George Washington Smith.

A history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) online

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By this it would appear that the Herald was an official organ. It
is understood that newspapers had been previously published in both
Vincennes and St. Louis. The Herald was a four column paper given
over to publishing the laws chiefly. The second paper established was
the Illinois Emigrant. It was published in Shawneetown, and was con-
trolled by Henry Eddy and Singleton H. Kimmel. The date is fixed as
early as December 1818, probably in September 1818. The Emigrant
was also a four column sheet and contained recent news which came
from Pittsburgh by boat. In 1819 the name was changed to Illinois
Gazette. It eventually came into the hands of James Hall who was a
man of rare literary accomplishments.

The third paper was the Spectator, published in Edwardsville. It
was established by Hooper Warren who was assisted by George
Churchill. The Spectator was strongly anti-slavery. The first number
was issued some time in 1819.

The fourth paper was The Star of the West. It too was published in



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Edwardsville as early as 1822. Its editor was one Mr. Miller assisted
by a Mr. Stine. The paper was Democratic. Its name was changed to
the Illinois Republican in 1823.

The fifth paper was the Republican Advocate established in Kas-
kaskia as early as 1823. It was a pro-slavery paper and was edited by R.
K. Fleming, probably assisted by Elias Kent Kane.


Prior to the action of the Legislature in 1823 calling for a vote upon
the question of a state convention, the newspapers seemed to have but
little life in them. The news which came from the Atlantic sea-board
was several days and even weeks old before it reached the Illinois
region. There was little to be said of the every day life of the people,
for that life was so simple and uneventful that there was little to be
recorded. But with the passage of the bill which brought the slavery
question before the people each paper became a sort of forum for public
discussion. The Spectator published at Edwardsville was very strong
against the convention. It was a pronounced anti-slavery publication.
It was the only paper which was opposed to slavery on principle, and
up to the early part of 1824 stood alone against making Illinois a slave
state. The Gazette of Shawneetown was on the fence as to the conven-
tion, but received contributions from both sides. It is certain that
Morris Birkbeck and George Flower of Albion would have started an
anti-convention paper, had not the columns of the Shawneetown Gazette
been open to their contributions. Putting together all the information
available it is certain the management of the paper favored the conven-
tion till the early part of May, 1824, when a change in ownership brought
a change in attitude toward the convention and during the summer of
1824 the Gazette was anti-convention. The Illinois Intelligencer of Van-
dalia was owned by William Berry and William H. Brown. The latter
was anti-convention while the former favored slavery. Berry was
bought out by Governor Coles and the paper became a hard fighter
against slavery. The Star of the West founded in Edwardsville in 1822
was changed to the Illinois Republican in 1823. It was pro-slavery, and
attempted to counteract the influence of the Spectator. It was controlled
by Judge Theophilus W. Smith and Emanuel J. West. The Republican
Advocate of Kaskaskia was pro-convention. It was controlled by R. K.
Fleming and Elias Kent Kane. It thus appears that there were three
papers against slavery and two for slavery.


One serious drawback in this early period to the newspaper busi-
ness was the uncertainty of receiving ink, paper and other supplies from
the east. One paper was suspended for three weeks because of the
failure of ink and paper from Cincinnati. It has been pointed out that
the newspapers of those days dealt largely with political matters and
neglected personal and local affairs, and that for two years from 1822 to
1824, the character was controversial and often bitter. One thing that
has been noticed is that the real owners of those early newspapers were
usually silent partners. Among the prominent men of the day who
were more or less financially and morally interested in the newspapers


were Sidney Breese, John McLean, Hooper Warren, Gov. John Rey-
nolds, Daniel P. Cook, James Hall, Elias Kent Kane, Ninian Edwards,
and Henry Eddy. In addition to these men there was a large number
of contributors among whom we may mention Morris Birkbeck, George
Flower, John Russell, Rev. John M. Peck, Judge James Hall and a
host of others.

The War of 1812, the admission of Illinois into the union, and the
slavery struggle made an abundance of political capital for the earliest
newspapers. In 1825 the papers could turn their attention to such sub-
jects as immigration, new towns, new counties, public roads, navigation,
establishment of schools, and internal improvements.


