The Valley and the Shadow:
Iowa Journalism continued....
J.B. DORR, who once had
control of it, and who often made it operate as a sort of
incendiary in its own party, was singularly strong in those
elements which constitute a successful editor. He was eminently
sagacious and prompt in seeing and seizing all items of
information which could serve his purpose. He was a bold and
powerful competitor, ready with his pen, untiring in his energy,
and unscrupulous in his modes of journalistic warfare. During the
war, after a series of adventures in rebel captivity, he was
appointed colonel of one of our cavalry regiments, and
subsequently died of disease in Tennessee.
The Herald, however, flourished as a power in the land, under the management, for a long time, of Hon. D.A. MAHONY, whose life was made somewhat eventful during the progress of the war, by hostilities between himself and the officers of the Government. He stood at the head of a widely-known journal. He seems to have been conscientiously opposed to the acts of President LINCOLN's administration. He denounced those acts as flagrant usurpations of power; but in doing so he did not employ the terms of vindictive and impetuous passion, but the terms, instead, of apparent moderation, which, with their cold and comprehensive scorn, their philosophic method, and their under-current of freezing hate, made them far more effective than any other form of revolutionary controversy. Mr. M. has a sharp intellect, a fine practical education, and a strong familiarity with the readiest and most efficacious forms of speech and written language, and whatever side he chooses to take in a popular discussion, he is always formidable. In DORR, and MAHONY, and HUTCHINS, the Herald was blessed with a triumvirate of editorial powers; but although these men had retired from its control when I had the privilege of looking at the Herald, a year and a quarter since, its me-
chanical appearance, with
its clear, bold, and handsomely defined type, and the energy,
judgment, and editorial ability under the administration of
Messrs. HAM and CARVER, which were displayed in its different
departments, called out from me a strongly complimentary
paragraph. Its publishers, editors, attaches and special friends
have made me the recipient of a generous contribution. Admiration
and gratitude elicit these remarks now, and they are made in all
sincerity, though I have not a syllable of endorsement to give to
any of those political heresies which the Herald
defended from the commencement to the end of the war, and which
it still defends with the zeal of other years.
I have already spoken of two representative journalists, who wielded the qull in the interest of the Dubuque Times -- F.W. PALMER and W.S. PETERSON. I have also mentioned H.W. PETIT, whose localisms in connection with that paper gave him merited popularity. G.A. STEWART, Esq., formerly of the Toledo Blade, Ohio, and JESSE CLEMENT, whose publicaions in prose and verse are familiar to a majority of Iowans, enriched, in turn, the editorial columns of the Times. Mr. STEWART was a clear and facile writer, employing a pure rhetoric, with more smoothness than sprightliness, and with more literary grace than force or pungency. Mr. CLEMENT has but little versatility or imagination; but he is a prolific and graceful writer, and there is not a man in the West who has a finer knowledge than he of the mechanical rules which govern poesy. The present proprietors of the Times are Messrs. BARNES and RYAN. M.S. BARNES, its chief editor, is evidently at home in the firld of political controversy. GEORGE H. BALLOU is the spicy local. I wish to say, before closing my remarks concerning the Dubuque press, that J.L. McCREERY, for many months connected
with the local department
of the Times, and Mr. WILKIE, who was associated in the
same capacity with the Herald, were the most gifted local editors
in the State. Mr. McCREERY, who is somewhat awkward and ungainly
in manner and figure, with none of the captivations of a winning
presence, is as decidedly a genius as OLIVER GOLDSMITH, who was
probably designed to be his literary and personal prototype; and
like him, he has suffered the pains and perils of persecution and
McGregor, one of the most ambitious and prosperous little cities of Iowa, located in Clayton county, on the Mississippi River, has been furnished for many years with excellent weekly newspapers. It may have a daily now, for I am sure it would sustain one with commendable liberality. It is the home of Hon. SAMUEL MERRILL, the present excellent Governor of the State. The North Iowa Times, of which PATRICK RICHARDSON -- a versatile Irishman, of rich and hearty humor, having an extensive experience in his profession -- is the editor, fully meets the demands of the democracy in that portion of the State. In gathering home items, and in grouping them together in a cheerful improvising style and in all literary condensations, Mr. RICHARDSON is at the head of the fraternity; and in a merry, graphic style of anecdote or story-telling, he is fully equal to D.N. RICHARDSON, of the Davenport Democrat, whose reputation for this special talent, as well as for other talents which belong to a first-class Western journalist, has been well established for a dozen years. Major WILLIS DRUMMOND, during his connection with the McGregor News, a Republican organ, made a fine impression on his cotemporaries, by his unaffected sincerity, his consistent patriotism, and more than average ability in his profession. His name suggests that other DRUMMOND -- founder of the Vinton Eagle -- who gave his life to his
country in the war for the
Union, and who died as a hero and patriot dies -- of wounds
received in the rush of battle. Colonel THOMAS DRUMMOND -- we all
knew him familiarly as TOM DRUMMOND -- was a giant in his day, in
his vocation as an editor, head and shoulders above a majority of
his brethren. He was sometimes perverse, often capricious,
frequently imperious and over-bearing, and stubborn to the point
of obstinacy whenever there was an attempt to coerce him; but,
after all, he had a grand heart, full of manly impulses and
susceptibilities, and he wielded a pen, not only in a graceful
and scholarly manner, but in eloquent earnestness and power,
which helped to secure the original triumph of Republicanism, and
to vindicate the claims of Iowa as one of the noblest heritages
for mankind on the face of the earth. Ten years ago, when his
party was struggling for dominance in Benton county, I remember
that the controversy which was kept up between him and Judge
DOUGLASS, of the rival sheet in that county, excited much popular
interest. The judge had exercised official authority for years in
that period of our early history when county judges had more
administrative power than the sovereigns of young empires; and
when he saw the sceptre departing from Democratic Judah, and the
County Judgeship passing away into the hands of another party, he
became a magnificent hater of Republicanism, and went into the
political battle against DRUMMOND with a determination to conquer
or to die. He was overthrown and slain on the field of his glory;
and the conqueror himself is no more. The patriot and martyr has
gone to his eternal repose; but the name of DRUMMOND will not
perish with this generation.
At intervals through many years, the Republican organ at McGregor has been controlled by R. TOMPKINS, who
was an anti-slavery
pioneer, and a self-sacrificing laborer in the interests of
universal freedom, when it was unpopular and perilous to
vindicate the glowing truths of the Declaration of Independence.
Whatever course he takes and whatever language he employs, in
discussing the moral and social questions of the age, he always
recognizes the authority of conscience, and is thoroughly in
earnest. He never dodges an editorial responsibility; and so
profoundly is he moved in sentiment and reason, and in passion
and emotion, while defending the truth as he understands it, that
often, as you read his earnest editorials, there is a tingling in
your nerves, like that which is produced by the blast of a
trumpet when armies rush to battle!
I have already alluded in a sufficient manner to the genial qualities, as a local paragraphist, of Mr. RICHARDSON, of the Davenport Democrat. That city, which is rapidly growing into grand proportions, has another daily paper, which has been, since the days of HENRY CLAY, and is now, a power in the State. I refer, of course, to the Gazette. For a long time that paper was made greatly satisfactory through the experience and ability of two brothers, Messrs. SANDERS, who owned it, and gave it the benefit of their enterprise. The elder SANDERS, now dead, had charge of the political department, and much of the business pertaining to the office; and the younger one, ADDISON H. SANDERS, an irrepressible worker, rapid and attractive as a paragraphist, gave to the local department much prominence and popularity. This latter gentleman was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the Sixteenth Iowa Infantry, and subsequently suffered a thousand indignities, such as passion and brutality alone can inflict, when a prisoner in Southern dungeons. After his exchange, it was reported that the vessel which was to transport him from the coast-line of Dixie to the harbor of New
York, had been wrecked, and
that all on board had perished. I have a pretty distinct
recollection that I wrote an article with reference to the
casualty which was supposed to have resulted in the death of
Colonel SANDERS. I treated his memory with several handsome
expressions of elegiac compliment and eulogy; and I was somewhat
shocked at the April-fool nature of my sensibilities when it was
announced, on better authority than the "Reliable
Contraband," that the colonel had not been choked in
Atlantic brine, but was still in the midst of a lively probation
on this side of a watery grave!
The coincidence of names induces me to retire for a little while from the Gazette, and take a brief excursion to Boonsboro, where, in the summer of 1857, another SANDERS -- how provoking that I cannot just now recall the name in full! -- established one of the most spicy, piquant and picturesque Republican papers in the State. Mr. SANDERS had an immense hesitation in his speech, produced by the most intractable organs of articulation in the world; but he had no hesitation in his pen. He was an easy, fluent writer; serious when it was desirable so to be, grave when his subject demanded it, melancholy when the mood was on him, and irresistibly facetious when he wanted his readers to participate with him in a little innocent merriment. He particularly enjoyed a story designed to illustrate any humorous phase of his own peculiar misfortune.
The Democratic editor in the same place, JOHN A. HULL, who is one of the most genial and agreeable fellows in Central Iowa, whatever may be said of him when he comes to edit a newspaper, had for the burden of the only prayer of his life, a petition to the Lord to take SANDERS to his long home, "because the stuttering cuss was about to break down the best Democratic paper
in the Western
country!" Yet, I am satisfied that Mr. HULL, with his
naturally good heart, was moved to genuine sorrow when his rival,
Mr. SANDERS, faded day by day under the influence of pulmonary
consumption, and finally perished, long before he reached the
midway station in his pilgrimage of life. My lamented friend had
a brother, now a book compositor in the Register office
at Des Moines, who was also a partner in the business at
Boonsboro, and who is one of the most generous and steadfast
friends from whom I have received a favor since I was smitten
with the woe of blindness.
