Rochester news (Rochester, Minn.) 1859 Browse the title

Rochester city news (Rochester, Minn.) 1859-1860 Browse the title

Rochester Republican (Rochester, Minn.) 1860-1867 Browse the title

Rochester, founded in 1854 by George Head, is situated in the southeastern corner of Minnesota. In 1856 Rochester was named county seat of the newly established Olmsted County and its population was 50 people. By 1858, thanks in part to a gold rush, the population topped 1500 people. In 1863, Dr. William W. Mayo came to Rochester as a medical examiner for draftees. The Mayo Clinic would eventually come to define Rochester as a world-wide center for medical care and research. The area surrounding Rochester was overwhelmingly agricultural, with a focus on dairy and grains.

On November 2, 1859 the Rochester News was first published by C. W. Blaisdell. By the next issue on November 9, 1859, the title had changed to the Rochester City News which was published until October 31, 1860 when it was continued by the Rochester Republican. The News and City News covered mainly national news item, with an occasional announcement of state or local happenings. Reference is made to the short lived gold rush that helped populate the area. Advertisements reflected prospecting activity of the time. News from California is also published with updates on their gold rush.

The Rochester Republican published its first issue on November 7th, 1860. The Republican covered the Rochester area of Olmsted County in Southeastern Minnesota. The owner Dr. L. H. Kelly and owner/editor W. H. Mitchell printed the seven column weekly publication with equipment previously owned by the Rochester City News. On September 17th of 1862, the paper would reduce in size to a six column paper which is the form that it would carry for the duration of it run. The Republican, as one might guess, was politically aligned with the Republican platforms of the time. The publication stemmed from previous Republican papers, and when the Rochester Republican went bust in 1867, the remaining interests spawned other Republican papers in neighboring communities.

The Rochester Republican contained much the same content as the News and City News. Fiction dominated the first page, with subsequent pages containing a mishmash of State and national news. After 1863 the content became more defined, with more clearly labeled columns and news stories. News from the American Civil War (1861-1865) dominated news topics. After the end of the war, the column "Southern News" appeared periodically as a replacement to reports on rebel activity.

During its seven year run, the paper had a number of changes in ownership. In 1861 Lowell B. Hoag incorporated the remnants of the Northfield Journal with the Republican. Original partner Dr. Kelly would retire after the incorporation and move to Faribault, Minnesota to start the Faribault Leader in 1870. In 1862, Mr. Hoag would officially take ownership interest in the publication. Mr. Hoag lasted little more than a year before enlisting in the Union Army, allowing S. W. Eaton, of Green Lake, Wisconsin to take his place. Mr. Eaton retired in 1864, selling only half his ownership to Mr. Mitchell and retaining half his original share. Mitchell continued as proprietor until 1865, when he sold his share to U. B. Shaver. Shaver and Eaton stayed with the paper until it was absorbed, in part, by J. A. Leonard and W. S. Booth of the Rochester Post in 1867. Mr. Shaver took his interest in the Republican to Kasson and founded the Dodge County Republican, while Dr. Kelly took the material from the Northfield Journal and started the Owatonna Plaindealer.


Johnston, Daniel S.B. "Minnesota Journalism from 1858 to 1865." Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, Vol. XII. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1908.