It must not be thought that there was no literary ability among the
pioneers of 1820 to 1840. On the contrary there were several men of
wonderful native ability in the domain of real literature. James Hall
a man of unusual literary skill began the publication of the first maga-.
zine in Illinois. It was called the Illinois Monthly Magazine. The pub-
lication was begun in 1830. It was published one year at Vandalia and
then removed to Cincinnati. Here the magazine was continued under
the name of the Western Monthly Magazine. Among those who con-
tributed to Mr. Hall's magazine were Morris Birkbeck, Rev. John M.
Peck, Governor Edward Coles, Dr. Asa Fitch, George Russell and Sal-
mon P. Chase. In 1854 Mr. Hall brought out the Legends of the West,
a collection of a dozen tales descriptive of the life of the west. The
longest one was Harpe's Head. Others were The Backwoodsman, The
Seventh Son, The Indian Wife's Lament, The Emigrants, etc. The
book was published in New York and had a generous patronage.

As has been intimated the people were free after the convention fight
was over to turn their attention to other and more profitable subjects.
The state grew rapidly after 1824. The Sangamon country was opened
up, the Military Tract was settled, Chicago was large enough to be char-
tered in 1832, and villages and towns were spreading northward toward
the future capital of the state..

The Western Emporium, a newspaper published in Centerville, In-
diana, estimated that in the fall of 1825 within fifteen days as many as
one hundred and twenty wagons passed through that town destined for
the prairies of Illinois. Transportation facilities improved ; steam boats
were plying the Illinois river by 1828, the legislature had authorized the
opening up of roads connecting various important towns and rivers in
the central part of the state. The Black Hawk war checked immigra-
tion somewhat, but by 1834 the normal condition was restored. The
Internal Improvement schemes of 1836-7 greatly stimulated immigra-
tion into the central part of the state.

Springfield in the center of Sangamon county was settled in 1819.
In 1821 it was selected as the county seat of Sangamon county. In 1837
it contained eight hundred people. Jacksonville was as big as
Springfield in 1837 and the Military Tract contained thirteen thousand
people. Peoria county contained twelve hundred people in 1825.

It was natural to expect that the printing press and the newspaper
would follow this northward movement of population. The Miner's
Journal was established in Galena in 1826. Its editors were James


Jones, and Thomas Ford, later governor of the state. The Miner's Jour-
nal took an active part in politics though claiming to be non-partisan.

The Sangannan Spectator was begun in Springfield in 1827, the edi-
tor being Hooper Warren. Jacksonville launched the Western Observer
in 1830. It was published by James G. Edwards and was "Devoted to
politics, education and religion." The Alton Spectator appeared in
1832. For a while it was published in Upper Alton but in the fall of
1832 it was moved to what we call Alton. The first paper in Chicago
was the Democrat. It appeared in November 1833 and was edited by
John Calhoun, and later by John Wentworth.

Prior to 1840 as many as nineteen newspapers were established be-
tween Alton and Chicago by way of the Illinois river and the Canal.
The census report of 1840 shows that there were forty -five printing offices
in the state. At that time there were three daily newspapers, thirty -eight
weekly papers, nine periodicals, and one hundred and seventy-five men
employed in the forty-five printing establishments, with seventy-one
thousand dollars invested in this business.

The Rev. John M. Peck began the publication of the Pioneer of the
Valley of the Mississippi at Rock Springs, near the present town of Leb-
anon, St. Clair county, April 25, 1825. It was a Baptist journal and was
largely supported by gifts of eastern people of that religious faith. It
was moved to Alton in 1836, and in 1839 was merged with the Baptist
Banner published at Louisville, Ky.


The Illinois State Temperance Society began the publication in Al-
ton in 1836 of the Illinois Temperance Herald, a monthly journal which
waged a bitter fight against intemperance. In 1840 occurred the great
"Harrison and Tyler" compaign, and this opened up a newspaper war
that was as bitter as the one over the slavery question of 1824. Many
new papers were started to champion the cause of some one or more of
the candidates, and when the election was over the publication of such
papers was abandoned. In like manner in the years just preceding the
Civil war there was great activity in the founding of newspapers. There
were many papers bold enough to attack the administration in the dark
days of '63, and many of these were dealt with summarily by the gov-
ernment. Others were raided by mobs who had become indignant at the
bold criticisms of the president or at the sympathy expressed for the
secessionists. Eight papers were forced to suspend operations in Illi-
nois. These were located in Bloomington, Chester, Chicago, Jonesboro,
Maroa, Mason, Mendota and Olney. Three of these it will be noticed
were located in Southern Illinois.


Volume VI of the Illinois Historical Collections gives an account of
the action of the government in suspending the publication of the Jones-
boro Gazette. It is as follows: "A temporary suppression without vio-
lence or material damage was enforced against the Jonesboro Gazette in
the spring of 1863. Lieut. Colonel Joseph H. Newbold was sent to
Jonesboro with a part of the Fourteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry to
gather up and return to the service a number of deserters from the One


Hundred and Ninth Illinois Infantry, who had returned to their homes.
His work was seriously impeded by the radical utterances of the Gazette,
which, like a majority of its constituents, was bitterly against the war.
Consequently he closed the office during the six weeks of his stay. Col.
Newbold so conducted himself, however, as to make many warm friends,
and helped materially to change local sentiment toward the government.
As a resident of Jonesboro at that time, still living, has written, 'the
episode turned out very well.' ' The Loyalist, published by George
Brewster at Mason, Effingham county, was so outspoken in favor of
abolition of slavery that those who sympathized with slavery forced the
suspension of the paper and the editor moved. The Picket Guard of
Chester was so strongly tinctured with secession that some soldiers broke
into the office in July, 1864, and destroyed the type but did not damage
the press. At Olney the Press was said to be so radical in sympathy for
secession that it was forced to suspend in 1864.

The origin of the "patent inside" is told as follows: A. N. Kellogg
of the Baraboo, Wisconsin, Republic, was unable to print a full folio
because his printers had enlisted in the army. He printed one side of
the folio on his own press, the other side having been printed in Madi-
son. The plan worked well and afterwards Mr. Kellogg had the Madison
Journal get out the "inside" of his paper regularly. From this the
plan grew to the present "boiler plate" arrangement. As early as 1866
the Belleville Advocate was furnishing "insides" for several papers in
Southern Illinois.

The newspaper business declined after the close of the Civil war.
There was, however, some growth in monthly journals and similar pub-
lications. There were only three counties in Southern Illinois which
supported daily publications in 1880. These were Alexander with three
dailies : Madison with two ; and St. Clair with three dailies.


The following is a list of the first papers published in the several
counties of Southern Illinois prior to 1880. The counties are arranged
in alphabetical order. Under the county comes the town, name of the
paper, and the year the paper was established, then the editors, when
their names can be had.

Alexander County.

Cairo. Gazette. 1841. Editor, Mr. McNeer.

Bond County.

Greenville. Protestant Monitor. 1845. Editor, E. M. Lathrop.

Clark County.

Richmond. Index. 1879. Editor, G. L. Watson.

Marshall. Illinois State Journal. 1848. Editors, John M. Crane,

Nathan Willard.
Casey. Times. 1872. Editors, John Garrison & Nathan Willard.

Clay County.

Flora. Southern Illinois Journal. 1870. Editors, M. L. Wilson,
J. K. Clarkson.

Clay City. Times. 1879. Editor, Unknown.

Louisville. Jackson Democrat. 1859. Editor, Thomas H. Daw-


Crawford County.

Palestine. The Ruralist. 1856. Editor, Samuel R. Jones.

Hutsonville. Wabash Sentinel. 1852. Editor, George W. Cutler.

Robinson. The Gazette. 1857. Editor, George W. Harper.

Clinton County.

Huey. Clement Register. 1875. Editor, J. W. Peterson.
Carlyle. The Beacon. 1843. Editor, George W. Price.
Trenton. Courier. 1873. Editor, E. H. Elliff.

Cumberland County.

Toledo. Register. 1876. Editor, D. B. Sherwood.
Neoga. Advertiser. 1874. Editor, S. Z. Bland.
Majority Point. Cumberland Democrat. 1869. Editor, B. Prank

Edwards County.

Albion. Independent. 1865. Editor, J. E. Clark.

Effingham County.

Effingham. Pioneer. 1860. Editor, J. W. Filler.
Mason. Loyalist. 1863. Editor, George Brewster.

Fayette County.

St. Elmo. News. 1875. Editors, Johnson & Ramsey.

Vandalia. Illinois Intelligencer. 1820. Editor, Elijah C. Berry.

Farina. News. 1877. Editor, Ed. Freeman.

Franklin County.

Ewing. Baptist Banner. 1874. Editors, Kelley & Allen.
Benton. Standard. 1849. Editor, Ira Nortwick.

Gallatin County.

Shawneetown. Illinois Emigrant. 1818. Editors, Henry Eddy
& Singleton H. Kimmel.

Hamilton County.

McLeansboro. News. 1855. Editor, J. D. Moody.

Hardin County.

Elizabeth town. Hardin Mineral. 1870. Editor, Solomon S.

Jackson County.

Murphysboro. Jackson Democrat. 1870. Editors, George C.

Bierer, F. C. Bierer.