Many moons ago, the attention of the people of the State was directed more stongly than usual to the merits of the Davenport Gazette, by a series of letters from several of the counties, written in an off-hand, dashing style, by ROBERT LITTLER, Esq., who for a time had dispensed city news for the Gazette. Years afterward, Mr. LITTLER became a captain in the Federal army, and lost an arm at Shiloh. After his retirement from the service, he acted for some months as Provost-Marshal in one of the New England States. On his return to Iowa, he held a military situation at Davenport until the close of the war.
W.H. FLEMING, late of the Adjutant-General's office, and now Deputy Secretary of State, was also on the city department of the Gazette, before the war, and proved himself then, as he did two years ago, when he took my place for several weeks on the State Register, to be a pains-taking and judicious dispenser of city intelligence. He is one of the rising men of Iowa; faithful in his vocation, firm in his friendships, and solicitous for that fame only which comes from the performance of good deeds. I have forgotten the date at which ED. RUSSELL bought a proprietary interest in the Gazette, and took the reins of editorial government in his hands; but I am ready to
aver that, during the years
wherein the paper has felt the inspiration of his management, the
Gazette has been growing into wider and wider repute,
and securing to itself the highest endorsement in its
jurisdiction from all good men. It is hardly thught possible, in
these degenerate times, that a partisan editor can realize, to
any degree, the consolations of religion; but it is evident to my
mind that Mr. RUSSELL is a Christian editor -- conscientious in
his declarations, forming no compromise with heresy, preferring
to be right rather than popular; free from the baseness and
sycophancy of a debauched press, and evermore zealous for the
enthronement of righteousness, and the overthrow of all forms of
personal vice and political corruption. I am glad to know that
men who will not trim their sails to each passing breeze, and who
will not bow their knees in the meanness of sycophancy to the
captain of every craft on the sea, whether he be a slaver from
the coast of Guinea, or a free-booter like the scoundrel who trod
the quarter-deck of the Alabama, -- am glad to know, I repeat,
that men and mariners, such as I have described, are sure to have
a more prosperous voyage on the sea of patronage in Iowa, than
any other class of navigators.
I remember, when I first became acquainted with the out-look of professional life in the West, that I saw the name of JOHN MAHIN in connection with the editorial page of the Muscatine Journal. Although I was unable to discover any actual superiority in that paper, I soon began to feel an admiration for the patient industry, and general judiciousness of clippings and editorials which were always visible on investigation. Mr. MAHIN never took kindly nor easily to the drudgery of composition. He was never troubled with that literary malady -- cacoethes scribendi -- which has assailed so many thousand of my fellow-beings. If St. PAUL, under the burden of a haunting conviction,
was constrained to say --
"Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel," there is
another conviction just as stong, whether you call it a spiritual
illumination, as in the case of PAUL, a simple monomania, or a
terrible insanity, which takes hold of its victim, throws him
into a series of convulsive fidgets, as though he had been seized
by St. Vitus's Dance, and compels him to cry out -- "Woe is
me if I do not scribble for the papers."
In the infancy of the Republican party, a person by the name of STANFIELD, of limited education, was proprietor of the Knoxville Journal, Marion county. At that time, L.D. INGERSOLL, Esq., formerly of Crawfordsville, Indiana, and a resident for a time of Oskaloosa, Iowa, was also a citizen of Knoxville, which village, by the way, is the home of ex-Governor STONE, and of that remarkable specimen of Radical Democracy, MARTIN VAN BUREN BENNETT, once editor of the Marion County Democrat, and certainly one of the sharpest partisan stumpers in the State. Mr. INGERSOLL was engaged in the practice of his profession as an attorney-at-law, but out of pure love for the young Party of Freedom which was just beginning to inaugurate a war of aggression against the slave power of the continent, he gave a portion of his time every week, without any pecuniary reward whatever, to the editorial management of the Journal. It was some time in 1861 when he accepted a clerkship in one of the departments at Washington, and became, with his family, a resident of that city. During his sojourn at the Capital, and to some extent before that period, he achieved an enviable reputation as a correspondent of the State Register, and of other newspapers in the West. He was the "Linkinsale" of the Iowa Press, rich, racy, piquant, and original, with a dash of literary dogmatism and pugnacity in his disposition. As a newspaper correspondent, he established a fame in
advance of his cotemporaries, and as a political witer he proved himslf competent in all respects to give vim, snap, and pluck to the pages of a partisan organ. In my humble judgment, the most sparkling and versatile writer of Iowa, gifted in an extraordinary manner with the mastery of language, and of the most brilliant modes of expression, is General FITZ HENRY WARREN, of Burlington; but while this is true, it is also true that Mr. INGERSOLL, as a correspondent, as a writer on miscellaneous topics, and as an author who comprehends and uses the graces and perfections of a pure idiom, takes a very high position in the world of literature. Just at the time when my eyes began to fail, and I was compelled to forego the luxury of reading books, Mr. INGERSOLL's History of Iowa and the War was issued from the press. I have, therefore, never been able to examine this work beyond the preface; but I am satisfied, not only from my own knowledge of the author's entire competency, but from concurrent testimony within the sphere of historical criticism, that Iowa and the War is a fine history, and a splendid tribute to the patriotism and gallantry of our soldiers, as well as an imperishable contribution to the literature of our State. I own that my sensitiveness was cut pretty deeply when I noticed, in our author's preface, and in that paragraph which refers minutely to his obligations to Iowa editors in the preparation of his work, that my name was omitted, while mention was made of several other journalists who never labored as I labored for five years in connection with a daily paper, to present to the world a comprehensive record of Iowa patriotism and Iowa valor on the field of battle. But let this go. It was the merest inadvertency, I presume; for I know that Mr. INGERSOLL is my friend and brother. For two years just closing, his pen has enriched the columns of the Muscatine Journal. Several
years since, Mr. DAVIS -- I
have forgotten his initials -- who was twice secretary of the
Iowa Senate, a gentleman of fine ability, was engaged for a time
in conducting the same paper. He is now dead. The Journal
has had several spicy local editors.
The only democratic editor of Muscatine who has left any impression on my mind was Judge E.H. THAYER, of the Daily Courier. His hatred of Republicanism was stupendous, and he gave expression to it with great facility and fury. I think he was more familiar with Shakspeare than any other of my cotemporaries; and whenever he made ready to throw one of his literary bomb-shells into the enemy's camp, he startled the great dramatist from his dusty bed, and compelled him to assist in his belligerent demonstrations. I have learned, lately, that Messrs. BARNHART brothers, gentlemen of enterprise and liberality, who have done much hard work in hehalf of the material interests of their adopted State, are now proprietors of the Muscatine Courier, Independence Conservative, Marengo Citizen and Marshall County Advance. It is a subject of much regret to me that my information is too limited to give the names, even, of the present editorial conductors of these papers.
In other days, the most successful manager of an Iowa newspaper was CLARK DUNHAM, of the Burlington Hawk Eye. His short, curt, stinging paragraphs, and his invincible enterprise, gave him a wide range of patronage; but, during the first year of the war, through some sort of mysterious mismanagement, so many of the editorials of the Springfield Republican, of Massachusetts, were reproduced in the Hawk Eye as ponderous leaders -- original and undefiled -- that the patrons of both papers began to entertain harsh opinions of oneor the other of them, knowing full well that there was either a surprising coin-
cidence of thought and
language, or a very bold peice of literary thieving on the part
of somebody. I do not believe that Mr. DUNHAM was cognizant of
this plagiarism; but the theft belonged to either his paper or to
the Springfield Republican. In 1865, G.W. EDWARDS, of
the Mount Pleasant Journal, and Dr. CHARLES BEARDSLEY,
formerly of the Oskaloosa Herald, purchased the Hawk
Eye, and assumed its control, which they retain at the
present time. Mr. EDWARDS is able to get up brief paragraphs in a
commendable manner; but it is my belief that he has no prominent
ambition to shine as an author of leaders for a journal. He has a
fine business capacity. Dr. BEARDSLEY was a member of the Iowa
Press eleven years since, at which time Lieutenant-Governor
NEEDHAM, one of the founders of the Republican party of Iowa, was
proprietor of the Oskaloosa Herald. The Doctor was
recognized at once as a leader in his new profession, born to
inhabit the dominion of letters and politics; but he never found
his place until he became associated with the Hawk Eye.
He is a smooth, brilliant writer, glowing with enthusiastic love
of his party, and rejecting all dishonorable means wherewith to
promote its influence. He is too thoroughly a gentleman to
indulge in political trickery, and too decidedly a Christian to
hurl the invectives of Billingsgate in the faces of his
J.B. HOWEL, of the Gate City, Keokuk, one of the veterans of the Press, coming down to us from a past generation, has had much experience, and has enjoyed much prosperity, both as a newspaper conductor and as Federal post-master. I presume that SAMUEL CLARK, Esq., a local and general paragraphist of much excellence, and a young man of genial and generous qualities, is still connected with the Gate City.
