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The campaign. [volume] : (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1866-1866
Place of publication:
Bloomsburg, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Bloomsburg, Columbia, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Stephen H. Miller and Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1866; ceased in 1866?
  • English
  • Bloomsburg (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Pennsylvania--Bloomsburg.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211983
  • Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 3 (Oct. 5, 1866).
sn 85054771
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The campaign. [volume] September 21, 1866 , Image 1


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The Campaign

Columbia County, Pennsylvania, was formed on March 22, 1813, and given one of the poetic names for America. The original county seat was Danville, but after years of protests from citizens in the eastern part of the county who found the location inconvenient, the matter was put to a vote in 1845. Voters chose Bloomsburg, a town less than 10 miles northeast of Danville, and the seat of justice was moved there.

The voters’ choice also was the founding purpose of  the Campaign, a single-page, two-sided weekly newspaper in Bloomsburg that published only four issues in September and October 1866, leading up to the countywide election on October 9.  The Campaign’s slogan was “The Ticket, the Whole Ticket, and Nothing but the Ticket.” The editor, Ephraim H. Little, a Bloomsburg attorney and Columbia County district attorney from 1856 to 1864, was enraged at what he perceived as skullduggery among the local Democrats and decided a new publication was needed to set things straight.

Circumstances seem to render this enterprise necessary,” Little wrote in the Campaign’s first issue on September 21, 1866. “A sharp and giddy crisis has unexpectedly presented itself. On the eve of an important election, when our nominations were all made, our ticket completely formed, and the Democratic Party marshaling for the conflict, we woke up in the morning and found that we were without an organ at the county seat. The conductors of the Democratic newspaper at Bloomsburg had conspired with others to sell us out . . . We call upon the Democracy to stand with us in the battle.”

The chicanery involved the seat for the Pennsylvania state legislature representing Columbia and Montour Counties.  Captain Thomas Chalfont of Danville, Montour County, had been chosen as the candidate at the Democratic Party’s county nominating convention. However, supporters of another Democrat, Levi L. Tate of Bloomsburg, began circulating his name on what purported to be the official Democratic ticket.  “The ticket” was a literal, important matter because of how election balloting was conducted at that time. On election day, judges sat at polling places to receive the voters’ tickets--the lists of candidates offered by the political parties of that district--which were printed on ordinary paper and sometimes even appeared in newspapers for voters to clip out and take to the polls. The parties were responsible for printing and distributing the tickets, but it was entirely possible for unofficial candidates, not selected by the nominating conventions, to supply voters with tickets listing themselves for office.

In the October 12th Campaign, Little announced that “the emergency has passed away. Our candidates have been nobly sustained by the Democracy of this county – and the traitors against whom we wrote have been rebuffed and put down in their nefarious schemes.”  Little had officially withdrawn his name on October 5th, the day before the election, and Thomas Chalfont was duly elected to the General Assembly.

Though short in duration and small in size, the Campaign is an intriguing study in 19th century rural Pennsylvania politics.

Provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA