Der Deutsche Beobachter (“German Observer”) began in 1869 to serve the large German community of New Philadelphia in Ohio’s Tuscarawas County and the surrounding areas. The Beobachter was the only German-language paper in the county, which was also home to Schoenbrunn, a mission established by the Moravian Church, and Zoar, a German separatist community. Founded by Frederick Walter and Nicholas Montag, the Democratic publication averaged around 1,000 subscribers annually throughout its over forty-year existence.
Frederick Walter was born in Rhine, Bavaria, and immigrated with his family to Dover, Ohio, in 1838. In 1852, Walter began at the Dover Citizen where he learned the printing trade. Two years later, he moved on to Der Deutsche in Ohio (“German in Ohio”) where he worked until the paper ceased publication. In 1855, Walter moved to New Philadelphia and found a position at the Ohio Democrat where he worked until 1868. In 1869, he and Nicholas Montag established Der Deutsche Beobachter. Samuel R. Minnig replaced Montag in 1872. Both Minnig and Walter were the publishers and editors for the Beobachter for the rest of its publication.
Der Deutsche Beobachter covered local, national, and international news. Included in the paper was political news; information about local events; legal advice; tips about health, travel, and weather; open letters; and literature. Towards the end of its run, Der Deutsche Beobachter was merged into the Independent Publishing Company. In 1911 the publication of Der Deutsche Beobachter was suspended when the publisher ceased operations. Unexpired subscriptions were fulfilled by Columbus’s Der Westbote (“Western Messenger”).
Researched and written by Bronwyn Benson