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The Wheeling repository. [volume] : (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]) 1807-1808
Place of publication:
Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
A. Armstrong
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 5, 1807)-v. 2, no. 26 (Nov. 5, 1808).
  • English
  • West Virginia--Wheeling.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213675
  • Wheeling (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • "Independent."
  • Also available online.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Editor: Alexander Armstrong.
  • Not published between Aug. 6 and Oct. 8, 1807.
sn 86092519
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The Wheeling repository. [volume] March 5, 1807 , Image 1


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The Wheeling repository

Alexander Armstrong was born the son of Col. James Armstrong, one of the founders of Washington County, Pennsylvania. He had big shoes to fill but quickly found a passion for newspapers and settled into an apprenticeship under John Colerick, who was publishing The Western Telegraph, a federalist paper, for the new city of Washington, Pennsylvania. Colerick, however, died young and unexpectedly, leaving Armstrong to manage the paper with a few fellow workers. While working for the Colerick estate on the Western Telegraph, Armstrong developed an interest in starting his own paper. In 1806, Armstrong left Washington and moved to Wheeling, part of Virginia at the time. It was there that he founded the Wheeling Repository.

Starting a paper in Wheeling in 1806 was no easy task. There was no paper mill in the area and the city of Wheeling was just getting on its feet. That did not stop Armstrong and by 1807, he was publishing the Wheeling Repository. Since printing facilities did not exist in Wheeling, Armstrong was compelled to return to Washington County, an area with an established printing industry. Determined to succeed, Armstrong transported his paper across the 50-mile distance from Washington to Wheeling on horseback. His dedication was noted by the local population. Armstrong's Wheeling Repository was the first paper published in Ohio County and the second paper published west of the Allegheny mountain range in what would become West Virginia.

However, this was not enough to keep the Repository in business and its run lasted only one year, forcing Armstrong to move back to Washington once again to take over the Western Telegraph.

Armstrong knew he didn't want to stay in Washington so it wasn't long after his return that he moved once again, this time to St. Clairsville, Ohio, a few miles west of Wheeling. This move was calculated on his part, as the National Road was being built through St. Clairsville heading in the direction of Wheeling. There, in 1811, he started the Belmont Repository, publishing it until 1818, when he felt there was too much competition in Ohio.

Returning to Wheeling, Armstrong began a new paper enterprise with his friend James Green, former publisher of the Virginia Statesman. In 1829, they started the Wheeling Compiler, a weekly publication that ran until 1831. That year, Armstrong bought Green's share of the paper. He closed it not long afterward and sold all of his press supplies. That didn't stop Armstrong from involving himself in the printing trade however, as he opened a steam-powered paper mill in 1836, suppling the three largest Wheeling newspapers with their printing paper.

Later in life, Armstrong was recognized as an elder statesmanin Wheeling for his role in the development of the city's newspaper publishing enterprise. He remained active in church and state affairs. It is noted that his federalist upbringing could be seen in his politics, especially in his critiques of Andrew Jackson and his banking policies. As a unionist, Armstrong was thrilled to see western Virginia break away to form a new state. Armstrong retired at the end of the Civil War and moved to Ohio with his daughter, living to the old age of 83.

Provided by: West Virginia University