Published in the seat of Greene County, Ohio, the Xenia Sentinel premiered on August 25, 1863. The paper, published every Tuesday, represented the Republican or the Union Party viewpoint. (During the 1864 presidential election, Republicans changed their party name to the Union Party hoping to attract War Democrats who would otherwise refuse to vote for the Republicans; the Union Party nominated the incumbent President Abraham Lincoln and former Democrat Andrew Johnson as vice-president.)
In its first issue, the Sentinel explained that the Xenia Torchlight, the other paper in the county claiming to support the Union Party was not being faithful to the party’s views. The Torchlight was one of the oldest and most extensively circulated newspapers in the county and was edited by William T. Bascom. The Sentinel wrote: “Such conduct on the part of [Bascom] who pretends to the organship of the Greene County Union Party, has necessitated some means by which the treacherous influence of his paper could be counteracted, and the secret and underhanded practices of his clique be showed up to the people. Accordingly a company of persons have made themselves responsible for the publication of The Xenia Sentinel.” The Sentinel prided itself on giving special attention to local interests and news.
Seth W. Brown was chosen to be editor of the Sentinel after having served in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry and having worked for several other newspapers in the area. He later went on to study law and was elected to the United States Congress. Brown expressed himself in language of unmistakable charm, clearness, and brevity. He explained that the Sentinel “must speak for itself. Golden promises will not make it successful. It must succeed upon it own intrinsic merits, or not at all.” In fact, the Sentinel remained in operation for only a few years, and it is unclear exactly when the paper ceased publication.
Researched and written by Kaylie Vermillion