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Journal EquipmentSherman County Newspapers: In the Beginning
By Chris Sanders

In the beginning, Sherman County newspaper competition was fierce. Community citizens could go to bed one night and not know who would have control over their news the following day.

See flow chart - Click here.


The Observer was founded in Wasco.  Cornelius J. Bright in the fall of 1888 established the Wasco Observer, the first newspaper between the rivers, in the fall of 1888.  The County was formed from Wasco County in 1889.  In 1890 Bright was admitted to the bar and opened his law office at once. [Source: Resources of Wasco and Sherman Counties - The Dalles Mountaineer - Souvenir edition - published 1 January 1898]  Bright's obituary states that he sold the paper shortly after he established it. Giles French, in The Golden Land, stated, "Newspapers were started. After the Wasco Observer had been bought by Moore Brothers and moved to Moro, Dr. H.E. Beers financed the Wasco News with James W. Armsworthy and V.C. Brock as editors."

1889 The Observer taken over by new owners in Wasco.
1891 The Observer was moved to Moro by John B. Hosford, becoming The Moro Observer. Giles French wrote, "At Moro the Observer prospered under J.B. Hosford with Clyde Williams as printer until 1894 when it was sold to D.C. Ireland and sons, C. Leonard and Francis C."
1894 The Grant Dispatch washed out in 1894 flood
1894 The Moro Observer  was sold to DeWitt Clinton Ireland who died 1913. He was succeeded by his son C. Leonard Ireland.
1897 The Grass Valley Journal was established and edited by Clark E. Brown. [Source: Resources of Wasco and Sherman Counties - The Dalles Mountaineer - Souvenir edition - published 1 January 1898]  Giles French wrote in The Golden Land, "The enterprising citizens of Grass Valley needed a paper to give expression to their ideas of metropolitan promise and capitalized themselves for $2,000 in 1897 as the Grass Valley Publishing Co., with George Bourhill, J.H. Smith, William Holder, Charley Moore and J.D. Wilcox putting up the money to start the Grass Valley Journal. C.E. Brown was editor at first and then W.I. Westerfield came up from Lafayette to take over, remaining until his death in 1923. His widow continued to operate it."

The Wasco News. The first microfilmed copy is for 28 October 1897 and goes through to 17 January 1908. It may have lasted longer than that but, regrettably, no papers survived to microfilm.

Jas. W. Armsworthy first worked on the "Old Observer," and after completing his mechanical knowledge in Portland, returned to Wasco in 1892. In November of that year he purchased the plant of the Wasco News, and by adding a complete job department to it, has to-day (1898) the most complete printing office in the county. [Source: Resources of Wasco and Sherman Counties - The Dalles Mountaineer  - Souvenir edition - published 1 January 1898]   While it is not clear how long Armsworthy operated the paper, the 1900 Sherman County census shows his occupation as a printer.

1898 The People's Republic started in Wasco 21 August 1898 and operated until 10 November 1898, when it was relocated to Moro starting 17 November 1898.
1898 The Moro Leader started and a short time later was moved to Shaniko to become The Shaniko Leader. Giles French wrote in The Golden Land, "Not everyone was pleased with the Observer, however, the business men backed Leon W. Hunting in a new paper, The Moro Leader, which he edited for nearly a year before turning it over to Maurice Fitzmaurice. It was as Republican as the Observer, had less advertising and more editorials. William Holder, one-time sheriff, bought it in April, 1900, and moved it to Shaniko."
1900 The People's Republic consolidated with the Wasco News becoming the Wasco News Enterprise Giles French wrote in The Golden Land, "The Populists were numerous enough to have their own newspaper and started the People's Republic at Wasco… Grant Kellogg was editor after W.J. Peddicord got the paper on its way in 1898… and he moved it to Moro in a new building put up by J.M. Powell… The Observer was too strong for the People's Republic and it soon returned to Wasco to perish by consolidation with the (Wasco) News…. The Irelands were left in possession of the county seat location….
1902 Grass Valley Journal was purchased by Westerfield. He owned and operated it up to the time of his death 14 January 1924.  His obituary states that he was the editor for 26 years and had relocated to Grass Valley in 1897 from his former family home at Lafayette, Yamhill Co., Oregon.      
1902 The Shaniko Leader moved back to Moro to become the Moro Bulletin.
1905 The Kent Recorder started. Giles French wrote in The Golden Land, "The Kent Recorder was published for a time in 1905 by E.H. Brown and there was a paper briefly at Grant when a plant was brought over from Dufur for a few months."
1927 Sherman County News was operated out of Wasco. The papers on microfilm are for 19 August 1927 to 29 August 1930.

Grass Valley Journal was purchased from Mrs. Westerfield by Giles L. French. The depression of that era had reduced all newspaper income until the county could not afford three newspapers. C. Leonard Ireland had succeeded his father on his death and was willing to sell. The Grass Valley Journal and the Moro Observer were consolidated in March, 1931, with French as owner and editor. The next year he acquired the Wasco News which had had many editors and many owners. The consolidation was called the Sherman County Journal.

After Giles French retired, the Journal was published by Dan Bartlett, Sr., Jack Healy and Dan Bartlett, Jr.

2008 Sherman County Journal equipment, machinery and furnishings were sold to Sherman County Historical Society by the heirs of Dan Bartlett, Jr.

Sherman County Historical Society finished payment one year ahead of schedule!


Sherman County Historical Museum Team began work to exhibit part of this collection.  


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