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The Grand Haven news. [volume] : (Grand Haven, Mich.) 1858-18??
Place of publication:
Grand Haven, Mich.
Geographic coverage:
  • Grand Haven, Ottawa, Michigan  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Barns & Fosha
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Dec. 22, 1858)-
  • English
  • Grand Haven (Mich.)--Newspapers.
  • Michigan--Grand Haven.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01221266
  • Michigan--Ottawa County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214763
  • Ottawa County (Mich.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Issues also called: v. 8, no. 33 (Mar. 5, 1868) = whole no. 449.
  • Publisher varies.
sn 85033622
Succeeding Titles:
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The Grand Haven news. [volume] December 22, 1858 , Image 1


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The Grand Haven News

Grand Haven sits at the mouth of the Grand River, the longest in Michigan, which passes from its headwaters south of Jackson through the state capital of Lansing and Grand Rapids on its way to Lake Michigan. The settlement dates to a French-Native village commonly referred to as "Gabagouache" ("Big Mouth"). The settlement was first called "Grand Haven" on a plat map filed in 1835 with the federal government by Rix Robinson, an agent of John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company. The Treaty of Washington (1836) in which the Ottawa and Chippewa ceded to the United States the northwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan above the Grand River, stimulated the growth of Grand Haven on the river's south bank, as well as Spring Lake and Ferrysburg on the north bank of the Grand. Blessed with a sheltered harbor, Grand Haven became an important port as lumbering and fishing in Michigan dramatically increased to supply material and food to the growing cities of Chicago and Milwaukee.

On December 22, 1858, the Barns twins (James and John W.), previously proprietors of the Grand River Times, joined with a Mr. Fosha to publish the Grand Haven News, a four-page weekly released each Wednesday. The paper was strongly Democratic from the outset. The Detroit and Milwaukee Rail Road had reached the mouth of the Grand River on November 22, 1858. During the first several years, Grand Haven lacked a railroad bridge. Nevertheless the arrival of the railroad on the opposite bank of the Grand River was perceived as an event which transformed the community. The first issue of the Grand Haven News noted that "The D. & M.R.R. has put an end to our solitude. For twenty long, tedious, dreary winters we have been shut up in solitary confinement, for no fault of ours...But now, thanks to steam and the iron horse, we believe we are on the high road to advancement; and we see no reason why we should not become the Milwaukee of Michigan."

By 1861, the Barns brothers were co-owners, and by 1867 John Barns was the sole publisher of the Grand Haven News. The newspaper's offices were twice destroyed by fire, once in 1859 and again in 1866 in a fire which destroyed much of Washington Street. In 1868, Barns sold the paper to John H. Mitchell and a Mr. Mills. The ongoing process of connecting the settlements of Grand Haven and Spring Lake was marked by the completion of the first bridge over the Grand River in 1866, and a railroad bridge in 1870. In July 1876, the Grand Haven News Journal--sometimes also called the Grand Haven News and Journal--was established through a union of the Grand Haven News and the Spring Lake (Weekly) Independent. The News Journal was jointly published by a Mr. Hitchcock and a Mr. Lee until January 1877, when Hitchcock retired. The Independent had supported the Greenback (or Independent) Party; however, after the merger the combined paper became solidly Republican. In 1881, the Grand Haven News Journal was purchased by Hiram Y. Potts, proprietor of the Ottawa County Courier, with which it was combined to form the Grand Haven Courier-Journal. The latter supported Democratic candidates until the election of 1884 and thereafter remained Republican until it folded in 1908.

Provided by: Central Michigan University, Clark Historical Library