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About West Virginia Democrat. [volume] (Charles Town, W. Va.) 1885-1890
Charles Town, W. Va. (1885-1890)
- West Virginia Democrat. [volume] : (Charles Town, W. Va.) 1885-1890
- Place of publication:
- Charles Town, W. Va.
- Geographic coverage:
- West Virginia Pub. Co.
- Dates of publication:
- Began in 1885; ceased in 1890.
- Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 38 (Sept. 25, 1885).
- sn 85059778
- Succeeding Titles:
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
West Virginia Democrat
In 1884, several prominent businesspeople in Charles Town, West Virginia organized the West Virginia Publishing Company. The company's goal was to establish a weekly newspaper in Charles Town for the benefit of its citizens and business interests. On January 9, 1885, the first issue of the West Virginia Democrat hit the streets of Charles Town. Every Friday for the next five years, the newspaper offered citizens a constant source of both news and Democratic politics for three cents an issue (or a one dollar annual subscription).
The Democrat's initial editors were David S. Eichelberger and Everett W. Bedinger, Jr., members of the West Virginia Publishing Company. Both men had prior printing and editorial experience: Eichelberger with the Martinsburg Statesmen and Bedinger, Jr. with the Roanoke Leader. Around 1887, Eichelberger and Everett passed their editorial duties along to James M. Mason and his son Thomas H. Mason, with Thomas Mason serving as the paper's business manager. Eichelberger later worked for The Valley Virginian in Staunton, Virginia; Bedinger, Jr. published a digest of West Virginia Supreme Court reports.
As its title suggests, the West Virginia Democrat proved an ardent supporter of the Democratic Party and aspired "to be the Organ of the Democracy of West Virginia." Though Democrats constituted the conservative political party of the late nineteenth-century, many Democrats joined Republicans in calling for greater economic regulations on corporations. The West Virginia Democrat reflected this scorn for "the money power" and lambasted the rise of large corporations such as Standard Oil. The Democrat's editors believed the Democratic Party needed to embrace the populist politics of working men. Although the paper enjoyed a relatively healthy circulation of approximately 1,500, the editors lamented their inability to obtain wider statewide circulation and influence. Besides politics, the Democrat provided readers with state and national news. Local affairs, including church updates, court proceedings, and social events also appeared in the paper's columns.
In 1890, Ruthvan W. Morrow assumed control of the West Virginia Democrat and renamed it The Farmers' Advocate. The paper's new title reflected its populist politics and growing affiliation with the Farmers' Alliance, an organization that lobbied for farmers' interest against excessive railroad shipping rates and tariffs on imported goods. Although published with a new title under new editorship, the Advocate continued the issue numeration of its predecessor the Democrat.
Provided by: West Virginia University