Grant County news
Canyon City, Grant County, Ore.
Canyon City’s Grant County News [LCCN: sn85042403] is the descendant of Grant County’s first newspaper, The City Journal [LCCN: sn84022648], first issued in 1868 by R.H.J. Comer, who served as editor and publisher for the tiny semi-occasional paper. In the early 1870s, the paper’s name changed to the Canyon City Express [LCCN: unknown], and then to the Grant County Express [LCCN: sn96088260]. Complete files of these early publications were later destroyed in a fire.
When Henry R. Gale of Roseburg became editor in 1876, the title was changed to The Grant County Times [LCCN: sn96088261]. In 1879, S.H. Shepherd bought the paper and changed the title to the Grant County News, an Independent paper published on Saturdays at $3.00 per year’s subscription. One of the first issues published by Shepherd describes him as “a young man of untiring energy, good ability as a writer and especially so as a fair minded chronicler of local events…anxious to improve the county through the influence of his columns, and as such deserves the undivided support of the people of Grant county.” Under Shepherd’s ownership, H.J. Neal, W.C. McFadden, and J.T. Donnelly served as editors.
Early issues of the News included entertaining stories from Grant County and elsewhere, prospects of new railroad lines, and political and governmental happenings. In the 1860s and 1870s, former Eugene newspaperman Joaquin Miller, known as the “poet of the Sierras,” frequently contributed to the Canyon City paper, and later became a judge for Grant County.
The News did not try to mask racial, ethnic, and cultural tensions. In the October 15, 1885 issue it was reported: “To everyone it is apparent that the Chinese are a curse and a blight to this county, not only financially, but socially and morally.” The paper went on to openly congratulate a woman from The Dalles for pushing Chinese residents out of town with her new laundry business. The News also contained reports of potential “Indian outbreaks” and referred to Native Americans as “savages.” An issue from 1880 featured an open letter to the governor, from the citizens of Grant County, pointing out their isolation and need for government protection from “the wiley schemes and murderous practices of [the] Indian population.”
The News included a few stories and columns written by women, mostly focusing on responsibilities in the home and relationships with men. One brief article revealed that when seeking a man, “Grant County maidens ask if he owns any Monumental [Mining Company] or Phil Sheridan stock, and if he has subscribed to the Grant County News.” Advertisements directed at women promoted fashionable clothing and sewing machines.
D.I. Asbury took ownership of the News on July 27, 1886, switching publication to Thursday mornings. Issues from 1888 included mining news, correspondence from the National capital, poems and fiction with basic illustrations, and commentary on local politics and election news. As of 1889, Asbury claimed that the News “goes into almost every home in Grant County and is read by all, both old and young.”
In 1898, Asbury sold the paper to Perry Chandler and Robert Glen, and then Glen sold his interest to Charles J. McIntosh in 1903. McIntosh stayed with the News for five years before becoming a professor of industrial editing at Oregon State Agricultural College.
In 1908, University of Oregon law school graduate Clinton P. Haight, purchased McIntosh’s share of the paper, forming the Chandler & Haight firm. Chandler & Haight purchased the Canyon City Blue Mountain Eagle [LCCN: sn96088262], previously published in Long Creek, and merged the News under the Blue Mountain Eagle title, which continues to be published to this day from John Day, Oregon.
Prepared with reference to:
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
– Written by Sheila Rabun