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The Somerset herald and farmers' and mechanics' register. [volume] : (Somerset, Pa.) 183?-1852
Alternative Titles:
  • Farmers' and mechanics' register
  • Somerset herald
Place of publication:
Somerset, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Somerset, Somerset, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J. Row
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1852?
  • English
  • Pennsylvania--Somerset.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214353
  • Somerset (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: New ser., v. 1, no. 37 (Aug. 1, 1843).
sn 83025917
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The Somerset herald and farmers' and mechanics' register. [volume] December 2, 1845 , Image 1


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The Somerset Herald and Farmers' and Mechanics' Register

Somerset County lies near the Mason-Dixon Line, but because of its altitude is one of the snowiest inhabited places in the United States. The highest point in Pennsylvania, Mount Davis (3,213 feet), is in the southern part of the county, and the town of Somerset has the highest elevation (2,190 feet above sea level) of any Pennsylvania county seat.  Named after Somersetshire in England, Somerset was formed on April 17, 1795, from the western part of Bedford County. The region’s forested hills and many waterways were crossed by the Forbes Road, created for that general’s expedition to Fort Pitt in 1758.  The area had been the site of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, when farmers accustomed to selling their grain in the form of whiskey deeply opposed being taxed for the first time by the federal government.

James Whitcomb Riley, the renowned “Hoosier Poet,” passed through Somerset County once on his way to Indiana, and the beautiful landscape inspired his famous 1888 poem, “'Mongst the Hills o' Somerset,” in which he “Wisht I was a-roamin' yet!” A settlement named Brunerstown was laid out in 1787, replaced by the county seat of Somerset in 1795, conveniently located on the turnpike road from Bedford to Pittsburgh (now state route 31). Much of the town of Somerset was destroyed by fire in 1833, and most of the 30-acre downtown was devastated in a blaze in 1872. A large part of the town was rebuilt and appears on the National Register of Historic Places.

Historically, the county’s largest economic bases included bituminous coal mining (with violent strikes in 1903, 1906, and 1922), farming, lumbering, and maple sugar harvesting.  Coal mining and timbering were actively pursued as early as the 1770s but boomed only after the arrival of the railroad in 1871; by the 1880s there were seven active rail lines through the county. Coal mining and timbering eventually waned, and the next economic boost to the county came with the arrival of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 1940.

Founded in the 1830s, the Somerset Herald and Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Register was a four-page periodical published weekly on Tuesday, of the Whig and later the Republican political persuasion. The Herald was typical of country newspapers of the time, consisting mainly of reprinted news and feature articles from other state and national newspapers, local advertising and county legal notices, but containing no editorials and little local news beyond occasional marriage and death notices. The “mechanics” part of the title refers to the contemporary definition, meaning an artisan, a worker making wares, goods, furniture, etc.

Jonathan Row, editor-publisher of the Herald from 1842 to 1850, had edited a German-language newspaper in Greensburg in Westmoreland County, before purchasing the Herald.  In June 1847, he turned the Herald over to his son, Samuel J. Row, who promised to “continue to advocate the measures of the great Whig party of the Union,” known in Somerset County at the time as the Antimasonic and Whig Party. The Somerset Herald and Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Register was succeeded in 1852 by the Somerset Herald and Whig.

Provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA