The first newspaper published in Richmond, was called the Richmond Weekly Intelligencer. It was a small sheet, issued every Seventh day. At what time this paper was begun, I have now no means of ascertaining; but a number was certainly published so early as 12th mo. 29th, 1821.* The printing office was on Front street in one of the upper rooms of the frame building on lot No. 8, next the alley.—The editor was Elijah Lacey; who had associated with him as publisher John Scott, afterward Judge, and editor of the Western Emporium, published at Centerville, the county seat.
*A printing office was established here about 3d. mo. 20th, 1821, from which a respectable paper, called the “Richmond Weekly Intelligencer,” was issued, on a royal sheet. It was discontinued 3d. mo., 1824, and the “Public Leger” established.
The second periodical was the Public Leger, the first number of which is dated “Saturday, March 6, 1824.” It was edited and published by Edmund S. Buxton, until 11th mo. 19th, 1825, when it was brought under the firm of Buxton & Walling, and by them continued about a year. It then, without intermitting its issues, passed into the hands of Samuel B. Walling, the latter named partner, 11th mo. 11th 1826. At the latter part of the year, the editor states that his subscription list is “now meagre indeed,” but acknowledges the punctuality of most of his subscribers. And under date of 6th mo. 18th, 1828 he says: “This number closes the fourth volume of the Public Leger; and terminates its existence.” This paper was printed in a small, one-story frame house on lot No. 2,—Smith’s addition. Nelson Boon commenced a third paper 1st mo. 1st, 1831, under the title of Richmond Palladium, and conducted it for six months; then passing into the hands of Thomas J. Larsh, it was continued by him for 18 months; afterward by D. P. Holloway for one year; by Finley & Holloway two years; by John Finley one year; and without intermission from its establishment, it has been continued to the present time, by Holloway and Davis, after Finley abandoned it in 1st mo. 1st, 1837.
The Jeffersonian was established in 1836 by an association of Democrats, under the title of “Hickory Club.” It was principally edited by S. E. Perkins, (now one of the Judges of the Supreme Court,) and one Talcott, a young lawyer. In the fall of 1837 Lynde Elliott purchased the office, and published and edited the paper till 1839, when its publication was suspendid [sic suspended] and the printing materials became the property of Daniel Reed. In 1839, S. E. Perkins. Esq. purchased the office of Reed and revived the Jeffersonian, which he edited and published till 1840, when James Elder, the present proprietor, purchased the office. Since that time J. E. has published the paper, with the exception of about six months, from the middle of 1846 to the beginning of 1847, during which time E. A. Elder was the proprietor and publisher.
At the office of the Leger was published the “Friends’ Almanac,” for 1826-7. And at the office of the Palladium was issued the “Western Almanac,” for 1841, by Wm. Cox.
The first literary paper printed in Richmond, was called the Family Schoolmaster. The first No. is dated “March 15th, 1839.” This little quarto was published by Holloway & Davis and was designed principally to amuse and interest the young. It was abruptly discontinued, after it had reached its 34th number.
The Indiana Farmer was commenced in 1851, by Holloway & Dennis, and is continued. The Broad Ax of Freedom, was first issued by Jamison & Johnson in 1855, and published by them at the present time. The Lily, previously published in New York by Amelia Bloomer, was removed to this city in 1854 and continued by Mary B. Birdsall. It is now published by Mary F. Thomas.
I am informed that specimens of the Weekly Intelligencer are yet in existence; and the writer has in his possession several incomplete volumes of the Public Leger. But we have as yet no Archives for the preservation of such relics of former days.
Elijah Lacy of the Richmond Weekly Intelligencer, resided in this place so late as 1828. He afterward removed to the State of Michigan, with his family, his aged father accompaning him. Elijah was a man of small and slender frame, and of clear, sharp voice; his intelligence and integrity procured him the magistracy of the young village.
John Scott, who, I believe, for a time edited the Intelligencer, was Lacy’s assistant printer; occasionally preached or exhorted among the Methodists; and held the office Judge. When Buxton established the Leger here, Scott removed to Centreville and began the Western Emporium; and in 1826 he “prepared and published a Map of Indiana,” on a sheet nineteen by fourteen inches, It was engraved by William Woodruff of Cincinnati.
