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Charles B. Hopkins and Lucien E. Kellogg started the Palouse Gazette in the wake of some local turmoil. In June 1877, rumor of local Indian attacks (inspired by news of the Nez Perce War) had sent a wave of panic through the white settlers of the Palouse region of Washington Territory. Farmers abandoned their homesteads, seeking protection in the towns from a rumored uprising among the Palouse, Coeur d'Alene, and Spokane Indians. The tribes, for their part, were troubled by the sudden activity among the settlers. Fortunately, the misunderstanding was resolved without violence, and by September Hopkins and Kellogg started the first weekly paper in the tiny town of Colfax (population under 300). Kellogg sold his share of the Palouse Gazette in 1879, and Hopkins, who had installed the first long-distance telephone line in eastern Washington became preoccupied with his new venture, the Inland Telephone and Telegraph Company of Spokane. In1888, Hopkins sold the newspaper to Ivan Chase, a member of the staff. Chase changed the name of the paper to the Colfax Gazette in 1893.
Colfax is located on the Palouse River near the Mullan Military Road, which connected Walla Walla and Fort Coeur d'Alene and which served as an important thoroughfare for settlers in the territory. The period immediately following the “Indian Scare” was a time of rapid growth in the Palouse region. Much of the native bunch grass prairie was converted to wheat farms, and in 1890 Colfax was one of several communities considered for the site of the Washington State College campus (although it lost the competition to nearby Pullman.) Colfax College (later called English's Collegiate Academy), a small, private college located in the town, was frequently mentioned in the Colfax Gazette. The paper covered local news in detail and commented on current events from the Republican Party perspective. All legal notices were published in this "official paper" of Whitman County. News of wars abroad, national economic issues, and features related to agriculture and the development of transportation infrastructure were also included. In 1910, the Gazette covered a major local flood.
Howard and Charles Bramwell worked in the Gazette’s job printing department and built up that part of the business, eventually buying the paper upon Chase's retirement in 1910. In 1932, the Bramwell brothers and Allen Lacey, publisher of the Colfax Commoner merged their companies to form the Colfax Gazette-Commoner. In 1958, the name changed back to the Colfax Gazette, and the paper continues today as the Whitman County Gazette.
Provided by: Washington State Library; Olympia, WA