KanColl: The Kansas  
Historical Quarterlies

First Newspapers in Kansas Counties I854-1864

by G. Raymond Gaeddert

February, 1941 (Vol. 10, No. 1), pages 3 to 33.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.

     THIS article is designed to establish proof of the first newspaper in each of the one hundred and five counties in the state and give a few salient points about it. Before it can be decided which paper to list as first it is necessary to consider the question: When is a newspaper entitled the honor to be called first in a county? In answering, several factors must be considered which have to do with the terms editor, printer, publisher, and with the service and patronage of the paper. The meaning of the words editor and printer are generally understood. For our purpose an editor is one who edits the paper and writes editorials; a printer is one who works at the business of printing.

     The third term, however, is not as commonly understood. The words print and publish are often confused. A book may be printed without being published. It is published only when it is offered for sale or put into general circulation. It is therefore apparent that a newspaper publisher is one who offers his paper for sale or puts it into general circulation.

     In considering the question of priority, however, it is also important to know what community or county the paper was designed to serve and where its patronage was. In many cases, at least, the paper could not have existed any length of time without patronage from its community.

     For the purpose of this article, therefore, if a newspaper was the first published in a county, or in territory later included in the county, though it may have been printed elsewhere, it is considered the first newspaper in the county. This is because it was the first paper to serve the community. It gathered its news locally and distributed the finished product to its patrons. Certainly such a paper should not be disqualified because the material was printed elsewhere. Whenever the information is available it will be stated where the paper was printed. In most cases the newspapers failed to give this information, although they usually told where the paper was published. That is another reason it would be hazardous in this article to base priority on the place of printing. The information simply is not available.

     This study deals chiefly with the first newspaper in each of the Kansas counties and is not concerned with the pre-territory mission



     presses. A brief discussion of them will be found in Douglas C. McMurtrie's article entitled, "Pioneer Printing of Kansas," published in volume one of The Kansas Historical Quarterly. [1]

     Reference is made frequently to a number of well-known secondary sources on Kansas history, such as A. T. Andreas, History of the State of Kansas; First Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture to the Legislature of the State of Kansas, for the Years 1877-8; Daniel W. Wilder, The Annals of Kansas. To avoid monotony of repetition, these citations are abbreviated to Andreas, First Biennial Report, and Wilder.

     The presentation of counties follows the chronological order in which their newspapers appeared. This is preferable to the alphabetical arrangement because it will help the reader to follow the advance of the westward movement of the newspaper press, which in most cases corresponded with. the movement of population. A map showing Kansas counties and the dates of their first newspapers will appear with another installment of this article in a later issue of the Quarterly.


Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, September 15, 1854.

     The Kansas Weekly Herald was the pioneer newspaper and its press the pioneer newspaper press in Kansas territory. One hundred and eight days after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act, which organized this territory.

     William J. Osborn and William H. Adams published the first issue of the Herald. It was Democratic and Proslavery in sentiment. During its life the paper changed hands several times. The most influential men governing its destiny no doubt were William H. Adams and Lucien J. Eastin. The latter became editor of the paper when William J. Osborn severed his relationship with it, announced in the Herald, October 20, 1854. Mr. Eastin had formerly been editor of the St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette before he came to Leavenworth. The beginning of the Herald was unique even in Kansas history. A most fitting and picturesque description of its inception was given by Capt. Henry King, one-time editor of the State Record, the Commonwealth and the Capital. In his annual message delivered before the Editorial and Publishers' Association of Kansas, Leavenworth, June 13, 1877, he spoke in these words:

The first Kansas newspaper fluttered out from among the scrub oaks and


hazel brush of what was to be the future metropolis of the state. It was something of an anachronism, that first paper west of the Missouri. How a printing press chanced to be in such a place at such a time, we have never been told. I suppose that human nature needed it, and so it was sent here as a sort of special providence, for somehow what human nature needs the God of human nature always provides. At any rate, it was the first of our things. It came in even before our sins. The town-site folks found it here when they were staking off lots and tossing coppers for choice of building spots. It was under an elm tree, down by the river, and the Indian summer sunshine gave a touch of gold to the printed sheets, and the absurd tympan swaying to and fro there in the open air. There was not a house within thirty miles, not so much as a cow-path for a street, not a field of plowed land, near or far in all Kansas.

     The first Kansas Governor had been commissioned on the 29th of June; the first pioneer party of thirty persons from Boston had reached the Wakarusa on the 1st of August. But here was a printing press in the very van of affairs, standing upon the yet untrodden weeds, and canopied by the leaves and the sky, waiting to catch and record the earliest whispers of history in this new land of promise; and on the 15th of September the first number of the Leavenworth Herald went out in search of patronage. . . [2]

The Herald forged ahead in ardent expectations of the future and three months later, December 15, told its own story, exultingly, in these words:

     Three months have now elapsed since the Herald was first issued, and from that time to the present it has been constantly increasing in circulation. It may now be considered on a permanent basis. It was commenced under disadvantageous circumstances, without a house to print in or even a subscription list. The first No. was set up under the shade of a large elm tree. The materials were then moved into the house we now occupy, which was the first building put up in Leavenworth. It is the pioneer press in the Territory. It was the first and only paper published in the Territory for about two months. It has acquired a character and celebrity all over the Union, of which any one might feel proud. . . . We have had to forego many of the pleasures and luxuries of life, and submit for a while to the camp life, living and printing out of doors, writing editorials on a shingle, and sleeping on the ground. But now we are comfortably situated, in a good house, with plenty to live on, a respectable sanctum, where our friends may visit us, and find us at home. . . .

     While it is generally conceded that the type for the first issue was set up under the elm tree, it has been questioned whether the first issue was printed there or in the new building. The evidence is not convincing. In the first issue the Herald wrote: "Our publication office has been removed from the Elm Tree on the Levee to our new building on the corner of Levee and Broadway." [3] What the editor meant by this statement is not clear, for the publication office is not


necessarily the same as the printing office. Moreover, on December 8, 1854, the Herald, in introducing a poem written as a tribute to the elm tree, wrote: "To the Elm Tree, at Leavenworth, under the shade of which, the first number of the Herald was issued." The poem of twenty stanzas, written by "Dique," contained these lines:

Thy arms were kindly spread above The Kansas Herald press,
No stronger evidence of love Could move a human breast.
And from beneath thy shade was sent
To every distant clime
The sheet that first from Kansas went
To tell the march of time.

     Whether the poem is based on fact or fiction is impossible to determine. Very likely it was written by Eastin, who was not connected with the Herald until October 20, 1854.

     The editors of the Herald capitalized on the unique picturesqueness of that offIce under the elm. In the issue of May 10, 1856, Col. Lucien J. Eastin, its fiery southern editor, announced that the Herald had "just been presented with a beautiful and life-like Daguerreotype picture of the Elm Tree, as it stands with the buildings adjoining, taken by Mr. J. W. Hutchison." From time to time the editor also faithfully published various tributes to the elm, although most of it, wrote Herbert Flint, was "atrocious `poetry.'" [4] The Kansas Weekly Herald survived until 1861. The Union List [5] of American newspapers shows that the Library of Congress has scattering issues of this paper as late as August 3, 1861. The Society has only one issue of this paper in 1860, none in 1861, a broken file of 1859, but a good file of the earlier period.


Kansas Pioneer, Lawrence, October 18, 1854, first issue published in the county.
The Kansas Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, January 3, 1855, first issue printed in the county.

     The Kansas Pioneer published at Lawrence, October 18, 1854, although printed at Medina, Ohio, must be regarded as the first newspaper in Douglas county, according to the definition controlling this article. John Speer, editor of the Medina (Ohio) Gazette,


was the editor and publisher. The first issue of The Kansas Herald of Freedom, published by George W. Brown, dated October 21, 1854, but printed September 20, 1854, preceded the Kansas Pioneer, but it must be disqualified in this race for priority because it was not published within the present confines of Douglas county.

