Front page - 1815

On June 18, 2019, LNP will celebrate its 225th anniversary. The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 

19th Century Job Search

If you had to compete for a job on the front page of the newspaper, how would you go about it? That’s the problem facing John Neff, Henry Smith and George Hambright on the cover of the March 17, 1815, edition of the Lancaster Journal. The three men found themselves fighting it out for the job of Sheriff of Lancaster County. Each man wrote a paragraph selling himself for the position, and it’s fascinating to see the methods that one would use to sell oneself to the public. The paragraphs are addressed “To the free and independent electors of the borough and county of Lancaster.” Interestingly, Hambright and Neff’s paragraphs are exactly the same, with the only difference being the sign-off, with the former’s reading “I am, friends, your humble servant” and the latter “I am your friend and fellow citizen.” Both start off mentioning that being “encouraged by a great number of my friends and fellow citizens of the borough” is the most pertinent reason for running. Smith, seemingly the only man among the three with any originality, simply asks for the votes and says it will be his “constant endeavour to requite your confidence by executing the duties of the office.” In the end, George Hambright would win the title of Sheriff.

Congress Comes to a Close

Just two weeks after this edition of the paper went to the printers, the Thirteenth United States Congress drew to a close. Serving from 1813 to 1815, this edition of Congress presided over the ending of the War of 1812, the burning of Washington and the Hartford Convention, which found Federalists angrily discussing the government’s increasing power. As a sort of review, the newspaper printed all of the acts on the front page, under the fittingly banal title “A List of Acts.” Some of the motions are as straightforward as possible, such as “an act giving further time to the purchasers of public lands to complete their payments.” Others are frustratingly oblique – “An act for the better regulation of the Ordinance Department.” How about “An act concerning the naval establishment”? In its own way, simply printing every single act that Congress deliberated over is a hearty act of transparency between a government and its people. On the other hand, a large list of vaguely titled acts gives little to no information whatsoever.