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Watertown leader. [volume] : (Watertown, Jefferson County, Wis.) 1909-1911
Alternative Titles:
  • Watertown weekly leader
  • Weekly leader
Place of publication:
Watertown, Jefferson County, Wis.
Geographic coverage:
  • Watertown, Dodge, Wisconsin  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Watertown, Jefferson, Wisconsin  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
P.H. Swift
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 49, no. 25 (Feb. 12, 1909)-v. 52, no. 19 (Dec. 29, 1911).
  • English
  • Watertown (Wis.)--Newspapers.
  • Wisconsin--Watertown.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212850
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from The State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Publisher: W.L. Swift: July 7-December 29, 1911.
sn 85040722
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Watertown leader. [volume] February 12, 1909 , Image 1


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Watertown Republican, Watertown Weekly Leader, Weekly Watertown Leader, Watertown Leader, Watertown Weekly Leader and The Watertown News

Watertown straddles the border between Wisconsin's Jefferson and Dodge counties. The first white settlers appeared in 1836, attracted to the rapids in the Rock River, which supplied power to mills. Watertown became a transportation hub with the completion of the Milwaukee-Watertown plank road in 1853 and the railroad in 1855. It grew to be the second largest city in Wisconsin by the mid-1850s, buoyed by a large influx of German settlers. Watertown was home to the unique Octagon House (1854), the first kindergarten in the country, the Turner movement, and the Wisconsin Dairyman’s Association, marking the start of commercial dairying in the state.

Launched on June 15, 1860, theRepublican was Watertown's fifth newspaper; the first, the Watertown Chronicle, was established in 1847. The Republican provided an alternate political view in the region. Daniel W. Ballou, publisher of The Watertown Democrat, remarked that the Republican

is edited with ability, and [its editor] Mr. [John] Lawton has the capacity and experience requisite for making it a valuable auxiliary in the Republican cause. If his party friends do not give him a hearty, living support, they are undeserving of any organ for all time to come and ought forever to be without one. Watertown should … be not only able but willing to support two English papers and support them well.

By the late 1870s, the Republican had become the largest newspaper in Jefferson County. Its political stance has been described as "Stalwart," having no sympathy for moderate Republicans such as the Carl Schurz's Liberal Reform movement, Mugwumps, or "Half-Breeds." The Republican also covered local events. In February of 1861, it posted the following request: "With a view to making this an interesting local paper and adding to its usefulness as such, we desire to obtain in each town in the county, one or more correspondents, who will communicate facts of interest to the people of their town, or of the county, or indeed to the public in general."

In 1906, theWatertown Republican was succeeded by the Watertown Weekly Leader. The latter went on to change its name numerous times (Weekly Watertown Leader, Watertown Leader, Watertown Weekly Leader, Watertown News) before it was finally absorbed by the Watertown Daily Times in 1919. The first editor of the Republican was John W. Lawton, who was soon joined by Justus T. Moak. In 1862, David T. Lindley replaced Lawton and co-edited the Republican until 1867. Other editors followed: Julius H. Keyes (1867-81), William L. Norris (1881-94), Gratton W. Norris (1894-1901), Charles A. Pettibone (1901-03), Charles W. Lechleidner (1903-04), and C.C. Nettlesheim (1904-05). Patrick H. Swift ran the Leader through 1911. He was followed by Ward L. Swift (1911-13) and Erwin W. Feldschneider (1913-14). Swift returned to co-edit the Leader with Emil Doerr until 1915. H.A. Rogers replaced Swift and served as co-editor until 1917. James P. Holland was the last editor of the Leader before the paper merged with the Watertown Daily Times.

Provided by: Wisconsin Historical Society