Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11







Nathaniel Willis, the publisher of the Scioto Gazette, found

it necessary to cut the size of his paper to half a sheet in the latter

part of the year 1802. He explained the reason for this by the fol-

lowing paragraph which is found in his issue for November 13:

By reason of the Menongehalia river not having been navigable for some

time past, we have been disappointed in receiving a supply of paper from

Red-Stone, which was contracted for and to have been delivered at the

mouth of the Scioto last month; in order to obtain a supply we sent to the

mills at George Town, Kentucky, but in this effort we were also disap-

pointed, there not being a ream to be had, we have therefore been under

the necessity of sending by land to Red-Stone, at a very heavy expense,

from whence we shall be furnished in two weeks, our readers will there-

fore excuse our issuing half a sheet during that period. From the circum-

stance of the high price at which paper now comes at, the editor earnestly

calls on those indebted, (if they wish a press supported in Chillicothe) to

come forward and make payment.1

This quotation illustrates the difficulties of early publishing

in Ohio. Securing adequate paper has always been a problem.

William  Maxwell brought the first press into the territory that is

now Ohio, and published the first issue of The Centinel of the

North-Western Territory on November 9, 1793.2 In the years

before Maxwell brought his press north of the Ohio River, all

paper used in the territory west of the Allegheny Mountains had

to be carried from the Atlantic seaboard states, either by pack

horse or by wagon, over poor roads, usually to Pittsburgh, and

then down the river in boats. As late as 1817, the average cost

1 Jesse J. Currier, "The Territorial Press of Ohio, 1793-1803" (MS. M. A.

thesis, Ohio State University, 1940), 12.

A number of excellent research studies have already made available the facts

concerning the origins of printing in Ohio. The footnotes of this paper acknowledge

my indebtedness to these other students of research. The main purpose of this paper

is to present an analysis of the problems of publishing in Ohio through the years.

The use of a few original sources, not available to earlier writers, has permitted the

clarification of details, but it is not intended to repeat the work already done.

2 Osman Castle Hooper, History of Ohio Journalism, 1793-1933 (Columbus, O., 1933), 2.