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About The weekly Caucasian. (Lexington, Lafayette County, Mo.) 1866-1875
Lexington, Lafayette County, Mo. (1866-1875)
- The weekly Caucasian. : (Lexington, Lafayette County, Mo.) 1866-1875
- Place of publication:
- Lexington, Lafayette County, Mo.
- Geographic coverage:
- Julian, Allen & Co.
- Dates of publication:
- Ceased in 1875.
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (Apr. 25, 1866)-
- Lexington (Mo.)--Newspapers.
- Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
- sn 85033995
- Succeeding Titles:
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- First Issue Last Issue
The Weekly Caucasian
Published in Lexington, Missouri, the first issue of the Weekly Caucasian appeared on April 25, 1866. The paper was a continuation of the Lexington Weekly Express and Union and the Lexington Weekly Union, which was the first paper in Lexington after the start of the Civil War. The Union was started in 1862 by Samuel S. Earl and Henry K. Davis. The paper changed editors and proprietors numerous times before Henry Davis became sole owner and changed its name to the Weekly Caucasian, the third and last name change the paper made before ceasing publication and consolidating with the Lexington Weekly Intelligencer in 1875.
The Caucasian was a weekly 4-page paper that was pro-White, pro-South, and Democratic in its politics. The Caucasian was known for its provocative editorials, and the first editorial published on April 25, 1866, clearly illustrates what patrons could expect:
The intention and desire of the proprietors is to render the paper a valuable and welcome visitor in the hands of all who may favor it with their patronage - valuable not merely because of its political proclivities, but for much that makes up the aggregate of a well-conducted newspaper.... We shall constantly call upon our friends; whether of one side or another to come up to the polls and vote down, and vote out of power, those now holding sway. This is a duty, not only to themselves, but to their neighbors, and to the country itself. Ballots are more potent than bayonets and if the prerogative is a long neglected, the yoke of the tyrant may be so firmly fixed upon our necks that no power will be able to shake it off, or disenthrall the people from it.
Under the leadership of Col. Peter "Pat" Donan, the Caucasian became known for its "red hot" editorial style. Donan had come to the paper in 1869 after working at the Missouri Vindicator in St. Joseph and the Metropolitan Record and New York Vindicator in New York City. Donan remained editor of the Caucasian until 1875, despite conflicts with his fellow editors and other staff members. Jacob M. Julian, who had co-edited the paper with Donan, published on February 25, 1871, a valedictory with the following remarks: "Circumstances over which I could have no control forced this separation and this leaves taking. It had been known for a long time to many friends, that I was not in sympathy with the political editor, that I did not, and could not, endorse either his political course or his peculiar style of composition. I did not feel that either his matter or manner were at all adapted to the time, pleasing or edifying to the people, conductive to good taste or calculated to build up a paper or a great party. "
Donan was known for long, drunken ramblings. In addition to his criticisms of President Ulysses S. Grant and Republican politics generally, he also took issue with babies, religion, and women. Every year, Donan would commemorate the Palmyra Massacre, in which Union forces shot Confederate prisoners of war. Donan's anger over this incident was intensified since one of the victims was a childhood friend Donan brought the Caucasian into the national spotlight during the 1872 presidential elections between Grant and Horace Greeley. Donan took credit for Greeley being nominated on the Liberal Republican ticket and published a special issue of the paper with the well-known headline: "Horace Greeley, the devil or anybody to beat Grant." By April 1872, Donan boasted that the Caucasian had the largest circulation for any country paper in America. However, Harper's Weekly cartoonist Thomas Nast used Donan's connection to defame Greeley and his presidential run.
Donan's personality was complex. Although considered crass and even vicious by his opponents, he was described as kind-hearted and sympathetic by those who knew him. Known for his humor and good fellowship, Donan was "the sort of fellow for whom the Columbia brass band would turn out to give an impromptu, after-midnight, welcome when he was in town visiting fellow-editor Edwin Stephens."
Provided by: State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO