History of Oregon Newspapers/Abigail Scott Duniway
ABIGAIL SCOTT DUNIWAY
Abigail Jane Scott was a real pioneer. She arrived in the Willamette valley in the early fall of 1852, having lost both her mother and a brother by death on the long trip from her native Illinois, where she was born October 22, 1834.
Both her parents, John Tucker Scott and Ann Roelefson Scott, came of sturdy Revolutionary stock, and Mrs. Duniway never lost her own willingness to fight for her political and social ideas.Married in 1853 to Benjamin Charles Duniway, she spent the next eighteen years mostly on Oregon farms, with intervals in the towns of Lafayette and Albany. It was in 1871 that she began, in Portland, the publication of the New Northwest, a weekly newspaper devoted to equality for women, politically, financially, and socially. The same year saw her first appearance on the lecture platform as an advocate of what were then termed "women's rights." , pioneer in the woman's suffrage movement, had come to the Pacific Coast in 1871 on a lecture tour for her cause, and Mrs. Duniway accompanied this suffrage champion about Oregon and Washington and reluctantly allowed Miss Anthony to persuade her to take the platform herself for an address. She was so well received that she added public speaking to her other means of getting her ideas before the public, and it is as a lecturer that Who's Who in America refers to her in indexing the sketch of her career.
Mrs. Duniway carried on her newspaper work and her lecturing despite her duties as a housewife whose husband was in poor health, and she reared a family of one daughter and five sons, all of whom were very successful, in law, journalism, and education.
One of her sons, Willis S., was a state printer of Oregon. Another, Wilkie C, was foreman of the Portland Evening Telegram, editor of the Weekly Oregonian, and continued active as a contributor to various publications until his death in 1927. Dr. Clyde Augustus Duniway, the youngest son, retired recently as professor of history at Carlton College, after spending 15 years of his life as president of four higher educational institutions.
Mrs. Duniway, whose active and fearless public work brought her the title of "mother of equal suffrage in Oregon" and "Oregon's grand old woman," devoted 15 years of her life to publication of the New Northwest, displaying energy and intelligence equalled by few publishers of her day.
The papers, in Oregon as elsewhere, reflected the scant sympathy given the battle for women's rights in the 70's. The Eugene Guard was among the most extreme, personal, and picturesque, in its opposition to the movement for votes for women. Note some examples:
A Specimen.—A specimen of how intelligently woman will exercise her "right" to vote is shown in the recent election in New York. The one woman who was allowed to vote cast her ballot for Boss Tweed and corruption. Which is why we remark that woman has no more use for the ballot than the editress of the . . . [the deletion is ours] has for her prodigious ears.
This little editorial gave voice to the generally implied attitude of anti-suffragists that before being accorded the ballot, women should prove to men's satisfaction that the women could vote more intelligently than the men had been doing.
The New Northwest editors (with Abigail Scott Duniway absent so much of the time putting woman suffrage across, her husband and sons cooperated in getting out the paper and it is difficult to be sure of the real authorship of editorials) understood the "Oregon style" pretty well and could take good care of themselves in controversy. The following item from the Oregon Statesman in 1875 gave them a chance:
The Dallas Itemizer comes to us with eight pages, six of them printed in Chicago, however.
The New Northwest's comment was this little dig:
The publishers of the Itemizer then were Casey & Hammond. A little bit later Mr. Hammond dropped out of the firm, and the N. N. handed him this little "momentum" in the issue of July 23, 1875:
Were the remaining two pages printed in Chicago, the paper would be much more interesting to the general reader, and quite as useful to the citizens of Polk county.
Brother Casey of the Dallas Itemizer has recently taken to himself a wife, got rid of his obscene editorial associate, . . . once more a respectable journal.
For financial reasons she disposed of the New Northwest in January 1887, selling to O. P. Mason, who suspended the paper two years later and bought the Pacific Farmer, which was the old Farmer and Dairyman, started by the Frank Brothers ten years before. He is best known in connection with the Sunday Mercury.
Mrs. Duniway continued to write as well as lecture for "women's rights" until her death, in 1915. In her old age she saw the triumph of her lifelong campaign in behalf of women as "people," and in 1912 she was the first woman in Multnomah county to register as a voter.
During the nineties Mrs. Duniway acted as editor of the Pacific Empire, a weekly 12-page 8×11 publication founded in 1894 by Miss Frances Gotshall as publisher and devoted to what the Ayer newspaper annual for 1897 designated as "woman stuff."
