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North Branch democrat. [volume] : (Tunkhannock, Pa.) 1854-1867
Place of publication:
Tunkhannock, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Tunkhannock, Wyoming, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
D.A. Yarington & J.V. Smith
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Feb. 15, 1854)- ; -new ser. v. 6, no. 50 (July 31, 1867).
  • English
  • Pennsylvania--Tunkhannock.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01229004
  • Tunkhannock (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • In 1861 publisher started a new numbering.
  • Published every Wednesday.
  • Publishers: Chase & Day <Sept. 2, 1857>; Harvey Sickler <Apr. 19, 1865>.
sn 86081912
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North Branch democrat. [volume] August 13, 1862 , Image 1


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North Branch Democrat and Wyoming Democrat

Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania was the territory that the Susquehanna and Delaware Companies of Connecticut bought in 1754 from the Iroquois. Those lands are now in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties., Created in 1842 out of Luzerne County, Wyoming County forms the northern opening of the valley. The resident Delaware Indians called the valley "M'chwewormink,"(extensive plains) which early Connecticut settlers shortened and mispronounced into "Waioming," and this later became the name of the new county. Tunkhannock, 30 miles from Wilkes-Barre, became the county seat. A creek nearby was named Tunkhannock, Lenape for "bend-in-the-river place." The North Branch of the Susquehanna River crosses Wyoming County, but the North Branch Democrat's name refers not to the river but to a major regional news event when the paper was founded: a proposed canal extension from Pittston (Luzerne County) to the New York State line.

The Wyoming Democrat had recently failed in Tunkhannock, and the North Branch Democrat was launched on February 15, 1854, to fill the gap. At the time, the county's economy was based on lumbering, and Tunkhannock had 561 residents in the 1850 census. The North Branch Democrat withstood ten different editors in the nearly eight years since its founding until summer 1861, when DeWitt Clinton Kitchen, a New York native and Mexican War veteran, tried his hand in managing the paper. However, Kitchen's tenure with the North Branch Democrat was short-lived; he produced only four issues before selling the paper to Harvey Sickler, a native of Luzerne County.

The North Branch Democrat's nameplate stated, "To speak his thoughts is every freeman's right"(wrongly attributing Homer's saying to Jefferson), and Sickler fully exercised his privilege. "The war between the two newspapers published here, the Republican [i.e., the Wyoming Republican managed by Mr. [Ira] Avery, and the Democrat, published by Harvey Sickler, was as fierce and uncompromising as that staged by the government against the States in rebellion," according to an article titled "arly Wyoming County Newspapers" inThe Historical Record A Quarterly Publication Devoted Principally to the Early History of Wyoming Valley(1896).

In his first issue, August 14, 1862, Sickler applauded President Lincoln's refusal to accept two regiments of "colored" troops offered by the State of Indiana, calling it a "good answer to the abolition negro equality humbugs." This issue of the Democrat also listed local recruits who had departed the previous week, among them the former editor, D.C. Kitchen. In addition to Sickler's commentaries, the four-page Democrat included the usual fiction, poetry, and news oddities common to country weeklies of the time, along with official county notices, but little business or local news other than deaths and marriages.

The North Branch Democrat was enlarged in page size and its name changed to the Wyoming Democrat beginning August 7, 1867, with Sickler explaining that North Branch, in its current usage, was no longer specific to Tunkhannock or Wyoming County, "but to the River, from Northumberland, where it forms a junction with the West Branch, to Athens, or Tioga point." Sickler remained editor of the newspaper until July 1871.

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