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The first newspaper in Jersey County was published at Grafton in the year 1837 and was called the Backwoodsman, with Paris MASON as owner and John RUSSELL as editor. The paper afterwards found its way to Jerseyville in 1840 with A. S. TILDEN as editor who sold the name to the Newspaper and conducted the paper three months, when the office was burned, and the paper was never revived.
The Phoenix was a newspaper venture started by Hon. W. H. ALLEN at Grafton, who continued its publication until 1844. The Prairie State was started at Jerseyville in 1848 with a Mr. CONKLING as editor, and in 1860 it became a Republican paper with A. C. CLAYTON as editor. In 1862 Mr. Clayton was succeeded by Mr. Chas. WILLIAMS who continued in charge until the office burned and the publication was never resumed. The Jerseyville Register was established in 1865 with E. V. HAUGHAWAUT (?) as editor and in 1869 the plant was purchased by Col. Geo P. SMITH of Jacksonville, when the name was changed to the Jerseyville Republican with W. H. EDGAR as editor.
The first democratic paper was called the Democratic Union, established in 1854 by Thomas WRIGHT. In 1858 the Union was under the control of John C. DOBLEBOWER, who continued to publish the same until early in the year of 1865, when the name of the paper was changed to the Jersey County Democrat, with Augustus B. SMITH, editor. The successive proprietors of the paper were T. J. SELBY, Wheelock & Burr, Birdsall & McGready, and J. I. McGREADY, who sold the same in 1880 to Joseph M. PAGE, the present editor.
The Examiner was started in Jerseyville by a stock company in 1878, with J. Sterling HARPER as editor, and this paper was consolidated with the Republican, Sept. 10, 1880, the new name being the Republican-Examiner, with Messrs Edgar & Locke as proprietors.
We now have at Jerseyville three weeklies and one daily paper, viz: The Jersey County Democrat, J. M. PAGE proprietor; the Republican-Examiner, A. D. LOCKE proprietor; and the Republican Call and Daily Evening Call, published by stock company consisting of A. H. RUE, M. COCKRELL and Clarence E. HAMILTON.
Car and Machine Shops
The car and machine shops of the St. L. A.&S. Ry. have been located at Jerseyville and the buildings for the same are now being constructed. The new turn-table has been put in and the walls of the round house and shops, are well under way. These shops will prove a valuable accession to Jerseyville, and when occupied will contribute no little to the business interests of the place.
Among the old land marks grown musty with age, is the National Hotel, the oldest hotel building now standing in Jerseyville. The erection of this building was started by a stock company in 1838, and when partially finished, it was purchased by John FROST, who completed and finished it, and opened it to the public with a grand opening. Mr. Frost continued as mine host until 1846, when he disposed of it to Mr. E. M. DALY. In the succession of landlords of this historic structure we find the names of C. B. FISHER, Wm. HAWLEY, John GOFF, Charles HOLCOMBE and James M. YOUNG. The property is now owned by Bowman and Chapman and under lease to Fitzgibbons and Skelly and is conducted as an apartment house. The National was headquarters in the early days and was the scene of many stirring and exciting events. Leading politicians, lawyers and business men made it their stopping place and for many years it maintained its prestige as a leading hostelry. We have now four hotels as follows: Commercial, W. Leigh & Son proprietors; Southern, Charles BOYLE proprietor; Northern, F. W. VIRDEN proprietor; Erie, W. H. POWELL proprietor.