Until 1849, Democrats in Ashland County, Ohio, were represented by two rival newspapers, both published in the county seat: the Ashland Democrat, which supported “hard” money, and the Ashland Standard, which supported “soft” or paper money. Horace S. Knapp, formerly of the Kalida Venture, purchased both publications in April 1848, merging them to create the Ohio Union. The paper continued to support the Democratic Party and its interests.
Knapp owned and edited the paper until 1853 when he sold it to Dr. John Sheridan. Six months later, Sheridan enlarged the publication and changed its name to the Ashland Union, declaring that the paper “will hereafter be, as heretofore, untrameled by any faction” and will “take our position on all questions with the mass of the Democratic party of this county.” Collins W. Bushnell purchased the paper in 1855, and he reduced its size to cut costs. On February 4, 1857, Knapp resumed ownership of the paper, promising that it would “not promote the political advancement of any one man,” but rather what the people of Ashland County wanted. Perhaps backing up this pledge, Knapp declined to support Stephen A. Douglas, the Democratic nominee for President, and instead chose to retire, selling the paper for a second time in 1860.
The Ashland Union exchanged hands several more times over the next few years until Dr. George W. Hill purchased the paper in 1868. Hill, wanting to advocate the equality of the states and the maintenance of the Union, changed the name of the paper to the States and Union. Serving as the Democratic organ of Ashland County, it contained articles on agriculture, foreign news, literary notices and reviews, and “other information deemed important to all classes.” In 1872, Hill was at odds with his party’s decision to nominate Democrat Horace Greeley for President and decided to sell the paper and enter politics himself.
Under the leadership of its new proprietors, Benjamin F. Nilson and William H. Gates, the Union became known as the Ashland Press. In 1920, the Press merged with the Ashland Times-Gazette to form the Ashland Times-Gazette and the Ashland Press. In 1947, the paper dropped the Ashland Press from its name to become Ashland Times-Gazette, which is still in publication today.