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The Democratic advocate. [volume] : (Westminster, Md.) 1865-1972
Place of publication:
Westminster, Md.
Geographic coverage:
  • Westminster, Carroll, Maryland  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
William H. Davis
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in Sept. 1972?
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Nov. 30, 1865)-
Semiweekly July 24, 1969-
  • English
  • Carroll County (Md.)--Newspapers.
  • Maryland--Carroll County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212001
  • Maryland--Politics and government--Newspapers.
  • Maryland.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204739
  • Politics and government.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01919741
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 85038292
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The Democratic advocate. [volume] November 30, 1865 , Image 1


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The Democratic Advocate

Westminster, Maryland's Democratic Advocate literally rose from the ashes of its predecessor, the Western Maryland Democrat, which fell victim to an angry mob that destroyed its premises and equipment in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln's assassination in April 1865. A few weeks later, the proprietor of the Democrat, Joseph Shaw, met a similar fate when he was attacked and murdered in a hotel in Westminster. In the aftermath of this violence, William H. Davis established the weekly Democratic Advocate in November 1865. A former publisher of the Western Maryland Democrat, Davis had the support of the local Democratic Party, but soon turned operations over to Joseph M. Parke, a lawyer and Democratic office holder. In 1868, William H. Vanderford assumed control of the Democratic Advocate, with his father, Henry Vanderford as editor. The elder Vanderford was a longtime newspaperman who had published the Cecil Democrat in the 1840s. In the 1870s, William's younger brother Charles Vanderford joined the business as a co-editor. An energetic newspaperman, Charles had experience with the Middletown Transcript in Delaware and the Old Commonwealth of Harrisonburg, Virginia.

In contrast to the violent political passions exhibited in the Civil War years, the pages of the Democratic Advocate reflected the more mundane interests of the people of central Maryland in the postwar era. The formation of the Carroll County Agricultural Society and the opening of its handsome fair grounds and racetrack near Westminster in 1869 was an indicator of the importance of modern farming to the economic welfare of the area. Milling was a profitable enterprise connected to agriculture, and the murder of a prominent local miller in 1872 caused a sensation. The repeated trials, appeals, and eventual execution of Joseph W. Davis for this crime filled the pages of the Democratic Advocate and its rival, the American Sentinel. Newspapers in Carroll County also were repositories for contributions by local writers. Often ignored, their amateur poems provided a unique window into the hearts, minds, and concerns of citizens. On a more professional front, higher education in Carroll County received a major boost when Western Maryland College commenced classes in 1867.

The Democratic Advocate continued under the leadership of William H. Vanderford until his death in 1906, at which time it was taken over by the Democratic Advocate Company. From 1906 to 1960, Edward O. Diffendal served as editor was. In 1968, the Democratic Advocate was acquired by and merged into the Carroll County Times.

Provided by: University of Maryland, College Park, MD