PUBLISHED IN THE PAPER UPON ITS CENTENNIAL IN 1908
THIRD QUARTER – 1858-1883
Influence Exerted Before and During Civil War – The Republic’s Policy Aligned State Against Secession
A.B. Chambers had strongly developed in him the theory of journalism which subordinates money-making to the higher purposes. He was public-spirited, and during the period when The Missouri Republican was growing into the leading position among the papers of the Alleghenies, Mr. Chambers and his partners were better pleased with the evidences of The Republican’s influence than with the profit side of the ledger. George Knapp, a very young man when he became associated with Chambers and Harris in 1837, grew into the same newspaper policy. He was naturally a generous man. He let money go freely to accomplish worthy ends, from the public point of view. If he had not been of this character he would not have been so successful in raising large amounts for the public movements in which he was a leading spirit. George Knapp was not a writer. During the life of Mr. Paschall the shaping of the editorial policies, so far as national questions were concerned, was left to him. In local questions George Knapp was not only consulted but his judgment of men and measures was much deferred to. After Mr. Paschall’s death, in 1866, George Knapp gave more attention to the editorial policies. John Knapp was then, as he had been for twelve years, the publisher. The paper prospered greatly. Its circulation and advertising revenues far surpassed any previous newspaper record in St. Louis. They led all other Western papers. The business success of the paper was due to John Knapp’s initiative and executive ability.
The power which the Missouri Republican wielded in politics was well known in the beginning of the third quarter of its century. At Charleston, in 1860, the Democratic party had divided and the adjourned convention at Baltimore had put out a second ticket, headed by Douglas. The Republican, under Paschall and the Knapps, had supported Buchanan in 1856. It was Democratic in politics but anti-secession with all the vigor Paschall could put into the editorial page. Missouri Democrats divided sharply. There were Breckinridge Democrats and Douglas Democrats. Claib, Jackson had been nominated for Governor at a regular convention. The Republican knew his leanings toward secession. Thomas C. Reynolds was the nominee for Lieutenant Governor. To Mr. Reynolds Mr Paschall said:
“Jackson’s course has been unendurable. He should instantly, upon hearing of Douglas’s nomination, have proclaimed his adhesion to the usages of his party and announced his purpose to do everything in his power to carry the Douglas ticket. He hates Douglas, I know. His personal likings in this matter, whether they relate to Douglas or to Douglas’s friends, are a thing of indifference.”
Then followed an intimation that if Jackson did not support the regular nominee he need not expect his own appeals for support on the ground of his regular nomination to avail him. To William Hyde Mr. Paschall gave instructions to go with Mr. Reynolds and ascertain the result of the message to Claib. Jackson.
“Watch those gentlemen,” the editor said to his correspondent, “do not let them get away from us. If they don’t come out publicly for Douglas within three days after they meet – say at Boonville – telegraph immediately and come home.”
The correspondent of The Republican did his work well. He found Claib. Jackson, rode across the country with him, occupied a bed in the same room with him, and heard the stormy interview in the moonlight outside when the messenger of the Breckinridge Democrats in St. Louis arrived with the demand upon Jackson to come out for Breckinridge. At Boonville, Claib. Jackson asked for another day of grace; he wanted to consult Congressman John B. Clark at Fayette. Clark had been one of the leaders of the Missouri delegation at Charleston. Mr. Hyde telegraphed to Mr. Paschall Mr. Jackson’s request for more time, and went on to Fayette with the politicians. While the conference proceeded behind closed doors, Mr. Hyde completed the Fayette end of the arrangements he had begun at Boonville the night before. There was no wire from Fayette. Boonville was the nearest telegraph point. The correspondent stood near the door of the room where the conference was taking place. Outside, around the corner, a negro boy, trusty and light of weight, sat on a saddle horse of Howard County’s best breeding. Thomas C. Reynolds was a St. Louis lawyer and alive to the enterprise of journalism. He had agreed to pass out the word as soon as a decision was reached. He did his part. Hyde folded the sheet of paper, dashed out of the hotel and gave it to the boy. Down the Boonville pike moved a cloud of dust. The politicians came out slowly from the conference and the speaking began. There was much preliminary oratory. When Claib. Jackson finally reached his climax and announced that the Democratic State ticket supported Douglas, the news had arrived by Pike from Fayette to Boonville and by wire from Boonville to St. Louis and was being read on the Missouri Republican bulletin board by the astonished Breckinridge Democrats.
Missouri was carried by a close vote for Douglas. The Missouri Republican’s policy aligned the state in the Presidential election of 1860 against the secession movement. In the three months which followed the election, before the outbreak of hostilities, The Missouri Republican was steadfastly for the Union. It deplored the growing friction between the Republicans and the secessionists; it advocated a course which would have averted the capture of Camp Jackson and the shedding of blood in the streets of St. Louis, but it never wavered in its support of the National Government as against the claimed right to secede. Half a century after Joseph Charless put in his prospectus the creed of this paper was “that next to love of God the love of country should be paramount in the human breast.”
In supporting Douglas The Republican was compelled to antagonize the Buchanan administration, which it had supported four years before. It also had to oppose Senator Green, of Missouri, who had a strong personal following in the State. With Mr. Paschall writing day after day his trenchant editorials, and William Hyde doing politics – Mr. Hyde had from the days of his Legislative correspondence at Springfield been a zealous admirer of the “Little Giant” – The Missouri Republican carried the state for Douglas.
The Republican was antisecession, but it did not support the Lincoln administration in many measures. The discriminating course of the newspaper did a great deal to bring about the division of the Republican party in Missouri. The Republican advocated for Democrats in Missouri a “passive policy,” as it was called when, in 1870, the Republicans split and put up two candidates for Governor. The result was the election of B. Gratz Brown, the candidate for Governor of the Liberal Republicans. The enfranchisement of the ex-Confederates was part of the political programme. In 1872 an effort was made by The Republican to make national the passive, or “possum policy,” as the opposition nicknamed it, which had operated so advantageously from the party point of view in Missouri in 1870. The Republican started this national movement in this state, having the support of Carl Schurz and the Westliche Post. The movement gained great headway among Liberal Republicans, and especially among the Germans throughout the country. A National Convention was called to meet in Cincinnati. The State Convention in Jefferson City which elected delegates to this Liberal Republican Convention at Cincinnati, was conducted practically by representatives of The Republican and The Westliche Post. Joseph B. McCullagh reported the convention for The Missouri Democrat. He called it the “Bill and Joe Convention.” “Bill” and “Joe” were William Hyde of The Republican and Joseph Pulitzer of the Westliche Post. The Republican started the movement which resulted in the Cincinnati convention and the nominations of Greeley and Brown. A fatal mistake was made by the Democratic National Convention in failing to carry out The Republican’s passive policy. The Baltimore Convention of the Democratic party in 1872 took positive action on the ticket, instead of adopting the passive course, which had been pursued by the Democratic party of Missouri so successfully two years before. The result of the action in Baltimore was to antagonize the Liberal Republicans and many of the German voters. The Greeley and Brown ticket failed of the support expected for it from elements in the Republican party opposed to Grant and the reconstruction measures in the South.
Four years later The Republican succeeded in bringing the Democratic National Convention to St. Louis. The body met in the new Chamber of Commerce. Samuel J. Tilden was nominated.
An incident of the presidential campaign of 1876 illustrates the abiding faith the readers of those days had in their respective newspapers. That was the Tilden-Hayes campaign. The morning after the election both parties claimed everything. The next morning Tilden had the best of the returns. The third morning it looked better for Hayes. The fourth morning there was great doubt. Then, from parts of the paper’s territory, poured in telegrams by scores and by hundreds, asking information as to the result of the election. They came to the desk of Charles W. Knapp, then quite a young man and in charge of the news desk. Mr. Knapp surveyed the growing mountain of yellow telegraph messages. It was absolutely unsafe to make a prediction. The reputation of the paper for reliability would not justify any guessing. So Mr. Knapp, after some hard thinking, wrote out this brief form to cover all inquiries:
“The Lord only knows, and he won’t tell.”
George Knapp, John Knapp and Nathaniel Paschall were admirably adapted to work in triple newspaper harness. Paschall was a born editor. He was a judge of news. He laid out a political policy, which was followed with great force. The Missouri Republican advocated Jefferson’s principles, the Whig creed of Henry Clay. It parted squarely with those who went into the American or Know Nothing movement. It helped elect the Democratic ticket when Buchanan was chosen. It opposed secession. It fathered the passive policy and encouraged the Liberal Republican movement of the early ‘seventies. It has constantly supported the Democratic candidates from Tilden down. Paschall was a wonderfully clear writer. There was no possible mistaking what he meant in an editorial from his pen.
Nathaniel Paschall had some peculiar traits. He was rugged, mentally and physically. His recollection of events and dates was astonishing to his fellow workers. He could not be persuaded, until his health began to fail, to wear an overcoat in winter. He could tell where on the page to look for an article printed months before. He did not use spectacles. For weeks at a time he “wrote all of the editorials, read, paragraphed and punctuated the correspondence, made all of the selections from the exchanges and read the proofs of his own articles.”
When this sturdy, modest old man of St. Louis journalism died, the business men of the city, many of whom had not a speaking acquaintance with him, met on ‘change and paid tribute to him in these words:
“In all that tended to promote the growth and prosperity of his State, in all that tended to enlighten and elevate the character and promote the interests of its people, to inculcate learning, to strengthen the moral and social condition of his fellow-citizens, Nathaniel Paschall was, during the whole of his active life, and earnest, enlightened and faithful worker.”
George Knapp and John Knapp had characters as positive as Nathaniel Paschall’s. Yet these three men built up The Republican until it was of commanding influence and a great paper, without clashing between them. They worked together a lifetime. If Nathaniel Paschall steered, John Knapp kept the machinery running. George Knapp stood between the community and the newspaper. He had a strong and steadfast desire to make the newspaper of practical benefit to the city. He went among people. He got ideas of what St. Louis needed. He made the paper a persistent advocate of local measures calculated for the public good. Mr. Hyde summed up George Knapp’s newspaper policy in a very few words:
“He wanted his paper to be clean and decent,” said Mr. Hyde. “He hated inquisitorial journalism which drags the purlieus for scandal and dirt. His ambition, like Chambers’s and Paschall’s, was to issue a sheet full of legitimate, current news, editorially commented upon, honestly, intelligently, fairly, alike welcome in the family circle as by professional and business men.”
The efforts of George Knapp to accomplish things for the city did not stop with the newspaper. He gave time and energy to public-spirited movements. The Chamber of Commerce building, representing a cost of $2,000,000, and now owned by the Merchants’ Exchange, is the monument of George Knapp more than of any other man. When the movement languished George Knapp continued to push it until he compelled action.
His single-handed campaign to bring to fruition the Chamber of Commerce was only one of George Knapp’s public-spirited efforts in which he enlisted all of The Republican’s influence. State aid to railroads was a policy of the paper. The Eads bridge was aided and encouraged. The Southern Hotel was George Knapp’s suggestion at a time when St. Louis was lacking in first-class hotel accommodations.
After the Civil War St. Louis suffered much from the double county and city government. The separation of the city from the county and the framing of a new Charter by thirteen freeholders were propositions to which the Knapps committed The Republican. They gave their personal influence to the movement, and in the persistent, tenacious way which was characteristic of them, they forced the movement through. St. Louis was then even more conservative than now. That The Republican was able to bring about such a radical change in the form of government of the city is one of the most notable evidences of the influence of the paper and of the Knapps. The City Charter framed and adopted for St. Louis under the inspiration of The Republican was regarded for a generation as a model of municipal organization.
To The Republican St. Louis owes the extinction of the lottery as a legalized institution. The present generation can hardly realize that there was a time when the Legislature of Missouri granted lottery charters. The motive was to raise money for some public purpose. About 1831 the Legislature authorized a lottery to raise about $10,000 toward the building of a hospital in St. Louis for the Sisters of Charity. The Commissioners provided for in the act sold the privilege of conducting the lottery to James S. Thomas. Charges were made in the newspapers that the management of this lottery meant great gains to the purchaser and comparatively small revenue for the hospital. A committee was chosen to look into the methods Mr. Thomas proposed to adopt. On the committee were such well-known citizens as N.H. Ridgely, David H. Hill, Geo. K. McGunnegle, D. Hough, Augustus Kerr, John F. Darby and Bernard Pratte Sr. They made an elaborate report, the conclusion of which was:
“Your committee then, after an attentive review of the subject, are of the opinion that the charge made against this scheme, that it affords the manager an opportunity of realizing a great and unusual proportion of profit, is not sustained.”
Sentiment against the grant of lottery privileges by the Legislature grew so strong that the passage of such acts ceased. But lotteries continued to operate openly under old charters. The business was gradually consolidated into what was known as the Missouri State Lottery. This institution had many offices. Drawings were held regularly in a public hall. The winning numbers were advertised in St. Louis papers.
The business was based on an old act of the Legislature authorizing a lottery to build a plank road from the town of New Franklin to the Missouri River. New Franklin was near Boonville. It had passed almost out of existence. The plank road, a considerable part of it, had slipped into the Missouri River. The Republican opened war on the Missouri State Lottery. It exposed the plank road myth. It kept up the opposition until by legal and by legislative action the end came not only to the Missouri State Lottery but to all open lottery business in this state. The fight was not one of days or weeks, but of years. It required the making of public sentiment, for in 1871 not only lottery offices were conducted as openly as cigar stores are now, but faro and keno houses occupied the most prominent locations on Fourth street and were places of common resort. Perhaps there has not been in all the history of St. Louis a moral movement of such magnitude as this one The Republican inaugurated against lotteries and carried to successful issue. It led to the great supplemental movement successfully conducted by Charles F. Johnson against gambling.
The immediate occasion for The Republican’s movement against lotteries was the passage by the Legislature of a bill authorizing a lottery to build an opera house in St. Louis. This measure became a law. Offices were opened on Third street. Names of very respectable citizens were associated with the movement. The Republican had endeavored to defeat the legislation. Failing at Jefferson City, the paper opened war on the lottery principle; it showed how in practice these charters had been misapplied to enrich individuals; it never relaxed fighting until all lottery offices were closed. This moral reform was made effective at St. Louis through The Republican’s efforts several years before the General Government at Washington took up the movement and made it national by barring all lottery business from the United States mails.
Both Colonel George Knapp and Colonel John Knapp came well by their military titles. They were for the supremacy of this Government, not only in theory but in practice; not only in peace but it war. The year before he became part proprietor of The Republican, when he was 21 years of age, George Knapp entered the St. Louis Grays. He was one of the first St. Louis officers who volunteered for service in the Mexican War. He went out as a Lieutenant in the St. Louis Legion and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after the return of the legion to St. Louis. The legion was equipped largely from funds raised by voluntary contributions of St. Louis citizens and went to the front very early in the war. Soon after the beginning of the Civil War George Knapp recruited a military force in his newspaper office, called the Missouri Republican Guard. This force he drilled and commanded, holding it in readiness for service if an attack was made on St. Louis, as was repeatedly threatened.
John Knapp was in the military service of the State more than twenty-five years. He went to the Mexican War as a Captain in the First Regiment of Missouri Volunteers.
The militia company of which he was one of the Lieutenants had voted not to volunteer for service in the Mexican War. Thereupon Lieutenant Knapp organized a new company, the Boone Infantry. He was elected Captain, and immediately tendered this company for service in the war.
He commanded the First Regiment of Missouri Militia in the Southwest expedition to the Kansas border in the winter of 1861. He was in command of this regiment when Camp Jackson was taken by General Lyon on the 10th of May, 1861. Afterwards he was appointed Colonel of the Eighth Regiment of the Enrolled Missouri Militia, and later Colonel of the Thirteenth Provisional Regiment, and still later was an aid of Governor Hall and went with the brigade of Missouri troops in pursuit of General Sterling Price when the Confederate made the raid in 1864. He continued in the service until after the Civil War. He was the best tactician in the volunteer service of his day. There never was any taint of disloyalty toward the General Government in The Missouri Republican or its proprietors or editors.
From the militia companies composing the First Militia Regiment, of which John Knapp was the commanding officer when hostilities began, the Union Army received many officers. For Governor Gamble, who succeeded Claib. Jackson when the latter left Jefferson City to join the Confederacy, Colonel John Knapp worked out the plan of militia enrollment which protected Missouri and which created a force to deal with guerillas.
Twice in the history of the paper the office of The Missouri Republican was destroyed by fire. The first time was 1849, when the flames swept the business district of St. Louis and destroyed a number of steamboats at the Levee.
The second visitation was in 1879. At that time The Republican occupied a mammoth establishment, which did book and job printing as well as published the newspaper. The loss by the second fire was $170,000. Upon the site, which was on Chestnut street just west of Main street, the proprietors built a low structure to house the publication and editorial offices until a new location could be secured. The publishers felt that the time had come to move westward from Main street. They chose Third and Chestnut streets for the new building, which was of elaborate and fireproof character, one of the most completely equipped newspaper offices in the country at the time.
The temporary building on Chestnut near Main gave up the front portion to the business office. Through this was a passageway to a room of large dimensions. The center of this editorial hall, for such it might be called, was occupied by a fountain, about which grew ferns and palms. In the pool turtles and fish disported themselves. Around the sides of the room were arranged desks for the entire editorial and reportorial force, then numbering about twenty persons. At the end of the editorial hall were the files of the daily papers. Near by were large tables, upon which the office boy heaped the exchanges. This editorial home of The Republican in 1870, and for the year or two following, was very different from the quarters usually provided for editorial and local staffs. Sitting in his chair near the door, William Hyde, then managing editor, could turn and address any member of the staff, from the writer of the leaders to the newest reporter.
William Hyde’s connection with the paper extended through a period of twenty-eight years. It began with the position of legislative correspondent at Jefferson City. Mr. Hyde was successively reporter, staff correspondent, city editor, assistant editor and managing editor. He was a man of splendid physique. When he was a reporter he knocked down a policeman in a police station. In those early days he had a way of purposely mixing metaphors and misusing long words, which made the town laugh. With Wise, Mr. Hyde made a balloon voyage from St. Louis to northern New York over the Great Lakes. The flight was the record for aerial achievement, which remained unbroken nearly fifty years.
When Mr. Hyde became the managing editor he ceased writing humorous sketches. He organized one of the strongest newspaper staffs the journalism of the United States had known up to that time. Mr. Hyde knew good newspaper work. He was a man of liberal education. He came of Revolutionary stock. His father was a Connecticut man who became a member of the faculty of Genesee College. His mother was a Gregory, a highly accomplished member of a widely known New York family. William Hyde was educated at McKendree College and at Transylvania University.
For the writer of his leaders, the strong pen of the editorial page, Mr. Hyde selected Daniel M. Grissom, a product of a Kentucky farm and of Cumberland University. Mr. Grissom was thirty-five years a St. Louis editor. He wrote in the straightforward, vigorous, lucid style in which the readers of the paper had been accustomed in the years of A.B. Chambers and Nathaniel Paschall.
The literary standard of The Republican was committed to the care of Thomas Dimmock. A native of Massachusetts, brought up in Alton, Mr. Dimmock studied at Shurtleff. Alton, in the years before the Civil War, was famed throughout the Mississippi Valley as a place of literary culture. The Shurtleff community was a center of thought and authorship. Mr. Dimmock’s literary tastes were developed where standards were high. After some years of editorial management of the Alton Democrat, Mr. Dimmock, following the Civil War, took the literary editorship at The Republican. His reviews and editorials along artistic and educational lines were features which drew the attention of people everywhere to The Republican.
A graceful writer of special articles for many years, beginning in 1871, was Clarence N. Howell, a graduate of the University of Michigan. A man who served the paper well as city editor was Stanley Waterloo, the author, another University of Michigan man.
Frank R. O’Neil came to The Republican under circumstances paralleling those of William Hyde. Both were from Belleville. Both were legislative correspondents of the paper at Springfield, Ill. As Mr. Hyde’s work attracted the favorable attention of Mr. Paschall, so did Mr. O’Neil’s work impress Mr. Hyde twenty years later. Mr. O’Neil was reporter, city editor and managing editor, reaching the highest position in about the same number of years that Mr. Hyde did.
William Fowler, an Englishman by birth, was for twenty-six years, until his death in 1870, foreman of the composing room of The Republican. He enjoyed the distinction of having “worked at the case” with Horace Greeley.
William Homes, a Presbyterian minister for several years in St. Louis, gave up the pulpit to become an editorial writer on The Republican in 1856. In 1864 he traveled through California, Arizona and Mexico, writing a series of very entertaining letters to The Republican. Ill health compelled him to give up newspaper work in 1868. He ranked as one of the most scholarly writers of his time.
One of the notable members of The Republican staff in the early ‘seventies was William H. Swift. The Republican, in the days of Mr. Paschall, had devoted considerable attention to the financial and commercial news. Mr. Swift, after having filled all of the positions from printer to managing editor on other St. Louis papers, came to The Republican to take charge of the financial and commercial department. He developed the importance of that department, which has ever since been a marked feature of the paper. Mr. Swift was a natural news gatherer. He did more than collect facts. He received impressions of causes as well as of effects. His mind was analytical. Every day after going upon ‘change and making a round of the banks, Mr. Swift came into the editorial hall of The Republican and told in a few words the business news of the day. The others, the editor, Mr. Hyde, the writer of leaders, Mr. Grissom, the city editor, Mr. MacAdam, listened to Mr. Swift with more than ordinary respect. The commercial editor’s suggestions led to frequent assignments for the local reporters.
LAST QUARTER – 1883-1908
Strong Editorial Staffs a Feature of Papers Development – News Beats Which Have Startled Public and Rivals
In the history of American journalism there is no parallel to what is true of the proprietary interests in The St. Louis Republic. Nathaniel Paschall entered the office of the paper when it was four years old, a little weekly. George Knapp entered upon his apprenticeship a few years later. Nathaniel Paschall became proprietor of the paper nearly ninety years ago and over seventy years ago George Knapp obtained an interest. More than half a century the proprietary control of the paper has been in the Knapp and Paschall families. Since 1823 a Knapp or a Paschall has been at the head of either the editorial or the business department, or both.
With the exception of the two years, or somewhat less than two years from 1820 to 1822, when The Missouri Gazette was in the possession of James Cummins, there has been at no time a radical change in ownership. Interests have changed hands; new blood has been brought into the organization, but the virile character, the traditions which made the paper enduring, the policies which gave it vitality when so many other newspaper enterprises failed, have remained with it from the foundation to the end of the century.
It has happened to no other American newspaper that the ownership and conduct in the span or a century have been in so few hands. The names of Charless, Paschall and Knapp make an unbroken chain of continuity from the beginning in 1808 to the century’s close in 1908. As a matter of mere business permanency The Republic is notable among the mercantile institutions of the country, since the controlling ownership and active management rest at the end of a hundred years in the hands of direct or collateral descendants under men who had their training under and became partners of either the founder or his son. The paper was but four years old when Nathaniel Paschall entered its service, and a grandson is today, ninety-six years later, one of the owners and managers. Among them, too, is a nephew of George Knapp, who came to the paper fifteen years after Paschall and eighty-one years ago.
Beginning under the founder, Paschall became the partner of the founder’s son and was an active member of the paper’s staff for forty-seven years. Starting under the younger Charless and the associate of Paschall, George, Knapp, whose connection continued uninterruptedly for fifty-six years, formed partnership relations with both Charless and Paschall. Nathaniel Paschall and George Knapp worked side by side for thirty-two years, and with them as associate for more than a third of that time was John Knapp, whose connection covered altogether a period of thirty-four years. His son, now and for more than twenty years head of the concern, has himself begun his forty-second year of service.
The editor today is Charles W. Knapp; the head of the business office is a Paschall – Walter B. Carr.
In May, 1888, Charles H. Jones of Jacksonville, Fla., purchased an interest in The St. Louis Republic. That year the name of the paper underwent a change from Missouri Republican to St. Louis Republic. Colonel Jones held the editorship of the paper five years under a contract, and retired. During the period, Charles W. Knapp was the publisher. Upon the retirement of Colonel Jones, Mr. Knapp became the editor-in-chief, a position he has held for fifteen years.
Upon the last quarter of its first century, The Republic entered with one of the strongest political organizations of editors, special writers, correspondents and reporters the history of St. Louis journalism had known. The roster as it was in the latter part of 1883 is an interesting reminder of the men who made the paper twenty-five years ago:
President and Publisher – John Knapp
Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor – William Hyde
Editorial Writers – James H.R. Cundiff, Thomas Dimmock, Daniel M. Grissom, Charles W Knapp
City Editor – William A. Kelsoe
Commercial Editor – Joseph Kelley
Telegraph Editor – Henry B. Wandell
River Editor – Shepard W. Knapp
News Editor – Clarence N. Howell
Dramatic Editor – Thomas E. Garrett
Musical Editor – A.R. Rivet
Editor of The Weekly Republican – Charles W. Knapp
Staff Correspondents – Edwin Fleming, Washington; J.C. Hendrix, New York; A.S. Vogdes, Jefferson City; Ed L. Merritt, Springfield, Ill.; together with 460 correspondents in the Western, Southern and Middle States.
Special Writers – Annie R. Noxon, Julia M. Bennett, Fannie Isabelle Sherrick, Josephine Williams, Adele Stevens Cody, “Acanthus” and others.
Reporters – Frank R. O’Neil, John G. Dill, William Fayal, Thomas M. Knapp, Henry E. Campbell, John Fay, John W. Kearney, William M. Reedy, Alex R. Webb and Graham Young.
Foreman Composing Room – Richard Sittig
Number of men employed, eighty-eight
Foreman Pressroom – Murdoch Birnie
Number of men employed (including stereotypers), eighteen
Presses used – Hoe and Walter web perfecting
The Knapps and the Paschalls never forgot the days of small beginnings. Whenever anniversaries or other occasions suggested reminiscences, all honor was given in print to Joseph Charless and his son Edward Charless. The recollection went beyond words. There is of record in the minutes of the directors of the paper an incident which does honor to the newspaper profession. The directors in 1882 were George Knapp, John Knapp and Henry G. Paschall, the last-named a son of Nathaniel Paschall. At a meeting of the board on the 2d of January a resolution was adopted conferring on the only surviving representative of Edward Charless an annuity. The letter, as it appears upon the minutes of the board, is well worth printing. It breathes the old-fashioned, deliberate courtesy which characterized The Republic’s management:
“Dear Respected Madam: Wishing you a happy New Year, we take pleasure in communicating the following preamble and resolution, which, with the cordial appreciation of the stockholders of the corporation of Publishers: George Knapp & Co., have been adopted:
“Whereas Mrs. Jane L. Hoffman is the only surviving representative of the noble and worthy Edward W. Charless, the founder, over sixty years ago, of The Missouri Republican, he the successor of his father, Joseph Charless, who, beginning in 1808, published the paper under the name of Louisiana Gazette and Missouri Gazette,
“Resolved. That an annuity of $200 payable quarterly in advance, from the first of January, 1882, be and is hereby appropriated to the use of Mrs. Jane L. Hoffman during her natural life.
“With the kindest wishes for your continued good health and cheerful, genial disposition, and hoping your life will long be spared, we are devotedly, your friends.”
The Charless interest in the paper had ended forty-five years before the date of this thoughtful action of the board.
Mrs. Hoffman was deeply touched.
“I accept your generous gift,” she wrote, “in the spirit in which it was offered, and, reciprocating all the kind and cordial expressions contained in your letter, tender to each member of your Board of Directors, and to all connected with your great enterprise, my most sincere thanks and warmest wishes for your future prosperity and success.”
George Knapp died in 1883, as the paper was entering upon the fourth quarter of its century. From apprentice to president, his continuous connection with the paper is nearly sixty years, a span not equaled by any other person in the newspaper business of St. Louis.
The public spirit of the paper has not stopped with the use of the columns in support of the movements to benefit St. Louis. The Knapps early committed the owners of The Republican to liberal subscriptions whenever funds for public or semi-public purposes were to be raised. After George Knapp’s death the policy was continued. When the Missouri Pacific, the first railroad west of the Mississippi, was started, in the early ‘fifties, a large sum was subscribed by prominent citizens and organizations. The Missouri Republican was among the leading subscribers. Over $500,000 is the aggregate of the subscriptions made to various local movements by the paper under the continued policy of the Knapps and the Paschalls.
The attitude of The Republic toward other newspapers, even when personal journalism prompted vicious attacks upon it, is well illustrated by a paragraph in the editorial review of the first half century. On the 12th of July, 1858, the editor, presumably Nathaniel Paschall, wrote:
“Since the establishment of The Republican, many journals have come into existence, sprung upon the arena to dispute with it the prize of championship and public patronage, but after a short display of futile efforts have retired from the list and sunk into oblivion. We could mention more than twenty papers which have come into being, and have sickened and died from the want of support which the discriminating public ever accords to a merited journal; but the revelation will neither profit us nor our readers, and we would not probe wounds of disappointment which have probably nearly healed and cicatrized.”
