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Country: United States
City: Bloomsburg, Pa.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 360
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 1,440
Earliest Date: 14 March 1857
Latest Date: 24 February 1866
During the winter of 1836-37, John S. Ingram, a lawyer and former editor of the Union Times in New Berlin, Pennsylvania, made a 40-mile trek to Bloomsburg for the purpose of establishing a newspaper in that village. Ingram's primary purpose was to provide a "Democratic" counterbalance to the Columbia County Register, a virulent Whig paper started in 1827 by Leonard B. Rupert and vigorously edited since April 1828 by Thomas Painter. In the first issue of the Columbia Democrat, Ingram indicated the paper "will be fearless and faithful in supporting those principles which the editor may deem essential to an honest administration of the government; but shall strictly avoid the vulgar and abusive cant which characterize some presses (i.e., the Register) of the present day, at the sacrifice of their own reputations, and the displeasure of their patrons."
Despite his promise to maintain a high level of journalism and to "avoid vulgar and abusive cant," Ingram, in the same inaugural issue, gave an indication of what he intended to focus his efforts on--the removal of the seat of Columbia County from Danville to Bloomsburg. For the next thirteen years, the editors of the Columbia Democrat waged open war with the newspapers in Danville (most notably with Editor Valentine Best of the Danville Intelligencer over the "Removal Question." The dispute was finally resolved when the state legislature in 1845 approved the transfer of the county seat to Bloomsburg. As a concession to the residents of Danville, the legislature also created a new county (Montour) from land formerly belonging to Columbia County and designated Danville the county seat. Montour County formally came into existence in May of 1850. The Columbia Democrat remains one of the best sources for information relating to the long and hotly contested "Removal Question."
The first issue of the Columbia Democrat appeared on April 29, 1837. In December of that year Franklin S. Mills joined Ingram as co-editor and owner. In April of 1838, they sold the paper to Captain Henry Webb. Webb continued as editor until March 1847, when ownership passed to Col. Levi L. Tate, and the name of the newspaper was later changed to the Columbia Democrat and Bloomsburg General Advertiser. In 1866, Tate sold the paper to Elijah R. Ikeler who consolidated it with the Star of the North, the only other Democratic newspaper in Columbia County, to form the Columbia Democrat and Star of the North.
The Democrat, although extremely partisan during the Civil War, referring to the editor of the rival Columbia County Republican, Palemon John, variously as "Pee John" and a "Lick Spittle General to Abe Lincoln," its viewpoint was patriotic in support of the Union. In April of 1861, a heading proclaimed "The Stars & Stripes - forever," and four years later the Democrat celebrated the crushing of the rebellion and mourned the death of Lincoln as a great national calamity.
According to the Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, "the Columbia Democrat was, under all its names and varying fortunes, consistently Democratic in its politics, and was always deservedly influential."
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