History of Oregon Newspapers/Clackamas County

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Oregon City.—The honor of starting two of Oregon's daily papers which have come down from the pioneer days to the present belongs to D. C. (DeWitt Clinton) Ireland, who had been printer for Schuyler Colfax at Mishawaka, Ind.; compositor for Horace Greeley; one of the founders of the Pioneer Press in St. Paul; breeder of thoroughbred horses; compositor and pioneer city editor of the Morning Oregonian.

Ireland left the Oregonian to found the Oregon City Enterprise, having in mind promoting the interests of Oregon City in connection with the railroad then projected but not built, which has become the main line of the Southern Pacific through the Willamette Valley.

The new publisher had in mind also, of course, the idea of making an independent living and getting out of the employee class. Throughout the greater part of his career he enjoyed exceptional financial success, clouded by one or two misadventures, one of which was not in journalism but in salmon-canning. But that is another story.[1]

The first issue of the Enterprise, a four-page, seven-column paper, appeared October 27, 1866.

Ireland announced that the paper would be published every Saturday morning. The price was $3 a year, $4 "if delayed." For advertising the rate was $2.50 a square of 12 lines for the first and $1 for each subsequent insertion. A special offer of a column a year of 52 issues for $100 was made.

In his salutatory Editor Ireland announced his policies to the extent of about 350 words, putting himself on record as one of the first of the news rather than political type of editor. What politics he played, however, were Democratic. He said, in part:

The establishment has been purchased by an association of gentlemen and given into our hands, and, as has been the case with us for the past few years of our connection with the leading paper of the state, we shall constantly aim to deserve well of the public. . . .

The first issue of the Enterprise devotes an editorial nearly a column long to promoting the state fair and saying a good word for agricultural fairs in general.

Three-quarters of a column of space is devoted to a description of the new pioneer paper mill in Oregon City. There is a half column of short miscellaneous items.

The legislature, just concluding its session in Salem, receives a 200-word review.

Page 3, as usual, is the "local" page. There is two columns of side-headed local items, the sort of news Ireland had been picking up in Portland while city editor of the Oregonian. The first of these items really is an editorial on the wealth of Clackamas county. Then there is another 200-word item mixed among the locals urging that Chinese be kept out of Oregon City.

The most interesting thing on the page is one of the first baseball stories published in Oregon. The game, it seems, ended 77 to 45. The score, before the days of box scores as now known, listed merely the lineup, with the full names of the players whenever known, the number of home runs, the score by innings. The lead says:

The Pioneer Baseball Club of Portland paid our city a visit on Saturday the 12th and participated with the Clackamas club in a match game. The day was pleasant and the playing fine. The first two innings put the Pioneers far ahead (they made 44 runs in those two) . . . and won them the game. . . . The following runs were made: . . .

More than half the item is given to an account of a sumptuous feast in the Barlow House. Resolutions were passed thanking every one who had had any part in what was regarded as more of a social than a sporting event. The resolutions were signed by F. M. Warren, secretary, and Thomas F. Miner, president.

The paper was much like others of its day in appearance—an edition a few weeks later carried two columns of the announcement type of advertising (albeit rather neater and better-printed than was usual) at the left of the first page—including ads for lawyers, doctors, stationery store, foundry, real estate brokers, billiard parlors, saloons, marble workers, crockery and glassware, architects, music teachers. Two poems in an early issue, one of which emphasized that "we are marching, we are marching, from the cradle to the grave," and that "Angel fingers beckon you," graced the tops of columns 2 and 3. All the rest was the usual clipped miscellany, for the first page had not yet been devoted by the newspapers in general to anything like local news.

The advertising in the rest of the paper proclaims the virtues of all the known commodities of the day, from Florence Sewing Machines to Gleason cheese, handled exclusively by a Main street firm of bakers. Cancer cures were already beginning to hold out hope to sufferers; there was, for instance, an ad headed "Peace! Peace!" in which readers are told of Dr. Henley's "knifeless cancer cure." Steamship and stage lines were extensive advertisers; a great reduction in regular fares from Portland is announced; the new rates were $5 from Portland to Salem; $8 to Albany, and $12 to Eugene.

