The Kalida Venture was a Democratic paper first published on February 21, 1841, by local lawyer and Prosecuting Attorney Francis Gillette in Kalida, the seat of Putnam County, Ohio. Running the phrase “Equal Laws, Equal Rights, and Equal Burdens—the Constitution and its Currency” as the its motto, the Venture regularly printed poetry and fiction as well as articles reporting local and international news on the topics of politics, agriculture, economics, medicine and science, religious matters, and national news, including the widely covered murder trial of Harvard Professor John White Webster in 1849-50.
The population of Putnam County numbered only in the hundreds in its early years, and the Venture’s circulation and profits suffered as a result. Gillette soon relinquished ownership of the paper to Horace S. Knapp, author of the History of Maumee Valley and future editor of the Ashland Ohio Union and Columbus Daily Ohio Statesman and Democrat. Knapp, however, also found management of the paper difficult and in 1845 relinquished it to another local lawyer, James McKenzie. McKenzie had relocated to Putnam County that year from Henry County, where he resigned from his position as Prosecuting Attorney. McKenzie remained in Kalida for almost a decade, becoming active in local politics. He served as Prosecuting Attorney while managing the newspaper and, in 1853, was elected a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, ending his tenure with the Venture upon entering the House in 1854.
In the following years, the paper exchanged hands several times until it was purchased by John Dixon, also a local politician, who had previously served as Putnam County Recorder, Prosecuting Attorney, and Probate Judge. Dixon, upon the decision by election to remove the seat of Putnam County to Ottawa in 1865, uprooted the Venture and relocated its office in that city. The paper experienced little success, and it ceased publication in that year.
Researched and written by Jennifer Seymour