Schuyler County Newspapers

The Rushville Journal and Military Tract Advertiser
A weekly newspaper which began publication 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, though not financially interested in the enterprise. Within the next year after the first publication, G. W. Davis retired. The newspaper's name was changed to The Rushville Journal when it was taken over by R. W. Renfroe & Co.
The Rushville Journal
The Rushville Journal was a four-page, six-column paper. The office of publication was located in an upstairs room of the old brick building which stood on the site of the Bank of Schuyler. The politics of the newspaper was neutral. Renfroe continued publication until 30 July 1836, when Renfroe's interest was sold to Dr. Adam Dunlap. After a few months of ownership, Dunlap sold the paper to Benjamin V. Teel, who purchased it for J. B. Fulks. The office was closed for a short time, then reopened with the first issue of the Schuyler Advocate.

The Schuyler Advocate

The Schuyler Advocate began publication 27 May 1837. It was under J. B. Fulks' control until February, 1838, when the newspaper was sold to R. A. Glenn and T. Lyle Dickey who changed the name of the newspaper to The Test.

The Test

The Test began publication in 1838 and continued until issue number 28. This newspaper supported the Whig party. After the 28th issue, the offices were closed for three months, then reopened with the publication of the 29th and final issue. In this final issue, the editors stated that because they were unable to collect on 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 sold his interests to A. R. Sparks, who began publication with the first issue of The Illinois Republican.

The Illinois Republican

Publication began on 14 December 1839 and in politics the newspaper was Democratic. A. R. Sparks continued publication until 9 April 1840, when he sold his interests to James L. Anderson, who named his newspaper The Political Examiner.

The Political Examiner - The Rushville Whig

The Political Examiner was published from 1840 to 1 October 1843, when the name was changed to The Rushville Whig. The name of the Whig leader, Henry Clay, was placed at the head of the editorial column as presidental candidate, and the Whig motto "Truth is the basis of all virtues" was carried at the top of the first page. At the defeat of Henry Clay in 1844, The Rushville Whig suspended publication.

From 1844-1848, no newspapers were published in Schuyler County. Howard F. Dyson, in The History of Schuyler County, stated "In nine years Rushville had seven different papers with double that number of editors, and the changes had been so numerous and suspension so frequent that, for the four years, no one had the courage to take up the task of enlightening the people of Schuyler through the medium of a county newspaper."

The Prairie Telegraph - The Rushville Times

The Prairie Telegraph began publication 8 July 1848, and was owned by Benjamin F. Scripps, a teacher, and R. R. Randall, a practical printer. This proved to be Rushville's first permanent newspaper. Since the first issue of The Prairie Telegraph, there has been a continuous publication, though owners and the name have changed. The newspaper office was located in a one-story frame building on the east side of the square. On 3 November 1849, The Prairie Telegraph passed 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 stock company and the name changed to The Rushville Times.
Letter From Pioneer of 1828

Sixty years ago on the eighth of July last, R. R. Randall aided in founding Schuyler county's first permanent newspaper, "The Prairie Telegraph," which later took the name of The Rushville Times, 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 the latter part of the month to renew old acquaintance, and will go from here to Springfield to attend the state fair and a reunion of the 73d Ill. Inft.

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

Editor Times--Dear Sir: I want you to allow me thru the columns of your paper to thank God for his long continued mercies during the four score years allotted to me on this earth. He will hear me and accept my gratitude thru your columns just the same as if in your church or in my closet, or among the many good friends who still live in Schuyler county.

The incidents of my early life in your town and county are very dear and sweet to me, and I want to say something about them. Ten years ago I wrote you two letters, and they were composed of names of many very early settlers, and many incidents which have gone into oblivion and cannot be recalled, unless remembered by the ordinary men and women who are still living. The young people will only 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, having come to Beardstown by steamboat from St. Louis, Mo. My father, Jonathan G. Randall, was born in Williamsport, Penn., Jan. 11, 1804. In his eighteenth year he walked over the Allegheny mountains and took a boat for Cincinnati, Ohio, locating at London, Butler county, on "Paddy Run," twenty miles above Cincinnati, where he learned the tailor's trade. On October 20, 1825, he married Heathy Major of Franklin county, Indiana. So you see I am part Hoosier.

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

The spirit of immigration, which took possession of my father, has caused his children to find homes in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon, Idaho and California. I was born on the 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 such grand conditions for man's wants. This statement will explain why I have stood so steadfast for Nebraska, and why I have toiled to make so many Schuyler people citizens of Nebraska. They have all been healthy, successful and happy, and are willing to "stand up for Nebraska," and invite their friends to come and find a beautiful home here.

