SchuylerCounty Newspapers

The Rushville Journaland Military Tract AdvertiserA weekly newspaper which beganpublication 16 May (8 May) 1835 in the hands of G. W. Davis & R. W.Renfroe. Abraham Marshall, a lawyer, was the editor of the paper, thoughnot financially interested in the enterprise. Within the next year afterthe first publication, G. W. Davis retired. The newspaper’s name was changedto The Rushville Journal when it was taken over by R. W. Renfroe& Co.

The Rushville JournalThe Rushville Journalwas a four-page, six-column paper. The office of publication was locatedin an upstairs room of the old brick building which stood on the site ofthe Bank of Schuyler. The politics of the newspaper was neutral. Renfroecontinued publication until 30 July 1836, when Renfroe’s interest was soldto Dr. Adam Dunlap. After a few months of ownership, Dunlap sold the paperto Benjamin V. Teel, who purchased it for J. B. Fulks. The office was closedfor a short time, then reopened with the first issue of the SchuylerAdvocate.

The Schuyler Advocate

The Schuyler Advocatebegan publication 27 May 1837. It was under J. B. Fulks’ control untilFebruary, 1838, when the newspaper was sold to R. A. Glenn and T. LyleDickey who changed the name of the newspaper to The Test.

The Test

The Test began publicationin 1838 and continued until issue number 28. This newspaper supported theWhig party. After the 28th issue, the offices were closed for three months,then reopened with the publication of the 29th and final issue. In thisfinal issue, the editors stated that because they were unable to collecton the accounts due them, they had sold their interest to J. B. Fulks.Another issue was not published by J. B. Fulks, but in late 1839 he soldhis interests to A. R. Sparks, who began publication with the first issueof The Illinois Republican.

The Illinois Republican

Publication began on 14 December1839 and in politics the newspaper was Democratic. A. R. Sparks continuedpublication until 9 April 1840, when he sold his interests to James L.Anderson, who named his newspaper The Political Examiner.

The Political ExaminerThe Rushville Whig

The Political Examinerwas published from 1840 to 1 October 1843, when the name was changed toTheRushville Whig. The name of the Whig leader, Henry Clay, was placedat the head of the editorial column as presidental candidate, and the Whigmotto “Truth is the basis of all virtues” was carried at the top of thefirst page. At the defeat of Henry Clay in 1844, The Rushville Whigsuspendedpublication.

From 1844-1848, no newspaperswere published in Schuyler County. Howard F. Dyson, in The History ofSchuyler County, stated “In nine years Rushville had seven differentpapers with double that number of editors, and the changes had been sonumerous and suspension so frequent that, for the four years, no one hadthe courage to take up the task of enlightening the people of Schuylerthrough the medium of a county newspaper.”

The Prairie Telegraph- The Rushville Times

The Prairie Telegraphbegan publication 8 July 1848, and was owned by Benjamin F. Scripps, ateacher, and R. R. Randall, a practical printer. This proved to be Rushville’sfirst permanent newspaper. Since the first issue of The Prairie Telegraph,there has been a continuous publication, though owners and the name havechanged. The newspaper office was located in a one-story frame buildingon the east side of the square. On 3 November 1849, The Prairie Telegraphpassed into the hands of Rev. John Scripps and his son, J. C. Scripps.Publication continued until 24 May 1856, when the paper was sold to a stockcompany and the name changed to The Rushville Times.
 
 

Letter From Pioneerof 1828

Sixty years ago on the eighthof July last, R. R. Randall aided in founding Schuyler county’s first permanentnewspaper, “The Prairie Telegraph,” which later took the name of The RushvilleTimes, and since that day his interest in his old home town has never waned,and in a letter to the editor, he says he will visit Rushville again thelatter part of the month to renew old acquaintance, and will go from hereto Springfield to attend the state fair and a reunion of the 73d Ill. Inft.

Mr. Randall writes that hehas been ill for the past three months and is now in Chicago visiting withhis children, and is feeling better for the change. The following interestingletter was penned at his home in Lincoln, Nebraska:

Editor Times–Dear Sir: Iwant you to allow me thru the columns of your paper to thank God for hislong continued mercies during the four score years allotted to me on thisearth. He will hear me and accept my gratitude thru your columns just thesame as if in your church or in my closet, or among the many good friendswho still live in Schuyler county.

The incidents of my earlylife in your town and county are very dear and sweet to me, and I wantto say something about them. Ten years ago I wrote you two letters, andthey were composed of names of many very early settlers, and many incidentswhich have gone into oblivion and cannot be recalled, unless rememberedby the ordinary men and women who are still living. The young people willonly find them in history; if left by their parents, in acts and deeds.

On the 14th day of November,1831, my father and mother landed in the town of Rushville, Illinois, havingcome to Beardstown by steamboat from St. Louis, Mo. My father, JonathanG. Randall, was born in Williamsport, Penn., Jan. 11, 1804. In his eighteenthyear he walked over the Allegheny mountains and took a boat for Cincinnati,Ohio, locating at London, Butler county, on “Paddy Run,” twenty miles aboveCincinnati, where he learned the tailor’s trade. On October 20, 1825, hemarried Heathy Major of Franklin county, Indiana. So you see I am partHoosier.

Henry Clay Randall, RichardR. Randall and Eunice Ann Randall are the three children born in Ohio andbrought by them to Rushville. From the date of our arrival to the dateof the death of father and mother your oldest citizens are familiar. Wm.S. Randall, Thomas Parrott Randall, Jonathan G. Randall, Charles C. Randalland Josiah Parrott Randall, with Harriet Ellis Randall and Caroline E.Randall, constitute the family born in Schuyler county. Only three membersof this family are now living–Eunice Ann Parrott, Charles C. Randall andmyself.

The spirit of immigration,which took possession of my father, has caused his children to find homesin Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon, Idaho and California. I was born onthe fortieth parallel line and have never abandoned it for a betterment,because there is no other line where you, or any one else, can find suchgrand conditions for man’s wants. This statement will explain why I havestood so steadfast for Nebraska, and why I have toiled to make so manySchuyler people citizens of Nebraska. They have all been healthy, successfuland happy, and are willing to “stand up for Nebraska,” and invite theirfriends to come and find a beautiful home here.

Now I have finished up thegenealogy of the Randall family and said all are dead but three, and willnow come back to the scenes of our childhood, and say, these incidentsas seen and enjoyed by you are very dear to me. In my boyhood days I knewpersonally all the old men I named in my letters of two years ago as wellas their blessed wives. It was their children I knew better. We were boystogether. Our wants were the same, our anxiety for better homes, for safecompanionship and for better government was the same. Should we live 80years longer would never forget the grand men and women who settled inthe town of Rushville as well as the county of Schuyler. I have desiredto know whether the young men have all made a success in life and becomea credit to their homes.

Now, dear editor, I wishyou would take down your files of the Times in the fall of 1899 and lookover the names of the men whom I knew when a boy and you will see theyare familiar to yourself. There is an inspiration in every man’s life andcharacter who came on to the stage of action from 1830 to 1840. His missionin life was for a purpose. It makes my heart glad to know I had such anassociation, such a love for the men of my boyhood and for the boys ofmy boyhood. We did not know for what purpose we had been born; our educationin Christian homes; our inherent love for the flag of our government; ourpersonal knowledge of freedom and our hatred to slavery caused us quicklyto understand and readily to tender our services to a government when herflag was assailed. We did not know then that God had written on the “celestialchimes” the death knell of slavery, but we soon fell into line and awaitedthe result of the four years of civil strife. The end came and the resulthas proved a betterment to all who were concerned. I and you have seentwenty-four states added to the Union of States. We have seen 86 millionsof people struggling for the maintainance of homes and government. We haveseen a grander dissimination of knowledge; we have seen an elevation ofman’s mind to the belief that God abides with His people, and His willon earth must be done.

I will make my annual visitto Rushville about the last week of September or first week in October,and will be pleased to see all the old people and many of the young people,and give them a good old-fashioned shake. This may be my last visit onearth. So goodbye until I see you.

