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The Bedford gazette. : (Bedford, Pa.) 1805-current
Alternative Titles:
  • Bedford daily gazette
Place of publication:
Bedford, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Bedford, Bedford, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Printed by Charles M'Dowell
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 21, 1805)-
Daily (except Sunday) Nov. 1, 1950-
  • English
  • Bedford (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Bedford County (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Pennsylvania--Bedford County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204044
  • Pennsylvania--Bedford.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01220521
  • A new numbering system began with the issue dated Sept. 7, 1832: Vol. 27, no. 28 also numbered New series v. 1, no. 1.
  • Publisher: Geo. W. Bowman, <July 14, 1837>-
  • The word "daily" appears above masthead ornament, <1958>.
sn 82005159
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The Bedford gazette. June 23, 1854, Image 1


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The Bedford Gazette

The indigenous peoples of southwestern Pennsylvania were in conflict with the French and British military and white settlers in 1750 when Scotsman John Ray opened a trading post on a branch of the Juniata River. The settlement was called Raystown until 1758 when the British built a stockade and named it Fort Bedford, for the fourth Duke of Bedford. Bedford County, named after the fort, was created on March 9, 1771, out of Cumberland County, with Bedford town serving as county seat. Bedford was an important frontier military post and the site of the Whiskey Rebellion. George Washington arrived there in 1794 to oversee some 13,000 troops sent to crush rebel farmers opposing the new whiskey tax, making his headquarters at the 1766 Espy House, still used today. Mineral, sulfur, and "sweet water" springs near Bedford were long used by the native peoples but developed in 1798 with the building of a stone inn. The Bedford Springs Hotel became the area's major attraction as a therapeutic resort for politicians and wealthy tourists. President James Buchanan made it his summer White House. The hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, closed in 1986, then extensively renovated and reopened in 2007.

Bedford County had no newspapers until 1805 when Charles McDowell arrived from Lancaster, where he had produced a newspaper called the Hive. Seeking his fortune and laden with a small printing press, McDowell turned up during a bitter election contest between Governor Thomas McKean and Simon Snyder. McDowell printed some materials for the McKean campaign and stayed to launch the Bedford Gazette as a Federalist weekly on September 21, 1805. McDowell sold the paper on September 1, 1832, to George W. Bowman, a Virginia native described in the Gazette's centennial edition (September 21, 1906) as "thorough Jacksonian Democrat" wielding "a vigorous pen" in fierce editorials. Bowman was followed by Benjamin Franklin Meyers, only 24 when he became an editor of the Gazette in August 1857. Meyers was co-editor with George W. Benford, from Somerset, who retired in July 1859. Meyers went on to run both the Gazette and the Harrisburg Morning Patriot and Weekly Patriot (starting in 1868), until leaving Bedford in April 1874 to focus on the Daily Morning Patriot. The Gazette's centennial edition called Meyers' writings "earnestly aggressive" during the Civil War period and "dark days of reconstruction," but his vitriolic editorials and "news" articles vilifying Lincoln and abolition and defending the South make for difficult reading today.

Under the slogan of "Freedom of Thought and Opinion," the Gazette's appearance changed little over the decades, despite many changes in management. Coverage of the mineral springs (the biggest sensation in a town of only 1,200-1,300 people) is interesting. The August 14, 1857, issue reported that, "On Saturday last Mr. Buchanan... stopped at the Bedford Hotel and left on Tuesday. His health was much improved by his stay at the Springs, his old favorite summer retreat." While there, the President enjoyed a "simple Republican meal" The July 29, 1859, issue of the Gazette reported 600 new arrivals in Bedford, including J. Edgar Thomson, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The Bedford Gazette exists today as a daily (except Sunday) paper. It is the oldest newspaper continuously published in Pennsylvania.

Provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA