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Country: United States
City: Stroudsburg, Pa.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 637
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 2,532
Earliest Date: 15 January 1840
Latest Date: 28 April 1853
Stroudsburg lies in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, at the confluence of three creeks that powered the mills of settler Jacob Stroud in the 1770s. Stroudsburg was laid out in 1810 and became the Monroe County seat in 1837. Its 19th-century economy thrived on lumbering, spring water in locally made bottles, and vacationers from New York and Philadelphia arriving by stagecoach and railroad.
The Jeffersonian Republican and the Jeffersonian newspapers of Stroudsburg are interesting not because of their content (local advertising but little news, much fiction, state and national political pieces, and reprinted items from far-flung newspapers), but because of their origin and, especially, their durable editor/ publisher, Theodore Schoch. Alfred Mathews’ History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania (1886) relates how Cornelius W. DeWitt, Whig Party leader in adjoining Pike County, organized fellow Whigs to start a newspaper. Richard Nugent, a transplanted Nova Scotian working on a Wayne County newspaper, was recruited to launch the Jeffersonian Republican in Milford on January 15, 1840. The weekly newspaper alternated between Milford and Stroudsburg until Theodore Schoch took over on February 24, 1841, when it settled permanently in Stroudsburg.
The Jeffersonian Republican was an act of faith as well as a newspaper, a Whig voice crying in a wilderness of Democrats. Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, Wayne, and Lehigh counties were known as the “Tenth Legion of Pennsylvania,” with Democrats outvoting Whigs ten to one. In Monroe, the odds were slightly better--five Democrats for every Whig--yet Schoch rallied enough votes for Benjamin Harrison to win the county and give traction to his presidential campaign. Schoch was born a Northampton County farm boy in 1814 but apprenticed with an Easton newspaper at age six, beginning a newspaper career spanning seven decades. When the Whigs dissolved, Schoch became a Republican and was the first Monroe County Republican to be appointed an associate judge.
The transition from the Jeffersonian Republican to the Jeffersonian on May 5, 1853, was seamless (the paper maintained consecutive numbering) and unexplained (Schoch rarely editorialized about anything). Except for a new typeface for the nameplate, the newspaper was remarkably consistent in appearance over time, primarily because Schoch never stopped using the Smith hand press acquired secondhand in 1847 to replace the newspaper’s original Ramage hand press. In a widely published interview with the old editor in July 1897, Schoch said that “One might scour the country from ocean to ocean today and not find another Smith press in use.” However, Schoch continued to set his own metal type (some dating to 1840) and pulled the Smith’s lever for every issue, never missing a deadline in his tenure.
When a Republican congressman was elected from Monroe in fall 1896, Schoch commented, “If I should live to be a hundred, I couldn’t have more glory to think of than this.” He didn’t make it that far, dying at age 86 on January 21, 1900, about a month short of 59 years of service. Schoch’s obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer speculated that he was the oldest active editor in the country in continuous service with the same newspaper. The Jeffersonian remained in operation until 1911.
Provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA