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The Vermont watchman. [volume] : (Montpelier, Vt.) 1883-1911
Alternative Titles:
  • Vermont watchman & State journal
  • Watchman & journal
Place of publication:
Montpelier, Vt.
Geographic coverage:
  • Montpelier, Washington, Vermont  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1911 .
  • Vol. 78--4000, no. 35 (June 13, 1883)-
  • English
  • Montpelier (Vt.)--Newspapers.
  • Vermont--Montpelier.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01208013
  • Vermont--Newspapers.
  • Vermont--Washington County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01221123
  • Vermont.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204305
  • Washington County (Vt.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Also published in a daily ed. during sessions of the legislature called: Montpelier daily journal.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Has occasional supplements.
  • Vol. 106, no. 68 (December 15, 1910); website, viewed April 13, 2020
sn 86071719
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The Vermont watchman. [volume] June 13, 1883 , Image 1


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Vermont watchman and State journal and The Vermont watchman

The Vermont Watchman had its origins in the Vermont Precursor, a weekly paper founded by Clark Brown in Vermont's new capital city of Montpelier in 1806. Brown relinquished the paper a year later to printer Samuel Goss, who published it under a new name, the Watchman. In 1810, Goss sold it to his brother Mark and one of his former apprentices, Ezekial P. Walton. Mark Goss left the Watchman in 1817.

Walton and his son, Eliakim P. Walton, owned and edited the Watchman until 1868. Under their direction, it was an influential and widely read publication. Walton changed the paper's name three times. It became the Vermont Watchman in 1822, the Vermont Watchman and State Gazette in 1826, and the Vermont Watchman and State Journal in 1836, after Walton acquired the anti-Masonic State Journal. The Watchman featured political news, editorial opinions, and speeches. Distributed statewide, the paper was strongly antislavery. It supported the National Republican Party, the Whig Party, and then the Vermont Republican Party, which the Waltons helped found. More general news, literature, agricultural reports, and miscellaneous matter gradually replaced the extensive political content.

A second father-and-son team, Joseph Poland and J. Monroe Poland, succeeded the Waltons as owners and editors in 1868. They increased the Watchman's circulation and included local news from central Vermont communities.

The Polands transferred ownership of the Watchman to a young newspaperman from Maine, William W. Prescott, in 1882. Prescott shortened the paper's name, modernized the printing equipment, and expanded the weekly to eight pages filled with more local news. Although the Watchman prospered during Prescott's brief tenure, his editorial opinions, reform campaigns, and independent political views sparked controversy. Prescott left the newspaper business in 1885, and the Watchman's next publisher was one of his critics. A conservative Republican, D. Webster Dixon promised to "make the Watchman … what it was under those able and veteran editors Walton and Poland," but he then put the paper up for sale in 1888. The Watchman Publishing Company consolidated the Watchman and the Rural Vermonter, an agricultural weekly. Former editor Arthur Ropes returned to the Watchman, and he became the sole proprietor in 1897. After Ropes died in 1905, several different companies continued to publish the Watchman, possibly until 1911; the last surviving issue is from December 15, 1910.

The Watchman maintained a long tradition of providing information about best practices for farmers. The paper regularly shared practical advice about a range of agricultural matters, frequently reprinting articles from other publications. When the Polands acquired the paper in 1868, they promised contributions from real farmers, and in 1882 Prescott proclaimed that "the farm will hold the front rank." The farmer-editors responsible for the weekly agricultural department during the late 19th century included Joseph W. Colburn, John Gregory, and Orville M. Tinkham. The most notable was horticulturalist Dr. Thomas H. Hoskins, the former publisher and editor of the Vermont Farmer. Hoskins was the Watchman's agricultural editor from 1875 to 1894, except for a brief period when he joined the Rural Vermonter.

Provided by: University of Vermont