Besides her newspaper work and lecturing, Mrs. Duniway, a voluminous as well as clever writer, found time to turn out several books, some dealing with pioneer life in Oregon. Old-timers remember her as a picturesque figure who went into action on the lecture platform with a red bandana around her neck and could stir up her audience no end.
She was, of course, no echo of her brother Harvey, nor was he of her. In the free-silver days Mrs. Duniway became friendly to the free-silver idea though not a vigorous advocate of it, while Harvey Scott was the outstanding gold-standard advocate in the whole West. They disagreed also on women's suffrage and more or less on the place of women in society.
Other Portland Papers
A newspaper which, with several changes of name and ownership and an occasional interruption of publication, has come down to the present, is the Commercial Reporter, started in August 1872 by R. Farrish and owned successively in the next two years by George H. Himes, J. Perchin, and S. Turner. J. F. Atkinson purchased the Reporter in July 1874, continuing until January 1, 1880, when J. R. Farrish bought a half interest and changed the name to the Commercial Reporter and Journal of Commerce. A stock company which purchased the paper four years later changed the name to the one in use today by the paper managed and edited by H. G. Haugsten—the Journal of Commerce (Haugsten uses the word Daily in the title) The paper was now an eight-col. folio, issued weekly, with A. C. A Perkes editor.
Meanwhile D. C. Ireland had started, in 1883, the Commercial Herald, which the Journal absorbed the next year. The Journal was now covering both commercial and shipping news.
Later changes of ownership have been numerous and will not be traced here. The present editor-publisher, H. G. Haugsten, has been connected with the publication for more than 15 years.
A paper that carried little influence but which was used to start another having a much longer and more important career was the Daily Evening Journal, started in 1875. (41). In July of the next year Anthony Noltner purchased the Journal, suspended it, and then moved up to a daily his Democratic Standard, started in January of the same year as a Democratic weekly.
The Standard was advertised as the "largest Democratic paper in the state, only Democratic weekly published in Portland." In 1879 Noltner moved the Standard from the evening to the morning field. In June 1885 the paper, which through most of its career had been prosperous, was sold by Noltner to S. B. Pettengill. The new owner-editor suspended the Standard the next February.
Oregon's first illustrated publication, started in the days before the halftone process had even been invented and when rotogravure was not even a dream, was the West Shore, started in Portland by L. Samuel in August 1875. This was a monthly magazine which the publisher said was "devoted to Literature, Science, Art, and the Resources of the Pacific Northwest." The illustrations were the old wood cuts and zinc etchings, expensive but effective. Samuel charged $1.50 a year, or 20 cents a copy. He was not only an enterprising editor but a good promoter. Establishing agencies for his publication all over the United States and in Europe, he built up within three years a circulation of 8,160, which, he contended (42), was the largest in the Pacific Northwest. Later the circulation was to pass 15,000. No objectionable or doubtful advertising was accepted—which was in advance of the general practice of the times.
Started as a 12-page monthly, 12×19 inches in size, the West Shore was enlarged in September 1878 to 32 pages, with lithographed illustrations succeeding the old stock cuts with which Samuel had begun. By 1884 it had become 48 pages and in 1887, 72 pages of the size of Harper's Magazine. In September 1889 the magazine became a weekly, with color and tint-block illustration, issued from both Portland and Spokane Falls (43)
This was the high point of the West Shore's career, and its sun began to decline.
Mr. Samuel's artistic and literary ideas were in advance of the business possibilities of the times, and in 1891 the paper was suspended. Not, however, before it had given encouragement and an outlet to many early Oregon writers. A feature of the last days of the West Shore, when Harry L. Wells was editor for Mr. Samuel, was a department edited from Whatcom (now Bellingham), Wash., by Mrs. , who had started while still in Oregon City a literary career which was to place her in the front rank of western poets and novelists (44). Mrs. Higginson's page, started in 1890, was called "Fact and Fancy for Women." Mr. Samuel, discouraged by the lack of appreciation of his magazine, went into the life insurance business, founding the Oregon Life Insurance Company which yielded him a financial success denied him in journalism.
German-language newspapers in Oregon began with the weekly Oregon Deutsche Zeitung, started by C. A. Landenberger in Portland in 1867 and published by him until its suspension in 1884. Next came the Staats Zeitung, also a Portland paper, established by Dr. J. Folkmann in 1877. For a time he conducted a daily, started in December of the same year. It failed to withstand the competition of Landenberger's paper and was soon suspended. Following suspension of the Deutsche Zeitung, Otterstedt & Sittig established, in March 1885, the Freie Presse. Bruno Sittig was editor in 1889. This paper was succeeded by the Nachrichten, established by A. E. Kern in 1890 and continued on through to the present. St. Joseph's Blatt, weekly, and the Armen Seelen Freund, monthly, Catholic newspapers, have been running at Mount Angel since 1887.
East Portland newspapers, of which there have been several, began with the Weekly Era, which ran but a short time in 1871. The founders were Urban E. Hicks and S. W. Ravely. East Portland was then a separate municipality. Hicks, an old-time printer who as foreman of the composing-room taught young Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) to set type in Hannibal, Mo., had published the Union Flag, a campaign paper at Vancouver, Wash., in 1861 and the next year had been for a time city editor of the Oregonian. In 1865 he was with Bellinger and Noltner in the Democratic Review at Salem. The Oregon Herald, Portland, had him as city editor and compositor in 1867-68. After the Era folded up he was for a time (1873-74) compositor on the Evening News, of which C. B. Bellinger was editor. He was the father of Gwin Hicks, who became state printer of Washington in 1897.
Other East Portland papers (45) were the Vindicator and the Democratic Era. The present Portland News was started there many years afterward, but that is another story, told later in this volume.
In March 1882 Nat L. Baker started the Evening Post but soon discontinued it for the usual reason.
The next year the Oregonian faced the strongest competition it had had for years. This was the Northwest News, started January 1, 1883. Nathan L. Cole, a former St. Louis newspaper man, was the first editor.
In its first number, January 1, 1883, the News published an article which gives at once a glimpse of the Portland business district of that period, a glance at what a newspaper office was like a half century ago, and a few of the names of those engaged in getting out the paper. Here is the heading on the article.
THE NEWS OFFICE
A Description of the Model Newspaper Establishment of Oregon
Personal Mention of the Men Who Make the Paper—An Inside View of a Modern Newspaper Manufactory.
The site was described as at First and Salmon . . . "on the ground floor of the magnificent blue stone front four-story business block of the Oregon Furniture Manufacturing Company, the largest and handsomest block of buildings (with one exception) in the city of Portland."
This is followed by a column-and-a-half description of the build ing and plant. In the course of a short description of the "countingroom," the reader is told that "within this frosted-glass screen are the gentlemanly clerks employed in the business department, which is under the charge and supervision of D. M. C. Gault, one of the most prosperous members of Oregon's legislature. [Years before, he had worked on both the news and business sides of the Statesman at Salem. The reference to "prosperity" of members of the legislature is vague but "intriguing."] The subscription books are under the care of Burnside Cromwell, an accomplished and polite young man from San Francisco, and more recently filling a position in the counting room of the Los Angeles Evening Telegram. . ." The editorial and news staff is now described:
. . Within these pleasant domains the men who make the paper grind out their daily grist, good, bad, or indifferent. They are Nathan Cole Jr., managing editor, formerly of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat; C. B. Carlisle, associate and night editor, formerly of the Virginia City Enterprise and lately of the Walla Walla Statesman; Charles Whitehead, city editor, for many years editor of the Kansas City Times, but lately on the San Francisco Examiner; E. F. Elliott, for some years editor on the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press and the Denver (Colo.) Mining Review, later on the Seattle Chronicle; M. F. Blake, familiarly known in Portland as "Fatty" Blake, who has earned the well-worn title of the "boss newsrustler" of the city and for some time the best reporter on the Oregonian and the Evening Telegram of this city; Joseph K. Gift, late of the San Francisco Chronicle, a young gentle man with a nose for news and a wicked eye for the girls. These gentlemen comprise the editorial staff of Portland's popular paper.
The News composing-room is a marvel among the men who "stick the type" . . . Here are fourteen well-chosen who stand at well-filled knights of the "art preservative" cases nightly materializing the thoughts of editors, the vagaries of reporters, and the scintillations of the electric wire into facts for daily perusal. . . . The chief of this department, or, rather, the foreman, is John G. Egan, lately of the San Francisco Examiner, a gentleman well known on the Pacific Coast as a versatile and humorous writer. He is assisted by Frank G. Lee, a veteran printer, recently of Denver. Mr. Egan's staff of "prints" on this, the birth of the new paper, are J. L. Russell, "ad" man, J. J. Galvin, Oscar Dun bar, E. A. Bridgman, John Pitchford, Charles Carroll, Joseph E. Howe, John M. Burns, J. P. Killinger, M. B. Eaton, B. P. Watson, W. W. Watson.
Multnomah Typographical Union No. 58 was to be organized two weeks later, and the names of the News typos are sprinkled in the list of charter members among those of Oregonian, Telegram, Standard, and the several commercial shops, including that of D. C. Ireland & Co. Several of these men were later prominent in Oregon journalism, notably Oscar (O.W.) Dunbar, who nine years later was to found the Astoria Budget.
The News was a six-column eight-page paper, apparently set in leaded minion (seven-point on nine in lino language). It sold for 25 cents a week by carrier, or $10 a year by mail. In a column of advertising on the left side appeared the advertisements of James Armstrong & Co., real estate and general auctioneers; Murphy, Grant & Co., dry goods, etc., San Francisco; Morse's Palace, (C. C. Morse & Co.), wholesale and retail picture frames, mouldings, etc.; Himes the Printer; F. E. Beach & Co., paints, oils and glass, doors, windows; Mrs. L. Pilger, "leading suit and cloak house." The rest of the first page is filled with news from other towns and states, mostly marked special—which in some offices in those days meant rewritten or lifted from another newspaper.
The heads were all labels—four-deck top heads on the front page starting with such keylines as "Shocking Suicide," followed by "A Man Kills Himself With a Charge of Water." Third section—"The Unhappy Epoch in the Career of a Belgian in Florida." Fourth section—"Discussion on the Sunday Railway Operation—The Amalga mated Steel Workers Resolve to Strike—Gambetta Dying." This carrying of several telegraphic news stories under the same heading was quite general in those earlier days.
Incidentally, one gets a line on the kind of news judgment exercised by editors of the day—a Florida suicide of some unknown Belgian played up above Sunday railway operation, the imminent steelworkers' strike, and the expected death of a world figure. The basis of selection, apparently, was the unusual (bizarre) method selected It was the "human by the distant Belgian for his self-destruction. interest" against the intrinsically important. This choice is less frequently made in these days.
The editorial salutatory promised that the paper would be the "organ of no ring, party, or corporation" and "absolutely free from entangling alliances." It was not long, however, before the Oregonian accused it of being the organ of a Portland political ring. The paper claimed 5,000 "actual subscribers and as handsome a list of advertisements as ever graced a new paper."
Notwithstanding the assertion of the News in its salutatory that it was independent of any political ring, the Sunday Welcome was quoted in the Oregonian as saying that "Republican had long believed that a new Republican paper would either wipe out the Oregonian or at least compel it to do the bidding of the party leaders."
Much of the News support came from the Oregonian's political antagonists, particularly the friends of Senator John H. Mitchell.
Commenting on this, the Oregonian said (January 8, 1883):
It (the Oregonian) has always upheld the cardinal principles and commended the general objects of the Republican party; but it refuses to make itself the mouthpiece of politicians who "organize" and combine for their own advantage and benefit, presuming upon the devotion of Republicans to party as a cause, to enable themselves to carry away the honors and rewards.
The "modern local department" of the News was brightened up some with rather precarious matter. For instance,
MRS. WISEMAN ELOPES
Goes to Victoria With a Sewing Machine Agent.
Passing lightly over the fact that this is the only dynamic, active-verb head in the paper, let us proceed with the story:
Mrs. Mollie Wiseman, wife of George Wiseman, the well-known proprietor of the True Blue Saloon, corner of Second and Oak streets, in this city, eloped on Friday last with a sewing machine agent named Tom Bohamon.
It is said that the absconding pair had been on terms of intimacy for some time past, and the woman's husband had his suspicions aroused, but said nothing, having too much faith in his wife to think that any other man could induce her to desert him. He has come to the conclusion that he is better off alone and does not intend to follow her. Wiseman was married to his wife in this city about four years ago, but they have had no issue. Mrs. Wiseman is a daughter of [deleted], formerly a well-known [deleted]. It is understood that the eloping pair are now in Victoria, British Columbia.
The deletions are by this writer and not by the reporter or editor. Try to think how long it has been since you have seen an item just like this in a newspaper of general circulation.
Another feature of this paper which suggests the English papers and the old New York Herald was the group of "Personals" among the classified ads. The first one caught the eye:
The lady who arrived here by the last steamer from San Francisco en route to Walla Walla, will, if she desires it, find a friend in the gentleman who picked up her glove and handed it to her on the main street of Astoria. A note addressed to W. B. C., this office, will meet a prompt reply.
This was marked it, and just what came of this incipient one-way romance is something that readers of the News were never able to find out. There was another one which had a better chance of demonstrating returns from News' classifieds:
Joe—Meet me sure at the usual rendezvous tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 8 o'clock. Red, White and Blue.
It did not take smart advertisers long to see their opportunity in a column like this, so we observe, in the issue of January 11, this clubby little notice:
Charley—Same time and place; everything fixed. Wear the suit Friedlander & Co. made for you. Salem, ja 11.
And another sample:
Dear Madge—Could not possibly meet you Sunday night as my overcoat and watch were in the custody of Uncle Meyer, 181 First street. Horace. ja 10 tf
This type of thing was not uncommon in western papers as well as eastern in those days.
The News, which was having its financial troubles in a field already occupied by the Oregonian, practically failed early in 1884 on the heels of the collapse of Henry Villard's railroad boom. John G. Egan and Henry E. Reed got out one number of the weekly to bridge the gap until finances could be recouped. A number of the staff members then, Mr. Reed relates, took hold of the paper as a cooperative concern and ran it as a daily and weekly for three months. Sale was made in June to Edward Thayer of Evansville, Ind., and L. N. Hamilton of Salt Lake. Mr Reed recalls that he received for his interest in the paper a total of $21 owing him for wages. Hamilton and Thayer changed the name to the Portland Daily News and within the year had the paper making some money. Harvey Scott in his history of Portland says James O'Meara, the old fire-eating secession advocate, was editor of the paper for a time in 1886. Reed's recollection, as a member of the staff, is that the paper in 1887 supported the proposed state constitutional amendment prohibiting the liquor traffic. This had a result usual in those days—shrinkage of circulation and advertising patronage almost to the vanishing point. Another reorganization was forced. John D. Wilcox, of an old pioneer family, acquired the paper in August, 1887, and continued publication until January, 1889, when final suspension came.
The News had cost its various owners about $200,000 more than they had been able to get back, almost duplicating the red-ink record of Holladay's Bulletin.
Throughout its career the News was engaged in wordy warfare with the Oregonian—as was the custom of the time. One of the big jousts was over the question of liquor regulation.
A group of Portland liquor-dealers took exception in 1883 to the Oregonian's stand for increased liquor licenses. The News was friendly to the saloon men. For a time the liquor interests under took a boycott of the Oregonian for its plain utterances.
The Oregonian's attitude on the liquor question through the years has been a middle ground, between prohibition and extra high license—the position which, in the judgment of the editors, insures the maximum of effectiveness in regulation.
The Oregonian noticed the hostility of the liquor-dealers in an editorial published March 12:
A certain class of liquor sellers, ignoring the mayor and common council, seem to suppose that the Oregonian enacted the new license ordinance. If this were true, it would be a high compliment to the power of this journal in the community. . . . the class which must be regulated and restrained in the interest of peace and good order will not be permitted to regulate and control the city. In particular, about the liquor traffic, whose dangerous features every community is forced to recognize, guards must be erected and maintained.
For this traffic is unlike any other. The public safety requires that it be kept under as stringent regulation as public sentiment will support and enforce, and in all parts of the country there is a growing demand that it be dealt with as a thing which, because of the dangers to social order and public peace that attend it, shall be kept under careful regulations and made, by taxation, to contribute to the support of communities upon which it throws so many burdens.
The conspiracy of the Liquor Sellers' association to bulldoze the Oregonian having failed, perhaps the next best thing would be to mob the common council and burn the mayor in effigy.
The paper which was founded here to do the work of a disreputable political ring now by natural process becomes the organ of the hoodlums, of the "dives," of the lowest class of drinking holes. Natural selection had probably been observed before Darwin, but no one had given it a name. "Birds of a feather," however, did very well.
The Daily News, commenting on this editorial, argued that the term "hoodlums of the dives" applied to all who sold or dealt in liquor was "rather severe" and would be "appreciated" by the large element of business men to whom it had been applied.
The News of Monday, March 12, containing a full column of church news, including reports of Sunday services at five churches carried also a half-column report of an "Indignation Meeting of Liquor Dealers and Brewers." Liquor dealers' licenses had been raised by the council from $250 to $800 a year. Increased license fees had been favored by both the Oregonian and the Telegram and the Oregonian had said editorially that there was "good reason to believe the action of the council will receive the commendation and support of a majority of good citizens."