Yours truly, R. R. Randall

Richard R. Randall

Richard R. Randall, one ofthe old guard of sturdy pioneer residents of Schuyler, died on Saturdayat the home of his daughter, Mrs. H. E. Shean, 3941 Eddy street, Chicago,Illinois; aged eighty-two years. His death was due to heart disease from,which he had suffered for several months. Mr. Randall was a resident ofLincoln, Neb., and his remains were taken there for interment.

It has been more than thirtyyears since Mr. Randall left Rushville, but he is remembered by scoresof old friends and it was a real pleasure for him to revisit the old homeas he frequently did and greet them. He loved Rushville for the old associationsthat formed a part of his life, and on his last visit here in September1908 had a hearty word of greeting for his old friends.

Richard R. Randall was ason of Jonathan G. Randall and was born in Butler county, Ohio, Sept. 20,1828. In the summer of 1831 his father emigrated westward with his familyand in the fall of that year settled in Rushville. Here the son attendedschool and was a pupil of Edward Bertholf in the old Methodist church.Early in life he formed a desire to learn the printer’s trade and in 1839began work in the office of the Rushville Republican, which was then publishedby Augustus R. Sparks in the Joseph Haskell building on the present siteof Schuyler county’s court house.

Founder of Prairie Telegraphin 1848

On July 8, 1848, Mr. Randalland Benj. F. Scripps began the publication of The Prairie Telegraph, whichproved to be Rushville’s first permanent newspaper, the name being changedto The Rushville Times on May 24, 1856. At that early date the electrictelegraph had not yet come into general use, mail was carried overlandby stage coach and the printing office equipment was crude and cumbersome.It seems more than marvelous to realize what has been accomplished in thenewspaper field since R. R. Randall put the Prairie Telegraph to pressin 1848.

In a letter to The Timeseditor, writen ten years ago, Mr. Randall gave a graphic account of hisearly journalistic experiences which is here published:

“My father put me to learnthe printing business with Augustus R. Sparks in 1839. He published a paperat that time in the up stairs of Joseph Haskell’s house, on the cornerwhere your court house now stands. In 1840, in the month of June, my fathertook me to Springfield, Ill., in company with a large delegation of Whigs,who were going to attend a great convention of the Whig party at that place.In that month he left me at the Journal office to fight the battle of self-reliancein learning the printing business. I was bound out for eight long years,and was so smart I graduated in six and came back home with a bad record.I ‘deserted’ and found my true value. The editor, Simeon Francis, offeredsix cents reward for my return. No one captured me and I connected myselfwith Benjamin F. Scripps, in 1848, in publishing the ‘Prairie Telegraph.’

“Money was very scarce aswell as subscribers and we did not make sufficient to support two families.We could not live entirely on coon skins, pumpkins and cord wood, so Iwent to Beardstown and published the ‘Beardstown Gazette’ for Judge Emmonsfor two years, and he paid me six dollars every week for my work. I madehim agree to pay my board, so the landlord would not starve me becauseof non-payment of board. The judge was a bachelor and he could not eatcord wood or broom corn, but he could trade them off for board and rent,and he kept the Gazette running. We were deprived of the present faciltiesof getting from place to place. The stage coach was our only speedy wayto travel. The river, when not dry, was used for St. Louis as our methodof conveying commerce and transacting the business of the county.”

A Friend of Abraham Lincoln

It was in 1840 that Mr. Randallfirst met Abraham Lincoln and he treasured as one of his priceless mementoesa letter that Lincoln wrote to his father at Rushville telling how he hadbefriended the boy at the state capital. In after years Mr. Randall evercherished a warm spot in his heart for Abraham Lincoln and when as thenation’s executive he made the call for volunteers Mr. Randall was oneamong the many young men from Schuyler who went to the front. He enlistedin the 73d Ill. Vol. and was promoted to the rank of major.

