Ohio State Journal

From Ohio History Central

The Ohio State Journal was Ohio's paper of record for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, delivering up-to-date news on a variety of topics to readers in central Ohio and beyond. Established in 1811 as the Western Intelligencer, it was initially published by James Kilbourne in Worthington, until 1816 when editors Joel Buttles and George Smith moved it to Columbus after that city had become the state capital. The Columbus Gazette, as it was then known, served as the official reporting newspaper of the Ohio General Assembly. In 1825, the paper changed titles to become the Ohio State Journal and Columbus Gazette. The Columbus Gazette was dropped from the title in 1840 to become the Ohio State Journal. Until 1841 when it became a daily, the Journal was largely issued as a weekly, but was also published in tri-weekly, semi-weekly or daily editions, in particular when the state legislature was in session.

The paper was the main voice of the Republican Party in central Ohio, competing with the Columbus Daily Ohio Statesman, the Democratic Party's organ, during the 1800s. It provided coverage of both state and national politics, with extensive reporting on the American Civil War. After the war, the Journal became a driving force in the election of several Ohioans to the White House: Ulysses S. Grant in 1868, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 and James A. Garfield in 1880. In addition to its attention to politics, the publication printed state and local business news and advertisements; reports on social and cultural events, such as temperance and anti-slavery meetings, local music concerts and agricultural festivals; poetry; and other items of general interest.

As is often the case with newspapers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Journal experienced multiple changes in ownership and titles throughout its nearly 150-year lifetime. James M. Comly, brigadier general of the Union Army during the Civil War, edited the paper before and after the war, contributing to its position as one of the leading papers of the state. In 1902, it was purchased by brothers Robert F. and Harry P. Wolfe, and in 1950, it became a part of the Dispatch Printing Company. The paper's last issue was published in 1959 when it merged with the Columbus Citizen to form the Columbus Citizen-Journal.

Part of this newspaper has been digitized and are available for research via Ohio Memory: Ohio State Journal series, 1832-1879, 1885, 1889, 1909.

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