Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics and Manufacturers Advocate (St. Clairsville, Belmont County, Ohio) 1848-1855 [LCCN: sn84028479]
Digital Edition: January 7, 1853 – January 19, 1855
Belmont Chronicle (St. Clairsville, Belmont County, Ohio) 1855-1973 [LCCN: sn85026241]
Digital Edition: February 1, 1855 – December 12, 1895
St. Clairsville, the seat of Belmont County, Ohio, was once home to the long running weekly newspaper, the Belmont Chronicle. Located directly across the Ohio River from the large city of Wheeling, West Virginia, Belmont County’s proximity to the slaveholding state and its large population of strongly abolitionist Quakers allowed for intense political rivalries. Newspapers exercised great authority by influencing public opinion, and in St. Clairsville, the Republican Chronicle was firmly opposed by the St. Clairsville Gazette which promoted Jeffersonian Democracy and Democratic principles.
The early history and origin of the Belmont Chronicle remains uncertain. While some believe the Chronicle originated as the Ohio Federalist, founded by Charles Hammond in 1813, others believe that the Federalist was a predecessor of the Chronicle’s adversary, the Gazette. It is clear, however, that the National Historian, and St. Clairsville Advertiser, founded in 1827 by Horton J. Howard, was a definite forerunner to the Chronicle. The National Historian continued with some variations of the name until July 20, 1833, when it was published under the title of the Belmont Journal. The name was changed again to the Belmont Chronicle on July 21, 1836. In 1848, the paper became known as the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate until 1855, when the title reverted back to the Belmont Chronicle.
The Chronicle was an advocate of Whig values through 1853, and beginning in 1854, of Republican principles. From 1848 to 1857, Benjamin Rush Cowen, who would later serve as Ohio’s adjutant-general under Governor John Brough and editor of the Daily Ohio State Journal in Columbus, edited and published the paper. In February 1861, abolitionist Christian L. Poorman, a graduate of the Cincinnati Law School, purchased the Chronicle from D. Thoburn. In his first issue, Poorman declared that he was “unconditionally in favor of the Union” and that he would “endeavor to make the Chronicle the best family paper published in the county, paying especial attention to its Congressional, Legislative, General News, Agricultural and Local News departments.” From 1870 to 1872, C. Wilkinson, who had served in the 98th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and attended Ohio Wesleyan University, edited the paper. The Chronicle focused on national politics with local announcements and a dose of poetry in every issue, along with readers’ opinions similar to letters to the editor.
The Chronicle survived with few changes until 1973 when it merged with the Gazette to form the St. Clairsville Gazette-Chronicle. In July 1983, the paper was absorbed by the Martin’s Ferry Times-Leader, which is still published today.
Researched and written by Kaylie Vermillion