Ohio History Journal

William D

William D. Gallagher, Champion of

Wester Literary Periodicals






DURING THE 1830's a number of attempts were made in

Ohio to create a successful literary journal, one that would be

devoted to subjects other than the predominant interests of

the majority of the newspapers and magazines of the day.

The existing media, for the most part, published articles on

religion, politics, and growth of the area, and there were few

local outlets for the aspiring author if he did not write on one

of these subjects. New literary periodicals, therefore, were

developed with a twofold aim: to encourage the writing of

essays, books, articles, and poems by western authors; and to

promote a serious literary effort concerning western subjects.

In a word, there was an effort made to develop a western

literary culture separate from and not dependent upon the

belles-lettres of the eastern section of the country. Some of

these ventures were good, some bad, some indifferent; all

suffered from several limitations, including the lack of avail-

able western literary talent and a serious lack of interest in

this kind of publication. None of them was able to overcome

these limitations completely. Several of those that came

closest were edited by William Davis Gallagher, whose third

journal, the Hesperian, was one of the best.

Gallagher was born in Philadelphia on August 21, 1808,

and moved with his mother and brothers in 1816 to Mount

Pleasant, Hamilton County, Ohio. While at Mount Pleasant,

* James A. Tague is a candidate for the Ph.D degree in history at Western

Reserve University. His article is a revision of a seminar paper written for

Dean Carl Wittke of the graduate school there.



Gallagher attended the Lancastrian Seminary for an unde-

termined length of time, where he learned the printing trade,

a valuable asset to his later career. At the age of eighteen he

received his first editorial position as the general assistant in

the management of an agricultural periodical, the Western

Tiller. In 1826 Gallagher and his brother Francis made a

short-lived attempt to publish a literary journal under the

name of the Western Minerva. Unfortunately, there are no

known copies of this periodical preserved today. Two years

later Gallagher went to work for S. V. Brown on the Cincin-

nati Emporium and Commercial Register. In 1830 he became

the editor of the Whig newspaper, the Backwoodsman, a pro-

Clay paper, which was published at Xenia, Ohio, where

Gallagher met and married Miss Emma Adamson. By 1831

he had returned with his bride to Cincinnati, where John H.

Wood had suggested to him that they publish a literary

semi-monthly paper, Wood to finance and publish the new

paper and Gallagher to be the salaried editor. Being unem-

ployed at the time, Gallagher accepted, and the Cincinnati

Mirror was born.1

The first issue of the Cincinnati Mirror appeared on Octo-

ber 1, 1831. It consisted of eight newspaper-size pages. As

a western journal it concentrated on the literary efforts of

western authors. In this first issue Gallagher stated his aim

to be the creation of a periodical devoted to the promotion of

western belles-lettres, and he ventured the opinion that there

was talent enough in the Cincinnati area alone to create an

issue "nearly if not quite equal to any issue from the eastern

press."2 Despite this outburst of optimism Gallagher could

never live up to his ultimate aim--a paper written exclusively

by westerners. Much of the material was copied from the

eastern press, and the Mirror remained more of a miscel-


1 The material for Gallagher's early life comes from biographical sketches by

W. H. Venable based on personal interviews with Gallagher. See W. H. Venable,

"William Davis Gallagher," Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, I

(1887-88), 358-375; II (1888-89), 309-326; and W. H. Venable, Beginnings of

Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley (New York, 1949), 436-470.