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

Now, dear editor, I wish you would take down your files of the Times in the fall of 1899 and look over the names of the men whom I knew when a boy and you will see they are familiar to yourself. There is an inspiration in every man's life and character who came on to the stage of action from 1830 to 1840. His mission in life was for a purpose. It makes my heart glad to know I had such an association, such a love for the men of my boyhood and for the boys of my boyhood. We did not know for what purpose we had been born; our education in Christian homes; our inherent love for the flag of our government; our personal knowledge of freedom and our hatred to slavery caused us quickly to understand and readily to tender our services to a government when her flag was assailed. We did not know then that God had written on the "celestial chimes" the death knell of slavery, but we soon fell into line and awaited the result of the four years of civil strife. The end came and the result has proved a betterment to all who were concerned. I and you have seen twenty-four states added to the Union of States. We have seen 86 millions of people struggling for the maintainance of homes and government. We have seen a grander dissimination of knowledge; we have seen an elevation of man's mind to the belief that God abides with His people, and His will on earth must be done.

I will make my annual visit to 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 on earth. So goodbye until I see you.

Yours truly, R. R. Randall

Richard R. Randall

Richard R. Randall, one of the old guard of sturdy pioneer residents of Schuyler, died on Saturday at 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 of Lincoln, Neb., and his remains were taken there for interment.

It has been more than thirty years since Mr. Randall left Rushville, but he is remembered by scores of old friends and it was a real pleasure for him to revisit the old home as he frequently did and greet them. He loved Rushville for the old associations that formed a part of his life, and on his last visit here in September 1908 had a hearty word of greeting for his old friends.

Richard R. Randall was a son 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 family and in the fall of that year settled in Rushville. Here the son attended school 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 1839 began work in the office of the Rushville Republican, which was then published by Augustus R. Sparks in the Joseph Haskell building on the present site of Schuyler county's court house.

Founder of Prairie Telegraph in 1848

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

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

"My father put me to learn the printing business with Augustus R. Sparks in 1839. He published a paper at that time in the up stairs of Joseph Haskell's house, on the corner where your court house now stands. In 1840, in the month of June, my father took 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-reliance in 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, offered six cents reward for my return. No one captured me and I connected myself with Benjamin F. Scripps, in 1848, in publishing the 'Prairie Telegraph.'

"Money was very scarce as well 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 I went to Beardstown and published the 'Beardstown Gazette' for Judge Emmons for two years, and he paid me six dollars every week for my work. I made him agree to pay my board, so the landlord would not starve me because of non-payment of board. The judge was a bachelor and he could not eat cord 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 facilties of getting from place to place. The stage coach was our only speedy way to travel. The river, when not dry, was used for St. Louis as our method of conveying commerce and transacting the business of the county."

A Friend of Abraham Lincoln

It was in 1840 that Mr. Randall first met Abraham Lincoln and he treasured as one of his priceless mementoes a letter that Lincoln wrote to his father at Rushville telling how he had befriended the boy at the state capital. In after years Mr. Randall ever cherished a warm spot in his heart for Abraham Lincoln and when as the nation's executive he made the call for volunteers Mr. Randall was one among the many young men from Schuyler who went to the front. He enlisted in the 73d Ill. Vol. and was promoted to the rank of major.

Prominent in Immigration Work

In the fall of 1869 Mr. Randall left Rushville for the west and for thirty years was actively engaged in immigration work. He was sent as a representative of Nebraska to the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876 and since that time had officially attended all national expositions.

Nebraska in 1879 had only 28,000 population and the work that Mr. Randall did as immigrant agent for the old Burlington & Missouri railroad had much to do with the rapid settlement of the state in the succeeding ten years and he lived to see Nebraska take rank as one of the wealthy and prosperous agricultural sections of the country

The Rushville Times

The first issue of The Rushville Times was on 30 May 1856. Stockholders were Hon. L. D. Erwin, Leonidas Horney, Peter Campbell, Joseph Montgomery, DeWitt Clinton Johnston, Charles Neill, James L. Anderson, John Scripps, Enoch Edmonston, John Hugh Lawler and Charles Wells. All the members, with the exception of John Scripps, were prominent Democrats, and it was their desire that Schuyler County should have a paper that would support the Democratic party. The stockholders selected DeWitt Clinton Johnston the first editor of The Rushville Times. Johnston was a lawyer and Methodist minister and before coming to Rushville had edited three newspapers in Ohio. He was later elected County Judge in Schuyler County. When Johnston retired on 2 February 1858, he was succeeded by 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 and had married a daughter of ex-Governor Ford. After being editor for three years, he abandoned his family in Rushville and left for parts unknown and was never heard from again. J. C. Fox assumed editorial charge, and was 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 forcing the sale of the newspaper. The Rushville Times was sold at Sheriff's sale and was purchased by Edwin Dyson, whose first issue was 2 July 1868.

The Schuyler Democrat

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

The Schuyler Citizen

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

The Rushville Republican

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

The Schuyler County Herald

The Schuyler County Herald was owned and edited by H. E. McLaren, and was established at Rushville 28, 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 on 30 September 1897.

The Littleton Reader

The Littleton Reader was founded by L. Doan Dixson and the first issue was published on 7 December 1905.

The Browning Riverside Review

This newspaper was founded by the Robbins Bros. and started publication on 8 April 1908, with Rollo Robbins as editor.

The Browning Star

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

The Browning News

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

The Combined History of 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. Commercial use of the information contained in these
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