Holmes County Republican series

Holmes County Republican (Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio) 1856-1865 [LCCN: sn84028820]
Digital Edition: August 21, 1856 – April 17, 1862
Holmes County Republican (Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio) 1870-1895 [LCCN: sn84028821]
Digital Edition: August 25, 1870 – August 13, 1874

From its beginnings as the Holmes County Whig, which started in Millersburg, Ohio in 1844, the weekly Holmes County Republican stood in opposition to the county’s predominantly Democratic voices and their paper, the Holmes County Farmer. In its August 21, 1856 inaugural issue, the Holmes County Republican declared its firm stance against slavery and for the preservation of the Union: “We believe that the extension of Slavery may be prohibited and the Union maintained—that a return to the policy of the Fathers of the Republic is the only way in which the aggressions of slavery are to be constitutionally restrained and the peace and harmony of our country, and the perpetuity of our free institutions secured.” The Republican and the Farmer were bitter rivals, and according to James O. Lehman and Steven M. Nolt, “engaged in ferocious political rancor” throughout the Civil War (Mennonites, Amish, and the American Civil War [Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 2007], 112). The Farmer was particularly antagonistic toward the Republican Party, and, at times, quoted the Holmes County Republican in order to undermine its political viewpoint.

Noted for its accurate home and neighborhood news, the Republican was widely circulated throughout Holmes, Wayne, and Coshocton Counties and considered one of the best advertising outlets for that region. The paper, however, occasionally suffered financial problems and was suspended and revived several times. The Holmes County Farmer was generally considered the stronger of the two papers, with support from the county’s overwhelmingly Democratic and Amish population. J. Caskey served as editor of the Republican until April 1862, when he announced that it was to be sold to G.T. Griffith of Cincinnati. Under Caskey’s leadership, the paper reported on mostly local and national news, including letters from Union soldiers. Throughout its entire run, the paper supported Republican political candidates, including Abraham Lincoln and 1856 presidential hopeful John C. Frémont.

In 1865 or 1866, the paper ceased publication, leaving Republicans in Holmes County without a voice until it was reestablished by Lanbach, White, and Thomas B. Cunningham on August 25, 1870: “With this issue, the Holmes County Republican commences a new era, with new editors and proprietors, new presses, new material, new subscription list entirely, and in fact a new paper out and out.” While continuing to report on news of national and local importance, the paper also began to include international news, works of fiction, and poetry. More successful than in the past, the Holmes County Republican enjoyed uninterrupted publication well into the 20th century. In 1896, it changed its name to the Millersburg Republican and finally ceased publication in 1924.

Researched and written by Jenni Salamon