2 Cincinnati Mirror, I (October 1, 1831), 5.



laneous magazine than a true literary journal. Although he

never succeeded in making the Mirror a completely original

paper, Gallagher was able to claim that his periodical con-

tained the greatest amount of original material of any west-

ern publication. A survey in 1834 showed that during the first

nine months of publication there had been three hundred

columns of original material, "an amount more than equal to

six hundred pages of an ordinary magazine."3

Although the Mirror did contain a great deal of original

material written by western authors when compared with

other western journals, much of the paper was devoted to

work from the pens of eastern or European authors. Galla-

gher felt the reason was a lack of confidence on the part of

western authors and readers in literary works produced in

the West. Regarding the authors, he said, "The truth is,

those who might elevate the character and tone of the periodi-

cal press in our country and city do not usually meddle with

it."4 On the readers, he commented: "A disposition to

doubt the capabilities of our own writers, which has generally

prevailed, has thrown discouragement in the way of persons

of ability. We hope the reign of this blinding prejudice is

destined to a short duration."5

Coupled with Gallagher's attempts to promote western

literature through the pages of the Mirror, there was a

definite tendency on his part to depreciate eastern literary

periodicals and literature. He was astonished that Cincinnati

allowed herself to be imposed upon by the great number of

eastern periodicals which had "such windy pretensions to

perfection, and such slight claims to support."6 He also

claimed that most of the eastern periodicals devoted the great-

est space to "puffing" themselves without contributing any-

thing of merit.7

In all, five volumes of the Cincinnati Mirror were published

3 Ibid., III (July 12, 1834), 311.

4 Ibid., IV (October 3, 1835), 394.

5 Ibid., III (March 22, 1834), 183.

6 Ibid., III (February 1, 1834), 127.

7 Ibid., II (April 27, 1833), 127.



over a period of five years.8 During this time the periodical

developed from    a rather crude copy of the New York Mirror

to a finished magazine of considerable merit. Throughout,

Gallagher attempted to keep it a literary product and to resist

the tempting field of politics.

In the pages of the Mirror, Gallagher followed a three-

faceted editorial policy. The basic subjects for his numerous

editorials were: the advocacy of tolerance, education, and

moderation; temperance; and the promotion of western litera-

ture. The preaching of tolerance, education, and moderation

was a constant editorial theme, although Gallagher did not

editorially favor any one religion. For example, in a review

of Lyman Beecher's book, A Plea for the West, Gallagher

deplored Beecher's tendency to raise issues about Catholicism

and advocated instead religious tolerance.9

In the field of temperance reform, Gallagher resorted to the

common policy of the time of printing many short articles

describing, in vivid detail, the horrible end reserved for

drunkards. A more interesting and original approach was

his suggestion for the installation of libraries on all steam-

boats so that passengers could pass their time in more up-

lifting pursuits than gambling and drinking.10 In keeping

with his desire to make the Mirror a western literary journal,

Gallagher devoted many of his editorial efforts to literary

criticism. In a column for the purpose, he criticized various

manuscripts sent him by readers and hopeful authors, but,

unfortunately, these neophytes were never identified. In the


8 The Cincinnati Mirror during its existence underwent several name changes,

reflecting mergers, changes in ownership, and in one case, a change in editors,

though it retained Cincinnati Mirror in its title throughout.. The various titles

follow: Cincinnati Mirror and Ladies' Parterre (October 1, 1831-October 29,

1831); Cincinnati Mirror and Ladies' Parterre and Museum (November 12, 1831-

July 7, 1832); Cincinnati Mirror and Ladies' Parterre (July 21, 1832-September

13, 1833); Cincinnati Mirror and Western Gazette of Literature and Science

(October 5, 1833-April 11, 1835); Cincinnati Mirror and Chronicle (April 18,

1835-October 24, 1835); Buckeye and Cincinnati Mirror (October 31, 1835-

January 23, 1836); Cincinnati Mirror and Western Gazette of Literature, Science,

and the Arts (January 30, 1836-September 17, 1836).

9 Cincinnati Mirror, IV (May 21, 1835), 218.

10 Ibid., III (March 15, 1834), 175.


WILLIAM D. GALLAGHER           261

book-review section he criticized western authors both spe-

cifically and in general. He had two major objections to west-

ern writers. First was their tendency to exaggeration--"the

prevailing vice of western writers, when this section of the

Union is the subject of their pens."11 In addition, he criticized

western authors for their "rhyming mania," as he maintained

that the time spent in writing this type of poetry by the major-

ity of aspiring poets was wasted.12 He praised highly, on the

other hand, an article, "Diary of a Pedestrian," by an un-

named author. This story, a description of a foot trip from

Philadelphia to Cincinnati, was called "quite a treat" by

Gallagher for its homey descriptions of everyday things in

the West.13 One of the more intriguing of Gallagher's com-

ments on western literature was an article which appeared on

October 24, 1835, in praise of Negro literature, both by and

about Negroes, in which he suggested that someone should

attempt to develop this embryo Negro literature.14

Other than several eloquent pleas for the preservation of

the Union and for moderation, Gallagher successfully resisted

the temptation to use his editorial pages for politics. He par-

ticularly avoided the slavery question, which was becoming a

hot political issue in some parts of Ohio. His avoidance of this

question was largely due to the fact that part of the circula-

tion of the Mirror was in slave-holding states.

Gallagher's editorial policy led to his separation from the

Mirror. In March 1836 he had written an editorial violently

attacking Thomas Paine and Paine's Age of Reason as anti-

Christian.15 Shortly thereafter Gallagher terminated his

editorial duties at the Mirror because of a dispute over the

ideas of Paine with the publisher, who wanted Gallagher to

print material endorsing Paine's views.16


11 Ibid., I (February 18, 1832), 86.

12 Ibid., III (May 10, 1834), 238.

13 Ibid., II (March 2, 1833), 91.

14 Ibid., IV (October 24, 1835), 416.

15 Ibid., V (March 12, 1836), 55.

16 Venable, "William Davis Gallagher," Ohio Archaeological and Historical

Quarterly, I (1887-88), 365.



Gallagher originally carried on the editorial duties of the

Mirror alone. In 1833, however, he was joined by Thomas

H. Shreve as co-editor, and later by James H. Perkins. Per-

kins remained for only a short time.

The May 30, 1835, issue of the Mirror may serve as a

random sample of the variety of material carried in the publi-

cation. It contained three poems, slightly less than average.

A section entitled "Miscellaneous Selections" contained six

one- or two-column sketches including the story of a steamer

trip from London to Edinburgh, a tale about a heroic Irish

nobleman, several miscellaneous selections from Hannah

Moore, a short autobiographical sketch by Charles Lamb, and

Gallagher's criticisms of several albums submitted by sub-

scribers. The next section, titled "Desultory Paragraphs,"

contained eleven short paragraphs on such subjects as female

piety, the blood fish or Caribito, the tomb of Byron, and the

drinking of water. There were also two "Original Tales,"

as well as two original essays. Three books were reviewed:

Mrs. Butler's Journal; a pamphlet describing a recent Buck-

eye celebration in Cincinnati; and a new Penny Cyclopedia.

Editorials urged more and higher quality of criticism of liter-

ature, praised good public speaking, discoursed on the proper

use of the words "shall" and "will," and promoted attempts

to colonize Africa with freed slaves--one of the few articles

in the Mirror regarding slavery. In addition, the paper car-

ried more than a page of miscellaneous news items.17

Although many authors contributed to the Cincinnati

Mirror, frequently they were not named or were identified

only by an initial. Some of the authors who were fully iden-

tified were the Rev. Timothy Flint, Morgan Neville, J. A.

McClung, James H. Perkins, John B. Dillon, William Wirt,

George D. Prentice, N. P. Willis, Mrs. C. L. Hentz, Mrs.

Julia L. Dumont, the Rev. Ephraim Peabody, Otway Curry,

Dr. John Locke, Leigh Hunt, and, of course, W. D. Gallagher

and T. H. Shreve.


17 Cincinnati Mirror, IV (May 30, 1835).


WILLIAM D. GALLAGHER            263

Almost from the start the paper was in financial trouble.

