Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lewiston Newspaper Golden Age distributed Its First Issue [otd 08/02]

On Saturday, August 2, 1862, the Golden Age newspaper released its inaugural issue in Lewiston, Washington Territory. The Age thus has the honor of being the first newspaper published in what would become, seven months later, Idaho Territory. The publisher was a man named A. S. Gould, about whom we know very little.
Front page, Golden Age.
Timothy Hughes: Rare and Early Newspaper blog.

A footnote in Bancroft’s History noted that, “Gould, a Republican, had hot times with the secession element which crowded into Idaho from 1862 to 1864.” When Gould raised the American flag on a pole by his office, “21 shots were fired into it by disunion Democrats.”

Perhaps understandably, Gould stayed with the business for less than a year. John H. Scranton ran the paper for a brief period. Little is known about him beyond the fact that he dealt in real estate.

Then, in August 1863, printer and newspaperman Frank Kenyon took over publication. Born in Michigan around 1842, Frank apparently traveled with the family to California in the early 1850s. He then followed the rush into Idaho.

As the only local publisher, Kenyon became the first official Territorial printer. Even in the first session of the new legislature, representatives from southern Idaho tried to move the capital to Boise City. Although they failed, the proposal created a major division between north and south Idaho. Meanwhile, Kenyon began to question how Acting Idaho Governor William B. Daniels was organizing the new Territory’s administrative operations. This dispute was apparently separate from the capital location dispute.

Then Kenyon sold a half-interest in the Age to Alonzo B. Leland, and the north-south issue turned white-hot. Leland had been editor of a Portland newspaper when gold was first discovered in Idaho. He became a “true believer” in North Idaho’s promise and moved to Lewiston at the first opportunity.
Lewiston, 1862. Nez Perce County Historical Society.
Leland’s advocacy of keeping the capital in Lewiston exacerbated the friction, and cost them the printing work. Meanwhile with so many miners drawn south, business in Lewiston nosedived. In late 1864, the legislature did move the capital to Boise City. A few weeks later, the Golden Age suspended publication. Its equipment eventually ended up in Boise City. Two years later, Kenyon started a newspaper in Leesburg.

The North Idaho Radiator began publication in Lewiston during the summer of 1865, a few months after the Age gave it up. However, that died within a few months when the publisher moved the whole operation to the flourishing gold country in Montana.

Lewiston was without a newspaper until January 1867, when Seth S. Slater and a partner established the Lewiston Journal. Slater was one of the original founders of Lewiston. That fall, they sold the paper to Alonzo Leland & Son. That lasted five years, and then was bought out and transformed into the Lewiston Signal.

The Signal gave way to the Lewiston Teller after 1876-1878, again with Alonzo Leland part of the ownership. In various incarnations, the Teller lasted until about 1911. Today’s Lewiston Tribune traces its roots back to a short-lived variant that started in 1892.
                                                                                 
References: [French], [Hawley], [Illust-North], [Illust-State]
Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Washington, Idaho and Montana 1845-1889, The History Company, Publishers, San Francisco (1890). 
Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers, The Library of Congress (online).
“Cochran, Daniels and the Golden Age,” Reference Series No. 373, Idaho State Historical Society (July 13, 1966).

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