     What were the factors that qualified the Kansas Pioneer for the first paper in the county and disqualified the Herald of Freedom? John Speer came to Kansas territory in the summer of 1854 to find a place to establish a newspaper. He went as far west as Tecumseh in search of a location, but was refused all privileges there by the Proslavery town proprietor, when he discovered that Speer's paper would fight the institution of slavery in Kansas. Whereupon Speer returned to the present site of Lawrence, late in September, 1854. There he wrote the editorials which later were published in the Kansas Pioneer. [6] He arranged to have the material printed at the office of the Kansas City (Mo.) Enterprise, but when Judge Story, its proprietor, discovered Speer's attitude toward slavery, he refused to fulfill the agreement. The Leavenworth Herald accorded him the same treatment, whereupon Speer returned to Medina, Ohio, issued the first number there, and hurried it back to Lawrence for distribution. [7] Although the author has been unable to verify this statement by contemporaneous reports in the Kansas Weekly Herald, the only Kansas newspaper published at the time, Speer's most bitter rival, George W. Brown, published the following statement in the Herald of Freedom March 14, 1857, confirming the essential points related above. It reads:

     Mr. John Speer, who published the Medina Gazette, at Medina, Ohio, came to Kansas in the fall to start a newspaper. He was here in September and -wrote editorials which he published in the "Kansas Pioneer," issued from his office in Ohio, and dated Lawrence, October 18, 1854. This paper was brought to Lawrence and distributed.

     On arriving again in the Territory, Mr. Speer found the Kickapoo Pioneer under way, and for that reason concluded to change the name to Kansas Tribune, which was issued at Lawrence on the 10th of January, 1855. It appeared under the editorial care of J. & J. L. Speer.

     George W. Brown, on the other hand, gathered the news for the first number of the Herald of Freedom in the East, wrote and arranged the material there, printed some 20,000 copies of the first iss-.


sue at Conneautville, Pa., and distributed them through his agents located in the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. [8] The Kansas Weekly Herald, in announcing it in the issue of November 10, 1854, wrote: This "paper bears a falsehood upon its face, in dating its publication at Wakarusa." Years later, Brown wrote Mrs. Walker, his divorced wife (the letter was dated at Rockford, Ill., January 14, 1893), that in the fall of 1854 he had expected. to get to Kansas in time to get out the second number "not to exceed the 1st of November. Instead I did not reach Kan. City until about the 14th of November." [9] The writer has no information that Brown ever was in Kansas territory before this time. The fact that John Speer was in the present confines of Douglas county in the fall of 1854, gathering information, arranging it for publication, distributing his first issue in the county, entitles the Kansas Pioneer to first place in the county.

     The first paper printed in Douglas county, however, was the second issue of the Herald of Freedom, although the question of priority is somewhat complicated. Three prospective Free-State newspaper plants had decided to establish offices in Lawrence. The third rival, besides Brown and Speer, was the firm of Robert Gaston Elliott and Josiah Miller of the Kansas Free State. The first issues of these three papers printed in Lawrence appeared within a week of each other. John Speer lost out in the race because he could not find a printer, his own press and type having been stranded at Boonville, Mo., since late November or early December, 1854. Elliott and Miller finally agreed to print his paper, but it was obvious that they would print theirs first. The Miller family cherished a tradition that the work on the first issue of the Kansas Free State, dated January 3, 1855, was rushed with particular haste in order that the paper might be distributed on the third, the wedding anniversary of the Josiah Millers. It is reported that Mrs. Miller sat up all night on the eve of her anniversary while the paper was successfully made up in time to be distributed the next day. [10] George W. Brown, writing in March, 1857, states that the Kansas Free State was issued on January 10, a week later than it was dated, and that the Kan sas Tribune appeared on the same day.

     In the same article he states that the second number of the Herald of Freedom made its appear-


ance on January 3, 1855, though dated the 6th. [11] Contemporaneous newspaper reports substantiate Brown's claim in behalf of his own paper. January 20, 1855, the following appeared in the New York Daily Tribune:

                                                     Correspondence of the N. Y. Tribune,
                                                     Lawrence, Kansas Territory, January 5, 1855.

     We have already three printing establishments, and early next week three newspapers will be sent out to greet the country far and near. One is to be called The Kansas Herald of Freedom; the second number was published this week in this city; . . . The Kansas Free State is edited by Messrs. Miller and Elliott. Mr. Miller is a native of South Carolina-Mr. Elliott was formerly a resident of Indiana. And The Kansas Tribune, edited by Mr. John Speer. The Tribune and Free State have not yet made their appearance, but they will be out on the fist of next week. . . . .

     In the "Webb Scrap Books," Volume II, pages 148 and 149, is an unidentified newspaper clipping with additional information supporting Brown's contention. It reads:

                                                        Lawrence, K. T., Jan. 4.

Messrs. Editors:

     The Herald of Freedom issued the first newspaper, printed in Lawrence, last evening. It is a beautiful and an interesting sheet- . . . The first number of the Free State will be issued the fore part of next week from this place by Messrs. Miller and Elliott. The Kansas Pioneer will be issued from the same office soon after, the Messrs. Speer having had their press and materials left at Glasgow, on the Missouri river, by the failure of the last boat of the season to get up to Kansas, Mo. . . . E. D. L.

     The Kansas State Historical Society has a complete file of the Herald of Freedom, an incomplete file of the first year of the Kansas Free State, including volume one, number one, but only scattering issues of the Kansas Tribune.


Squatter Sovereign, Atchison, February 3, 1855.

     The Squatter Sovereign is undoubtedly the first newspaper in this county. Since the Society has a good file of it, including volume one, number one, there is no question about the date of the first issue. It was a town company paper, edited and published by Robert S. Kelley and Dr. John H. Stringfellow, both prominent Proslavery men. The office was located in a "little building fashioned from cottonwood logs . . . borne on the shoulders of Mr. Kelley." It was "situated on the river bank overlooking George Million's Ferry landing," which later became the resident property of Col.


John A. Martin, editor of the Champion. [12] The Atchison Town Company, September 21, 1854, had voted $400 to Kelley and Stringfellow to establish the office. Some time in March or April, 1857, Kelley and Stringfellow sold the paper to a company composed of S. C. Pomeroy, Robert McBratney and Franklin G. Adams, who converted it into a Free-State paper. On September 12, 1857, the Herald of Freedom wrote: "We observe that the entire interest in the Squatter Sovereign has passed into the hands of Gen. S. C. Pomeroy." Soon after, O. F. Short began serving as editor. February 11, 1858, Pomeroy and Short sold to John A. Martin for $2,000. [13] Martin remained editor and publisher of the paper until October, 1889, when he sold out to Philip Krohn. Martin changed the name of the paper several times, publishing it as the Freedom's Champion, the Weekly Champion and the Weekly Champion and Press.

     Herbert Flint characterized the Squatter Sovereign as "the real red-blooded, murder-seeking, Abolitionist-hanging, murder-condoning, bloodthirsty Proslavery paper of all Kansas journalism," which soon "made its voice heard even above the shrieking din of all the other Proslavery papers of the Territory combined." [14] Feeling of great intensity often found expression in this paper. In the issue of March 22, 1856, the Herald of Freedom quoted the Squatter Sovereign as saying: "If we for a moment thought that a drop of Yankee blood ran through our veins, we should let it out, even though our life were sacrificed in so doing."


Kansas Freeman, July 4th, 1855

     Edward C. K. Garvey of Milwaukee, Wis., was the editor and publisher of this paper.The first issue, wrote Andreas, was "printed on the open prairie." [15]

     The Society has a letter from George W. Brown dated October 19, 1901, stating that he "made up the forms for the first paper printed in Topeka, the Kansas Freeman," stopping there while on his way to attend the first session of the "Bogus Legislature," convening at Pawnee, July 2, 1855. The Herald of Freedom, July 14, 1855, announced the birth of the Kansas Freeman in these words


     The first number of the Kansas Freeman, published at Topeka, by E. C. K. Garvey & Co., has made its appearance in the shape of a half sheet, with an apology, stating that their large press had not arrived, and no intelligence could be received from it. It is possible that our Missouri neighbors took the initiative and consigned it to the watery element ere it commenced its mission in Kansas. That it was forwarded is evidenced from the arrival of several of the smaller parts of the press which were in boxes.

     The Society has only three issues of the weekly Kansas Freeman, dated November 14, 1855 (Vol. 1, No. 6), January 9 and February 9, 1856. It was customary to run the date of the advertisements' first publication as long as it was carried. It has been observed that the oldest advertisements listed in the issue of November 14, 1855, were dated July 4, 1855, which supports the contention of the First Biennial Report and Andreas that it was the date of the first issue of the Kansas Freeman. It also goes to prove that the paper was not published regularly.

     During the time of the Topeka Constitutional Convention Garvey also issued a daily Kansas Freeman, which published the proceedings of the convention. The Society has fourteen issues of this paper, including Volume one, number one.

     The Kansas Freeman had an interesting history. The Topeka Town Association had been on the lookout for some time for a newspaperman who would publicize their speculative interests through the press. They were happily surprised, therefore, according to F. W. Giles, [16] when on the afternoon of June 5, 1855, E. C. K. Garvey from Milwaukee, Wis., accompanied by the ubiquitous George W. Brown, entered Topeka and proposed to some members of the town association his intentions to transfer "his family, his fortune, his political and business influence, his stores of merchandise and his extensive law library immediately to some point in the newly-erected Territory of Kansas." He qualified this announcement "with the expression of decided preference for Topeka, provided a satisfactory consideration was offered." And like a skillful salesman, Garvey "followed this last broadside discharge upon the bewildered Topekans with a casual remark that he had at that very hour a powerful steam press in transit up the Missouri river !" With these words he departed, to await their decision the next day. It seems that Garvey was the better salesman, for on that evening in the little log cabin-council chamber of the Topeka associationthe following resolutions were adopted:


     Resolved, That we will and hereby do donate to E. C. K. Garvey, Esq., of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, city interests Nos. 57, 58 and 59, and that any rule of the association inconsistent with our action in the premises be and hereby is suspended, so far as it may apply to our action in the present case, provided that Esq. Garvey establish a good and respectable weekly newspaper, without unnecessary delay, in Topeka, and reside or exercise his influence and identify his interests with us, agreeably to suggestions made by him before the association to-day.
     Resolved, That F. W. Giles, Amos G. Adams and Dr. S. E. Martin be a committee to present the foregoing resolutions to E. C. K. Garvey. [17]

     Before the contract was closed, however, Garvey had asked that he be furnished in addition to the three city interests, "lots 11 and 12, in block 57, constituting what are now lots Nos. 146, 148, 150, 152, 154 and 156 Kansas avenue"; also, that "the association should erect for him thereon a publishing house 18 x 24 feet and two stories high, for the sum of $400, payable by 200 copies of the forthcoming newspaper for one year." The association consented to the conditions except that "for the lots named it was to reserve from the lots of the city interests given to Mr. Garvey other lots of like value and with the further condition that the paper should advocate `Free Kansas.'" [18]

     A committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions and raise funds for the publishing house. When the building was finished, however, it refused to hold the almost "endless variety of merchandise" and household furniture that Garvey had brought with him. For a period of weeks the grounds of Kansas avenue south of Fifth street were literally "strewn with furniture, beds, bedding, books, carpets, clothing, medicines, boots, and numerous other commodities, half hidden by the tall grass." After the publishing house was enlarged it was styled the "Garvey House," and soon helped serve other functions. The post office was kept there and for a time it constituted the town's political and commercial center, besides being the publishing house and hotel.


Kansas Constitutionalist, Doniphan, May, 1856.

     Like so many of the early Kansas newspapers, the Constitutionalist is almost completely buried in the dust of the turbulent past. It was started by Thomas J. Key, a member of the Lecompton Constitutional Convention, to promote the Proslavery cause.The time of its establishment is obscure and the exact date is still unknown.


     The First Biennial Report and Andreas listed it for 1856, Flint failed to mention it, McMurtrie came closest when he gave May 3 as the date of the first issue. [19] Contemporaneous newspapers and correspondence have made it possible to determine the approximate time when the paper was established. On May 3 the Kansas Weekly Herald wrote:

Kansas Constitutionalist is the title of a paper to be issued in a week or two at Doniphan, K. T., by Thomas J. Key, ate of Tuscumbia, Alabama. It was the intention of the editor to have commenced this paper at Lecompton, but hearing a paper was about to be started there in advance of his, he determined then on going to Doniphan. . . . The editor has conducted for several years one of the best papers (Tuscumbia Enquirer) in the state of Alabama. . . . On May 5, 1856, John W. Forman, of Doniphan, wrote John A. Halderman that "Thos. J. Key, late of Tuscumbia, Ala., will issue next week the first No. of the Kansas Constitutionalist at this place. It will be the same size of the Leavenworth Herald & we are taking measures to give it a very large circulation." [20] On May 24 the Herald wrote again:

     Kansas Constitutionalist.-The first number of this paper is before us. It is edited and published by T. J. Key at Doniphan, K. T. It is a large size, neatly printed, and its editorials evince a high order of talent. We welcome the Constitutionalist as an able auxiliary to the Pro-slavery cause. It is a sound, reliable Journal and deserves an extensive patronage.

     The Society has one issue of this paper, dated January 7, 1857, listed as volume one, number thirty. Many of the oldest advertisements in it date back to May 14, 1856. It is possible that this was the date of the first issue. It agrees with the contemporaneous reports. Had the paper been issued regularly, the first number should have appeared the middle of June, unless the above issue was numbered incorrectly.


Southern Kansas, Fort Scott, July, 1856.

     The year of the establishment of this paper has been in doubt until this writing, and the exact date of the first issue is still unknown. Andreas, the First Biennial Report and Wilder gave the time as 1855 and August, 1855. [21]

     T. F. Robley, in his History of


     Bourbon County, [22] wrote: "The Fort Scott Town Company fell heir to the press and material of the `Southern Kansan,' which was started and two numbers issued by Kline, who went to war, and got killed in 1856." Herbert Flint, having read Robley, questioned the year of publication and gave the time as August, 1855, or August, 1856. McMurtrie copied him. [23] The answer to this question and those relating to the editor and the name of the paper were found in the Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, July 26, 1856.

     The notice reads as follows:

     We have received the first number of the Southern Kansas, published at Fort Scott, and edited by A. P. Hickey, Esq. Its typographical appearance is excellent, and its articles display much ability. The Southern Kansas is a pro-slavery sheet, and will no doubt prove a valuable coadjutor in the advocacy of our great cause-SLAVERY IN KANSAS.

     This would seem to establish the point that the first issue of the Southern Kansas was published in July, 1856, and not August, 1855. The Society has no copy of this paper.

     Andreas wrote that the editor of Southern Kansas was one Kelley. Robley left the impression it was one Kline. The Leavenworth Herald informs us that it was A. P. Hickey.

     The secondary writers also disagreed on the name of the paper. Some called it Southern Kansas, others Southern Kansan. Again the writer is disposed to accept the statement of the contemporaneous newspaper report on this question, the statements of the secondary writers to the contrary notwithstanding, and has listed it, Southern Kansas.


The Wyandott City Register, May 2, 1857.

     On May 9, 1857, the Kansas Herald of Freedom announced the establishment of the Register as follows:

     New Paper. The Wyandott Register, Mark W. Delahay, proprietor, has made its appearance, and is to be published weekly after the 16th of May. It is a Free State paper, and is located at an important point in the Territory. The editor was the former publisher of the Territorial Register, which is baiting cat-fish at Leavenworth City.

     On the same day the Kansas City (Mo.) Enterprise also announced that a new paper had been established at Wyandotte called the Wyandott City Register, and quoted from it. Andreas merely wrote that the first number appeared in May, but added that it "was


     issued in a tent on the corner of Nebraska avenue and Third street." [24] The Society has only one complete issue of the Register, dated July 25, 1857, and listed as volume one, number ten. Since the paper was not published regularly, the date of the first issue cannot be obtained by tracing it back to the first number. The issue of July 25, however, gives the clue to the date of the first issue through its advertisements, the oldest of which bear the date of May 2, 1857. The author has accepted this fact, interpreted in the light of contemporaneous newspaper accounts, as proof that the first number of the Wyandott City Register was published May 2, 1857.

     The Quindaro Chindowan, established May 13, 1857, was the second paper in the county. It missed being first by less than two weeks. It was the "third paper in Territorial Kansas acquired by the Emigrant Aid Company to further its plans," according to Herbert Flint. [25] Charles Robinson, agent of the Aid Company, was its chief adviser; although the paper was edited and published by J. M. Walden and Edmund Babb. The Society has a good file of this paper, including volume one, number one.


