CHAPTER XVI. THE PRESS. The first newspaper in this county was published at Carlisle. Jeremiah Young came from Daviess county about 1844 and established the Jacksonian Democrat, but continued it through only a few numbers. James C. Allen, at that time a lawyer of this county, with Thomas Marks, used the same plant for the publication of the Carlisle Messenger, but probably this lasted only through the political campaign, since the newspapers of that time were conducted largely as an instrument of politics. The Messenger was, however, the first regular paper in the county. A copy is still preserved by the Helms family, being No. 41 of Volume I, dated November 19, 1845. At that time George W. Bee & Co. were editors and publishers. This paper is chiefly interesting for its advertisements, which tell some of the business and professional interests of Carlisle at that time. Peter Hawk and Company were tailors, I. Shannon had a saddlery and harness shop, the general store of J. D. Riggs was an important establishment, and J. and J. Alsop advertised dry goods and groceries and "old rectified whisky, always on hand and for sale by the barrel." A. M. Murphy and H. N. Helms were partners in medicine and had their office one door south of Riggs' store on Ledgerwood street. Dr. J. H. Paxton, who had closed out a store, had his office at Mrs. Hall's residence. Thomas Marks and James C. Allen were local attorneys, while three Sullivan lawyers also advertised-A. J. Thickstun, L. H. Rousseau and R. A. Rousseau. D. H. Hancock was at that time the sheriff, his name appearing in the notices of settlement of the estates of William S. Cruft and Robert Boyle, deceased. The Democrat. In 1854 J. J. Mayes, of Vincennes, came to Sullivan and proposed to start a paper. Joseph W. Wolfe, John S. Davis, Isaac Stewart, Joseph Gray and William Wilson advanced $25 a piece to make payment on the press and material and endorsed notes for the remainder. The press was capable of printing a sheet five columns to the page. The editor and proprietor took a walk over town the day his first issue was circulated, carrying a gold-headed cane. Whether his style was unpopular with the Democrats of the day, or whether his inspection of the town was unsatisfactory, is not known. However, he left Sullivan at once and returned to Vincennes. In September the Democratic leaders secured a printer named Farley and got out two more issues, Samuel R. Hamill writing the editorials. When the election was over the editorials ceased and the paper suspended. The chance which brought to the attention of Murray Briggs a stray copy of the Terre Haute Journal gave Sullivan its best known editor, who for over thirty years was identified with the fortunes of the Sullivan Democrat and really founded and developed that newspaper to its place of influence in the press of the county. In 1854 Murray Briggs, who had been a printer since the age of fifteen, having entered that employment after breaking his leg, was pursuing his vocation in the usual manner of journeyman printers, without remaining long in one place. The copy of the Terre Haute paper which he happened to pick up one day contained a marked paragraph headed, "An Editor Wanted," and signed with the name of Joseph W. Wolfe. The editor of the paper at Sullivan, Indiana, so the paragraph stated, had disappeared without leaving any security to his numerous creditors except the printing office, and to make this an available asset an editor was needed to continue the paper. Mr. Briggs soon afterward came to Sullivan, bought the office, and from that time forward was proprietor and publisher of the Sullivan Democrat. Born in Licking county, Ohio, April 26, 1830, Murray Briggs lived on a farm till the accident which turned him to the printer's trade. In Sullivan county he was a man of prominence. In public office he served as a school examiner, as county auditor, on the town school board, and for a number of years was on the board of trustees of the State Normal School, being president of that body. When Mr. Briggs came to Sullivan the town contained some frame and log dwellings and three brick houses. Business was confined to Washington street between Court and Section, the five merchants being William Wilson, Merwin and Kelley, Major Isaac Stewart, John Bridwell and James W. Hinkle. Mail was received three times a week from Terre Haute via Fairbanks, Graysville, Merom and New Lebanon. Mr. Briggs rode from Terre Haute as far as Farmersburg on a freight car loaded with ties, the railroad not yet being completed to Sullivan. The line from the south was at Carlisle and the two ends were joined in November, 1854. The old star mail route was continued about half a year longer, owing to a disagreement between the postmaster general and the railroad company for the transportation of the mails. The Democrat office was then in the upper room of a frame building on the southeast corner of Section and Washington street, the first floor being occupied by Bridwell's general store. Across the street was the Railroad House, kept by J. P. Dufficy. In the spring of 1855 a number of new buildings were erected on the north and west sides of the square, and some of the trees now in the square were planted, each citizen bringing a tree, planting it and afterwards caring for it, the editor of the Democrat setting out one near the edge of the north side of the square. In 1859 the Democrat was moved to a frame building, and in 1870 the editor building the brick building near the center of the north side of the square, moved the office to the second floor (building now occupied by Dutton's store). At the close of the first volume the Democrat was increased to a six- column folio, and later to seven and then to eight columns. In 1869 a cylinder press was put in, and in 1881 a Campbell press with steam power. The first year Mr. Briggs did all the work, of editor, pressman and printer. Fourteen columns of news matter had to be set up each week, about six columns being advertising. Plate matter was then unknown. On making up the forms, if it was found there was not enough matter to fill the columns, the type was left standing until the editor could secure sufficient copy, and he frequently did not take time to write out his new material but set his news directly into type. The forms were inked with a hand roller, the sheet, first dampened, was placed upon the form, and by means of a lever the platen was lowered, the same process being gone through twice for each copy of the paper. The mailing took half a day, since each address had to be written by hand. Mr. Briggs continued as editor until his death, September 18, 1896. No other editor in the state had a record of so long continuous service on the same paper. For about a year the Democrat was issued by Murray Briggs' sons, but with the issue of July 19, 1897, passed into the proprietorship of S. Paul Poynter of Greencastle, who has since conducted the Democrat. From July, 1883, until Mr. Poynter took charge the Democrat was issued semi-weekly. At the latter date the price was reduced from $1.50 to $1 a year, the weekly issue was resumed, and the size increased. In 1901 the business of the paper had outgrown the old location, and the proprietor erected the brick building on the south side of Jackson street and moved the office to the first floor. July 17, 1905, was issued the first number of the Sullivan Daily Times, this having since been the daily edition of the Democrat. Sullivan Union. About April 1, 1860, F. M. Browning began publishing a little paper at Merom called the Stars and Stripes, largely devoted to the interests of the college. The same year the material was moved to Sullivan and the venerable John W. Osborn, one of the pioneer newspaper men of western Indiana, issued the Stars and Stripes as a loyal administration and Union paper. It was continued only a short while. At the county Republican convention held at the courthouse in February, 1863, a committee was appointed to consider the propriety of establishing an "unconditional Union" newspaper, but none was established during the war. The first number of the Sullivan Union was issued in August, 1866. The publisher was Isaac M. Brown, a veteran newspaper man of Terre Haute. The subscription price was $2.50 a year. This was the Republican organ of the county, but was not successful financially. At the editorial convention held in Sullivan in 1882 Mr. Briggs, in a review of local newspaper history, assigned various causes for this-too frequent changes of compositors and a superfluity of editors of differing political views. On one occasion, it was said, the paper contained two editorials on the tariff, one favoring free trade and the other advocating protective duties. Mr. Briggs often called attention to the fact that the publisher of the Union and the incumbent of the Sullivan postoffice was the same man, inferring that the postoffice was in some way a perquisite of the Republican newspaper. In October, 1872, the Union was sold to Uriah Coulson, and in March, 1874, James A. Hays became proprietor. Uriah Coulson again bought the Union in the spring of 1883, and conducted it a few years. Mr. James Cluggage was proprietor of this paper until March, 1891, when he sold to Arthur Holmes. P. D. Lowe became editor at that time. W. R. Nesbit became proprietor of the Union in 1902, and in March, 1904, sold the plant to D. C. Chaney and Robert P. White, the present proprietors. The Sullivan County Banner was established July 1, 1874, by M. B. Crawford and S. B. Marts, as the organ of the independent party. In about a year it was sold to J. H. Stark and T. H. Evans, but in September, 1875, was suspended, and the material was taken by Mr. Crawford to Boonville. The Carlisle Register, established in July, 1876, was largely devoted to the affairs of the Grange. Its founder was William Herron, whose son George was an amateur printer. E. H. Bailey was later employed as printer and in a few months took the entire plant for his pay. He changed the name to the Carlisle Democrat, and his brother, W. W. Bailey, became editor. They continued their paper until August, 1879, when they moved the plant to Vincennes and consolidated with the Reporter. In January, 1878, a prospectus was issued for the True Democracy, of which George W. Basler was proprietor. The publication was begun in February following; and Colonel Taylor, a writer of ability, furnished the editorials. This was the organ of another faction of the Democratic party. In 1881 the office passed into the hands of Dr. J. C. Bartlett, who changed the name to the Sullivan Times. D. O. Groff was a later proprietor, who sold the Times in the spring of 1888 to C. W. Welman, who continued as editor and manager of the Times until 1896. The Carlisle News is now the principal journal in the south part of the county. Edley W. Rogers, one of the young newspaper men of the state, bought an interest in this paper in April, 1907, and since April, 1908, has been sole proprietor. The News is well edited, and is capably managed for the best interests of Carlisle and vicinity. The Dugger Journal was established about 1906, the first numbers being printed in Sullivan. The first issue printed at that town was in February, 1906. Joseph F. Ferry was owner and manager, and in February, 1907, sold the Journal to Maurice Shirley, formerly of the Sullivan Times.




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