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The Mail History

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Kirkwood   “Official Paper of St. Louis County”  Weekly Mail Company. Var.: Weekly Mail.

“The first newspaper in St. Louis County after the Separation [City/County] was called the Weekly Mail and its first issue was dated January 31, 1877. It antedated the St. Louis County News just two days. The Weekly Mail’s salutatory was written by Philip H. Thomas, a man of brilliant mental parts who was its managing editor. It was owned and published by William L. Thomas, who, a year later, sold it, almost perforce, to a clique of the then county officials, which was inspired to purchase it by Associate County Justice James C. Edwards of St. Ferdinand township. Thomas B. Miller, who afterward became real estate editor of the Globe-Democrat, and also filled later the same position on the St. Louis Star, was its business manager. The mechanical work was done for several months at Kellogg’s on Third and Walnut streets, St. Louis, but the efforts of the managers of the News not being rewarded with success, the publisher of the Mail bought the plant, retaining one of the gentlemen connected therewith to take the management of the company and press rooms. This man’s name was Samuel Hager. He was a very intelligent and capable man, and was with the paper for a while in the plant on the second floor of Levi House’s building and afterward, when the publication was moved to the temporary county seat at Mount Olive.

The idea of publishing the paper was broached to its first publisher by John W. Andrews of Kirkwood on Monday, January 28, 1877. Four days later the paper sprang, full-fledged, into life, covering the county with a circulation of 1,500 copies. The News came out two days later…The News plant was sold August 16, 1877, being purchased by the owner of the Weekly Mail, the latter paper being sent to fill all unexpired subscriptions to the former’s subscribers.

With the issue of the Weekly Mail dated February 20, 1878, Mr. Thomas ceased to be connected with the paper. Up to that date, there being no party issues to discuss, the paper had secured the favor and the subscriptions and the welcome entree into the homes of people of both Republican and Democratic proclivities. With the near approach of an election, it was recognized by the Democrats that the party should have a mouthpiece. Judge Edwards mistakenly thought it best that his party should not only have an organ, but that the organ should be owned by and specially representative of his interests and those of his fellow officials. He formed a company and bought the paper - and at the ensuing election, the county went Republican…After February 20, 1878, the paper was edited by Thomas M. Johnson and published at the Mount Olive House under the business management of Sam Hager, and so conducted until the county seat was removed to Clayton.

Its name was changed to the Clayton Democrat.
Reprinted from The History of St. Louis County by William L. Thomas, 1911.