“The faithful and reliable organ of every class of business” was the way Nathaniel Paschall once described The Republic. From the beginning, every editor of the paper has avoided the danger of specializing. He has neglected no class of readers. He has not allowed one class of news to overshadow others. He has preserved the news perspective. He has looked beyond his regular staff for features. When any professional business man or woman of St. Louis had something to write and knew how to write it, the columns of The Republic were open.
“To diversify scenes,” said Joseph Charless in his prospectus in the early summer of 1808, “we shall glean whatever may be most instructive and amusing in the belles lettres, with historical and political extracts. Men of genius are invited to send their productions to The Gazette.”
It its century The Republic has supplied, probably, more material than any other American daily newspaper for books. This bookmaking began with the “Views of Louisiana,” which Brackenridge wrote for Charless before The Gazette was four years old. The letters were collected and published in a volume at the personal request of Thomas Jefferson. When Captain Hiram Martin Crittenden, of the United States Army, a few years ago, assembled the material for his exhaustive three volumes on the American fur trade, he went through the file of The Gazette and The Republican from 1808 to 1850.
“It abounds,” he said, “in valuable data and is the sole authority upon many obscure points.”
John Hogan wrote his carefully considered “Thoughts on St. Louis” for The Republican. The newspaper articles made such an impression upon the community that they were published in book form. His appreciative fellow citizens bestowed upon Mr. Hogan a set of silver plate in recognition of the value of his suggestions. The charming “Recollections” of John F. Darby first appeared in The Republican. Authorship came as a demand upon Major John N. Edwards after some of his wonderfully graphic descriptions of Civil War episodes had been printed as special articles when he was an editorial writer on The Republican. Theophile Papin’s letters from Europe in the early ‘eighties attracted wide interest. Readers found it difficult to believe that the writer was a business man who had followed the prosaic life of an operator in real estate.
The first staff correspondent of a St. Louis newspaper was Henry M. Brackenridge. He wrote for The Gazette descriptive letters as he traveled from Ste. Genevieve to St. Louis and up the Missouri. Thomas Jefferson saw two or three of the articles which were copies from The Gazette into Eastern papers. He sent for the series. Subsequently he urged the publication of them in book form, commending them highly for the information they contained about the new Territory the United States had acquired from Spain. The result of Mr. Jefferson’s interest was the publication of “Views of Louisiana.” Brackenridge was taken up by the Government at Washington. His talent for investigation and for presenting conclusions was utilized. The Government sent Brackenridge to South America on a diplomatic mission. When the report and the recommendations were laid before the administration at Washington the declaration of the Monroe Doctrine followed. That policy had its prompting in the findings of Brackenridge, who had made his first impression on the public by his newspaper work in St. Louis.
The occasional correspondent has enabled The Republic to score repeatedly in news competition. In 1886 the paper startled not only this country, but the Old World, with the announcement that the Panama Canal scheme had collapsed. At the same time were exposed the scandalous practices of officials connected with the canal company. The exposure was made in complete and convincing form; there was no surmise, no indefinite hinting. The facts were given in a straightforward, businesslike style. The occasional correspondent who did the business world a service was Leonard Matthews. Mr. Matthews had years before retired from business in St. Louis. He was traveling abroad. His brother was in command of the Brooklyn, and was cruising in the Caribbean Sea to stop filibusters intending disturbance to Honduras. Leonard Matthews was a guest of his brother on the Brooklyn. He discovered the disgracefully ruinous conditions prevailing on the Isthmus, wrote an account of them and sent it to The Republic. The article appeared in March, 1888.
When the historians a few years ago began a search for the origin of the name “Oregon” they found in The Missouri Republican what is said to be the earliest explanation. In 1825 there appeared in The Republican a communication signed “A Subscriber,” which stated that Oregon was derived from the Spanish word “oregano,” a plant found in profusion on the banks of the Columbia. Then ensued a newspaper controversy. Some one of the talented contributor who helped to make The Republican interesting and famous in those days wrote an answer to “Subscriber” and signed it “Patrick.” He accused Subscriber of “robbing Oregon of the best part of its name, which, he said, was really Teague O’Regan, given in honor of a well-known family In Ireland. Captain Bonneville, the St. Louis explorer, held to the correctness of the first explanation, and said that Spanish oregano was the sage brush which covered much of Oregon.
During several periods in its century of existence The Republic has issued with success, to meet circumstances, evening editions. In the spring of 1849, when there was extraordinary interest in river news, announcement was made that “on Monday evening and thereafter, so long as the river remains open,” an evening Republican would be issued. In March, 1851, an evening edition was brought out during the navigation season “in time for the packets and other boats leaving for the upper and lower river.”
Beginning in July, 1861, a few days after the Battle of Bull Run, an evening Republican was published to supply the demands for war news. The Evening Republican was published again from October, 1874, to March, 1877. It was one of the handsomest papers, typographically, St. Louis had known. A notable feature was a daily article of local character written by Clarence N. Howell.
A marked quality in The Republic’s organization has been esprit du corps. The spirit of harmony and cooperation which prompted the proprietors to stand together at all times away back in the partnership of Charless & Paschall, has characterized their editorial and business staffs. The newspaper team work has been notable in the history of journalism.
John Knapp established a practice which kept the proprietors in close touch with the writers on the paper. Farley, the assistant foreman of the composing room, knew the handwriting of every man on the staff. After that paper had gone to press he penciled above each article, editorial, local and special, the name of the writer. The paper thus marked was upon the desk of Colonel Knapp when he reached the office in the morning. It was consulted in no hasty or perfunctory manner. The Knapps made it their business to know the kind of work every member of the staff was doing. They gave credit where it was due. Their first inclination, in every controversy which arose over publications, was to stand by the writer. Unless it could be shown that the editor, or the reporter was clearly in the wrong, the proprietors sustained him. This policy has not a little to do with the spirit which held the staff in harmonious relations.
