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Eastern times. [volume] : (Bath, Me.) 1846-1857
Place of publication:
Bath, Me.
Geographic coverage:
  • Bath, Sagadahoc, Maine  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
John T. Gilman
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 12, no. 11 (Sept. 3, 1857).
  • Began in 1846.
  • English
  • Bath (Me.)--Newspapers.
  • Maine--Bath.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01210217
  • Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Democratic.
  • Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 14 (Sept. 30, 1847).
  • Editors: J. Abbot, 1856.
  • EXTRA editions accompany some numbers.
  • Merged with: Northern tribune and weekly mirror, to form: Eastern times and northern tribune.
  • Printer: C.P. Stinchfield, <1856>.
  • Publishers: John J. Ramsay & John T. Gilman, 1846; Joseph T. Huston, <1848>-Mar. 1850; George E. Newman, Mar. 1850-Apr. 1856; Elisha Clarke & Eldridge Roberts, 1857.
sn 82014356
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Eastern times. [volume] March 14, 1850 , Image 1


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Eastern Times

The city of Bath, Maine, which sits on the west side of the Kennebec River 10 miles from the Gulf of Maine, 40 miles up the coast from Portland, just south of the confluence of six rivers known as Merrymeeting Bay, was perfectly situated to be the shipbuilding community it continues to be to this day. The period between 1846 and 1857 – the years when the Eastern Times ran every Thursday morning – was particularly prosperous, as the wooden sailing ships constructed there were purchased by buyers the world over and the population of Bath grew from about 5,000 to about 8,000, only slightly less than it was at the 2020 census. Bath was a town then, incorporated in 1781 when it split from Georgetown, and part of Lincoln County. Bath incorporated as a city in 1847, and in 1854 it became the seat of the newly formed Sagadahoc County, which is Maine's smallest county by area. Its name is derived from an Abenaki word meaning "river mouth."

The 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s were a period of political realignments and newspaper consolidations in Bath. The predecessor of the Eastern Times was the Maine Enquirer, founded in 1842 by John T. Ramsay and not to be confused with the Maine Inquirer or the Gazette and Inquirer, which were published in Bath in the 1820s and 1830s. The Enquirer (like the Inquirer) was a Democratic paper in a town where members of that party were outnumbered two-to-one. In 1846, the name of Enquirer changed to the Eastern Times, and it was sold to John T. Gilman, a well-liked editor in the town. Gilman soon sold the Eastern Times but did not quit the newspaper business in Bath: in 1857, he founded another Democratic paper, the People's Organ, which eventually acquired the Northern Tribune, a successor to the Gazette and Inquirer whose publishers had by then acquired the office and materials of the defunct Eastern Times and formed the Northern Tribune and Eastern Times. In the 1860s, Gilman was the founding printer/editor of the Portland Daily Press, a leading Republican newspaper.

In 1847, Gilman sold the paper to former Navy mathematics professor Joseph F. Huston, who sold it less than three years later to George E. Newman. Newman had worked on the Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Gazette with his brother Thomas, and now Thomas came to work on the Eastern Times with George. According to the 1872 History of the Maine Press, "The paper [then] was strongly identified with what was known as the Hubbard interest" (i.e., Democratic, after Governor John Hubbard of Hallowell, famous for his 1851 signing of the "Maine Law," one of the first temperance laws in the U.S., which lost him the support of his party). The paper changed hands one more time, to "Long John" Abbot, briefly in 1856, before being folded into Eldridge Roberts and Elisha Clarke's Northern Tribune and Eastern Times. That paper, whose lineage reached back to the Democratic Inquirer, also reached back to the Whig Bath Daily Tribune and Bath Daily Mirror. Nearly every paper in Bath, including the Northern Tribune and Eastern Times, ultimately consolidated under the American Sentinel, which had been founded in 1854 to be the voice of the American "Know Nothing" Party.

Provided by: Maine State Library