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About Vermont telegraph. (Brandon [Vt.]) 1828-1843
Brandon [Vt.] (1828-1843)
- Vermont telegraph. : (Brandon [Vt.]) 1828-1843
- Alternative Titles:
- Place of publication:
- Brandon [Vt.]
- Geographic coverage:
- Published for the proprietors by E. Maxham
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 30, 1828)-v. 15, no. 52 (Oct. 4, 1843).
- Brandon (Vt.)--Newspapers.
- Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
- Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
- Publisher varies.
- sn 83025661
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- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
In 1828, a joint stock company of “benevolent brethren” started the weekly Vermont Telegraph in Brandon to promote the goals of the Vermont Baptist Convention. From 1828 to 1835, the Telegraph was a denominational organ, providing reprints of sermons, essays on religious topics, and reports on revivals, meetings, and missionary activities. Four Baptist ministers served as editors during this period: Ira M. Allen, Nathan Brown, Warham Walker and Willard Kimball. In 1832, the Telegraph printed a notable series of articles by Baptist William Miller in which he laid out the foundation for his theory of a Second Advent. The paper, particularly under Brown and Walker, included editorials and articles calling for the abolition of slavery, reflecting the church’s principle of liberty for all.
At its annual meetings, the Baptist Convention supported resolutions recognizing the importance of the Telegraph and encouraging Baptists and others to subscribe. In 1828, the Convention anticipated that profits realized from the paper would support its activities, but by 1833 a special committee concluded that money was needed to ensure the paper’s future. Orson S. Murray, a Baptist and an antislavery activist, acquired a majority of the Telegraph’s stock in 1835. As a traveling agent first for the New England Anti-Slavery Society and later for the Vermont Anti-Slavery Society, Murray had reached many Vermonters through lectures and letters to the press. As the publisher and editor of the Telegraph, he hoped to reach a broader audience. In an 1835 prospectus, he assured present and future subscribers that the Telegraph would continue to be a Baptist religious paper. It would also stand against slavery, intemperance, and “all popular evils and crimes of the age,” including licentiousness, war, imprisonment for debt, and capital punishment. Over the years, Murray devoted more space in the paper to reform issues and less space to religious matters. The relationship between Vermont Baptists and the Telegraph became strained when Murray rejected government and organized religion, and he became Vermont’s leading ultraist reformer. The Telegraph served as a forum for a variety of reform ideas, with contributions from like-minded correspondents.
Outside Vermont, leading social reformers welcomed Murray’s articles and editorials, and other reform papers regularly cited and reprinted them. However, in Vermont, many readers canceled their subscriptions, editors of more moderate papers attacked his views, and Murray lost influence with the increasingly political antislavery movement. In 1841, the Vermont Baptist Convention withdrew its support from the Telegraph and started a new paper in Middlebury, the Vermont Baptist Journal. Rev. Henry Crocker’s 1913 history of the Baptist Church in Vermont remembers the infidel Murray as a “breeder of discord and destruction” who “used the columns of the paper to disseminate his pernicious views.” Murray was undeterred by the negative responses, and even before he published the last issue of the Telegraph in 1843, he made plans to start a new paper, the Regenerator, which he published briefly in New York City in 1844 and from 1845 to 1856 in Ohio.
Provided by: University of Vermont