The publication of a Sunday edition, which began in 1848, was more than a local innovation. Many of the larger newspapers in the Eastern cities adhered to the six times a week for twenty years and more after The Missouri Republican began to print a paper every day in the year. The first Sunday Republican was distributed with the compliments of the publishers. In the beginning, The Sunday Republican introduced literary features and humorous sketches and gave place to correspondence. It aimed to supply “light reading.” But in respect to size of sheet and amount of advertising it did not differ much from the weekday issue.
Gradually the Sunday edition grew. More and more features were added to make it attractive. For many years the bright “M.H.B.” letters from New York in The Sunday Republican formed a distinctive attraction. No other paper received these letters. It was characteristic of The Republican to insist upon exclusiveness. When the Sunday papers developed into great advertising carriers, it became necessary to print many pages of reading matter. The syndicating of stories and letters and special articles broke in upon The Republic’s long-maintained policy. But this paper was one of the first to break away from the syndicates and to get back to reading matter for the most part prepared by its own writers.
One of the most notable achievements of The Republic in a national way was its aggressive course toward the Pacific railroads. The campaign which this newspaper carried on single-handed for some time began in 1894. The failure of the Union and Central Pacific to keep the contracts with the Government was exposed. The liability of the stockholders under the California law was shown. Exposure was followed by action. Suits were instituted by the Government against the Central Pacific stockholders. The proposed surrender of the Government’s interest in the roads under the intended renewal of the bonds was averted. Three years later The Republic renewed the fighting, when it appeared that the Union Pacific was to be sold at foreclosure upon a guaranteed bid far below the Government’s claim. The Republic led other papers in the protest until the Government took steps to postpone the sale. Then the guaranteed bid was raised to the full amount of the Government’s claim. The application for postponement was withdrawn. The Government gained more than $10,000,000 as the result of this agitation.
In the Civic League movement which resulted in the present satisfactory school board law, The Republic initiated the fighting. In 1896 this paper began an exposure of the old School-Board practices. It showed that the educational interests of the city were being sacrificed to enrich a coterie of contractors. It revealed the shameless use of positions on the School Board to coerce teachers into patronizing certain stores. The campaign was carried on vigorously until public sentiment was thoroughly aroused. When the reform measure was carried to Jefferson City it encountered a strong lobby. There was a short, sharp fight, led by The Republic. The bill was passed, bringing the School Board under the general election law of the State.
In 1897 The Republic sent two news expeditions to describe the scene of the floods in the Lower Mississippi country in March and April.
That same year the paper raised the funds which enabled the Fresh Air Mission to send eleven steamboat-loads of mothers and children out on the river for the hot days of July and August.
With the record The Republic had for availing itself of extraordinary facilities in news gathering, it was to be expected that the paper would be foremost in utilizing the telegraph. The Republic was one of the first papers in the United States to adopt a leased wire from St. Louis to New York by way of Washington. It secured advantage of this equipment several years before any other St. Louis newspaper was served from its bureaus in Washington and New York directly over its own wire to the St. Louis office.
The Republic was one of the first newspapers in the United States to adopt a stereotyping process which led to the marvelous newspaper development of the last half century. Some of the encyclopedias state that stereotyping was not introduced into the newspaper business until about 1861. The Republic used it at least a year earlier. It began stereotyping in 1860.
The Republic was the first paper west of the Mississippi to apply steam power to newspaper printing presses.
The organization of the Western Associated Press and its successor, The Associated Press, vastly increased the facilities for news gathering. The Republic, however, did not rest on these facilities. It maintained special correspondents in its own great field of the Southwest and at the same time possessed itself of the benefits of an interchange of news through alliances in New York. For many years it has had access to all of the news supplied to The New York Herald.
The readers of today are familiar with what The Republic achieved in the news presentation of the struggle between the Greeks and the Turkish Empire. The present readers are also familiar with the perfection of the news service during the war with Spain.
When the attention of the country was drawn to the gold discoveries in Alaska, The Republic was the first paper east of the Rocky Mountains to enter upon a news campaign with the gold seekers. Its correspondents on the Yukon, at Dawson City and in other parts of Alaska have numbered half a score, among them Joaquin Miller, the Poet of the Sierras.
Always strong in its local department, The Republic has had a remarkable procession of city editors. David H. MacAdam, a Scotchman of no little literary ability, the father of the present Washington correspondent, was followed by George Brown, John McGaffey, John G. Dill, Stanley Waterloo, Clarence N. Howell, Frank Stone, Charles A. Taylor, Frank R. O’Neil, W.A. Kelsoe, Robert M. Yost, M.J. Lowenstein, Harry B. Wandell, Dent G. Robert, D.J. McAuliffe.
For almost a lifetime Thomas E. Garrett maintained a standard for dramatic criticism in The Republic which was of more than local note. He discovered and brought to public notice the genius of Mary Anderson.
A general utility man of The Republic staff for many years was the Reverend James A. Dacus. He seemed to have no specialty. He could write intelligently and readably on almost any topic suggested to him. The fact was Dacus had been an omnivorous reader, with a marvelous memory. Dacus was “the walking encyclopedia” of the paper.
A school of metropolitan journalism The Republic has been to many young men. Its graduates are to be found in newspaper positions of prominence in all parts of the country. Donald G. Fitzmaurice, whose Scottish satire illuminates the editorial page of the Globe-Democrat, won his spurs at The Republic. Like Dimmock, he came from the literary atmosphere of Alton, where he had edited a paper and had been The Republic’s suburban correspondent. To Fitzmaurice there is good humor in everything. As a boy he saw the lights of local politics in Cincinnati, where his father was a man of active influence, a member of the Ohio Legislature. Fitzmaurice was an editorial writer on The Republic for several years, but the work which made him famous as a newspaper writer was his correspondence on the opening of Oklahoma and on other notable events in the Southwest.
