Chapter 25 - The Newspaper Press.

Crawford county had been organized more than a quarter of a century before any newspaper was printed and published within its limits. The people finally could not be longer without a county journal of some kind; so there was issued the Prairie du Chien Patriot.

The first paper in Crawford county was established in Prairie du Chien. The first number was issued Sept. 15, 1846, by O. J. & H. A. Wright. It was a five column folio sheet, and called the Prairie du Chien Patriot. It was neutral in politics. The stock, materials and press of the Patriot were purchased by subscription, and became the property of the publishers by virtue of their conducting the paper a certain length of time.

In the first number of the paper appears the following cards:

Back Again.

Dr. S. S. Beach has returned to Prairie du Chien and offers his services to his former patrons and friends, as he has located himself permanently for the future in this place.
September 14, 1846.

Alfred Brunson,
Attorney and Counselor at Law,
Prairie du Chien, W. T.

P. A. Brace,
Attorney and Counselor at Law,
Prairie du Chien, W. T.

In the second issue (September 22,) is to be found the following:


In this village, on the 11th inst., Mr. Ezra Pelton, aged 39 years.

In this village, on the 13th inst., Mrs. Nancy Pelton, wife of Ezra Pelton, aged 39 years.

In this village, on the 13th inst., Mr. Champion Pelton, aged 43 years.

In this village, on the 3d inst., Joseph Morrill, aged 40 years.

In this village, on the 29th ult., Mr. James Hendricks, aged 30 years.

On the 6th of October, 1846, the following paragraph appears:

On Thursday last, our village was visited by a number of Indians, having crossed the Mississippi river, near the upper ferry. After making sad havoc among the swine, and committing other depredations of a similar nature characteristic to the race, they were put to flight by a sergeant's guard sent from the Fort [Crawford] by Capt. [Wiram] Knowlton. By some means the Indians were informed of the coming of the missive from the Fort and "the speed of the wind was theirs;" so that when the soldiers got where they were, they were not there.

The Patriot was published by the Messrs. Wright, until Nov. 9, 1847, when O. J. Wright left the firm. It was continued by H. A. Wright until it ceased to exist. Like many similar enterprises, the paper was established for a pet purpose; and when that object failed or had been accomplished, there being no further call for its influence its support ceased and the publication stopped. The materials and press were sold to parties who started with them the first paper printed at La Crosse, called the Spirits of the Times --- that being the foundation of what was afterward the National Democrat.

It should be remembered that at the time of the starting of the Patriot in Prairie du Chien, as also for a long period subsequent, it was the only paper on the upper Mississippi, there being no other journal published at any of the river towns above it. The whole northwest then was but sparsely settled, inhabited principally by Indian tribes, United States soldiers, and Indian traders. Prairie du Chien itself was a mere trading post of the American Fur Company or its predecessors in the Indian trade. There were no conveniences of daily mails, no telegraph lines, no railroad communication with all parts of the country, as there are now; but a semi-occasional stage coach and as uncertain a steamer, brought all the intelligence from abroad; and out of these scanty materials, the editor of the Patriot had to select and make up his paper. And yet the files of the first papers published in the county, will compare favorably with many papers printed at the present day, and possessing the benefits of all their modern advantages. One reason why these old papers are interesting is from the unmistakeable originality of the various articles and the tinge of fancy that pervades them, showing, positively, that the editor depended more on his fertile imagination than on the irregular mails to get subjects with which to interest his readers.

In a number of the Patriot of 1849, about three years after its commencement, we find an article entitled the "Press of Minnesota," which records the starting of a new paper at St. Paul called the Minnesota Pioneer (afterward Pioneer and Democrat,) and goes on to state that the proprietor is James M. Goodhue, formerly of the Wisconsin Herald, that Mr. Goodhue was widely and favorably known in connection with the press of Wisconsin; that another paper, the Register was commenced about the same time by A. Randall of the United States Geological Corps of Wisconsin; and that W. W. Wyman, one of the pioneers in the newspaper line and who, we believe, started the first paper in Madison, was also about to establish another St. Paul paper, called the Minnesota Standard. Thus it will be seen that three years after the Patriot was established at Prairie du Chien, it notices the starting of the first papers at St. Paul. As emigration and civilization progressed, other newspapers sprung up in the west; and, in 1848, we hear of the first daily paper in Dubuque; mail routes began to multiply; the river steamers increased in size and numbers; railroads were projected; and Prairie du Chien was not behind other western towns in the display of this spirit of progress.

The Crawford County Courier

In 1852, the Patriot had succumbed to the pressure of unavoidable circumstances; its remains had been carried to La Crosse, and Phoenix like, another paper had grown out of them. The railroad interest had begun to effect the people of Prairie du Chien and they must needs have another organ to represent them and look after their interest. Prompted by these motives, the more enterprising men held out inducements, which were accepted by Buel E. Hutchinson and J. Hurd, who, on Wednesday, May 19, 1852, started another paper in Prairie du Chien, entitled the Crawford County Courier. This paper began under auspicious circumstances. It was edited with ability by Mr. Hutchinson. It was independent in politics, though slightly leaning to the democratic in tone and on the whole was well received and supported by the people of the town and county.

Mr. Hutchinson conducted his paper for two years, when he disposed of his interest advantageously and was succeeded by D. H. Johnson. The Courier was continued under the editorship of Hurd and Johnson, until Nov. 10, 1855, when William E. Parish assumed the interest of Mr. Hurd, and it was published by Johnson and Parish. The printing business not suiting Mr. Parish, or his not being suited to the printing business, soon caused him to let his share of the establishment to Dr. Whitaker Jenkins, and the paper was printed by Johnson and Jenkins. Through all these changes, D. H. Johnson had the editorial management of the paper; and, under his administration, it was rapidly verging towards republicanism.

The co-partnership of Johnson & Jenkins continued from December, 1855, to April, 1856, when the establishment was purchased by V. A. W. Merrell, who greatly improved the office by the addition of new material, job press, and many improvements which appeared to his experienced mind indispensable. Mr. Merrell was a thorough practical man, a printer by choice from boyhood, and had, at the time of purchasing the Courier, resided in Wisconsin sixteen years. Besides fitting up the office in a workmanlike shape, he completely revolutionized the political character of the paper. Perhaps the best idea of the omens and intents with which he commenced, can be had from the following extract from his salutatory:

"In taking charge of the publication of a newspaper, whether in the case of one long established and well known, or in that of a new enterprise, it is customary for the publisher to introduce himself to his patrons, in an introductory article, setting forth and describing the principles he will advocate. In making our debut, a very few words will suffice for this purpose, and we mean it shall be an earnest that we will not inflict long articles upon our readers, as is the usual custom; but will, in all cases, try to express our ideas in plain English and as briefly as possible. Politically, the Courier will be democratic. Thus much might have been said at an earlier day, when the democratic party of Crawford county was more united; now, however, it is proper to say, to prevent misunderstanding, so far as we are able to follow in the old and well-worn path trodden by the recognized patriots and statesmen, in the democratic party, we shall do so."

"Impressed," continues Mr. Merrell, "by the natural advantages and position of Prairie du Chien, and believing its future prospects equal to any upon the Mississippi, and superior to most places, we have come to reside among its people; to cast in our lot with theirs; to invest what little we have in a business with which we have been accustomed from boyhood, and one we do not wish to change; intending that business shall be subservient to the interests and welfare of this town and county; hoping, by careful attention to business, to share reasonably in its growing prosperity."

For over two years, Mr. Merrell conducted the Courier; he spared neither time nor expense to make it a paper full of news, of immediate interest; a paper sought after abroad, as furnishing the most accurate knowledge of what was transpiring in its locality; also fraught with valuable information for the farmer; a welcome visitor at many a western fireside.

"All this time," says William D. Merrell, a son of V. A. W. Merrell, "the Courier preserved 'the even tenor of its way;' possessing the confidence of the people, being the old county paper and disclaiming all connection with party cliques, it received the support of the honest conservatives of both parties. I had now been in the Courier office as foreman a long time, and having the means to purchase and carry it on, I accepted an offer of V. A. W. Merrell and bought the entire office, subscription list and good will; and after the 18th of November, 1858, all business was done by me."

