Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

Emilius Oviatt Randall

Emilius Oviatt Randall.             145




The following contribution was the last written by Mr. Ran-

dall for publication. It appeared in the issues of The Ohio

Newspaper for November and December, 1919:


Maxwell's Centinel of the Northwestern Territory, its Contemporaries

and Immediate Successors -Journals Now More

Than a Century Old.


Journalism led the van of literary culture in its advance

into the Northwest Territory. It was in the little cluster of

cabins, named, by Territorial Governor St. Clair, Cincinnati, a

century and a quarter ago (1793), that the initial newspaper

made its appearance under the title of Centinel of the North-

western Territory. The proprietor and editor was one William

Maxwell, an enterprising immigrant from New Jersey. It was

a crude establishment, the entire outfit of which, a wooden

Ramage hand press, like the one used by Dr. Benjamin Frank-

lin in Philadelphia, type, cases, "furniture" and all could be

moved in one load of a full grown wheelbarrow.

The "outfit" was set up in a log cabin on the corner of

Front and Sycamore Streets. Maxwell and his good wife

Nancy did all the work. The buckskin ball was dipped in ink,

then daubed on the type, paper was then spread on and the

press lever, precisely like a hand cider press, was pulled and

released and the printed paper removed.

The paper was a folio, four pages, three columns to the

page, in a small quarto form; the printed matter being eight and

one-half inches in width, ten and one-fourth inches long. The

issue of the first copy was dated Saturday, November 9, 1793,

and bore under its title the commendable motto: "Open to all

parties but influenced by none." It was a weekly. It contained

news from London, England, dated July 15th-that is four

months old - from New York, dated September 5th, two months

old. This initial number also gave an account of an attack by

Indians on a provision convoy, "a little time ago" between Fort

Vol. XXIX- 10.