The Kanzas News, Emporia, June 6, 1857.

     The Kanzas News was one of the pioneer papers of Kansas territory, and according to Andreas, it was "twelve years in advance of any other paper in Emporia," and was established when there were "but three unfinished buildings" in town. [26] Preston B. Plumb was the editor and proprietor of the News, at least in name. Years later, George W. Brown wrote F. G. Adams, then secretary of the Historical Society, that the "press, type and fixturesof the News were bought on my credit, and charged to me in account, by the Cincinnati Type Foundry, though long after he paid for it." He also wrote that "G. W. Brown, G. W. Deitzler, Columbus Homsby and Lyman Allen each subscribed for 300 copies of the Emporia News, 1,200 copies in all, and paid quarterly in advance for the same ..." [27] These men, including Plumb, were the incorporators of the Emporia Town Company. [28]


     Plumb was a political philosopher. In the salutation to the public, printed in the first issue, he wrote that he did not "intend to promulgate any particular creed" which he designed "advocating." He preferred to remain "free to act independently," according to his own "convictions of right and duty." He would "admit of no middle ground between right and wrong-no compromise with evil"; nor would he act with any party that did not have "'Universal Freedom' inscribed on its banner.-The struggle now going on between Freedom and Slavery is a death one; one or the other must succumb. The agitation of this question will not and should not stop until every bondsman is made free, or until every poor man (white or black) is made a slave." Believing this, he would never cease the warfare with slavery. "`The Truth loses nothing by agitation,"' he continued, "therefore we shall agitate." In his opinion, public lands should be made free to actual settlers. He concluded the salutation with the following statement: "Having neither personal popularity or money, our paper must stand on its own merits exclusively. All we ask of the public is a fair hearing. With these few remarks we submit our sheet to the public."

     A year later, July 31, 1858, with the commencement of the second volume of the News, Plumb added the name of Jacob Stotler to the firm, and substituted the letter "s" for "z" in Kansas. He still contended, however, that his paper was independent in politics. "If it has advocated the views of any party, either in whole or in part, it was because the objects and principles of that party, for the time being, were in accordance with those of the proprietor. We never have advocated," Plumb asserted, "and we never intend to advocate the views, or labor to promote the success of any party, farther than we believe will be in accordance with what is right, and in harmony with the public good." And he went further:

     We do not even hold it to be a duty or merit to be consistent with ourselves. We hold, as we think every free man should, the opinions of to-day subject to the review and consideration of to-morrow, so far, at least, as political action is concerned. . . . Temporary combinations of our fellow citizens for the accomplishment of certain political ends, are always necessary and proper; but permanent political parties always become corrupt, and are turned into engines of evil.

     He admitted, however, that as parties were then organized, he would "support the principles of what is known as the Republican party, and labor zealously for their success."

With the issue of January 22, 1859, Plumb severed his connection with the Kansas News and the establishment passed into the hands


of Jacob Stotler, who continued with the paper for many years. The News retained its name until December 26, 1889, when it became The Weekly News-Democrat. Under this name it sold out to C. V. Eskridge of the Emporia Republican, May 1, 1890, and ceased its separate existence. The Society has a good file of The Kanzas News, including volume one, number one.


Kansas Leader, Centropolis, June, 1857.

     The First Biennial Report and Andreas agree that this paper was established "in the fall of 1856," whereas, Flint and McMurtrie gave the date of establishment as June 13, 1857. [29] The latter are more nearly correct, for thus wrote the Herald of Freedom, June 20, 1857:

The first and second numbers of the Kansas Leader, published weekly at Centropolis, Kansas T., by Austin and Beardsley are on our table. It is a neatly printed paper, with the motto "Fearless and Free," indicating that it fights on its own hook. We rather like the paper, as it gives evidence of its not being the slave of a junto, and will no doubt do much towards helping relieve the country from its present political thraldom. Success to the Leader."

     Flint wrote that the Leader was "Independent free-state in politics." This would fit in with George W. Brown's appraisal of it. According to the First Biennial Report and Andreas, it was sold to the Minneola Town Company the following year, moved to Minneola, and was named by General Lane the Minneola Statesman. [30] The Society has no issue of this paper.

     Centropolis is located about six miles north and four west of Ottawa, on 8-Mile creek. In 1855 Perry Fuller established a store, the first settlement on this townsite. Soon a very large business developed, its aggregate sales at one time amounted to $50,000 a year. February 20, 1857, the Centropolis Town Company was incorporated, with Perry Fuller, Cyrus K. Holliday and J. K. Goodin among its prominent members. Like the Minneola project, it was a speculative venture. The plan was to make Centropolis not only the county seat but the capital of the territory and state. It is reported that at one time lots sold for $500 each, which years later could have been bought at ten cents. [31] Centropolis failed to achieve its goal, although some of the speculators may have made a little


pocket money. The name of the town ceased to be listed in the United States Official Postal Guide after July, 1929. [32]


     Jonathan Lyman was the editor of the Ottumwa Journal, the first paper published in Coffey county. Ottumwa is located near the Neosho river about eight miles from Burlington, the county seat. Definite information as to the date of the first issue of this paper was found in the Kanzas News, Emporia, of September 12, 1857. The statement announcing the publication reads: "The Ottumwa Journal is the title of a new paper which has just been started at Ottumwa, about 25 miles below Emporia, on the Neosho. The first number, bearing the date of August 29, is before us. . . . It is strongly Free State in politics. ..."

     On September 12, 1857, the Herald of Freedom extended its welcome to the Journal and quoted from the first issue as follows:

We have the skeleton of an office, which awaits the hide to cover it. Our present office consists of a tenement 18 by 20, made of logs, which affords a shelter for an entire printing establishment, and the entire family of the printer, consisting of ten persons! Our first issue thus comes forth, and our next one will come out, "wind and weather" permitting, as soon as we can get it out!

     The secondary authorities, Andreas, Flint and McMurtrie, were mistaken in the date of the first issue of the Journal. It was August 29, and not September, or September 15th 1857, as they listed it. [33]

     How long the paper operated is not known, although the secondary authorities are agreed that only a few issues were published. They disagree, however, as to what happened to the press after it discontinued. Flint wrote that it was removed to Burlington in October, 1857, where it was used to publish the Burlington Free Press. [34] Andreas contended that "the press on which this paperOttumwa Journal was printed was removed to Linn county by Mr. Lyman in 1860." [35] The author has not been able to verify either of the above statements. The Society has no issue of the Burlington Free Press, nor of the Linn County Herald, the paper founded by Jonathan Lyman at Mound City in April, 1859, nor of the Ottumwa Journal.



Southern Kansas Herald, Osawatomie, last week of November, 1857.

     The Southern Kansas Herald apparently was the first newspaper published in this county. Charles E. Griffith was the editor and publisher. The paper was Free-State in politics and made its appearance about the last week in November, 1857.

     There was a newspaper press in Osawatomie as early as the spring of 1856, but it has not been established that it ever published a paper. John Everett, in a letter to his father dated Osawatomie, April 28, 1856, wrote: "Osawatomie may now boast of a printing press. It was in Kansas City a week ago, and probably is now in town." [36] According to Herbert Flint the press was owned by Oscar V. Dayton and Alexander Gardner, of New York, who were planning to publish the Osawatomie Times. [37] Like so many other frontier projects, the Times, it seems, was never published. On June 9, 1856, the Lawrence correspondent of the New York Daily Tribune, reporting on the sacking of Osawatomie June 6, wrote that Proslavery men had destroyed a printing office at Osawatomie, "a new establishment, the unoffending types having never yet expressed a sentiment in the proscribed cause of Freedom." [38]

     The correspondent was in error about the destruction of the office and press. John Everett, who had read the statements published in Eastern papers, wrote, June 27, I856: "Our printing office was not destroyed as reported I see in the Eastern papers. It was buried in the ground and they could not find it." [39]

     Moreover, James Hughes of Osawatomie, who on June 7, reported the news of the sacking of Osawatomie to Gov. Wilson Shannon, did not mention the destruction of the office and press. [40] The fact remains, therefore, that all the available evidence indicates that the watomie Times never published. Andreas and the First Biennial Report were mistaken on the time of the first issue of the Herald. Andreas wrote it was established "near the beginning of the year 1857," the First Biennial Report wrote: "In the latter part of 1856 or the beginning of 1857, the Southern Kansas Herald was established at Osawatomie, by Charles


E. Griffiths." Herbert Flint and McMurtrie gave the time as November, 1857. [41] The statements of Flint and McMurtrie are substantiated by contemporaneous newspaper accounts. December 12, the Kanzas News of Emporia announced the Herald as follows: "A new paper called the Southern Kansas Herald has been started at Osawatomie within a few weeks past. . . ." The Herald of Freedom, December 19, 1857, wrote:

We notice on our table, among our list of exchanges, the "Southern Kansas Herald," published weekly at Osawatomie, by Chas. E. Griffith, Esq., editor and publisher. The second number is before us. The paper has six columns to a page, is printed on new type, and compares favorably in mechanical appearance with any other paper in the Territory.

