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Country: United States
City: Leavenworth, Kan. Territory [Kan.]
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 52
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 210
Earliest Date: 15 September 1854
Latest Date: 8 September 1855
The Kansas Weekly Herald was launched on September 15, 1854, in the town of Leavenworth. It was the Kansas Territory’s first newspaper, appearing along with the earliest settlers of the town. The Herald was Democratic and proslavery and pushed for Kansas’ entry into the Union as a slave state.
William J. Osborn and William H. Adams are said to have started the Herald even before there was a town with Adams, a Kentuckian by birth, setting the type in the open air under an elm tree. Osborne was soon replaced by Lucian J. Eastin of the St. Joseph, Missouri Gazette. While the initial issues of the Herald under Adams’s leadership had been rather moderate in their tone, Eastin’s more radical views about slavery and the direction of Kansas were made clear to the paper’s readers. Eastin was later elected to the First Kansas Territorial Legislature, also known as the Bogus Legislature, and he hired Henry Rives Pollard of Virginia to replace him as publisher of the Herald. Pollard’s words turned out to be even more incendiary than Eastin’s. In his first editorial, dated April 13, 1855, Pollard stated: “…instead of regarding the existence of slavery in the United States as an evil to be restricted in its spread, we regard it as a BLESSING that deserves to be PERPETUATED.” Years later, Pollard was assassinated in Richmond, Virginia, for maligning the sister of his shooter in his paper, the Southern Opinion.
Articles in the Weekly Herald covered various topics: the Public Acts of the U.S. Congress, the promotion of Leavenworth, land agency notices, the dangers of Know-Nothingism and its ties to Abolitionism, the movement to Kansas of antislavery settlers from New England, Squatter Sovereignty, and Manifest Destiny. The paper took issue with then Territorial Governor Andrew H. Reeder who refused to back the proslavery Lecompton Constitution. Also featured in the pages of the Herald was the feud between Pollard and Robert S. Kelley, the editor of another proslavery newspaper--the Squatter Sovereign, of whom Pollard wrote, “The low, silly, garrulous numbskull of the Squatter Sovereign, yclept Kelley-the contemptible, whining, blind puppy of Atchison, that answers to the name of ’Bob,’ continues to pour forth his tirade of abuse upon us with unrelenting fury.” The editorial quarrel inflamed Pollard to the point that he challenged Kelley to a duel, although Kelley ultimately chose not to participate.
In 1859, William H. Gill purchased interest in and became editor of the Herald. The paper assumed a more moderate political tone and supported Stephen A. Douglas’ presidential bid. The following year, the Herald came under the ownership of a former U.S. Marshall, William P. Fain. The paper failed to prosper under Fain, and in the fall of 1860 R.C. Satterlee, Benjamin R. Wilson, and C.W. Helm assumed management of the Herald with Helm as editor. On June 13, 1861, Satterlee was shot and killed by Daniel Read Anthony of a rival newspaper, the Conservative. The final issue of the Herald appeared on June 27, 1861.
Provided by: Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, KS