History of Oregon Newspapers/The Pioneer Period

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THE year 1846 opens an epoch in Oregon history. In that year the northern boundary question was settled by treaty with Great Britain, making Oregon a part of the United States. In that year, too, there began publication in the little wooden village at the falls of the Willamette the first newspaper in the whole great West.

It was 13 years, almost to a day, before the admission of Oregon as a state, that its journalism was born with the first issue of the Oregon Spectator, at Oregon City, February 5, 1846. From that day to the present the history of Oregon journalism has paralleled the history of the commonwealth.

It is hard for one of this generation to visualize the conditions attending the publication of that early newspaper, the first issued west of the Missouri river. Those were the days when the covered wagon drawn by "deliberate oxen" was the accepted mode of travel —days when towns grew up along the water courses because there were as yet no roads; days of log cabins and cedar shake lean-tos; when a hundred miles was a good day's journey by water or a week's journey by land. Days of hardship, of privation. But— days of pioneer hope, of courage, of forward-looking; days when interest in things educational and uplifting far outran the meagre facilities and stimulated the rugged pioneer to the cooperative effort which laid the foundations of a later culture.

To the north, the hunter and the trapper held sway under the watchful eye of the Hudson's Bay Company. To the south, California was in its last year of Mexican sovereignty. The last civilization to the east had its outposts on the banks of the Missouri. So Oregon pioneered the way on the Pacific. In those days the Oregon country was the whole vast domain north of California up to the controversial Canadian border and as far east as the Rocky mountains. The little old Spectator was started long before this vast region was cut up into a group of several sovereign states.

California was to have no newspaper until Colton & Semple issued their one-page 12½×8¾ Californian at Monterey, August 15, 1846,[1] seven months after the Spectator appeared. The first news paper in Washington was not to appear until September 11, 1852, when Wiley & McElroy established the Columbian at Olympia, largely with the aim of urging Congress to constitute that part of Oregon north of the Columbia river as the territory of Columbia.

Farther east, of course, journalism was strongly established. When the Spectator appeared as the pioneer newspaper of the West, big daily papers were flourishing in the cities of the East. The whole number of dailies was 254, published in nearly 200 cities. The whole number of newspapers, daily, weekly, semi-weekly, and tri-weekly, published in the United States, was 2,526.[2]

James Gordon Bennett the elder was at the helm of his New York Herald, established eleven years before with $500 capital and dedicated to the policy that news is more important than editorial opinion, scandal and gossip more interesting than even politics, and conducted with a journalistic enterprise that blazed the way to achievement.

Horace Greeley's New York Tribune was five years old, and its great editor was swinging into the stride that made him one of the immortals of journalism. Henry J. Raymond and George Jones were soon to found the New York Times, a newspaper with an aim different from either Bennett's or Greeley's, placing "the news that's fit to print"—a slogan adopted many years later—ahead of either scandal or gossip or political opinion.

The Oregon Spectator was not the creature of some early journalist looking for a location; it was rather the project of a distinguished group of pioneers who saw the need for official publication of the corporate acts of the new American territory which was to take the place of the jointly occupied Oregon country, in which both British and American citizenship had been recognized.

This group organized, late in 1845, the Oregon Printing Association, for the purpose of establishing the Spectator. The association, in turn, was more or less the outgrowth of the Pioneer Lyceum and Literary Club formed in Oregon City in 1843. Officers of the company, which included several of the leading men of the new commonwealth, were W. G. T'Vault, president; J. W. Nesmith, vice-president; John P. Brooks, secretary; George Abernethy, treasurer; and Robert Newell, John E. Long, and John H. Couch, directors. T'Vault, who was made editor, was postmaster general of Oregon (the size of which job, important as it was, at that time can be judged from the fact that the legislature appropriated $50 to carry on the work for a year. Strangely, this huge appropriation was exhausted before the end of the 12 months.) Nesmith became United States senator from Oregon and father-in-law of Levi Ankeny of Walla Walla, who about sixty years later became a United States senator from Washington, a great state of which no man in the forties had dreamed. Nesmith was also an ancestor of the Nesmiths, McArthurs, and other families prominent in later Oregon. Aber nethy was the first governor of Oregon; and John E. Long, the first secretary of the commonwealth. Couch was soon to become treasurer of the young government. Other members of the association were F. W. Pettygrove, first owner of the site of Portland, who gave the city its name, and A. L. Lovejoy, mayor, successively, of Oregon City and Portland—the two men who flipped a coin to see whether to call their new town Boston or Portland; H. A. G. Lee, of the Virginia Lees, leader of a punitive column against the Indians after the Whitman massacre—all names that go right back to the beginning of things in Oregon.

The Spectator had a modal beginning. The paper was of four pages, 11½×17 inches over all and four columns wide, and it was issued only twice a month. T'Vault, the editor, was not a newspaper man but a lawyer. Real journalists, indeed, were scarce all over the West. Lee, the Virginian, a man of good education, a former speaker of the house in Oregon's provisional legislature, was first choice for the position. He failed to get it, and T'Vault was chosen, supposedly because Lee wanted $600 a year for the work and T'Vault was content with $300.

For this salary T'Vault attended to just about everything on the paper but the printing, which, as the masthead indicated, was done by J. Fleming. So far as this writer knows, the only surviving bit of the original plant is the old Washington hand-press, manufactured by R. Hoe & Cor, world-famous pres~builders. In those days this was a remarkable piece of machinery, for many years supreme in the hand-press field. Fast workers could turn out 150 to zoo impressions an hour, making it the work of an hour or two to print the Spectator's whole list, which totaled 155 at the height of the paper's popularity.

This type of press remains in use in some few country newspaper plants nearly too years alter the establishment of the old Spectator. This bit of the original equipment is now stored as a relic in the plant of the University of Oregon Press at Eugene. It was presented, together with other printing material, by Harrison R. Kincaid, pioneer Oregon journalist, after he had discontinued publication of the Oregon State Journal, a paper he had founded in 1864, which had spanned the period from early statehood well into the twentieth century. The press brought from the Sandwich islands (Hawaii) and used by H. H. Spalding and other missionaries at Lapwai, is several years older, but it had not been used for newspaper purposes when the Spectator made its bow.

The unquestioned priority of the Spectator in western journalism seems to call for a more extended treatment for this paper than would be called for by its modest merits as a newspaper.

The printing plant was obtained in New York through the instrumentality of Mr. Abernethy. Ten months after the start the Spectator carried a resolution passed by the printing association thanking Francis Hall, Esq, of New York, for "his kindness in forwarding the press etc., for this association, and for his generosity in giving his valuable time in selecting the articles without making any charge for his services."[3]

Mr. Hall, who also purchased the press and machinery for some other Oregon papers, including the Pacific Christian Advocate, was publisher of the New York Commercial Advertiser and a relative of Rev. Thomas H. Pearne, first editor of the Advocate.

Now, what was the old Spectator like? Let us take a look at the first issue. Of the four columns on page 1, a total of 2¾ columns was taken up with the Organic Laws of Oregon, more than three-fourths of a column was devoted to the new liquor law (for the liquor question has always been lively in Oregon, as elsewhere). Contrary to the general practice of later newspapers in Oregon, no advertising was carried on the first page, and the space not devoted to laws was given over to bits of miscellany such as "An Infallible Remedy for Lowness of Spirits" (a mixture of oil of good conscience, a tablespoonful of salt of patience, etc.) and an inch and a half of the following "Good Advice": "If your coat is comfortable, wear it two or three months longer; no matter if the gloss is off. If you have no wife, get one; if you have, God bless her, stay at home with her, instead of spending your evenings with expensive fooleries. Be honest, frugal, plain—seek content and happiness at home—be industrious and persevering; and our word for you are in debt, you will soon get out of it; your circumstances are now embarrassed, they will soon become easy, no matter who may be editor, or what may be the price of flour."

Just how beautifully this would harmonize with modern newspaper advertising psychology, the reader may judge. But this was 1846.

Now let us look at the proposed news policies. "It will be our object," read the salutatory, "to give foreign as well as internal news. Our means of obtaining news at present are limited.[4] But as the country improves, facilities for obtaining news will improve. Our columns will be open for the reception of literary productions, and all scientific gentlemen are invited to contribute to enable us to give as much general information as possible."

A close inspection of the early files gives one the idea that pioneer Oregon's small quota of scientific gentlemen were too busy with their own affairs to contribute much to the enlightenment of the general newspaper reader—a situation which, more or less, has persisted. There was no original reporting of anything scientific. The editor's interest in science was indicated by occasional cuttings from the eastern papers. In some instances, perhaps, this was authentic science, but it was not indigenous to Oregon.

Reporting of the local news was, by common consent, the weakest point in the early Oregon papers. It is distinctly noticeable in the little Spectator, which had a news judgment far from that of twentieth century reporters. This weakness, as a matter of fact, persisted in the pioneer press for several decades, during which principles of newsgathering and newswriting now commonly accepted as fundamentals were as yet still struggling to take form. Like most pioneer papers, the Spectator made no real effort to gather news; apparently it had neither the will nor the way; and whenever any item carried more than an irreducible minimum of detail, you can be sure either that the item was an editorial, loaded with the writer's opinion, or that someone, probably the secretary of some meeting, had been instructed to cover the news for the Spectator and had carried out his instructions.

It was several weeks before the city government of Oregon City was recognized in a single real news item. Meanwhile, a city government, headed by a mayor, was more or less functioning, for in the first issue the third editorial paragraph, under the heading "City Government," informs the readers that

The time has come for a thorough and complete organization of our City Corporation. Our mayor ant trustees are doing business in the right way. Our advice to them is, first: "Be sure you are right, then go ahead. Gentlemen,dig up the stumps, grade the streets, tax dogs, prohibit hogs—and advertise in the Spectator."

The first bit of real information dealing with the affairs of the city government, appearing in the third issue of the paper, apparently resulted from the advice to the officials to advertise in the Spectator, for a city ordinance appeared as a paid city notice. The ordinance itself is of peculiar interest. Contrary to the present-day city ordinance, the instrument contained seven distinct provisions, or enough for seven city ordinances today. It was signed by A. Lawrence Lovejoy, mayor, attested by Fred Prigg, city recorder, later secretary of the territory. Among the provisions of this omnibus ordinance were a prohibition of swine running at large in the city, a ban on hauling logs or timber along the streets unless attached to or slung on wheels, a ban on riding or driving furiously along the streets, and a provision for arrest and fine of any person found intoxicated, acting in a disorderly manner, or otherwise offending public decency.

More than the papers of today, the Spectator and its contemporaries and early successors sought to be "organs" and mouthpieces for the ideas, both news and editorial, of those who would take the trouble to send them in. Repeated appeals for contributions occur in the early numbers. For instance,

Will some of the old settlers in Oregon be kind enough to prepare an article for the Spectator, giving an account of the climate, soil and production of Oregon, particularly describing the location of the country, its extent and all other particulars that would be of interest to the citizens of the United States?

This general and rather vague appeal brought, in the course of a few weeks (a short time, in the pioneer tempo) an exhaustive article, more than a column long, signed M. M. M. This apparently was from the pen of Morton Matthew McCarver, a real pioneer, who, before coming to Oregon in 1843 had been a founder of Burlington, Iowa, and who was soon to move on and help Peter H. Burnett start Linnton, later to participate in the founding of other important cities, such as Sacramento and Tacoma.

In examining the Spectator and, more or less, reflecting on its enterprise and news judgment, let us not lose sight of the time as well as the geographical and social setting. It had been a scant 31 years since the great London Times, at that time probably a "monarch of the dailies," had made some reference to a battle fought in Belgium which was not without significance for the future of England and Europe. The first reference to this battle of Waterloo appeared near the bottom of a column on an inside page of the "Thunderer," and here's how it started: "We have met a gentleman who has just returned from the Low Countries." From that scarcely hair-raising be ginning the Times reporter meandered along a sluggish, winding river of rhetoric, finally arriving at the statement that a rather important battle had been won from Napoleon by the English and Prussians.

Metropolitan newswriting in America in the forties was substantially what it had been, both in America and in England, at the time of Waterloo, more than a quarter of a century before. Excerpts from the New York Tribune of July 31, 1843, and from the Albany (N. Y.) Journal of November 10, 1843, for which there is no room here, show the rather naive, uncritical, unemphatic, leisurely chronological style that characterized the newswriting of that period. A robbery story that received 200 words of space in a metropolitan paper (Albany in 1843 had a larger population than all of Oregon) began at the beginning of the action and ambled on from there.

The leisurely approach was common in the forties and even much later. It was the Spectator's regular method. Take, for instance, this important story of development north of the Columbia[5] which appeared in the only paper published in the whole West:

We are informed by a respectable gentleman who has just returned from exploring the north side of the Columbia river and Puget's Sound, that the exploring party are highly pleased with the country. North of the Columbia, particularly in the vicinity of Puget's Sound, the country, susceptible of settlement, is much more extensive, and the soil much better, than before represented. . . Hitherto the country has been unexplored by emigrants wishing to settle. We are well satisfied with the information received that that region of country north of the Columbia, as far as Frazier's River, will in a short time be populated with the enterprising emigrant, who anticipates and hopes to realize the advantages of a location at or near the harbor of Puget's Sound. To show that the above conclusions are well founded, we are informed, since writing the above, that five families have already located immediately on the Sound.

In these later days, of course, the foregoing would resent a virtually perfect example of how not to handle this particular item. Reporting and newswriting, to put it briefly and mildly, were different in those days.

The anonymous "respectable gentleman" was a prime favorite of the Spectator and a great comfort in those pioneer days. He was as frequent an authority for important news as the "little bird" was for the gossip of the more or less gay nineties.

He was used, for example, in an article on the situation in Texas[6] which, under a black-type heading "Texas" started thus:

We are informed by a respectable gentleman who has just received a letter from the United States, dated Independence, Missouri, August 12, 1845, that Texas had ac cepted the terms of annexation proposed by the congress of the United States.

Slowness in getting this news into print was no fault of the little frontier paper, for Morse's "electromagnetic telegraph," as it was then called, was an infant invention a year or so old, with only a few short local lines in the eastern states. The Pacific railroad was still a generation away, and letters came mostly by ox-drawn "express."

Passing over the disappointing diction of the first sentence, we begin to see developing a serviceable definition for the phrase "a respectable gentleman." Such a one, we gather, is any man who tells the newspaper the news. Well, what modern reporter will find fault with such a definition?

The word respectable appears pat in the first account of a public meeting ever published in the West. Like a good many meetings, before and since, that particular gathering had to do with the subject of prohibition. The chronological order of telling the story of a meeting was the vogue of those days. It was, further, the easy and usual way of writing up whatever else might find its way to the office of a pioneer paper. So that's the way the prohibition meeting of 1846 was described in the Spectator—like this:

Public Meeting

At a large and respectable meeting of the ladies and gentlemen of Oregon City, held in the Methodist church, on evening, the 12th inst., the following resolutions were adopted:

On motion of W. H. Gray, Esq., Colonel Taylor was called to the chair.

On motion of A. F. Hedges, J. S. Rinearson was ap pointed secretary of the meeting.

Col. Taylor, the chairman, then called upon Mr. Gray to state the object of the meeting, who arose and said that the law in relation to ardent spirits had been for some time, and was now, daily violated, and that the object of the meeting was to arouse public sentiment, and appoint a committee of vigilance, whose special duty it should be to see that the liquor law was fully enforced.

(Then follows five hundred words of detail, including several resolutions. The next to the last paragraph contained what the more modern reporter would have written in his first paragraph):

Mr. Gray then proposed that a committee of vigilance, consisting of six, be appointed; whereupon the following gentlemen were named by the chairman as members of the committee, viz.: Messrs. Gray, Crawford, Robb, Barlow, Hood, and Engle.

The last paragraph informs the reader that the secretary was instructed to make out a complete record of the proceedings of the meeting, which was to be signed by the chairman and secretary, and handed to the editor, with the request that it be published in the Oregon Spectator, and that on motion the meeting adjourned with prayer.

If the term respectable gentleman is inseparable from all accounts of news coming from any distance, "painful duty" and "melancholy circumstances" are the stand-bys in all accounts of accidents. Thus the following introduction to an account of the death by drowning of Dr. John E. Long, secretary of the territory:[7]

It is our painful duty to record the death of Dr. John E. Long, secretary of the territory, who was drowned in the Clackamas river, near this place, on Sunday, 21st ult., under the following melancholy circumstances:

This is followed by the chronological account of the drowning, as nearly as the facts could be pieced together, since there was no witness.

If it were not for the presence of a three-column general article on the first page of the thirteenth number of the Spectator[8] justifying the annexation of Mexican territory, and almost a full column clipping from the Baltimore American advocating an Indian state, we might attribute to shortage of space the short shrift given the following two items:

  1. Duncan McLean was committed to jail on Friday last (17th inst.) on suspicion of having murdered a Mr. Owens.
  2. The Rt. Rev. Norbert Blanchett was consecrated bishop of Oregon Territory on the 15th of July, 1845, in the Roman Catholic cathedral, at Montreal, Canada.

The curious reader is left stranded high and dry with his further detail on these items, on which nothing further was revealed by diligent search.

Before any reader rushes to the conclusion that Protestant in fluence accounts for the brevity of the Bishop Blanchett item, let him note here what the Spectator, friendly as it probably was to the Methodists, did with a big Methodist story right on its very door step.[9] The news tip appeared in the form of a notice reading as follows:

Quarterly Meeting

The Methodist Quarterly Meeting will commence at the Methodist Episcopal church, in Oregon City, on the first Sunday in April next.

Now, what was done with this quarterly meeting when held? Careful search of the files of the Spectator fails to reveal any further reference to this event. Perhaps the Spectator group reasoned the way that old German reporter in a small Pennsylvania town accounted for his failure to write anything about a fire which destroyed the German Evangelical church: "All the good Germans were out at the fire, and nobody else cared anything about it." Anyhow, the meeting received no further attention in the press of Oregon.

More likely, however, the parallel is with the treatment given two stories of some interest—a meeting to organize a military company and the results of the Oregon legislative elections.[10]

Here is the election story, with the explanation of why it is so in complete:

The Late Election

We have not been favored with the official returns of the election at present, but presume the following will be found correct:

Representatives —

For Clackamas County—Hiram Straight, A. L. Lovejoy, W. G. T'Vault

For Champoeg —Angus McDonald, Jesse Looney, Robert Newell, A. Chamberlain

For Tualaty—Joseph L. Meek, Lawrence Hall, D. H. Lownsdale

For Yam Hill—A. J. Hembree, Thomas Jeffreys

For Clatsop— George Summers

For Lewis—W. F. Tolmie

For Vancouver—H. W. Peers For Polk—no election.

The reader is left to presume that this is correct, for the item has no figures. No attempt by the Spectator to obtain anything official, even from its own Clackamas county, is indicated, and apparently the paper never was "favored with the official returns," for search of later issues fails to reveal any further reference in the Spectator to this particular election. Seventy-five words! That should satisfy even the most thoroughgoing apostles of brevity in the news. "Slashing to the bone!" —but "the bone" also is missing.

Now, as against this super-brevity, note the generous space given the meeting for the organization of the military company—four hundred words. The item contains a list of all the officers, down to the fourth corporal. The clue to this unusual adequacy perhaps, contained in the opening paragraph, which begins:

Mr. Editor—You are requested to publish the proceedings of a meeting which was held, pursuant to notice . . . .

And the last paragraph completes the explanation:

On motion, resolved, that the president and secretary sign the proceedings of this meeting and forward copy of them to the editor of the Oregon Spectator for publication.

This article, too, is written chronologically and run, apparently, article, too, with handed in, no hint in the beginning as to what finally was done.

Society notes, sport items, dramatics—all reflect the industry and enterprise of someone connected with the event rather than of anyone on the Spectator. These phases of the news are discussed elsewhere in this volume.

The first obituary run in an Oregon newspaper was the Spectator's tribute to Jason Lee, missionary, written by Rev. David Leslie. This notice ran three-quarters of column. The missionary had died eleven months before, but this was the first opportunity for publication of an obituary.

The first fire story dealt with a blaze in property of the noted Dr. John McLoughlin. Behold the subjective style of news-writing:

Fire!—On Saturday the 7th instant, the plank kiln of Dr. John McLoughlin was discovered to be on fire, which was, however, soon extinguished by the united efforts of the Americans, English, Irish, Kanakas (alias Sandwich Islanders), and Indians. On that occasion it was hard to tell which nation had the preference. It was a perfect heterogeneous mass of conglomerated gutteral sounds. "Hiack tsuck!" was the only audible sound we could hear, and that was from the doctor himself, which means hurry! water! Loss sustained about 1000 feet of lumber.

The first bits of society news and of dramatic reviewing appear in the second issue of the Spectator, February 19, 1846. These items, contrasting in form and content with the modern treatment of such subjects, are treated in another part of this volume.

The first death notice, brief and bare of detail, follows:

Died—In this city, on Monday the 26th ultimo, at the residence of Mr. W. H. Gray, Miss Julia Anna Stratuff, aged about 14 years.

It took several weeks to work off the first bit of sports news ever published in the territory. This dealt with a horse race at Vancouver July 25, 1846, before Great Britain had given up her claim to the Oregon country. Nothing much was thought of the 26 days delay in getting into print the news from across the Columbia, a distance of less than 30 miles. The item started August 20 with the statement that "Saturday, the 25th ult., was a great day for Vancouver." The ending is, therefore, disappointing, for the reader is informed: "We acknowledge the receipt of the accompanying list of horses, owners, riders, heats, prizes, etc., etc., which we find too lengthy for insertion.—Ed."

By October 1, under the new editor, George L. Curry, the Spectator got around to another mention of the races, and the results were published, in bare summary form, a month later. The races, even on the pioneer "track," must have been a lot faster than that.

Now for a word on the "business" side of the paper. From the buyer's point of view the subscription price of $5 in advance or $6 a year if not paid before the expiration of six months was "plenty" for a paper of the Spectator's size. Any of the Portland dailies of today sets more type for a single issue than was contained in the Spectator in all of its 23 issues of 1846. With fewer than 200 subscribers, however, the circulation receipts were nothing tremendous, even for those times.

The advertising rate was $1.50 a "square" of 16 lines or less, which seems to figure about 75 cents an inch, for the first insertion, and half as much for each subsequent insertion. The early-day newspaper found it necessary to emphasize prompt, and preferably advance, payment—and these rates were "payable in advance."

Both content and typography of this early advertising were rudimentary. Type faces were unattractive, from present-day standards, and there were no borders. Advertisement-writing was obviously in its infancy, and once an ad was in type it seemed quite impossible either to get it out of the paper or to change any part of it.[11]

Among the interesting bits in the first issue of the Spectator are little ads for the Oregon Milling Company and for a hat manufactory, early Oregon industrial concerns, and the first real estate advertisement of a long line that have come down from pioneer times. In this ad C. E. Pickett, City Hotel, Oregon City, was advertising "Town Lots for Sale", informing prospective buyers that the lots were just at the foot of Clackamas rapids.

It has been said that the advertising of early days gave a better picture of living conditions than anything that appeared in the sparse news columns. This seems true in connection with the things that people ate and wore. The following 1846 Spectator advertisement, for instance, is perhaps more valuable as a glimpse of the life of the time than as an example of pioneer advertising art:

The Red House, Portland

Just received, per Toulon of New York, on consignment, the following goods, viz.:

20 cases wooden clocks, 20 barrels dried apples;
3 saw mills; 1 doz. cross cut saws; mill saws and saw sets; mill cranks, plough shares and pitchforks ;
1 winnowing machine; 100 casks cut nails;
50 boxes saddlers' tacks; 6 boxes carpenters' tools;
12 dozen hand axes; 20 boxes manufactured tobacco;
5,000* cigars, 50 kegs white lead
(*changed in next issue to 50,000 and thus continued)
100 kegs paints; ½doz. medicine chests;
50 bags Rio coffee; 25 bags pepper;
200 boxes soap;
50 cases boots and shoes; 6 doz. slippers;
50 cane seat chairs ; 40 doz. wooden seat do.
50 dozen sarsaparilla ; 10 bales sheetings;
4 cases assorted prints;
1 bale damask Tartan shawls
5 pieces striped jeans; 6 doz. cotton do. do.
12 doz. linen duck pants; 10 doz. satinett jackets;
12 doz. red flannel shirts;
200 doz. cotton hdk'fs; 6 cases white cot. flannels;
6 bales extra heavy indigo blue cotton ;
2 cases negro prints ; 1 case black velveteen ;
4 cases Mackinaw blankets;
150 casks and bbls. molasses;
450 bags sugar, etc., etc., for sale at reduced prices for cash, by


At the Red House, Oregon City, and at Portland, 12 miles below this city. Jan. 29, 1846—2 wk.[12]

Present-day students of advertising will notice, in this typical pioneer advertisement a fundamental difference from the content of a twentieth century advertisement. There is nowhere any mention of price in these merchandise ads. Not that price was unimportant; but the big question, in those early days of slow and irregular transportation, was not so much What will the thing cost? but Is it in stock? Merchants would at once reassure their prospective customers with a long list of just how many hand-axes and boxes of soap had come, in and a notation of what vessel had brought the goods. Item pricing was in the future; Pettygrove, for instance, contented himself with the single inconspicuous line "for sale at reduced prices for cash." Here again, incidentally, is perhaps an indication of how hard it was to get hold of actual cash. Everyone was hopeful, most of the time; all had prospects; but as for cash . . . .

An advertisement in the first number of the Spectator carried an echo of an event which, perhaps as much as any other, brought about the organization of a government for the Oregon country—the death of Ewing Young, carrying the necessity for the settlement of his estate, the first one settled in the new country. The event brought the Spectator, in its first number, the following bit of legal advertising, a little belated, perhaps, for Young's death occurred in 1843:

Administrator's Notice

All Persons indebted to the estate of Ewing Young, late of Yam Hill, deceased, are hereby notified to make immediate payment, and thereby save cost, as this is the last call, said estate having been ordered to be immediately closed up. February 2, 1846. A. Lawrence Lovejoy, Adm'r.

Three of the eight columns of advertising in the Spectator of a typical issue (May 23, 1851), or three-sixteenths of the whole paper (close to 20 per cent) was devoted to what newspaper men call "patent medicine ads", ballyhooing various cure-alls. Such advertis ing, of course, was finally banned by law. Here is what "Sand's Sarsaparilla, in Quart Bottles," was permitted to tell the more or less trusting public of those days:
For purifying the blood, and for the cure of scrofula, mercurial diseases, Rheumatism, Cutaneous Eruptions, Stubborn Ulcers, Liver Complaint, Dyspepsia, Bronchitis, Salt Rheum, Consumption, Fever Sores, Female Complaints, Erysipelas, Loss of Appetite, Pimples, Boils, General Debility, &c.

This stuff did not even have to be marked advertising in those easy-going days of journalism.

Similar in apparent optimism was a 1-column ad in the same number for Radway's Ready Relief (R.R.R.) This preparation, it appeared,

Instantly Stops Pain, internal and external; Prompt in Action—Speedy in Effect.

And there were others of like purport.

Constructive Early Journalism

However raw and crude the Oregon City of 1846 must needs have been, with its one-story false-front frame business buildings, its hip-booted men in winter mud and summer dust, with rather ready firearms for settlement of differences, its sprinkling of calicoed women in their little wooden cabins, their horizon narrowed by thick primeval forests,—the first editor of the Spectator was imbued with the optimism of the pioneer. The air was bracing, forest and snow peak and rushing river gave an inspiring setting, the new soil was productive. Socially and culturally the place was not advanced, of course, and economically it was at its beginnings. But the future beckoned, rosy-fingered. And the note of the Oregon-that-is-to-be runs constant through the writings of virtually all of the editors of this early period. Thus T'Vault in his salutatory:

Happily situated in a healthy and fertile part of the continent, with a salubrious climate, the soil yielding a rich reward to the industrious cultivator, with an abundance of water power not surpassed on the globe, to invite the attention and investment of capitalists in the establishment of machinery. Immediately on the coast of the mighty Pacific, with bays and rivers traversing our rich and fertile plains, affording the greatest facilities to commerce, and must, with the intelligent and enterprising Anglo-Saxons, in a short time, become one of the greatest commercial countries on the Pacific.[13]

Here, despite the more than dubious syntax, we have at the very beginning of Oregon journalism a determination to be of service in bringing to the attention of the world the economic advantages of the far Northwest for those with the courage and determination to cut themselves off from eastern civilization.

Both in news and editorial the Spectator made an effort to improve the economic status of the early Oregon people. A glance at a most uncomfortable phase of economic conditions of Oregon as they were found by the little newspaper is available in the text of the Oregon laws, publication of which was a leading occasion of the establishment of the paper:[14]

Be it enacted, (etc.) . . . . that in addition to gold and silver, treasury drafts, approved orders on solvent merchants, and good merchantable wheat at the market price, delivered at such places as it is customary for merchants to receive wheat at, shall be a lawful tender for the payment of taxes and judgments rendered in the courts of Oregon territory, and for the payment of all debts contracted in Oregon territory, where no special contracts have been made to the contrary.

The unsatisfactory nature of such a currency system needs no argument. The Spectator saw the trouble and before long objected to the system, saying:

We regard the whole affair as a misfortune, the evils of which are still felt by all classes in Oregon. We are still, as we have ever been, opposed to making currency a subject of legislation, for we think it almost impossible to make any change of the "legal tender" without affecting, more or less, private contracts. Could we have our own individual choice of a legal tender, it should be the precious metals only, and to this we believe we will be compelled to come ultimately — perhaps the sooner the better.

Not long afterward (October 15, 1846),[15] the board of directors of the Oregon Printing Association, owner of the Spectator, published a resolution bearing quite directly on the muddled currency situation. It provided that "hereafter all persons subscribers to the Oregon Spectator be hereby informed that Oregon scrip will not be received in payment for the paper."

In those old days, perhaps even more decidedly than the present, the influence of a newspaper was promoted greatly by the communications contributed by informed persons on matters of current inter est. Economic matters were often the subject of such letters to the editor. One of the frequent contributors to the columns of Oregon's first newspaper was Morton Matthew McCarver, previously mentioned. In the issue of the Spectator for July 9, 1846, Mr. McCarver had a communication running more than a column, deploring the decline of business, lack of transportation and communication facilities, a general neglect of Oregon by the American government—which at the time, it must be remembered, was busy extending the southwestern frontiers.

A few months later,[16] the Spectator gave two-thirds of a column of its space to a communication signed "A Friend to Fair Trade" urging organization of a company with a capital stock of "six or eight hundred thousand bushels of wheat" to drive the Hudson's Bay Company from the country. The Spectator, however, did not comment, saying, simply, "The article speaks for itself."

These were the opening guns of an extended battle between spokesmen for the farmers and the mercantile interests. Long communications appeared, not always free from bitterness, on each side, with the paper itself maintaining a neutral attitude while giving generously of its restricted space to the argument sent in.

The longest bit of local news appearing in the Spectator of March 4, 1847, was an article 1¾ columns long dealing with "a meeting in Tualatin plains, to devise means to prevent our (the farmers') ruin, by the refusal of the shipping merchants to do for us a freighting business, and the exorbitant price upon the necessaries of life." At the meeting steps were taken[17] to procure wheat for flouring, and to arrange for the building of a ship by the farmers and mechanics of Oregon, so that they might "get into one harmonious whole for the purpose of taking care of" themselves "rather than re main a burden upon those who sell goods only for accommodation."

Following this, a two-column article[18] told of a Tualatin farmers' meeting at which a proposal of George Abernethy, governor of Oregon and influential member of the Spectator's board of directors, to flour wheat for the farmers of the Tualatin valley was accepted unanimously. Resolutions adopted covering a column and a half of space were concerned mostly with rules for the formation of the Oregon Producers' Exporting and Importing Company—stock to be taken in shares of 100 bushels of wheat each or its equivalent in available funds. The newspaper is taking some interest in the farmers' economic welfare when it devotes such an amount of space to this meeting. As usual, the influence of the paper in stimulating interest in developments even without giving definite editorial indorsement is recognized in the request made of the officers that they present the account of the meeting to the paper for publication.

The newspaper, it must be said, displayed proper standards of ethics in connection with the farmers' dispute with the companies (particularly the Hudson's Bay organization) by printing without comment a 1¾-column defense of the wheat-purchasing policy of the company, signed Observer,[19] which employed copious statistics in support of the claim that the Hudson's Bay Company was treating the farmers fairly. Regardless of the merits of this controversy, it is apparent that the newspaper's columns were used to influence the prevailing economic situation and that the publishers were perfectly willing to devote extensive space to this type of material.

California as a market for Oregon products was discovered even in advance of the great gold discoveries of 1848 and was presented to the people of Oregon by the Spectator[20] in the light of an opportunity; as witness a letter from C. E. Pickett "of California" to General McCarver, P. H. Burnett, Colonel Ford, and D. Waldo, published in part, which related that "the Toulon (flour steamer) has sold out for $15 per barrel, making just about $10 cash profit on each barrel, in a ten days' sail from the Columbia." Also, "California wants 10,000 barrels of flour from Oregon the present year, if not more. . . . Tell your farmers to put in every grain of spring wheat they can possibly sow, and also a large crop next fall. California will have to import flour for two years to come, at least—and Oregon and Chile must supply this demand.

"Pine lumber . . . $80 per thousand feet, and still in demand; shingles, $8 per thousand

"Butter 50 to 62½¢ per pound; cheese, 25¢ send a good lot down. . . . Our currency is now all cash"

Years before the war department authorized the railroad surveys made by Isaac I. Stevens and others, in the fifties, the Spectator printed[21] a long editorial, more than a column, urging the practicability of a railroad to Oregon.

The subject of a national railroad to Oregon was one of the main topics of a public meeting held in Oregon City late in September of 1846. The Spectator in its issue of October 1 gave about a column of space to the proceedings of the meeting, at which not only was a resolution passed urging the government to put through such a line to Oregon but a committee of five headed by A. L. Lovejoy was appointed to take into consideration the propriety of devising some means whereby a general expression of opinion from the people in this territory could be had, relative to memorializing Congress on this and any other subject.

Communications published by the Spectator in the first few numbers of its second volume, under the editorship of George L. Curry, dealt extensively with roads into Oregon, with more or less argument over the relative advantages of northern and southern routes. There appeared also a two-column letter from A. Whitney, "projector of the great railway from the lakes to the Pacific," describing the proposed route and concluding

Immediate action is necessary; this question must be decided by next Congress—the lands from the lakes to the Mississippi are fast being taken up, and will soon be so much so as to defeat the object.[22]

Now for a few words about the various editors who conducted the Spectator in the nine years before the old nameplate was finally laid away, in March, 1855. Lee, as already noted, soon obtained the editorship, at first denied him. T'Vault was too political-minded to suit Governor Abernethy and some of the other influential men in the publishing association. T'Vault, in his "non-partisan" salutatory in the first issue, announced himself a strong Jeffersonian, and he felt too much trammeled by article 8 of the constitution of the Oregon Printing Association. This article declared that "the press owned by or in connection with the association shall never be used by any party for the purpose of propagating sectarian principles or doctrines, nor for the discussion of exclusive party politics."

In his salutatory editorial T'Vault expressed the inspired view (rather obviously not his own) that in the state of society in Oregon it would be unwise for the Spectator to advocate partisan politics.

A large majority of the citizens of Oregon (he wrote) are immigrants from the United States. It might also be expected by a portion of the citizens that the Oregon Spectator would be a political organ; but reason and good sense argue differently.

Almost surely it was T'Vault's inability to maintain this non-partisan point of view that was soon to force him off the job.

T'Vault charged in his valedictory, April 2, 1846, that the reason assigned for his dismissal—his faulty orthography and syntax — was not the real reason. It was politics, he charged; and it is not unlikely that his editorial eulogy of Andrew Jackson may have irritated the influential Governor Abernethy, who was a Whig and a Methodist. Here we have the first journalistic clash between the New England and the Southern element among the early Oregon settlers.

T'Vault was a Kentuckian, supposedly of Scotch-Irish and French descent. He was trained for the law but was believed to have had some newspaper training in Arkansas before crossing the plains in 1845.[23]

T'Vault was politically prominent in Oregon from the start. He member of the legislature of the provisional government in 1846 and, as already noted, was prosecuting attorney and postmaster general at the time of his election to edit the Spectator. In 1851 he established an express line from Winchester, in Douglas county, to Yreka, Siskiyou county, California. In the following year he participated, with no great glory, in the Rogue River Indian war. In 1855, together with Messrs. Taylor and Blakeley, he purchased the plant of the Umpqua Gazette, of Scottsburg, and moved it to Jack sonville, changing the name to the Table Rock Sentinel. He left this paper in 1859 after its name had been changed to the Oregon Sentinel. In 1863 he issued the Jacksonville Intelligencer from the plant of the defunct Civilian. The venture was unsuccessful. He withdrew from journalism, went back into law, practicing in southern Oregon. He died of smallpox in 1869.

Lee, second editor of the Spectator, remained as editor for only a few issues, giving up his position with evidences of relief. He had done nothing in the position conspicuously good or bad. Lee's was a good-humored, non-controversial Spectator, but not distinguished. He was editor from April 16 to August 6, nine bi-weekly issues.

During that time he managed to keep off any controversial sub ject that might ruffle the calm of his publishers, or, for that matter, of anyone else. This (1846) was an election year, and Lee carried the Spectator right through the "campaign" without mentioning a single "issue" or treading upon any individual corn that could be seen in time. What he did contrive to say in his editorial column, however, was true, even though trite, and what little influence his editorial column exerted appears to have been, in a general way, aimed at community benefit. This was his editorial on the election:

Annual Election

Ere our next number issues from the press, our annual elections will have transpired, and we shall severally know our representatives in the legislature, for, at the present moment, notwithstanding the short period intervening, we were really never less able even to guess at the result of the annual ballot—although we have a numerous array of can didates in this county, some openly declared and others still behind, waiting for the auspicious moment to disclose their desire to labor for the public weal, still (in the absence of positive party) no regular or trinomial ticket having been formed, but each relying on his friends to succeed as he best may, or, in other words, "on his own hook," the most shrewd conjectures must, at best, be vague. In the other counties, if we may believe our informants, (italics not Mr. Lee's) there seems to be a degree of unconcern exhibited with respect to the individuals to be elected, which is difficult to account for in this present important, and perhaps highly momentous, year; our hope and wishes would intimate an approaching crisis in the affairs of Oregon, which require and should receive the exertions and abilities of the best qualified of her citizens, not only to warrant the ratification of a discreet system of laws, but also to evince the proper value we put upon our enfranchisement. There is a feeling existing among many high-minded men, that there is little honor to be reaped in the legislative hall at the present period of our history; but we would ask them if they are not depriving themselves of the privilege of complaining, by holding back, and really sanctioning and approving by their covert supineness those loose and imperfect acts, which ever must result however honest and sincere their intentions may be. We trust that none will feel offended at these our few candid and general remarks; but we must ever urge the electors in casting their votes, to select those "good men and true" who, being worthy of their choice, will do honor to themselves and their country.

The censorship of which other editors complained seems to have had its effect on Mr. Lee's handling of all political matters. The news columns, as well as the editorial, are unspecific and innocuous —leading to a belief that the ineptitude in reporting which characterized so many of those early journalists may he the explanation, as much as any editorial pussy-footing, of the lack of concreteness which characterized so much of what appeared in the early Spectator and other pioneer papers. With the political campaign imminent, or actually on, this was the best the Spectator could do by way of either news or comment on the political situation:

On the Stump[24]

On Monday next (18th) the several candidates of Clackamas county (the Spectator's own county) will address their fellow-citizens from the stump, in Oregon City.

This will be something new in Oregon, and as Monday will he the first day of the county court, we expect to see quite a crowd of voters, and not a few candidates, though we know of but eight for the legislature.

So far as any help from the paper is concerned, it would he a little difficult for the reader to keep track of even as many as eight. The first mention of a candidate for the legislature was a short editorial paragraph in the fourth issue (March 19), still under the editorship of T'Vault, urging A. L. Lovejoy for election. In the same issue there appeared notices of candidacy of three other men for seats in the legislature from Clackamas county.

In the next issue, the one in which T'Vault announced his dismissal,[25] appears the first appeal in Oregon history for candidates' paid announcements—the forerunner of a pretty fair business in later days The wording follows:

To Candidates.—The board of directors of the Oregon Printing Association, at one of their meetings, passed the following resolution: "Resolved. That each person offering himself, through the paper, as a candidate for office, shall pay the sum of three dollars, in advance, {or the same, to be inserted from this until the election."

This was followed by a notice for Mr. Lovejoy.

Lee was a man of more ability and strength than he ever used in the conduct of the Spectator. Descended from Richard Lee, founder of the Lees of Virginia, he was educated and prepared for the ministry. He turned aside from that calling because he became doubtful of the inspiration of the Bible. His first winter in Oregon, 1843-44, he spent at the Whitman mission at Wai-il-at-pu, and after the Whitman massacre he helped raise and captained the first company of volunteers to punish the murderers. He ultimately was chosen colonel of the regiment, succeeding Cornelius Gilliam, who was accidentally killed; but with his accustomed modesty he returned the commission because he thought Lieut. Colonel James Walters better entitled to it. He acted as peace commissioner to deal with the Indians, and after the war he was made superintendent of Indian affairs by Governor Abernethy. He made a sizeable stake in the California mines, returned to Oregon, and went into business. He left for New York in the fall of 1850 to purchase a stock of goods and died of Panama fever while on the return trip.

Lee's successor as editor of the Spectator, after a few issues prepared by John Fleming, the printer, was George L. Curry, a well qualified young newspaper man who later was to be governor of Oregon. Curry, born July 2, 1820, was a native of Philadelphia who had spent several years with his parents in Carcacas, Venezuela. As a boy of 18, he was president of the Mechanic Apprentices' Library Association in Boston. He himself was a jeweler's apprentice at the time.

In St. Louis, where the young Curry had gone when 23 years old, he became an editor and co-publisher of the St. Louis Reveille with Joseph M. Field. He came to Oregon in 1846 by way of the Cow Creek Canyon route just in time to get the job of editing the Spectator. He remained in that position for less than a year and a half.

Curry's salutatory was modest and orthodox. Explaining that, being a stranger with the dust of "the rough journey of emigration" barely shaken off, he approached the task "not altogether without misgivings as to our ability to satisfy expectation" and yet with "pride that we find ourself intrusted with the management of the only public journal in Oregon."

"It will be our aim," the new editor explained, "to give this journal a firm and consistent American tone, and make it eminently useful in the promotion of 'temperance, morality, science, and intelligence' .... Our columns will be closed to none, all being equally welcome to use them for the dissemination of opinion upon all subjects excepting sectism and exclusive party politics, the Editor, of course, exercising his right of supervision."

In his last issue (January 28, 1848) Curry announced that he had been dismissed for his refusal to edit the paper in the interest of one man (Governor Abernethy), and he strongly deprecated what he called the exercise of press censorship in Oregon.

Aaron E. Wait now picked up the apparently hot editorial pencil of the Spectator, which he managed to hold from February 1848 to the following February. Wait enlarged the paper to 24 columns at once. It had been only 16. Wait, a native of Massachusetts, born December 13, 1813, had arrived in Oregon the previous September. He had edited a Democratic paper in Michigan during the exciting political campaign of 1844. He was not, however, a man of strong personal prejudices. His paper in Michigan, going to press before the news of the national nominations came through, published a news story from the convention carrying the name of Mr. Blank for president and Mr. Blank for vice-president and the accustomed editorial congratulating the people upon the wisdom of the choice and promising the heartiest support. In the masthead were inserted the names of Blank and Blank for president and vice president. After the paper had gone to press, the news came through that the ticket was Polk and Dallas. The press was stopped, the names of the nominees replaced the Blanks in masthead and story, and the press started again.

The Spectator's troubles under Wait were of a different sort from those under previous editors, and they resulted in the paper's first suspension. The California gold excitement swept over Oregon, and among those who rushed off in quest of wealth was the Spectator's printer, John Fleming, who was again at the case, succeeding N. W. Colwell. Wait was not a printer, and typos were few and far apart in early Oregon. The paper was shut down September 7 and not resumed until October 12, with S. Bentley in charge of the mechanical end. Wait apologized to his readers for the hiatus as follows:

The Spectator after a temporary sickness greets its patrons and hopes to serve them faithfully and, as heretofore, regu larly. That "gold fever" which has swept about 3,000 of the officers, lawyers, physicians, farmers, and mechanics of Oregon into the mines of California, took away our printer also—hence the temporary suspension.

Wait left the paper February 22, 1849. He had been assistant commissary general during the Cayuse war. He had been admitted to the bar in 1841 in Michigan; and at the first election after Oregon became a state he left his law practice to become one of the judges of the supreme court, of which he was chief justice for five years. On retiring from the bench, he resumed the practice of law, dying in 1898, at 85.

With Wait off the Spectator desk, publication was irregular until October 4, 1849, when Rev. Wilson Blain, a United Presbyterian clergyman, was made editor and George B. Goudy printer. A paper shortage caused the reduction of the paper February 7, 1850, to sixteen columns. Robert Moore, proprietor of Linn City, across the Willamette from Oregon City, became owner during Blain's editorship. Oregon's chronic failure to attract the volume of publicity accorded neighbors was noted at this early date. In the issue of April 18, 1850, Blain noted this and argued for statehood for Oregon:

We find (he wrote) the opinion that Oregon should be immediately erected into a state much more prevalent than we had anticipated. . . . We rarely see Oregon mentioned in the papers received from the States, while California, Deseret (Utah), and New Mexico engross a very considerable part of public attention.

The Spectator had outlived one competitor, George L. Curry's Free Press in 1848,[26] and in the issue of July 25, the same one in which the Spectator, which two weeks before had moved up to 20 columns, resumed its 16-column size, there appeared a prospectus for a new paper to be published in the town—the Oregon Statesman. The publishers were to be, said the prospectus, A. W. Stockwell and Henry Russell.[27]

August 28 the Spectator contained the announcement of the proposed establishment of a Whig journal in the new town of Portland, down the river. The new paper was to beat the Statesman in the race for priority of appearance.

Blain, who left the editorship September 5, 1850, was educated for the ministry. A native of Ross County, Ohio, where he was born February 28, 1813, he was graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1835 and after completing the course offered in the Associate Reformed Theological Seminary at Allegheny, Pa., was licensed to preach. He had charge of a pastorate at Hebron, Indiana, until May 15, 1847, when he began preparation for the journey to Oregon as a missionary. He arrived at Oregon City November 29, 1848. He soon organized the first church of his denomination in Oregon. While at Oregon City he was elected (June 6, 1849) to the upper house of the first territorial legislature. Soon after leaving the Spectator he removed to Union Point, Linn county, where he organized a United Presbyterian church and established an academy. Man aging and teaching in this institution, in addition to his pastoral duties, broke his health. He gave up the academic work in 1856 and died February 22, 1861.[28] He was a grandfather of Willard L. Marks of Albany, member of the State Senate and, later of the State Board of Higher Education.

Blain's successor was D. J. Schnebly, who increased the Spectator's frequency to weekly and set the price at $7 a year. September 9, 1851, the paper carried Schnebly's name as owner; and in 1852 it was a Whig political organ. Suspended in March, 1852, it reap peared in August, 1853. Schnebly added an associate editor in the person of C. P. Culver to help get out the weekly.

Schnebly may unwittingly have changed the whole course of Oregon journalistic history by refusing a job to a young man named Henry L. Pittock, who, having crossed the plains, was eager to take up his trade as a printer. What Pittock did for the Oregonian of Portland in its wabbly financial days of '59 and '60 is history. What if it had been the Spectator rather than the Oregonian that he saved?

Schnebly, who had bought the paper back from Robert Moore of West Linn, sold it in March 1854 to C. L. Goodrich. Two score years later he was editing the Ellensburg Localizer and boasting that he was the oldest editor in this part of the country. Goodrich is remembered chiefly for having suspended the paper permanently in March, 1855. It had not been a great paper, but it stands up well in comparison with such efforts as the Californian, a one-page affair (printed on only one side of the paper), which, as already noted, was the first paper in California and the second on the Pacific Coast. Politically the Spectator was never influential. In its other phases, however, it had its helpful influence on the growth and progress of early Oregon. The hopes of the founders had been carried out only in part. The constitution of the printing association had said:

In order to promote science, temperance, morality, and general intelligence; to establish a printing press; to publish a monthly, semi-monthly or weekly paper in Oregon—the un dersigned do hereby associate themselves together in a body, to be governed by such rules and regulations as shall from time to time be adopted. . . .

Reasonable success was achieved in these aims, and the Spectator printing plant helped still further by issuing the first spelling-book ever turned out in Oregon.

This spelling-book was printed by W. P. Hudson, who succeeded N. W. Colwell as the mechanical force of the Spectator. It was not only the first spelling-book gotten out in Oregon but the first printed in English on the Pacific Coast. The spelling-book was bound by Carlos W. Shane, who had learned his trade with the Methodist Book Concern. No full copy of this historic book has been preserved; but George H. Himes in 1894 found a fragment of 20 pages with other documents left behind by M. M. McCarver.[29] Hudson also printed on the Spectator press a 24-page almanac for 1848 edited by Henry H. Everts. This was another first to the credit of Hudson and the Spectator press, for up to that time no almanac had been printed on the Pacific Coast. The almanac's title was quaintly expressed:

The Oregon Almanac,
for the Year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 1848
Being Bissextile or Leap Year and until July 4th the 72nd Year of the Independence of the United States.

The book contained a good bit of useful information for the old-timers in the eight counties of Oregon, which covered all of the present Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and that part of Montana and Wyoming west of the Rocky Mountains. This vast region then, according to the almanac for 1848, had a population of about 6,000, considerably fewer than now live in the little city where it was published within sound of the falls of the Willamette.[30]

We come now to another publication, even shorter-lived than the Spectator proved to be. Not long after leaving the Spectator, George L. Curry was out with a new paper in Oregon City, the second newspaper of old Oregon. Peter G. Stewart, Oregon City watchmaker, is credited[31] with suggesting the name of the new publication.

"Why," Stewart is quoted as having said, "since you don't want to be muzzled, don't you call it the Free Press?" So the Free Press it was; and Publisher Curry took for his slogan the words of Justice Story:

Here shall the press the people's rights maintain, unawed by influence and unbribed by gain.

The sands of journalism are free of any deep "tracks or trenches" left by the Free Press, which is remembered chiefly for its establishment as a protest publication, for the interesting personality behind for the obstacles overcome in getting going, and for the peculiar end which overtook it. The paper was only 7½×15 inches in size, four pages, with two columns to the page; and when one knows the circumstances of its birth one can see why was not more impressive.

Let us remember that this was pioneer Oregon City; that only one paper, not two, had been contemplated at the time when the Spectator founders brought their little plant from the Atlantic coast, a journey of several months. There was very little surplus type for any purpose in the Northwest, and no available press. Curry had the choice of waiting months for a press to arrive from the East or of having one custom-made out here. He had one built, mostly of wood, in Oregon City. He managed to get the type, 80 pounds of it, from the Catholic missionaries, who had been expressing themselves French. They were therefore short of w's. Since journalism is so largely concerned with the "five w's," the who, what, when, where, and why, Curry whittled some of these useful letters out of hardwood. Copies of the paper reveal also, even to one

First newspaper press in the American west.png

First newspaper press in the west. (Washington hand press). Used on Oregon Spectator, 1846.
Preserved in the University Press, University of Oregon, Eugene

unfamiliar with printing, that in some cases the w was replaced by two v's.

The Free Press was started April 8, 1848, and ran until October. In March Curry had married Miss Chloe Boone, daughter of Col. Alphonse Boone, a great-grandson of famous Daniel Boone. The paper was suspended because of the rush of Oregon people to the California mines. The Spectator had been forced to suspend for a month and had just managed to resume with a new printer when the Free Press had to give up the struggle. The Curry paper had not met with the expected and necessary response in subscribers.

When Curry started the Free Press his differences with the Spectator publishers were still very much on his mind. In his salutatory, under the head of "A Word in Introduction," he made the Spectator incident his point of departure, saying:

Some months ago, when we were so unceremoniously deprived of the honor of editing the Governor's paper—the "Oregon Spectator"—and no longer permitted to bask in the sunshine of official favor, we were, of course, dreadfully cast down, and being so "cut off from grace," had no idea, at the time, of coming before the public so soon again in our editorial capacity.

In reference to that expulsion, it may not be amiss here to remark, in passing, that we have been misrepresented and abused, by a few miserable scribblers, who scarcely know how to spell their own names correctly, (to say nothing about writing the English language decently), and after their abortions have been published by the only press, at the time, in the country, that press has been closed upon us, and ourself denied the privilege of occupying even a space of ten lines in its columns, in reply.

But we have more important matters to attend to at present, and are not at all anxious to obtrude our own grievances before the public; consequently, the entire concern, correspondents, and "directors," are perfectly welcome to any capital they may have made by the misrepresentations and untruths with which they so love to prostitute the press.

Curry proceeded to picture the difficulties under which he was undertaking publication of the Free Press. These are reflected in the small size and emergency typography; but the publisher's bubbling optimism led him to predict ultimate success for his little publication, in the face of all the difficulties:

We have made certain arrangements (he said) for ample supplies of material, which we expect to receive in the early part of next June; when the "Free Press" will be immediately enlarged to its intended size—three times larger than at present. In the meantime we hope to make up in quality what is lacking in quantity.

This promise, it is only fair to say, was not too conspicuously realized.

The first number of the Free Press contained only few hundred words of local news, none of which is told in anything like modern style. One of the items deals with the paper's own makeshift press

Our Press.—The most important means of our weekly communication with the public —our press—is entirely of Oregon manufacture. Mr. Victor M. Wallace, of this city, is the ingenious machinist who constructed it, and he is entitled to great credit for the excellence of his work, and the admirable manner in which it operates. Although it is made of wood, Mr. W. thinks it will be able to tell the truth quite as well as an iron one.

An item which, from the point of view of news coverage, leaves much to be desired, gave short shrift to the report of the grand jury. It read:

Grand Jury.— The grand jury rose yesterday, after a sitting of five days, which time they found 14 bills of indictment for the various offenses of gaming, violation of the license law, and larceny.

These indictments, however, with some exceptions, were "quashed," either from defect in the law or want of perfection in the indictments. The members of the grand jury, neverthless, are deserving of much praise for the faithful manner in which they performed their duty.

The names of the exceptions and the details of the charges faced did not appear in the Free Press.

The death of Colonel Gilliam, to which previous reference has been made, failed to disclose use of any of the arts of the reporter. A 20-line poem of eulogy signed "B" preceded an 80-word "obit" which omits nearly every detail of a modern obituary. Following is the item:

Death of Col. Gilliam.— The painful intelligence of the death of Col. Gilliam has occasioned feelings of the sincerest sorrow among our citizens generally—for he was widely known and greatly respected. The circumstances of the times make his death a public as well as a private affliction. He was the commander of our army now in the battle-field, and as such his loss will be deeply felt and deplored. His remains reached this city on the 1st inst., and on the next day, with such military honors as we were able to dis play, were conveyed to his family homestead.

The paper had only 13 bits of advertising, including an advertisement for Mr. Curry himself as a manufacturing jeweler. The ads were all written in the usual "card" form.

Five years after suspending the Free Press, Curry was appointed secretary of the interior and in November, 1854 was made governor, being the last chief executive of Oregon territory. He was one of the youngest governors in Oregon history, being only 34 when appointed.

On January 1, 1861, he joined S. J. McCormick in the publication of the Portland Daily Advertiser, Oregon's second daily paper, started just a month and two days before the Morning Oregonian. The paper suspended in 1863, and this terminated Curry's journalistic ventures. He died, aged 58, July 28, 1878.

Oregon's third periodical publication, the Oregon American and Evangelical Unionist, printed on the old Whitman-Spalding mission press originally sent to the Hawaiian islands by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in 1821, has no particular significance aside from its historical associations. This paper, like the Spectator, was usually printed twice a month. Edited by Rev. John S. Griffin with Charles F. Putnam, printer, the paper was issued from the home of Mr. Griffin on Tualatin plains near Hillsboro. The first number appeared June 7, 1848. The first woman compositor on the Pacific coast learned the trade on this publication. She was the wife of Mr. Putnam, who taught her to set type. Putnam came to Oregon in 1846, and his bride, the first woman typesetter, was Rozelle Applegate, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Applegate, noted Oregon pioneers. Eight issues were published before the Unionist, which was about as much of a magazine as a newspaper, was suspended in October.

Griffin was charging $4 a year in currency (wheat was legal tender at that time) or $3 in real money.

Publication was irregular. The editor announced in the first issue, that "We will not declare our days of issuing until the next number, hoping some mail opportunity will be secured, and if so will issue that day most favorable for immediate circulation." The mail service continued poor, and it was not possible to issue regularly.

Subscribers who disliked Griffin's policies are said to have brought about the demise of his paper by bribing his printer to quit.[32] This can hardly be proved, however, in view of the strong pull from the California gold fields, which carried the printers away from other newspapers too.

The little paper at Tualatin Plains suffered as all the other pioneer papers in the West from the idiosyncrasies of the mail service. Use of the word service is probably an extravagance. The paper arranged to receive one regular mail a week from Portland, less than 30 miles away, with additional service whenever foreign "intelligence" appeared in the river. News of the death of John Quincy Adams on February 23, 1848, reached the Columbia river via the Sandwich islands (Hawaii) four months later, in time to be told in the American and Unionist June 31. The news of the boundary treaty of 1846, incidentally, also came by way of Hawaii. The treaty dated June 15, was news to Dr. W. F. Tolmie of the Hudson's Bay Company at Nisqually, conveyed to him in a letter from Peter Skene Ogden and James Douglas, dated November 4, 1846.[33]

So the little American and Unionist said, in its first number, under the heading "Mails," "Probably the greatest embarrassment to the successful operation of the presses in Oregon is the want of mails."

The American's press, while not used for newspaper purposes until after the Spectator's machine, really was an older press. The press was used by the Spalding mission at Lapwai, near Lewiston, Idaho, and was sent from the Hawaiian Islands by the American Board of Foreign Missions, for use in printing hymns and getting out an edition of the Bible translated into the Indian tongues. On one occasion the press was lost overboard into the Columbia river but was salvaged and used in the publication of Rev. John S. Griffin's paper at Tualatin Plains.

Lot Whitcomb, founder of the town of Milwaukie, bitter rival of Portland in pioneer days, was the founder of Oregon's fourth paper, the Western Star, dedicated to the promotion of the interests in Milwaukie as a possible metropolis of the Oregon country. This paper was more interesting, longer-lived, and more influential in the life of early Oregon than any of the previous periodicals. It was a weekly of four six-column pages with columns 14 ems (2⅓ inches) wide. With John Orvis Waterman and William Davis Carter in charge of publications, the little Star carried on its first issue the date November 21, 1850, giving it two weeks priority over the Weekly Oregonian. Portland, young rival of Milwaukie, had as yet no newspaper.

The Spectator of December 11, 1850, credited the paper with thoroughgoing Democracy, saying: "The paper comes out flat-footed Democratic. It said, 'In politics we are Democratic and shall be governed by the principles of Jeffersonian Democracy, advocating measures, not men.'" The new paper took an active part in the political campaign of 1851. In that spring the Star published the correspondence of McLoughlin, Wyeth, and Thurston.

Whitcomb was to learn what many a publisher, before and since, has found to his grief—that a losing newspaper has few equals as a means of sucking the promoter's money into a bottomless pit. Things went so badly for Whitcomb that he soon had to turn the little paper to his unpaid printer-publishers, Waterman and Carter.

Carter and Waterman soon put over a spectacular move designed to stop the drain on their resources. Persuaded that the paper would have a better chance in Portland than in Milwaukie, but fearful of the wrath of Milwaukie facing the loss of its publicity organ, the partners one night picked up the little plant and secretly loaded it on the steamer. The next morning they and their newspaper plant were in Portland. Changing the name to the Portland Weekly Times, they got out their first issue under the changed status June 5, 1851. Carter sold out to Waterman in 1853, then bought the paper back again, with R. D. Austin as partner May 29, 1854. The new ownership retained Waterman as editor for three years, when he was succeeded by E. C. Hibben, who made the paper so pro-Southern in tone that he was recognized by the state Democratic convention of 1857 as "a worthy man." He remained until December, 1858.

Austin, whose son, Harry Austin, was for many years printer and proofreader on the Oregonian, bought the paper from Carter in May, 1859. Carter went into job printing. Austin changed the paper to a daily December 19, 1860, and conducted it as a Union newspaper, reversing the political stand of the former owners. Two of the six successive editors of the Times later became prominent in journalism and other fields. W. Lair Hill served for about five years as editor of the Oregonian (1872-77) and A. C. Gibbs became governor of Oregon.

Launching his daily, Austin made Alonzo Leland editor. Leland declared himself in the first issue as follows:

We do not always expect to be brilliant and abounding in thought which will awaken the best energy of our readers.—But we promise to treat all questions discussed with candor and fairness, and to strive to be equal in interest to the temperature of the public mind.

In time Austin became more devoted to his violin than to the paper, and with Leland lacking the "stuff" provided by such editors as Simeon Francis and other fore-runners of Harvey Scott, the Times died in 1864. As daily or weekly it had eked out a career of 14 years.

When Whitcomb started the Star he set the subscription price at $7 a year for the 52 issues; but in 1876 a quarter of a century had added so much to the historical value of the paper, then 12 years defunct, that George H. Himes, a young man of 32 with keen historical interest, paid Mr. Waterman $160 for the file of volume I — a little more than $3 a copy.

Under the page 1 title the old Star carried the poetic albeit bombastic patriotic boast: "As far as breeze can bear, or billows foam, survey our empire and behold our home." A salutatory editorial three-fifths of a column long expressed confidence in Oregon's future, with "all the elements requisite for a great commonwealth, unsurpassed by any state in the union. . . Who shall set bounds to our advancement and prosperity?"

At the time the paper was started, Milwaukie was a year old and had 500 inhabitants, about the same size as Portland. Business and industrial establishments included three stores, two sawmills, a tin-shop, a shoe-shop, a cabinet manufactory, a blacksmith shop, a printing office, a warehouse, three taverns. A sawmill and a grist mill were under construction, also a steamboat to ply the river between Oregon City and Pacific City.

The equipment for the paper was brought "direct from New York" by the bark Desdemona.

The prospectus promised, among other things, that "The ladies will always find something in our columns for their especial entertainment and profit; as we shall be assiduous in our endeavors to cater for their taste."

"In conclusion," it was further promised, "permit us to say that we shall combat error and war against vice in every form; and shall give the weight of our influence on the side of Christianity and virtue. We shall be strenuous advocates of Education, and our labors shall be devoted to the Enterprise, Prosperity, and Welfare of Oregon and our common country." The prospectus was signed by Lot Whitcomb.

The first issue was heavily miscellany, editorial, and advertising. The nearer the news to the seat of publication, apparently, the less attention was paid to it. Of 24 columns in the paper, less than one full column was devoted to local happenings. A line on the nature of the local news and the editor's news judgment may be obtained from the following brief outline: 250 words on the Milwaukie young men's lyceum meeting, at which the negative won a debate on whether representatives are bound in all cases to obey the wishes of their constituents; 75 words on the weather; 40 words on improving the rapids below Oregon City; 75 words on a move for a free ferry at Portland; 100 words on a new Whig paper (the Oregonian) at Portland; 160 words on the shipping arrivals in the river. As in most of those early newspapers, "miscellany" predominated in the Star. Four columns of the first page were made up of a short-story entitled "The Murderer, a Thrilling Tale," while shorter material clipped from other newspapers and magazines occupied the remaining two columns. Local news and editorials were placed on page 2, American and foreign news and advertising on page 3; and the back page, almost entirely miscellany, including a 2-column story, "Napoleon's Mercy, a True Tale," and 2½ columns of "wit and humor."

The Star and its successor, the Times, reflected, in general, the type of newswriting and editorial writing characteristic of the pioneer papers, which brought their journalistic ideas, sometimes more or less damaged in transit, from the East.

Some excerpts from the Western Star of Milwaukie:

Christmas—Sad Accident

The morning commenced and most beautifully—the atmosphere was pure and life young and its temperature mild and lovely. The smiling sun of heaven shed its golden beams upon our beautiful valley, and everything in nature seemed to harmonize with the high hopes and fond anticipations of our citizens, who were celebrating the advent of Christmas in various ways.

But one who commenced the day full of vigor, and in manhood's prime, and who little suspected that danger lurked in his path, was destined to be snatched from among us, in an instant, and taken to "that bourne from whence no traveler returns."


The proprietors' sawmill in this place, was injured by fire on Friday last to the amount of about $600. The workmen were doing some work underneath the mill, at the time the mill took fire, which originated from a store in the upper part, and shortly the roof was discovered to be in one sheet of blaze.

The most valuable parts of the mill were saved, but with slight injury. The damage consisted more in the delay of other work which was depending on the running of this mill for lumber, than in the property destroyed. However, the mill was repaired sufficiently for business on Monday.

May this slight fire be a warning to all that buildings made of Oregon lumber will burn rapidly, when once kindled; therefore everyone should be cautious how they handle sparks of fire.


Chronology brings us now to the fifth paper published in Ore gon and the only one which, without change of place of publication, change of name, or interruption of any sort, has come down from the pioneer days of the early fifties to the present. The Oregonian was established as a weekly December 4, 1850, with the aim of promoting Portland's interests in competition with its ambitious and not always friendly rivals.[34]

In the first issue the Star had told its readers at Milwaukie and elsewhere that the new paper was to be started in Portland. Here is the Star's greeting, which was friendly despite the rivalry between the two towns:

A New Whig Paper at Portland

We are informed that a press, type, and paper, intended for the Oregonian, is on board the bark Keoka, which is now in the river near Portland. We shall look for the Oregonian in a few weeks. We understand it is conducted by T. J. Dryer, Esq., formerly the city editor of the California Courier. Mr. Dryer has the reputation of being an able man, and no doubt will furnish the reading community with a good, readable paper.

Portland was but newly born, and its promoters, including W. W. Chapman, Stephen Coffin, David H. Lownsdale, F. W. Pettygrove, and A. Lawrence Lovejoy, Portland business and professional men, were eager for a publication. The older town of Milwaukie, up the river, already had the Western Star (already referred to), Oregon City had the Spectator (the Free Press had come and gone), and it was not unknown in Portland that Asahel Bush and Henry Russell were up in Oregon City grinding their teeth as they awaited the delayed arrival of the plant which was to issue the Oregon Statesman.

Chapman and Coffin, who may be regarded as the actual founders of the Oregonian, went to San Francisco in the summer of 1850 to obtain a plant for the new paper. There, about July 4, they met Thomas J. Dryer, who was looking for a location. The northerners persuaded him to come to Portland, where he became editor and publisher of the Weekly Oregonian. The Oregonian's first number came off its old Ramage press December 4, 1850. Harvey W. Scott[35] says that Dryer had a plant with him in California, "a hand printing press and a small lot of printing material."

The new editor was a man of ability. Dryer proved, says Himes,[36] "to be an excellent speaker and an aggressive and fearless writer well suited for pioneer journalism." He did manage to hold his own rather well, though Leslie M. Scott[37] ranks Bush of the Statesman, later to be considered, as far above his contemporary editors of pioneer days.

Dryer had come from New York state, and he was in his 43d year when he came from California to begin publication of Portland's first newspaper. Named after Thomas Jefferson, he was born in Canandaigua county, N. Y., January 10, 1808, the second of twelve children born to Aaron and Lucinda Dryer. His mother died August 9, 1820, after the family had moved to Ohio. After three years or so in a family ruled by a step-mother, young Dryer, now 17 years old, returned to his childhood home, where he remained for 16 years. In 1841, after having made some money on a mail-carrying contract, he went west again, spending some time in Michigan and Indiana. He had had some newspaper experience when, starting from St. Louis, he joined the gold rush to California in 1849. It was the next year when he was "discovered" by Chapman and Coffin as the man they wanted to start Portland's first newspaper.

The opinions of his distinguished successors regarding Dryer as publisher and as editor, respectively, may be here given. In passing, let it be said that doubtless the greatest thing T. J. Dryer ever did for the Oregonian was to hire Henry L. Pittock, using him first as printer and later as manager, and eventually to turn the paper over to him. Getting ahead of our story a bit, we may say, briefly, that Pittock unquestionably saved the Oregonian from going the way of so many papers managed by men of slipshod business methods. Dryer "didn't like the business end," wrote Mr. Pittock many years "Well, if that man says he paid, give him credit for later[38] it'," is Pittock's recollection of a typical statement of the careless and easy-going man who had employed him. "Mr. Dryer," he said[39] "was entirely indifferent to income and outgo. He simply could not bring himself to pay attention to details. . . This was, indeed, the weak spot in all the journalism of those days, and he was no exception to the rule." This weakness of Dryer's was Pittock's opportunity to begin the career of nearly 60 years as the directing business force behind the Oregonian, as Harvey W. Scott was the mainspring of its editorial strength.

Harvey W. Scott's opinion of Mr. Dryer: "He had worked on the country press in his state and was a vigorous rather than a polished writer." This opinion was amplified in the Oregonian's editorial columns (probably by Mr. Scott) in comment on the news paper's first editor at the time of death, March 30, 1879. The Oregonian then said:

Mr. Dryer's activity and energy, exerted through the Oregonian, upon the speaker's platform, and through deliberative bodies, made him a conspicuous figure in Oregon for many years. Always an active worker and a vigorous antagonist, he nevertheless so conducted himself that his con tests left no bitterness toward himself. . . During the years of his active participation in affairs, no man in Oregon commanded a larger share of public attention.

Just how seriously people took their politics in those days can be grasped from a realization of the difficulties faced by the Oregonian, a Whig paper, in getting its plant delivered from San Francisco for use in Portland. It took nearly two months to get the "materials and hands," the Oregonian's first issue complained in a full-column story explaining its unexpected delay in being born. Captain Hall of the navigation company was quoted as saying he didn't care when he delivered the freight for the "little damn Whig paper in Portland," and after weeks of delay the Oregonian's founders finally had to transfer their freight to another vessel.

The paper, typographically below par and poorly printed on the old Ramage press, which had been brought from New York, prom ised in its first issue to enlarge about the first of March with the ar rival of a new Washington hand-press, similar to that of the Times, the Statesman, and the Spectator. The paper was enlarged almost on schedule, and the Washington hand-press continued to function for close to nine years, even initiating the Oregonian's daily edition in February, 1861.

The Ramage press, now stored in the University of Washington museum, stands out more as a historical object than as a bit of useful printing machinery.

The paper was a four-page affair, with six 15-em (2½-inch) columns to the page. Subscription price was $7 a year. Carried across the front page under the title-line was the motto "Equal Rights, Equal Laws, Equal Justice to All Men."

The first page, without a single line of news of any sort, was filled with miscellaneous matter, including two long articles, "The Trapper, a Legend of the West," and "The Fashionable Church," neither of which had any discoverable direct Oregon significance.

Harrison R. Kincaid, lifelong Oregon publisher, acquainted with all the figures of prominence in pioneer Oregon journalism, and on close terms with most of them, gives a version of the christening of volume 1, number 1 which makes the occasion seem a little jollier than it appeared to Harvey Scott. Neither of them was present in person. Wrote Kincaid:[40]

They sat up all night getting out the first number, and our friend Dr. A. L. Nicklin, formerly of Eugene but now of Portland, has often told us how he sang Whig songs for them. Friend Scott, in his pamphlet, touches lightly on the inauguration ceremonies of the first issue, and only says there was a series of "solemnly amusing ceremonies." Not so solemn, dear brother, as you seem to think, if Col. Chapman, Dr. Nicklin, and the rest of the boys who took part in it, understood themselves.

C. Henry Hill, stepson of Mr. Coffin, wrote in detail of this historic journalistic occasion.[41] Hill, who was engaged from the first as a carrier for the new paper and later became a printer, was introduced by Dryer to A. M. Berry, foreman of the shop, perhaps better remembered as a co-publisher of the old Pioneer and Democrat of Olympia, Washington. In accordance with the best traditions of the times, the new boy, who was shop "devil" as well as carrier, was soon sent to "a first-class hotel near by" for "a bucket of editorial." The paper was issued from the second story of a building at the northwest corner of Front and Morrison, on the river front.

I remember (wrote Mr. Hill in the Oregonian's semi centennial number) that Friday night of December 3. Many of the leading men of the village had been invited by Mr. Dryer to be present at the christening, and the room was filled. I well remember how proudly I filled the position of roller-boy on that occasion. . . The guests were ignorant of the name to be given to the first paper published in Portland. A sheet was carefully laid upon the form, the fore man taking the impression, when the guests each took hold of the paper by the edge and carefully lifted it from the types. At this juncture Mr. Dryer proclaimed the name, The Oregonian, amid cheers and congratulations. Those participating, as I remember, were: Messrs. Daniel H. Lownsdale, W. W. Chapman, Stephen Coffin (the proprietors of the town site). And F. P. Dennison, A. P. Ankeny, W. W. Baker, T. Terwilliger, Thomas and James Stephens, Job McNamee, Benjamin Allen, T. J. Dryer, Mr. Berry, and others whom I cannot bring to mind at present.

Mr. Hill named several printers connected with the earliest days of the Oregonian: W. A. Daly, first mate on the boat from Honolulu, who was a practical printer; John Riley, Daniel Lindsay, Edward Sheffield, George Lee, and Edwin Treat Gunn—all of whom were employed at various times on the paper. He recalls when Mr. Pittock became foreman of the office. "I could," he wrote,[42] "chronicle many incidents in his administration of affairs that made the boys (printers) happy, as matters were in a somewhat muddled condition when he took charge. . . It was a continuous struggle during the 50's and 60's."

The carriers, incidentally, he recalls, had a hard time. There were no sidewalks, the streets were not graded, and there were 100 to 150 copies for each boy to carry.

In those days, (Mr. Hill continued in the same little article) the carriers looked forward with great expectations and pleasure when his "carrier's address" was to appear, generally New Year's day, whereby he was kindly remembered and remunerated by his patrons, some giving liberally, others scantily . . . One gentleman, I remember with kindly feelings, gave me $5 for a copy of my first address, and his neighbor 25 cents very reluctantly, with the admonition that he wished after this I would get his paper to him by 6 a. m., as he desired to be at his store by 7. T. J. Dryer wrote my first address, Sylvester Pennoyer my second, and my fellow-craftsman Ed Sheffield my third.

John D. Yates, pioneer printer of the Pacific coast, did the mechanical work on the Oregonian when Thomas J. Dryer established it in 1850.[43] He had already made, himself a place in journalistic history by helping set up the first newspaper in San Francisco, the California Star, owned by Sem Brennan, and later by helping out at the birth of the first newspaper in Sacramento, the Placer Times and Transcript, which later was merged with the Alta California. At the time of his work on the first of the Oregonians he was 29 years old. He had come to the Pacific coast in 1847, during the Mexican war, with Colonel Stevens' New York regiment of volunteers. After leaving the Oregonian he served for a time as a policeman in Portland.

Vol. 1, No. 1 of the Oregonian was a six-column four-page paper, with columns 15 ems (2½ inches) wide as compared with the 12-em standard measure which recently has become the vogue among the American newspapers. Under the title line, on page 1, Dryer ran the slogan "Equal Rights, Equal Laws, Equal Justice to All Men." It cost as much to get the 52 issues of the weekly for one year in those days ($7 by mail) as would buy the present daily for almost seven months (about 200 issues).

Dryer confirmed the Western Star's advance notice by starting right out as a Whig publication.

Politically (he said in his salutatory December 4, 1850) the Oregonian will sustain the present administration[44] and advocate all the principles of the great Whig party of the United States so long as they tend to produce results beneficial to the interests of the country at large; and to foster and protect the agricultural and commercial interests of Oregon.

Reference to the rest of the salutatory indicates that the new editor had not yet recognized how difficult it would be to keep out of controversies with Mr. Bush of the Statesman, which was now impatient to be born, at Oregon City.

Under no circumstances (he wrote) will we be drawn into individual controversies or local and rival interests; our aim and end shall be at all times to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's." Oregon being our "bark," to her we shall cling as long as there is a plank left.

It was Mr. Dryer's purpose to devote himself largely to Oregon's economic advancement.

The agricultural development and commercial resources of Oregon. . . will claim a large share of our attention, those at a distance may understand the true and impartial state of affairs, and thereby be enabled to arrive at just and proper conclusions in reference to this territory.

The one notable omission from the salutatory is any reference to the intellectual or cultural interests of the community. There is here no charge that Dryer's Oregonian neglected those interests entirely; but in that one particular, it seems, the paper failed to hold to its high standards in other respects and failed to give promise of what was to come under the long regime of Harvey Scott. "Morally" was a side subhead for a part of the salutatory.

We shall (promised Mr. Dryer) be found the advocates of sound morals, without reference to denominations or sects. . . .[45] Our columns will always be open for the development of moral and religious truths, and the propagation of principles which tend to elevate the standard of humanity and benefit our race.

With an apparently happy ignorance of what the future held, the editor addressed a word to the other papers:

To our contemporaries we would say, we desire that peaceful and friendly feeling may prevail in all time to come . . .

A communication of W. W. Chapman to the editor, published in the first issue, told of the progress of the Portland and Valley railroad:

A little more than two weeks since, the articles of incorporation were drawn up, contemplating a capital of $500,000; since which time about $100,000 of stock has been taken in the town of Portland.

The communication went on to say that at a meeting held in the Yamhill county courthouse at Lafayette, with W. J. Martin chairman and Matthew P. Deady secretary, $218,000 of stock was taken. Lafayette, then the Yamhill county seat, was a more important city than the new Portland, which had little but a future. Nearly $400,000, it was reported, had already been subscribed.

Of the 24 columns in the Oregonian's first issue, advertising occupied 6½ columns, including 2½ columns of land laws. One of the first ads in the Oregonian was a one-inch card for King, Fuller & Co.'s tannery. Amos N. King, who lived right down into the twentieth century, told about this ad in 1900, in time to get a notice in the semi-centennial edition. He told, incidentally, also a story of raising a 5½-pound potato, which, after having refused to sell it for $5, he gave to Editor Dryer, "the man who had the boldness to come out in the wilderness and print a paper." Dryer glassed it and sent it to the states, where it beat all the potatoes. Ultimately, however, "covering too much territory," the record-breaking tuber ran into a bigger one in England.

Among the advertisers was James King of William, later famous in the newspaper field but at that time conducting a banking house in San Francisco, at Montgomery and Commercial streets. Another ad was one inserted by James L. Loring for Boots, Shoes and Brogans. Others advertising were the Twice-a-Week Steam Packet between Astoria and the Willamette, A. F. Dennison, agent; the bark Ann Smith, between Portland and San Francisco, Couch & Co., agents; the Regular line between Portland and Oregon City, the Skookum Chuck and the Tumwater, Couch & Co., agents, Portland; Allan, McKinley & Co., Oregon City, advertising Pickles, French Beans, Cauliflower, Piccalili, Gherkins, Onions, and Mexican Pickles; Stephen Coffin, with a lot of little separate ads calling attention to brushes, mill irons, medicine chests, Manilla sugar, cords, tassels and pulleys for window shades, books and stationery, brass clocks, writing-paper, storage; also articles for the Indian trade, such as beads, hairpins, medals, trinkets, and jewelry—all handled by the many-sided commission merchant, Mr. Coffin, who was one of the founders of both the town and the paper; Couch & Co. (John H. Couch, Benjamin Stark), bankers; Lemuel Bills, pump and acquiduct builders— cash paid for tallow; George H. Flanders, whole sale and retail merchant; H. W. Corbett, general store; Capt. C. H. Lewis (Allen & Lewis), general store; A. M. and L. M. Starr, stove and tin store; Capt. Z. C. Norton, mercantile and commission business; Thomas Pritchard, grocery; A. M. Barnes, general; G. W. Vaughan, hardware man (who built the first flour mill); Northrup, Simonds general store; Herman Smith, general store; Lucien Snow, dry goods; K. W. Snell, drug store and physicians and surgeons; Patrick Raleigh, general; Frazer and Jewett, general.

Several of these pioneer advertisers have been immortalized in the Portland of later days; e. g., by Couch, Corbett, Stark, Flanders, Vaughan streets. James King of William gained his immortal fame in another way; becoming editor of the San Francisco Bulletin, he was killed by political enemies, Casey and Carey, who were lynched (1855).

Dryer, who was general factotum on his paper, carried a blurb for his advertisers, using a defense of advertising which has since been worked out statistically, proved and extended by advertising experts in answer to theorists who lament the cost of advertising to society. Said the Oregonian editor:

Those of our readers who desire to purchase goods cheap will do well to look over our advertising columns, as it is proverbial, that those who advertise liberally always sell more goods, consequently can sell at a smaller profit.

Mr. Dryer also carried an editorial indorsing the proposed Portland and Valley railroad from Portland to Lafayette and promised to comment extensively later.

Another bit of economic matter was a short editorial urging the laying out and improving of public roads "and thereby making access to and from the rivers, which will always be the great highways by which the products of the country will seek a market, as well as the receipt of supplies." Nothing, said the editorial, "is more important to a new country than early attention to this phase of development."

The new Oregon donation land law was praised in a 150- word editorial.

Governor Gaines occupied four columns of space, or close to 17 per cent of the whole amount; two and a half columns were given to his message to the legislature and a column and a half to his report to the President of the United States.

Mr. Dryer may have been a real city editor in California, but he didn't work very hard at that end of his job in Portland. The first issue of the Oregonian contained only three short local items. There was no evidence of any local news reporting whatever.

In discussing any institution so extensive and varied as the press, the danger of over-generalizing is obvious. It is amusing to recall the strictures of certain politicians and, on other occasions, some Christian ministers, on the sins of "the press" when it was only a single or an occasional newspaper that had gone wrong. It need not be assumed that the press as a whole has consistently been one grand, uplifting, enlightening, and educating influence on mankind. "The press," a human institution, is subject to all human weaknesses. It however, and has been through its history, the most effective instrument for promoting and protecting liberty and stimulating the general spread of political, economic, social, and cultural advance. Such, in the main, has been its record in Oregon from the beginning.

The Oregonian, oldest newspaper of continuous publication in the whole West, is, on the whole, typical of such leadership. The paper had been started right on the heels of the '49 gold rush to California. Oregon was being heavily denuded of its population by the rush for treasure; toll was taken of every industry, every business, every profession. The old Spectator, for example, was shut down for several months about this time because its only available printer had departed for California. The Oregonian, seeing how the young territory was suffering from the exodus, ran a whole series of editorials cautioning against a mad rush for wealth when there was such good opportunity right at home without the hardships and perils of gold-hunting. The first of this series was run when the paper was only five months old (April 9, 1851) under the heading "The True Policy of Oregon:"

We have several times urged upon our citizens the fact that it would be far better policy if the people of Oregon would turn their attention to agricultural and mechanical pursuits, in place of that of mining.

Evil was seen in a large surplus of money in the community. The editorial continued:

It begets dissipation and vice . . . (is an) incentive to reckless and gambling immigration . . . (has a) tendency to engender supineness . . . induces hundreds to adopt a procrastinating course, which eventually becomes second nature.

Let our farmers improve and cultivate their land—our mechanics form and fashion that which the country demands—our merchants import such goods only as are wanted for consumption—our professional men discountenance litigation by advising parties to settle their disputes without going to law, and Oregon will soon occupy a position from which she cannot be moved by any internal commotion or selfish or evil-disposed persons who may come among us in the future.

Let Californians go to the mines, year after year, and dig the gold—let Oregonians plow and sow, harvest and thresh, in the end Oregon will be infinitely ahead of our neighbor in wealth, morals, happiness, and everything valuable in this life or future. . .

Let all, therefore, who have not already acted thus unwisely, remain at home; and in the end we shall be the recipients of more of the comforts of life, and of the substantial benefits resulting from labor, than those who run off to the mines.

The Oregonian appears to have been consistently sound in economic views in this period, as it is conceded to have been during later years. The economic range covered by this newspaper during four years in the middle fifties under T. J. Dryer heralds its stand during considerable of its early history. Harvey Scott, when he took over the editorial pencil and shears in the middle sixties, was to find the paper already possessed of a sound tradition on which he could build. Among the articles carried by the paper in the economic field during these typical four years were the following:

  1. A warning against a rush to the gold-fields;
  2. A suggestion that Oregon farmers take up fruit-growing;
  3. An analysis of the prevailing "hard times;"
  4. Another warning against gold mania;
  5. A complaint against the high price of apples;
  6. Half a dozen articles designed to promote the construction of a telegraph line along the Pacific coast, ultimately to connect with the East;
  7. Other promotive articles on a carriage factory, wheat- growing, the Pacific railway, fruit-growing, agriculture, wharves, aids to navigation, and a continuous demand for better mail service.

The Oregonian's series of articles urging against a mad rush to the gold fields recently opened to the north and south of Oregon may not have done much to stem the drift out of the young com monwealth to the mines, but they were good enough to have helped. Here is another of the series, such "straight talk" that it is worth attention here. January 12, 1853, Mr. Dryer's Oregonian said:

Gold Mines.—People are returning daily from the mines with accounts of a scarcity of provisions, high water, and other impediments in the way of successful mining operations during the winter.

A word to the wise, etc. Let every man who can cultivate an acre of land, stay away from the gold mines and do so; he will then make more money with less labor, than ninety-nine out of a hundred who go to the mines. Those who cultivate the earth can count with a reasonable certainty upon a harvest proportionate to the amount of labor performed. . .

Secure your claim—clear, plough, plant, and cultivate the soil, and you are sure of making your "pile" in a short time. What more do you want? Remember that at least about twenty thousand persons are now about starting over land for Oregon. Look at the price of provisions, the quantity you can raise, the sure market at your door, and stay from the gold mines.

A similar exhortation, entitled "Gold Mania," appeared in the Oregonian's issue of July 22, 1854.

William Allen White's famous editorial "What's the Matter with Kansas?" had a pioneer forerunner in T. J. Dryer's editorial in the Oregonian July 1, 1854, on "Hard Times," though the Kansas classic is couched in more effective rhetoric. There were no William Allen Whites in the Oregon of 1854. Harvey Scott was still a boy of 16 not long from his native Illinois, with the start of his great editorial career still a decade away. There is no "raise more corn and less hell" phrasing in Dryer's homily, but a somewhat similar idea is there, and the Oregon editor made his point courageously. excerpt from the long article follows:

If the people of Oregon would put forth the same efforts and adopt the same methods to become a producing people that they do in the eastern states, we should hear no more complaint of "hard times" except from the lips of universal grumblers. If the farmers would plow and reap, sow and thresh, and sell the products of their farms at the market prices, be the same more or less, this complaint of hard times would seldom be heard. But whenever and wherever they adopt the course generally pursued in Oregon, of raising but little and demanding an exorbitant price for that little, they must look for and expect hard times.

