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Bradford reporter. [volume] : (Towanda, Pa.) 1844-1884
Place of publication:
Towanda, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Towanda, Bradford, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
E.S. Goodrich & Son
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in Dec. 1884?
  • Vol. 4, no. 44 (Apr. 10, 1844)-
  • English
  • Bradford County (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Pennsylvania--Bradford County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01209433
  • Pennsylvania--Towanda.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212037
  • Towanda (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Democratic, 1844-<1853>; Free Soil, <1848-1853>; Republican, <1876>.
  • Editors: E. O'Meara Goodrich, <1848-1876>; S.W. Alvord, <1876>.
  • Publishers: E.O. & H.P. Goodrich, 1845-1847; E.S. Goodrich & Son, <1847>; E. O'Meara Goodrich, <1848-1853>; S.W. Alvord, <1876>.
sn 84024558
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Bradford reporter. [volume] October 28, 1854 , Image 1


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Bradford Reporter

Bradford County, Pennsylvania, situated on the New York border, was created on February 21, 1810, out of Lycoming and Luzerne Counties, and originally named Ontario. The name became Bradford in 1812, honoring William Bradford (1755-1799), first attorney-general of Pennsylvania and successful mediator of a controversy between Pennsylvania and Connecticut over land titles in northeastern Pennsylvania. Part of the disputed region thus came to bear his name.

Towanda, on the Susquehanna River, became the county seat in 1810. It occupies a slope 741 feet above sea level at one end, rising to 1,400 feet at the other. In his 1886 History of the Towandas, Clement F. Heverly praised Towanda’s residences that “recall to the mind visions of the celebrated hanging gardens of ancient Babylon.” Towanda was called Williamston or Meansville (after settler William Means) until becoming a borough in 1828. The name may be a variant of Tawandeunk, a Nanticoke Indian word meaning “where we bury our dead,” or from Tonawanda, “swift water.” By 1900 Towanda was highly industrialized, with foundries, planing and silk mills, and glass and furniture factories.  The population was 1,171 in 1850, peaking in 1900 at 4,463 residents.

Elisha Sheldon Goodrich (1801-1862) founded the Bradford Porter, and Weekly Visitor  in 1840 as a Democratic newspaper supporting Gov. David Porter. Disenchanted with Porter, Goodrich changed the name in 1844 to Bradford Reporter. His son, Elnathan O’Meara Goodrich (1824-1881), joined the paper in 1843 and assumed full control in 1846, by which time the Reporter had become the official organ of the Bradford Democratic Party.  

David Wilmot, a Towanda lawyer before election to the House of Representatives, is famed for sponsoring the Wilmot Proviso, an August 8, 1846, addendum to a bill financing the Mexican War aftermath. The proviso prohibited slavery in any new territories won from Mexico.  It failed to pass, but galvanized public opinion and is considered a major factor leading to the Civil War. Wilmot, who left the Democrats and helped to form the new Republican Party, became a hero to many, including E. O. Goodrich.

The Bradford Reporter between 1854 and 1865 is a microcosm of contemporary U.S. political and cultural affairs. A gifted editorialist, Goodrich deftly examined current events and his own conflicts of conscience. On October 28, 1854, he described the “great and humiliating change” in the Democratic Party, specifically the repeal of the Missouri Compromise by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, thereby permitting the spreading “encroachments of slavery.” Subsequent editorials vividly decried slavery and “the arrogant pretensions of the South,” with increasing dismay over Democratic words and deeds.   

The Republican Party was formed in 1854 by antislavery activists, ex-Whigs, and the short-lived Free Soil Party. By September 1855, Goodrich had fully embraced Republicanism, and the September 8 Reporter urged “Freemen of Bradford County” to meet on September 10 “for the purpose of organizing a Republican Party, and to place in nomination a county ticket to effect a union of Northern forces upon our common platform of Freedom.” Long a loyal Democratic organ, the Reporter had become, wholeheartedly, Republican. The Reporter provided good local news coverage, but its enduring value lies in interpreting the political and social issues of its day.

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