When the Founder Left, the Paper Faltered

It was under favorable circumstances that Joseph Charless sold his paper and retired from editorial life in St. Louis. Under his skillful guardianship the Missouri Gazette had grown from a twelve-column paper printed on a sheet of foolscap, to twice that size printed on an imperial sheet. The number of subscribers consistently increased, from 174 at its beginning in 1808, to 1,000 by 1820. It was due to his tenacity of purpose, his untiring industry, ability and tact, and a strength of will which no disasters or threats could overcome, that Joseph Charless became a recognized influence in St. Louis during his lifetime, and his paper a living testimony to his energy and ability long after his death.

Upon the retirement of Charless, James C. Cummins became the new proprietor and editor of the Gazette. His first change was to substitute for the former motto of the paper another, “Principles Not Persons,” which he considered “more generally applicable to the duties of a newspaper editor.” The following year the office of the Gazette was moved from the southeast corner of Fifth and Market, where it had been since early in 1820, to a house on  Main Street, “nearly opposite the Copper and Tinware Manufactory of Messrs. Neal and Liggett. Another removal took place in December, when the Gazette “set up shop” in the “large house on Main St. owned by Detier, directly opposite the [establishment] of James Clemens & Co. and formerly occupied as the St. Louis [Enquirer} office.”

Cummins closed his account with the Missouri Gazette on March 6, 1822, just eighteen months after his purchase of the paper from Joseph Charless. On that day Edward Charless, son of the founder, became its new proprietor and editor, and a few weeks later changed its name to the Missouri Republican.

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