Years in print:
The St. Clair Mercury, which began business as the St. Clair Gazette, was the forerunner of the Representative and Gazette, the first number of which was issued May, 1838. E.S. Cropley was the editor and publisher. The Representative and Gazette was a large-size folio, and was ably edited and liberally patronized by the merchants and business men of Belleville. Some of the advertisers were unique, while others helped recall the names of men who played a conspicuous part in the country and state fifty years before.
Among the professional advertisements could be found that of Col. J.L.D. Morrison, Attorney and Counselor-at-Law, in which the Colonel informed the public he had permanently located in the practice of his profession. There was also an advertisement for Koerner & Shields, Attorneys at Law, the latter the hero of three wars and United States Senator from three states. On the 6th of September, 1838, Lyman Trumbull and John Reynolds formed a co-partnership in the practice of law.
That which may strike the average reader today as somewhat strange is the following “Notice,” “Was committed to the jail in Perry County, Illinois, on the 22nd day of December, 1838, Two Negroes, supposed to be runaway slaves, viz.: A man and a woman, &c.” Here follows a full description of their persons and calling upon the owners “to come forward, prove property, pay charges and take them away, or, they will be dealt with as required by law.” This notice was published six times and the printing fee was three dollars.
Notwithstanding the ability with which the Representative was conducted, and the evidence of its prosperity shown by the large number of advertisements with which its columns were crowded, it failed about the close of 1839.
(From the History of St. Clair County, Illinois by Brink, McDonough & Co. 1881).