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Huntington independent. [volume] : (Huntington, W. Va.) 1871-1874
Place of publication:
Huntington, W. Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Huntington, Cabell, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
O.G. Chase
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 3, no. 38 (Jan. 8, 1874).
  • Began in Aug. 1871.
  • English
  • Huntington (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • West Virginia--Huntington.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01202938
  • Also available online.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from U.M.I.
  • Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 22 (Sept. 19, 1872).
sn 84026809
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Huntington independent. [volume] April 24, 1873 , Image 1


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Huntington Independent

The Huntington Independent owed its existence to Owen Gerhard Chase, who arrived in Cabell County by riverboat in 1871. A physician and Civil War veteran of the 9th West Virginia Infantry, Chase had decided to try his hand at the newspaper business. His timing was fortuitous. The development of local coalfields, the arrival of railroads, and the bustling commerce of the Ohio River ushered in a wave of industrial and population growth in the region. Chase began publication of The Independent in Guyandotte in 1871, but quickly moved operations to Huntington upon its incorporation later that year.

Published every Thursday from its offices on 2nd Avenue, the Huntington Independent constituted the town's first newspaper. Its four pages provided local readers with a variety of local and national news, supplemented by occasional updates from local correspondents. Like most of Huntington's early newspapers, the Independent firmly supported the town's industrial development. The paper enjoyed a circulation of approximately 550, but boasted in the first issue of Volume 3 that it was "read in every hamlet and house along the line of the busy [Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad]." An annual subscription cost $2.00.

Chase was a Republican (he even ran for mayor, unsuccessfully, in 1871), and he occasionally sparred with the rival Democratic The Huntington Argus, especially the Argus's first editor Samuel Pike. Several break-ins of the Independent's office, possibly by persons associated with the Argus, exacerbated the feud. Pike's removal as the Argus's editor cooled matters, and the Independent opined on political matters less frequently.

In May 1873, Chase sold his interest in the Independent to John Jay Gilbert. Chase confessed in the May 23rd issue that he was "over worked, and could not give the requisite attention so absolutely necessary to the success of a live newspaper." Chase thought well of Gilbert, who had prior editorial experience with the Argus. Gilbert promised in the paper to make the Independent "free, outspoken and fair." For a brief time in the summer of 1873, perhaps due to illness experienced by Gilbert, prominent local citizen and former Confederate veteran W. S. Downer briefly managed the Independent.

In January 1874, the Huntington Independent and the Cabell County Press merged to become the Huntington Advertiser. Both Gilbert and Downer continued their involvement with the Advertiser, which embraced Democratic politics and continued publication into the twentieth century.

Provided by: West Virginia University