Linn County


"Married--On Thursday evening, Sept. 6, 1883, at the residence of L. E. Blain, by S. G. Irvine, D.D.,
 Mr. Fred P. Nutting and Miss Olive Miller--both of Albany.
We congratulate ourselves."
--Albany Weekly Democrat, Fred P. Nutting, editor.


Oregon Democrat 




Albany Inquirer 




Oregon Democrat  



The Oregon Democrat, predecessor if not ancestor of the State Rights Democrat which in time developed into a part of the present Democrat-Herald, was the first newspaper in Albany, the first in Linn county, and one of the earliest in Oregon. It was established November 18, 1859, by Delazon Smith, one of Oregon’s first two United States senators, and his brother-in-law, Jesse M. Shepherd. Smith continued as editor until his death, November 18, 1860, using it largely to make war on the so-called Salem clique of Salem politicians, in which his senatorial colleague, J. W. Nesmith, and his journalistic colleague, Asahel Bush, both were “charter members.”

The Democrat gave its late editor Smith one of the longest and most laudatory obituary editorials ever given an Oregon editor. It was written by Rev. Thomas H. Pearne, of the Pacific Christian Advocate, a political opponent but personal friend, and the newspaper's column rules were turned upside down to give the proper effect of mourning.

Shepherd continued publication until February, 1861, when he sold to W. G. Haley and his brother-in-law, A. L. Stinson. Haley, the editor, was a son of Judge S. D. Haley, prominent early Albany jurist.

The paper was still appearing as the Oregon Democrat, January 28, 1862, with the serial number volume 3 number 14 (which checks with the November 1859 start by Smith & Shepherd.) The name at the masthead of this issue, however, is W. G. Haley, proprietor. Soon afterward Pat Malone appeared on the scene and the paper, suppressed, resumed under the name Albany Inquirer, with Pat as editor. Malone was well known as a strong southern sympathizer, and it was not long until he too was in trouble with the government for pro-secession utterances. His paper was excluded from the mails April 30, 1862, by General George Wright, in charge of the federal army in the Northwest.

The Inquirer appears to have kept its name after the suppression.  Haley & Stinson are at the helm of Volume I No. 10 (September 27, 1862), a copy of which is in the files of the Oregon Historical Society.

The name Inquirer was soon dropped, however, and Haley & Stinson were back in the field with the Oregon Democrat, of which volume I number 2, is on file in the Historical Society, under date of June 20, 1863.




State Rights Democrat




Also: Albany Evening Democrat, Daily Albany Democrat, Daily Evening Albany Democrat, Albany Democrat 


Albany Weekly Democrat

Albany Daily Democrat


Weekly & Daily


Albany Democrat-Herald 



Finally the Democrat and the Inquirer had disappeared from the scene, with their various woes and suppressions, and were succeeded in 1865 by something brand-new, the State Rights Democrat. This is the paper which is regarded by the publishers of the present Democrat-Herald as the actual ancestor of their paper. The confused history of the older papers is not claimed as any part of their own family tree, which begins with the first issue of the State Rights Democrat August 1, 1865. James O’Meara was back as editor, remaining one year.

In July, 1866, the paper was taken over by M. H. Abbott, Mart V. Brown, and John Travers. Travers retired from the firm in the following December.

C. B. Bellinger, a lawyer residing at Monroe, whose relatively brief excursion into journalism was far overshadowed by a long and distinguished career as lawyer, compiler of codes, professor of law, and jurist, purchased a halt interest in the State Rights Democrat in 1869. His partner was Mart V. Brown. Mr. Bellinger retired from the firm July 12, 1870, removing to East Portland, where he reentered the practice of law. 

