Crawford County, Pennsylvania
THE PIONEER NEWSPAPER
The year 1805 marks the establishment at Meadville of the second newspaper in the State published west of the Alleghenies. The "Pittsburgh Gazette" is known to have been the first. The first editors and publishers were Thomas Atkinson and W. Brendle. After a partnership of eight months, Atkinson by purchase became sole proprietor. The paper was entitled "The Crawford Weekly Messenger." The initial number, issued January 1, 1805, contains an editorial which states that the paper is politically Republican, but has open columns for free and liberal discussion by all parties. Mr. Atkinson edited and published his paper until 1833. At first he was obliged to pack his paper along winding Indian paths, on horseback, more than two hundred miles, one hundred and thirty miles of which distance past by but three or four houses.
Note: Most issues of the Crawford Messenger are available on microfilm at the Meadville Public Library.
THE PRESS OF CRAWFORD COUNTY
The history of the newspaper press of Crawford County is contemporary with the growth of the County, whose enterprise it has noticed and stimulated, whose progress it has developed, and whose varied interests it has chronicled. The fluctuations of the political parties and the consequent decrease of patronage has caused the starting of many papers more or less short-lived. A brief sketch of present publications is herein given.
THE CRAWFORD DEMOCRAT
was established at Meadville, in 1833, by James E. McFarland, by whom it was edited and published till 1859, at which time it was sold to William Wilson, who continued its publication up to 1861, and at that date disposed of the paper to Thomas W. Grayson, by whom it has been edited and published down to the present time. The paper has continued Democratic from its inception.
THE CONNEAUTVILLE COURIER
was originated by Messrs. A. J. Mead and George W. Brown on November 14, 1847. In the fall following Brown purchased his partner's interest, and continued sole proprietor till May, 1854, when the publication passed by purchase into the hands of Messrs. A. J. Mason and D. Sinclair Brown. Their circulation reaching two thousand, they introduced a steam power press, the first in the State west of the Alleghenies. In May, 1856, Sinclair sold out to Mason, who, in August, 1862, sold the concern to Messrs. R. C. & J. H. Frey. In February, 1864, the Frey brothers sold to Messrs. J. E. & W. A. Rupert, who consolidated the publication with the "Crawford County Record," under the title of "The Record and Courier." "The Record" was started as an advertisement, gratuitously distributed, in 1858, by John W. Patton. Meeting public favor, it began as a weekly paper, Republican in politics. In May, 1863, F. H. Broggins bought the paper, and sold it in December 1863 to Messrs. Rupert. The two papers being consolidated, the name was changed in December, 1870, to "The Conneautville Courier," and as such it is now published. It is politically Republican, and local in circulation.
THE CRAWFORD JOURNAL
is regarded as a continuation of the "Crawford Weekly Messenger," previously mentioned. In 1834 C. G. Kennedy, recently superintendant of the United States Census Bureau, became the publisher of the "Messenger," and conducted the paper until July 17, 1836. Joseph C. Hays then bought the material, and changed the name to "Crawford Statesman," and advocated the interests of the Whig party. In 1841 sale was made to a company, and the paper was issued in Democratic interests under the successive editorship of Samuel Magill, A. P. Whitaker, H. B. Brooks, James Onslow, and James Burchfield. Mr. Hays repurchased the office material in 1848, and published the initial number of "The Crawford Journal," January 13, 1849. It was conducted once more in Whig interests. "The Meadville Gazette," established in 1845, by L. L. Lord was bought in 1850 and consolidated with the "Jounal." Mr. Hays published the paper as a Whig American and Republican organ until November, 1864, and then sold to John D. Nicholas. The office was destroyed by fire December, 1865. Nicholas associated with him Edward Bliss, and reissued the "Journal" in the spring of 1866. Since April, 1867, it has known the editorial control of Messrs. Thomas McKean, Frey, Johnson, R. Andrews, Hollister & Medcalf, Chalfant & Tyler, and Thickston & Hollister. In April, 1873, Hempstead & Co. became proprietors.
THE CRAWFORD INDEX
originated in "The Index," a monthly advertiser, started by A. W. Howe in 1869, and issued at remote intervals at Cambridgeboro'. Mr. Howe dying in February, 1872, D. P. Robbins, M.D., bought the material and, in April, 1872, began the publication of "The Weekly Index." B. T. Anderson bought an interest in 1873. The paper was enlarged and name changed to "The Cambridge Index." In June, 1873, Anderson withdrew, leaving the publication to Mr. Robbins as sole editor and proprietor.
THE MEADVILLE REPUBLICAN
was successor to the "Spirit of the Age," which succeeded the "Cussewago Chronicle," the latter being started about 1850. "The Repubican" took its present name sixteen years ago. "The Daily" was first published in 1865. Prior to 1870 changes were frequent and proprietors numerous. The paper was sold by Dr. J. P. Ray, as agent for the company owning it, to Col. I. W. H. Reisinger on November 1, 1870. The publication is known as straight Republican, entirely subservient to the interests of the party. Enlargements and improvement have kept pace with the wants of increasing circulation. The "Daily" is chiefly devoted to Meadville interests. The "Weekly" is the Republican organ of the county. A new building and new machinery are in contemplation.
THE TITUSVILLE WEEKLY HERALD
and MORNING HERALD were started, in 1861, by Bloss Bros. & Cogswell. W. W. Bloss sold his interest to his partners in 1872, and no further change has transpired to date. H. C. Bloss & J. H. Cogswell are publishers, H. C. Bloss, editor. Changes in papers have been numerous. Some have lived but a year or two; others have had many proprietors. The "Herald" originated in the "Petroleum Reporter," whose last manager was George R. Martin. It is Republican in politics, and has a circulation—the weekly of 2000 copies; the daily, 2500.
THE TITUSVILLE COURIER
morning and weekly editions, are conducted by M. N. Allen, editor and proprietor, since their establishment, in October, 1870. Politically democratic and progressive. Circulation of the daily, 1200; of the weekly, 1400.
The "Morning Star," edited and published by W. C. Plummer, "The Long Roll," edited by N. C. Allen, and the "Sunday Morning News," are papers which once were published in Titusville, but have ceased to exist. The press of Crawford County, as constituted, is conducted ably, is well patronized, and is enjoying a career of prosperity.
1. Combination Atlas Map of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, Compiled, Drawn and Published From Personal Examinations and Surveys (Philadephia: Everts, Ensign & Everts, 1876), 20, 22-23.