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Wheeling compiler. [volume] : (Wheeling, Va. [i.e. W. Va.]) 1829-1831
Place of publication:
Wheeling, Va. [i.e. W. Va.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Armstrong & Green
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1831.
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (July 1, 1829)-
  • English
  • West Virginia--Wheeling.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213675
  • Wheeling (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • Also available online.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from Bell and Howell.
  • Publisher varies: Armstrong & Fishers, <1850>.
  • Vol. 2, no. 27 = whole no. 79.
sn 84038587
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Wheeling compiler. [volume] July 1, 1829 , Image 1


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Virginia statesman and Wheeling compiler

A four-page weekly printed from offices on Main Street, the Virginia Statesman first appeared in Wheeling on January 2, 1828. James Green initially established the paper, but he was soon joined by Alexander Armstrong. A veteran newspaperman who published The Wheeling Repository two decades prior, Armstrong provided a valuable infusion of experience and capital. Together, Green and Armstrong produced a newspaper that provided Wheeling's residents with a steady source of local and national news, as well as political affairs. Initially published as the Statesman, in July 1829 the paper rebranded as the Wheeling Compiler; its volume and issue numbers reset with the name change, but otherwise it remained the same paper.

The Statesman reflected the views of both James Green and Alexander Armstrong, an astute politico and former Federalist. The editors held "the strongest repugnance" to Andrew Jackson and his rising influence within the Democratic-Republican Party. Instead, the Compiler lauded such politicians as Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams (future members of the Whig Party), the latter of whom the Statesman supported for president in the 1828 election.

The editors also held sharp views on local Virginia politics. In 1830, Virginia submitted a controversial new constitution for ratification. The Constitution of 1830 denied universal white male suffrage while simultaneously allowing for enslaved persons to count towards population representation; the constitution thus disproportionately favored eastern Virginian counties with large enslaved populations over their western counterparts.

The now-renamed Compiler called for "a rejection of this MONSTER," and indeed, every district west of the Blue Ridge mountains voted against ratification of the constitution. Upon its passage, the Compiler raged "that the people West of the Blue Ridge will be doomed, perpetually, to a mere nominal representation in the councils of the State." Foreshadowing the eventual establishment of West Virginia, the editors noted, "[We] still have, provided the entire West will move unanimously with the counties in this section of the state, one chance left—and that is SEPARATION."

Aside from political matters, the newspaper offered readers a wide assortment of news, information, and entertainment. The front page routinely featured poetry and short pieces of literature to entice browsing readers. Local news, church events, personal notices, local business affairs, the Ohio River's condition and traffic, and plenty of advertisements graced the Compiler's interior pages. International news was likewise reported.

The Statesman-turned-Compiler proved relatively short-lived. In 1830, Green left the printing business. Although Armstrong bought out Green, he struggled to publish the Compiler alone, and Armstrong ceased publication in 1831. It was his last newspaper venture, although he later opened a paper mill in Wheeling, where he lived until his death in 1868.

Provided by: West Virginia University