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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Chapter IX,   pp. 531-587 PDF (28.4 MB)

Page 531

                                    CHAPTER IX.
                               THE COLUMBIA COUNTY PRESS.
     Thirty years ago, John Delaney settled in Portage, and commenced practicing
law. He
had pursued the duties of his profession but a short time when he was induced
to take advan-
tage of an opportunity then offering to establish a newspaper in what, even
at that, early date,
promised to be a leading city of the Badger State.  Procuring a few cases
of type and an
ancient printing-press, he commenced business, having his brother James for
a partner.
"Delaney Brothers" was the style and title of the firm, and the
first number of their paper
bore date of July 4, 1850, being issued from a small wooden building which
stood on the
northwest side of the canal, in the vicinity of Lewis' lumber-yard. It was
called the River
Times, was a six-column folio, Democratic in politics, and thoroughly en
rapport with the
spirit of improvement-then existing.
     The editor, in his salutatory, said:" We this day publish the first
number of the Fox
and Wisconsin River Times. If it is not a curiosity now, it will be hereafter,
as the first
paper published in the city of Fort Winnebago."  Truly, the transfer
of a printing-office to
Fort Winnebago (as Portage was then called) and the setting it in motion
must have been no
light task, and the first issue implies the exercise of much energy and enterprise.
dently, the men who accomplished the work were not then 'deterred by trifles.
"That gov-
ernment is best which governs least " was the motto of the River Times,
and above the edito-
rial columns appeared the unqualified assertion, "1.The world is governed
too much."
     The initial number was a well-printed, creditable sheet, full of vigor
and vigilance for
those days. Its contents were:  A beautiful poetic selection from   the Louisville
"London at Night; " "England and the United States;"
". "The Lady;" " 11A New Orleans
Mazzaroni "-a story wherein was told how a New Orleans burglar had stolen
the jewelry of
a young husband and wife, from beneath their, pillow while: they were asleep,
and, with cool
impudence, had kissed the bride on departing; "Advice to Unmarried Ladies"
is followed
by a, spirited and hopeful editorial on Northern Wisconsin, in which the
writer cites the causes
of immigration, and tellĀ§ why it has hitherto settled chiefly in the
eastern portion of the State.
But he declares that the era for the opening-up of the prairies, the forests,
the streams and the
lakes of Northern and Western Wisconsin, is at hand. And succeeding years
have told how
truly he prophesied.   Even then, he speaks of the feasibility of the Fox
and Wisconsin
Improvement--'a direct inland water communication between New York and New
Orleans, .via
Portage-as placed beyond question, with the means at hand for its completion.
He declares
that the short canal to connect the streams will be finished that summer,
and states that the
Wisconsin is traversed regularly by steamers throughout the whole route,
and that the navi-
gable portions of the Fox have each its steamboat, plying between towns and
cities. He has
much else to say in support of this scheme, and reprints, in its favor, large
extracts from the
Green Bay Advocate and Oshkosh Democrat.
     But the advertisements of that number will give something of an idea
of who were doing
business in Portage that summer, thirty years ago. T. Dean & Co. continued
to hold out
inducements to the trading public, in dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes,
ready-made clothing,
stoves and tin and hardware; John Strong, of the Banner Store, was a wholesale
and retail
dealer much in the same line of goods. Keegan & Moore had the prices
of these commodities

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