The advertiser had not yet learned his technique, and, for instance, "S. Ackerman wishes to inform," "William Barlow begs leave to call the attention of his old friends and customers," "C. W. Pope & Co., the subscribers, would respectfully announce," are characteristic of the ads of the day.

There wasn't much local news, but it was not uncommon in those days to get one's name in print by obtaining subscribers for the paper. So there was this item:

Still They Come.—Our friends, Dr. J. L. Barlow, Sheriff Burns, E. B. Kelly and B. C. Lewis have again placed us under obligations for lists of yearly subscribers. Thank you gentlemen. The larger the subscription list, the better will be the paper we shall be able to lay before you.

Inspection of files and comparison with the calendar indicate that the paper had a way of coming out some weeks on Friday and some on Saturday.

In July 1867 the Enterprise was enlarged to an eight-column paper to accommodate increased advertising.

Ireland's successor as publisher in 1869 was John Myers, who employed D. M. McKenney, a lawyer, and E. D. Kelly to get out the paper for him.

Myers didn't stay long, and about 1870 we find two well-known names in early Oregon journalism connected with the story of the Enterprise. The first was M. H. Abbott, better known in connection with Albany and Baker journalism, who soon sold to Anthony Noltner, native German, then just past 30 years old, who had started his newspaper career as "devil" in the office of J. C. Avery's Occidental Messenger in Corvallis, and whose half-century in Oregon journalism covered most of the state.

F. S. Dement succeeded Noltner in 1875, succeeded by John Rock four years later. Rock kept the paper going for the next five years, then in 1884 J. A. White took charge, selling out to E. M. Rands, later a Clark county (Wash.) state senator, who became publisher January 2, 1887. Charles Meserve bought the Enterprise in the spring of 1889, selling a half interest in September 1890 to J. M. Lawrence. Meserve & Lawrence carried on until 1898, when, after the death of his wife and baby, Meserve withdrew.[2] The paper was now taken over by a group of ten Oregon City business men, who sold it to L. L. Porter, another lawyer, who gave up his practice to become an editor.

It was under Mr. Porter's ownership that the linotype came to Oregon City in 1902. In 1906 he sold the paper to an Ohio main named Thomas, who kept the paper only a few months. The paper was then again taken over by a group of business men, for whom H. A. Galloway conducted the paper a short time. They sold to E. E. Brodie February 7, 1908. Mr. Brodie had been, with A. E. Frost, publisher of the Courier, competing paper, of which we shall presently speak.

Mr. Brodie, a native of Oregon, was another of the long procession of newspapermen who included Astoria in his working itinerary. He went through high school there and for several years was a carrier on the Morning Astorian. In his own words (Oregon Exchanges, June 1918), "In the summers I learned to stick type, umpire baseball and ride on merry-go-rounds." After taking a few courses in the University of Oregon he got a $12-a-month job on the old Florence West. Eighteen months of that, and he was in the red when he left town. A stretch of typesetting on the Eugene Register, then back to Astoria, and thence in 1901 to Oregon City, where he took the news-editing job on the Enterprise.

Mr. Brodie published the first edition of the Morning Enterprise, daily, January 8, 1911, while the weekly continued under the old name Oregon City Enterprise. New brick quarters were erected orn the present site in 1919 and enlarged in 1927.

Mr. Brodie remained as publisher until January 1, 1935, when the paper was purchased from him by W. E. Tyler, F. T. Humphrey, George H. Brodie, and Charles F. Bollinger. Mr. Bollinger sold out his interest in June. Humphrey remained as editor, Tyler business manager, and George Brodie manager of the commercial printing department.

Edward E. Brodie, retiring owner, removed to San Francisco and associated himself with a leading advertising firm. After three years, however, he repurchased the paper and returned to Oregon City. Twice before Mr. Brodie had been away from his paper. One of these occasions was when, in 1921, the incoming Republican ad ministration sent him along the trail of John Barrett and William H. Hornibrook, also Oregon newspaper men, to be minister to Siam. The other was a three-year stay in Helsinki (Helsingfors), where President Hoover had sent him to be minister to Finland. He died widely mourned, of a heart attack in the state capitol at Salem, June 27, 1939.

Since 1879, under F. S. Dement's editorship, the Enterprise has been continuously Republican in politics

While Mr. Brodie was in Siam, the Enterprise was managed and edited by Hal E. Hoss, Mr. Brodie's associate in the Enterprise, who was one of Oregon's best-loved newspaper men. He served five terms as secretary-treasurer and two terms as president of the Oregon State Editorial Association, and when his untimely death occurred in February 1935 he was serving his second term as Oregon's secretary of state. While secretary of the association Mr. Hoss developed the possibilities of that position to the full extent feasible for one not devoting his whole time to the work, and he was the last unpaid secretary, being succeeded in 1927 by Harris Ellsworth as the first field manager.

During Mr. Brodie's absence in Finland the Enterprise was edited by H. B. Cartlidge, a former editor of the McMinnville Telephone Register.

The twice-a-week Banner-Courier of Oregon City is the consolidation of the Clackamas County Banner and the Oregon City Courier, in 1920. The Oregon City Courier, which in turn had absorbed the Herald, was established as a Friday weekly, independent Democratic in politics, by I. LeMahieu in 1883. LeMahieu conducted the paper until 1894 when A. W. Chaney took hold. Chaney's regime lasted for several years; J. H. Westover was publisher in 1904. The next year he was succeeded by Shirley Buck and H. L. McCann, who in turn gave place to E. E. Brodie and A. E. Frost in 1906 (The Oregon City Enterprise publisher that year, according to Ayer's Directory, was H. A. Galloway, who had published several other newspapers, in the Middle West and Oregon.) W. A. Shewman Jr. was the publisher in 1909. Two years later M. J. Browne took hold and ran the paper until 1915, when E. R. Brown pur chased the paper. In 1917 C. W. Robey became publisher.

Meanwhile, in 1916, W. E. Hassler, who has founded several small newspapers in Oregon, established the Clackamas County Banner. A later publisher was J. C. Dimm, late of Springfield. This was merged with the Courier as the Banner-Courier in 1920, while Hal E. Hoss, who had become editor of the Banner, went over to the Morning Enterprise as managing editor for Mr. Brodie, and the consolidated paper was directed by Fred J. Tooze. Tooze and Earl C. Brownlee conducted the Banner-Courier in 1923, and in 1924 the paper was sold to E. A. Koen, late of the Polk County Observer at Dallas. Mr. Koen, experienced publisher, with his son E. P. Koen, who dropped studies in the University of Oregon at the end of his third year to plunge into active newspaper work, has been conductng the paper ever since.

The Herald, started in 1893 as a Friday Populist weekly, ran through to 1898, when it was taken over by the Courier and run for a time as the Courier-Herald. After a few years the Herald part of the name was dropped.

Other publications conducted at Oregon City have been the Press, a Republican semi-weekly, launched in 1896 by Maurice E. Bain, which was gone in two years; the Clackamas Post, a Germanlanguage newspaper, which ran during 1897, and the Labor Exchange Accountant, a labor paper conducted in 1896 and 1897 by A. J. and G. E. Kellogg.

There was also the Western Stock Journal, a monthly established in 1916 by Grant B. Dimick, who a few years later disappeared from Oregon City while under charges of defrauding clients he repre sented in property deals.

Canby.—This community has had three weekly newspapers since Herbert L. Gill, who started several newspapers in Oregon and Washington a generation ago, launched the Clackamas County Register, a Saturday paper, in 1896. After a few months he sold the paper to John D. Stevens, who suspended it in 1898.

Prior to this the town had had a one-third interest in the Three Sisters, a four-page six-column paper issued for Aurora, Barlow, and Canby by Maurice E. Bain, from 1890 to 1894.

