, and December 11, 1855, W. J. Woods again bought it, Mr. Belloon once more becoming editor. In August, 1856, Mr. Woods sold out to J. H. Sherman, who, March 17, 1857, changed the name to “Daily Free Democrat”. 
In 1865 Messrs. Bailey and McClelland purchased the plant and from it published the “Free Press”. On November 20, 1872, they disposed of the journal to General M. S. Barnes, who for some time published both a daily and weekly edition. He changed the name to the “Leader” and later, in June 1882, to “Press and People”. In February 1883, Gershom Martin bought the paper and published it as a democratic weekly until his death, early in 1894.
In March of that year it passed into the hands of the proprietors of the “Spectator”, and was consolidated with that paper, which was at that time the only democratic paper in Galesburg.
The “Spectator” had been founded about May 1, 1890, by M.F. Cunningham and A. G. Husted. They published it as partners until August 1894, when Mr. Cunningham bought out Mr. Husted. March 20, 1895 he sold a half interest to J. A. Andrews. They conducted the paper until October 30, 1895, when Mr. Cunningham disposed of his interest to George Gallarno. Up to March 15, 1896, the journal was run under the firm name of Gallarno and Andrews. Then Mr. Gallarno sold to his partner and Mr. Andrews published and edited the paper alone up to September 15, 1898, when E. F. Sooy purchased a half interest. It is now a six column quarto weekly, and has a circulation of about 1100.
The “Knox County Observer” was published in 1865, by Louis V. Taft, but lived only a short time.
The “Liberal” was started in 1867 by Stephen R. Smith as a weekly. He discontinued it in 1870 and sold the material.
The “Galesburg Republic” was founded January 1, 1873 by Judson Graves. It was an eight column folio, and for three months was issued as a semi-weekly; after that as a weekly. In December 1879, Messrs. Henry Emrich and Iram B. Biggs, the present proprietors, purchased the office. The paper is an eight column quarto, published weekly. It is staunchly republican, and has taken an active part in politics, in which field it has had considerable influence. It has always viewed practical questions from high, moral ground, opposing questionable means and methods. It has enjoyed the confidence of party leaders, of whom its editor, Mr. Emrich, is one, and it has a fair patronage.
 “The Republican Register”, the old leading journal of the county, is a seven-column quarto, having both daily and weekly editions. It is the result of the consolidation of the “Register” and the “Republican”, both Galesburg papers. The former was established in 1866 by Stephen R. Smith, William J. Mourer and H. D. Babcock, and, after several changes, was bought by E. F. Phelps in 1872. The latter first appeared in 1870, it’s proprietors and publishers being C. E. Carr and J. M. Prior, who sold to S. W. Grubb in 1872. In December of that year, the union was consummated. A company had been formed, styled the Galesburg Printing Company, for the especial purpose of becoming the owner of these two papers. J. B. Boggs is President; L. F. Wertman, Vice-President; and S. W. Grubb, Secretary and Treasurer. The management of the journal is under the control of S. W. Grubb, a practical printer of over half a century’s experience. The paper is uncompromisingly republican in politics. It receives the Associated Press dispatches, and the local columns are usually full and well arranged, and embrace all the happenings of the city, and, indeed, of the entire county, its list of regular correspondents in various parts of the county contributing well prepared articles on the news of their district each week. It has the largest circulation in the county. Fred R. Jelliff is editor, with Eugene M. Weeks and George M. Strain for assistants. Four years ago the Galesburg Printing Company erected a new, modern building on Simmons Street, between Prairie and Cherry, equipped with new machinery.
The Evening Gazette was published at Galesburg for a short time after the great strike on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. The officials of that road were very much dissatisfied with the course pursued by the “Republican-Register” during the labor troubles, and so transplanted the “Monmouth Gazette” to this city. But the paper could not live here and after a brief struggle suspended publication.
