History on Canandaigua Newspapers

From History of Ontario County New York and its People 

published 1911     Vol. 1   pg 288-291

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The earlier newspaper history of Canandaigua is not easy to trace.  The first attempt at printing a paper was made in 1799, when Lucius CARY moved here the “Ontario Gazette and Genesee Advertiser,” which he had started at Geneva a year or so before.  This publication did not long survive, but was succeeded early in 1802 by the “Western Repository and Genesee Advertiser,” published by James K. GOULD.  The following year the name of the paper was changed to the “Western Repository,” and in 1804 James D. BEMIS became interested in its management. Mr. GOULD dying in March 1808, the enterprise was continued by Mr. BEMIS, who soon developed a large publishing business and made the paper the leading and most influential publication of its kind in the western country, richly earning the title of the “Father of the Western New York Press.”  The earliest copies of the paper accessible show that Morse & Bemis published the Repository in 1805; Morose, Ward & Co., in 1830; Mores & Harvey in 1835; George L. WHITNEY in 1840; Orson BENJAMIN in 1845.  The name of the paper was changed from “Western Repository” to “The Ontario Repository” in 1830.  In 1857, George L. Whitney & Son became the proprietors and they were succeeded in 1861 by George W. FRENCH, by whom it was sold in February 1862, to Jacob J. MATTISON, who consolidated it with the Messenger.  Politically the Repository was a supporter of Fillmore, the American Presidential candidate in 1856, and Bell the National Union nominee, in 1860, both representing the struggles of the remnants of the Silver Gray Whigs for a separate existence. 

The Ontario Messenger, established in 1803 as the Ontario Freeman, by Isaac TIFFANY, was taken over and re-christened in 1806, by John A STEVENS, who continued in charge of the publication until about 1830, following which the publishers were, first, Day & Morse, then T. B. HAHN, then Hubbell & Turner, Again T. B. HAHN, and finally in 1845, Jacob J. MATTISON became interested in the enterprise and although from time to time associated with others in the management continued at its head until his death, in August 1879.  In the meantime the paper had absorbed its old-time rival, the Repository.  Politically, the old Messenger was a straight Democratic organ, as its successor, the Repository and Messenger, has continued to be to this date.  After Mr. MATTISON’s death, the Repository  and Messenger was sold to William H. UNDERHILL, of Bath, following whose death in 1883 it was continued for a time by his father, A. L. UNDERHILL, and then in December 1885, it became the property of Herbert HUNTINGTON. The paper was continued under the latter’s management until January 1907, when he retired and it  became the property of the Messenger Printing Company, of which W. A. PATTON was president and general manager.  On December 9, 1907, it began publication as a daily. 

The Ontario County Times was established by Nathan J. MILLIKEN, in January 1852, as the organ of the anti-slavery wing of the Whig party.  It took an active part in the events leading up to the organization of the Republican party, and under the management of its founder and his sons has continued an exponent of that party’s principles.  Mr. MILLIKEN took his oldest son, Charles F. MILLIKEN, into partnership on January 1, 1891, and upon the formers death in December 1902, the paper passed to the management of his two sons, C.F. & R. B. MILLIKEN, by whom its publication was continued until the death of junior member of the firm on January 2, 1911.  Charles F. MILLIKEN is now the editor and manager. 

The Ontario County Journal was established in 1874 by George D. A. BRIDGMAN, as an Independent or Liberal Republican paper, but its policy was soon changed to that of a party organ and it has so continued under the management of successive proprietors.  In May 1886, it became the property of William G. DAVID, but in September of the following year he sold it back to its founder, Mr. BRIDGEMAN, by whom it was conducted until July 1891, when it became the property of Edwin P. GARDNER and William H. HAMLIN.  In May 1899, Mr. HAMLIN retired and Mr. GARDNER has since continued sole proprietor and editor. 

In addition to the papers which have survived the vicissitudes of the years as above related, there have been numerous unsuccessful ventures in the field.  The Ontario Phoenix, which was established in 1827 by W. W. PHELPS, and later conducted by R. ROYCE, was united with the Repository in 1836.  The Clay Club was the name of a campaign paper printed at Canandaigua during the campaign of 1844.  In April 1882, the Ontario Independent was established by William C. HYDON and Edward A. WATER.  In December 1883, Mr. HYDON retired, and the publication was discontinued and its subscription list sold to Mr. BRIDGMAN of the Ontario County Journal. 

In August 1898, the publication of a paper known as The Daily Chronicle was undertaken by A. R. MICKIE, but after a precarious existence of forty six days the venture was given up and the press and other materials shipped to another field. 

In August 1900, W. A. BROWN and W. D. POWERS began the publication of the Canandaigua Chronicle.  In January 1903, Mr. POWERS retired form the firm and Mr. BROWN thereafter conducted the business until, in December 1903, he effected a sale to Leonard A. PARKHURST and John L. MC LAUGHLIN, by whom it was continued until December 1907, when upon the failure of the List Manufacturing Company, of which the two proprietors were directors, it went into the hands of a receiver and soon after suspended publication. 


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