Die Minnesota deutsche Zeitung

Minnesota deutsche Zeitung (St. Paul, Minn.) 1855-1858  Browse the title

Die Minnesota deutsche Zeitung (the Minnesota German Newspaper) began weekly publication in St. Paul, Minnesota Territory, on November 19, 1855, two and a half years before Minnesota's statehood. As Minnesota's first German-language newspaper, Zeitung had an audience of German immigrants who began pouring into the territory following the extension of the US Preemption Act to Minnesota in 1854 and the creation in the mid-1850s of a combined river-rail transportation route to Minnesota from the east coast via Chicago.

Editor and publisher Friedrich Orthwein, previously of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, established Die Minnesota deutsche Zeitung as an independent Democratic newspaper, with seven prominent local Democrats investing one hundred dollars each in the enterprise. However, soon after the Zeitung began, Orthwein solicited a group of local German Republicans, including F.A. Renz, to buy out the Democratic investors, and the paper transferred its allegiance to the Republican Party around January 1856.

Orthwein ran afoul of his investors later that same year, leading them to take possession of the newspaper in November 1856 and suspend publication. The Zeitung came under the control of Charles D. Gilfillan, chairman of the Minnesota Republican Central Committee, and it reappeared in print on January 20, 1957, with Charles Carree as editor. Hermann Du Brisson was editor by February 1858, followed by Charles Passavant. During this period, the Zeitung appeared on Saturdays, and the four-page, seven-column weekly covered local, national, and international news of interest to German immigrants.

Visiting Minnesota in 1858 to promote his quarterly, Die Fackel (the Torch), the freethinker Samuel Gottlieb Ludvigh impressed St. Paul Republicans, who asked him to take over as Zeitung's editor and publisher. Ludvigh assumed control of the Zeitung around May of 1858 and published it until July that same year, when he changed its name to Minnesota Staats-Zeitung (Minnesota State Newspaper) to mirror nationally renowned German-language newspapers of the same name in New York and Illinois. Minnesota Staats-Zeitung continued in publication until 1877.