The “Galesburg Evening Mail” was started May 13, 1891. It was the outcome of a factional fight in the republican party of Knox County, which had spread throughout the tenth Congressional district. The leaders of the two factions were General Philip Sidney Post and Colonel Clark E. Carr. Both men were ambitious to represent the district in Congress. Colonel Carr’s candidacy was vigorously supported by the one daily paper in Knox County at that time, the “Republican-Register”. The need of having an active organ in the field to compete with this influence gave impetus to the project already under consideration to found in Galesburg another daily paper. The original promoters were W. Bennett Barnes, son of General Barnes, who was for years prominent in Illinois journalism, in Galesburg and elsewhere, and the proprietors of the Colville job printing office, George W. and William R. Colville. A stock company was formed, in which a majority of the stock was held by Colville Brothers and Mr. BarnesGeneral Post and his friends were well represented. The company organized with S. H. Bateman President, and G. W. Colville Secretary. The first Board of Directors included, in addition to these gentlemen, F. A. Freer, H. L. May, W. B. Barnes, and W. R. ColvilleMr. Bateman was succeeded later by W. O. Lovejoy and the company as then organized remained intact until further transfer was made in 1895. The paper as first published was a seven column folio. It obtained the United Press franchise, and began to be felt as an important factor in the community from the first. In keeping with the original idea of promoting the interests of the Post faction in republican politics, the “Mail” was for years partially, and at times wholly, edited by F. A. Freer and Philip S. Post, a son of General Post, and others alive to the General’s interests. The success of the latter in securing the nomination and election to Congress eventually removed from the paper a certain part of its political responsibility, but it remained in the newspaper field in active competition. The paper was subsequently edited by G. W. Colville, while W. R. Colville was business manager. On March 18, 1895, the interest held in the company by the Colville brothers and W. B. Barnes was transferred to D. H. and Benjamin B. Hampton, formerly publishers of the “Macomb By-Stander”. Benjamin B. Hampton succeeded G. W. Colville as secretary of the company and became the active manager. D. H. Hampton was made editor. Within a short time the office was moved from the old Colville job office into a new building erected for it at 50-52 North Cherry Street, and in August 1899, to more spacious quarters in the Marquette Building on South Cherry Street. Its form has been changed to a six column quarto, although frequently publishing ten, twelve and even sixteen pages. The growth of the paper in the past few years, in spite of hard times, has been rapid. Many additions have been made to its equipments, among others being a Linotype machine. Under the present management the name of the paper was changed from “The Galesburg Daily Mail” to “The Galesburg Evening Mail”, which it now bears. A weekly edition is also issued, and has reached a position of influence throughout Knox County. The paper holds the Associated Press franchise and features its important news items in metropolitan style. Its excellent news service, both telegraphic and local, has gained for the paper a clientele of readers which has made it a valuable advertising medium. It remains thoroughly republican in politics.
The “Galesburg Labor News” is published every Saturday from the Plaindealer Printing Company’s office by H. C. Smalley, who started the paper September 14, 1895, in connection with J. A. Smith, whom Mr. Smalley bought out in 1898. It is a six column folio, devoted to the interests of organized labor and wage workers generally, and is endorsed by the Trades and Labor Assembly of Galesburg, of which it is the official organ.
 “Liberty” was established in 1892. It was a six column quarto, published every Saturday by W. C. Holden. It was strictly independent in politics, but opposed to Catholicism. After a somewhat checkered career it ceased publication in 1897.
The Altona Journal was published by S. M. Whiting from 1877 - 1884, was succeeded by O. B. Kail

The Altona Record was published by C. F. McDonough, March 1, 1888. Later editors of this paper were Samuel W. West, Arthur Austin & F. C. Krans, who at the same time was Major of Altona, Knox Co., IL.

The Williamsfield Times, an independent weekly, was established in 1889.  Its founder was C.D. Benfield.  In October, 1890, the building in which the Times was located was burned and Mr. Benfield lost his entire outfit.  The subscription list of the paper was purchased by Momeny and Benson and in a few months they were enabled to continue the publication.  Later they dissolved partnership and J. M. Momeny assumed control of the paper.  In the fall of 1892, S.E. Boggess leased the plant from Mr. Momeny.  In April, 1893, it was purchased by M. Hugh Irish and in July, 1918, it passed into the hands of W. G. Johnson the present owner.
Due too this being much work on my part I really do not want too find any of this information located on this page on another site. Therefore there are some errors in this publication. I've had some trouble with people copying and reformatting what I put on line. I have been typing this information up at the Galesburg library from a microfilm on a laptop computer. and have spent many days down there and there will be more information posted at a later date for this web site.

Friday, July 06, 2007 05:50:20 PM last updated.

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