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The River Falls journal. : (River Falls, Pierce County, Wis.) 1857-1861
Place of publication:
River Falls, Pierce County, Wis.
Geographic coverage:
  • River Falls, Pierce, Wisconsin  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • River Falls, Saint Croix, Wisconsin  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
L.A. & H.A. Taylor
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 13, 1857)-v. 4, no. 33 (Feb. 27, 1861).
  • English
  • River Falls (Wis.)--Newspapers.
  • Wisconsin--River Falls.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206049
  • Also available on microfilm from The State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Editors: L.A. & H.A. Taylor, June 13, 1857-Aug. 25, 1858; L.A. Taylor, Sept. 1, 1858-Feb. 27, 1861.
  • Publisher varies.
sn 86086437
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The River Falls journal. June 13, 1857 , Image 1


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The River Falls Journal, Prescott Journal, River Falls Journal, and The River Falls Times

The first issue of The River Falls Journal was published on June 13, 1857 and described its publishing location, the surrounding land, agricultural potential, lumber, water, and much more to paint a detailed picture of what was then the Western frontier. The town was still young and its population small; the 1860 census recorded a population of 272. The first sawmill opened in 1854, followed by a brickyard, a blacksmith shop, and four flour mills. River Falls reached the height of its early industrial growth between 1872 and 1885. Because it was not located near a navigable river, the city's expansion relied on railroad construction. Growth was curtailed only by the decline of the wheat market in 1882.

As the Journal reported on the developments of its surroundings, the editors had clear political convictions: "In politics, we shall advocate those principles which are now upheld by the Republican Party." They also voiced their support of the Temperance movement in an effort to "promote public morals, popular education and […] the welfare of society." In 1894, The River Falls Times, published by Alphonzo T. Churchill, became the Democratic counterpart to the Journal. It remained an alternative weekly news source until the two publications were merged in 1933.

Initially, the Journal was run by brothers Lute A. and Horace A. Taylor. The latter would go on to own the Hudson Star and Times and the Wisconsin State Journal, as well as become active in Wisconsin politics. On February 27, 1861, Lute Taylor, now the sole proprietor, announced a "recess" for the Journal. He moved his newspaper business to the neighboring town and began publishing the Prescott Journal the same year. The new publication followed the same ideals as its predecessor and claimed to have gained the largest subscription list in northwestern Wisconsin by November 1868 when it was purchased by Rockwell J. Flint and Edwin H. Weber. Although the two experienced printers now worked in Prescott, their ties to their previous place of residence, Portage, remained. In 1869, the editors of The Wisconsin State Register accused Flint and Weber of stealing a saddle cut from their printing office in Portage and invited them to return the missing part. The tongue-in-cheek exchange between the editors of the two newspapers was printed in the Journal late July into August 1869.

In July 1871, Flint and Weber discontinued their publication for economic reasons: "when there are opportunities to make more than a 'living,' it behooves all people to embrace them." The following year the River Falls Journal made an appearance again in its original location, where it remained until 2019. For many years the revived Journal was published by members of the Morse family beginning with father and son, Abner and Calvin Randall Morse in 1872, followed by Stanley Randall Morse in 1911, and finally by Stanley's wife Laura in 1925.

Provided by: Wisconsin Historical Society