Resolutions published in the News issue of the 12th read: Resolved, that we, the members of the Liquor Protective Union, and others interested in the manufacture and sale of liquors and beer, denounce the said papers (Oregonian and Telegram) as unfriendly to us and our interests, and we withdraw all our patronage and support from the said Oregonian and Telegram.
A resolution adopted assessed a fine of $5 upon any member of the union who, on and after Monday, March 12, "shall permit the introduction of or allow to be read in his place of business either the Oregonian or the Telegram." The secretary was directed to notify liquor dealers, saloon-keepers, brewers, and others throughout Oregon and Washington of the situation and request them to cooperate.
The union (said the News of March 12) will meet again today or tomorrow in secret session, to perfect preparations for combined action. The indignation is very pronounced against the council for its hasty and unjustifiable action. The ordinance means ruin and annihilation to the saloons and breweries of Portland, and there is every probability of a It will vigorous resistance being made to its enforcement. undoubtedly prove to be a formidable factor in the approaching city election.
The Daily News of March 13 told of secret sessions held by the liquor dealers' association. "The members were committed to secrecy, and the proceedings are unknown." But, the paper reported, all saloon men in Portland but one joined the organization and the wholesale dealers and brewers all joined "for self-protection against fanatical encroachments on their business." Passive and unflinching resistance in the courts and an appeal to the people in the city election were resolved upon, the paper reported.
The Oregonian finally stated its exact position in the matter in an editorial published March 19, 1883:
A license fee of $200 a year for selling liquor in Portland is much too low. It ought to be at least $400 a year or $100 a quarter. This would diminish the number of saloons, "freeze out" the lowest places, and contribute immensely to the peace and good order of the city. The only objection to the $800 license fee arises from a well-grounded apprehension that it cannot be maintained or made effective. The true policy, which is everywhere being accepted as the best attain able solution of the liquor question, is to raise the fee till the proper mean is reached between the consequence of low license or no license on the one hand and the danger of surreptitious and illicit drink-selling (through over-taxation) on the other. Between these extremes lies the most practicable and therefore the best result. It is not a matter of theory or sentiment at all. All experience shows it to be useless to expect ideal results through legislation. The best legislator is the most practical man—the man who, if he sees he cannot suppress or abolish the evils with which he has to deal, will abate or diminish them as far as he can. He is as far, too, from overstepping the bounds of prudence and judgment and defeating his object in that way, as he is from sitting down in a helpless despair, with a whine that nothing at all can be done. . . . Today it (the Oregonian) would insist more strongly if possible than ever before, on high license as a means of reducing the evils of the liquor traffic. At the same time it would be false to itself and the principle it advocates if it failed to point out the danger of defeating the object by making the license so high that public opinion will not sustain and enforce it.
The situation was precipitated when Mayor Chapman signed the ordinance raising the former $200 license for saloonkeepers to $800 a year. Efforts of saloon men to induce the mayor to veto the ordinance were unavailing, and the News in its issue of March 10 tells of the liquor dealers' special meeting, at which, the News predicted that the Oregonian, "which has advocated and succeeded in obtaining the increase, will be handled rather roughly." The paper asserted that it was "plainly evident that all the saloon men have made up their minds to test the ordinance and make a fight for four new councilmen in the coming city election."
The newspapers in the early 80's still faced a problem in getting sanitary conditions up to standard. Even the water supply was not above reproach. In the second issue of the Daily News is an item regarding a death in East Portland from typhoid fever. The victim was Roland Smith, 19 years old, son of the jail missionary, and his brother, the paper reported, had died a short time before of the same disease. The News the day before had printed a news story, probably imaginary, in which a gilded San Francisco youth, on asking for a drink of water in a Portland restaurant, had turned up his nose at the colored liquid served him, saying he did not ask for cider and that if this were the best Portland could do for water he guessed he'd stick to whiskey and he'd have to "get the Guv-nor (his millionaire father) to supply this town with water fit to drink."
A few weeks later, in the issue of March 9, 1883, the News published an editorial, two-thirds of a column in length, complaining of general health conditions and pointing out the penalty Portland would pay if something were not done to better the situation by installing a proper sewage system. The editorial concluded:
. . . We are today violating all the laws of hygiene, and we have warning that our day of grace has about expired. The whether we will take heed, or will we go on question next to nothing for the public health, and be terribly doing punished for our want of reasonable action.
Establishment of the News was followed by the launching of a daily evening edition of the Weekly Chronicle by E. G. Jones in 1884. The daily was discontinued after a few months, but the weekly was continued under various editors until 1908. Originally Democratic, it served the Republicans in 1896 and after.