St. Helens Mist
St. Helen’s, Columbia County, Or.
1913 - 1933
Preceded only by the Columbian [LCCN: sn93051654], which survived from 1880 to 1886, the St. Helens Mist is the oldest newspaper in existence in Columbia County, where it is currently published as the Chronicle [LCCN: 2009260069]. Appearing in 1881 as the Oregon Mist [LCCN: 2004260421], the paper began as a result of a vendetta between Mist publisher William Glendye and Enoch Adams of the Columbian. Regardless of Glendye’s original motives, he sold the paper within two years to Emmanuel H. Flagg, who then passed it to Charles Meserve in 1890. Over the next five decades, the Mist was handled by a number of editors, presidents, and managers.
Published in St. Helens, Oregon, the seat of Columbia County and named after Mount St. Helens, the Mist provided thorough coverage of local affairs. The paper reported on the only legal hanging in Columbia County’s history. In 1901, August Schieve was implicated in the murder of Joseph Schulkowski, a Polish immigrant who was found dead on the day after Christmas. Schieve was soon convicted and sentenced to death. The Mist reported afterward, “Columbia county has had its first execution for murder, and its citizens hope it will be the last.”
By 1913, Flagg resumed ownership, changing the paper’s name to St. Helens Mist. Over the next ten years the paper would have at least ten different owners, a few working on the weekly simultaneously as partners. In 1915, Steele L. Moorhead bought the publication and introduced himself as a "stayer" who would “become a permanent fixture.” He sold his interests to Simpson C. Morton in 1917. Morton remained with the Mist for almost a decade, interrupting the steady march of newspapermen and newspaperwomen who were associated with the publication over the course of its history. During that time, he became the first president of the Oregon Newspaper Conference. By 1926, Morton decided to sell to George D. Borden and Ira B. Hyde but remained on staff as an employee.
Most news content in the Mist was local, covering items such as road construction, shipbuilding, shipping, and county politics. A 1916 issue reported a longshoremen strike which threatened to close ports from Alaska to San Diego. Less parochial content is exemplified by articles on World War I and President Wilson’s support for a League of Nations, which was ultimately rejected by the United States to the Mist’s approval. Examples of advertisements include St. Helens Hotel, Central Market, Columbia County Bank, and St. Helens Mill Company. Ads for women’s clothing, including a monkey fur coat worn by actress Estelle Clark, draw from the popular image of the flapper, a younger, independent woman associated with American culture in the 1920s.
In 1933 the Mist passed to Jessica Longston and Berenice Anderson of the St. Helens Sentinel [LCCN: 2004260420]. They merged the two papers, forming the St. Helens Sentinel-Mist [LCCN: 2004260418], announcing that the new arrangement satisfied a “wish on the part of business men of St. Helens” to have only one paper representing the city’s interests.
Prepared with reference to:
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
-- Written by Daniel Rinn