Even Competitors Admired His Effort

Charles Keemle returned to journalistic work in St. Louis on March 3, 1829, at which time he resuscitated the Enquirer, publishing it under a new title – the St. Louis Beacon. Its inauguration received a more favorable comment from the Republican than might have been expected: “The first number of The Beacon, published by C. Keemle, was delivered to its city subscribers yesterday. It is very neatly executed, and bids fair to become an interesting journal. The editor has our best wishes for success in an enterprise at all times arduous and often profitless.”

The Beacon, a twenty column paper, measuring approximately 14 ½ x 19 ½ inches, was published every Monday at a subscription price of three dollars a year. Keemle early associated with him a man by the name of Brooks, as illustrated by the fact that after June 27, 1829, the paper bore the names of Keemle and Brooks as co-editors. This partnership lasted until January 9, 1830, when it was dissolved by “mutual consent;” Charles Keemle continued as sole editor of the paper until its expiration.

On September 5, 1829, the paper was inaugurated as a semi-weekly, issued on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the increased price of five dollars a year. It continued to be published twice a week until March, 1830, when the Beacon again became a weekly. The editor explained his action in the following notice:

“Reflection and experience now induce us to return to our original plan – and for reason which we will endeavor briefly to state. In the first place, the labor consequent in the publication of a semi-weekly paper of such ponderous columns, and on the smallest kind of type that newspapers are ever printed, has, even for the brief period of time during which it has been published, made serious inroads on our health, and would, we are painfully convinced, in six months longer undermine and totally destroy that most inestimable of human blessings."

“…But in coming to the determination to discontinue the semi-weekly paper, we have also resolved to issue the Beacon on a larger sheet, as soon as we can cause a corresponding enlargement of the press to be made. By this means we will be enabled to lay before our readers nearly the same quantity of original and selected matter that the semi-weekly paper has heretofore afforded…We have thought it proper to reduce the terms to two dollars and fifty cents per year, as will be perceived by reference to the head of the first column.” (St. Louis Beacon 3/4/1830)

…On November 3, [1831] the establishment was offered for sale. From then until the following September the history of the paper is obscure…On November 19, 1832, Charles Keemle left the firm…and shortly afterwards the Beacon’s light went out.

(From the dissertation Early St. Louis Newspapers, 1808 – 1850 by Dorothy Grace Brown, Washington University, 1931).