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The Potter journal. [volume] : (Coudersport, Pa.) 1857-1872
Alternative Titles:
  • Potter County journal
Place of publication:
Coudersport, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Coudersport, Potter, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Thos. S. Chase
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 10, no. 1 (May 28, 1857)-v. 24, no. 21 (Dec. 11, 1872).
  • English
  • Coudersport (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Pennsylvania--Coudersport.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01277666
  • "Republican," <1857>.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Editor: Thomas S. Chase, <1857>.
  • Publishers: Thomas S. Chase, <1857>; M.W. McAlarney, <1865>.
  • Suspended Mar. 28-June 6, 1861.
sn 86081096
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Succeeding Titles:
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The Potter journal. [volume] May 28, 1857 , Image 1


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The People's Journal, The Potter Journal and The Potter Journal and News Item

Potter County, Pennsylvania, adjacent to New York State, was one of six new counties extracted from Lycoming County in 1804. Coudersport was named county seat in 1807, but judicial affairs remained in Lycoming and then McKean County until September 1835, when Potter became fully organized. The new county's name was to be Sinnemahoning, after one of its creeks, but the legislature chose to honor General James Potter, a Revolutionary War hero from southern Pennsylvania. Potter County notably contains the headwaters of the Ohio, Mississippi, and St. Lawrence Rivers, and Chesapeake Bay. Its dense forests of white pine, hemlock, and hardwoods drew the first settlers, with lumbering the major occupation until the hillsides were denuded by the early 20th century. Coudersport's acreage was owned in the late 1700s by the Ceres Land Company, a consortium of Dutch and French speculators represented by John Keating in Philadelphia. The name honors Keating's friend, Amsterdam banker Jean Samuel Coudrec. In 1850, Coudersport numbered 234 souls, growing to 471 by 1870.

The weekly Potter County Journal was started on January 1, 1848, by William W. McDougall, who left in 1853 to found the Wellsboro Agitator. Edwin Haskell succeeded McDougall, in partnership with John S. Mann, a Chester County lawyer and Quaker. Mann's Coudersport home was a station on the Civil War-era Underground Railroad, a safe haven for slaves en route to Canada. Under Haskell and Mann the newspaper became the People's Journal. Haskell left in fall 1854, and McDougall returned to the Journal from Wellsboro. Thomas Sills Chase was owner as of May 28, 1857, and editorialized, "We have changed the name again, rather, restored its first one, leaving out County, which was useless, and made the head too long, and gave it a crowded appearance." He vowed to "labor for the overthrow of the Slave power, as the worst enemy this Nation ever had to contend with."

The Potter County Journal began as part of the Free Soil movement, a political party opposing the extension of slavery into the western territories, calling for "free men on free soil." Its adherents were largely absorbed into the new Republican Party of 1854. The Potter Journal promoted Republicanism but still called itself "one of the oldest free-soil papers in the northern tier of counties." Articles in May 1858 welcomed "a very acceptable class of immigrants - a class which it most needs of all others - Farmers. A large proportion are Germans, with enough money to get the unimproved lands into cultivation." Agricultural advice and market reports to interest the new farmers began to appear, along with marriages, deaths, and other personal news.

In June 1861 the newspaper was purchased by Mathias Wilson McAlarney, who announced, "We are Republicans - uncompromisingly so." William W. Thompson and Vesta French Dyke published the Journal as of 1868. John Mann returned in 1870 and changed the name to the Potter Journal and News Item in 1872 with the acquisition of the Potter County Item. Mann was succeeded in 1874 by Coudersport native David Wilmot Butterworth, and the title reverted back to the Potter Journal. The newspaper endured under various names until 1969.

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