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Publication Name:

Western Journal

Years in print:

1815- 1816


In the spring of 1815, an opposition paper to the Missouri Gazette was founded. With an investment of $1,000 a press and type were bought. Joshua Norvell, from Nashville, was engaged to run the organ, which was named the Western Journal. The backers were soon called upon to put up more money. The name was changed to the Western Emigrant.
(From St. Louis, the Fourth City by Walter Barlow Stevens, 1911).

The Western Journal was the name of the second St. Louis newspaper, which originated in 1815 in opposition to the course of the Gazette. It was founded by a number of citizens, with William Christy at their head, and was edited by Joshua Norvell. A year later it changed hands and name and was called The Emigrant.
(From Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri edited by Howard Conard 1901).

Thomas Hart Benton and his associates began their hostility toward the Gazette; hostility which resulted in 1815 in the establishment of an opposition newspaper, the Western Journal, the second newspaper published in St. Louis. This marked the beginning of an intense rivalry between the two papers, editorially and politically, resulting not only in bitter and scurrilous editorials in the columns of both papers, but also in several attacks upon the person of Joseph Charless. Referring to the conduct of his opponents, Charless warned his patrons that they "may rest assured that I will preserve the Liberty of the Press as long as I am able to control one, and when I become the humble tool of factious men, I shall no longer hope to merit support." Charless eventually saw this rival press flounder and sink into oblivion, while his paper weathered the storm and sailed on in the light of increased partronage.
(From Early St. Louis Newspapers, 1808-1850 by Dorothy Grace Brown, 1931 Washington University graduate paper).

The Western Journal was the second newspaper established in St. Louis, and had its origin in a movement headed by Maj. William Christy, William C. Carr, and others who were dissatisfied with the political course of the Missouri Gazette, then edited by its founder, Joseph Charless. A fund of one thousand dollars was raised for the purpose by these gentlemen, and the publication of the Journal was commenced in 1815, with Joshua Norvell as editor. In 1816 its name was changed to the Emigrant, and Sergeant Hall became the editor.
(From the History of St. Louis City and County by John Thomas Scharf, 1883).

William B. Carr, Maj. William Christy and C.B. Penrose, publishers; Joshua Norwell, editor (All were associates of Thomas Hart Benton). The paper carried on an editorial fight with competitor Joseph Charless, utilizing editorial attacks on his reputation. There were also reports that Charless was the victim of physical attacks. In the end, however, The Western Journal was not successful. In 1817 it was sold to Sergeant Hall, a Cincinnati lawyer, who renamed it the Western Emigrant.

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