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Jacksonville once had many newspapers

The other day going through some papers, I ran into "The Democratic Times," dated Thursday, Nov. 15, 1900, and published in Jacksonville. Being from a pioneer family, I did not know that Jacksonville had at one time published a newspaper. I would like to know what years they published it and the year they started the Medford Mail Tribune.

— Bev, Central Point

Bev, we've got news for you: In its early days, Jacksonville had a lot of newspapers. Here's a list we came up with, thanks to the 1939 book, "History of Oregon Newspapers," by University of Oregon journalism professor George Turnbull: Table Rock Sentinel (the first local paper, founded in 1855), the Oregon Sentinel, the Herald, the Southern Oregon Gazette, the Civilian, the Intelligencer, the Oregon Reporter, the Southern Oregon Press, the Reveille, the Democratic News, the Democratic Times and the Post. (We should also give a shout-out to the current Jacksonville paper, the Jacksonville Review.)

Most of these papers existed in the latter half of the 19th century and many of them lasted only for short periods — only for one printing in the case of the Oregon Reporter.  The number of papers was due in part to Jacksonville's status as the pre-eminent city in the region and also to the fact that newspapers in those days often were mouthpieces for various political parties. Turnbull noted that the Southern Oregon Gazette "was so intensely Democratic ... that in a few months it was barred from the mails."

The Democratic Times was one of the longer-lasting publications. It was founded in 1871, taking the place of the Democratic News, whose plant was destroyed by fire. It published until sometime around 1906, at which point it was consolidated with the Southern Oregonian.

And that brings us full circle in your question, Bev. The Southern Oregonian became a semi-weekly edition of the Medford Tribune, that city's afternoon daily paper, which started publishing in 1906. Its competition included the Medford Mail, which published in the morning. They combined to create the Medford Mail Tribune in 1909.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.