Grand Tower. Item. 1875. Editor, M. F. Swartzcope.
De Soto. Farmer. 1855. Editor, James Hull.
Carbondale. Transcript. 1857. Editor, J. A. Hull.
Ava. Register. 1876. Editor, George Jahn.

Jasper County.

Newton. Enquirer. 1856. Editor, George E. Hoar.

Jefferson County.

Mt. Vernon. Jeffersonian. 1851. Editors, John S. Began, Mr.

Johnson County.

Vienna. Egyptian Artery. 1865. Editors, Wright & Company.
New Burnsides. Johnson County Journal. 1874. Editor, A. J.


Lawrence County.

Sumner. Lawrence County Press. Editor, James A. Ilger.
Lawrenceville. Star Spangled Banner. 1847. Editor, J. F. Bun-

Madison County.

Highland. Erzaehler. 1859. Editors, Rudolph Stadtmann, John


Collinsville. Argus. 1871. Editor, A. W. Angier.
Alton. Spectator. 1832. Editors, O. M. Adams, Edward Breath.
Edwardsville. Spectator. 1819. Editor, Hooper Warren.
Upper Alton. Qui Vive. 1868. Editors, College Students.
Troy. Weekly Bulletin. 1873. Editor, James M. Jarvis.

Marion County.

Richview. Phoenix. 1856. Editor, M. L. McCord.

Sandoval. Prairie Farmer. 1861. Editor, Not known.

Salem. Weekly Advocate. 1851. Editors, John W. Merritt, John

H. Merritt.

Centralia. Gazette. 1856. Editor, Gall & Omelvany.
Central City. Gazette. 1854. Editor, Edward Schiller.
Kinmundy. Telegram. 1867. Editor, Colonel John W. Fuller.
Odin. Southern Illinois Journal. Editor, Mr. Wilson.

Massac County.

Metropolis. Promulgator. 1865. Editor, J. F. McCartney.

Monroe County.

Waterloo. Republican. 1843. Editor, Elam Rust.

Perry County.

Pinckneyville. Perry County Times. 1856. Editor, William

DuQuoin. Mining Journal. 1858. Editor, Paul Watkins.

Tamaroa. Egyptian Spy. 1861. Editor not known.

Pope County.

Golconda. Herald. 1857. Editor, James D. Monday.

Pulaski County.

Mound City. National Emporium. 1856. Editor, Dr. Z. Caster-
Caledonia. Pulaski Democrat. Editor, Mr. Miller.

Randolph County.

Sparta. Columbus Herald. 1839. Editor, James Morrow.
Chester. Southern Illinois Advocate. 1839. Editors, John Smith,

H. M. Abbott.

Kaskaskia. Illinois Herald. 1814. Editor, Mathew Duncan.
Red Bud. Egyptian. 1868. Editors, John Briskey, William Bris-

Coulterville. Chronicle. 1879. Editor, John A. Wall.

Richland County.

Olney. News. 1849. Editors, Daniel Cox, Alfred Kitchell.

Saline County.

Stone Fort. Journal. 1874. Editor, A. J. Alden.
Harrisburg. Chronicle. 1859. Editor, John F. Conover.


St. Clair County.

O 'Fallen. Advance. 1874. Editor, T. W. Eckert.

New Athens. Era. 1869. Editors, Bauman & Schild.

Maseoutah. News Letter. 1860. Editor, August Hamilton.

Lebanon, 111. Advocate & Lebanon Journal. 1848. Editor, E.

East St. Louis. American Bottom Gazette. 1841. Editors, Sum-
rix & Jarrott.

Rock Spring. Pioneer of the Valley of the Mississippi. 1829. Ed-
itor, John Mason Peck.

Belleville. Western News. 1826. Editor, Dr. Joseph Green.

Union County.

Cobden. Enterprise. 1877. Editor, W. H. Mitchell.
Anna. Union County Record. 1860. Editor, W. H. Mitchell.
Jonesboro. Gazette. 1849. Editors, Thomas J. Finley, John

Wabash County.

Mt. Carmel. Sentinel & Wabash Advocate. 1834. Editor, Horace

Washington County.

Nashville. New Era. 1851. Editor, P. W. Skinner.
Ashley. Enquirer. 1856. Editor, M. L. McCord.

Wayne County.

Fairfield. Independent Press. 1852. Editor, John M. Walden.

White County.

Grayville. News. 1853. Editor, J. James Prather.
Enfield. Journal. 1874. Editor, Lemuel Potter.
Norris City. Journal. 1874. Editor, A. J. Alden.

Williamson County.

Marion. Western Family Monitor. 1850. Editor, William H.



