McArthur Enquirer series

Democratic Enquirer (McArthur, Vinton County, Ohio) 1867-1873 [LCCN: sn86079037]
Digital Edition: January 24, 1867 – January 15, 1873
McArthur Enquirer (McArthur, Vinton County, Ohio) 1873-1884 [LCCN: sn87075167]
Digital Edition: January 22, 1873 – January 7, 1874

On January 24, 1867, J.W. Bowen established the Democratic-Enquirer to serve the Democrats of McArthur and Vinton County, Ohio. The paper “grew out of the disaffection of some Democrats with the Bratton Brothers for renting out two columns of their paper (the Democratic organ) to Captain H.C. Jones, for the use of the Republican Party.” The Bratton Brothers’ Vinton Record had served as the county’s Democratic organ since 1852, and in 1867, when it gave full support to Republican interests, the Democratic-Enquirer became the official organ of the Democratic Party. In 1873, the Democratic-Enquirer became known as the McArthur Enquirer.

The Enquirer’s motto was “Democratic at all Times and under all Circumstances,” and, to that end, it provided strong support for Democratic candidates and principles and was extremely critical of Republican policies, especially those related to taxation. From the beginning, it had a cantankerous relationship with its Republican competitor, the Vinton Record, and this was reflected in the negative comments the papers published about each other. The McArthur Enquirer, for example, printed the following about the Record’s editor, John T. Raper, in its January 22, 1873 issue: “Few men possess more self-confidence or egotistical vanity than Raper. Few men possess a less share of good, sound, practical sense than he. Fewer still have the unhappy union of egotism and ignorance that characterizes him, and makes him an object of utter contempt.” Both papers purported to be the county’s official organ, although the Democratic-Enquirer claimed higher circulation numbers and was distributed extensively in surrounding counties.

In addition to printing local, state, and national political news, the Enquirer also sought to serve its community by publishing a variety of other items, such as poetry and fiction; agricultural and household advice, including recipes and etiquette tips; and items of local interest such as marriage announcements, probate court reports, and business advertisements. The paper became known as the McArthur Democrat-Enquirer in 1884 when it merged with the Vinton County Democrat; it ceased publication in 1970.

Researched and written by Jenni Salamon