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Essex County Herald


The Essex County Herald served the northeastern corner of Vermont for 90 years. Three editors and publishers struggled to get the paper established in the small county seat of Guildhall, including Henry C. Bates in 1873, Osman B. Boyce from 1873 to 1875, and Noah A. Burnham from 1877 to 1878. Burnham moved the paper to the larger commercial village of Island Pond in 1878, and shortly after the move William H. Bishop began his 33-year tenure as publisher and editor.


Bishop died in 1911, and first his estate and then his widow and his son operated the Herald until March 1912, when the Herald Publishing Company issued the paper in an updated, 8-page format under editor G.C. Johnston. From 1915 to 1916, David W. Hildreth, who was also associated with the Express and Standard in Newport, Vermont, worked to get the Herald on a secure financial footing. Veteran Vermont editor Charles C. Lord ran the paper until 1919, when young printer Harry W. Osborne began a 44-year career as the Herald’s owner and editor that ended with the paper's final issue in July 1963.


Despite Essex County's sparse population and the availability of papers published in nearby St. Johnsbury and Lancaster, New Hampshire, the Herald slowly achieved a respectable circulation and sufficient advertising. From the beginning, the Herald focused on the interests of Essex County. In addition to general news, literary selections, announcements, and editorial opinions on reforms such as temperance and prohibition, suffrage for women, and education, the Herald included reports from local correspondents in Essex County towns, as well as several towns in neighboring counties and across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire.


     The Herald was committed to Essex County's growth and improvement, which depended in large part on abundant timber and water resources and an efficient transportation infrastructure. Over the years, articles and editorials covered the evolving timber industry and the many wood manufacturing enterprises, the growth of Island Pond as a terminus for the Grand Trunk Railway that connected Maine and Montreal, and tourism based on hunting, fishing, and medicinal springs. Although the paper enthusiastically endorsed economic developments, it also urged conservation of land, water and forest resources. For example, as early as February 1873, an editorial warned Essex County lumbermen that the timber supply was threatened by extensive clear-cutting and recommended conservation measures.


Provided by: University of Vermont

Work in Progress

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