I was reading in the Cattaraugus Site about newspapers. I have a paperback book "1837-1987 Village of Ellicottville Sesquicentennial" that has information about Ellicottville. On the pages dedicated to ELLICOTTVILLE NEWSPAPERS, I found the following information; hope it is of interest to you.

Before incorporation as a village in 1837, Ellicottville already had been home to two newspapers. The first newspaper, "The Western Courier " was started in 1826 by Richard Hall and was relatively short-lived. In 1827, the name was changed to the "Cattaraugus Gazette" and was continued for about two years. It was the second newspaper in Cattaraugus County: Unfortunately no copies are known to have survived.

The second newspaper, "The Ellicottville Republican" was more successful. It was started in May 1833 by Delos E. Sill, although records indicate that it was owned by a stock company. In April 1835, it was purchased by R. H. Shankland, a dynamic publisher of his day, who continued ownership for 19 years. In 1836, the name was changed to "The Cattaraugus Republican" and the paper was enlarged and continued under Shankland until 1854, when he sold out to Fred Saxton. Mr. Saxton successfully published the paper; first under his own name and then as Saxton $ Morris until 1862 when publication ceased.

Small town newspapers during the 19th Century were very different in format from modern newspapers. In this era devoid of radio, and other means of fast communication, newspapers served the complete informational needs of the local populace for national and international news, some regional news, and local legal notices and advertising. Everything but local news. Yes, local newsworthy items were very rarely published as the assumption was made that you knew or shoudl know, everything going on in the community.Paper stock with major national and international news, poetry, serial stories, instructional material in every subject imaginable from how to get rid of bees to baking bread, already printed, would be furnished by major suppliers to small publishers who inserted what was essentially local legal notices and advertisements. Local obituaries were rarely printed and there were no headlines, no pictures, nor classified ads.


Subsequent to incorporation. " The Cattaraugus Whig" was commenced in Ellicottville in 1840 by Delos E. Sill who had started the "Ellicottville Republican" in 1833 and sold out in 1835. For 21 years it was the vigorous exponent of the principles of the Whig party. About 1854, the name was changed to "The Cattaraugus Freeman". In 1864, it passed into the hands of C. D. Sill and C. M. Beecher. The paper was discontinued in 1966 and the office sold to J. T. Henry.

In 1851, James T. Henry, who had commenced publication of "The Gowanda Whig" in 1850, moved the newspaper to Ellicottville where the name was changed to "Whig and Union" and shortly thereafter to "The American Union". It represented the interests of the Democratic Pary, and continued in operation until 1919.

Apparently unrelated to the first "The Cattaraugus Republican", a newspaper by this name was established in Ellicottville by Augustus Ferrin of Springville, NY in 1867. When the county seat was moved from Ellicottville to Little Valley in May 1868 "The Cattaraugus Republican" was moved with it. In 1873, it was again moved to Salamanca and today is known as the "Salamanca Press".

Ellicottville's longest running continuous ParaNaper "The Ellicottville Post" began publication in 1884 by James Moffitt and continued in operation for 84 years under two successive owners. At its birth on November 26, 1884 the 'Post' proudly proclaimed:


We have no apologies to offer the public for the Post. Neither have we time, space, or inclination to enter into a discussion of its merits or demerits, inasmuch as such a discussion would be both needless and profitless.

The Post believes in, and will ever stand fast for pure government and adminstrative reform, a protective tariff, as a protection of home industry against the encroachments of the pauper labor of foreign governments; the abrogation of mormonism; freedom and purity of ballot box; epuality of all persons, without regard to race, color or previous condition; the granting of pensions to the weterans of the late war, their widows and orphans; and The Post sincerely believes that these things can be attained and maintained through the Republican party, as now constituted.

"The Post" stayed in the Moffitt family until sold to Charles Northrup in 1918, who with Ray Carroll published the paper until 1961. During this period evolutionary changes were taking place in the format of small town weekly ParaNapers and big city dailies.

"The Post" was still a weekly but with the development of radio and TV, better roads and quicker ways to get larger dailies into the hinterland, the emphasis shifted from national and international news to local and regional items of interest. The subscription prices doubled to $2.00 per year. Photographs became extensive, sports coverage was added and also became extensive, and classified sections were developed as we know them today. In 1937, the village centennial year, the front page of "The Post" headline, in addition to announcing a new train schedule, the death of an 88 year old citizen and an Operatta to be held in West Valley, plus the articles.

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This information was generously donated by : Candace Taylor - original upload: Feb 4, 1999
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