Ravenna Western Courier

Western Courier (Ravenna, Portage County, Ohio) 1837-1838 [LCCN: sn83035100]
Digital Edition: May 4, 1837 – April 5, 1838

The Ravenna Western Courier was established in April 1825 as the Western Courier, and the Western Public Advertiser by John B. Butler, a printer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who brought with him the press, type, and office materials that would be the first used in Portage County, Ohio. This early version of the newspaper sold at $2.50 per year and $2 in advance, although subscribers could pay instead with produce of appropriate value.

Initially circulating to 320 subscribers, a number that more than doubled within the first six months of print, the Courier published international news and correspondence; national and local news; political speeches; and business notices and advertisements. The Courier also published fiction and poetry, including that of Eliza R. Snow, a young woman then residing in Portage County, who would go on to become a notable figure in the Church of Latter-Day Saints and a plural wife of Brigham Young. The editors also supported the administration of John Quincy Adams and would later rally against the presidential candidacy of Andrew Jackson, who, though enjoying a nationally successful campaign, failed to win over the residents of Portage County.

John Butler sold the Courier in 1827, returning to Pittsburgh to purchase and manage a local newspaper, the Statesman. The Courier consequently passed through many hands, including those of James Barr Walker, an academic theologian who edited several Ohio papers such as the anti-slavery Ohio Observer in Hudson and the Watchman of the Valley in Cincinnati. In 1830, the Courier became the Democratic organ of Portage County, and in August 1832 it was published as the Western Courier, and Portage County Democrat under John Harmon, a former assistant editor. In 1836, Harmon sold the Courier to the firm of Selby & Robbins, who raised subscription prices to $3 per year. The paper was suspended on November 2, 1837. Harmon again took up the management of the Courier on April 5, 1838, in an attempt to revive sales. Nevertheless, publication ceased shortly afterward; the final issue was published on April 23, 1838.

Researched and written by Jennifer Seymour