The following was the announcement of the sale of the Courier by V. A. W. Merrell and its purchase by William D. Merrell, as it stands in the issue of Dec. 2, 1858:

"To the patrons of the Courier: Having sold all my right, title and interest in the Courier office establishment, my duties as proprietor, much to my gratification and gain, ended on the 18th of November. During my time as a journalist, it was my pride to devote everything to the best interests of this paper's patrons; and it is a satisfaction to know that my successor will be actuated by similar motives. I return thanks for favors received from numerous kind friends ever to be remembered; and in saying good-bye to the readers of the Courier, would wish them many hours of happiness in the realizing of its promising future.

						V. A. M. Merrell."

"The purchase of all Mr. Merrell's type, presses, stock and printing materials brings the Prairie du Chien Courier under our exclusive control. Under the new administration the same editorial supervision --- the same principles and policy that have heretofore marked this paper [only a little more so], will be strictly adhered to. We hope by unremitted attention to maintain the character of this establishment for promptitude and regularity, and intend to spare no efforts to make it a newspaper worthy the patronage of this town and county.

						William D. Merrell."

William D. Merrell was born at Plattsburg, NY, May 18, 1840. His father, Victor A. W. Merrell, who was a native of Burlington, VT., received a fair English education, and learned the printing business in the Burlington, Free Press office. He afterwards passed three years traveling, part of the time on a merchant trading ship, visiting many cities in this and foreign countries. He returned to New York city, where his oldest brother, Brutus Merrell, a ship owner and wealthy broker, was then living. He was induced to settle down, got married, and became part owner and publisher of the Plattsburg, NY Republican. Subsequently he published the Chronicle at Whitehall, NY. About this time, Henry D. Wilson, of the Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, met him in Buffalo, at Connor & Son's type foundry, bought out his printing material, and persuaded him to accompany him to Milwaukee, Wisconsin Territory. In 1843 he went to Milwaukee, and with Wilson & King, and Elisha Star, helped to make the Milwaukee Sentinel a success. The following year (1844) he moved his family to Milwaukee. The journey was made to Buffalo by canal, and from Buffalo to Milwaukee "round the lakes." There were few railroads in those days. V. A. W. Merrell is now (1884) a resident of the city of Prairie du Chien. His mother was a native of Ellenborough, NY. She died in Prairie du Chien. Young Merrell came to Wisconsin in 1844, and with his parents resided in Milwaukee for twelve years. He was a pupil at Prof. Buck's Collegiate Institute for three years. Subsequently he served an apprenticeship in Star's job printing office, and became proficient in the "art preservative." In the spring of 1856 he came to Prairie du Chien, and took charge of a printing office that his father had purchased the year previous. This was the Prairie du Chien Courier as explained in this chapter. Mr. Merrell performed much of the mechanical work of the office and was editor of the paper. In November, 1858, Wm. D. Merrell was enabled to purchase the Courier establishment, clearing it of all debt and liabilities, and has ever since remained its editor and proprietor, and every edition for over twenty years has been issued regularly, as the files in his possession prove. Mr. Merrell has been uniformly prosperous and successful as a printer and publisher. He was able to provide a comfortable home for his parents, and helped support the family until the children were old enough to do for themselves. His father, a man of iron constitution, robust and vigorous at sixty-five years of age, remains with him in Prairie du Chien. Mr. Merrell comes of ancestry remarkable for longevity. His grandfather and namesake, Wm. D. Merrell, of Burlington, Vt., reached the age of ninety-six years, and his great-grandmother died at the extreme age of 103 years. Wm. D. Merrell was married to Julia McCahil, at St. Gabriel's (Catholic) church in Prairie du Chien, Wis., by Rev. Francis Nagle, on May 18, 1868. Miss McCahil was a sister of Mrs. P. Reynolds, then living in Prairie du Chien. Two children by this marriage died in infancy. The mother died July 3, 1870. This was the first great sorrow that Mr. Merrell had experienced, and the loss of his wife had a great effect upon his life. She was a devout member of the Roman Catholic Church, attentive to her religious duties, well known and esteemed for her piety and amiability. She was buried in the Catholic cemetery at Prairie du Chien, where her sister, Mrs. Reynolds and her children had preceded her. Mr. Merrell entered upon political work before he was of age. He did effective service in the Freemont and Buchanan presidential campaign. He became prominently known in local and State politics as an organizer of more than ordinary executive