It is a singular fact that editorial strength for three other St. Louis newspapers was supplied from The Republic. George S. Johns, the editor of The Post-Dispatch, went from The Republic. When John Schroers and Edward L. Preetorius started The St. Louis Times they drew on The Republic for their chief editorial writer – Homer Bassford.
A native product of St. Louis and a graduate of The Republic school of journalism who has won a national position, is Dent G. Robert, at the head of the San Francisco Examiner. Robert Morris Yost, the Los Angeles editor, was at one time City editor of The Republic; so also was Major J. Lowenstein, now a newspaper manager in New York City. Joseph A. Graham, now a managing editor in Philadelphia, held the same position on The Republic for ten years following the retirement of Charles H. Jones.
When The Republic calls the long role of its alumni, William Marion Reedy looms in the front rank. He was “Billy,” the kid of The Republic local force – a slender, laughing-eyed Irish lad. The newspaper life lured him early. It taught him. Reedy’s lessons were the local assignments. His professors were O’Neil and Howell. His standard of literary expression was Dimmock. The president of his college was William Hyde.
W.F. Saunders, the secretary and manager of the Business Men’s League, was a Republic reporter twenty-odd years ago.
Old newspaper men recall vividly the day when first the skirts of the newspaper women swept the bare floor of the city editor’s room. It was a great innovation that introduced into the profession the refining influence of women. It seemed to mean that the staff must learn to sustain the physical effort of writing without shedding coats. From the day the pen women entered the newspaper field the old order of things was changed. Co-editing or co-reporting, call it what you will, the newspaper woman set the pace in many kinds of newspaper work. She did not like to write about crime, sociologically. If she was sent to report a trial, she told how the defendant was dressed, what mannerisms distinguished the learned counsel. She passed by the evidence as of little, or at least minor, consequence, but she wrote what people liked to read, and they asked for more.
The newspaper woman in St. Louis made her debut through The St. Louis Republic. Her name was Mrs. Inez Stone. Her work was not confined to society news. She was ready to undertake any assignment. She was the pioneer of two score, or more, of newspaper women who have added materially to the credit of St. Louis journalism. There were women who did literary work, who were occasional contributors, before Mrs. Stone, but she was the first woman reporter and she was a good one.
The St. Louis Republic was among the first newspapers in the country to make a feature of illustrations. It was the first St. Louis newspaper to use half-tome cuts. Four men who have made reputations in art or authorship graduated from The Republic’s art department. They were but little more than beginners when they became members of The Republic staff. H.R.H. Heaton, who went from St. Louis to Chicago, was one of the talented quartet. Paul Connoyer, the widely known artist, was another. Augustus Thomas, the playwright, was the third member. A. Russell, whose striking color pictures make the front page feature of the Globe-Democrat Magazine section, was longer, perhaps, with The Republic than Heaton, Connoyer or Thomas.
The St. Louis Republic closes the century with the largest staff in its history. In the division into departments, in the distribution of duties, is shown the evolution of metropolitan journalism. The present staff is given herewith:
President and Editor – Charles W. Knapp.
Editorial Writers – W.V. Byers and J.R. Truehart.
General Manager – Henry N. Cary.
Business Manager – Walter B. Carr.
Advertising Manager – Fred C. Yates.
Foreign Advertising Representatives – I.S. Wallis, Chicago. Wallace G. Brooke, New York. Milt Barrons, Kansas City.
Chief Accountant – W.O. Sommerfield.
Circulation Manager, Daily and Sunday Editions – E.R. Sterbens.
Circulation Manager, Twice-a-Week Republic and Farm Progress – Charles R. Ketchum.
Managing Editor – Daniel J. McAuliffe.
Night Editor – Henry F. Woods.
Telegraph Editor – Harry N. Norman.
City Editor – William V. Brumby.
Night City Editor – Henry F. Woods.
Financial and Railroad Editor – Joseph N. Fining.
Commercial Editor – J. Vion Papin.
Society Editor – Miss Harriet E. Pullis.
Real Estate and Insurance Editor – J.E. Tiedeman.
Copy Editors – C.G. Ross, Robert Clark, Jr., J.C. La Hines, J.L. Edwards, Homer T. Ashbaugh, M.E. Cubbon and L.K. Weber.
Reporters – William F. Smith, T.J. Masterson, Sam Hellman, Burr Price, R.W. Denny, Frank Cleary, W.E. Babb, John N. Beffel, Ida B. Cole, Kathryn Heard, Charles Franks, A.W. Jones, Jr., John D. McAdams, June M. Rhoades, J.W. Cassidy, C.H. Spillman, S.X. Weldner, H.E. Stephens, F.D. Fogle, B.J. Reilly and P.M. Powers.
Staff Correspondent – W.J. Cochran.
Bureaus – D. Hastings MacAdam, chief; F.W. Steckman, assistant, at Washington. John P. Regan, chief, at New York. Charles B. Oldham, chief, at Jefferson City.
Special Features Department – Roslyn D. Whytock, T.O. Warfield.
Sport Department – J.B. Sheridan, E.V. Parrish, R.J. Collins.
Dramatic Editor – Alfred Head.
Editor Twice-a-Week Republic – W.G. Hutton.
Art Department – G.T. Coleman, manager; H.E. Ramsey, E. McBride, Paul Van Tuyl, John Steck.
Staff Photographers – A.A. Coult, George Steck.
Foreman of Photo-Engraving Department – Clyde Neveling.
Foreman Composing Room – Henry Boecke.Number of men, seventy.
Foreman of Pressroom – Charles Schall. Number of men, including stereotypers, 31.
Superintendent of Mechanical Department – Oscar Boecke.
Foreman Mailroom – C.J. Stroh, Number of men employed: Regulars, fifteen; Saturday extras, twenty.