With the exception of reciprocal advertisements for other

periodicals and an occasional advertisement for a lecture,

dancing course, or similar cultural effort, the paper carried

no advertising. Thus the financial burden had to be borne by

the not very satisfactory subscription remittances and the

pockets of the publishers. In 1833 Gallagher and Shreve had

obtained financial control and had set up the Gallagher and

Shreve Publishing Company to publish the periodical. Two

years later so many subscribers were in arrears, some as much

as two or three years, that the owners were forced to sell out

to James B. Marshall.18 Marshall promptly renamed the pub-

lication the Buckeye and Cincinnati Mirror, dispensed with

Gallagher and Shreve, and set about to edit the paper him-

self.19 The new Mirror quickly became political and devoted

considerable space to proslavery articles and editorials advo-

cating war in Texas.

On November 14, 1835, less than a month after he had

sold his interest in the Mirror, Gallagher issued a prospectus

for a new literary periodical to be called the Cincinnati Spec-

tator and Family News Sheet.20 Evidently the prospect of this

competition proved too much for Marshall, who announced in

the November 28, 1835, issue of the Buckeye and Cincinnati

Mirror, that W. D. Gallagher was the new associate editor.21

With Gallagher's return, the editorial policy changed back to

one more in keeping with the old Mirror. The proslavery

articles continued but were carefully paired with antislavery

pieces.22 Financially, Marshall could do no better than his

predecessors and, shortly before January 30, 1836, he sold out

to Flash, Ryder and Company, a Cincinnati publishing firm.


18 Ibid., IV (October 24, 1835), 416.

19 Buckeye and Cincinnati Mirror, V (October 31, 1835), 1. Numbers 1-13 of

Vol. V were published between October 31, 1835, and January 23, 1836, under

the title Buckeye and Cincinnati Mirror. On January 30, 1836, when the title

was changed again to the Cincinnati Mirror, the numbering reverted to Vol. V,

No. 1. See also footnote 8.

20 Buckeye and Cincinnati Mirror, V (November 14, 1835), 24.

21 Ibid., V (November 28, 1835), 38.

22 For example, see ibid., V (January 16, 1836), 89-90.



The name of the paper was at once changed back to the Cin-

cinnati Mirror and Gallagher and Shreve were engaged as

editors.23 The revived Mirror was short-lived, however, for

on April 30, 1836, it carried the announcement of Gallagher's

departure as editor, accompanied by an editorial signed by the

publishers condemning the senior editor's faulty business

methods.24 Shortly thereafter, on May 28, 1836, the readers

were informed that T. H. Shreve had also left and a Joseph

R. Fry had taken over as editor.25 Fry managed to continue

the Mirror until September 17, 1836, when the paper sus-

pended publication without comment.26

Meanwhile, Gallagher did not remain unemployed for long.

The Western Literary Journal and Monthly Review      was

published in Cincinnati from June to November 1836, with

Gallagher as editor. In the first issue he announced that he

planned to make this magazine a periodical of, by, and for

residents of the Mississippi Valley, and his short-lived journal

lived up to its intention to be a western gazette.27 Each issue

was divided into four main sections: fiction, essays, book

reviews, and editorial comment. Typical were articles and

editorials promoting a Cincinnati to Charleston railroad,

descriptions of Texas, and a story about the pirate Lafitte.28

Much of the material in the periodical was written either by

Gallagher or Shreve, and probably was accumulated origin-

ally for publication in the Mirror. Other authors who con-

tributed were Timothy Flint, Morgan Neville, J. A. McClung,

James H. Perkins, Mrs. Julia L. Dumont, Mrs. C. L. Hentz,

Otway Curry, Wilkins Tannehill, Charles D. Drake, and the

Rev. Ephraim Peabody.