     This information points to the conclusion that the first issue of the Herald was published either during the last week of November or the first week in December, 1857. The editor was Charles Griffith, not Griffiths as reported in the First Biennial Report.

     The Society has two issues of this paper, one of September, 1864, with the date and number clipped, the other of April 7, 1865, listed as volume seven, number twenty.


Palmetto Kansan, Marysville, December 9 (?), 1857.

     This paper was established by Proslavery men, with J. E. Clardy as editor and publisher. The date of publication given by Andreas and the First Biennial Report was December 18, 1857. Flint and McMurtrie gave November, 1857. [42] On November 12, 1857, the National Democrat of Lecompton stated: "We have seen the prospectus of a new paper, the Palmetto Kansan, to be published at Marysville." On November 28, the Kanzas News of Emporia said: "A new Pro-slavery paper called the Palmetto Kanzan has been established at Marysville in Marshall county, . . . It is printed on the materials of the defunct Lecompton Union.The publisher is a Mr. Clardy, formerly connected with the Union." The White Cloud Kansas Chief of December 3, 1857, stated:

We have received a Prospectus of a paper, the first number of which is to be issued on Saturday, the 9th inst., at Palmetto, (recently Marysville,) Marshall County, Kansas, to be called the "Palmetto Kansan." . . . It is to be "strictly conservative and constitutional, independent in all things, neutral in nothing." . . . Address J. E. Clardy, Palmetto, Marysville P.O., K.T.


While no definite statement can be made as to the date of the first issue, the writer is inclined to believe that the Kanzas News based its statement on the information gathered from the prospectus of the first issue, whereas the White Cloud Chief, located near Marysville, had more specific information as to the date when the first issue was to appear. The office, according to Andreas and the First Biennial Report, was owned by the "Palmetto Town Company composed of F. J. Marshall, James S. Magill and others." Magill no doubt was a member of the Palmetto company, but Marshall was a promoter of its rival, the Marysville Town Company, and his name has not been found connected with the Palmetto Town Company. The Society has no copy of this paper.


Grasshopper, Grasshopper Falls, June 5, 1858.

     This is undoubtedly the first newspaper published in Jefferson county. The first issue appeared June 5, 1858. J. A. Cody was listed as editor and proprietor, and S. Ward S mith, publisher. Smith probably was the printer. According to Andreas, Mrs. Cody "did most of the editorial work." [43] J. A. Cody was "an uncle of the famous scout, Buffalo Bill," [44] whose given name was William Frederick Cody. Isaac Cody, the father of William, also had a brother, Elijah, in Weston, Mo., whose sympathies, it is believed, were Proslavery. Soon after Kansas territory was organized Isaac registered a claim of 160 acres in Salt creek valley where he established a home. The story is told that one day as he and young William approached Rively's trading post they noticed a crowd gathering and stopped to listen. It was a Pro-slavery group, expounding the cause of slavery. Some men soon clamored for a speech from Isaac. Reluctantly yielding to the request, he spoke boldly in defiance of slavery, when Charles Dunn, an employee of Elijah Cody, plunged a bowie-knife into his back. [45] Isaac, although. it is believed by members of his family that he later died from the wound, soon regained enough strength to leave Salt creek valley, where his life was in danger, and fled to Grasshopper Falls. Later he went to Ohio and Iowa and used his oratory to win colonists for Kansas, especially for Grasshopper Falls, where he was


operating a sawmill. If the above story is true it is possible that Isaac brought his brother, J. A. Cody, to Grasshopper Falls to help the Free-State cause with the press. William E. Connelley, former secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, contended, however, that Isaac Cody "moved about from place to place here in Kansas and had no influence on the Free-State cause, took no part in it, was not stabbed as has been stated and was never mistreated in any way by border ruffians." [46] At the present writing the author is unable to introduce new evidence on the point in question. The First Biennial Report and Andreas agree that the first issue of the Grasshopper was published in May, 1858. Herbert Flint wrote, however, that it appeared in June, 1859. [47] Since the Society has the first issue of this paper, dated June 5, 1858, the question of time is settled. It is a four-page, five-column paper. Under "Prospectus," the editor wrote:

It is our design in publishing this paper to advocate the great principles of truth and religion, in government and human action. In doing this we shall be under the necessity of exposing falsehood, combating error, and subduing prejudices, as all these things unhappily exist, and stand in the way of truth. . . . while at the same time we are disposed to yield to the South, all her constitutional rights, we solemnly protest against six millions of people controlling the action of seventeen millions-or, in other words, we are opposed to the South's dictation to the North. It is a sound political axiom that the majority shall rule.

     The town of Grasshopper Falls, which derived its name from the falls in the Grasshopper, now Delaware, river, later changed its name to Valley Falls. The Grasshopper soon changed its name to Jefferson Crescent. The Society has numbers one, three, six and eight of the Grasshopper and Jefferson Crescent.


Junction City Sentinel, August, 1858.

     This paper, first in the county, was established by the Junction City Town Company, officers of which were J. R. McClure, Robert Wilson and P. Z. Taylor. B. H. Keyser was editor of the Sentinel and George W. Kingsbury printed the first issue. The First Biennial Report, Andreas and D. W. Wilder were mistaken in the date of the first issue. The First Biennial Report and Andreas wrote that the first number was issued in June, 1858, whereas Wilder gave Decem-


     ber 28, 1858. [48] On July 17, 1858, the Herald of Freedom published a letter, written July 10, by P. Z. Taylor of Junction City, which stated that "the Sentinel will be out in a few days." On August 28, the Herald wrote that it had received the first number of the Sentinel published at Junction City. The first issue of this paper, therefore, was published either the second or third week of August, 1858.

     Years later, George W. Kingsbury, a printer, wrote that Robert Wilson, president of the Junction City Town Company, had sent him to the town "to get out the first number of the Junction City Sentinel." Some shrewd dealer in junk, he wrote, "had sold the company a ready-made second-hand printing outfit which was minus a number of essential features." There was "no platen, no roller-and nothing to print with." The company was aware of this and had sent to St. Louis for the needed parts, but no one knew when they would arrive. The editor, Keyser, had prepared his "Salutatory" and was anxious to see it in type. Kingsbury explained how he and a claim holder from near Ogden, named Lincoln, a typesetter, devised a "proof press by using the cylinder of an old engine with a blanket wrapped around it." With the help of this improvised press the salutatory was put in print and the first type-printed errors, west of Topeka, were revealed to the editor, among them the word "infernal." Kingsbury wrote that after gazing "long and earnestly at the printed slip," the editor came to him, his little finger pointing at one word of the proof, and said "that he intended that word to be supernal and the printer has set it `infernal.' " Kingsbury admitted that "he didn't know there was such a word as supernal." [49]

     The Herald of Freedom described the mechanical appearance of the Sentinel as "very good," but regretted that the editor had "attached himself to the Democracy." It was his contention that "the true position of our Kansas newspapers is independent, until we are a State." He felt that no "conservative man" could "identify himself with the `Democratic' party, as organized in the past," and concluded that by its act the Sentinel had very much abridged its "field of usefulness."



The Cricket, Holton, 1858 or 1859
The Jackson County News, Holton, July, 1867, first newspaper printed in this county.

     The Cricket represents a "curious effort" in Kansas newspaper history. The secondary authorities agree on two things: That it was the first newspaper published in Calhoun, now Jackson county, and that it was written in pen and ink and embellished with cartoons or drawings done with colored pencils. In most everything else said about it, however, they disagree. Andreas and the First Biennial Report gave the date of the first issue as the "fall of 1858"; Flint wrote it was founded about "July or August, 1858"; Elizabeth N. Barr, author of Business Directory and History of Jackson County, [50] merely listed the year, 1858; Martha M. Beck, who wrote an article published in the sixtieth anniversary edition of the Holton Recorder, March 14, 1935, said that the Cricket appeared in 1859.

     The secondary authorities also disagree on the name of its editor. Andreas gave his name as Thomas G. Watters; Mrs. Beck and the First Biennial Report wrote it was Thomas G. Walters; Herbert Flint had it Thomas G. Waters; Miss Barr wrote Thomas W. Watters. Most authorities agreed that the Cricket was published weekly for about two months, when it folded up.

     Herbert Flint wrote, however, that it lasted but a few issues. The First Biennial Report stated that the author "illustrated political events with colored pencils," but Flint wrote the paper was "non-political, apparently." The Society has no copy of this paper nor has the writer been able to find any reference to it in the contemporaneous newspapers.

     The Jackson County News, Holton, was the county's first regular newspaper. A. W. Moore published the first issue in July, 1867, according to the Topeka Weekly Leader of July 18, 1867, and not in October, as recorded by Andreas and the First Biennial Report. The News was a seven-column paper, Republican in politics. The Society's first issue of this paper is April 11, 1872 (vol. V, No. 36).


Johnson County Standard, Olathe, March, 1859.

     The Standard has been overlooked by the secondary authorities. They held that the Olathe Herald was the first paper in the county. The First Biennial Report wrote: "The first newspaper published in


the county was the Olathe Herald, established September 8, 1859, by John M. Giffen and A. Smith Devinney." [51] It also reported that "on the night of September 6, 1861, the office was completely destroyed by Quantrill." Herbert Flint wrote that the Herald was "founded August or September, 1859, by A. S. Devenny and John M. Giffin," and "was destroyed by Quantrill in 1863," linking it with the raid on Lawrence [52] Andreas wrote:

"The Olathe Herald was the first paper published in Johnson County. The first issue appeared August 29, 1859. In politics it was democratic. Quantrill paid the office a visit September 6, 1862, after which John M. Giffin, its editor and proprietor, gathered up its debris and sold it for $306; original cost having been $3,500." [53]

     The facts in the case, proved by contemporaneous newspaper reports, are that the Johnson County Standard antedated the Herald at least five months. The Emporia News, September 24, 1859, wrote that the Olathe Herald "is the title of a new paper just started at Olathe, Johnson County, Kansas." This places the first issue of the Herald sometime in September, 1859. On the second of April, 1859, the Herald of Freedom announced the Johnson County Standard in these words:

The first and second numbers of a new weekly journal, with the name of "Johnson County Standard," published at Olathe, Kansas, by Barker & Eddy, have found their way to our table. The mechanical execution of the paper is good. It is designed as a local newspaper, and the editors seem to labor to make it Such, by looking after local interests. It is independent in politics, and shows a determination on the part of the editors to maintain the right and oppose the wrong. We cheerfully extend to it the hand of fellowship, and welcome its conductors, with pleasure, to a place among the editorial fraternity of the independent press of Kansas.

     This information definitely places the Standard ahead of the Herald. The Society has no copy of this paper.

     A further correction should be made as to the date of Quantrill's raid on Olathe and the Herald office. The Leavenworth Daily Conservative of Tuesday morning, September 9, 1862, reported on the raid as follows: "About one o'clock Sunday morning Quantrile, with two hundred and thirty men, dashed into and took possession of Olathe, the county seat of Johnson county. . . . The printing offices of the Mirror and the Herald were entered and their contents demolished." That places the date of the raid early Sunday morning, September 7, 1862.



Linn County Herald, Mound City, April 1 (?), 1859.

     Jonathan Lyman, formerly publisher of the Ottumwa Journal, was editor and publisher of this paper. The First Biennial Report and Andreas agree that the Linn County Herald was the first newspaper established in this county, that it began publication on April 1, 1859, that it was edited and published by Jonathan Lyman, and that it continued one year when the name was changed to the Mound City Report. [54] Contemporaneous newspaper reports, in the main, substantiate the above statements. On April 9, 1859, the Kansas News, Emporia, wrote:

We are in receipt of the Linn County Herald, a new paper published at Mound City, Linn county, Kansas, by Jonathan Lyman-formerly publisher of the Ottumwa Journal. The Herald is Republican in politics. . . .

     The Society has no issue of this paper.


     These papers are inserted here to remind Kansas readers that its territory once included Colorado to the Continental Divide. John L. Merrick, editor and publisher of the Pioneer, and William N. Byers Company, editors and publishers of the News, were competing for priority. D. W. Working, in "Some Forgotten Pioneer Newspapers," published in The Colorado Magazine, told the story in these words:

     Everybody knows that the Rocky Mountain News was the pioneer newspaper of the Rocky Mountain region now known as Colorado. Comparatively few know that the proprietors of the News were not the first to set up a printing-press in the pioneer community at the mouth of Cherry Creek; that honor belongs to John L. Merrick, who published the first and only issue of the Cherry Creek Pioneer on the day the first number of the News was given to the public. Even yet it is not certain that the first copy of the Pioneer was not actually off the press nearly half an hour before the News made its appearance. However, the question of priority of publication is not here at issue. . . [55]

     Years ago, George W. Weed, a roller boy for the single issue of the Cherry Creek Pioneer, told George A. Root of the Kansas State Historical Society that the birth of the Pioneer preceded the Rocky Mountain News a few hours, and that but one issue of the Pioneer


was gotten out. [56] These facts give the Pioneer priority by a few hours. However, Lawrence W. Marshall in "Early Denver History as Told by Contemporary Newspaper Advertisements," also published in The Colorado Magazine, wrote that the News came out first. His statement reads:

     William N. Byers had reached the settlements but two days previously, worked feverishly with his partners to set up the press they had brought out across the plains and managed to get off the first issue of the Rocky Mountain News, a matter of minutes before the initial publication of the Cherry creek Pioneer appeared. [57]

     The reports therefore are conflicting and definite proof is lacking, except the testimony of George W. Weed given many years later. Both papers, however, appeared on the same day.

     Cherry Creek was located in what was then known as Montana county, K. T., on Cherry creek, now Arapahoe county, Colorado. The first issue of the News contains a report of a convention held at Auraria, April 15, 1859, where delegates from Fountain City, Eldorado and El Paso, Arapahoe, Auraria and Denver City decided upon a constitutional convention to be held at Denver City, June 1, 1859, to frame a constitution for a new state to be known as Jefferson, limited by the following boundaries:

      Its northern boundary commencing at 102d meridian of west longitude from Greenwich, Eng., with the 43d parallel of north latitude, and running west on the said parallel to its intersection with the 110th meridian of west longitude, thence south to the 37th parallel of north latitude, thence east on that parallel to the 102d meridian, and thence north to the beginning.

     The Society has a copy of volume one, number one, of the Rocky Mountain News, but none of the Pioneer.


Kansas Express, Manhattan, May 21, 1859.

     This paper was established by Charles F. De Vivaldi, an Italian Republican refugee. The First Biennial Report wrote that the first issue was published in Riley county on the first Wednesday in May,1859. [58]

     The author is inclined to believe, however, that the first issue was published May 21, 1859. This statement is based on information found in Thomas C. Wells' letter to his father written May 14, 1859, on circumstantial evidence found in the Kansas Ex-


press of August 20, 1859, and on contemporaneous newspaper reports. On May 14, 1859, Wells wrote: "We are expecting to receive the first copy of the `Manhattan Express' every day now." [59] The first issue of the Express in the Society's files is dated August 20, 1859, and listed as volume one, number seven.

     In this issue the oldest advertisements are dated May 21, 1859, which might indicate that it was the date of the first issue of the Express, for, as has been said, it was customary to date the advertisements the day the paper was published. Moreover, the Herald of Freedom of May 28, 1859, announced the birth of the Express and added:

The Kansas Express, edited and published by Chas. De Vivaldi, of Manhattan, Kansas, commenced publication last week. Its editor is a good writer, and seems to possess the tact and energy requisite for success in a newspaper enterprise. He is a Republican, but we should judge, conservative in his sentiments. Mr. De Vivaldi is an Italian, and of course well informed on the Italian question. . . .

