By Kris Leonhardt
In the pioneer days of America, as the country was gaining in population and diversity, small local newspapers sprang up out of the woodwork (literally). Some were conceived out of a need to communicate with the countries they had left behind, while others were formed to communicate within common interests.
These interests included land and lumber, as well as a more contentious subject – politics.
The Republican Party found its start right here in Wisconsin, when a group of individuals from the Whig Party disagreed with party views on the slavery issue. After forming the Republican group, supporters were eager to back the views and sympathies of the assemblage.
Many Stevens Point area publications found their beginnings at this point. Publications such as the Portage County Republican and the Plover Herald held common political views and backing.
Other publications, such as the Wisconsin Pinery and Wisconsin Lumberman, were formed on common interests but maintained similar political backing.
In July 1878, a new publication formed on a different political platform, uncommon for the area at that time. While supporting the Independent Party, founders Ed Glennon, H.W. Lee and William Krembs formed the new Portage County Gazette.
In those days, the newspaper business was a quick and easy busy to start. With a good grasp of grammar and proper writing skills, plus a few hundred dollars, the men were on their way.
With Lee as their editor, the trio began churning out a new weekly newspaper.
The move must have been a prickly one for the day, joining a large array of Republican publications and printing a quite different viewpoint must have been a challenge for the men.
The challenge may have taken its toll in 1880, when Clay Cooper replaced William Krembs in the business and the Postage County Gazette switched over to the Republican side.
As the decade passed, the newspaper went through multiple changes, now supporting the Democratic party and becoming a daily publication, the newspaper became known as simply, The Gazette. The turbulence of the changing structure of the publication left Ed Glennon as sole publisher and editor of the newspaper.
As fast as the newspapers were to get their start in those days, they were just as quick to meet their demise, as publications came and went during these years.
Never finding a lasting place in the industry, the newspaper would fall victim to the newly developing publications around them. In 1919, the Gazette was consolidated into the Stevens Point Journal.
Kris Leonhardt may be contacted by mail: P.O. Box 51, Marshfield, Wisconsin, 54449 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.