Prominent in ImmigrationWork

In the fall of 1869 Mr. Randallleft Rushville for the west and for thirty years was actively engaged inimmigration work. He was sent as a representative of Nebraska to the CentennialExposition at Philadelphia in 1876 and since that time had officially attendedall national expositions.

Nebraska in 1879 had only28,000 population and the work that Mr. Randall did as immigrant agentfor the old Burlington & Missouri railroad had much to do with therapid settlement of the state in the succeeding ten years and he livedto see Nebraska take rank as one of the wealthy and prosperous agriculturalsections of the country
 

The Rushville Times

The first issue of The RushvilleTimes was on 30 May 1856. Stockholders were Hon. L. D. Erwin, LeonidasHorney, Peter Campbell, Joseph Montgomery, DeWitt Clinton Johnston, CharlesNeill, James L. Anderson, John Scripps, Enoch Edmonston, John Hugh Lawlerand Charles Wells. All the members, with the exception of John Scripps,were prominent Democrats, and it was their desire that Schuyler Countyshould have a paper that would support the Democratic party. The stockholdersselected DeWitt Clinton Johnston the first editor of The Rushville Times.Johnston was a lawyer and Methodist minister and before coming to Rushvillehad edited three newspapers in Ohio. He was later elected County Judgein Schuyler County. When Johnston retired on 2 February 1858, he was succeededby Andrew J. Ashton, who was editor until 9 May 1860, when he retired.A. D. Davies was the next editor. Mr. Davies was a talented editor andhad married a daughter of ex-Governor Ford. After being editor for threeyears, he abandoned his family in Rushville and left for parts unknownand was never heard from again. J. C. Fox assumed editorial charge, andwas succeeded as editor in 1866 by E. A. Snively. During most of this time,a lien was held by Charles McCrosky, who foreclosed on his lien forcingthe sale of the newspaper. The Rushville Times was sold at Sheriff’ssale and was purchased by Edwin Dyson, whose first issue was 2 July 1868.

The Schuyler Democrat

The Schuyler Democratbegan publication 20 April 1854. The newspaper was owned by a stock companyand its editor was Daniel E. H. Johnson. George Washington Scripps purchasedthe newspaper in 1856 and changed the name to The Schuyler Citizen.

The Schuyler Citizen

The first issue of The SchuylerCitizen was published on 6 July 1856. At this time, it was Independentin politics and remained so until 1858, when the historic campaign of Lincolnand Douglas brought to the front the newly formed Republican party, whichwas supported by The Schuyler Citizen. G. W. Scripps continued aseditor and publisher until 1865, when he leased the offices to Clark &Sweeney. After several years, the newspaper was sold to C. N. Whitney whodefaulted on his payments, and on 1 October 1868, the newspaper was onceagain in the hands of G. W. Scripps, who retained ownership until 1879,when he retired. William I. Larash became the new owner, taking chargeon 1 April 1879.

The Rushville Republican

The Rushville Republicanwas established 17 January 1891, and was edited by F. A. Warden & Son,who continued publication for ten years. The newspaper was Republican inpolitics.

The Schuyler County Herald

The Schuyler County Heraldwas owned and edited by H. E. McLaren, and was established at Rushville28, 1901.

The Camden City Register

The Camden City Register,the first newspaper to be established in Schuyler County outside of Rushville,was founded by H. C. Harl on 2 April 1896. It suspended publication on30 September 1897.

The Littleton Reader

The Littleton Readerwas founded by L. Doan Dixson and the first issue was published on 7 December1905.

The Browning RiversideReview

This newspaper was founded bythe Robbins Bros. and started publication on 8 April 1908, with Rollo Robbinsas editor.

The Browning Star

This newspaper began by publishingits first issue on 3 December 1912. The editor was W. G. Miner.

The Browning News

The Browning News beganpublication on 22 September 1914, with I. M. Himmel as Manager.
 

Sources
The Combined Historyof Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois,1882
History of Schuyler County,Howard F. Dyson, 1908
The Rushville Times,October 7, 1948

Copyright 1999-2006 Judi Gilker; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercialuse of the information contained in these
pages is strictly prohibitedwithout prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with theinformation.
 

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