There is no country better adapted to produce a large overplus of the necessaries of life, than Oregon. There is no country more favorably situated for a ready and reliable market for everything the soil and climate will produce, than Oregon. Then why this everlasting cry of hard times? . . . there are too many speculators, gentlemen of leisure, and men who live by their wits among us . . . the anti-sweat society . . . disproportioned in number to the hard working honest labor and tiller of the soil. We have entirely too many lawyers, squires, generals, colonels, majors and captains for the peace of the country and the prosperity of the people. We have an overstocked market of office-seekers and politicians, who stand ready to serve the dear people in almost any capacity. . . We have a large surplus of men well skilled in the science of ten-pins, billiards, and the sciences generally. . . The farms of Oregon are entirely too large to produce anything else but "hard times." There are too many men awaiting the expiration of the "four years" which with "occupancy and cultivation" entitles them to 640 or 320 acres of land as the case may be. These men are many of them in the habit of cultivating a few rods, in the place of acres, merely to comply with the requisition of the law. . . We buy too much and sell too little.

Another fruitful cause of "hard times" may be found in the fact that men desire to get rich too fast. They appear to be unwilling to adopt the sure road to wealth, viz.: industry, economy and perseverance, but rush headlong into speculations. This chasing after gold mines, in the futile hope of making their pile in a week, month, or single year, is all a humbug and leads to "hard times." . . The farmer asks too much for his wheat, oats, potatoes, butter, cheese, beef, etc., etc. The mechanic places too high a price on his labor—the lawyer, doctor and laborer overestimate the value of their services, thus producing the result we deprecate. . . . We must work for a less sum, and work more hours — produce more, purchase less and sell more, avoid litigation and exercise more economy, and the times will not be hard for any length of time.

In one issue, July 25, 1857, the Oregonian had three items dealing with the economic development of the region—one on coal, a second on sheep, and a third on the introduction of honey bees. Half a column was devoted to an analysis of the coal mined on Bellingham bay, on the Duwamish river, and on Coos bay, which had been printed in the National Intelligencer at Washignton, D. C. All of these regions are producing coal to this day.

The next year, on July 17, the Oregonian carried a 300-word article on the honey bee, bringing evidence to show that bees were thriving in Oregon.

Warning to Oregon farmers that inferior marketing of their products was damaging their reputation abroad was contained in a 250-word editorial which appeared February 19, 1859.

One of the interesting bits of promotion connected with the economic development of Oregon was the editorial backing given by the Oregonian to the construction of the first telegraph line to the Northwest. The first reference to it in the Oregonian was made in the issue of February 17, 1855. It was a six-inch article of the combined news-editorial type so common in that day. In it attention was directed to the publication, in another part of the paper, of the legislative bill to incorporate the company.

We notice (wrote Mr. Dryer) lines in northern California have recently declared dividends as high as three per cent per month.

Encouragement was given Charles E. Johnson, manager. The legislative bill took up a column and a half of space. Later reference to the progress of the work brings out not only the superlative optimism of the Oregonian for the new enterprise but the irrepressible tendency of Oregonian and Statesman to array themselves on opposite sides of any proposition more controversial than the fourness of two plus two. The Statesman, referring to the undertaking as a "moonshine" project, contended there would not be enough business done in the next ten years to keep up repairs on the line.

Bancroft[46] says:

The growth of the country did not require telegraphic correspondence, and its growth was delayed for almost another decade.

In a footnote to that paragraph Bancroft says:

It (the line) was finished to Oregon City November 15, 1856, but it was of so little use that it was never completed or kept in repair. Neither the interests of the people nor their habits made it requisite.

The footnote goes on to say that in 1868 the California company had completed their line to Yreka, for which during the Civil war period the Oregonians had reason to be thankful, and having taken long strides in progress during the half-dozen years between 1855 and 1861 they eagerly subscribed to build a line from Yreka to Portland. . .

Apparently Bancroft's proofreader missed a typographical error on the date, for how could the Oregon people be grateful in the Civil war period for something that did not come about until 1868? Leslie M. Scott, editor and compiler of H. W. Scott's History of the Oregon Country, gives the date as 1858 in his compiler's index to the work.[47]

The same Bancroft footnote relates that "a new line to the East was erected in 1866, which was extended to San Francisco, and a new line to Astoria. . ."

David Watson Craig, whose name is mentioned frequently in these pages as one of the pioneers of Oregon journalism, had a part in the establishment of the telegraph line in Oregon. "The Pacific Telegraph enterprise to which you allude," Craig wrote in a letter to George H. Himes,[48] "was begun in 1855, and the line reached Oregon City in November of that year, Friday the 19th, I think, and was extended up to Dayton and Lafayette that winter. The next year, 1856, the poles were set as far as Salem. . . Warren Davis, county clerk of Multnomah county, was the first operator at Portland. . . I was the first operator at Oregon City, and then I instructed Gallatin Richardson and turned the office over to him. . .Oregon City was the best station on the line. Dr. McLoughlin used it constantly; he was then shipping a great deal of flour to San Francisco and elsewhere."

Like almost all the newspapers of the day, the Oregonian devoted its editorial energies largely to the advancement of political aims.[49] The Oregonian, starting as a Whig organ, became the leading Lincoln Republican champion of the day in Oregon—but that particular service belongs to the statehood period. Even the issue of statehood appears to have been settled largely on the ground of partisan political expediency. The Oregonian first opposed the measure, fearing that the Democrats would control the government of the new commonwealth; then later, as the anti-slavery strength grew, the paper became more fearful of the Buchanan administration than of any possible Democratic majorities in Oregon itself. The constitutional convention was voted in 1857, held that summer, and the constitution ratified in November with the Oregonian favoring it. The state government was organized in 1858 and became eHective when the admission bill became law February 14, 1859.

Oregon's newspapers had not, in territorial days, or, for that matter, in the early years of statehood, come to consider churches, schools, or literary organizations as worthy of a very heavy percentage of their space. The Oregonian under Dryer was no exception to this rule. School news seldom appeared, though the paper's attitude toward education was friendly. Once when Mr. Dryer himself as a member of the Vestry of the Episcopal church helped elect a rector, the Oregonian managed to squeeze in a note about it, but ordinarily matters of religion were omitted or given scant space. The attitude toward such matters as public lectures, poems, and that general type of thing is given in Dryer's own words, used in an editorial July 12, 1856:

We have received, on several occasions, manuscripts of public lectures, poems, &c., delivered before local societies, with a request that we publish them in the Oregonian. Among these lectures there are many which possess merit, and those who are connected with the societies, or those who are personally acquainted with the authors, no doubt, would read them. But the mass of those who read our paper, would take no interest, whatever, in them, and would regard their space as an imposition. We publish a newspaper for all our readers and we must be our own judge of what we Select for it; therefore, we decline to publish them. If these societies want them printed for their benefit, have them printed in pamphlet form, and pay for it; just as a man pays for making a pair of boots, or for doing any other labor.[50] We cannot afiord to, neither will we, print for nothing; we done [sic] that long enough, years ago. "The laborer is worthy of his hire" in printing as well as in any other branch of mechanism.

This bit, in fact, is so far below Dryer's usual standard of logic, public spirit, grammar, and rhetoric as to cast some doubt on the authorship; but this is, of course, guesswork. Normally, however, he was much less the hard-boiled foe of the gentler things of life than the foregoing paragraph (one of the worst that ever appeared in the Oregonian) would indicate. For that matter, in the very same issue in which this declaration of disinterest in things cultural appeared, there ran two selections of verse whose quality is such as to create a bit of sympathy with the paper's expressed attitude. The poems were entitled "I Must Hasten Home," an anonymous offering, probably clipped from an exchange, and "My First Kiss," by Miss P. Knox. Let the last stanza of each suffice as an index to its quality:

I Am Hastening Home. (Five stanzas)

"I am hastening home," said an aged man,
As he gazed on the grassy sod,
Where oft, ere age had silvered his hairs,
His feet had lightly trod;
"Farewell! farewell to this lovely earth—
I am hastening home to God.

* * *

My First Kiss. (Four stanzas)

The spell is broken—she has laid
Her trembling lip against his cheek;
On hers there is a deeper shade
Of crimson, but she does not speak;
Her voice is hushed; his voice is still—
'Tis given, half against her will.

However, a good deal of very presentable verse was written in early Oregon, as files of pioneer newspapers well show.[51]

The first book review that comes to notice in the Oregonian was not of a nature that would lend encouragement to budding writers. It was not, apparently, the reviewer's policy to "temper the wind to the shorn lamb," nor was he of a mind to make it easy for women to widen their field, of activity. Dryer appears not to have done any book reviewing himself, and this particular review is labeled "For the Oregonian" and signed anonymously "Squills." About all we can be fairly sure of about Squills is that he wasn't a woman; he didn't approve "equal rights;" we can't even be positive of the complete fairness of his literary judgments; he seems to have been full of the prejudices of the day. Here is the review, which, it is to be feared, was not designed to help sell the book:

Grains, or Passages in the Life of Ruth Rover, With Occasional Pictures, &c. &c.
By Margaret Jewett Bailey, Portland, Oregon.
Printed by Carter & Austin.

This work does great credit to the printers, Messrs. Carter & Austin, the typography being very neat and immaculate in tint. We seldom read books of feminine production, believing their (the females) province to be darning stockings, pap and gruel, children, cook-stoves, and the sundry little affairs that make life comparatively comfortable and makes them, what Providence designed them, "Help-meets."

But affliction will come upon us, even here in Oregon, where we are castigated with so many already. It is bad and worse enough to have unjust laws,—poor lawyers judges—taxes, and no money, with the combined evils they saddle on us, without this last visitation of Providence—"an authoress." In the words of Homer (or his translator) we say, "and may this first invasion be the last. . ."

Our space being limited, we can give no more quotations from the book, so just leave the reader to peruse it for himself. To call it trash would be impolite, for the writer is an "authoress." Pages 86 and 87 contain some pretty morceaux for Ruth's diary. We think, however, that private Biographies are an infliction hardly tolerable. When a Napoleon, a Byron, or any other lion makes his exit, it is well enough to know

"How that animal eats, how he snores, how he drinks," But who the dickens cares about the existence of a fly, or in whose pan of molasses the insect disappeared?

The Oregonian was not always severe on a new book. There was, for example, the favorable notice given in the issue of July 25, 1857:

New Book.—We have received from A. R. Shipley, book seller in this city, a new work by Edward Hitchcock, D. D., LL. D., entitled "Religious Truth." We have not as yet examined the work, but from the character of the author, and the favorable notices by the Atlantic press, we have no doubt of its value.

And then we come to a possible reason for the notice given the book, for Mr. Dryer goes on to observe:

We recommend a careful perusal of this new work to Bro. Pearne, of the Pacific Christian Advocate. Its title alone, if adopted and practiced by our contemporary, would be of great service in reference to his latter end.

From the very beginning the Oregonian stood for what Theodore Roosevelt used to call "orderly liberty," and Dryer's voice was frequently raised in behalf of law enforcement and human rights. He was willing even to rap a court of law on the wrist when he thought flagrant injustice had been done. Probably it was more than mere appreciation of a bit of clever writing that caused him to give space to the following communication taking sharp issue with the action of a Portland judge:

Court Scene in Portland

Dogberry. Oh that he were here to write me down—an ass! but, master, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.—Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV, Scene ii.

Breach of the Peace.—Irving vs. Praebsel. Denison presiding. It being already proved, by evidence on both sides, that defendant had assaulted plaintiff without any cause or provocation: held, that he was perfectly justifiable in doing so. It likewise being proved to the satisfaction of the court, by the evidence on both sides, that plaintiff ran away immediately on being assaulted, to save himself from further aggression; held, that plaintiff committed a breach of the peace, and would be held liable for casts. Plaintiff paid the costs. The court adjourned.

"A Daniel! O, wise young judge."

A Looker-on.

Press freedom and rights were a live topic in those pioneer days, they always have been from the earliest days of printing. The Oregonian commented December 20, 1851, with forceful frankness on an alleged attempt to control the press in its reporting of legislative proceedings, saying:

We find the following in the proceedings of the so-called legislative body assembled at Salem:

"Mr. Waymire offered the following resolution, and pending discussion thereon, the council adjourned:

"'Resolved, by the council, 'That when any editor of any public journal wishes to have a reporter in the council, he shall ask leave, and upon leave being granted, he shall give name of the reporter he wishes to act for him, and he shall be under the control of the council.' (Lost, 6 to 2; Deady absent.)

". . . If this is not going in for the freedom of the press with a whole hog liberality, then we are no judge of bristles."

The fight for press freedom and rights was sometimes confusingly involved with partisanship and newspaper rivalries. A resolution introduced by Delazon Smith, later founder of the Oregon Democrat at Albany and one of the first two United States senators from Oregon, in the lower house of the Oregon legislature, as reported in the Oregonian for December 30, 1854, directs attention both to two pioneer newspaper reporters in the young territory and to the state of reporters' rights in Oregon at that time. The Oregonian handled the situation in the following editorial-news item:

Delazon Smith introduced the following resolution in the earlier part of the session:

Resolved, that Patrick Malone be admitted within the bar of the house as reporter for the Oregon Statesman, and that Orlando E. Jones be admitted within the bar of the house as reporter for the Weekly Oregonian.

Thus it will be seen (said the Oregonian) that the Legislative Assembly, in the plenitude of its supreme power, has granted us the privilege of accommodation to report their proceedings for our journal. Although we have accepted the accommodations, such as they are, yet we deny that we are under the least obligation to the assembly for it. The contemptible meanness and party spleen manifested by refusing to furnish our reporter with stationery, copies of their printed bills, reports and resolutions, while they lavishly bestow them upon the Oregon Statesman, is sufficient to convince us that they would have denied a reporter for the Oregonian admission within the walls of the capitol had they dared. Therefore we wish Delazon Smith to distinctly understand that we repudiate the idea which he attempted to convey in his resolution to admit a reporter to a desk within the bar, that a representative of the press is indebted to him for the gracious privilege granted.

Mr. Dryer early in his career on the Oregonian made clear to readers and advertisers just where he stood with regard to his responsibilities and relationships to both these classes of patrons. He drew a clear picture of newspaper ethics, perhaps the earliest published in Oregon:

A citizen (he wrote)[52] may express his opinion freely upon any subject, without giving offense; he may condemn error in unmeasured terms, and no man will say, "Why do ye so?" But if a public journal ventures an expression of the same character, there will immediately be found those who assume a censorship over the editor's acts, and claim the right to condemn him for doing what they admit ought to be done, on the ground that the manner of doing it is not in accordance with their "superior" foresight and sagacity. . . There are many (of this class) in every community. We understand it to be not only the right but the duty of all public journalists to be faithful chroniclers of events, whether good or evil. We have always regarded a newspaper as a mirror in which all may look and see the events of the day as they pass, and as a journal in which are to be re corded for future reference the public acts and deeds of men; with marginal note of approval or disapprobation. Such we find to be the avowed principles and claimed rights of all publishers, at the present day, and such we are determined shall be ours. We are thankful for your patronage and favors, gentlemen, but we deny being your debtor for either, or your right of censorship over our opinions.

Newspaper ethics in general have been discussed at greater length and in more sententious phrases; but the idea is pretty nearly all there, isn't it? And has anybody made it much clearer? Let it not be forgotten, moreover, that this sort of thing is nowhere more difficult to pronounce to your public than in the small town, such as was the Portland of the fifties, where the editor and publisher is in constant close personal contact with both advertisers and subscribers.

The views of Asahel Bush of the Oregon Statesman on the same subject were expressed in an editorial which appeared in his paper, then in its second year, November 20, 1852:

We Can't Do It

We are frequently asked to notice editorially matters which belong only to the advertising columns. We sometimes call attention to advertisements, but never advertise in any but the columns set apart for that purpose. We insert nothing in the editorial columns for pay, and receive no price for anything inserted there. We state this because a friend doing business some distance from here last week enclosed an eagle, asking us to mention that he had just enlarged his premises and increased his business. The eagle we return, and respectfully decline all such requests. We shall be pleased, however, in all such cases to make known through our advertising columns, the wishes of all who may see fit to patronize us and at the same time patronize themselves. But we can't consent to make an advertising medium of ourself.


Let us move now to the second oldest publication to come down from pioneer days to the present, the Oregon Statesman, founded at Oregon City but identified through the vastly greater part of its career with the capital city of Salem.

This newspaper's history begins with the effort of Samuel R. Thurston, delegate to congress, to get himself re-elected. The paper was Thurston's idea, the backing came from Thurston, and it was only by a chain of fortuitous circumstances that there came into the picture the man who became the editor and conducted the little paper with courage and skill and power through stormy territorial days into the period of statehood. That man was Asahel Bush. The first issue of the paper carries in the masthead, at the upper left corner of the front page, the phrase "Published every Friday morn ing by Asahel Bush."

But the Statesmen's appearance was preceded by more than the usual pre-natal activity. More than a year before the first issue came damp from the old hand-press, Thurston, who had been chosen delegate in a non-partisan election, the first held in territorial Oregon, had begun work to get himself re-elected, and he conceived the idea of a personal organ. He was a peculiar combination in those days—a Methodist Democrat, for most of the Methodists were Whigs. The support given this stanch Democrat by the Methodists, who were strong in early Oregon, was believed to have insured his election. This made it inadvisable that Thurston be known as the publisher of a Democratic paper. He therefore aimed to keep his ownership secret.

Thurston's diary for January 13, 1850, made the first extant direct reference to his purpose of starting a paper.[53]

Today (he wrote) I had a long talk with Mr. Fitch of Michigan about going to Oregon to start a Democratic paper.

Then, January 19, 1850:

During the session I wrote a letter to Mr. Crane of the New York Evening Post (founded by Alexander Hamilton) relative to going to Oregon to start a paper.

March 14, 1850:

From the 1st to the 14th I was at Springfield, Mass., and going to negotiate for a paper to be started at Oregon City. The parties are A. W. Stockwell and Henry Russell.

March 20, 1850:

Mr. Stockwell left here today.

Besides Stockwell and Russell, Thurston had also interested Wilson Blain, a United Presbyterian minister who in 1849 was editor of the Oregon Spectator, in the new paper. Blain, however, sold his interest and went to Linn county, where in accordance with a previous intention, he started a parochial school.

Chicopee, Mass., and Bush came into the situation through Mrs. Thurston, whose parents lived at Chicopee. Visiting there during of Congress, Thurston came in touch with young Asahel Bush, a law student who was making his way by editing the Standard at Westfield, 13 miles from Chicopee. Bush had learned the printing trade as a lad of 15, and now at 26 he had a pretty fair journalistic background. He was, Mr. Thurston was convinced, "a gentleman of high integrity and of the first order of ability. He is competent," according to Thurston in his diary, "to carry out with great success the object he has in view. . ." Bush's long career in Oregon, by common consent, amply justified the delegate's early estimate. Thurston, incidentally, was not without journalistic knowledge and experience, having edited a paper in "the states" before going out to Oregon.[54] Thurston's diary for June 22, 1850, said:

This day I wrote letters of introduction to Bush, letters to Blain, etc. . .

On the fly leaf of the diary was written:

If I buy the office at Chicopee I will want to buy the same heading, Oregon Statesman, fifty pounds of ink, hundred pounds glue, roller mould, 30 bundles paper, and ten reams common writing paper, 1.50 cts. per ream.

At a conference in Washington Thurston persuaded Bush to sever his relations with the Westfield Standard and go west to Oregon City to be the editor of the new paper. Prior to the appearance of the Statesman the situation had been a little involved so far as ownership of the paper and responsibility for it were concerned.[55]

But Bush arrived in Oregon City September 30, 1850, with pretty definite ideas as to who was to be the real voice and power of the Statesman. His correspondence with Thurston is not exactly filled with encomiums for his supposed coadjutors. Of Blain he said:[56]

My dear Thurston: Blain told Caufield and one other friend that you owned the Statesman press. Caufield has since told Buck, who is also strongly opposed to you, and to one or two others. . . As soon as I heard of it, I went to see Buck (of the council) and endeavored to keep the matter from traveling any further, as it would cause the paper to be prejudiced and injure both the paper and yourself. . .

Bush went on in the same letter (which, of course, never reached Thurston, whose death occurred on board a westbound ship off Acapulco, Mexico, April 9, 1851) to refer to Russell's being on hand ready to take part in publishing the Statesman, and makes clear his own opposition to Russell's having anything to do with the new publication:

Taking all things into consideration (Bush wrote) I am positive that it would be better if he was not connected with it. And I had much rather be alone in the concern. Russell makes a bad impression wherever he goes. So they all tell me. But he is here, and of course I would not want to tell him so. We must make the best of it now. . . I have not opened a law office, and am not sure that I shall.

In another letter, written by Thurston to Bush, January 27, before he had had time to receive the foregoing, the delegate deferred approvingly to another bit of Bronx-cheering by Bush for Russell. Thurston wrote:

Now as to [Russell] . . .I am obliged to your for your seasonable hints, as they are my sentiments precisely. In no case should I have advanced another dollar for him, for he owes me about $175 now. I desire you reserve this for me, when you get to work, for I have Russell's agreement that it was to have been paid the first money he made in Oregon. In no case is he to have any control over the editorial part of the paper. It was understood that he was to be, with Stockwell, the mechanical partner. . . Now, sir, in no event allow him to manage the finances of the concern. . . If you allow him to run the firm in debt on any account, you will be in trouble. . . I am afraid Russell will not do. Be be extremely prudent, and if you find him too difficult to manage, your only plan will be to purchase him out in a friendly manner.

In all the Thurston-Bush correspondence there is evident a note of confidence on the part of the delegate in the young editor. The suggestion that Bush buy out Russell appears to have been already carried out in advance of Thurston's suggestion, for there was executed at Oregon City, December 19, 1850[57] a bill of sale transferring all Russell's "right, title, and interest in the Oregon Statesman, the press and materials designed for printing the same, and everything appertaining thereto, also all my right and interest in a certain contract and assignment executed by Wilson Blain in favor of Russell and Bush (Stockwell doesn't appear in the Oregon City picture at all, apparently) and in consideration of the foregoing the said Bush agrees to assume all my liability under said contract."

