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Oxford Democrat. [volume] : (Paris, Me.) 1833-1933
Place of publication:
Paris, Me.
Geographic coverage:
  • Paris, Oxford, Maine  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • South Paris, Oxford, Maine  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Millett & King
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Aug. 20, 1833)-v. 8, no 11 (Oct. 27, 1840) ; new ser., v. 1, no. 1 (May 11, 1841)-v. 9, no. 32 (Dec. 11, 1849) ; new ser., v. 1, no. 1 (Feb. 12, 1850)-v. 19, no. 52 (Jan. 15, 1869) ; v. 36, no. 1 (Jan. 22, 1869)-v. 100, no. 45 (Nov. 7, 1933).
  • English
  • Maine--Paris.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01285080
  • Maine--South Paris.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01217890
  • Paris (Me.)--Newspapers.
  • South Paris (Me.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Editors: J.G. Cole, 1833-1839; G.W. Millett, 1839-1852; G.F. Emery, 1852-1853; T.H. Brown, 1853-1856; J.J. Perry, 1856-1867; F.E. Shaw, 1867-1874; T.H. Brown, 1874-1876; G.H. Watkins, <1876>.
  • Included a monthly supplement: The Western Mainer, <1970-1973>
  • Merged with: Norway (Oxford County, Me.) advertiser, to form: Norway and Oxford Democrat advertiser.
  • Proprietors: Millett & King, 1833-1834; G.W. Millett, 1834-1850; Millett & Mellen, 1850; Geo. L. Mellen & Co., 1850-1852; Geo. L. Mellen, 1852-1853; Noah Prince et al., 1853-1855; W.A. Pidgin & Co., 1855-1856; Darius Forbes, 1856-1857; W.A. Pidgin & Co., 1857-1867; F.E. Shaw, 1867-1873; F.E. Shaw & Co., 1874; Geo. H. Watkins, 1874-<1876>.
  • Published at South Paris, Me., Nov. 5, 1895-Nov. 7, 1933.
  • Republican.
  • Suspended: Oct. 27, 1840-May 11, 1841; Dec. 11, 1849-Feb. 12, 1850.
sn 83009653
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Oxford Democrat. [volume] January 1, 1850


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Oxford Democrat

The Jeffersonian was a political newspaper published in Paris, Maine, by notable state politician, Hannibal Hamlin beginning in 1827. In 1833, Hamlin moved the paper to Portland, but not before training his apprentices George W. Millett and Octavius King in the trade. They used their knowledge to launch the Oxford Democrat, the longest published newspaper in Oxford County.

The Democratic Party in Maine urged Millett and King to start a regional newspaper. The two men purchased the Oxford Oracle from newspaperman Asa Barton in August 1833. They renamed the four-page weekly the Oxford Democrat and soon moved it from Norway to Paris, where it served for many years as the organ of the state's Democratic Party.

In their second issue Millet and King printed this statement:

We must take the liberty to remind our readers that this paper was established here to support the cause of democracy in this county. We began without subscribers in compliance with a wish expressed from all parts of the county that such a paper should be put in operation here. We cannot continue without subscribers, and shall not. Whatever may be our zeal in the cause, we cannot live upon it.

They did receive the support of the community and published the Democrat for one hundred years until 1933 when it merged with the nearby Norway Advertiser. While Oxford County was sparsely populated and largely agrarian, it was home to over 25 newspapers from the late 1700s-1900s. TheDemocrat eventually changed its political stance and became staunchly Republican. The paper supported Hannibal Hamlin, a Maine Congressman and Governor, who also served as Abraham Lincoln's Vice-President. The Democrat's endorsement was vital to Hamlin being reelected to Congress in 1850.

The state's temperance movement began in the 1820s, gaining ground in 1851 with the passage of the Maine Liquor Law which outlawed alcohol. Prohibition caused an irreparable fracture among Maine's Democrats when the leadership opposed the law and some members bolted from the party. The Oxford Democrat controversially broke with the Democrats and supported temperance. The newspaper claimed that this was the beginning of the growth of the Republican Party in Maine, as Democrats lost their footing.

Mainers took an ethical stance against slavery and supported the Missouri Compromise which dictated a balance between slave and anti-slavery states. However, the Democrat and its readers opposed slavery for economic rather than moral reasons. Adding slave states to the union would, the Democrat said, negatively impact citizens' incomes and the balance of power in Congress. The paper ranted against the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 which repealed the Missouri Compromise. In editorials, the Democrat referred to the legislation as the "Kansas problem" or the "Kansas Swindle."

The Oxford Democrat featured a full page of correspondence pieces that covering news from over 37 Oxford County towns including Bethel, Denmark, Rumford and Albany. In addition to subscriptions of $1.75 per year, single copies of the paper were available for sale in Norway, Buckfield, South Paris, Dixfield, and Fryeburg. The Democrat carried a prominent agricultural column on the first page, along with local, state and national news; classified advertisements, death, marriage, probate and other public notices; and also poetry and general educational pieces. The size of the paper was reduced during the Civil War.

The newspaper had many editors and proprietors over the years. Its first editor, Joseph G. Cole, was a shadow editor because his name was not printed. Cole wrote political pieces favoring the Democrats. Later editors supported the Republicans. The owners of the Democrat included George Mellen & Co., Noah Prince et al., and W.A. Pidgin & Co. Many owners remained unnamed. The last owner was Arthur Forbes, who sold the paper in 1933 to Fred Sanborn of the Norway Advertiser. In 1934, the Oxford Democrat and the Norway Advertiser were merged to create the Advertiser-Democrat which is still in publication to this day.

Provided by: Maine State Library