Walla Walla Evening Statesman

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NEH Approved Essay

The first newspaper in Walla Walla County was the "Washington Statesman" [LCCN: sn84022799], founded in 1861 as an independent weekly. Two pairs of newspaper entrepreneurs had separately obtained presses in order to begin a newspaper in the Walla Walla region. Brothers William and R.B. Smith had purchased a used press from the "Oregon Statesman" [LCCN: sn83025131]. Around the same time, Nemiah Northrop and Raymond Rees bought an old press from the "Oregonian" [LCCN: sn83045780]. Once the partners realized the existence of the others, they decided to consolidate their efforts to publish the first issue of the "Washington Statesman" on November 29, 1861. In 1878, the "Statesman" became the Inland Empire’s first daily newspaper, although daily editions were not published continuously until 1880. The title fluctuated through the years to include: the "Walla Walla Statesman" [LCCN: sn88085419] , the "Statesman" [LCCN: sn88085420], and finally, the "Evening Statesman" from 1903 to 1910. During this time, the paper was deeply involved in Democratic Party politics.

Of the original owners, R.B. Smith, Northrop, and Rees, Smith retired in January 1862 and Northrop died in 1863, leaving the newspaper to Rees and his brother, S.G. Rees. When William H. Newell became proprietor in 1865, the paper showed its Democratic beginnings by ardently supporting President Andrew Johnson. In 1878, Newell tried to make the "Statesman" a daily, but it was discontinued after his death later that year. Newell’s son-in-law, Frank J. Parker, took over the paper, and in 1880, daily editions were tried again, this time with lasting success. In 1900, the ownership of the paper was transferred to the Statesman Publishing Co., owned by Dr. E.E. Fall. In 1907, the "Statesman" was consolidated with the "Walla Walla Union" [LCCN: sn84022798], with the "Union" as a morning paper, the "Statesman" remaining an evening paper, and a joint Sunday edition titled the "Sunday Union-Statesman" appearing as well. In 1910, the "Evening Statesman" was discontinued.

Percy Holland, who managed the "Statesman" in the early 1900s, was a volatile character, and other newspapers published columns criticizing his actions. The "Seattle Daily Times" [LCCN: sn86072007] reported several libel lawsuits against Holland and the Statesman in 1905 and 1906 and noted that Holland did not get along with Arthur Green, the manager of the "Union", owned at the time by Republican Senator Levi Ankeny. During Holland’s tenure, the tone of the "Statesman" was sensationalistic. The December 14, 1906 issue reported that one Adele Evans was upset about the way another newspaper had reported on a fire at her house. The headline read: “Mrs. Adele Evans Returns to Bring Suit Against the ‘Bunc’/Woman Accused by Irresponsible Paper of Setting Fire to House in Greens Annex to Collect Insurance Declares She Will Prosecute Her Defamers.” The “irresponsible paper” was a rival to the "Statesman", the "Walla Walla Evening Bulletin" [LCCN: sn88085397].

Essay Notes


  1. N.W. Ayer & Son's American newspaper annual -- 1903 -- 888
  2. N.W. Ayer & Son's American newspaper annual -- 1909 -- 921
  3. NDNP Candidate Title List (Appendix A1.2)
  4. Chronicling America record (LOC) - Evening Statesman
  5. WorldCat record - Evening statesman
  6. WSL record - Evening Statesman
  7. UW record - Evening Statesman






See The Evening statesman (Walla Walla) eval spreadsheets (Google)