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Country: United States
City: Shenandoah, Pa.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 2,669
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 10,707
Earliest Date: 23 May 1891
Latest Date: 30 December 1899
The town of Shenandoah is rooted in the massive beds of anthracite coal located beneath it. This part of northwestern Schuylkill County was settled farmland by 1835, then acquired by 1850 by the Philadelphia Land Company, speculating in future coal mining. Spurred by wartime demand for new coal sources, the company surveyed the land and laid out a town in 1862, naming it Shenandoah, after the nearby creek.
The first colliery (coal mine and outbuildings) opened in Shenandoah in 1862, and coal was being shipped by rail by 1864. Miners and laborers from England, Wales, Ireland, and Eastern Europe poured in to work in the mines, on the railroads, and in secondary industries including textiles and meat-packing. Shenandoah became the only town in Pennsylvania with depots for three major rail companies: the Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley, and the Reading railroads. The town was incorporated as a borough in 1866. Shenandoah's population grew to almost 16,000 by the 1890s and passed 20,000 by 1900.
The Shenandoah Herald published its first issue on May 28, 1870, under the editorship of Henry C. Boyer and his brother-in-law, Thomas J. Foster. The Herald initially was eight pages long (later four) and $2 a year. It was politically independent and in its first few years claimed a circulation of 960, while Shenandoah had a population of 2,500.
Henry Boyer was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, but lived in Schuylkill County most of his life. He apprenticed as a printer, served in the Civil War, and then began a newspaper career. Boyer also served as a postmaster, justice of the peace, and railway mail clerk, during and after his association with the Herald. Thomas Foster was associated with the weekly Shenandoah Herald and its affiliates, the Daily Herald (1875-76), which appeared every day except Sunday, and the Evening Herald ( 1876-85), published daily except Sunday). In 1888, Foster left Shenandoah to start a newspaper in Scranton.
The Herald newspapers, both daily and weekly, focused strongly on local and regional industrial news. The circulation of the daily averaged about 1,500, and the weekly 1,400. By 1888, the newspaper had declared itself Republican and by 1899 proclaimed that it published "All the News That’s Fit to Print" (a slogan debuted by the New York Times in 1896). According to an 1881 history of Schuylkill County, the Herald was among the first newspapers to wage war in print ("bold and outspoken in denunciation of them and their crimes") against the secret organization known as the Molly Maguires. The Maguireswere held responsible for various murders and mayhem in the coal patches of Schuylkill and Carbon Counties in the 1870s, culminating in the trial and hanging of twenty of their alleged members.
The Evening Herald was bankrupted by its campaign, albeit successful, against the Molly Maguires, due to the expense of security (Foster received repeated death threats) and other costs. The paper eventually resumed publication, with slight variations in name, settling finally on the title the Evening Herald, which was published daily except Sunday, from 1891 to 1966.
Provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA