It didn’t take long for Miami County to get its first newspaper. The county was formed in 1832, and by 1837, a paper called the Peru Forester was being published. It covered local issues and addressed the topics of the day in a country that was a little more than 50 years old.
The Peru Forester was just one of many newspapers that sprung up in the first decade of Miami County. By 1844, four papers had been established. The shortest one lasted three months, and the longest survived for three years.
Throughout the decades, more than 55 newspapers covering a wide variety of news started up and died away in Miami County.
“We knew we had a large number of newspapers, but we didn’t think we had that many,” said Elise Kordis, director of the Miami County Museum.
Museum staff began investigating the history of print publications last year, and organized an exhibit documenting the rise and fall of the county’s many newspapers.
Once they realized how many papers actually existed, Kordis said it was pretty shocking.
“It was like, wow, there’s 55,” she said. “We knew there were a few dozen, but we didn’t know there were that many.”
Most of the papers covered news in Peru, but nearly every town in the county had its own publication at some point.
There was Our Village News in Bunker Hill in the early 1870s, the Chili Weekly Gazette in 1895, the Converse Clipper in 1893, the Denver Sun in 1883, the Macy Monitor in 1885 and the Mexico Enterprise in 1892.
Kordis said the late 1800s were a big time for newspapers, not just in the county, but across the country. As industrialization spread and more national issues arose, entrepreneurs had plenty of cash to get newspapers up and running in a rapidly expanding economy.