On Bellinger’s retirement Mart V. Brown conducted the Democrat alone until 1874, when he was elected state printer and left the paper, selling a half interest to his brother-in-law, Claiborne H. Stewart, who had been employed in the office for about seven years. The paper ran as an evening daily for a time, beginning in December 1875. Mr. Brown died in 1881, and Mr. Stewart brought into the firm with a half interest George E. Chamberlain, rising Albany lawyer, later to be governor and United States senator. Chamberlain bought into the paper June 23, 1882, and Stewart, who had been elected county clerk, sold his interest to T. J. Stites. Chamberlain in turn became too busy to look after the paper and sold his interest to Fred P. Nutting, who remained with the paper as part owner and later editor and publisher from December 22, 1882, to 1912. Mr. Stites remained for 12 years.

Soon after taking hold, Mr. Nutting had the State Rights part of the title removed and called the paper the Albany Weekly Democrat.

Mr. Nutting, who was to have a long and memorable history in Oregon journalism, had had little experience. He had learned the printing trade in New York state and had been admitted to the bar in Rochester, N. Y. “To make a newspaper prosper,” he wrote in the Democrat-Herald 43 years later (67), “it was necessary in a place as small as Albany, with low prices, to get down and push the plow. And I pushed the best I knew how. I did the local work and helped in the mechanical department, particularly a while before press time, as well after starting the daily as before. . . . My proclivity seemed to be condensation. Most of us are cranky about something, and it seemed to be my part to boil things down, and get as many things to boil down as I could find, and to do it on time.

“While I was on the paper, I always had a special column of short paragraphs, wise and otherwise. For a while it was called The Man About Town, and then one day I changed it to “Misfits,” which seemed to offer a wide range, from gossip to philosophy, and very few issues ever appeared without this column, or part of a column.”

The Democrat started a daily, under Mr. Nutting’s regime, May 7,1888, and it has never missed a regular issue since. The opposition Herald, then published by Train & Whitney, had started a daily edition a little while before.

Four sisters—Lily Rideout, on the paper for 25 years; and her three sisters, Mrs. Omer Hendrickson, Mrs. Grant Froman, and Mrs. Mae Dumond,—were among the best-known compositors in the years of Mr. Nutting’s regime. One of the early carriers was Willard L. Marks, now chairman of the State Board of Higher Education.

In 1912 Mr. Nutting sold the paper to W. H. Hornibrook, a former state senator in Idaho, having been connected with the paper for 34 years, 30 as publisher. Mr. Hornibrook, one of three Oregon newspaper men to obtain the position of minister to Siam, was publisher of the paper until January 1, 1919, when he sold it to Ralph R. Cronise, his city editor, and William L. Jackson, Albany business man, who continue as publishers. [1939]

One of the distinctive features of the Albany Democrat and, later, of the Democrat-Herald for several years was the Sunday (later Saturday) edition started by Charles Alexander for Jackson and Cronise in November, 1920. This edition was largely devoted to the cultivation of literary talent in the Albany district, and it supplied an outlet for the early production of a good many promising writers. Alexander himself built up a nationwide reputation as a writer of fiction, short and long, as well as feature articles.

 When the paper was merged with the Herald as the Democrat-Herald in 1925, Alexander’s section was moved to the Saturday issue. The last issue of this special literary section of the Saturday paper appeared June 6, 1931, in the depression period.



Albany Journal 



Meanwhile the Albany Journal, a weekly catering to the Republican sentiment in Oregon, had been established March 12, 1863, by the Albany Publishing Company, of which T. Monteith, J. H. Foster, A. Hanson, H. M. Brown, and H. N. George were directors. William McPherson was editor in 1866, when, having been elected state printer, he moved to Salem. The paper was allowed to die. It was revived in 1867 by Pickett & Co. but died in the following March, when the company went bankrupt.
Albany Register 


Weekly (daily in 1875)

The Register, Republican in politics, was established in Albany by Col Van Cleve, editor and publisher, with the plant of the defunct Journal, in September of the same year (1868). This paper continued under the same management for many years, ran as a daily in 1875, and was still on the scene when, in 1879, Will G. Steel started the Albany Herald.

It disappeared when Van Cleve went to Yaquina to run the Post in the middle 80’s, attracted by railroad development at Yaquina bay.