Judge CLAGGETT, of the Keokuk Constitution, is a repre-
sentative journalist on the
Democratic side. He is an accomplished and forcible writer,
quickly observant of passing events, especially of weak points in
the enemy's line of battle. He is passionate, but magnanimous;
often imperious and intractable, yet placable and forgiving. His
generosity has no limit, and his friendships have the glow and
fire of fraternal affection. He is sometimes impracticable, even
with his own party; but his positiveness of character, and the
native force of his intellect, which exercises a kind of mesmeric
supremacy over his retainers and friends, gives him control, to a
great extent, of the Democracy of his State. He is liberal,
hospitable, and chivalrous.
Many of my readers have noticed, for several years, a sheet of elegant appearance, called the Intelligencer, which is published in Charles City, Floyd county. Hon. A.B. F. HILDRETH, its owner and conductor, was a member, several years since, of the State Board of Education, for which position his scholarly habits and tastes clearly adapted him. Subsequently, he was a member of the Legislature, giving ample evidence that he was as proficient in legislating for the general interests of Iowa, as for the special interests of popular education. His enterprise and his admirable economy, as well as his talent in editorial management, give him the ability to publish one of the finest looking weekly papers in all the Israel of Iowa. He is a gentleman of quick perception, of careful but not hesitating judgment, passionate in is love of literature, and very stong in his general attachments and prepossessions. It is a miracle of success, that he never was compelled, through all the vicissitudes of the past eight years, to reduce the size of his very large paper, or to make any radical changes in it which looked to diminution of weekly expenditure.
In speaking of the
journalists at the Capital, I have already mentioned, in an
incidental manner, the name of J.B. BAUSMAN, a gentleman of very
considerable proficiency as a writer, who, like many of his
cotemporaries, has seen whatever there is of drudgery, and none
of the beatitudes, of the profession. He has a warm, generous
nature, and has, throught the faithlessness of other men, looked
so long on that side of human life on which the word TRIBULATION
is inscribed in ominous capitals, that his usual serenity of
feeling is wonderful. If he had been in the fiery furnace with
the Hebrew Children, he would doubtless have taken it as a
practical joke, with much less indignity and torture in it than
may be found in some of the modern professions. I am glad to
recognize him as a faithful and affectionate friend.
I have a lively and satisfactory remembrance of the Washington Press, under the administration of Mr. WICKERSHAM and Major STANTON, as well as under the management of its present conductor, H.A. BURRELL. It would please me to speak more at length of that paper; also of Messrs. DANIELS and CLARK, of the Tipton Advertiser, and of my well-known friend, J.W. LOGAN, of the Waterloo Courier. My memory also recalls with satisfaction the Sabula Gazette, the Maquoketa Excelsior, the Blairstown Gazette, the Iuka Union, Toledo Blade, Cerro Gordo Republican, Clarksville Gazette and the Franklin Reporter.
Of the German press of the State, which has its representatives in Dubuque, Davenport, Burlington and Pella, I know but little, in consequence of my incapacity to speak or read the language. Years ago, however, I became acquainted with THEODORE GUELICH, of the Iowa Tribune, at Burlington, whose body carries a dozen scars which he received in European battles. He is a brave and talented man, faithful and true everywhere.
Hon. H.C. HENDERSON, of
Marshalltown, a distinguished lawyer, a fine extemporaneous
speaker, and a clear and impressive writer, followed E.N. CHAPIN,
Esq., and WILLIAM H. GALLUP, Esq. (afterwards proprietor of a
paper in Montana, Boone county), in the ownership and control of
the Marshall County Times. Mr. HENDERSON immediately
enlarged the paper, gave it the benefit of new typographical
habiliments, and went to work in earnest to issue one of the most
useful and splendid family newspapers in the country. He was
governed by a laudable emulation; and to make his paper all that
his patrons could desire, he placed at the head of the local
department his younger brother, who is bountifully supplied, as
well as he is himself, with wit, humor, language and imagination.
I have forgotten how long this excellent management continued;
but, according to my remembrance, the Times, about a
year and a half ago, began to feel the impress of the
administrative ability of CHARLES ALDRICH, Esq., who had been
Adjutant of the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, and who had been
favored twice or three times with the Chief Clerkship of the
House of Representatives for our State. At an early day he came
from Cattaraugus county, New York, and settled in Webster City,
Hamilton county, Iowa, where he established the Freeman,
a weekly newspaper, which became in time the official organ of
several new counties in that portion of the State.
Mr. ALDRICH has first-class capabilities as a western editor. He has had extensive experience in the profession, it is true; but aside from this advantage, he seems to know intuitively what to say at the right time, and the precise manner of saying it also, in order to accomplish a specific purpose. In this kind of journalistic sagacity, so admirable in itself, and so necessary to professional success, he is blessed beyond a vast majority, if not all, of his cotemporaries.
The PERKINS BROTHERS were
founders, eight years ago, of the Cedar Falls Gazette,
Black Hawk county. Their tact and energy soon gave it a merited
celebrity. It was greatly through their instrumentality, in
connection with the paper, that Cedar Falls began to improve with
almost unprecedented rapidity, attracting a very large share of
favorable attention in eastern communities.
HON. ZIMRI STREETER, the quaint, queer, renouned and inimitable "Black Hawk" of past Sessions of the General Assembly, and HON. PETER MELENDY, late United States Marshal, and one of the best men in the West, are residents of Cedar Falls. The Gazette is now enjoying great prosperity as an exponent of Republicanism, and as an organ of local interest, under the administration of Messrs. HOLT and SNYDER, who have adopted a high standard of journalism, and are living up to it.
The Sioux City Register has, from the beginning, been the most able and enterprising Democratic sheet on the Missouri Slope, not excepting the Council Bluffs Bugle, which for years was blown with great melody and power by LYSANDER W. BABBITT. The bugle notes of BABBITT, however, degenerated into an emasculated whine, when, in its fallen fortunes, the paper became the property of Brother GILES.
The Sioux City Journal was founded by my esteemed and talented brother, ED. B. STILLMAN, formerly of Des Moines, and now of Chicago. The paper is now owned and conducted by MAHLON D. GORE, a gentleman of much personal worth, and an honor to his exalted profession. He is, beyond question, a Christian editor, with whom the Bible is the rule of life.
The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, a pioneer organ of Republicanism, on the Slope, was established in 1857, by W.W. MAYNARD, of whose capacity to prick his antago-
nists with an editorial
pen, there can be no reasonable doubt. On his retirement into a
post-office, W.S. BURKE took the paper, and controlled its
columns until a year since, when the Nonpareil was sold
to parties of whom I have no personal knowledge. Mr. BURKE is
certainly one of the most noble-hearted of men, as his
substantial benefactions to a blind brother are ample
exemplifications. As I dictate these words of acknowledgment, and
remember his unsolicited kindness to me and my family, tears of
gratitude trickle down my cheeks brom sightless eyes. I know not
where he is now, but my prayers and my gratitude will follow him
down to life's latest hour.
My excellent friend, E. BOOTH, of the Anamosa Eureka, has been a sufferer from deafness all his life; yet, in spite of this irreparable misfortune, he acquired an accomplished education, turned his attention to newspapers, and labored with such devotion in his profession, that there is now a general recognition from his cotemporaries, of his usefulness, consistency, and eminent ability. He is my brother, indeed, in sympathy as well as misfortunes; and the attachment which I feel for him, although I never saw him, is like that which DAVID felt for JONATHAN.
JOHN TEESDALE, Esq., an accomplished editor, from Ohio, of whom I have already made mention, became proprietor of the Iowa City Republican in 1856. He sold to G.H. JEROME. The paper is now under the careful proprietorship and supervision of N.H. BRAINERD, late Military Secretary to Governor KIRKWOOD. He is a gentleman of mature judgment and irreproachable character, an earnest seeker after truth, and an able champion of equal rights, without affectation, and without hypocrisy. In other years the most popular newspaper conductor on the Democratic side, in that city, was R.H. SYLVESTER, who understood the refinements of correct literature, and wrote in a
pleasing, effective, and
often in an eloquent style. Mr. IRISH, the present Democratic
editor, is still quite young. He has talent and ambition, and is
destined to take high rank among editors of his own political
faith. Before leaving Iowa City, it is personally gratifying to
me to state that Hon. T.S. PARVIN, of that place, has
accomplished far more than any of his cotemporaries in collecting
and embodying a record of early historical incidents belonging to
the Territory and State of Iowa. He is an industrious and
judicious antiquarian in history, to whom the future HUMES,
GIBBONS, and BANCROFTS of the North-west will be indebted for
their most valuable and interesting materials in the preparation
of a history of our State.
In another place I have said something in reference to the early career of the Vinton Eagle. I ought to have stated in the same paragraph that the Eagle is still a live, able, and popular newspaper, showing no signs of degeneracy in its pages. Under the respective administrations of Messrs. FROST and HANFORD, its prosperity and usefulness have never diminished.
The Republican paper at Bedford, Taylor county, was for many years conducted by J.H. TURNER, whom, in 1857, I sent to that place as a plenipotentiary, to do the work of a political apostle; and he did it well, for he had a captivating pen, and was gifted with a poetical temperament.
