The history of journalism in Concord
An issue of the New Hampshire Patriot from 1821.
The bi-weekly “Herald of Freedom” was an abolitionist newspaper.
Philippines Sen Jose P. Laurel (left) is introduced to James Langley (right) by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Walter S. Robertson in 1954. The two were marking Laurel-Langley Agreement, a new agreement on Philippine-American trade relations signed that year. Langley was also the editor of the “Concord Monitor” for many years.
Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson (center) is interviewed in 1984 by (from left) “Monitor” editor Mike Pride, publisher George Wilson, Michael Birkner and Ralph Jimenez.
Pride, Wilson and then-editor Tom Gerber in 1980.
1790 – On Jan. 6, George Hough puts out Concord’s first newspaper from a one-story building on the east side of today’s State House plaza. The paper is a 4-page, 9-by-14-inch sheet called the Concord Herald and New Hampshire Intelligencer. Its motto: “The Press is the oracle of science, the Nurse of Genius, the Shield of Liberty.” A journalist who worked for Hough praised his printing skills but found him lacking in “aptitude with his pen.”
On Dec. 7, the news in the Herald consists of this: “No Boston post arrived; all news, we believe, is frozen up by the cold weather. We have not even a report with which we can serve up a paragraph for our hungry customers.”
1792 – Elijah Russell, a printer in Hough’s office, starts the Mirrour in Concord’s North End. Before the turn of the century, Russell will add two newspapers, including the literary New Star, and a magazine.
Hough enlarges his paper and renames it the Courier of New Hampshire.
1795 – Mirrour expands. Price goes to 5 shillings a year, although barter for produce is common.
1799 – Mirrour and New Star fold.
1801 – Russell starts the first party newspaper in Concord, the Republican Gazette. It espouses the views of Thomas Jefferson and will last for two years.
1806 – William Hoit and Jesse Tuttle start the Concord Gazette. It folds after 37 issues but will resume publication three years later as a Federalist paper.
1808 – Hoit, a master compositor, starts the American Patriot. His plan is to have local literary men prepare the content during a long night’s work just before press-time. In Hoit’s telling, some of these men “became so full of good drink that they fell asleep, and so remained through the night.”
1809 – Isaac Hill comes to Concord. He is the town’s “editor of the age,” according to Frank W. Rollins, whose history of newspapers is a main source for this timeline. Another observer remarked that Hill wrote with “that electric force by which a writer upon political affairs imparts to others the convictions and zeal possessed by himself.” Hill is 21 and has just apprenticed at the Amherst Citizen. He buys Hoit’s Patriot for $300, renames it the New Hampshire Patriot and begins publishing on April 19. The paper’s politics are anti-Federalist, later Democratic.
1810 – Hill moves his operation uptown from South Main Street and opens the Franklin Book Store downstairs from his print shop and press.
1812-15 – During the War of 1812, Hill’s paper becomes a mouthpiece for the Madison administration. Circulation soars.
1818 – The Concord Gazette, which Hill mocks as the “crow paper” because of the look of the eagle in its over-inked nameplate, folds.
1819 – George Hough brings out the Concord Observer, the state’s first religious newspaper, with Congregational pastor Asa McFarland contributing articles.
1822 – John W. Shepard of Gilmanton buys Hough’s Observer, renames it the New Hampshire Repository and prints it in a building opposite the State House on Main Street.
1823 – Luther Roby, a printer from Amherst, starts the New Hampshire Statesman, which will become Concord’s chief Whig paper.
1826 – Hill’s Patriot outgrows its quarters. Hill has a three-story building built on the southeast corner of the State House yard. The Franklin Book Store occupies the ground floor.
The New Hampshire Journal debuts. By chance, its editor, Jacob B. Moore, is traveling near Crawford Notch when the Willey House disaster occurs. His account of the death of Samuel Willey, his wife, their five children and two hired men in an Aug. 28 flood brings big sales of the first edition.
1829 – Hill leaves the Patriot. Horatio Hill (Isaac’s brother) and Cyrus Barton take over.
1830 – The Journal merges into Roby’s Statesman, which has taken over the Concord Register and is published from a building on the site of today’s Phenix Hotel.
1831 – A member of President Andrew Jackson’s Kitchen Cabinet, Isaac Hill is elected to the U.S. Senate.
1832 – The New Hampshire Courier (later Courier and Inquirer) appears.
Jackson and Vice President Martin Van Buren visit Concord. Hill presents their party with a Bible and music scores printed in Concord. Six newspapers are now published in town.
1833 – Priestcraft Exposed, an anti-Catholic sheet, issues its first edition. It will last three years.
1834 – The Star of the East, a Universalist paper, begins publication.
Moody Currier, future governor, and Asa Fowler, future state Supreme Court justice, start the Literary Gazette. It will last two years.