Albany Herald 



Weekly Herald-Disseminator



Morning Daily Herald



Albany Evening Herald 



Weekly Herald 



Albany Weekly Herald 


William Gladstone Steel, Oregon newspaper man who virtually put Crater Lake on the map as a scenic resort and became a leading authority on Oregon geography and on American place-names, came into the Albany picture in 1879 with a strong purpose in mind but no money in pocket. His aim was to start a newspaper in Albany, notwithstanding the two already published there, the Register and the Democrat. Mr. Steel told the story interestingly back in 1923 in an interview with Freda Goodrich. (68)

“I did not even have enough money to pay the freight from Portland on the machinery which had been lent to me without charge,” he said. “I only knew that I wanted to start the publication of a newspaper at Albany. I went to Sam Robinson, Portland representative of the American Type Founders’ Company, who, fortunately, was a friend of mine, and told him what I wanted. He offered me $250 worth of machinery and equipment if I would pay the freight on it. I could not even do that, so I sought aid from Ed Hirsch, then state treasurer.

“Ed,” I said, “I want to start a paper in Albany, and I haven’t any money. Can you lend me some

“How much do you want ?“

“I told him that $25 would do, and he gasped. But he gave me the $25, and I paid the freight on the machinery.”


Mr. Steel bolstered his credit by offering Van Cleve $1500 cash for his paper. The publisher held for $2,000—which, in Steel’s opinion, was too much.

“I didn’t have 15 cents to offer,” said Mr. Steel, “but I knew that the fact that I had made him an offer would circulate quickly throughout the community and prepare the way for my coming.”

When he had paid the drayage costs on his machinery, the new publisher was absolutely broke. By adroit use of credit, however, he managed to get the paper going. The first number of the Albany Herald came out October 3, 1879. The new paper provided a 19th century believe-it-or-not when it carried Linn county for the Republicans in the 1880 elections. Mr. Steel left in the next June, without a great deal more than he had brought in, but the paper, left in the hands of partners, was established, and it ran, through various ownerships, until E. M. Reagan, publisher since 1913, sold it to the Democrat publishers, who consolidated the two as the Democrat-Herald, in 1925. Mr. Reagan, now living in Eugene, became interested in oil development in the Southwest.

James Pottinger, who died at his home in Victoria, B. C., in 1932, became publisher of the Herald in 1881. He stayed but a short time in Oregon but also worked for a time on the Oregonian.

His partner on the Herald was Orville T. Porter, formerly of the Harrisburg Nucleus. In 1883 the publishers were Porter & Jones. The next year a combination was made with the Disseminator, moved from Harrisburg, under the title Herald-Disseminator, and a weekly paper was issued Fridays.

 The Herald was established in 1885 by Train (S. C.) & Whitney (J. R.), new publishers, as a morning daily, (except Sunday), Republican in politics. This four-page paper, 18x22, reported a circulation of 750. Mr. Train was at one time Albany postmaster, and Mr. Whitney state printer.

Besides those already mentioned, other owners of the Herald have been C. G. Rawlings, George Westgate, C. C. Page and E. M. Reagan. At the time of the consolidation the Democrat was running as a morning paper, and the Herald was issued in the evening. The Herald had moved from the morning field in 1908. Thomas D. Potwin was editor of the consolidated paper until 1933, when he went to the Oregonian.

Albany Bulletin


Semi-Weekly, Daily

In 1884 the semi-weekly Bulletin was started, and Mr. Porter became its editor. He was credited by Editor Nutting of the Democrat (69) with being a “versatile writer, with a very extensive vocabulary.” In 1886 the Bulletin became a morning paper, daily except Sunday, continuing the semi-weekly. The next year it had disappeared.

Current Albany Newspaper:

Albany Democrat-Herald
600 Lyon St. SW
Albany, OR 97321
Telephone 541-926-2211

Resources -- find Albany newspapers in Linn County and other Oregon repositories.


Newspaper Histories were abstracted from "History of Oregon Newspapers", George S. Turnbull, Portland, OR, 1939.  See references for further information.   Lisa L. Jones contributed and is solely responsible for the contents of these pages.  Copyright 2001.

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