THE PRESS AND POLITICS

Transcribed from the Book
"Counties of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland, Illinois"
Originally published in 1884 by
F.A. Battey & Co., Chicago, Ill.


    The newspaper is a marked outgrowth of the social development of society. When once grown to that point where it feels the necessity of controlling public sentiment and uniting it upon the various common interests, the community calls in the newspaper, and through its agency solidifies its power. It was in response to some such necessity that Daniel Marks established the Greenup Tribune, at the village of Greenup, in 1855. The press was brought overland with an ox-team and set down in this unfledged town, long before the county alone could give it a leading support. The proprietor engaged Matchett, a noted “knight of the stick,” and gave his attention to working up a list He made his excursions on foot, and wandered through the counties of Jasper, Effingham, Clark and Cumberland, soliciting subscribers to this pioneer journal of civilization. He seems to have been admirably adapted to his business, securing a considerable list, and taking as payment a large number of coon-skins and anything that could be “swapped” into money. It was no unusual thing, it is said, to find the larger space devoted to his office occupied with these peltries. A year later, Templeton & Bloomfield succeeded to the ownership of the paper, and conducted it under the same title for about a year, when they removed it to Prairie City, from whence it was subsequently removed, and the county was without a “voice of the people” for a short time. In 1859, James E. Mumford came to Greenup from Ohio, and determined to found a paper, and on December 2, 1859, the first number of the Greenup Expositor was published to the people. The paper was published by J. E. &  H. P. Mumford, and the first issue was gotten out by the junior member of the firm. In the first number he says: “It will ever be our aim, with the aid of a sufficient number of passengers aboard of our bark, in the way of subscribers, to not be vainglorious or presumptuous nor to dive into the more scientific researches of the hidden mysteries of nature, but skim along upon the surface of time, noticing intermediate events, and making ourselves as acceptable as possible, and as amusing and interesting as the case will permit We wish to please all that are pleasurable, and those who have a moral nature can always find in some portion of our paper enough to soothe the savage and make merry and interesting the scientific feelings. Our paper will be devoted, principally, to news, politics, agriculture, education, and mechanical interests, with humorous matter enough to give life and spice to all.
    As to the political character of the Expositor, we would state, in order that everyone may rightly know our position, that it will be Democratic of the Douglas stamp, though only when duty calls will it be ours to obey, in supporting that gentleman for the Presidency in 1860. * * As to the local difficulty existing in the county, in regard to the county-seat, it will be ours to be mum, and to print a paper for the benefit of the whole county—for one place as well as another—and shall court the improvement of all.” Under another caption, the editor remarks: “We intend, upon the return of our brother, J. E., to make a thorough canvass throughout the county, and see every head of a family, and all the pretty girls, and make them all subscribers to the Expositor” With such good natured frankness, it would have been remarkable if the paper had not made friends. The paper was successful from the first, but in 1860, the office followed the star of empire to the county-seat. Here J. E. Mumford continued the paper until 1867, when he sold out and removed to Danville. The Expositor was continued by Flavius Tossey, and the name changed to the (Cumberland Democrat. Frank Bowen succeeded Tossey as proprietor, and published it until October 1, 1870, when the establishment was sold to George E. Mason. The paper at this time was a six column folio; a year later it was enlarged to seven columns, and September 29, 1873, W. D. Mumford was associated with the paper as junior partner. An office, twenty by fifty feet, was erected, a No. 6 Washington Hoe, and Nonpareil Jobber press added, besides some 100 fonts of type. January 20, 1875, Mason retired from the paper, disposing of his interest to. E. Gorrell, and the firm became Mumford & Gorrell. The latter disposed of his share to Mumford, in —, who continued the business alone until January, 1882, when Adolf & Leon Summerlin became purchasers, the latter now being sole proprietor.
    In 1871 the Greenup Mail was established as a representative of the Republican element in politics. Mr. Pyle founded the paper and conducted it alone for some three months, when he took a Mr. Davis as partner, under the firm name of  Pyle & Davis. Pyle was succeeded by Edward Hitchcock, Davis was succeeded by Cookerly, and later Mr. Hitchcock became sole proprietor. The paper was subsequently sold to Ozier & Cooper, but it came into possession of a stock company, and in 1874 followed the inevitable current of things to the county-seat Here the paper was issued as the Republican-Mail, with Hitchcock as editor. The plan of the company was to lease the paper by the year. A Mr. Over­man succeeded about a year later, and he was followed by Hitchcock Henry Woolen, and J. & A. Caldwell, of whom the last named continued its publication until February 18, 1831. At this time J.
T. Connor became a partner with the Caldwell Brothers, who had purchased most of the stock. This firm continued only some six months. Connor withdrew, as the other partners desired to give the paper a religious rather than a political character. The name of the paper had meanwhile been changed to the Toledo Republican and in 1882 sold to Henry Woolen. The Caldwell Brothers went to Indianapolis to conduct a paper, as an organ of that sect of religionists who “profess Holiness.” The venture did not turn out satisfactorily, and in a month or two they returned and assumed control of the Republican, and proceeded at once to change its name and character. Its successor is a weekly pamphlet of some dozen or twenty pages, called the Happy Pilgrim, which is devoted to the sect mentioned.
    In 1881, the Cumberland Times was established at Greenup. Its editor and proprietor, W. L. Tobey, was on his way seeking a location for a Republican paper, when he was referred to certain of the leading citizens of this village. On approaching the gentlemen referred to, the newspaper man received but little encouragement, but finally meeting a gentleman who took some interest in the project, some $500 worth of advertising was secured and the first issue sent out October 20, 1881. The paper has been regularly issued since then, and is well established. It is a five-column quarto, one-half of which is supplied with “auxiliary print.” The office has a good patronage, and enjoys the official favor this year. The Neoga News is the third paper in the county. This was founded in 1874 at Neoga, by S. Z. Bland, an enterprising merchant of that village. It was first issued as an advertising medium of the proprietors business, and was a single sheet under the name of the Neoga Advertiser. In the early part of the following year the paper was sold to Allison Brothers, of Mattoon, who transformed it into a six-column folio, and changed the name. In 1876, the paper was sold to Messrs. Hancock & Kelly, the latter retiring about a year later, leaving Mr.Hancock the sole proprietor. December 25, 1882, the paper was changed to a six-column quarto, the largest paper in the county; but with only two pages printed at home. The rest of the matter is supplied by the auxiliary print The paper is Republican in politics, and has a very liberal support in the county.
The political complexion of the county has always been Demo­cratic. The Whigs were represented here early, but not in sufficient numbers to make a serious struggle for the election of candidates from their party. There was a constant growth in the relative strength of the opposition, until 1872, when taking advantage of the partial disaffection in the ranks of the ruling party here, A. J. Lee was elected prosecuting attorney by seven votes, over James L. Ryan. In 1873, the Granger movement reached its climax, and a mixed ticket was elected over the regular Democratic ticket; A. N. Rosecrans and J. W. Miller, Democrats, and T. C. Kille and W. Humphrey
, Republicans, being elected. The offices of Sheriff, County Clerk, Treasurer and County Superintendent arc now filled by Republican incumbents; those of Circuit Clerk, County Judge and State’s Attorney, by Democratic. The Republican element in politics has gradually grown in the county, so that on purely local questions the two parties are about evenly made up of the voters of the county. On National questions the Democratic majority is about 200 votes. There is a large floating- vote which is mainly diverted to the “best man,” though it also affords material upon which the unprincipled demagogue plies his unholy trade.


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