After the retirement of Mr. EDWARDS from the Home Journal of Mount Pleasant, that paper became the property of Messrs. HATTON and BRADY, the former of whom had published a paper in Cadiz, Ohio. With these gentlemen at the political helm, and with the glorious vivacity of FRANK HATTON, Jr., displayed in the local department, the Journal attracted to itself a large share of popular interest. Recently, I heard that my esteemed friend, the
junior, had purchased the Free
Press, which had been conducted in an admirable manner by
Messrs. WHITE and STEWART. Frank will not permit his new purchase
to deteriorate in his hands, but will give it the benefit of his
pleasing style. His exuberant animation will now have the fullest
license of expression for the instruction and amusement of his
Right here I wish to express my sense of obligation to citizens of Mount Pleasant, who have displayed so much substantial solicitude for me since the day wherein my evil fortunes commenced. For several months, while in Cincinnati, I was honored, almost every day, with the encouraging presence of Colonel LAUREN DEWEY, formerly Warden of the Ohio Penitentiary, and subsequently, after he had taken up his residence in Mount Pleasant, a prominent member of the General Assembly of Iowa. He was a fellow-sufferer with me in Cincinnati. The cheerfulness which he always manifested, and the philosophy of fortitude which sustained him, even at those times in which his vision was threatened with total extinction, helped me to bear my own burden of woe with comparative composure and courage. In all this wide world, with its infinite diversity of character and disposition among men, there is no kinder heart, and there are no nobler sensibilities, and there is no broader and purer philanthrophy than are embodied in the person and general qualities of Colonel LAUREN DEWEY. Better than a thousand others who seem to know them, but do not, I am able, from personal intimacy, to describe the noble traits of character belonging to him, and to J.M. KIBBON, and scores of other men in Iowa, who have been grossly misunderstood in consequence of political differences.
One of the pillars in Iowa journalism is Lieutenant-Governor B.F. GUE, of the Fort Dodge North-West. For
a dozen years he has been a
faithful servant of the people in various responsible offices.
There are no negations in his character. Whatever he says or
does, is said and done affirmatively and positively. He is an
honest and earnest man, well balanced in his organization,
intelligent, experienced, and popular. As a writer he is
perspicuous and forcible, never dealing in any ambidextrous trope
The Ottumwa Courier has always been a lively and influential newspaper. At this time it is under the proprietorship and control, I believe, of General HEDRICK, who made a fine military record during the war, and who is now making a corresponding record in literature and politics, in editorial associations with the Courier. Under the old regime there was my friend NORRIS, who has a soul as large as an Iowa prairie, and a first-class capacity to conduct a newspaper in the West. It cannot be disguised that Ottumwa is one of the first interior cities in Iowa, having a future of incalculable prosperity. The Courier is worthy of it, and so is my mythological friend the Mercury, which, under the guardianship of Messrs. BURTON and EVANS, evinces a great deal of wisdom in its efforts to develop the resources of its city and county.
Many of my readers may think that I am greatly overstating a declaration, when I assert, with the confidence of conviction, that there are but few men in all this land, who have a more accurate and graphic power of description with their pen, or have a greater readiness and purity of expression in discussing on paper the popular topics of the age, than Mr. RAGUET, late of the Afton Reveille. If, instead of having attached himself to weekly journals in rural districts, he had allied himself, a dozen years ago, to one of the prominent city dailies of this country, the truth of my declaration would now be manifest.
My mind recurs with great
satisfaction to the personal friendship and professional
congeniality which has subsisted for a number of years between
JACOB RICH, Esq., late of the Independence Guardian, and
myself. Mr. RICH is a thorough printer, an estimable citizen, and
an accomplished editor. He uses his pen with perspicuity and
elegance; and a newspaper which recognizes his control will
always have vitality, pluck, and greatly more than average
ability and influence. Two years since, he was Chief Clerk of the
Iowa House of Representatives. He occupied, for a time, a
position in one of the departments at the Federal Capital. Not
long after his retirement from the Guardian, at
Independence, two rival Republican papers began to distract and
disorganize the party in Buchanan county. Finally, however, these
papers were consolidated, and the editorial management devolved
on J.L. LOOMIS, who had been a gallant officer in the Federal
Army during the war for the Union. He is a compact, intelligent
and nervous writer, imbued with strong convictions, and
abundantly able to give them proper expression.
I am glad to know that the Albia Union, under the careful protection of VAL. MENDEL, Esq., is meeting with a general recognition of its merits in Monroe county, while the Chariton Patriot -- good and true through all these years of national agony -- is still encouraging the hopes and stimulating the faith of patriots in Lucas county. FRANK MIX, Esq., lately a young fellow-laborer with me in the Register office, is now at the head of the Cresco Times, a piquant and interesting weekly in Howard county. The Glenwood Opinion, whereof JOHN Y. STONE is the presiding genius, is still flourishing in its western home, having the most picturesque little city in Iowa for the place of its publication. And the Marion County Republican is still pursuing the even tenor of its way, honestly and earnestly laboring
for the well-being of its
readers. S.H. SHOEMAKER, a gentleman who thoroughly understands
the use of words, and the nature of a witty repartee, as well as
the structure of sound editorials on current topics, is still
looking from his observatory in De Witt, and making pertinent
observations for the benefit of his Observer. I presume
that the Clinton Herald and Lyons Mirror, both
of Clinton county, and both of them very important
representatives of western journalism, are still alive and alert;
and I desire to make the same remark with reference to one or
more of the publications of Linn county, and of Jasper and Warren
I am glad to notice, however, that M.H. MONEY and his estimable lady are yet presiding over the destinies of the New Jefferson Era, in Greene county. W.R. ROBERTS, late of the Indianola Visitor, -- a good and true man -- has succeeded Mr. RAGUET in the ownership of the Afton Reveille. L.M. HOLT, a fine local paragraphist, is now at the head of the Montana Standard, having retired from the paper in Adel. J.G. ARMSTRONG, a talented Democratic editor, has retired from the Lansing Journal, and associated himself with the Dubuque Herald. C.S. WILSON, late of Winterset and Pella, is a witty, pithy and enterprising editor. Major M.M. WALDEN, of the Appanoose Citizen, is naturally adapted to newspaper life. He writes with admirable correctness and elegance, fluently, easily, gracefully, without affectation, and without any circumlocution. That Grand Mogul of Iowa wits and humorists, ANDY FELT, is now on the Nashua Post, in Chickasaw county, making his readers comprehend the fact that vivacity is as necessary to a newspaper as vital godliness to a Christian. And the Montezuma Republican, of which Messrs. GROVE and PIKE are conductors, is now, as it always has been under its present management, an honor to one of the best
counties in the State. Just
before my eyes became unfit for service, I remember that the
bright mechanical appearance of the Republican, and the
sparkling and delightful way in which all local events were
described in it, gave me a high opinion of the capabilities of
A moral and educational paper, of much interest and usefulness, called the Visitor, was recently published in Fairfield, Jefferson county. It was a relief to me to look over its pages a year and a half ago, and notice its healthy freedom from those exciting topics which were discussed with so much of the rivalry of hate in partisan organs. Its editors Messrs. A. AXLINE and R. FULTON, inaugurated a fine enterprise in its publication. It was lately merged into the Fairfield Ledger, which has been under the able and judicious care of W.W. JUNKIN for many years.
I regret that want of space constrains me, altogether against my inclination and design, to bring this chapter to an abrupt conclusion. It was my purpose to speak, with all necessary fulness of detail, of the excellent papers at Eldora and Iowa Falls; of my friend MAYNE, of the Keosauqua Republican; of the BAILEYS and HAISLETTS, of Winneshiek county; of MEDARY and others, of Allamakee county; of that lively paragraphist of Teutonic origin, Judge EIBECK, of the Clayton County Journal; of Brother ATHERTON and his spicy paper at Mitchell; of Judge TOMAN, of the Osage Iowan, whose judicious, well-timed, and well-written articles on the great topics of the day, have given him a very high position among political editors in the West; of the Vidette and Ledger, of Guthrie county, to the former of which I was greatly indebted for aid in the compilation of items for Central Iowa in the Register; of those wholesouled sheets, the Nevada Aegis, Hamilton Freeman, Page County Herald, Cass County Messenger, Winterset Madisonian, Eddyville Star, and Oskaloosa Herald. Of all these,
and others, it was my
purpose to speak in detail; but my publisher admonishes me that I
am occupying too much room, and I must pause. I am sensible that
my memory has greatly decayed, and that a hundred inadvertencies,
caused by this circumstance, will be visible in this book when it
shall be too late to correct them.
Before the summons shall come, requiring me to cross the billowy tide of death, many days and nights may pass away in the midst of this encompassing darkness which is beneath me, above me, and around me, and will be until light from the Celestial City, flashing for a moment against the horizon of Time, will fall on the vision of the soul with quenchless radiance. Months may come and go with their burden of imperishable interests, and years may complete their march amid the grand and dramatic glory of revolutions on the earth and events in the skies; but while life shall last, or while memory in this world of dust and decay -- or that better memory which shall retrospect the scenes of earth from the plains of Everlasting Life -- shall endure, the gratitude of my heart shall go out, fervently and profoundly, toward those noble members of a glorious profession, who have displayed, and are still displaying, on behalf of myself and family, so many evidences of unselfish and fraternal affection. The soil whereon this goodness dwells in such profusion of sympathy and benevolence, is not far away from those gates which open on the glories of that City whose Builder and Maker is God. If patriotism be one of the grandest virtues among men, and if benevolence be one of the sublimest elements of Deity, then is Iowa, in its love of country and its imitation of God's transcendent benevolence, blest with what is most perfect below the skies and what is most sublime in Heaven!
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Transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall, for Iowa Old Press , from an original copy of The Valley & the Shadow, chapter 3, Iowa Journalism, pages 52-88.
-this transcription © Iowa Old Press, February
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