In 1868, Samuel Denison Harris, Jr., previously of the Western Courier, Ohio Star, Buckeye Democrat, and Portage Sentinel, re-entered the publishing profession after a fourteen-year absence to establish the Democratic Press, filling the postbellum absence of a Democratic organ in Portage County, Ohio. Published in the county seat of Ravenna, the first issue circulated on September 3, 1868, at four pages and 32 columns on a 27×39 inch sheet, to a list of 300 subscribers.
In the first issue of the Press, Harris wrote of his devotion “to the restoration of the Government to the control of the party that recognizes the binding obligation of the great charter of our liberties, and that has such a regard for the rights of the people that it will never give its voice or vote to build up in this fair land of ours, a privileged order, an aristocracy of bond-holders, enjoying immunities and privileges and exempt from the burthens which are the lot of the laboring masses.” To that end, the Press published a number of political editorials in addition to local, national, and international news, as well as poetry, fiction, and advertisements.
In 1880, Harris gave an interest in the paper to his son, George D. Harris, and the firm of S. D. Harris & Son operated the Press until Harris again retired from editing in 1888. Samuel Harris continued as proprietor until his death in 1895, and George Harris maintained proprietorship and editorship of the Press until 1901. That year, it was replaced by the Ravenna Democrat under D. S. Fisher, who in 1902 changed the paper to the Portage County Democrat, which ceased publication in 1928.
Researched and written by Jennifer Seymour