The Tribune, a Friday weekly independent in politics, became a Republican paper, merged with the Willamette Valley Irrigator, using the combined name, with W. H. Lucke editor. F. M. Roth was editor and publisher in 1912. The next year the name was changed to the Canby Irrigator, H. P. Bennett editor and publisher.

The present newspaper, succeeding the Irrigator ın the field, was started in 1915 as the Clackamas County News. In 1923 W. C. Culbertson, prominent Democratic politician, took hold of the paper, changing the name to the Canby Herald. In 1928 he gave way to H. E. Browne, who conducted the paper until 1937. when his health failed and he turned the paper over to C. F. Hall, the present publisher. Mr. Browne died in 1938.

Milwaukie.—The Milwaukie Review, present occupant of the field, was founded by George A. McArthur, typographical veteran of nearly half a century's experience, April 14, 1921. McArthur was one of the printers who, rather dubiously, went to the aid of Tom Dillon and M. H. Voorhees when they were starting the East Side News in Portland in 1902. He ran the Review until 1926, when C. O. Wilson, former intertype salesman, took hold. Wilson remained until 1930, when S. L. Burton, present owner, purchased the paper.

Milwaukie journalism, of course, goes right back to the beginning, when Lot Whitcomb started the Western Star. Portland won the battle for a future, and Milwaukie journalism apparently lay fallow until 1905, when the Milwaukie Bee, a Saturday weekly, Charles Ballard editor, tried out the field, moving to Sellwood, inside Portland city limits, the next year and becoming the Sellwood Bee (still running).

A little daily, the News, came and went in 1908.

The Milwaukie Record, a weekly, however, launched in the same year, kept going, under James P. Shaw publisher, lasting until 1911, when it was succeeded in the field by the Milwaukie Appeal, S. A. Thomas editor-publisher, issued Fridays. All gone by 1912.

C. W. Barzee started the Alliance, a semi-monthly Socialist publication, in 1912, but it soon dropped out.

Ayer's for 1916 lists the Press, a weekly published by the Press Publishing Company, as the only Milwaukie publication. In the 1921 Ayer's the field appeared as empty again. The Review, already mentioned, came along in 1921.

Molalla.—Molalla was another of the many Oregon towns whose journalism followed the railroad. When it was known that Molalla was going to be on the line, Gordon J. Taylor looked up the field and three months before train service began, the weekly Pioneer was issued—March 7, 1913.

During the World war, when Mr. Taylor went overseas as an entertainer, his son Walter J. Taylor conducted the paper. Mr. Taylor served several terms in the legislature. In 1930 he sold to J. Vila Blake, who gave way the next year to C. L. Ireland, oldtime editor and printer, who learned his newspaper craft from his father, D. C. Ireland, one of the real pioneers of Oregon journalism. Mr. Ireland had been publisher of the Sherman County Observer at Moro. C. L. Ireland is an ex-president of the Oregon Editorial Association, which he headed in 1906.

Estacada.—Estacada's first newspaper was the weekly Progress, founded in 1908 by E. S. Womer. It was a four-page paper, 18x21. He ran the paper for several years, until in 191 1 G. E. LaFollette took charge as editor and doubled the size of the Progress. Nina B. Ecker was editor in 1914, followed by R. M. Standish, under whom the name was changed to the Eastern Clackamas News. Upton H. Gibbs, former Episcopal clergyman, took hold in 1918, remaining until 1924, when Miss Leila C. Howe became editor for the Estacada Publishing Company. One of her associates in the publishing concern was Elliott Stewart, printing veteran of Washington and Alaska experience. Succeeding her as editor, W. A. Heylman took hold in 1928. Next year came L. D. Meade as editor, publisher, manager. Mr. Meade is still in charge.


  1. Longer sketch of Mr. Ireland appears in connection with Astorian, page 303 ff.
  2. Howard Petit in souvenir edition of Enterprise, September 12, 1937.