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.
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
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
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,
Also: Albany Evening Democrat, Daily Albany Democrat, Daily Evening
Albany Democrat, Albany Democrat
Albany Weekly Democrat
Albany Daily Democrat
Weekly & Daily
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
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. 
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
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.
|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.
Weekly (daily in 1875)
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.
Morning Daily Herald
Albany Evening 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
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.
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.
|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.
600 Lyon St. SW
Albany, OR 97321
Resources -- find Albany newspapers in Linn County and other Oregon
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.
to Linn County Newspapers