Archiver > OH-FOOTSTEPS > 1999-10 > 0939948458

From: "Maggie Stewart" <>
Subject: Fw: Bio History -- Know Your Ohio Ohio in the Civil War Pt 2
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 20:47:38 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: kathi kelley <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 1999 3:45 PM
Subject: Bio History -- Know Your Ohio Ohio in the Civil War Pt 2

Historical Collections of Ohio
>From the diaries of S.J. Kelly
Plain Dealer
Know Your Ohio
by Darlene E. Kelley
Ohio in the Civil War -- Part 2

Newspapers,Politics, and the Civil War activities.

Joseph William Gray -- Plain Dealer

Joseph William Gray was the founder of the Plain Dealer newspaper. He
was born Aug. 5 1813 in Bridgeport, Vt to Urel and Betsey ( Case ) Gray,
and emigrated with his brother, Admiral Nelson Gray, to Cleveland in
1836. After teaching in local schools, Gray read law under Henry B.
Payne and Heram V. Wilson and was admited to the bar. In partnership
with his brother, Gray purchased the Cleveland Advertiser, a faltering
Democratic weekly.in Dec 1841. He resurrected it on Jan 7th 1842 as the
Cleveland Plain Dealer. A.N. Gray was business manger until shortly
after the weekly converted to daily in 1845, when he left the Plain
Dealer solely in his brother's charge.

Gray was personally involved in Democratic politics. Appointed Cleveland
postmaster by President Franklin Pierce in 1853, he was dismissed by
Pres. Jas. Buchanan in 1858 for editorially supporting Illinois Senator
Stephen A. Douglas. Gray lost the 1858 Congressional election in the
normally Republican district to Edward Wade. He went to both the
Charleston and Baltimore Democratic conventions in 1860 as a delegate
pledged to Douglas, maintaining his support of Douglas even through
defeat, endorsing the Senator's pledge of Union loyalty after the
south's secession in 1861. For 20 years, Gray kept his Democratic paper
alive in the heart of a Whig, later Republican stronghold. He died May
26, 1862, after a short illness at his home and was buried in the Erie
St. Cemetary.

William W. Armstrong -- Plain Dealer

William W. Armstong was a local newspaper publisher and Democratic party
political leader. He was born in New Lisbon, Ohio, and lived there until
moving to Tiffin, Ohio in 1854, where he bought and published a local
newspaper. After serving as a register in the State's treasurer's office
in Columbus in 1865, he bought the Plain Dealer and edited it until
1883. In 1868 he testified at the impeachment trial of Pres. Andrew
Johnson. Armstrong served as a delegate to the Democratic Natl.
Convention's in 1868, 1880, and 1884. He also served on the Democratic
Natl. Committee. In 1881, he declined the nomination to run for Gov of
Ohio.. In 1891 the Democratic party adopted his rooster design as a
party symbol. Often referred to as " major" or
"general" Armstrong never served in the military. The titles dated from
his youth, when he was a member of a military organization for young
boys. The fact that his father, Gen. John Armstrong, had been a military
officer, enhanced William's reputation of possing a military background.
He died April 21, 1905 at his home in Cleveland and was buried in
Tiffin, Ohio.

Edwin W. Cowles-- Cleveland Leader

Edwin W. Cowles, a prominent newspaper editor, was born Sept 19th, 1825,
in Austinburg, Ohio, and came to Cleveland in 1839 as a printing
apprentice. In 1844 Cowles and Timothy Smead formed a printing
partnership. Cowles printed the Ohio American and True Democrat,
acquiring an interest in the latter when it merged into the Forest City
Democrat in 1853, making it the Cleveland Leader in 1854.

Cowles led the Republican party in Cleveland, hosting, with his new
partner, Joseph Medill, a meeting calling for the first Republican Natl.
Convention, held n Pittsburgh in 1855. Cowles secured sole control of
the Leader, became its editor, and made it the area's leading radical
Republican voice. After the Republican victory in 1860, Cowles was
rewarded with the Cleveland postmastership, where he pioneered free mail
delivery. However, under Pres. Andrew Johnson, he was replaced as
postmaster by Geo. A. Benedict, editor of the more moderate Herald.

Cowles was an outspoken a nativist as he was a republican, heading the
Cleveland Chapter of the anti-Catholic Order of the American Union, and
carrying on an editorial war with Manly Tello, editor of the Catholic
Universe. He was the city's last representative of the era of personal
journalism and was eulogized even by rivals.

When his two sons invented a new melting process for aluminum, Cowles
devoted his declining energies to promoting a company to exploit their
discovery. He died at home in Cleveland March 4th, 1890.

Josiah A. Harris -- Cleveland Herald and Gazette.

Josiah A. Harris, noted publisher and editor, son of Charity ( Messenger
) and Judge Josiah Harris, moved with his family from Becket, Mass, in
1818 to N. Amherst, Lorain County, in 1832. Harris settled in Elyria,
was elected sheriff, and revived Elyria's first newspaper as the weekly
Ohio Atlas & Elyria Advertiser. He sold the newspaper and traveled
before coming to Cleveland in 1837 and purchasing the Cleveland Herald
and Gazette with Judge Chas Whittlesey, who gave up his share after 1
year. Harris solidly established the Herald, paying its debts and
providing its own printing office. He won local support by printing
marriage, death, and meeting notices, and furnishing free papers to
clergymen. He refused to print ads for the more notorious quack
medicines, or notices for the return of run away slaves. Harris kept the
Herald solidly behind the Whig Party. He was elected mayor of Cleveland
in 1847. Joined by partners A.W. Fairbanks in 1849 and Geo A. Benedict
in 1853, Harris began loosing his ties with the Herald. Benedict took
over as editor in 1857, when Harris moved over to Edwin Cowles Leader,
which he edited from Feb 1857-Nov. 1860. Although Harris briefly
returned to the Herald, he quit journalism permanently after the civil
war. His retirement was spent on a farm in Rocky River, where he raised
grapes. After suffering a serious of strokes, he died at his daughter's
home, on 21 Aug. 1876. He was buried in the Erie St Cemetary in
As you can see many newspapers played many a role in politics as well as
as a role of the people of Ohio. They reported what the people of Ohio
wanted to know as to the daily and weekly happenings within the state as
well as to the nation's politics and particularly the war news. There
were a great number of newspapers in Ohio and many reported and
responded to other outside newspapers in the nation. They kept the
people informed as well as to keeping in touch with their loved ones
elsewhere. The Newspapers played a great role in the civil war keeping
Ohioians in the know and recording the events as they happened.
Continued in part 3--

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