McArthur Democrat series

M’arthur Democrat (McArthur, Vinton County, Ohio) 1853-1865 [LCCN: sn87075163]
Digital Edition: January 5, 1855 – December 28, 1865
Vinton Record (McArthur, Vinton County, Ohio) 1866-1891 [LCCN: sn85038222]
Digital Edition: January 4, 1866 – December 31, 1874

The M’arthur Democrat was established in Logan, Ohio as the Hocking Valley Republican in 1848. When Vinton County was formed two years later in 1850, editors J.A. Brown and Luther S. Bort moved their plant to McArthur, the seat of Vinton County, and changed the name of the paper to the Vinton County Republican. Its first issue was published on April 13, 1850, just two days before the county held its first elections. The paper supported Whig interests until 1852 when it was purchased by the Democratic Joint Stock Company and changed both its name and politics to become the Vinton County Flag which served as the organ of the Democratic Party. In 1853, the paper was purchased by Edward A. Bratton who renamed it the M’arthur Democrat.

The Democrat changed hands and mottos several more times over the decade, reflecting both financial struggles and changes in political fortune. In 1853, the paper declared that “The Spirit of the Age is Democracy,” and, the next year, in 1854, the paper’s motto changed to “No North, No South, No East, No West, Under the Constitution; But a Sacred Maintenance of that Instrument and True Devotion to Our Common Country.” The paper’s motto changed again in 1855 to read “Equal and Exact Justice to All Men of Whatever State, Religious or Political.” Alexander Pearce and John T. Spence published the paper from 1856 until 1860, when ownership of the paper returned to the Bratton family with Ruth C. Bratton acting as publisher and Edward A. as editor. In 1861, the motto returned to that of 1854. Despite the multiple changes in editorship, the paper was published steadily, unlike its Republican competitors, such as the M’arthur Republican and the McArthur Journal, which were just two of the many, short-lived revivals of the Vinton County Republican.

Before, during, and immediately after the Civil War, the Democrat provided support for Democratic interests and candidates, criticizing both the Republican and Know Nothing Parties. In addition to printing national political news, the paper also included business advertisements and local news from all over southeastern Ohio. Poetry, fiction, and household tips were regularly featured, allowing the Democrat to appeal to a variety of interests.

In 1866, the publication changed its name to the Vinton Record. Just a year later, in 1867, its competitor, the Democratic-Enquirer was established to serve Vinton County Democrats who were displeased that the Record was renting two columns of its pages for use by the Republican Party. In the fall of the same year, Ruth C. Bratton sold the paper to John T. Raper and W.H.H. Robinson, stating that it was not necessary for McArthur to have two Democratic papers and that, under its new owners, the Record would return to its political roots and once again support Republican interests. Under Raper’s leadership, the Record initially maintained a Democratic column to appease the readership he had inherited, but eventually its pages were filled with harsh criticisms of both Democratic politics and newspapers such as the Democratic-Enquirer and its successor, the McArthur Enquirer. In 1891, the Record became the Vinton Record and McArthur Courant, and it ceased publication entirely in 1899.

Researched and written by Jenni Salamon