The Corvallis Gazette
Corvallis, Benton County, Or.
The Corvallis Gazette appeared in Corvallis, Oregon in 1862 with Thomas Benton Odeneal as editor. Odeneal is a curious figure in the history of Oregon newspapers, having traded one of his previous papers for a bookstore in 1859. His move to the Gazette was indicative of more than just a desire to change careers again; it also illustrated a marked change in his political views. Having previously worked on Democratic papers, he decided to edit the Gazette, a Republican periodical, as his interest grew in the policies of the Republican Party. He left the paper in 1866, planning “to engage in more active, healthy employment a short time.” Several owners and editors followed until the paper eventually merging with the Oregon Union [LCCN: sn85042402], forming the Union Gazette [LCCN: sn93051659] in 1899.
As a Republican organ, the Gazette was in favor of protective tariffs. An 1888 article, “Protection, Free Trade,” framed the tariff debate along class lines, contrasting the interests of labor with a wealthy elite. According to the paper, “When… we seek to crowd down the price of labor to a level of foreign countries, by opening the doors of free trade to foreigners, then we knock the bottom out of our own market and offer a premium to poverty and furnish recruits for the poor house.” The writers for the Gazette concluded that protective tariffs were necessary to ensure livable wages for American laborers, which, in turn, guaranteed prosperity for the nation.
The Gazette was also an advocate of prohibition, running editorials about the need for temperance and moral reform. One article, “Strike at the Root,” employed a common rhetorical strategy of reform movements, arguing that alcohol consumption could corrupt youth. Urging parents to instill a sense of probity among children, the article suggested, “Great danger to the rising generation lies in the drinking habits prevalent in society. Total abstinence is the only safe rule to adopt.” With the exception of Sam Stinson’s time as editor, when he consciously dropped the paper’s support for temperance, the Gazette remained a fairly consistent “dry” paper.
The paper included sections devoted to busy readers. A “Telegraphic Resume” provided short summaries of significant developments, with “Local Happening” designating space for passing comments on local events. Common advertisements included gun-smithing, jewelry makers, surveyors, and the Yaquina Steamship line.
Prepared with reference to:
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
— Written by Daniel Rinn