While Gallagher was busy with his Western Literary Jour-

nal, J. R. Fry, who had succeeded him on the Mirror, had

terminated the Mirror and had taken over the editorship of

23 Ibid., V (January 23, 1836), 103.

24 Cincinnati Mirror, V (April 30, 1836), 111.

25 Ibid., V (May 28, 1836), 143, (June 4, 1836), 151.

26 Ibid., V (September 17, 1836).

27 Western Literary Journal and Monthly Review, I (June 1836), front cover


28 Ibid., I (September 1836).



another periodical, the Western Monthly Magazine. Fry had

no more success with the Western Monthly Magazine than

with the Mirror and was forced to suspend publication in

December 1836. In his last issue he had sharply criticized

Gallagher as a poet and referred to one of his poems as "dis-

gusting and horrible."29 Despite this sharp criticism Fry's

Western Monthly Magazine appeared next in February 1837,

in combination with Gallagher's Journal, as the Western

Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal.30 This new combi-

nation, co-edited by Gallagher and James B. Marshall, lasted

for four issues. It was published concurrently in Louisville

and Cincinnati and was edited in Louisville, where Galla-

gher was then living.31 Since Marshall was away on business

in the East during the entire period of publication, Gallagher

was in fact the sole editor. Like its immediate predecessor,

the Western Literary Journal, the new combined periodical

was another attempt to create a western journal by and for

residents of the Mississippi Valley. In this respect the West-

ern Monthly and Literary Journal was highly successful, for

it consisted almost entirely of material written by western

authors, and probably contained less material copied from

the eastern press than any of its contemporary publications.

The authors were much the same as those for the Journal,

with the addition of S. P. Hildreth and W. B. Oaks. Unfor-

tunately, this periodical came to an abrupt end in May of 1837

with the terse announcement, "Letters intended for the senior

editor of the magazine should, in future, be addressed to

Columbus, Ohio." 32

In Columbus the ex-senior editor went to work for his

younger brother, John M. Gallagher, editor of the Ohio State

Journal. W. D. Gallagher was given the title of literary editor,

but the Ohio State Journal contained very little in this cate-

gory.33 Less than a year after arriving in Columbus, Galla-

29 Western Monthly Magazine, V (December 1836), 758-759.

30 Western Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, I (February 1837), title


31 Ibid.

32 Ibid., I (May 1837), 292.

33 Ohio State Journal (Columbus), April 1837-April 1838.



gher left the paper, mainly because of his opposition to the

use of the German language in public schools.34 He felt that

inasmuch as the schools were supported by public funds, they

should be taught in English, not a foreign tongue. This oppo-

sition was embarrassing to his brother, an aspiring politician

as well as editor of the politically oriented Ohio State Journal,

so W. D. Gallagher withdrew from the paper.

Gallagher had not, however, given up his efforts to create

a successful western literary periodical. His next attempt

was perhaps the most successful of all--the publication of

the Hesperian in Columbus and later in Cincinnati. The first

issue of the Hesperian appeared in May 1838, with Otway

Curry as Gallagher's junior editor and John D. Nichols the

publisher. In general form and content the Hesperian was

similar to the Western Literary Journal, although several

features from the old Mirror were included.35 Its western

tone was apparent in the very first article, a long description of

the land, the people, the scenery, and the economy of Ohio in

1838 written by Gallagher.36 This issue also contained a long

editorial by Gallagher on the subject of western literary

periodicals, in which he pointed out that most of these periodi-

cals had been failures. This, he thought, was largely because

of the indifference of the western press and western authors

to local scientific, educational, and religious matters. He

maintained that, rather than digging up stories about western

advances in these areas, the press of the area preferred to

follow the lead of the East and become merely copiers of

eastern papers. The second cause for failure he found in the

lack of local publishers who had the requisite business skill

to run a periodical. He felt that the editor should not be held

responsible for the business end of the publication, which

should be left to the businessmen, not the literary men.

Another reason for continued failures he attributed to the

reluctance of western authors of merit to contribute to the


34 Venable, Beginnings of Literary Culture, 449.

35 Hesperian, I (May 1838), title page.

36 Ibid., 1-17.


WILLIAM D. GALLAGHER            267

existing western periodicals, forcing the perodicals either to

print inferior material or to copy from the eastern press. But

the most important cause of lack of success was the consistent

tendency of subscribers to fail to pay their bills.37 In a similar

vein Gallagher later reprinted a long article on western litera-

ture in the last issue of the Hesperian. This article, taken from

the New   York Quarterly Review, made the point that the

western literature of the day was primarily devoted to either

religion or politics, and mostly to the latter, and noted that

men of letters were rarely met in the West unless they were

politicians or preachers.38 Gallagher deplored this state of

affairs and showed that, although there were between twenty

and thirty literary journals east of the Alleghenies, there were

only seven in the West.39 Earlier Gallagher had commented

on the tendency of westerners who might contribute to litera-

ture to turn to other subjects:


Still it is unquestionably true, as said before, that our intellectual

efforts have been appropriated, almost exclusively, to other objects:--

to politics; to the professions; to commerce; and to all the diversified

means for the accumulation of property.40

Through the pages of the Hesperian, Gallagher tried to

reverse this trend. He was so successful in making the Hes-

perian a western journal that by the beginning of the third

volume he felt he could specialize on the literary efforts of

Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, but he admitted that

he might occasionally draw upon "the whole broad west" for

his material.41 Typical of the western themes were articles

on Indians and on early settlements in the Mississippi Val-

ley, and essays promoting internal improvements, particularly

a complete canal system within the Mississippi Valley, and

western railroads.

37 Ibid., 90-94.

38 Ibid., III (November 1839), 453-465. The author of the article was not


39 Ibid., 499.

40 Ibid., I (June 1838), 180.

41 Ibid., III, preface to bound volume, p. iii.



Despite the editor's purpose there was a considerable

amount of borrowed material in the Hesperian -- less than

other contemporary literary periodicals had, but more than

Gallagher would have liked, although he attempted to choose

this material from western subjects. For example, the maga-

zine contained excerpts from Miss Martineau's Retrospect of

Western Travel.42 Much of the rest of the borrowed material

consisted of excerpts from articles or books on travel, litera-

ture, and education. In general, and unlike some of his con-

temporaries, Gallagher was careful to give credit where credit

was due.

The Hesperian, although primarily a literary journal, by

no means ignored science. Frequently articles appeared con-

cerning the more important or interesting scientific topics of

In his editorial policy, Gallagher, as he had done in the

Mirror, tried to keep politics out of the Hesperian. Five main

themes were discernible in his editorial columns: morality,

education, western literature, western economy, and modera-

tion in politics. The editorials on morals were fewer and less

persuasive than similar editorials in the Mirror, especially in

regard to temperance. He even predicted that western-made

wine would be one of the most important products of the

West.43 Gallagher supported New York Governor DeWitt

Clinton's ideas on progressive education and wrote several

articles calling for the extension of the common school system

in Ohio. He also expressed his dislike for the use of German

in teaching school and advocated the establishment of more

and better schools for the deaf, mute, and blind.44 Regard-

ing the western economy, Gallagher consistently promoted

all projects which would aid in the development of the West,

and revealed the typical westerner's fascination with the rapid

development of the area in which he was living.45


42 Ibid., I (May 1838), 67-70.

43 Ibid., I (June 1838), 103.

44 Ibid., I (May 1838), 16-17; II (November 1838), 85-87, (January 1839),

254-255, (February 1839), 332-333.

