History of the Press in Geneva, NY
SARACUSE, N. Y., 1893


In November, 1796, Lucius Carey published at Geneva the first number of the Ontario Gazette and Western chronicle. Although this paper was founded under the immediate direction and patronage of Charles Williamson, it continued publication in Geneva only about a year and a half, when it was removed to Canandaigua, from which village its worthy descendant, the Repository and Messenger, is still issued. A copy of the first number of the paper printed at Geneva, is now in the Reynolds Library, Rochester, N. Y.

In the early part of 1806 James Bogert became a resident of Geneva, and in November of the same year he established the Expositor, the second paper of the village, the publication of which was continued by him for a period of more than twenty. seven years, or until December 4 1833. However, in 1809, Mr. Bogert changed the name of his paper from Expositor to the Geneva Gazette, by which it has ever since been known. Grieve & Merrell (John Grieve and J. C. Merrell) succeeded next to the ownership of the Gazette, and in 1836 Mr Merrell became its sole proprietor, continuing only one year, and then selling to J. J. Mattison. During the later years of his proprietorship John H. Dey was a partner of Mr. Merrell. J. Taylor Bradt next owned the paper, and in 1839 he sold to Stowe & Frazee. From some unknown cause the Gazette was declared to be an unprofitable business enterprise, and for a time its publication was suspended. However, in January, 1845, the office and plant was purchased by Ira and Stephen H. Parker, who not only revived the paper under its old name, but who gave such energy and force to its publication that it at once became a leading paper in the county, and one not only satisfactory to the reading public, but a source of profit to its owners. In 1852 Stephen H. Parker became sole proprietor of the Gazette, and has continued in that relation to the present time, the year 1893 being the forty-second of his sole ownership and the forty-ninth of his connection with the paper.

During the publication of the Expositor, James Bogert was a Federalist, but while publishing the Gazette and on the approach of the War of 1812, he became a Democrat, and although he was associated with influence which might have allied him to federalism, he was patriotically democratic during the War of 1812-15. He was upon the frontier in 1812 bearing a captain's commission, and was afterwards commissioned colonel.

Mr. Parker has maintained the political standard established by Colonel Bogert in 1812, and has been consistently democratic in his conduct of the Gazette; perhaps we might truthfully say his course has been at times enthusiastically with his party platform. But regardless of the political tendencies of the Gazette, it is one of the leading papers of the county, enjoys a large circulation and liberal advertising patronage, and is, moreover, the organ of the party in Eastern Ontario county.

In the fall of 1862 Mr. Parker went to Oswego and established a daily edition of the Palladium, which he continued for three years. In this time Edgar Parker managed the Gazette.

Eben Eaton, a brother of General Eaton, published a paper at Geneva in 1809, called The Impartial Observer and Seneca Museum.

The Geneva Palladium was published in 1816 by Young & Crosby, and afterward continued by S. P. Hull, John T. Wilson and Mr. Connelly, under the latter control, closing its career in 1828.

The Geneva Chronicle was started in 1828 by one Jackson, and discontinued at the end of two years.

The Independent American was published by T. C. Strong in 1831, while the Geneva American, its predecessor paper, flourished during 1830 under the editorship of Franklin Cowdry.

The Geneva Courier, now and for many years past recognized as one of the leading weekly papers of Western New York was founded in 1830 by H. C. Merrell, by whom it was edited and published until 1835, when James Craft assumed its editorial charge. Two years later Mr. Craft yielded his position to Ira Merrell. Snow & Williams were at one time the publishers, and so were Hollett & Van Valkenburg. Afterwards S. C. Cleveland and J. B. Look conducted the publication for a time, but in turn sold to Winthrop Atwell, whose period of ownership continued to 1854.

From the date last mentioned until February 13, 1865, the Courier was owned and managed by William Johnson, and then sold to Look & Fay. In the following fall Rodney L. Adams & Son became owners and publishers of the paper, but in the latter part of of 1872 the senior Adams retired and the son continued it until 1873, when Frederick Bennett became editor and publisher. No further change in ownership or management was made until the spring of 1876, when James Malette purchased the paper and plant, became its sole proprietor, and conducted it with hitherto unprecedented success for a period of fifteen years. However, in July, 1891, Mr. Malette in the mean time having established other papers, the Courier plant and job department were sold to Salisbury & Bunn, but after one year of partnership management Mr. William O. Bunn became sole proprietor of the paper and Mr. Elon G. Salisbury continued in the office in the capacity of editor.

