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Clearwater Republican. [volume] : (Orofino, Idaho) 1912-1922
Place of publication:
Orofino, Idaho
Geographic coverage:
  • Orofino, Clearwater, Idaho  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
W.C. Foresman
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 28, 1912)-v. 11, no. 5 (Apr. 28, 1922).
  • English
  • Idaho--Orofino.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01221019
  • Orofino (Idaho)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 86091128
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Clearwater Republican. [volume] March 28, 1912 , Image 1


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Clearwater Republican

Orofino, Idaho, meaning "Fine Gold," was founded as a small mining camp in Northern Idaho along the Clearwater River in 1861. It dramatically expanded in 1895 after the lands of the Nez Perce Indian Reservation were opened to white settlement. Orofino developed into a prosperous community, and in 1899 was connected by railroad to the larger town of Lewiston. Beyond their involvement in mining, the citizens of Orofino produced wheat and tobacco, as well as harvesting a bountiful supply of timber from the surrounding Clearwater National Forest. The 1910 census reported the population to be around 400. At this time, only one newspaper existed in the town, the Democratic Orofino Tribune, founded in 1905. On March 28, 1912, William C. Foresman began publishing the Clearwater Republican as an alternative to the Tribune.

In the first issue, Foresman thanked the citizens of Orofino for supporting the new paper, and from the very first issue, the Republican took digs at the Orofino Tribune. The eight-page and five-columnweekly appeared on Thursdays and included news of Clearwater County and the surrounding area of Northern Idaho. At the start of 1913, Foresman sold the Republican to William M. Chandler, a local businessman prominent in insurance, real estate, and bonds. Chandler changed the publishing schedule to Fridays, but continued the rivalry with the Tribune.

In December 1913, Peter LaDow Orcutt, former editor of the Troy Weekly News and the Daily Star-Mirror of Moscow, purchased the Clearwater Republican. Its equipment reportedly sold for $1,000. Orcutt had a fiery personality. He had stood trial in 1912 for fist-fighting with a Republican state senate candidate, Warren Truitt, and had faced civil action for alleged defamation. Orcutt carried his lively temper into his work for the Republican, and the feud with the Tribune became more pronounced under his ownership.

For five years, Orcutt ran the Republican, until his health began to decline, and in January 1919, he sold the newspaper plant and the subscription list to William H. Gillespie. The latter made his daughter, Agnes E. Gillespie, business editor and employed a man named Laruen L. Johnson as managing editor. This trio ran the Republican until February 1922, when Gillespie sold the paper to Johnson and Richard A. Hamilton, a Wyoming man who had been the supervisor of the Clearwater National Forest Service. Johnson and Hamilton continued the Clearwater Republican for two months, and then purchased the rival Orofino Tribune from Isaac R. Crow, who had been its owner for 10 years. Johnson and Hamilton combined the two papers to form the independent Clearwater Tribune on May 5, 1922. The Clearwater Tribune continues to be published up to the present day.

Provided by: Idaho State Historical Society