Edmund S. Buxton came from the Gazette Office, at Cincinnati. He was young, unmarried and poor; and was largely assisted in the establishment of his press, by some of the citizens. Many are the agreeable associations with the Public Leger: the more agreeable, perhaps, because in it were printed my first juvenile essays, “prose and poetical;” and the essays of my older associates. Buxton was of moderate stature; an agreeable man; but occasionally irascible. He returned to Cincinnati and finally went to Natchez, Mississippi, where he was engaged in the office of the Galaxy, a newspaper of that city.
Samuel B. Walling, an amiable young man, of ingenious mind, and a thoughtful reader, came, I believe, from Union county, Ia. He afterward married a daughter of Elijah Lacy, and removed with him to Michigan, where he died of a long afflicting dyspepsia.
In estimating the early population of Richmond on page 22, I was at a loss for data to determine what number of persons should be allowed to a family; but by the kindness of my friend Charles F. Coffin, I am now enabled to copy from a manuscript the following interesting items, which I shall designate as
All of these were members of the society of Friends, and were living here in 1807-8. By the foregoing table, we are enabled to revive the names of many of the pioneers of this country, besides those already given on other pages; and to form a definite idea of the size of the families of these parties. The whole number of names given above is fifty-six, and the number of persons two hundred and ninety-seven; giving an average of more than five to each family. To these, I add, from another source, Cornelius Ratliff, sr., eight in family; Samuel Charles, ——in family, and John Pool (came in 1810) six in family. With this addition, the average number to each household, would exceed six in family.
Educational facilities are never great in a newly settled country. Children are not numerous, and when of serviceable age, are needed at home; and thus school-teachers find little inducement to locate in such a situation. The writer is, however, informed of one, who opened school in a house at the south part of town for the purpose of teaching reading and writing; and these arts are said to have been rather beyond the measure of his ability. He was a young man, and did not continue his school long. His name the narrator does not recollect, and it is probably forever lost to posterity. It would be a matter of curiosity at this day to find a specimen of his penmanship. Such a relic may possibly be in the hands of some of our older citizens. If found, it would deserve a place in the Archives of Richmond. Of later date a school was taught by Atticus Siddall, and in 1822-3, the writer remembers Nathan Smith, a New Englander, and a man of spare frame, who was considered an accomplished teacher; and had a full school. The house in which he taught was a one-story frame, which stood on Walnut st. in what was then an open lot or commons.‡ It was in this school house, that the first Debating Society was held. In that day, this kind of association was very popular. The writer remembers our present Mayor, as one of its members. He was considered the village poet; and exercising his privilege, he wrote a satirical poem on the characters of the members of the infant society, of which the following are specimens:
*”D. S. A., D. S. A.
†”James L****n, James L****n,
“Dr. Pugh, Dr. Pugh,
“Nathan Smith, Nathan Smith,
“(In conclusion I must give the writer
Next to Nathan Smith, there occurs to the recollection of the writer, the name of his successor, Jeremiah Smith, who had the reputation of being a ready mathematician. He was afterward Circuit Judge of this district.
‡ This house still exists, It has undergone many
repairs and now stands as a dwelling house, at the south-west corner of
Pearl and Walnut streets.
The editor of the Leger in1827, urged the importance of home manufactures. “The opinion,” says he, “seems generally to prevail, that the establishment of manufactures among us, is the only means by which our situation can be rendered really prosperous. Our luxurious farms,” he adds, “would yield a surplus produce. But no one will deny that if there were a good home market, the progress of improvement would be much more rapid.” His opinion was, that “not one-third of the land was cultivated that might be, or that would be were there a lively and good market for their produce. “Since then,” he continues, “manufactures promise so much, it becomes us to foster the infant establishements already among us, and induce more.” These infant establishments are thus exhibited:
The Brewery alluded to, was conducted in the same place in which “old Dr. Cushman” & Co. opened their distillery. It was scarcely more successful than the distillery; and was soon discontinued. The “hope” of the editor was disappointed by the sickness and death of the proprietor of the paper-mill; his demise took place in the spring of 1828. He was a Baltimorean; and resided here but a few few years previous to his death. The project of establishing a Paper-mill, however, was not abandoned; and was finally put in operation by Leeds & Jones, under the superintendence of John Easton, in the year 1830.