In January, 1876, when the Geneva Courier establishment came under the control of Mr. Malette, then began a period of rapid growth. There was at that date in the office the usual force, in such towns as Geneva was then, of five printers, including the "devil." The business was carried on in one good sized room, in which were all the printing materials, including the press, engine and boiler. Subsequently this same establishment comprised four newspapers, a large jobbing departnient, and from thirty to forty persons, occupying four floors, including a building planned and erected for its use. Two printing plants had grown up within its walls; one of them newspapers, as stated elsewhere; and in July, 1891, Mr. Malette disposed of the Courier, as has been narrated.

During the period mentioned, the Courier found itself two or three times out of line with the Republican party, especially in its support of bi matalism, and also its advocacy of the policy of withdrawing the Federal military arm from the administration of civil government in the Southern States, and it met a storm of opposition particularly in regard to the latter; but both policies were subsequently incorporated into the Republican national platforms. On every important question from the inception of the party the paper was either with or in advance of the party itself; it was as a rule radical and not conservative, while on every moral question it uniformly favored the very best attainable standard, regardless of party exigency or private interest.

The Saturday Review, (Geneva); The News-Letter, (Ontario County), and The Seneca County News- Letter, published at Geneva, James Malette, editor and proprietor; F. A. Malette, managing editor. These newspapers, constituting a series, issued on a plan essentially new in the field of journalism, with their field of circulation chiefly in Ontario and Seneca counties, and representing no one place in preference to any other, were designed to bring into more intimate relation the people of the various towns and villages in the section of the country in which they are circulated.

The initial publications were The Miscellany and The Asteroid, begun in 1878. At first the sheets comprised four pages, twenty columns in all. Successive enlargements were made from this point, and the plan of publication was developed so that the three issues assumed their present form, size and character (1893), each paper twelve pages, seventy-two columns, and together including news departments and offices in from thirty to forty towns; in each of which towns the news of the other towns is served as far as practicable to all the readers every Saturday. Sensationalism is avoided. The three papers are alike, bright, newsy, entertaining, of high character, useful to all communities within the radius of their influence.

The Miscellaneous Register, edited by William Ray and published by Leavenworth & Ray, was published from July 20, 1822.

The Christian Magazine, a monthly publication, Rev. John F. McLaren, editor, under the supervision of the Associate Reformed Synod of New York, was first published January, 1832, and was continued for about twelve years, being discontinued in 1854. The Young Ladies' Mirror, published from August 1, 1834, to August 1, 1835, by Imley Prescott. First editor, E. D. Kennicott, subsequent editor, Jacob Chase, jr. Literary Museum, published from March 13, 1834, to March 30, 1835, by Snow & Williams. Herald of Truth, publication begun by Imley Prescott on June 21, 1834, with E. D. Kennicott as first editor, who was followed by Jacob Chase, jr., arid G. N. Montgomery. Publication continued in Geneva until December 23, 1836, when it was removed to Rochester by George Sand erson, its subsequent proprietor.

The Geneva Democrat was published during the campaign of 1840, by Stone & Frazer. The District School Journal (monthly) was started in Geneva in 1840 by Francis Dwight, and removed to Albany in 1841. The Geneva Advertiser and Mechanics' Advocate, a semi-weekly, was started in 1841 by S. Merrill & Co, and continued one year. The Geneva Budget first appeared in 1852, published by Sproul & Tanner, and suspended in 1854. The New York State Intelligencer lived only through the year 1848. The Ontario Whig, semi weekly was started in Geneva in 1850 by Wm. C. Busted and discontinued in 1852. The Geneva Independent and Freeman's Gazette was established in 1851 by W. K. Fowle and by him published until 1855, followed by H. G. Moore until 1857, when it became known as the Geneva Ledger and again passed into the hands of its founder. Mr. Fowle also started the Geneva Daily Union in 1858, but the venture was unprofitable, and the paper, therefore, discontinued. The Ledger also ceased in 1859.

The Geneva Advertiser first made its appearance December 31, 1880, under the editorship of Edgar Parker, and, although it ventured into a well filled field, the paper has maintained an exceedingly healthy existence even from its first number. Mr. Parker entered the journalistic arena with a rich experience, gathered during long years of service on the Gazette, but he had become thoroughly disgusted with advocating radical party platform declarations when the controlling elements of the party itself failed to maintain its rights. The Tilden campaign failure of 1876, followed by the split of 1879 and the defeat of 1880, led to the founding of the Advertiser as an independent paper, bound to no party and tied to no candidate, and on this principle the publication has been founded and maintained; and with more than fair success to the owner. The Advertiser has a good circulation and a satisfactory advertising support. In fact it is a bright, newsy and desirable family paper.

The Geneva Democrat is the latest venture into the local field of journalism and, although young in years, having been published for two years, it has shown a remarkable growth. It is well dressed in appearance, vigorous in tone and strong in support of the party whose cause it advocates. It is edited and published by William P. O'Malley.

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