1835 – On Jan. 24, The Abolitionist publishes its first edition. It will soon become the bi-weekly Herald of Freedom.
1836 – Isaac Hill is elected to the first of three one-year terms as governor.
1838 – The fiery abolitionist Nathaniel Peabody Rogers takes over the Herald of Freedom.
1839 – Former governor Hill and William P. Foster start the Farmers’ Monthly Visitor.
1840 – Having ceded control of the New Hampshire Patriot 11 years earlier, Hill launches Hill’s New Hampshire Patriot. It will last seven years, publishing weekly except during June legislative sessions, which the former governor reports on daily.
1843 – John R. French starts the White Mountain Torrent, a temperance newspaper, in Low’s Block downtown.
1844 – After a two-year hiatus, Augustus C. Blodgett revives the Courier and Inquirer.
1845 – The Independent Democrat, which breaks with the party to oppose extending slavery to the West, begins publication. A hard-hitting editor, George Gilman Fogg, will be its voice.
The abolitionist Parker Pillsbury takes over as editor of the Herald of Freedom after a bitter dispute between its former editor, Nathaniel P. Rogers, and William Lloyd Garrison.
1846 – The Herald of Freedom folds.
Rogers, the state’s most fervent voice for the abolition of slavery, dies at 52.
Blodgett merges the Courier and Inquirer with the new Concord Gazette.
Democrat William Butterfield, the Nashua Telegraph’s editor, comes to Concord to edit the New Hampshire Patriot. He and Fogg will duel in print throughout the years leading to the Civil War.
1847 – Hill’s Patriot and the New Hampshire Patriot merge under the firm Hill & Butterfield.
Using the nickname of Zachary Taylor, Mexican war hero and future president, True Osgood publishes Rough and Ready, a Whig paper, for 13 weeks. The Democrats counter with Tough and Steady. The two are among many campaign papers published in Concord over the years.
1851 – In its 28th year, the New Hampshire Statesman comes under the editorship of Asa McFarland, son and namesake of the former Congregational pastor. As the Whig Party fades away, the Statesman will migrate into Republican ranks.
Isaac Hill dies on March 22 at age 61.
1852 – Cyrus Barton launches the State Capital Reporter.
1854 – The New Hampshire Phoenix, a temperance newspaper, begins publication.
1855 – Dudley S. Palmer and Edward E. Sturtevant, who will become New Hampshire’s first Civil War volunteer, start Voice of the Stockholders. This short-lived paper takes aim at powerful railroad managers.
1856 – The Democratic Standard, a fierce pro-southern, pro-slavery newspaper, debuts on June 10 in Concord.
1857 – The State Capital Reporter, now owned by Amos Hadley, merges into the Independent Democrat under Hadley and George G. Fogg.
1860 – Fogg accompanies the official party to Springfield, Ill., to inform Abraham Lincoln of his nomination at Chicago. He will become secretary of Lincoln’s national campaign.
1861 – Angry over the Democratic Standard’s pro-southern diatribes and ridicule of Union soldiers, a mob destroys the newspaper on Aug. 8. As its equipment and supplies smolder on Main Street, its proprietors, are hustled through the mob into protective custody.
Lincoln appoints Fogg minister to Switzerland.
1862 – The Legislative Reporter, published jointly by the Statesman, Independent Democrat and Patriot, begins its four-June run during legislative sessions.
1864 – Parsons B. Cogswell and George Sturtevant, older brother of Edward, start the Concord Daily Monitor on May 23.
1867 – The Monitor merges with the Independent Democrat under the auspices of the Independent Press Association. The proprietors are Cogswell, Sturtevant and two former editors of the Independent Democrat, Fogg and Hadley.
1868 – Asa McFarland retires as editor of the Statesman.
The Democratic People begins publication.
The New Hampshire Patriot becomes a daily. Along with Josiah Minot and Franklin Pierce, John M. Hill, Isaac’s son, buys a half interest. William Butterfield, the editor, owns the other half.
1871 – The Republican Press Association takes over the Daily Monitor. The Republican Statesman also comes under its auspices, publishing as the weekly Independent Statesman. The move is an effort by William E. Chandler and the Concord Clique to heal rifts within the Republican Party and silence the ever-critical Fogg, the Monitor’s editor.
1874 – S.G. Noyes starts the weekly Rays of Light in Penacook.
1878 – The Patriot is sold to the owners of the People and becomes the People and New Hampshire Patriot.
1880 – The newsboys of Concord publish the first edition of News Boy, which will become Christmas Newsboy in December 1882 shortly before expiring.
1881 – The Jug, 1¾ by 1¼ inches in size, debuts in December. Its motto: “Give us justice! Our paper is the smallest in the world.” It will rapidly shrink to nothing.