Meanwhile,[58] Blain wrote Bush a boost for Thurston, saying, further, with his mind apparently more on his school than on politics, that he had his schoolhouse (in Linn county) up and would open in April. "As I shall have more scholars than we can accommodate, I shall defer advertising until fall, by which time we shall have better boarding accommodations."

Meanwhile, Bush had not strained himself boosting any of the others. To his patron Thurston, December 20, 1850, he wrote:

I hope you will write to your particular friends all about the territory by return of mail, to do all they can for the Statesman. It will start under very unfavorable auspices. Everybody is so impatient, and there is so much competition. . . . Some of the papers must die. I predict that in less than two years from this time printing establishments can be bought cheaper in Oregon than in New York.

The enemies of the Statesman are constantly reporting that the paper is to be abandoned, and the lapse of time since it was promised gives the report credit. You don't know how we are suffering from the delay.

Let us close the circuit of correspondence with a reference to the friendly letter written by Henry Russell from New York, August 24, 1851, to Bush.

Printers (he wrote) say your paper looks like civilization, in contradistinction to the Oregonian and Spectator. . . Again, per agreement, I say Thurston, were he living would now be owing me $300—as he forwarded but $100—to my wife.

I see that you handle the trio (Oregonian, Spectator, and Star) with much tact as I had anticipated. So far as I am personally concerned, I feel that you have made all the defense of my acts in Oregon that the case demanded. . . For the manner of the notice, and the articles themselves, I thank you. Had circumstances permitted, I am satisfied I should at least have been content with the arrangement we agreed upon for mutually carrying on the Statesman. Your idea of getting rid of Blain, I believe now more than ever, was the part of wisdom.

My wife and boy are here, happy and contented, I believe, yet could they have gone to Oregon when I did, I doubt not we all could have been as comfortable as we now are and no more so. It was for their comfort I returned here, and I have not regretted it. . . From your friend and wellwisher, Henry Russell.

There was a bit of a race between the Oregonian and Statesman to get going first. Bush, in one of his letters from Oregon City to Thurston, told him of the Whig press established at Portland and urged the importance of getting the Democratic paper under way at the earliest possible moment. The letter was dated December 5, 1850. The Oregonian already had appeared the day before, and Bush knew of it, probably even had seen it.

We are losing ground every day (Bush wrote in the letter). I would give two thousand dollars if those materials were here now. And when I say that I mean it. It would be more than that in our pockets, and greatly advantageous to you. For there is not a press in the country now in favor of you unless it is Whitcomb's Western Star, and if that is, its columns don't evince it. I think that Aspinwall ought to send that press across the isthmus at his own expense, and I have the faintest hope possible that you made him do it when you found that it could not go till November. If you do so, we shall probably get it by the next steamer.

Bush next refers in his letter to the newly established Oregonian, off the press December 4:

The Whig paper at Portland is out in Spectator size, but it is to be enlarged in March if the press his new establishment has coming around arrives here. He has no connection with the one coming to Lownsdale & Co.[59]

The Spectator would not publish those little scraps you sent me. I tell you the Spectator will do nothing to favor you, and I am confident that it will oppose you.[60] . . . I am all impatience to get that press. You don't know how we are losing ground. . . I'll have things ready to go to work (when the press arrives) and get out a number immediately. . . There are some here who will spare no endeavors to get a Democratic paper to supersede it (the Statesman).

They are endeavoring to get someone to start a Democratic paper at Portland on the press that is coming out for the proprietors (of the townsite) . . . I have just received a letter from a Yamhill man who had subscribed (for the Statesman) requesting me to strike his name off as he had got tired of waiting and subscribed for another.

Bush, judged by his letters to his patron, Thurston, was far from optimistic of the future of the projected publication. Perhaps this was his way of keeping Thurston stirred up. December 20, 1850, he wrote from Oregon City:

. . . I hope you will write to your particular friends all about the territory by return of mail, to do all they can for the Statesman. It will start under very unfavorable auspices. . . The country is getting full of papers, and some of them must die.

The enemies of the Statesman are constantly reporting that the paper is abandoned, and the lapse of time since it was promised give report credit.

Another letter, also marked confidential, from Bush to Thurston, informed the representative that he would "start the Statesman as a Democratic paper."

This (he wrote) is universally expected. No other could live a month. But I shall not go in for a party nomination for delegate, but be governed by the action of the party in that respect. I will endeavor not to involve you, or injure your prospects, and I think I can manage prudently enough not to do it. It has been noised all about here that the Statesman was not to be a Democratic paper merely, but your organ . . . and a good deal of jealousy exists all about, and particularly among the Yamhill Democrats. And I shall have to be very careful not to excite or strengthen this jealousy.

. . . From what I see and hear I have no doubt but that you will be re-elected. . .

I understand the Whig paper at Portland (the Oregonian) has made an attack on you this week, but I have not seen it. I don't think the editor amounts to much, although I am but little acquainted with him.[61] At any rate, his course so far shows him to lack in a great degree tact and prudence, if not talent.[62]

In the same letter Bush urges that the paper be turned over to him at the earliest possible moment. "It is a great pity," he repeats, with Catonian redundance, "that the press is not here. We are losing ground every day."

To make a long story short, the press finally did arrive, having come around the Horn from Chicopee, Mass., in time to get off the first number March 28, 1851, nearly four months behind the Oregonian, which Bush had hoped to beat. Like the Spectator machine, it was a Hoe "Washington hand-press," capable of good work, though slow. It was a better press than the Ramage with which the Oregonian started.

The weekly Statesman, when launched at Oregon City in 1851, charged 25 cents for single copies and $7 for the annual subscription. This averaged about 14 cents a copy for the 52 issues. Among its agents were several men prominent in early Oregon history—including M. P. Deady (later federal district judge) at Lafayette, J. W. Nesmith (later U. S. senator), at Nesmith's Mills, and Joseph C. Avery, founder of Marysville (later Corvallis), at Marysville.

Bush seems never to have been so happy in Oregon City that he was not thoroughly willing to move in the interest of business. In a letter written three weeks after starting publication in Oregon City,[63] he said:

"I get very little patronage in Oregon City." This patronage was to grow, despite weak competition from the Spectator. The paper, under the skilful editing of the militant young easterner, became the "bible of the Oregon Democracy" and the lusty opponent of the Whigs, Dryer, and the Oregonian in everything on which it was at all possible to take issue.

Bush came to head the very successful little group of politicians which became known a few years later as the "Salem clique," which directed things Democratic in Oregon—in those early days that virtually meant all things political—for years. When the capital was moved to Salem, the politically minded Statesman moved with in June, 1853. Two years later the legislature met at Corvallis, newly chosen capital. Bush followed along with the Statesman, explaining that since he was state printer was necessary to be at the seat of government. When the legislature itself passed resolution to take the territorial government back to Salem the Statesman was river steamer (not such tremendous job in again put aboard those days) and moved back to Saiem, where publication was resumed December 18, 1855. And there, with some vicissitudes in the 60's, has remained ever since.


The journalistic life of Asahel Bush in Oregon was one of struggle throughout. We have seen how he battled to get control of the Statesman in the first place, and his ownership and editorship of the paper were marked by continual conflict. Those were days of strenuous politics. The Civil war was imminent, and its shadows were cast over every community in the land. Bush fought the Whigs from the start he battled the Know-nothings he fell out with Senator Joseph Lane; he was in the thick of the fight on the statehood question, though not consistently on the same side.

Bush was a hard fighter, sharp of tongue and pen, and his struggles with Editors Dryer of the Oregonian, Adams of the Argus, and others helped fashion the "Oregon style," to which H. S. Lyman and Leslie M. Scott have directed particular attention.

In this era (wrote Lyman)[64] was formed what became known as the Oregon style, a species of storm-and-stress composition, strong chiefly in invective, and availing itself of the condition of the times—in a community where everyone's private affairs and personal name were known to every inhabitant—to coin amusing and even offensive titles for opponents.

Bush, for instance, was often "bushey" in the Oregonian, "Ass of Hell" Bush in the Argus, while the Argus was the "Air Goose" in the Statesman, and Thomas Jefferson Dryer, a Whig and Republican with that fine old Democratic name, was on occasion "Toddy Jep" in the Statesman's derisive paragraphs.

On one occasion in this glorious period of personal journalism a reporter on one of the papers was convicted of burglary—undertaken, it seems, as a sort of avocation to piece out a somewhat meagre income, and not as a part of his regular duties on the paper. The rival editor, however, with the customary editorial courtesy, explained that the man's confession had not "as yet" involved his editor.

On another occasion, as told to this writer by Dr. Joseph Schafer of Madison, Wis., formerly head of history in the University of Oregon faculty, Adams had been particularly waspish in his references to the Statesman editor. Picking up the paper, Bush wrote on the margin, "Send this paper to hell." The next week the Argus, with mock solmnity, chronicled the death of Asahel Bush.

Mr. Thurston had had no idea of encouraging the Oregon style, and one wonders how it would have thrived if he had lived to exert his influence over his young editor. In one of his last letters to Bush, dated January 27, 1851, less than three months before his death, Delegate Thurston had written:

The Statesman will go ahead; you and I have warm fighting friends. In your first number, in a dignified manner, state that I have no control or influence whatever over the paper and that I will be no further respected or supported than any other good Democrat. . . That Thornton (J. Quinn Thornton, prominent in Oregon politics) is a snake in the grass. Treat him as all my enemies, with respect and courtesy, as I alone am competent to attend to their cases. I desire you to be entangled with nothing further, think the case is made by the interest of the party. Be extremely careful to have your paper dignified with chaste and gentlemanly language. . .

Mr. Thurston died without having a chance to observe his Oregon City editor's concept of what was chaste and gentlemanly in language. One may wonder how he would have regarded this, for instance, which the Statesman editor included in his editorial matter in the third issue of the paper, April 11, 1851 (Thurston's death had occurred two days before):

The last Oregonian is a proud sheet! The editor's courage, like Bob Acre's, has oozed out at his fingers' ends, and his swaggering is converted into the vilest obscenity and filth, unrelieved by one particle of decency, sense or wit. He commences our name without a capital letter, and refuses to exchange papers with us; the two last resorts of puppyism and puny rage, which are branded by the fraternity everywhere as the lowest acts of contemptibility and meanness. We connot get down to the depths he has sunk to answer him, for we will not sully our columns with vulgarity and slang. When he rises, we will endeavor to pay him our respects. And, he must inevitably come up again, for it is an unvarying law that filth rises as it rots.

Here is one of Asahel Bush's little tributes in the Statesman[65] to Thomas J. Dryer of the Oregonian:

The Oregonian man is the most unvarying liar we have ever met with. He so seldom tells the truth, even by mistake, that we are inclined to make a special note of the fact when he does.

This was a little milder than his offering of the previous week:

There is not a brothel in the land that would not have felt itself disgraced by the presence of the Oregonian of week before last. It was a complete tissue of gross profanity, obscenity, falsehood, and meanness. And yet it was but little below the standard of that characterless sheet.

And this next little bit of "Oregon style" comment is libelous to this day, so the name of the person mentioned is omitted; but this is what Bush said about him in the Statesman's issue of May 12, 1855:

.....has gone south to electioneer. . . He is the most unscrupulous liar in the Territory, and not one particle of reliance can be placed on anything he utters. It was him who published the cowardly slander about Gen. Lane "falling off his horse and putting his arm in a sling and pretending to have been shot in the Rogue River war," and the groveling lie that Senator Gwin stated that he had seen Lane intoxicated in Washington. There is no danger of his falsehoods finding credence unless he shall attempt to pass under an assumed name. . . For fear that he may do this, we subjoin a description of him: He is about 47 years of age, 5 feet 11 inches high; salmon complexion; hatchet face; "stoop-shoulders;" grizzly hair; uneasy manner; downcast countenance, never looking a person in the face; dishonest sion; and had on when he left a white wool stovepipe hat and buff vest. He preaches temperance and moral reform sometimes, but he is fond of whiskey and tobacco, and swears profusely.

Perhaps these examples will illustrate Mr. Bush's ideas on how to conduct an editorial battle. There were many such, and other editors' little journeys into this type of thing also were not un common.

Dryer of the Oregonian could dish it out himself with the best of them. August 5, 1855, he delivered himself of the following:

Strayed, stolen, lost, absquatulated, mimeloosed or run away, one...formerly editor, proprietor, printer, compositor, pressman, roller boy, extra seller, libeler, item gatherer, affidavit maker, slanderer general, and "pimp" generalissimo of a small, cheap paper called the ...

He may be recognized by the brand of "our honest gaze," stamped by his Maker on his face, similar to that of any other "felon." Sometimes seen peeping through the bars of state prisons, penitentiaries, &c. . .

When he was in good form, Bush could take care of himself in any kind of exchange of personalities. He shows up to poorest ad vantage, perhaps, in his vitriolic attacks on the Whig Governor Gaines, which show real, venomous hate and are full of fighting words, unrelieved by the least semblance of "smile." Occasionally a faint gleam of humor relieved this sort of thing, as when Bush commented:

The editor of the Spectator don't [sic] like to be called "bullet-head," "blockhead," etc. He should blame Nature for giving him a thick skull, and not our correspondent for making mention of the fact that he has one.

There was no discounting Bush's political influence. It was, very likely, stronger than that of any other editor of his immediate period. H. S. Lyman[66] credited him with having "largely controlled the politics of Oregon territory." Hubert Howe Bancroft (Frances Fuller Victor) wrote:[67]

As a party paper it (the Statesman) was conducted with greater ability than any other journal on the Pacific coast for a period of about a dozen years. Bush was assisted at various times by men of talent. . . During the first eight years of its existence it was the ruling power in Oregon, wielding an in fluence that made and unmade officials at its pleasure.

Leslie M. Scott, authority on Oregon journalism history, characterizes Bush in so many words as, so far as Oregon is concerned, "the ablest editor of his day, 1851-1863." He does this in the course of an article in the 80th anniversary number of the Statesman (68) in which he says, further:

The influence of Bush was more potent than that of any other man in holding Oregon to the Union, in connection with that of his partner in the Statesman, Senator James W. Nesmith. Bush could outdo any adversary in sarcasm and invective and was the spokesman of the "Salem clique" as the ruling power in Oregon politics. He had remarkable breadth of vision and gift of foresight; was endowed with outstanding courage; used his influence for the obvious ad vantage of Oregon in national affairs. His breach with Breckenridge secession Democrats split his party wide open but upheld Oregon as a Union state.

Bush is supposed to have been the moving force in the so-called Salem clique, which, historians agree, controlled Democratic politics through several years before the Civil war. The list, with some slight variation from time to time, includes Bush, L. F. Grover, Ben Harding, R. P. Boise, all of Marion county; J. W. Nesmith and Fred Waymire, of Polk county; M. P. Deady, of Yamhill county; S. F. Chadwick, of Douglas county; J. W. Drew, of Umpqua county, George L. Curry, of Clackamas county; William Tichenor of Coos county, and Delazon Smith, of Linn county. Most of these men were highly prominent in Oregon public affairs as governor, senator, judge, or in some other important position.

It was the issue of slavery that finally broke up the clique and split the Democratic party itself. Bush put the Statesman squarely behind Stephen A. Douglas and the Union wing of the party, while the southern wing of the party was headed by Breckenridge and Lane. Bush stood with Douglas for the Union when secession threatened, and combined with the Republicans in the Oregon state legislature to elect Nesmith and the newly arrived E. D. Baker in place of Lane and Delazon Smith, who had been Oregon's first United States senators.

The Statesman's drift away from Democracy, started with the Lane-Bush split, was never halted. How the Statesman became a consistently Republican paper is a story that belongs in the statehood period.

It appears to this writer that the Statesman was less of a force in other important phases of journalism than in politics. Business, economics, general culture received less proportionate attention, it seems, in this paper than in other newspapers of early Oregon. The Statesman, however, was not without influence in those other fields.

The Statesman was, of course, a much better-appearing paper than the little Spectator had been and compared favorably with its contemporaries by all the criteria to which readers paid much attention in those days. It was a four-page seven-column paper with 102 out of the 28 columns taken by advertising. Typographically, both in news and in advertising, it was a better-appearing paper than the Oregonian, which in its early numbers gave little promise in any respect of the strength it later was to develop.

And yet, in its first issue, off the press March 28, 1851, the Statesman did not contain a single line of local news gathered by its own staff. An account of a meeting of citizens held in Yamhill county's big town, Lafayette, which passed resolutions calling for the nomination of General Joseph Lane as delegate to congress might come under the head of local news, but it was not obtained by any initiative on the part of the Statesman. Like so many of the descriptions of meetings carried by the newspapers of those days, this one betrayed its origin in its concluding paragraph: "Resolved that the secretary be directed to furnish the different papers of the Territory with a copy of the proceedings, and respectfully request the publication of the same."

The first originally prepared Oregon news item in the Statesman was to appear in the second issue of this new weekly paper. Here it is, a reminder both of the days when the Willamette river was really a navigable stream and of the incomplete reporting done in those days:

The Steamer Willamet-This new iron steamboat, designed for the Willamet and Columbia rivers, is now being fitted up at Portland, and will be in readiness in about six weeks. She is one hundred and seventy-five feet long, twenty-eight feet beam, and eight and one-half feet depth of hold. She is provided with two powerful engines, and is said to be a splendid steamer.

The second local news story was an account of a murder. It was perfectly regular in those days to let partisanship creep into the news stories. The Statesman's warfare with the Oregonian, a bitter feud in which poisoned arrows were discharged by both sides, is recalled by the way an item on the Portland city election was handled in the same issue. Here is the story, in all its partisanship and factual incompleteness:

PORTLAND CITY ELECTION.—At the election in Portland on Monday, the Oregonian party was badly beaten. We are informed that they had a regular organization, nominated a ticket, and worked desperately at the polls, but all to no purpose. Hugh D. O'Bryant, Esq., independent opposition, was chosen mayor. Mr. O'B. is a gentleman, in the true sense of the word, and will make an efficient and popular officer. W. S. Caldwell was elected recorder, and L. B. Hastings, R. Thompson, S. Morris, and G. A. Barnes, councilmen. A correspondent writes that "if the editor of the Oregonian had ventured to run for mayor he would have been beaten more than two to one," and that his Representative stock has fallen seriously since the result was declared.

All this comment was taking up the room that might have been devoted to some information as to whether the losing candidates were "beaten more than two to one." Not even their names are printed. A few figures on the vote might have proved interesting in a newspaper close enough to the scene to have such decided opinions about the politics involved in the mayoralty race.

The Statesman, contrary to the practice of the Spectator and some of the other papers, early began using its first page for big local news, crowding out thus some of the usual run of miscellaneous jokes, poems, fictional stories, and other non-news features. The story of an important murder trial, published in the second issue, was started on page 1. It was written in the usual extreme chronological style, running several columns, delaying the report of the outcome until almost the end of the account.

The article carried the line "Reported for the Oregon Statesman," giving the impression that the work was done by a non-member of the staff. Here's the start of the long story:

Tuesday, the 25th of March, being the day appointed by the Hon. William Strong for holding a special term of said court (69) the jurors, witnesses, etc., were in attendance, but owing to the high stage of water, and bad roads, the Judge did not arrive, and the court stood adjourned unti the following day.

March 26th. The Judge succeeded in getting in-court was called, and Amory Holbrook, Esq., (70) was appointed by the Court to act as prosecuting attorney for the term.

And so on. It took more than a column to get the trial actually started. The account is heavily interspersed with the writer's personal opinions people attended the execution country, even on papers much larger:

An item regarding the execution of Kendall, the slayer in the story just discussed, ends with the sentence "A large concourse of

Here is a typical example of the Statesman's newswriting style of 1852, which was not so far from what was being done all over the

DROWNED.—We regret to learn that last Wednesday, while engaged in rafting lumber in the Tualatin river, about four miles from this city, Mr. George Keller had occasion to go a short distance up the stream where he wished to cross in a skiff. Shortly after the men who had been employed with him, saw the skiff floating down the river and no one in it. As the water was high and rapid, fears were at once expressed that Mr. K. had fallen overboard, and was probably drowned. Others supposed that, in attempting to launch the skiff, it escaped his hold, and, as he did not make his appearance, that he had gone farther up the river to effect a crossing. Night came on, and the next day came and went, but no news of Mr. K. Without doubt he was drowned. He emigrated to the Territory the past season from Peoria county, in Illinois, where his father, Rev. Mr. Isaac Keller, and family reside. The young man's deportment was unexceptionable. He had formed a number of acquaintances since his arrival, and he possessed the good will and friendship of all who knew him. We were told yesterday that his body had not yet been found.

Like all the other papers, large and small, at that time, the Statesman and its Oregon contemporaries used small heads. When Oregon was admitted to the Union, in February, 1859, the best the Statesman could do for the announcement when it finally reached Salem March 22, five weeks after President Buchanan had signed the bill, was to give it the simple, small, single-line head:

Oregon Admitted Into Union

The item was only 50 words long, as follows:

By overland mail to California, and by 'Commodore' to Oregon, we have the St. Louis dates to Feb. 14, and New York and Washington to the 12th. The Oregon admission bill passed the House, as it came from the Senate, on the 12th, by a vote of 113 yeas and 103 nays.

The Statesman ran its first multiple-division (decks, or banks, the printers call such divisions) on an item telling of the firing on Fort Sumter, in April, 1861. Following is the way the heading read:

Arrival of the Pony.
Fort Sumter in Possession of the Seceders

Northern Militia Called Out!
Extra Session of Congress Called!

The dispatch was dated out of St. Louis, April 13, 1861, and appeared in an extra issued by the Statesman Tuesday, April 30.

Bush remained at the helm of the Statesman for about twelve years, the period of its greatest influence during the youth of the paper. Now as we close the description of the Statesman's life in the territorial days, let us here include a short sketch of this great leader of Oregon journalism in the fifties, Asahel Bush.

