Rogue River Courier (weekly)
Grants Pass, Or.
Rogue River Courier (daily)
Grants Pass, Or.
Grants Pass, Or.
Prominent newspaperman Jacob H. Stine established the Grant’s Pass Courier [LCCN: sn96088280] on April 3, 1885, in Grants Pass, Oregon. Stine’s “Independent Paper Devoted to the Interests of Josephine County and Southern Oregon” started as a seven-column, four-page weekly priced at $2.50 for a year’s subscription.
Management of the Courier changed hands six times between 1885 and 1890. In 1886, Stine sold out to William J. Wimer, who changed the name of the paper to the Rogue River Courier. In 1887, Wimer turned the Courier over to Alfred A. Allworth, who then sold the paper to Editor Frank T. Sheppard in 1888. The operation was quickly handed over to Editor George H. Currey before Jerry Nunan took over in 1890, running the Courier for seven years before selling his interests to Calvin “Champ” Price and Amos E. Voorhies. A veteran of the newspaper industry, Voorhies had worked for the weekly Greenville Independent [LCCN: sn85033630] in his Michigan hometown before moving to Grants Pass, where he earned the nickname “Boss” while working for the Oregon Observer [LCCN: sn96088282]. In 1899, Voorhies assumed full ownership of the Courier when Price sold his interests in the paper, thinking that the enterprise was not large enough to support both men’s families.
Early issues of the Courier offered a blend of national and local news, folk tales, excerpts from classic novels, and musings on medical advice. The Courier lauded the benefits of a railroad service in Josephine County, encouraged local and regional economic investment with reports of nearby discoveries of gold and copper ore, and generally praised the region’s industrial and agricultural potential. The Courier also covered local environmental issues related to Crater Lake, the Oregon Caves, and declining fish populations in the Rogue River. The paper maintained its pledge to remain “Independent” on partisan issues until about 1906, when the Courier began to favor Republican candidates in state and national elections.
The Courier capitalized on sensational news stories, giving extensive coverage to the Spanish American War and reporting on a dramatic wreck in Josephine County on the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1906. The Courier opposed Chinese immigration in the 1880s and 1890s. An article in 1886 supported Chinese expulsion from Crescent City, California, and in 1892, its editor judged it “odd” that Congress avoided violating the immigration treaty with China. In general, the paper’s already limited coverage of issues related to ethnicity or race was reduced even more during Voorhies’ management.
Voorhies conducted the Courier as sole publisher from 1899 to 1947, employing at least sixteen different editors and utilizing state-of-the-art newspaper equipment. The original Washington hand-press used by Jacob Stine was replaced with a Goss Comet press to increase production. Around 1910, Voorhies expanded the Rogue River Courier into a daily publication which continued through 1918. In 1919, the daily’s name was changed to the Grants Pass Daily Courier [LCCN: sn96088181]. The weekly edition of the Courier merged with the Observer in 1928, and the daily publication is still in print today.
Prepared with reference to:
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
-- Written by Patrick Lozar