1884 – After a brief run as a morning paper, the Monitor becomes the Concord Evening Monitor.
Ira C. Evans brings out the first Veteran’s Advocate, a paper for the state’s chapters of the Grand Army of the Republic, the leading Union Civil War veterans’ organization. Evans, a printer in downtown Concord, served as chief musician of the 12th New Hampshire Volunteers.
1885 – The People and New Hampshire Patriot, now owned by the New Hampshire Democratic Press Co., begins daily publication.
1895 – The Stone Trade News, devoted to the stone business, begins biweekly publication.
1896 – George Higgins Moses, managing editor of the Concord Evening Monitor and a protégé of U.S. Sen. William E. Chandler, interviews and befriends Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science. Eddy lives at Pleasant View in Concord.
1898 – With the help of a $5,000 loan from the 77-year-old Eddy, Moses buys a share of the Monitor from Chandler. He becomes the paper’s chief editor. William Dwight Chandler, the senator’s son, becomes publisher.
1906 – Moses makes his last loan payment to Mary Baker Eddy.
1909 – President William Howard Taft appoints Moses minister to Greece and Montenegro.
1918 – Moses is appointed to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy and leaves the Monitor editorship. New Hampshire will elect him to full terms in 1920 and 1926.
Citing rising prices for shoes and clothing, Concord newsboys strike, demanding one cent for each newspaper delivered. William D. Chandler, the Monitor’s publisher, and Edward J. Gallagher, the Patriot’s editor, grant the increase.
1923 – On March 1, 28-year-old James M. Langley, editor of the Sunday Manchester Union Leader, becomes editor and manager of the Concord Daily Monitor and the New Hampshire Patriot. With financing help from his family and from John G. Winant, a master at St. Paul’s School, Langley buys the papers and combines them. Winant receives stock for his investment.
In a signed editorial, Langley states the Monitor’s philosophy: “Its primary and guiding purpose has come to be the honest presentation of daily events that its readers may know what their neighbors have been doing, here, in the state, in the nation and abroad. In its news columns the paper will reflect no political attitude either in the text of its stories or in the display given them. We shall never become a party organ or the organ of an individual or corporation.”
1924 – When Winant is elected governor, Langley buys back his stock in the papers.
Langley ends publication of the third Concord paper, the Statesman.
1929 – On Columbus Day, the Monitor leaves its longtime home in the Patriot building at Park and Main streets and moves to 3 N. State St.
1930 – Max R. Grossman completes his master’s thesis on New England newspapers at Boston University. He counts six journalists at the Monitor, two copy editors and four reporters. His conclusion: “The Monitor has an inadequate number of reporters, especially for a community in which the state’s capitol is located.”
1942 – For the duration of World War II, Ruel Colby, the Monitor’s sports editor, turns his daily column, “The Sport Galley,” over to letters from Concord GIs in the field and other news of local boys at war.
1952 – Langley acts as public relations officer for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s campaign during the New Hampshire Primary. He helps devise the campaign’s media strategy while writing frequent editorials extolling Eisenhower for president.
1954 – Langley leads the U.S. delegation for Philippine trade negotiations, with the rank of special representative of the president. The negotiations succeed.
1957 – President Eisenhower appoints Langley U.S. ambassador to Pakistan.
1961 – Langley sells the Monitor to William Dwight, a Massachusetts publisher. Langley continues as editor.
1968 – Langley’s self-written obituary in the June 24 Monitor begins: “I died late yesterday afternoon.” He was 73.
Tom W. Gerber becomes the Monitor’s editor.
1975 – William Dwight retires. George W. Wilson, his son-in-law, becomes publisher of the Monitor and president of its parent company.
1983 – Gerber retires. Mike Pride, managing editor since 1978, succeeds him as editor.
1988 – Tom Brown succeeds Wilson as publisher.
1990 – The Monitor leaves downtown for a new building at 1 Monitor Drive.
1992 – The Monitor switches from afternoon to morning publication.
The Sunday Monitor debuts, with Mark Travis as its editor.
2006 – The Monitor introduces the weekly Concord Insider.
2007 – Publisher Tom Brown becomes president of the Monitor’s parent company, Newspapers of New England, Inc. Geordie Wilson, son of former publisher George W. Wilson, becomes publisher.
2008 – The Monitor’s Preston Gannaway wins the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.
Pride retires after 25 years as editor. Monitor veteran Felice Belman succeeds him.
2009 – Tom Brown retires.
Aaron Julien becomes president and CEO of Newspapers of New England, the Monitor’s parent company.
2012 – Mark Travis becomes the Monitor’s publisher.
2013 – The Forum, an expanded opinion section, debuts with Felice Belman as its editor.
2014 – Steve Leone is named editor of the Monitor.