Of Early Newspapers

Bancroft's Works
Pg. 147-149; Pub. 1888


The Oregonian was founded by T.J. Dryer, who had been previously engaged upon the California Courier as city editor, and was a weekly journal. Dryer brought an old Ramage press from San Francisco, with some second-hand material, which answered his purpose for a few months, when a new Washington press and new material came out by sea from New York, and the old one was sent to Olympia to start the first paper published on Puget Sound, called the Columbian. In time the Washington press was displaced by a power press, and was sold in 1862 to go to Walla Walla, and afterward to Idaho. Dryer conducted the Oregonian with energy for ten years, when the paper passed into the hands of H.L. Pittock, who first began work upon it as a printer in 1853. It has since become a daily, and is edited and partly owned by Harvey W. Scott.

The Statesman was founded by A.W. Stockwell and Henry Russel of Massachusetts, with Asahel Bush as editor. It was published at Oregon City till June 1853, when it was removed to Salem, and being and remaining the official paper of the territory, followed the legislature to Corvallis in 1855, when the capital was removed to that place and back again to Salem, when the seat of government was relocated there a few months later. As a party paper it was conducted with greater ability than any journal on the Pacific coast for a period of about a dozen years. Bush was assisted at various times by men of talent. On retiring from plictical life in 1863 he engaged in banking at Salem. Crandall and Wait then conducted the paper for a short time; but it was finally sold in November 1863 to the Oregon Printing and Publishing Company. In 1866 it was again sold to the proprietors of the Unionist, and ceased to exist as the Oregon Statesman. During the first eight years of its existence it was the ruling power in Oregon, wielding an influence that made and unmade officials at pleasure. 'The number of those who have risen to distinguised positions, is reckoned by the dozen.' Salem Directory, 1871; Or. Statesman, March 28, 1851; Id., July 25, 1854; Brown's Will. Val., MS., 34; Portland Oregonian, April 15, 1876. Before either of these papers was started there was established at Milwaukie, a few miles below Oregon City, the Milwaukie Star, the first number of which was issued on the 21st of November 1850. It was owned principally by Lot Whitcomb, the proprietor of the town of Milwaukie. The prospectus stated that Carter and Waterman were the printers, and Orvis Waterman editor. The paper ran for three months under its first management, then was purchased by the printers, and in May 1851 Waterman purchased the entire interest, when he removed the paper to Portland, calling it the Times. It survived several subsequent changes and continued to be published till 1864, recording in the mean time many of the early incidents in the history of the country. Portland Oregonian, April 15, 1876.

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R. GESS SMITH