As usual in new countries, our commercial men performed the part of dealers in silks and mackerel, gauze and tar, feathers and iron, flour and arsenic, potatoes and medicine; everything indeed, that was in demand, and would yield a profit. They competed with the tanner in the purchase of hides, and sale of “eastern tanned leather;” with the butcher in paying “cash for fat cattle;” and with the jeweler in the sale of spectacles. They were the only grocers, the only booksellers and stationers, the only iron-mongers and the only druggists. It was considerd quite an adventure when Haines & Farquhar commenced an independent Grocery in 1838; and Benton & Fletcher a Hardware Store in 1846. The first Drugstore is definitely announced in the annexed advertisement, taken from the “Public Leger,” of the date named. The parties were Dr. Warner & Robert Morrisson:
But those times have gone by; and labor and business are divided into almost as many branches as are to be found in the larger cities; and the wants of the citizen can now be very generally supplied at home, as will be evinced by the accompanying Directory.
The curious reader may be entertained by comparing the subjoined enumeration of the business part of Richmond in 1824, with the present mechanical, mercantile and professional division of our population. “Several gentlemen,” says the Public Leger of the foregoing date, “having taken the census of this place, have handed it to us for publication,” viz:
From the typography at the close of the quotation, we imagine the editor fairly chuckled at the meagre number of some professional characters, and the total absence of others. Potters have long since disappeared from our city: on enquiry into the cause, some years since, I learned that this was owing to the difficulty of procuring suitable clay, at remunerative prices. Our taverns have diminished in number, in consequence of the late changes in the mode of traveling. In the following year, the Leger might have added another calling to this catalogue, as boldly announced in this advertisement:
was incorporated and established in the year 1826. An ordinary family book-case held the collection; and it was moved from place to place as the trustees could find a librarian to keep it.
DISTRICT MEDICAL SOCIETY
In this county, that I have met with. Its limits however, appear to have been very extensive; embracing no less than five counties:
‘Neatly put up in papers,” were furnished to our merchants, by the “Shakers of Union Village, Ohio,” as early as the year 1824.
Richmond has always had the reputation of being a healthy situation. The site which it occupies has never been subject to the diseases so often incident to newly settled districts. The first inhabitants attained a good old age, as is elsewhere particularly shown, (see First Settlers,) and their descendants and successors have greatly multiplied under the salubrious sky. In 1821, the “Weekly Intelligencer’ mentions the situation of the town as “remarkably healthy.” And under date of 7th mo. 24th, 1824, a death is announced in the “Public Leger:”
And I well remember that this death, the only one during nearly nine months, in a population of almost a thousand, created such a sensation, throughout the village, that an enquiry was set on foot to ascertain the cause of the sickness, and if possible, to remove it, that others might not fall victims to it. No other ostensible cause appearing, the citizens, duly armed with scythes and rakes, met upon the commons, mowed the abundant dog-fennel, (Maruta cotula,) raked into heaps and burned it.
In the days of the “Public Leger” at Richmond, and the “Western Emporium” at Centreville, there was a good deal of sparring between the editors on behalf of their respective villages. Among the subjects commented upon was the comparative healthiness of the two places. This contest furnishes us with an item concerning the health of Richmond up to the year 1825; as well as the conjectural population at that time within a certain area. We copy all that concerns our present purpose in the following language: “For these reasons we notice a report circulated by Judge SCOTT, that SEVEN persons have been buried in the grave-yard at this place in ONE DAY. When it is known that the farmers within a square of five miles, besides the citizens of the town, making in the whole between 2,500 and 3000 individuals, bury their dead at the same place, the number will not appear very great. But persons who have resided in the town ever since it was first laid off, declare, that there never were seven persons buried in ONE WEEK, in this place.”
According to the statements of Dr. Carrol furnished to the present writer, the diseases of Wayne county from 1819 to 1823 were principally intermittent and remittent fever, sometimes passing into a congestive form. A manuscript written in 1844 states, that intermittent fever “has never been prevalent.” And an early inhabitant informed the writer that “no intermittent fever was known for six to ten years after the first emigration to this country.” And now a word for later periods. I find the following in the “Richmond Palladium:”
“The number of deaths in the city of Richmond during the month of August, 1857, were–
This is generally the most fatal month for children in this latitude, and yet in a population of 6000, there appears to have been but six deaths during this month, and all of these children under four years of age.
The readers may conclude that this has been an extraordinary season of healthfulness. The writer has kept a record of deaths furnished him by the sexton and undertaker for the last ten years, and the result is that the number of deaths monthly for that period, does not exceed five! In the years 1850-1, they scarcely exceeded two per month. In 1853, the deaths were between three and four monthly. These numbers include accidental deaths, as well as deaths from all other causes; and a few not citizens. During the violence of cholera in the year 1849, there were two months in which the deaths from that cause perhaps somewhat exceeded twenty.
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