45 See, for example, ibid., I (May 1838), 8-14; III (July 1839), 164-166.



One of the most important and growing political problems

of the day was slavery. On this issue the Hesperian was gen-

erally silent. In the few articles which appeared on slavery

Gallagher carefully followed his earlier policy of pairing pro-

and anti-slavery articles. Editorially, he said he felt slavery

should be discussed in a moderate fashion, with the press

giving each side equal coverage. Above all, he implored that

the slavery question be kept out of politics, for he feared that

this issue might easily disrupt the Union.46 In the book re-

view section Gallagher tended to criticize the writing rather

than the content of the books he reviewed. He was highly

critical of other editors who only praised or "puffed" books.47

Some of his reviews were quite caustic. In a review of a

book of poems, The Charter Oak and Other Poems, by John

Jay Adams, he wrote, "But, really, we are so strongly im-

pressed with the conviction that Mr. John Jay Adams, author

of 'the celebrated poem of the "Charter Oak"' . . . is a very

silly gentleman, that we cannot help saying so."48

The Hesperian, although well written and composed, never

gained wide popularity, but it had its enthusiastic supporters

among those who desired the promotion of native western

literature. The editors and publishers of the Warren, Ohio,

Western Reserve Chronicle were unqualified in their praise,

saying, "There is not, in our view, a purely literary publica-

tion in the whole country more entitled to a generous sup-

port than the Hesperian."49 J. A. Harris, the editor of the

Cleveland Herald, devoted an unprecedented amount of space

to Gallagher and his Hesperian. The Herald frequently had

carried short reviews and comments on various magazines and

periodicals of the day, but in the case of the Hesperian, there

were several multi-column reviews. Inasmuch as the average

issue of the Herald at that time only contained about six to

eight columns of news, this was a significantly large amount

of space to be devoted to one periodical. Harris, himself an

46 Hesperian, I (September 1838), 415-416.

47 Ibid., II (April 1839), 494.

48 Ibid., III (October 1839), 419.

49 Western Reserve Chronicle (Warren, Ohio), July 9, 1839.



ardent promoter of the West, agreed with Gallagher that

western literature was equal to that of the East and worthy

of encouragement.50 After the second issue of the Hesperian,

in reporting that Gallagher was succeeding in creating inter-

est among the western literati, Harris commented, "We are

gratified to see the interest manifested by western writers in

placing the Hesperian upon an equal footing with the old

Eastern Magazines."51 He was even more positive about the

success of the Hesperian after its first year of publication, and

reported that "the support of the Hesperian has been grad-

ually increasing from the first number, until its publication

is no longer an experiment."52 From a literary point of view

Harris was undoubtedly correct, yet the Hesperian went out

of business six months later as a financial failure.

Late in 1839 Gallagher had an offer to become the assistant

editor of the Cincinnati Gazette under the noted lawyer and

journalist Charles Hammond. Gallagher readily accepted the

offer, apparently because Hammond offered to pay him a

regular salary.53 Thus ended not only the Hesperian but also

Gallagher's career as an editor of literary journals. He re-

mained assistant editor of the Cincinnati Gazette until Ham-

mond's death in 1840, when he became chief editor, in which

capacity he served until 1850. During this period Gallagher

became more and more interested in politics and in particular

in the antislavery movement. As a politician he served as the

personal secretary of two secretaries of the treasury, Tom

Corwin and Salmon P. Chase, and was a delegate from Ken-

tucky to the Republican national convention in 1860, where

he voted for the nomination of Lincoln. He never again

edited a literary journal, although he subsequently did edit

another daily newspaper and a farm journal. During the

Civil War, Gallagher served in various capacities as a cus-


50 See, for example, Cleveland Herald, June 20, October 27, December 4, 1838,

January 12, June 21, 1839.

51 Cleveland Herald, June 20, 1838.

52 Ibid., June 21, 1839.

53 Venable, "William Davis Gallagher," Ohio Archaeological and Historical

Quarterly, I (1887-88), 373.


WILLIAM     D. GALLAGHER         271

toms agent and a pension agent, and after the war he returned

to Louisville, Kentucky, where, for financial reasons, he be-

came a secretary for the Kentucky Land Company. Galla-

gher, however, never gave up his love for western literature

and turned his energies to poetry, becoming one of the leading

pioneer poets of the Mississippi Valley. He published several

volumes of his poems and one of the first anthologies of

middlewestern poetry. He died near Louisville on June 27,


Gallagher's attempts to create a native western literary

periodical had only moderate success. His Cincinnati Mirror,

Western Monthly, and Hesperian were all of merit in the

opinion of western cultural leaders, but they failed to receive

enough popular support to make them financially successful.

Perhaps the lack of political news and discussion helps explain

the limited circulation of these literary journals in this era

of considerable political excitement and tremendous economic

growth in Ohio.























54 For Gallagher's later life and his political and literary careers after 1840,

see Venable, Beginnings of Literary Culture, 451-470; Emerson Venable, Poets

of Ohio (Cincinnati, 1909), 15-17; and R. L. Rusk, The Literature of the Middle

Western Frontier (New York, 1926), I, 339-343.