Born in Westheld, Mass., Bush was 26 years old on his arrival in Oregon City September 30, 1850. He had already shown considerable political precocity, having, though only celebrating his 2oth birthday anniversary June 4, 1844, voted for Cass for president in the November election of that year. (72) As already noted, he had had printing experience. He had worked in the New York state printer's office in 1846, so that, when a few years later he became Oregon state printer, he was on familiar ground. Later in '46 he returned to Westheld, where he was a law student and editor of the Standard until he started for Oregon in July, 1850. He married Eugenia Zieber in Salem, October 12, 1854. She died nine years later.

On leaving the Statesman in 1863, he retired from active business until 1868 when, with W. S. Ladd of Portland, he established the banking house of Ladd & Bush. He continued this connection for more than 40 years, continuing to visit the bank almost daily until a few days before his death, December 23, 1913.

Unquestionably he was a man of fire and force, with a full share of political principle. A sound, substantial business man, he was not a great writer but always intelligent, and clear in his thinking. Personally he usually did not allow politics to blot out personal friendship, and he didn't carry his grudges very close to his heart. Elsewhere (73) is a reference to his service to W. L. Adams, who had lampooned him unmercifully years before. He appears to have been at least as loyal in friendship as he was bitter in enmity. His wit was keen. The story is told (74) of an exchange of pleasantries between Bush and Governor Sylvester Pennoyer in 1896, when the banker and the governor were on opposite sides of the money question:

I remarked to Mr. Bush: "Mr. Bush, you do not share the opinion of our governor on the financial question?"

"No, indeed. If I were Sylvester I would run my mill more and my mouth less. . ."

. . . Shortly afterward in Portland. . . I met the governor and ventured to repeat the remark of Mr. Bush. Mr. Pennoyer smiled and said: "That remark is characteristic of Bush. There he is in Salem piling up his gold in his vaults, and what good is it going to do him? He cannot take it with him when he dies. If he did, it would all melt."

When I related this to Mr. Bush he said: "Yes, and I should expect to find Sylvester down there with a ladle, dipping it up."

Incidentally, Pennoyer's own "uptake" wasn't so slow, was it? But-he too was a newspaper man.

That Bush was not without his sentimental side is indicated by the little poem he wrote on leaving his beloved Westfield, Mass., to begin his career of 63 years in Oregon:

We do not know how much we love
Until we come to leave;
An aged tree, a common flower
Are things o'er which we grieve;
There is a pleasure in the pain
That brings us back the past again.
. . . . . .
Let what will lure our onward way,
Farewell's a bitter word to say. (75)

This, you understand, doesn't rank him among the poets. But for a hard-bitten publisher-banker. . .

And when, in his old age, he lay down to die, his last remembered words (as quoted in the Ladd & Bush Quarterly) are characteristic.

"Is everything all right?" he asked . . . and when assured that it was, he said, "Keep it so," and with this charge went to sleep.


Reference has been made, in passing, to the advertising content of Oregon's early newspapers. It will be recalled that the advertisements were characterized as lacking in life, originality, typographical attractiveness. As compared with the remainder of the paper, the ads were plain to the point of ugliness, abruptly bare of interesting detail, and not always up to reasonable ethical standards.

May we not stop here, for a moment, and make a bit of a comparison with what was going on journalistically elsewhere at that time? Let us look at the New York Herald, probably the best all-around American newspaper of the time. The issue of the Herald for Friday, April 11, 1851, four months after the founding of the Oregonian and one month after the launching of the Statesman, contained four pages of six 15-em (2½ inch) columns. The paper, of course, was a daily. Of the 24 columns, 10½ were filled with advertising, or about 40 per cent. The Weekly Oregonian was running more than 50 per cent advertising.

The advertising in the eastern papers, of which the Herald was fairly typical, was the same flat, label, classified-announcement type of publicity as was appearing in the western papers. For example:

SPRING CLOTHING.—Our Select and Extensive Stock of Clothing for the season is now ready, comprising all the latest styles of garments of the day, and everything that is new and chaste in goods to be found in this or European markets. D. & J. Devlin, 33 and 35 John street, corner of Nassau street.

The medical ads which appeared in the western papers merely echoed those of the eastern press. The only advertising, for instance, that appeared on page 4 of the Herald for April 11, 1841, was a column of 19 separate advertisements for varied remedies, most of them of a nature now long since barred from American newspapers. Here is what the column advertised:

  1. A cure for "worms."
  2. Watts' Nervous Antidote.
  3. Balsam of Wild Cherry
  4. German Medical and Surgical Institute.
  5. Paris and London Treatment of Private Diseases, in a few hours, by a vegetable application, without pain.
  6. Doctor yourself, for 25 cents—By means of the Pocket Aesculapius, or every one his own physician
  7. Plain Facts for the People (extolling the merits of "the only remedy that can be firmly relied on in curing this most loathsome affection, without injury to the constitution.")
  8. $500 Reward—Jeffries' Antidote . . . for the cure of private diseases.
  9. Private Medical Work-Dr. Ralph's Practical Treatise.
  10. New Medical Book-A Complete Practical Work on. . . delicate diseases.
  11. Practical Medical Works for Popular Reading . . . Lectures on private diseases.
  12. Dr. Ralph, author of the "Practical Private Treatise" &c.
  13. Dr. Cooper. "mercurial and other diseases."
  14. Dr. Warren . . . speedy cures without mercury.
  15. Dr. Morrison . . . treats without mercury.
  16. Dr. L. Montamore . . . "If you value your health, you will avoid those knaves who unblushingly tell you 'That they only can cure you, and that their one kind of medicine is all that is necessary for disease in all its forms.' Persons whose health has been ruined by these egotists call upon me daily."
  17. No Fee Until Cured.—Dr. Murphy . . . hourly consulted on all diseases. . . His specific, $1 a box, cannot be beaten. N. B. If beaten, Dr. M. will forfeit $500.
  18. No Cure, No Pay—Dr. Corbitt. . . certain diseases. Recent cases cured in 4 days, no mercury used.
  19. DeLaney, M.D.—"Notice-Yielding to the earnest solicitations of very many who have been cruelly deceived by certain self-puffing individuals, the undersigned will continue to prescribe gratuitously for all diseases of a private nature. . ."

This column is a commentary at once on newspaper ethics, on the ethics of certain "advertising specialists," and, it seems, on the state of society in those days of marked mid-Victorian modesty.

And if the advertising in the old Spectator of 1846 seems a bit formless and unattractive, typographically and otherwise, here again it was a fair reflection of what was done on the best contemporary American dailies


Practically speaking, the Oregon Statesman, which moved from Oregon City to Salem in June, 1853, was the first newspaper published in Salem. Actually it was not the first publication, though it was the first that lasted long enough to acquire a legal status as a newspaper.

The little Vox Populi, however, appeared four times during a session of the territorial legislature, the first issue dated December 16, 1851, and the last January 16, 1852, and it was, as long as it lasted, a better newspaper in point of technic than perhaps most of the others issued during Oregon territorial days. A glimpse of the little publication, three of the four issues of which have been preserved at the Oregon Historical Society (76) convinces one that "the association of gentlemen" or perhaps someone in their employ, knew something about newspapering.

It was an open secret that Asahel Bush, of the Oregon Statesman, still located at Oregon City (though Bush was soon to move to Salem when the territorial government moved), Judge O. C. Pratt, of the Oregon supreme bench, and perhaps Matthew P. Deady were the moving spirits behind Vox Populi. George H. Himes, however, attributes a good bit of the editorial work as well as the printing to Victor Trevitt of Salem, later of The Dalles. Trevitt, Mr. Himes says (77), was not on particularly close terms with Bush at the time; but their association on the Vox Populi, if indeed they were associated, may have been just another instance of the "strange bedfellows" brought about by politics.

Trevitt was a printer, a native of New Hampshire, who had learned the printing trade in Ohio (78) and as a youth of 18 had gone to the Mexican war with an uncle; while serving as a sergeant he lost an eye when a soldier he was arresting used a bayonet on him Coming west, he worked as a printer for Bush at Oregon City. At the time of the appearance of Vox Populi he was working for the Indian department at Salem. (79)

The Oregonian used to refer to Bush as the editor of Vox Populi. A communication signed "Pete" dated from "Hillsborough" January 12, 1852, referred to "Hon. O. C. Pratt, assistant editor of the Vox Populi, prompter-general of the Salem legislature, &c., &c., &c., accompanied by Ass. A. Hell Bush, editor of the Oregon Statesman and Vox Populi. . ."

The greater number of the legislators in that session were meeting at Salem, with only a bare handful, referred to contemptuously as "the coroner's inquest," meeting at Oregon City. Vox Populi was all for Salem as the capital (which, of course, it became after vicissitudes familiar to all readers of Oregon history). The great burden of the Vox Populi song was the alleged inefficiency and misconduct of Governor Gaines, Whig, and two of the three judges on the territorial bench, the third member of which was the Democratic Judge Pratt. In all this the Vox was, it seems, seeing "eye to eye" with Bush's Statesman. The Vox was a small sheet, of four pages, about 9/½×13 inches, such as in the early days one would "kick off" on a job press one page at a time. Usually it was in a three-column format with columns 17 ems (almost three inches) wide. The first issue, however, had its first and fourth pages made up in two-column form, with columns 24 ems (four inches) wide. These two pages were taken up with a memorial to Congress, passed by the Salem legislature, complaining bitterly of the conduct of the governor and two of the three territorial judges, who were still at Oregon City. This memorial, which came from a joint committee of the legislative house and council, headed by Matthew P. Deady of Lafayette, was signed by Deady. It is a long document (80) but very easy reading, in Deady's well-known effective style. The inside pages were given to brief reports of the legislative proceedings at Salem, and more than a column (about a thousand words) to a verbatim report of a debate in the house on a bill to "organize Jackson county" and to "establish a probate common law court there."

The paper carried considerable advertising from Salem business houses. The typography was neat and correct. The writing, if not Bush's, was done by someone equally well schooled in the old "Oregon style" of vituperative journalism.

S. J. McCormick, who has a number of firsts to his credit in Oregon journalism, was early on the scene with the four-page, fourcolumn semi-weekly Portland Commercial, the first publication devoted particularly to business interests in Oregon. The first issue appeared March 24, 1853, saying in its salutatory:

The time has come when the interests of our merchants, mechanics, and traders require that an organ devoted solely to their service be established.

In the masthead appeared one of the earliest western blurbs for advertising, which read as follows:

Advertisement is the flywheel of business, acting upon trade as steam does on machinery.

The contents of the publication failed to justify the title, for its contents were not markedly different from those of other Portland papers. The first page was filled with general miscellany and only two local items-one on the disappearance of small-pox from the community and the other on the need for a fire department. A halfcolumn editorial felicitated the people of Portland on the adoption of a city charter. McCormick promised his readers the paper would grow, perhaps become a daily.

When the name was changed, six months later, to the Portland Commercial and General Advertiser, the little paper appeared with 12 of its 16 columns filled with advertising matter, which covered its entire first page. One column of editorial and three columns of news from the Indian wars filled up the rest of the space. Notwih standing its prosperous appearance, the publication soon died, not having found a real field in the little-developed business world of early Oregon. It wasn't worth the dime a copy. But it was a first.

Though he dropped the Portland Commercial, McCormick kept the Advertiser end of the publication, turning his semi-weekly into a monthly advertising sheet for his own Franklin Book Store in Port land. He was complimented on this publication by the Oregon Argus of Oregon City, July 12, 1856 (81).

A competitor in the field, the Journal of Commerce, was launched by A. M. Berry, well-known Portland printer, later one of the publishers of the Olympia Pioneer and Democrat, one of the best known of the early papers of Washington territory. The first issue of this Wednesday-and-Saturday semi-weekly, on April 2, was nine days behind the McCormick paper. As against the dime-a-copy price of the Commercial, Berry's paper advertised its price as "only half a dime a copy." It was a little smaller, three columns as compared with McCormick's four. It was a joke on Berry, a printer, that his paper carried the wrong year, 1851, in the masthead, for several issues. The mistake was discovered in time to have several mastheads correct before the paper folded up in about three months.

Oregon's first magazine, the Oregon Monthly Magazine, was started by S. J. McCormick at his pioneer Franklin publishing house in Portland, in 1852, largely as a vehicle for a lot of his own poetry. The magazine, in fact, was largely McCormick, who had five of his own poems, including a rhymed address to the reader. The Oregon Statesman, says Alfred Powers (82), "although it had been given an advertisement of the magazine, kept its integrity by complimenting the neat stitching and the handsome cover and by saying nothing about the poetry."

The first paper published south of Salem and the ninth in Oregon was the Umpqua Gazette, published at Scottsburg. The first number came off the press April 28, 1854, with Daniel Jackson Lyons editor and W. J. Beggs printer. Mr. Lyons, who was an Irishman, born in Cork, March 28, 1813, was educated in his native land for the Catholic ministry. (83). His career was changed when the sight of one of his eyes was destroyed as a result of a blow from a stone thrown by a playmate. He then became a brush- and broom-maker, following that vocation after coming to America. After several years in Louisville and Lexington, Ky., he came out to Oregon in 1853.

Meanwhile he had married, in 1849, Miss Virginia Fayette Putnam, sister of Charles F. Putnam, a printer, who, coming to Ore gon in 1846, was employed on the mechanical end of the Oregon American and Evangelical Unionist, Rev. John S. Griffn's paper published at Tualatin Plains, the third paper published in early Oregon.

Crossing the plains in 1853, Mr. Lyons settled near what is now Drain, moving to Scottsburg the next year. There, with the help of his wife, he managed the hotel owned by Capt. Levi Scott, founder of the town.

The initiative in starting the Gazette really came from Scott, who wished to exploit his new town. He bought a second-hand plant in San Francisco and hired Lyons as editor. The new editor's eyesight was now so bad that he was compelled to dictate his editorial notes, which were then written out by his wife.

In his opening editorial Lyons promised to keep his columns free "from the stains of political acrimony or sectional abuse." He called "particularly on the farmers to put their shoulders to the wheel as the men who, in all civilized nations, make up the bone and sinew of society, and by their products furnish the nucleus, not only to the manufacturer, but to the commercial interests of all lands."

A poem on the first page of the opening number supposed to have been written by Mrs. Lyons, then about 24, was meant to call attention to the uselessness of the young women of her day when compared with those of a few years back.

Mr. Lyons gave up the editorship after a year and was succeeded in April, 1855, by G. D. R. Boyd, with W. J. Beggs continuing as prınter

Mr. Lyons died in Marshfield in 1895 at the age of 69. His widow survived until 1907, aged 78.

Somewhere along the line an interest in the paper appears to have passed to Alex Blakely, for a paper filed in the Jackson county courthouse records the transfer of a half interest in the plant from him to William Brainard for $100. The date of the filing was October 16, 1855, about a month after the suspension. The plant was moved to Jacksonville, where a new firm, Taylor, Blakely & T'Vault (W. G.), used it to print the Table Rock Sentinel, a much more ambitious and important paper than the old Gazette. The first number of the Sentinel appeared November 14, 1855.

The statement in Walling's history that Roseburg had an Umpqua Gaxette in 1860 as a campaign paper, devoted to the interests of Breckenridge and Lane, apparently is erroneous. There seems some probability that Walling could have meant the Roseburg Express, published for a few weeks in 1859 or 1860 by one L. E. V. Coon, a recent arrival from California, who soon hooked up with John Miller Murphy and started a paper in Vancouver, Wash. They separated before long, and Murphy went on to Olympia, where he established (1860) the Washington Standard. This Express could have been the Breckenridge and Lane organ Walling was thinking about when he called it the Umpqua Gazette.

Walling does not mention the Scottsburg paper, which certainly was on the journalistic map in 1854. Old Daniel Jackson Lyons, editor, was a Democrat, true, but he could not have run a Breckenridge-Lane organ in 1854, when neither Breckenridge nor Lane was running for president or vice president, and 1856 was Buchanan's year. George H. Himes makes no mention of this Roseburg Gazette in his history of the early Oregon papers (84). He does, however, mention the Roseburg Express.

Alonzo Leland's Democratic Standard, launched in Portland July 19, 1854, is next in order among Oregon's early weeklies. It was, like most of the others, heavily political. Leland drew down on himself the sharp condemnation of Bush in the Statesman for opposing the Democratic agitation of the day for early statehood foir Oregon. Bush's phrase for this was "the iscariotism of the Standard." On slavery, too, Leland's paper was unorthodox from the Democratic point of view, since it did not favor slavery. The paper was not much different in general appearance from its contemporaries. It carried six 15-em (2½-inch) columns, a first page full of miscellaneous matter, long political editorials, some clipped miscellany and a bit of Pacific coast news on page 2; five columns of advertisements on page 3, including a 1-column ad for the enterprising Dr. L. J. Czapkay filled with signed testimonials from persons of unstated address who had been "cured." The other column was filled with hotel arrivals, vessel manifests, religious notices, Portland market prices. Page 4 was solid with advertising. Of interest in the advertising matter on page 4 were two notices of treaties with the Indian tribes disposing of their lands—signed by Isaac I. Stevens, governor of Washington territory, and Joel Palmer, superintendent of Indian affairs for the Oregon country.

There were, also, among others, advertisements for the Oregon Institute at Salem and for Cascade Academy at Cloverdale, near Eugene. This ambitious little educational institution, M. Blanding principal, advertised all departments of instruction from the primary through the collegiate. The fee was set at $6 a quarter of 11 weeks in the senior academic department. Changed control of the paper in 1858 brought James O'Meara, recently from California, in as editor. The Standard was suspended January 4, 1859, for several weeks. In February O'Meara resumed publication, but the paper soon died and the plant was moved to Eugene.

O'Meara came from California in 1857. On the National Democratic ticket he was beaten for state printer by Asahel Bush of Salem by only 400 votes. After leaving the Standard he was employed as editor of the Jacksonville Sentinel, which W. G. T'Vault had just sold to W. B. Treanor, until 1861. Albany was then the scene of his labors for a few years. He was back in Portland in 1870 as editor of the Bulletin.

Other Early Papers

The plant of the old Spectator was to have another first to its credit in Oregon journalism, for it was purchased by W. L. Adams, a pioneer of 1847, for $1200 and used to publish the Oregon Argus, the first distinctively Republican paper in Oregon, perhaps the first on the Pacific coast.

Adams was one of the big figures in Oregon pioneer journalism He was better educated than most of the early Oregon editors and perhaps the most versatile of that rather variously talented crew. Educated for the ministry, he was teacher, writer, editor, lawyer, judge, and late in life studied medicine and practiced that profession for many years. He was Oregon's first cartoonist.

Born in Painesville, Ohio, February 5, 1821, he was connected on his father's side with the Adamses of Massachusetts and on his mother's side with the Ethan Allens of Vermont. Building on a preparatory school education obtained in the academy at Milton, Ohio he worked his way through Bethany College, Virginia, obtaining there a classical education far in advance of that of most of his contemporary editors in Oregon. He was ordained in the Christian (Campbellite) ministry. His teacher at Bethany was Alexander Campbell, president of the college and founder of the Christian church

Crossing the plains in 1848, he was immediately drafted as teacher for one of Oregon's early schools near his claim in Yamhill county. It was this school, so Gaston says (85) that gave Amity its name. The settlers, in dispute about the site of the schoolhouse, finally settled the controversy by selecting a site at a compromise location, which, in honor of the happy result, was called Amity

Before starting the Argus (1855) Adams contributed political articles to the Whig Oregonian, over the signature of "Junius" and was the author of Oregon's first extensive political satire. This was entitled "Brakespear; or Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils." It appeared in the Weekly Oregonian February 14, 21, March 6, 13, 1852. Afterward it was issued in pamphlet form for the damage it could do the Democratic clique in control of politics in the territory. It was illustrated with cartoons drawn by Adams. The sort of cutting satire and sarcasm of which he was a master made him one of the small group of originators of the "Oregon style" of journalism elsewhere referred to. Though feeling was high at the time, it was all forgotten in after years, so far as Bush and Adams were concerned. On one occasion, when Adams was in need of money, Bush, then in the banking business in Salem, supplied it. "Brakespear's" usefulness was long since gone; and Adams, its creator, rounded up all the copies of the pamphlet he could reach and destroyed them.

In 1850 Adams was elected county judge of Yamhill county. Six years later, on returning from Yreka, California, where he had made some money, he was elected state senator. At that time he was a leader in the organization of the new Republican party in Oregon. His service to the party, and later, to Abraham Lincoln, was such that, after his election to the presidency, Lincoln appointed Adams collector of customs at Astoria. Lincoln was a subscriber for the Argus before his nomination for president.

Adams chose Oregon City as the scene of his first journalistic labors; and, with David Watson Craig, one of the best-loved figures in pioneer Oregon journalism, as his foreman and right-hand man, he got out his first issue of the Oregon Argus April 21, 1855.(86)

Adams was almost an ideal political organizer. He was (87) "Fearless and audacious to the fullest degree, had the pugnacity of a bulldog"—just the kind of "happy warrior" for the occasion. At the "Free State Republican convention" held in Albany, February 11, 1857, he was appointed chairman of a committee of three to prepare an address to the people of Oregon.

After four years at the helm of the Argus he turned the paper over to Craig, who continued it until its consolidation with the Oregon Statesman at Salem, October 24, 1863. George H. Himes (88) and Joseph Gaston (89) credit Craig with much of the writing for the Argus attributed to Adams. While Gaston gives the impression that the best of the work was Craig's, Himes, who also knew both men intimately and followed their work with the interest of journalist and historian, divides the credit between them. While Craig did, anonymously, set up a good bit of original editorial for which he received no public credit, Adams did a lot himself, and his talents have not been overrated,

People were as slow paying newspaper subscriptions as they always have been settling with the doctor; that sort of thing was the undoing of Dryer on the weekly Oregonian. This letter received by Mr. Craig not long before the Argus was merged in the Statesman, may indicate why it proved too difficult to keep the Argus going (90):

Belpassi, Jan. 9, 1863

Mr. D. W. Craig,

Dear Sir

There is a man living near Oregon City that is owing me 16 dollars that is now due. I have written to him to pay it to you. If he does not pay it I ask your indulgence until the first of May as I will then have other means coming in to pay you.Yours truly,

W. H. Goudy.

The following news-editorial in the Argus May 7, 1859, is typical of the way in which news and editorial were combined in the newspapers of that day, at the same time reflecting a conditiorn frequently noted in the papers of the pionecr days:

Jail Delivery

All the prisoners broke jail at Portland last week, among whom was Balch, who murdered his son-in-law; Gurnse another murderer, with several stars of less magnitude. We have already spoken of the general jail delivery at this place (Oregon City). We hear that The Dalles jail has been emptied. The next that may be looked for is the escape of Lawson, the murderer confined at Hillsborough. There seems to be no use any longer in arresting thieves and murderers. The farce of arresting, trying, and confining them serves only to run up heavy bills of expenses for the tax-payers to foot. Why not petition the Legislature to abolish the whole criminal code? It would save expenses, and serve the ends of public security about as well as our present laws executed by our present officials.

Like the Oregonian and the Statesman, the Pacific Christian Advocate, launched at Salem in 1855, came on down to recent times The paper, the first number of which came off the press at Salem September 1, 1855, was edited by Rev. Thomas H. Pearne on behalf of a group of preachers and laymen desiring to start a religious weekly in Oregon. It was felt that there was a field for such a publication, for whatever else one might say of the Oregonian and the Statesman, and, for that matter, the Argus, they were not religious in tone, and none of them gave much attention to religious affairs. The paper, which after a few months was moved to Portland, ran there for many years. It was finally moved to San Francisco, where it was discontinued about 1930.

Founders were George and Alexander Abernethy, the former the power behind the Spectator, which had died only a few months before; James R. Robb, Rev. Alanson Beers, Joseph Holman, C. S. Kingsley, A. F. Waller, Rev. J. H. Wilbur, J. L. Parrish, Rev H. K. Hines, Rev. Thomas H. Pearne, and others (91). Pearne was elected editor and authorized to procure the plant and a six months' supply of paper, estimated to cost between three and four thousand dollars. The plant and paper were obtained in New York by Francis Hall, a relative of Mr. Pearne, and took nearly six months to make the ocean voyage to Oregon.

One of the first questions to be settled by the new publishers was the name. The one finally adopted was suggested by Mr. Waller.

Mr. Pearne received a salary of $700 for several years, as compared with the $300 paid the Spectator's first editor nine years before. The paper soon came into his possession, through failure of members of the stock company of publishers to pay their stock subscriptions. The plant (Mr. Pearne related) had cost $3,500.

In its first issue the Advocate defined its purposes and policies which such skeptical souls as Mr. Dryer and Mr. Bush were wont occasionally to question. The paper, under its name-plate, proclaim ed that it was "Devoted to Religion, Temperance, Agriculture, Education, and General Intelligence." (92).

On its editorial page the masthead told the public that the Advocate was "a weekly journal, neutral in party politics . . . published every Saturday morning . . . for an association by A. F. Waller, J. L. Parrish, J. D. Boon, C. S. Kingsley, H. K. Hines. Thomas H Pearne editor. Terms, $3.50 per annum; $2.oo for six months (invariably in advance). . . Advertising: One square (ten lines or less), three insertions, $5.00; for each additional insertion, $1."

It is not intended (said the salutatory) that the paper shall be committed to party politics, or be made a vehicle of partisan communications. Nor is it intended to make it strictly theological and religious, much less sectarian or denominational.

The enterprise was projected to meet what was considered a great want in the newspaper literature of Ore gon-a weekly paper devoted to Religion and Morality, Temperance, and Education, Agriculture and General Intelligence-so free from party or sectarian influences as to be a welcome visitant at the firesides and reading rooms of all classes and parties. . .

In its opening number the Advocate took the readers into its confidence as to its financial condition and prospects, saying (93):

We are not upon a safe, living scale with less than one thousand paying subscribers. We start with 550 with this week's issue. A vigorous, united effort will double this number within the next twenty days. The success or failure of our plan depends mainly upon the attention now given to this appeal by our friends and agents.

Editor Pearne was political-minded, being in fact the leading candidate for United States senator against George H. Williams for the term beginning in March, 1865. It was this activity, no doubt, that fanned the flames of opposition the brighter in contemporary newspapers.

The Oregonian took occasional digs at Brother Pearne and his paper. There was this bit of irony in the Oregonian (94)

New Dress. The Christian Advocate made its appearance in a new dress last Saturday (95). It owns its obligation to its friends for their generosity in assisting it in purchasing the material. Among the contributors is G. W. Vaughn, Esq., credited with $100. It will be remembered that the Advocate generously defended Mr. Vaughn against some strictures in the Advertiser-communicated—a few weeks ago. We congratulate the Advocate on the high appreciation of a friendly act by Mr. Vaughn. It is another proof of the great utility of the public press.

The Advocate, like other papers of that period, leaned too heavily on volunteer contributions for its news, and the weakness of its own reporting was reflected in the scarcity of high-grade material of the type its publishers so earnestly desired.

The Advocate was of four-page, six-column format, the columns 15 ems (2½ inches) wide. Several columns were devoted to religious and educational matter. Advertising rates were $5 for one square of ten lines or less, three insertions, and $1 a square for each additional insertion.

There are indications that Mr. Pearne was far from narrow-minded. Note this generous reference to the natives of Jamaica, where he spent some time as a missionary. (96).

A current but mistaken idea held by foreigners visiting Jamaica is that the Jamaicans are people of lax morals. .. . One-fifth of the whole population are married, or they have been married and are widowers and widows. Two-fifths of the whole population are born in wedlock. Surely such a people are virtuous and happy.

As noted briefly elsewhere in this volume, the Oregon Statesman, now of Salem, was the first newspaper published in Corvallis. The location of the state capital is the key to the peregrinations of Asahel Bush's paper from Oregon City to Salem to Corvallis to Salem. The paper was published in Corvallis for a few months in 1855, while the "heart of the valley" town was the Oregon state capital.

The first newspaper that really was a Corvallis and Benton county institution was the Occidental Messenger, started by J. C. Avery and often lightly referred to by contemporaries as Avery's Ox. Its publisher was one of the two founders of Corvallis and the father of Mrs. B. F. Irvine, wife of the well-known editor-publisher of the old Corvallis Times who for many years was editor of the Oregon Journal of Portland. The first number of the Occidental Messenger appeared in June 1857, seven years after the Oregonian was founded and two years after the Statesman had returned to Salem. L. P. Long Primer") Hall was the first editor, but he soon resigned and was succeeded by T. B. Odeneal. The Messenger was one of the strongest advocates of slavery, perhaps the strongest, among the news papers of Oregon.

The "Ox" became the Democratic Crisis, with Odeneal as editor and publisher, two weeks before Oregon became a state. How Odeneal disposed of the Crisis is told elsewhere.

Jacksonville, interesting old southern Oregon town, is a focal point in early Oregon journalism. When the old Umpqua Gazette of Scottsburg was suspended by G. D. R. Boyd in September, 1855, the plant was purchased by Taylor, Blakely & T'Vault and moved to Jacksonville, where it was used to start the Table Rock Sentinel, with W. G. T'Vault, Oregon's first editor, in editorial charge. The paper, incidentally, was named for a conspicuous feature of the landscape as viewed from Jacksonville.

In his first number, November 24, 1855, T'Vault outlined his paper's policy as "independent on all subjects and devoted to the best interests of southern Oregon." He had done the same sort of thing, it is recalled, on the Spectator, but was unable to sink his Democratic partisanship in either case. So his Jacksonville paper, of which he soon became sole owner, really was an outstanding advocate of Democratic principles. On one occasion, however, he was accused of truck ling to the abolitionists; and he hastened to reply that if there was "one drop" of abolition blood in his veins he would "cut it out." The record seems to indicate that he was not called upon to attempt this singular surgical feat.

T'Vault took in W. G. Robinson as a partner in 1858 and changed the name to the Oregon Sentinel.

W. B. Treanor became owner in the fall of 1859, bringing into Oregon journalism as editor the stormy petrel James O'Meara.

Another Jacksonville paper of the territorial period was the Herald conducted by William J. Beggs, formerly of the old Umpqua Gazette, and B. J. Burns, who launched what they called a "neat and Democratic journal" August 1, 1857. Beggs carried on alone after the retirement of Burns in November. The Herald was a rather extreme slavery advocate at a time when that sort of thing was becoming less popular in Oregon and even such stalwarts as T'Vault were keeping an ear to the ground. Its life under statehood was short.

Meanwhile, up in the little hamlet of Eola, in Polk county, a few miles out of Salem, there appeared a little Baptist weekly, which left no particular impress on Oregon journalistic history. This was the Religious Expositor, Democratic in its political views, conducted by C. M. Mattoon. The first number was issued May 6, 1856. It was moved to Corvallis July 19, and the issue of October 11 marked its demise. (97).

Little is known of Eugene's first newspaper, the News, published by J. B. Alexander as a campaign weekly in 1856. After election it was discontinued. The Pacific Journal, started two years later, also failed to thrive, and its plant was used to start Eugene's first news paper of any consequence, the People's Press. This paper, launched by B. J. Pengra in the fall of 1858, managed to hold on into the days of statehood. It was a Republican paper, running counter to a rather strong Democratic sentiment in the community in those pre-Civil war days. The paper had its troubles, largely political, and it was dead within three years. It lived long enough, however, to provide one of the near-tragic incidents of territorial journalism.

In those days Eugene was the seat of a small institution of higher learning known as Columbia College, whose president, a man named Ryan, was an ardent Southern sympathizer, and it was he who furnished the fireworks of the incident. He had been contributing pro-Southern editorials to Eugene's Democratic Herald, which was started in March 1859. The replies published in the People's Press were Republican enough and personal enough to upset President Ryan. So great was his anger, in fact, that he shot and wounded the publisher. It happened that Pengra, however, had not written the offending articles but that they had been contributed by young Harrison R. Kincaid, who, working in a bookstore for his brother-in-law, James Newton Gale, was then just breaking into journalism and who was later to be one of Oregon's most prominent editors and public officials. Ryan hastened to leave Eugene for some indefinite destination, ultimately joining the Confederate army in Virginia. Pengra survived, but the college languished and soon died. Kincaid moved on to bigger and very likely better things. These were the only newspapers of which this writer has been able to find any trace in the Eugene of territorial days.

Kincaid himself was a student in the college headed by the man who reacted so violently to the Republican articles. Among his fellow students were several others who achieved prominence in journalism and other fields.

The "college" was probably little more than a high school. When William (Bud) Thompson attended, he was 13 years old.

In 1859, when Oregon was admitted to the Union, the Oregonian and the Oregon Statesman, the only two Oregon publications which have survived through the years, were, as has been indicated, weekly papers, comparable in size and style. Comparison of an issue of each, in January, 1859, just before the granting of statehood to the young territory, will give an idea of their relative status. Both were standard seven-column, four-page papers.

January 18, 1859, the Statesman carried 202 separate pieces of advertising, covering 286 column-inches, and the Oregonian of January 22 contained 133 advertisements, covering 311 column-inches. The Statesman had 62 inches of editorial in four articles, as compared with the Oregonian's 20 inches in two articles. The Statesman, as was not infrequent at that time, surpassed the Portland paper in local news coverage, with 18 items totaling 39 inches, whereas the Oregonian's three bits of local news occupied only five inches of space. The Oregonian had the lead in news from other as against the States states, with 21 items and 46 column-inches man's nine items and 13 inches. Neither paper was carrying much foreign news; the Statesman had only one item, an inch long; while the Oregonian's four items ran to five inches. The Statesman had two items of political news occupying three inches and the Oregonian none whatever. The Oregonian, however, carried two articles of economic news in four column-inches, and the Statesman not a line. Neither had anything dealing exclusively with educational or "cultural" matters.

The legislature was in session, and other matters were being forced aside to make room for a pretty full coverage of the lawmakers' doings. The Statesman gave 187 inches to the legislature, the last one held under territorial status, and the Oregonian 224.

To general miscellany (poems, anecdotes, humorous notes) the Statesman gave up 31 column-inches, while the Oregonian had only four inches (two items) of "miscellany." Neither one had a single item of sport news or a single mention of "society," save for an inch or so in the Oregonian about a marriage.

The biggest names in the journalism of the period, though perhaps not in all cases those of the best newspaper-makers, were W. G. T'Vault of the Spectator, first editor in all the west; George Law Curry of the Spectator and the Free Press, first man to give Oregon newspaper competition; T. J. Dryer, first editor of the Weekly Oregonian, the only Oregon paper to survive through from 1850; Henry L. Pittock, founder of the Morning Oregonian, the hard-headed publisher who pulled the Oregonian through the trying days of the late fifties and early sixties; W. L. Adams, of the Argus, best-educated territorial editor and first really Republican editor in Oregon; Asahel Bush, of the Statesman, probably the most powerful and consistently influential editor in territorial Oregon. Others had their day; others wrought well and faithfully; but these were the real founders of Oregon journalism.


Statistics of Oregon journalism were not impressive in 1850. Oregon City had had three newspapers in the late 40's, two at Oregon City and the other at Tualatin Plains, but two of these were dead before 1850 opened, leaving nothing but the little Spectator. No one of the first three was to survive.

In 1850 Milwaukie and Portland each boasted a weekly (98), and Oregon City stll had the Spectator. The census of 1850 listed two newspapers for Oregon territory (99), classifying one as miscellaneous, with a circulation of 624 and the other as political, with a circulation of 510. These statistics are probably useful chiefly as indicating the slowness of communication in those pioneer days; for the papers referred to are, doubtless, the Spectator, and, probably, either the Free Press, Oregon City, April to December, 1848, or the Oregon American and Evangelical Unionist, Tualatin Plains, between June, 1848, and May, 1849.

The two papers in 1850 were the Western Star, at Milwaukie, launched in November, and the Oregonian, at Portland, launched the next month, both too late for inclusion in the census of 1850. As a matter of strict accuracy, unless some paper of the late 40's is here overlooked, Oregon was entitled to credit for but one newspaper in the 1850 census, the twice-a-month Oregon Spectator, which became a weekly in 1850; both the others had been dead for months before 1850 arrived. The seventh census (1850) credited Oregon with three editors and 11 printers. The territory was credited with a population of 13,294.

The census of 1860, which listed its newspaper figures under the heads of Mortality and Miscellaneous Statistics, credited Oregon with two dailies before the Oregonian, eleven weeklies, and one religious weekly. Several of these papers had come into the field between the time when statehood was granted and the deadline for the figures for the 1860 census. To give an idea of how Oregon stood journalistically in relation to the rest of the country, it is noted here that the 1860 census credited Washington territory with four weeklies and no dailies; California with 22 dailies, 3 biweeklies, 2 tri-weeklies, 1 monthly, or a total of 96 newspapers, besides 4 religious weeklies and 2 religious monthlies, 9 "literary" weeklies and 1 literary monthly. The country at large had 372 dailies, 74 bi-weeklies (100), 84 tri-weeklies, 2,694 weeklies, 15 monthlies, 1 quarterly, and 2 annuals, a total of 3,242 publications listed as "political" papers. The two other divisions (religious and literary) totaled 277 and 298, respectively.

The two Oregon dailies had a circulation of 800; twelve weeklies had 14,820 weekly, both together total slightly above 1,000,000 annually, in whole number of copies, or about three days' supply for the Portland of today. This is something close to 20,000 copies a week. Washington territory had 2,350 weekly circulation, and California papers had 58,444 daily, 131,249 weekly, and enough of other frequencies to bring the annual whole-Number total to 26,111,788, or about 25 times the Oregon total.

The distribution for the country at large was close to 900 times as much as that for Oregon, or 927,951,548 copies.

For the country at large the circulation was as follows: Dailies, 1,478,435; tri-weeklies, 107,170; bi-weeklies, 175,165; weeklies, 7,581,930; monthlies, 3,411,959; quarterlies, 101,000; annuals, 807,150.

Comparing Oregon's newspaper reading of the 1930's with that of 1860, we find that a population of 50,000, or one-twentieth of the 1930 figure, provided between 15,000 and 16,000 readers of Oregon newspapers. Two of the big Portland dailies today circulate a combined total of more than 200,000, or 1,500,000 a week. Add the circulation of all the other 250-odd publications in Oregon (if you can find out what it is), and you can realize how the reading of Oregon newspapers has grown.

The first steam power newspaper machinery brought to Oregon was an Adams press, installed by the Oregon Statesman, Salem, in 1859. This was sold in 1872 to Eugene Semple, state printer, later editor of the Portland Herald and still later governor of Washington. Steam and hand-power alternated as presses were bought and sold, and for 12 years a giant negro, Hiram Gorman, was the Statesman's "engine." In December 1883, Byars and Odell installed steam power again, and the days of running the Statesman off by hand were over.

The Oregonian's installation of its first power press was referred to in a letter by Simeon Francis, first editor of the Morning Oregonian, in the course of a letter on miscellaneous topics to D. W. Craig, of the Argus, February 4, 1861. He wrote: "Mr. Pittock has sent for a power press. It is that which the Standard was printed on at Sacramento. I expect it will be up the next steamer—cost about $1,000 to put up. Our press work is now a heavy item." The letter closes with an appeal to Mr. Craig to see if he can't devise a way to unite their two printing establishments, as a means of meeting advancing costs.


  1. John P. Young, Journalism in California, 5.
  2. Seventh census, 1850.
  3. Issue of December 10, 1846, Vol. 1, No. 23.
  4. The telegraph had been invented in 1844 but its Pacific coast use was still far off.
  5. Spectator, February 19, 1846.
  6. Spectator, March 19, 1346.
  7. Spectator, July 9, 1846.
  8. July 23, 1346.
  9. Spectator. March 19, 1846.
  10. Spectator. June 11, 1846.
  11. See article by Miss Edith Dobie, University of Washington history staff, in Washington Historical Quarterly, April, 1927.
  12. Mr. Pettygrove soon moved to Portland, the new village "12 miles below this city."
  13. Spectator, February 5, Vol. 1, No. 1.
  14. Spectator, February 5, 1846, Vol. 1, No. 1.
  15. Spectator, October 15, 1846, Vol. 1, No. 19.
  16. December 10, under the editorship of George L. Curry.
  17. loc. cit.
  18. Spectator, April 29, 1847.
  19. Spectator, March 14, 1847. Vol, 2. No. 3.
  20. Vol. 2. No. 10.
  21. In Vol. 1, No. 17, September 17, 1846.
  22. Vol. 2, No. 2, February 18, 1847.
  23. Oregon Historical Quarterly, V. 3, 337.
  24. Issue of May 14.
  25. April 2.
  26. See page 49.
  27. When the paper actually appeared, these men had faded from the picture, and the name of Asahel Bush, man who was to be a leader in Oregon life for many years, appeared as the editor. See page 75.
  28. Himes. Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 3. page 354-5.
  29. Oregon pioneer of 1843.
  30. Like H. A. G. Lee and some other Oregon newspaper men and printers, Hudson made a comfortable fortune ($21,000 in his case) in the California gold mines. He returned to Oregon and died at sea, in December, 1850, on his way back to the golden state.
  31. By George H. Himes, O. H. Q., Vol. 3, 345-9.
  32. George W. Fuller, A History of the Pacific Northwest, 289.
  33. C. B. Bagley, O. H. Q., December, 1912.
  34. It is the opinion of George H. Himes that the hiatus in the publication of the Oregon Statesman as the Statesman, in the period when it was dominated by the Unionist owner and carried the name Statesman and Unionist, clouds the Statesman's claim to unbroken continuity from territorial days. It is the general habit, however, to concede continuity to the Statesman, through its connection with the Unionist.
  35. In the Oregonian's semi-centennial issue, December 4, 1900.
  36. loc. cit. (Oregonian).
  37. Citation from Ladd & Bush Quarterly.
  38. Semi-centennial of Oregonian, December 4, 1900.
  39. loc. cit.
  40. Oregon State Journal, July 22, 1893.
  41. Oregonian, December 4, 1900.
  42. loc. cit.
  43. Oregonian, January 6, 1887.
  44. That of Millard Fillmore.
  45. This promise was carried out faithfully, it seems to one who has scanned his utterances with some care.
  46. History of the Pacific States, 339.
  47. Page 187.
  48. August 9, 1909.
  49. This phase of the subject is covered in W. C. Woodward's History of Political Parties in Oregon.
  50. The grammar here is on a par with the thought.
  51. A representative collection of these has been compiled by Alfred Powers in his History of Oregon Literature.
  52. April 12, 1851.
  53. Diary in Oregon Historical Quarterly, September, 1914.
  54. He was editor of the Burlington (Iowa) Gazette, 1845-47.—R. J. Hendricks, in 80th anniversary number of the Statesman, March 28, 1931, page 9.
  55. Article in Ladd & Bush Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 3, April, 1915, p. 3 ff.
  56. Letter from Bush to Thurston dated Oregon City, January 17, 1851.
  57. Ladd & Bush Quarterly, April 1915, page 9.
  58. In a letter March 17, 1851.
  59. This appears to have been an error. It was the same press.
  60. Being, of course, a strong Thurston partisan, Bush could not have meant confident. Perhaps convinced was what he wanted to say.
  61. Later acquaintance with Dryer was not to alter this impression, if opinions published in the Statesman are any indication.
  62. Bush's reference to this supposed deficiency suggests criticism of the kettle by the pot. Tact was not a conspicuous characteristic of the pioneer editors.
  63. Letter dated April 17, 1851.
  64. History of Oregon, IV., 289.
  65. June 22, 1854.
  66. In History of Oregon, IV., 291.
  67. In History of Oregon, II, 147.