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Du Buque visitor. [volume] : (Dubuque, Lead Mines, Wisconsin Territory) 1836-1837
Alternative Titles:
  • Dubuque visitor
Place of publication:
Dubuque, Lead Mines, Wisconsin Territory
Geographic coverage:
  • Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J. King
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (May 11, 1836)-v. 1, no. 52 [i.e. 53] (May 17, 1837).
  • English
  • Dubuque (Iowa)--Newspapers.
  • Dubuque County (Iowa)--Newspapers.
  • Iowa--Dubuque County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212637
  • Iowa--Dubuque.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01217313
  • 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.
  • Published on Wednesday.
  • Publisher varies.
  • Vol. 1, no. 53 (May 17, 1837) misnumbered v. 1, no. 52.
sn 83025196
Succeeding Titles:
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Du Buque visitor. [volume] May 11, 1836 , Image 1


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Du Buque Visitor and Iowa News

On May 11, 1836, the first newspaper in what would become Iowa Territory published its first issue in Dubuque, a Mississippi River community built around lead mining. The Dubuque Visitor and its successor, the Iowa News, remain among the most important documentary sources of early Iowa history.

John King, the Dubuque Visitor's founder, first arrived in Dubuque in 1833 and partnered with Alexander George in a mining business known as the Bee Branch. King became invested in the growth and success of his new home and actively worked to improve life in the community. To this end, King left the mining business to establish a newspaper, which he thought would unify the region and attract new residents and businesses. King recruited William Jones, an experienced printer from Ohio, and Andrew Keesecker, a printing assistant and editorial writer from nearby Galena, Illinois, to join him in the new Dubuque office.

In the Visitor's prospectus, King wrote, "We confidently assure the public, that our paper shall not be diverted under any consideration, from an impartial, independent, and honorable course, either to puff or traduce any individual; but shall be faithfully devoted to the general paramount interests of the community in which it is to circulate. Its columns will be open to all political essays, if penned in the spirit of free inquiry." Despite these aims, conflicting political views shaped much of the Visitor's first year of publication.

After about three months, political differences led Jones to resign, and the Visitor published an ad seeking "any journeyman printer of good moral habits" to replace him. Not long after, the political opinions King was promoting began to draw complaints from subscribers, and by the end of the year, financial difficulties led King to sell the paper to William C. Chapman. The latter was a strongly partisan voice in support of Andrew Jackson and often at odds with subscribers and the general political climate of the community. Chapman's tenure at the paper was short lived, and he soon sold the business to William H. Turner. Turner saw the paper through the completion of its first year, returning to the principles and intent of King's original prospectus. King returned to the Visitor in 1837, partnering with William W. Coriell and John B. Russell to purchase it from Turner and changing the name to the Iowa News.

The Iowa News encountered financial difficulties and changes in ownership over the following years; circumstances which occasionally interrupted publication. The paper was suspended from October 14 to November 15, 1837; March 7 to April 28, 1840; and January 26 to May 29, 1841; before finally ceasing publication the following August. Around the same time, the Miners’ Express was established by Lewis A. Thomas. Andrew Keesecker, who had remained with the Dubuque Visitor and Iowa News since coming to Iowa five years earlier, brought his printing expertise to this new publication. He would soon become part owner of the Express, purchasing it from Lewis in partnership with David S. Wilson.

Provided by: State Historical Society of Iowa