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Country: United States
City: Bloomsburg, Pa.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 2,024
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 11,714
Earliest Date: 5 May 1866
Latest Date: 17 March 1910
The town of Bloomsburg, located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, already had one Democratic newspaper, the Columbia Democrat and Star of the North (later, succeeded by the Bloomsburg Democrat), and a Republican one, the Columbia County Republican, when the Columbian was established as a weekly on May 5, 1866. The Columbian began as the voice of the Andrew Johnson Republicans under the management of George H. Moore. By the end of the year, Moore sold his subscription list to a group of county Democrats, and the paper was restarted on January 4, 1867, under prominent local attorney John G. Freeze.
The following month Captain Charles B. Brockway joined the newspaper and soon assumed full ownership and modernized its operations. When the Bloomsburg Democrat was purchased and absorbed on January 1, 1869, the Columbian became the sole Democratic paper in Columbia County. Ownership of the newspaper then changed hands several times over the next few years, with Henry L. Dieffenbach purchasing it in 1871, Brockway resuming control a year later, and then Dieffenbach buying it back once more in July 1873.
On October 1, 1875, Brockway purchased the Columbian for the final time in partnership with George E. Elwell. Four years later, Brockway retired, and his interest in the newspaper was purchased by John K. Bittenbender, with the publishing firm becoming Elwell & Bittenbender. The success of the newspaper and the printing house led to the construction of its own three-story brick building at 40 West Main Street in Bloomsburg, which was completed in October 1881. The management structure continued until 1893 when Elwell purchased Bittenbender's interest and became the sole proprietor.
The final change occurred when Elwell's son, G. Edward Elwell, Jr., became a partner on April 1, 1910, and the firm became George E. Elwell & Son. Six days later, the final issue of the Columbian was published, due primarily to the fact that the job printing part of the business had greatly increased and left little time for the paper. Two further reasons for its suspension were that the income derived from a weekly newspaper was no longer sufficient to compensate for the work involved and that the Columbian had to deal with competition from Bloomsburg's daily paper the Morning Press, which had begun publication in 1902.
When the Columbian became a Democratic newspaper in January 1867, it editorialized, espoused, and was otherwise devoted to the general viewpoint and policies of the party, which at the time was dominant in county politics. These opinions in the post-Civil War era of the 1860s and 1870s could be quite vitriolic, and the Columbian engaged in spirited battles with the Columbia County Republican and its founder, Dr. Palemon John, and succeeding publishers and editors. Even though state and national political news was the primary focus of the Columbian, each issue devoted one page to local news, covering goings-on in Bloomsburg, the county, and region, as well as the activities of the Bloomsburg State Normal School.
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