ability. He became an acknowledged democratic leader in Crawford county, and for years his friends and party were always victorious. He never listened to any proposals for himself, never accepted any nomination for political preferment, but was always untiring in his endeavors to promote the interests of political friends and the success of his party. This uniform success of the democrats continued until the indication of unscrupulous ambition in certain politicians convinced him that their labors, party fealty, and the welfare of the people were being made to sub-serve mere personal ends. Then he turned upon the selfish set of officials who had control, and with his journal, and seconded by the people, drove the party "barnacles" out of office, defeating every man of them, and inaugurating a new era in Crawford county local politics. Mr. Merrell was marred again May 28, 1872, to Mary Francis Clark, of Fairview, Alamakee Co., Iowa. Rev. Father P. A. McMannus, pastor of St. Patrick's (Catholic) Church, near Harper's Ferry, officiating at the sacrament. A son and daughter by this marriage, now living, bless the editor's pleasant home, where he seems supremely contented, possessed of excellent health, and most agreeable surroundings. Mr. Merrell has acquired an extensive landed property during the past fifteen years. He now owns more real estate within the city limits of Prairie du Chien than any other one tax-payer. For the past ten years he has given considerable attention to farming, established farmers' societies, addressed agricultural fairs and invested a considerable amount of money in improved farm machinery, horses and cattle. He has a favorite farm of over eighty acres in the center (2d ward) of Prairie du Chien, within fifteen minutes' walk of his residence. Here he likes to go among the horses and cattle, or out in the fields with sulky plows and self binders. He gives employment to farm help the year round. He pays out his money as fast as it is received; his only incentive to earn money seems to be the satisfaction he takes in paying it out to workingmen. He certainly has no ambition to merely accumulate money, and never expects to get rich. In this, as in his political and publishing work, he secures employment and support for others, without any very flattering prospects of pecuniary profit for himself. This is a marked trait, almost a weakness in Mr. Merrell. He is calm and brave enough upon occasions requiring physical courage, but when asked by men out of employment for his aid, he has never been known to dare say "No." It is a fact noted among the printer's "craft" for more than twenty-five years, that he never refused to assist an unfortunate fellow-being. The typo who was "carrying the banner" who could meet the proprietor of the Courier was certain of a job, a square meal, something to help him along. Appeals to his bump of benevolence never yet failed to draw "the ready" if he had a dollar within reach. If there is any particular trait about Mr. Merrell most prominent, it is this disposition to lend the helping hand on all occasions; and the only thing that can disturb his habitual equipoise of mind, is an evidence of ingratitude. He thinks that is the "unpardonable sin." In twenty seven years there has never been a subscription raised for any charitable or religious purpose in Prairie du Chien, but he freely gave his share, regardless as to denomination. When sometimes remonstrated with about such indiscriminate giving for a man of his limited means, he would say: "That's part of my religion." [The writer has had occasion to know whereof he makes these statements, and Merrell's friends and neighbors can add much more to confirm them.] With a perfect physical development and plenty of mental power, at the age of forty-four years, Mr. Merrell holds a responsible position among the residents of the "Prairie City." He is the oldest editor (in years of actual work) now living in western Wisconsin; and his journal, the Courier, is the oldest established newspaper in this city and county, if not in the northwest. Mr. Merrell will continue to publish the Courier, promoting every worthy public enterprise, confident that unrivalled advantages and location will ensure for the city of Prairie du Chien metropolitan proportions and importance in the near future, and he naturally expects to live long enough to share in its prosperity. Generous to a fault, prompted by good intentions, ready to sympathise with the afflicted and prompt to divide his last dollar with a friend, or forgive a fallen foe, William D. Merrell deserves to live long and die happy. Few men in western Wisconsin have exerted more effective political influence than the editor of the Courier; and as a consequence he had to stand the brunt of bitter political opposition. He must have possessed much manly attraction, for he has always retained many true friends. But for a few years he has voluntarially held aloof from active partisan politics, enjoying the more congenial associations of private pursuits; but still steadfast as ever in his political faith, an earnest advocate of the principles of constitutional democracy.

Prairie du Chien Leader.

After the republican party had gained the ascendency in Crawford county, it soon began to lose ground, and it was not long before the vote was decidedly democratic. This fact made those who assumed to be leaders of the republican party in the county, look about them for some means by which they could reach the people, that they might counteract the political effect of the Courier. The result of their efforts was the starting of a new republican paper in Prairie du Chien. The manner of its establishment was this:

William Hill, who had served his apprenticeship in Starr's job office in Milwaukee, learning there was an opening for another paper here; that he might expect considerable assistance from interested parties if he would publish an opposition journal; and, being encouraged by a number of persons, he came out with press and materials to start a paper. On arriving at Prairie du Chien with his office, he was unable to obtain the aid he had expected; the assistance promised was not forthcoming. For a considerable time he remained undecided what to do, whether to establish his paper or not. At length Mr. Hill succeeded in obtaining the assistance of James Greene, to establish the "Prairie du Chien Leader," and its first number appeared July 18, 1857.


"We do not conceive it necessary to urge the benefits resulting from a well conducted newspaper! they are patent to all. In our own State, the cities and villages that have most rapidly increased in population and in business have been those most ably represented through the local press, and most persistent and liberal in urging and advertising their claims to public regard. Milwaukee, with its eight daily newspapers, and weeklies in still greater number; Madison, with a population of but 10,000 to 12,000, supporting as large a number of daily papers, as, perhaps, the capital of any State in the Union; Janesville, with its two dailies; Oshkosh, Watertown and Fond du Lac, are all more or less indebted to this source for their prosperity; all bear evidence to the closeness of the relation between success and printer's ink. Nor is this less applicable to manufacturing and agricultural interests, or to individuals and individual business? The press not despising to trumpet forth its own praises, has harped upon its influence in this respect until the subject has become almost stale; but that facts have warranted all that has been said, none will deny.

"We seek to publish a paper worthy of the prospective rank of our city; one that in size and appearance will compare not unfavorably with the first newspapers of the State. It will be our aim to make it "a leader in everything that promises to develop the resources and increase the wealth of our locality, or elevate and enlighten our citizens," not a mere echo of more able contemporaries. That the necessity of such a paper is felt, has been evinced in the cordial support which has thus far greeted our enterprise. And believing that the degree of success attendant upon our efforts must be commensurate with the extent to which you second our endeavors (admitting the faithful fulfillment upon our part of the duties devolving upon us), we respectfully solicit a continuance of this support, and the co-operation and encouragement of all, so far as in your judgments such support may subserve the interests and principles which we uphold."

The publishers of the Leader earnestly devoted all their energies to the publication of their new paper; political friends, actuated by the hope of political aid, encouraged them. The fall election of 1857 passed, and the result was a democratic majority in town and county. This somewhat cooled the ardor of party friends; but, inspired by the hope of "better luck next time," they continued to put their faith in the Leader until the election of 1858, which resulted in the election of the entire democratic ticket.

Now the fickle character of political friends began to show itself. All confidence was lost in the hope that the Leader could help the republican party in Crawford county; and, with this loss of confidence, came the desertion of friends and want of support. About this time the monetary crisis was afflicting the newspaper press throughout the country. Papers were being discontinued or reduced in size. The Leader adopted the latter measure; the paper was cut down from an eight to a seven column sheet; and soon after came under the sole supervision of James Greene, who continued to publish it for some time, but its days were numbered.

The Prairie du Chien Union.

This paper was established in Prairie du Chien early in 1864, by Mr. Greene. The following was his salutatory:

"Having undertaken to publish a newspaper in Prairie du Chien, at the invitation of a large number of its leading citizens, it will be expected that we explain the policy to be pursued therein. In times of peril, like the present, each patriot desires to know the political whereabouts of those around him, whether they are patriots like himself, or traitors seeking the protection of the government in their efforts to give aid and comfort to the enemy, or cold and indifferent to the struggle which is working out our future destiny.