     On July 30, 1859, the Kansas News of Emporia wrote: "We have received the second number of the Kansas Express, published at Manhattan, Riley Co. It presents a handsome appearance, and will be published regularly hereafter." From these sources it seems reasonable to assume that in the beginning the paper was issued irregularly, that the first issue had not been published by May 14, that it appeared the week prior to Saturday, May 28, 1859, and that in all probability it was issued Saturday, May 21, 1859.

     Andreas wrote that "the first number of this paper was printed at Wyandotte," and that "the press and appurtenances of the office came by steamer on the Kansas River soon after." [60] The statement in the Herald of Freedom, quoted above, does not necessarily contradict Andreas' contention, for all it said is that the Express was "edited and published by Chas. De Vivaldi of Manhattan." It does not say where the paper was printed.

     The Express was published under different names. The first issue was called the Kansas Express; beginning with the eleventh issue it was called the Manhattan Express; September 22, 1860, the name was changed to the Western Kansas Express; and on October 5, 1861, it was changed back to the Manhattan Express. The Society lacks the first six issues, also numbers 8, 9 and 10 of volume one.



Kansas Press, Cottonwood Falls, May 30, 1859.

     The Society has volume one, number one, of this paper, which carries the date given above. S. N. Wood was the editor and publisher. In the salutatory the editor remarked:

     Politically, in Kansas, we shall be Free State; having spent almost five years in the Free State party we feel like fighting the good fight out. In National politics, our sympathies and influence will be with the party of Freedom, and against the party of Slavery, without regard to name. Our paper will be conservative in character-opposed to radicalism-and will, in a legal way only, seek to remedy the evils of society.

     In the issue of August 15, Wood criticised the Wyandotte convention for disfranchising whole counties, thought there was too much legislation in the constitution, but conceded that it would be "to the interest of the territory to become a state. . . ." He would, therefore, "vote for, and advocate the adoption of the Wyandotte Constitution."

     The last issue published at Cottonwood Falls appeared August 29, 1859. It was volume one, number thirteen. Wood removed the paper to Council Grove and explained his sudden departure in the first issue published there. His reasons appear in the section on Morris county, next following.


The Kansas Press, Council Grove, September 26, 1859.

     It is the consensus of opinion that the Press was the first paper published in Morris county. It was started by S. N. Wood at Cottonwood Falls, Chase county, and the first thirteen issues were published there. Wood abruptly left Cottonwood Falls for reasons explained in the first issue at Council Grove.

     We decided very suddenly to remove our Press to Council Grove. Our reasons are soon told. We come to Cottonwood Falls last spring, believing that a town would spring up at the Falls, and in a few months we should have business all around us; but instead, one-half of our town site was jumped by a person who dog-in-the-manger-like, would do nothing himself, or allow anyone else. Persons came to the Falls to build Mills, but the land was in dispute and they left disgusted. Others proposed establishing Stores, but our town site being in dispute, they would not venture; and thus scores of men, as well as business was driven from us. We were paying out $25 per week to keep up our paper, and from Cottonwood Falls were receiving no support because there was nothing there. COUNCIL GROVE, on the other hand, is a business place; doing a larger business than any other town in Southern or Western


Kansas. . . . The people there wanted a paper, offered us inducements which we believe it our duty, as well as interest, to accept.

     Wood listed the first issue published at Council Grove volume one, number fourteen, and continued in that way. The Society has an incomplete file of the Council Grove Press.


Brown County Union, Hiawatha, May, 1861.

     The First Biennial Report and Andreas agree that the Brown County Union was the first paper in this county, and that it "was established by Dr. P. G. Parker, in the spring of 1861." [61] The White Cloud Chief has helped to establish the approximate date of the first issue. On May 16, 186I, it informed its readers that a paper was shortly "to be started at Hiawatha, by a gentleman named Parker. The material of the late Troy Dispatch has been purchased and removed to Hiawatha for that purpose." On

On May 30 the Chief wrote again, saying: "We have received the first number of the Brown County Union, published at Hiawatha, by P. Gould Parker. It says it shall support Lincoln's Administration." This indicates that the Union made its appearance sometime during the last two weeks of May, 1861. The secondary authorities referred to above wrote that this paper had a hard struggle for existence, that in the winter following its establishment the office was destroyed by fire, and that no effort had been made to revive it. The Society has no issue of this paper.


The Wabaunsee Patriot, September 7, I861.

     H. M. Selden and E. J. Lines, a member of the Beecher Bible and Rifle Company, were agents of this paper. The name of the editor was omitted, but Lines' name was also listed as local editor.

     The Patriot seems to have escaped the notice of Andreas, the First Biennial Report, Herbert Flint, Wilder, and even the Alma Signal. On August 27, 1892, this paper, under the caption, "Newspaper History," stated:

The Wabaunsee County Herald was the name of the first newspaper published in Wabaunsee County-April 1st, 1869. A. Sellers and Geo. W. Bertram, editors and proprietors. . . . The Signal was mistaken, for the Patriot preceded the Herald almost seven years and seven months.


     In the salutation the editor wrote that they were embarking on a new enterprise, little expecting at first "to realize an income commensurate with" their expense in publishing the paper, but "looking forward to the time when the encouragement extended will be fully adequate, and sufficient to warrant" the permanent establishment of the same.

     The Society has the first seven issues of this paper, possibly the only numbers that were published.


Osage County Chronicle, Burlingame, September 26, 1863.

     This paper was claimed as first in the county by the First Biennial Report and Andreas. They gave the date of the first issue as September 26, 1863. [62] The first contemporaneous reference to the Osage County Chronicle found by the writer appeared in the Emporia News, August I5, 1863, which said: "M. M. Murdock is about to start a new paper at Burlingame, in this State. He has purchased the Americus Sentinel material." On October 8, 1863, the Fort Scott Union Monitor announced the appearance of the first issue in these words: "The Osage Chronicle is the title of a neat and spicy little sheet published at Burlingame, Osage county, Kansas, by our old friend Murdock." The earliest issue of this paper in the Society's file is dated October 17, 1868, listed as volume six, number one, which is too late to help determine the date of the first issue. The author has accepted the date given by the secondary authorities as at least approximately correct.

     The editor, Marshall M. Murdock, often called "Marsh," was born in the Pierpont settlement, now West Virginia. His grandfather had engaged in rebellion against the British government about the time of the American Revolution, and came to America a political refugee. Marshall's father, Thomas, grew up in Virginia in a settlement of slaveholders and developed a strong abhorrence for the institution. He left Virginia and settled in Ironton, Ohio, where Marshall began his apprenticeship in the printer's trade. The struggle for a Free Kansas brought the family to this territory. Marshall was employed in one of the Lawrence printing offices when Quantrill raided the town and escaped the raiders by concealing himself in a well. In 1863 he married Victoria Mayberry of Douglas county, purchased the Americus Sentinel press, and moved to Burlingame where he started the Chronicle. In 1872 he removed his printing


office to Wichita and founded the Eagle, one of the pioneer papers of Sedgwick county.


Nemaha Courier, Seneca, November 14, 1863.

     Andreas and the First Biennial Report gave the date of the first issue of the Nemaha Courier as November 14, 1863, and support the contention that it was the first newspaper in this county. [63] The White Cloud Chief of November 19, 1863, announced the appearance of the first issue as follows: We have received the first number of the Nemaha Courier published at Seneca, by John P. Cone, formerly of the Sumner Gazette, but more recently of the Marysville Union.

     In 1869 the Nemaha Courier changed its name to the Nemaha Kansas Courier, and in 1871 it changed to the Seneca Courier. The paper was Republican in politics. The earliest issue the Society has of this paper is dated October 21, 1869, listed as volume six, number forty-four. The regular file, however, does not start until December 3, 1875.


Humboldt Herald, November 25 (?), 1864.

     The date of the first issue of the Herald is still uncertain, although Andreas, Wilder, and the First Biennial Report all gave it as November 16, 1864. [64] The contemporaneous newspapers in this case, as in so many others, failed to give full information. The Leavenworth Daily Conservative of November 3, 1864, wrote: "The Herald is the name of a paper started at Humboldt, by J. H. Young of Lawrence." From this statement it is impossible to know whether this paper had actually made its appearance or was being established. The Kansas Patriot, Burlington, December 10, 1864, was more definite. It wrote:

     We have received No. 1, vol. 1, of the Humboldt Herald, a paper just commenced at Humboldt, Allen Co.; Bond & Young, Proprietors-Joseph Bond, Editor. It is a six-column sheet, and presents a fair typographical appearance. In politics it is Republican and anti-Fraud. We like the ring of the editorials. They are able, outspoken, sound and correct in sentiment. We heartily welcome this valuable accession to the newspaporial fraternity of the Neosho Valley. Terms, $2.00 per annum.

     The earliest number in the Society's meager file of this paper is dated February 3, 1865, and listed as volume one, number nine. If the


The Herald was issued regularly once a week, the first issue should have appeared December 8, 1864. However, the first advertisements in the issue of February 3 were dated November 25, 1864. The author is inclined to believe that the first number of the Herald appeared on the date of the oldest advertisements.

     Joseph Bond and John H. Young were the publishers, Joseph Bond was editor and John R. Goodin local editor. On March 18, 1926, the Humboldt Union stated that the "Herald was started with John R. Goodin, a young lawyer, later district judge and in 1874 congressman from this district, who came to Humboldt from Kenton, Ohio, to be its editor. . . . The Herald with Major Joseph Bond as financial supporter, struggled about a year and discontinued." The Union placed the emphasis on its honored citizen.

(To Be Continued in the May Quarterly)


1. McMurtrie, Douglas C., "Pioneer Printing of Kansas," Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. I, pp. 3-8.
2. The Kansas Editors' Annual for 1877, (Topeka, 1877), pp. 9, 10.
3. Kansas Weekly Herald, September 15, 1854.
4. Flint, Herbert, "Journalism in Territorial Kansas," v. I, p. 28. This is a master's thesis written in 1916. Copies of this monograph are in the Watson library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, and the Kansas State Historical Society.
5. Gregory, Winifred (editor), American Newspapers, 1821-1936, A Union List of Files Available in the United States and Canada (New York, 1937), p. 208.
6. This paper should not be confused with the Kickapoo Pioneer, also announced as Kansas Pioneer, published by Messrs. Sexton & Hazzard at Kickapoo. It was the second paper printed in the territory; announced in the Leavenworth Herald, November 17, 1854.
7. Flint, Herbert, op. cit., v. I, p. 41; Andreas, History of Kansas, p.
828; Speer, John, "Papers," in "Patriotism and Education in the Methodist Church," and Douglas, "Mss. in Kansas State Historical Society".
8. Herald of Freedom, Wakarusa, October 21, 1854. Brown was not consistent in his figures. sometimes he said he published 21,000 copies of the first issue, at other times it was 20,000.
9. Brown, George W., "Papers," Kansas State Historical Society. This is a copy of an original letter.
10. Flint, Herbert, op. cit., v. 1, pp. 50, 51.
11. Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, March 14, 1857.
12. Andreas, op. cit., p. 378.
13. See contract of O. F. Short and John A. Martin, dated February 11, 1858, in MSS. division, Kansas state Historical society.
14. Flint, Herbert, op. cit., v. I, p. 140.
15. Andreas, op. cit., p. 540. This statement has been questioned.
16. Giles, F. W., Thirty Years in Topeka, a Historical Sketch (George w. Crane & Co., Publishers, Topeka, 1886), pp. 144-146.
17. Ibid.
18. Ibid.
19. First Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture .1877-1878, p. 184; Andreas, op. cit., p. 475; Herbert Flint, op. cit., pp. 513, 515-517; McMurtrie, loc. cit., p. 13.
20. Halderman, John A., "Papers," letter of John W. Forman to John A. Halderman, May 5, 1856, in MSS. division, Kansas state Historical Society.
21. Andrews, op. cit., p. 1074; First Biennial Report, p. 119; Wilder, Daniel W., Annals of Kansas (1886), p. 784.
22. Robley, T. F., History of Bourbon County, Kansas, to the Close of 1865 (1895), p. 92.
23. Flint, Herbert, op. cit., pp. 600, 601; McMurtrie, loc. cit., p. 12.
24. Andreas, op. cit., p. 1234. The First Biennial Report, p. 460, called the first paper the Citizen, but is mistaken, for the Register later changed to the Citizen.
25. Flint, Herbert, op. cit., v. 11, p. 434.
26. Andreas, op. cit., p. 849.
27. Brown, George W., "Papers." See letter of Brown to F. G. Adams, dated Rockford, Ill., October 8, 1887, in MSS. division, Kansas State Historical society.
28. Kansas Territorial Laws, 1857, p. 304.
29. First Biennial Report, p. 222; Andrens, op. cit., p. 614; Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 597; McMurtrie, loc. cit., p. 13.
30. Ibid.
31. Andreas, op. cit., p. 614; Kansas Territorial Laws, 1857, p. 285.
32. The United States Official Postal Guides of July, 1930, 1931 and 1932 no longer listed Centropolis among the Kansas post offices.
33. Andreas, op. cit., p. 660; Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 610; McMurtrie, loc. cit., p. 14. The First Biennial Report, p. 157, failed to mention the Journal.
34. Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 610.
35. Andreas, op. cit., p. 660.
36. "Letters of John and Sarah Everett, 1854-1864," Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. VIII, p. 31.
37. Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 610.
38. New York Daily Tribune, June 17, 1856, p. 6, col. 3. Similar reports also appeared in other out-of-state papers. see Webb, Thomas H., "Scrap Books," v. XIII, p. 103.
39. "Letters of John and Sarah Everett, 1854-1864," loc. cit., v. VIII, p. 33. See, also, Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 610.
40. Webb, Thomas H., "scrap Books," v. XIII, p. 123.
41. Andreas, op. cit., p. 887; First Biennial Report, p. 315; Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 610; McMurtrie, loc. cit., p. 14.
42. Andreas, op. cit., p. 919; First Biennial Report, p. 301; Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 609; McMurtrie, loc. cit., p. 14.
43. Andreas, op. cit., p. 507.
44. Flint, op. cit., v. 11, p. 529; Topeka Daily Capital, October 7, 1927.
45. Walsh, R. J., The Making of Buffalo Bill (Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, 1928), pp. 32-41.
46. Ibid., footnote, p. 38.
47. First Biennial Report, p. 244; Andreas, op. cit., p. 507; Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 529.
48. First Biennial Report, p. 175; Andreas, op. cit., p. 1008; Wilder, op. cit., p. 245.
49. Geo. W. Kingsbury to Geo. W. Martin, March 17, 1913.-Kansas State Historical Society.
50. Andreas, op. cit., p. 1342; First Biennial Report, p. 238; Flint, op. cit., v. II, p, 602; Barr, E. N., Business Directory and History of Jackson County (1907), p. 24.
51. First Biennial Report, p. 256.
52. Flint, op. cit., v. II, p. 609.
53. Andreas, op. cit., p. 630.
54. First Biennial Report, p. 285; Andreas, op. cit., p. 1108.
55. Working, D. W., "Some Forgotten Pioneer Newspapers," The Colorado Magazine (State Historical society of Colorado, Denver, 1927), v. IV, No. 3, p. 93. Cherry Creek Pioneer, K. T., April 23, 1859. Rocky Mountain News, Cherry Creek, K. T., April 23, 1859.
56. Root, George A., "A Sketch of George w, Weed."-MS. in Kansas State Historical Society.
57. Marshall, Lawrence W., "Early Denver History as Told by Contemporary Newspaper Advertisements," The Colorado Magazine, September, 1931, v. VIII, No. 5, p. 161.
58. First Biennial Report, p. 392.
59. Wells, Thomas C., "Letters of a Kansas Pioneer, 1855-1860," Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. V, p. 399.
60. Andreas, op. cit., p. 1307.
61. First Biennial Report, p. 125; Andreas, op. cit., p. 715.
62. First Biennial Report, p. 350; Andreas, op. cit., p. 1534.
63. Andreas, op. cit., p. 946 ; First Biennial Report, p. 335.
64. Andreas, op. cit., p. 672; Wilder, op. cit. (1875), p. 392; First Biennial Report, p. 95.

Go to previous article     Go to next article     Go to cover page for this issue     Go to KHQ main page