PART H

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200.

MATTOON JOURNAL-GAZETTE: A LONG HISTORY


 

MATTOON'S NEWSPAPER HISTORY STARTS IN 1856

 

The city of Mattoon always seemed to be larger than Charleston. The crossing of the railroads no doubt helped to build its population and industry. U.S. Grant gathered his troops in Mattoon. The location of this event "was where the old U.S. Grant Hotel is located. There used to be a flag-pole to celebrate the location of Grant's camp during the Civil War.

R.W. HOUGHTON-MATTOON'S FIRST NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER                                     

In 1856 R.W. Houghton founded the Weekly Independent Gazette. This first paper would sell many times throughout the years. Many individuals would publish it, and even a group of Democrats would publish it. The name was briefly changed to the Mattoon Weekly Democrat. Later it would be called the Mattoon Clarion. Finally in 1872, C.B. Bostwick and George B. McDougall reorganized the Mattoon paper and named it the Mattoon Weekly Gazette. This partnership lasted until 1874. Bostwick made the paper a "prosperous enterprise and did job work". The Gazette then was an eight page paper with a lot of subscribers. Bostwick was a trainer of men in newspaper work, G.C. Peck, one of his students would later become a part owner of the weekly Gazette. In 1890, Bostwick became ill and Peck became manager.

MATTOON GAZETTE & JOURNAL WERE GREAT RIVALS

In 1865, Mattoon's other paper was founded by W.O. Ellis. Mattoon had a population of 5,000 and could support two papers. The Journal was a Republican publication and the Gazette in the early years was independent in viewpoint and editorializing. A Thomas Woods, who had briefly held shares in the Gazette and the Charleston Courier, would attain controlling interest of the Journal. In 1872, Woods made the Journal a tri-weekly publication {Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). In 1874, it became a daily paper. A William F. Puftill purchased the Journal in 1879. In 1894, C.W. Twitchell, a newspaperman from Chicago, became involved with the management of the Journal and would remain with until 1898. Several other managers would take care of the running of the Journal until 1899, when a group would purchase it under the name of Mattoon Journal Company.

1905 MARKS MODERNIZATION IN PRINTING OF JOURNAL

M.H. Bassett changed the Journal into an eight to a twelve page paper, published six afternoons a week. A perfecting press and stereotyping outfit was installed. The printing headquarters was in the Denmree Building. The paper would change hands and management several times until 1905

MATTOON JOURNAL-GAZETTE SEES CONSOLIDATION OF TWO MATTOON PAPERS

The Mattoon weekly Gazette would continue publishing until 1905, when the owners would purchase the Daily Journal. The two papers consolidated to make the new daily Mattoon Journal-Gazette. The office for the paper would be at 115 S. 17th Street. The new company would also do job-printing. The then publishers, E.B. Tucker and H.F. Kendall would be partners until 1927, when Tucker passed away. Mr. and Mrs. H.F. Kendall would continue publishing the paper until 1939.

WILLIAM B. HAMEL BECOMES PRESIDENT OF MATTOON JOURNAL COMPANY IN 1939-56

The Journal-Gazette would be an independent newspaper, but would tend to go with the Republican viewpoints in its editorializing. The paper grew greatly in circulation, advertising and news coverage. The paper always subscribed to the INS (International News Service) for its national and international news and later would join the AP (Associated Press). 1956 SEES REORGANIZATION OF MATTOON JOURNAL COMPANY

Historical information for this section from the Coles County History. 1876-1976, pp. 369-37  Articles by Ed Cummings, Terry McCullough and the Mattoon Journal-Gazette

 


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