Press-Register - Nineteenth Century

Nineteenth Century

The Mobile Gazette was founded and began publication shortly after Mobile was captured by United States troops in April 1813 after 33 years under Spanish rule. Another Mobile-based newspaper would begin publishing on December 10, 1821 as The Mobile Commercial Register by former Boston, Massachusetts resident and Savannah, Georgia merchant Jonathan Battelle, along with John W. Townsend of a Montgomery, Alabama newspaper. One year later, the Gazette was taken over by the Register, making it a good purchase for one Thaddeus Sanford in 1828. Under Sanford, the Mobile Patriot newspaper was bought out, thus becoming part of the daily Mobile Daily Commercial Register and Patriot in 1832. The Register is sold yet again in 1837, this time to Epapheas Kibby and Mobile attorney John Forsyth Jr., who would have a 40-year relationship with the paper until his death in 1877. The New York Times' eulogy for Forsyth included the phrase, "most important Democratic editor of the South". Mobile's yellow fever epidemic forced the Register to publish only three times a week in 1839. Once Sanford reclaimed what he purchased years before, he combined the Register with the Merchants and Planters Journal, resulting in The Mobile Register and Journal in 1841. Communication's latest innovation the telegraph became the Register's means of receiving news in 1848. After C.A. and C.M. Bradford's purchase of the Register's one-half interest, the paper was renamed The Mobile Daily Register in 1849. Forsyth once again bought back the Register in 1854. Future Confederate colonel and Kentucky poet Theodore O'Hara joined the Register shortly before the American Civil War. Swiss-born propagandist for the Confederacy Henry Hotze also worked for the paper for a time before the war.

It would take the conflict beginning in 1861 to combine the Mobile Daily Register and competitor The Mobile Daily Advertiser to form The Mobile Daily Advertiser and Register. About three years after the war, the Register was sold and combined again, this time to William d'Alton Mann of The Mobile Times and The Mobile Daily Register. Isaac Donovan's arrival as the Register's new owner in 1871 marked the beginning of a new era for the stable newspaper, including a new position for editor Charles Carter Langdon. Langdon would become the Register's agricultural editor, giving him the opportunity to promote scientific approaches in the field. In life, Langdon served as mayor of Mobile, an Alabama state legislator, and a trustee of the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College in Auburn. Today Langdon's contributions to what would be Auburn University are honored at the hall named for him in 1846. In 1872, the Register incorporates as The Register Printing association. During John Forsyth, Jr.'s final years, he, along with John L. Rapier formed a partnership to operate the Register. After Forsyth's death, Rapier became principal owner. Telephones would become available at the Register in 1883, along with electric light a year later. Rapier organized the stock company The Register Co. to publish the paper in 1889. Erwin S. Craighead, who would later be known as "Mobile's newspaperman" began his long career at the Register as the city editor in 1884 before earning the position of editor in chief in 1892.

Throughout Craighead's tenure until retirement in 1927, he was supportive of the former Confederacy and the Union reconciling, along with economic and commercial development. As the 19th century was coming to a close, the Register began using six Linotype typesetting machines in 1893, which were used for many decades until the "cold type" age began in 1974. Photographs began appearing in the Register during the 1890s.

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