The Minnesotian (St. Paul, Minn.) 1851-1852 Browse the title
The weekly Minnesotian (St. Paul, Minn.) 1852-1858 Browse the title
Saint Paul weekly Minnesotian (St. Paul, Minn.) 1858-1859 Browse the title
Minnesota weekly times (St. Paul, Minn.) 1854-1859 Browse the title
Weekly Minnesotian and times (St. Paul, Minn.) 1859-1860 Browse the title
St. Paul weekly Minnesotian (St. Paul, Minn.) 1860-1861 Browse the title
The Minnesotian published its first four-page weekly edition in Saint Paul, Minnesota Territory, on September 17, 1851, edited by John P. Owens. In January 1852 George W. Moore joined as business manager, with Owens & Moore jointly assuming the role of publisher. On May 8, 1852 the paper was renamed the Weekly Minnesotian. In May of 1854 Owens & Moore began publishing a daily newspaper concurrently, the Daily Minnesotian, with the weekly edition serving as a digest of the news appearing in the daily paper.
On October 1, 1857 Owens was succeeded as editor and publisher by Dr. Thomas Foster. On May 1, 1858, the Weekly Minnesotian became the Saint Paul Weekly Minnesotian. In December of 1859, this title merged with the Minnesota Weekly Times to become the Weekly Minnesotian and Times; the daily editions of these two titles merged at this time as well. Foster and Thomas M. Newson of the Times served as co-editors of the united title, with Newson, Moore, Foster & Co. as publishers. The inaugural issue of the Weekly Minnesotian and Times claimed “a Daily circulation more than double that of any other paper in Minnesota, and a Weekly circulation that will compare favorably with any paper this side of Chicago.” Apparently it was not a happy collaboration, however, because in June of 1860, the paper again split into the Minnesota Weekly Times and the Saint Paul Weekly Minnesotian. These two titles were purchased by William R. Marshall in January 1861 and again merged into the new St. Paul Weekly Press. The last issue of the Saint Paul Weekly Minnesotian was published January 25, 1861.
The Minnesota Territory was created on March 3, 1849 and existed until Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858. In 1850, the population of the Minnesota Territory was approximately 6,000 persons. By 1860, that number had increased to over 120,000. The Minnesotian newspaper titles therefore cover most of the years of the territory’s existence as well as the transition to statehood and the early years of that statehood. These early years of newspaper publishing in the territory were turbulent, with ugly words exchanged between editors, and at least one editor was physically attacked by a citizen, while another, Jane Grey Swisshelm, editor of the St. Cloud Visiter [sic], had her press destroyed by vandals.
The first newspapers published in the territory, such as James M. Goodhue’s Minnesota Pioneer, which first appeared on April 28, 1849, concentrated on boosting the image of the territory as a place to which to immigrate. In late 1850, however, the first avowed politically partisan paper appeared, the Minnesota Democrat, which supported the political party of the same name. The Minnesotian was then established as a voice of the Whig opposition. Early on, however, most of the two newspapers’ attention was primarily concentrated on the political aspirations of a few leading Minnesota notables, namely Henry H. Sibley, Alexander Ramsey, and Henry M. Rice. Prominent concerns at this time included the extinguishment of Dakota land titles and the attracting of the railroad to St. Paul--and the question of who would financially profit from the settlement of these issues.
With the demise of the Whig Party in the mid-1850s, the Minnesotian shifted its allegiance to the new Republican Party. At this point national issues came much more to the fore, partly because of improved communication with the rest of the country as the telegraph moved west, and partly because the increasingly explosive nature of national politics. For example, the question of slavery permeated the debate over Minnesota’s application for statehood and the writing of the new state’s constitution. While both Minnesota Democrats and Republicans opposed slavery, Democrats were much more tolerant of its existence and were major supporters of Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas and his call for “popular sovereignty.” Republicans, on the other hand, were adamantly opposed to any further expansion of slavery. The Minnesotian newspapers reflected this stand.