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Puget Sound weekly Argus. [volume] : (Port Townsend, W.T. [Wash.]) 1876-1882
Alternative Titles:
  • Puget Sound Argus
  • Weekly Puget Sound Argus
Place of publication:
Port Townsend, W.T. [Wash.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Port Townsend, Jefferson, Washington  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
C.W. Philbrick
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 5, no. 45 (January 1, 1876)-v. XII, no. 13 (May 12, 1882).
  • English
  • Port Townsend (Wash.)--Newspapers.
  • Washington (State)--Port Townsend.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01334269
  • Also issued on microfilm from Bell & Howell, Micro Photo Div.; Washington State Library.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 84022761
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Puget Sound weekly Argus. [volume] January 1, 1876 , Image 1


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The weekly Argus, Puget Sound weekly Argus, Puget Sound Argus, and Weekly Puget Sound Argus

In 1850 and 1851 Henry C. Wilson, Alfred Augustus Plummer, Charles Bachelder, Francis William Pettygrove, and Loren Brown Hastings, staked claims in what would become the city of Port Townsend. In 1854 the Port of Entry for the Puget Sound was moved from Olympia to Port Townsend, where it remained until 1913, with the exception of 1862–1866, when it was Port Angeles. Throughout its early history, Port Townsend had a reputation as a rough town, noted by travelers for its large number of saloons and brothels and attendant crime and drunkenness.

Port Townsend had several short-lived newspapers starting in late 1859, before Alfred Benson Pettygrove established the Weekly Argus in 1870. Alfred was the son of Port Townsend founder Francis Pettygrove, and he was born January 3, 1843 in Honolulu, Hawaii as the family made its way to Oregon Territory. Alfred worked at several papers throughout the west before returning to Port Townsend where he founded the Weekly Message. In 1869 Pettygrove sold the Message to Captain Enoch S. Fowler. He purchased the plant of the Steilacoom Puget Sound Herald and began publication of the Weekly Argus on July 21, 1870. Eschewing politics, Pettygrove filled the pages of the Argus with local and national news, as well as facts and stories, both real and fictional, meant to entertain readers. The Argus suspended publication October 31, 1872 after the people of Steilacoom bought back the plant, but it resumed in March 1873 with equipment shipped from San Francisco. Pettygrove's health had been poor since a bout of measles during his teens, and in 1874 he sold the Weekly Argus to Charles W. Philbrick and moved to California. He died in Santa Barbara on April 17, 1878.

Philbrick changed the name of the paper to the Puget Sound Weekly Argus in 1876 and sold it to Allen Weir the next year. Run as an independent under Pettygrove, Weir announced his intention to run the paper under "the broadest and most liberal type of Republicanism" in the May 4, 1877 edition. Born April 24, 1854, Weir was only 23 when he bought the Argus. He had attended the Olympia Collegiate Institute, while working various jobs, including as a type setter for the Olympia Washington Standard and later as editor for the Daily Olympian. Weir was a Republican and temperance advocate in a predominantly Democratic town notorious for its alcohol consumption. Despite this, the Argus remained the most widely circulated Port Townsend paper throughout his time at the helm. During this time the Argus covered many issues important to the territory, including the fight for women's suffrage and anti-Chinese agitation and riots. The paper also cycled through several title variations under Weir, changing to the Puget Sound Argus in May 1882, back to the Puget Sound Weekly Argus a year later, to the Weekly Puget Sound Argus sometime in 1884 or 1885, and back to the Puget Sound Weekly Argus in January 1888. Active in local and territorial politics, Weir served as chief clerk at the 1879 Territorial Legislative Council, Port Townsend Justice of the Peace and Police Judge, and was elected to the upper-house of the Territorial Legislature in 1888. In 1889 he was elected to the State Constitutional Convention in Walla Walla, then as the first Secretary of State.

Weir sold the Argus to William F. Newell, who took over as editor with the February 7, 1889 edition. He promised to continue the Argus as a Republican paper and to be an enthusiastic promoter for Port Townsend. However, the Argus appears to have lasted less than a year under Newell's management. The last known issue appeared in December 1889. Some have suggested that the paper closed as the result of a fire in 1890, but there is no known evidence for this. Instead, the report in the Port Townsend Morning Leader on January 23, 1890 attributed the closure of the Argus to its inability to compete with two other local daily papers.

Provided by: Washington State Library; Olympia, WA