Southern Illinois is very fortunate in its geographical situation.
It is in reality a peninsula projecting southward and terminating in
the point of land upon which Cairo is situated. The Mississippi river
runs along the entire western side of the state, while the Wabash and
the Ohio form the boundary on the east from Cairo to a point above Vin-

The Mississippi was early discovered and traversed by the French.
Marquette and Joliet navigated hundreds of miles of its central third,
while La Salle and Hennepin completed the exploration to its mouth
and practically to the source. The Ohio is said to have been discovered
by La Salle, but of this we are not certain. The Wabash comes into
notice in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and was early dis-
covered to be a branch of the Ohio. Vincennes dates its history from
1702, and from that time till the coming of Clark in 1778 the French
were continually on the waters of these three rivers.

In the conquest of this western country by Gen. Clark the Ohio, par-
ticularly, played an important part. After the conquest there was a
constant stream of immigration on the Ohio moving toward Indiana,
Illinois and Missouri.


The earlier boats were of the flat-boat type. These were made by
placing two "gunnels" side by side and framing them together and
constructing thereon the hull of the boat. The "gunnels" were obtained
as follows: A large sized tree some sixty or eighty feet tall was felled
and split into halves. The rounding sides were hewn off so the gunnel
as it stood on edges was six or eight inches in thickness and some three
to five feet broad, and some sixty to seventy feet long. These were
placed on edge side by side some ten or twelve feet apart. The two
"gunnels" were framed together by means of strong cross beams, their
upper ends rounded off something like a sled runner. The boat was
partially constructed on land bottom up. The flooring or bottom was
laid and securely fastened to the gunnels by strong nails or with wooden
pins. When the bottom was laid the boat was pushed into the water and
there turned right side up. It was now made water tight. Cross beams

VoL 1 -28



were laid on the gunnels projecting on each, side some two or three
feet. This device made the floor of the boat sixteen or eighteen feet
wide. A crude railing was constructed around the edge of the deck
and often a small cabin was built at one end in which the hands could
do their cooking. A roof was constructed over portions of the boat for
shelter and sides arranged which kept out the storms. Pumps were
provided which might be used in case of heavy leaks. A steering ap-
paratus was attached to the stern and the craft was ready for its cargo.

These boats were often built quite a ways up the small rivers and
larger creeks, and were loaded with the produce of the locality where
built. Often they were built and offered for sale to parties moving down
the Ohio. The cargoes were corn, wheat, meats, poultry, eggs, and a
score of other farm products. It was not an unusual sight to see pigs,
calves, geese, ducks, and other live stock as part of the cargo. The boats
that were used by families in moving down the Ohio often discharged
their household goods at Shawneetown, Golconda, or at Cairo. These
same boats then were loaded with produce and floated to New Orleans.
The Mississippi above Cairo was not used for flatboating as much as
was the Ohio, although many boats were built in Big Muddy, the Kas-
kaskia, and the Sangamon. It is generally known that Lincoln built a
flat boat and took a cargo of produce from the upper waters of the
Sangamon to New Orleans.

The coming of the steam boat in 1809 marked the beginning of the end
of the flat boat business. The small streams fell into disuse and the pio-
neer flat boat builder was obliged to seek new fields for his skill. Public
roads improved, and landings and river towns multiplied. In the balmy
days of river traffic a river steam boat would average a stop every two
or three miles. At many of these landings there were wood yards, and
to see the negro roustabouts bring in a dozen cords of wood was a sight
not easily to be forgotten. The passenger traffic was large in the de-
cades just prior to the Civil war. Elegant state rooms, and well laden
tables made travel on the Ohio or the Mississippi a luxury. Cairo be-
came a very thriving young city. From this river port, transportation
pointed in three ways north up the Mississippi, east up the Ohio, and
south down the Father of Waters. Many noted travelers passed the
city at the junction of the rivers. The oldest settlers remember the
visits of Charles Dickens, Gen. Winfield Scott, Charlotte Cushman, Lin-
coln, Douglas, and many others.


The use of the Wabash, Cache, Kaskaskia, Saline, Big Muddy, and
other Southern Illinois rivers for purposes of travel and transportation
was of course rather limited. There were to be seen however flat boats,
keel boats, rafts, and other forms of river craft. Small steamers have as-
cended the Kaskaskia as far as Evansville in fact one went up in the
region of Carlyle in 1837. Evansville produces large quantities of flour
and this has been shipped via the Kaskaskia. The upper courses of this
stream have been used for the transportation of logs, lumber, and farm

Online LibraryGeorge Washington SmithA history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) → online text (page 45 of 65)