"While we conduct the Prairie du Chien Union, it will sustain the National government, not coldly, complainingly or with "ifs," "buts," or conditions, but cheerfully and heartily. During the war, we feel that we should heartily support the administration, whether we consider its policy, in all its minutia, the wisest or not. Very few persons would exactly agree; each has some theory peculiar to himself; but every plan cannot be adopted; one plan may be; and as Abraham Lincoln is held responsible for the result of plans, we are of the opinion that his are THE plans that should be supported. And we support them, too, because of their wisdom. Furthermore, Abraham Lincoln is the properly constituted head and exponent of the Union sentiment, Union armies, and the National government. Jeff Davis is the head of those who are in all shades of rebellion against the government.

"All that support Lincoln and his plans give strength to the Union sentiment, army and government; those who oppose him, oppose all that is represented by him, and hence give aid and comfort, morally and substantially, to Jeff Davis and all that is represented by him. We desire to pursue such a course as will be in harmony with the operations of our armies, giving all our sympathy, influence and aid on the side of loyalty, and our opposition to whatever opposes or weakens the National government.

"It shall be our aim to favor whatever tends to improve our county or city. We expect to devote much time and space to the mechanics arts, agriculture and every department of trade and commerce. Prairie du Chien is peculiarly located with reference to all these interests; being situated on the great Mississippi, at the mouth of the Wisconsin, at the terminus of the Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Railroad [now, 1884, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul] and across the river from the terminus of the McGregor Northwest Railroad, in a healthy country with good water, it is clear that it needs but the application of capital to cause machine shops and manufactories to spring up, and trade to grow up to meet the popular demands. If properly directed, commerce will be a great source of wealth to our citizens; while under enlightened cultivation, our quick soil will become the source of great profit to the gardiner and fruiter. Enterprise, knowledge and labor, if united, have here abundant scope to carve out ample fortunes, in a pleasant, healthy, romantic place, and enjoy superior facilities for varied employments. We shall endeavor to advocate these great interests.

"Nor shall we be unmindful of education. The great pillars of free institutions, of civil law and public safety, are grounded in our free schools. In States where free public schools have been established there has been no rebellion. But just in proportion as the educational interests of any part of the country have been neglected, to that extent have the different shades of rebellion prevailed.

"Wit and humor --- laughing sprites --- will be welcomed to our columns, as smiling messengers of health, joy and peace, good for the soul and resting to the intellect.

"We shall aim to give the general and local news, and trust that our readers will assist us in this respect, by promptly sending any items of general interest that come under their notice. The local news and interests of Prairie du Chien and Crawford county, will take precedence of general matters; as it is expected that the Union will be an exponent of the loyal people of this city and county; hence their interests will be our interests; their wants and ours, identical. We shall aim to encourage whatever conduces to the public good, and discourage what appears to be public evil. A citizen among you, we desire to study the interests of the people, and make a good family paper. It is very desirable that the loyal people of this county (and all should be loyal) should be united; then each supported and being supported, may be useful members of the great Union body.

"Trusting that we are in a charitable community, and that our readers will overlook errors of the head, if the heart is right, we undertake the enterprise, looking to the intelligent people for support.

Our Platform.

"We are frequently asked by those who have acted with different parties, what party do you belong to? Are you a republican or democrat? We propose to set out political friends and enemies at rest upon this subject; we desire to place ourselves squarely upon the record, in this respect, that we may be understood.

"We are for the Union and against all disunionists. We believe that the only certain or probable way to sustain the Union in the perilous crisis, is, to help the administration fight down this rebellion. We are for asserting and maintaining the authority of the government over every foot of territory belonging to the United States. We have no fears that the administration will strike any too hard, or too fast, or at an innocent person; hence we shall not be alarmed, should he suspend the writ of habeas corpus, prohibit newspapers from injuring the government, either by inciting rebellion at home, or encouraging it in the south, or do other acts regarded by rebels and their sympathizers as tyrannical and oppressive.

The President of the United States is our civil executive head and the commander-in-chief of our army and navy. As a civil officer, he is subject to the constitution; as a military chieftain, he is amenable to the laws of Nations. And it is our purpose to do all in our power to sustain him in both capacities until peace is restored. It is not for us to arrange or disarrange his plan of operations, but it is for us to do all that we can to make them successful. These may not be the very best that could be devised, but they are the best that are devised, hence it is our duty to sustain them.

"The commander of an army, and not the private soldier, must direct its operations; so must a Nation's movements, in time of war be directed by the head; and citizens and soldiers should unite in upholding and strengthening the Nation's head. Abraham Lincoln is the people's President; and as such we expect to sustain him as we have done since he first commenced trying to break up this rebellion. Not by halves or with ifs and provisos do we sustain our President, but give him and his administration, including his proclamations, a cheerful support. We believe it to be constitutional to fight down this rebellion and punish rebels. The constitution was made to form a more perfect Union and not to license unprincipled men to incite rebellion and connive to break up the government.

"We care not what becomes of the democratic or the republican party; but we want the Nation to stand and our armies to "conquer a peace." We belong to the party that the soldiers do --- to the war party --- the Union party, which we regard as the only constitutional party in the country. We care not whether we vote for men called democrats or republicans, if they be honest, capable and really in earnest in their support of the National authorities in their efforts to put down this rebellion. This is the only issue we make at present. We have no faith in men who seek to get up side issues to distract the public mind from the great work of saving the country. Let us be united and work all together, caring not whether we act with democrats or republicans, but see that we do not unwittingly play into the hands of copperheads or rebels. We hope we are understood."

Mr. Green was succeeded by Waldo Brown in the publication of the Union, and in turn gave way to Nicholas Smith and Joseph Smethurst. In 1871, Mr. Smith purchased the latter's interest and run the paper until September 1874. He then sold it to Fred J. Bowman, who subsequently disposed of it to B. J. Castle.

From March 1st, 1877, to April, 1883, the paper was conducted by John R. Berryman; associated with the latter, for four years, was Thurlow W. Lacy. The latter, in connection with Ira D. Hurlbut, published the paper until Dec. 28, 1883, when Mr. Lacy disposed of his interest to A. M. Beach; so that, at the present time (1884) the Union is published by Messrs. Hurlbut and Beach.

Ira D. Hurlbut was born in the town of Scott, Crawford Co., Wis., April 7th, 1856. He is of a family of nine boys and one girl. Four brothers are now living. His father, John R. Hurlbut, is an American; but his mother emigrated from Germany, in her childhood. The subject of this sketch, lived at home on a farm until sixteen. He afterwards engaged in teaching in Crawford and Grant counties, following the business, at intervals, for ten years, but attending school during a part of the time, both at the normal school at Plattsville, and at the university of Wisconsin, at Madison. Mr. Hurlbut's first newspaper venture was the Excelsior, 'Richland Co.' Press; and was abandoned as unprofitable after about two years. He was, in 1879, associated for a short time, with H. L. Marshall in the publication of the Vernon county Herald, published at Viroqua.

In May, 1882, he undertook the publication of the Crawford county Journal, but severed his connection with the paper in April of the following year; when he purchased the business interests of J. R. Berryman of the Prairie du Chien Union. Mr. Berryman was the senior partner. Mr. Hurlbut was married July 16, 1883, to Louise Speck, of Prairie du Chien.

The Crawford county Journal was established Jan. 1, 1882, by Wm. Borgen, succeeded in the following May, by Ira D. Hurlbut. The latter was succeeded the following April, 1883, by Hurlbut & Patten, and in May following, by J. E. Patten, who became sole manager. The paper is, and has been, owned by a company consisting of the business men of Soldier's Grove.

J. E. Patten, the youngest managing editor in Crawford county, was born in Winnebago Co., Ill., Sept. 2, 1865, where he resided one year, his parents removing to Marietta, Crawford county, where they now reside. Mr. Patten is now managing editor of the Crawford county Journal. He is a son of James and Jane Patten, his father being chairman of the township committee, a position which he has held for a number of years.

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