Charles DeMorse : pioneer editor and statesman




Wallace, Ernest

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Exactly one hundred years ago a restless young man of twenty-six years travelled five hundred miles from the capital of the young Texas Republic to the frontier village of Clarksville and established there the first newspaper to appear in Northeast Texas. In his six years in Texas, that young man already had served as a member of President Mirabeau Lamar's official family, and had associated with Austin, Houston, Burnet, Hemphill, Rusk, and others whose names were closely connected with Texas history during the early days of the republic. His acquaintances and his experiences colored his newspaper. The young man was Charles DeMorse; the newspaper he founded was the Northern Standard. DeMorse and his newspaper became one and inseparable in the minds of Texans. Both became a part of Texas, and Texas is what she is today in part because of them. Theirs was a great period in the history of Texas--Texas in the making--, and DeMorse and the Standard were builders. No one service of DeMorse has great magnitude, but the myriad of services which he performed should place him among those whose life's records, so closely interwoven with that of the history of Texas, should be preserved. His most important service was as a journalist, but as a statesman he ranks high. His statesmanship, however, is to a great extent the result of his journalistic abilities. DeMorse lived at a time when the editor was a person of no little importance in molding public opinion. More than a half century has passed since the death of DeMorse and his newspaper. Although the Standard has become a source for the study of Texas for the period to which it belonged, no one has attempted a study of the "Father of Texas Journalism" and his role as a pioneer journalist and statesman. Meanwhile, the need for such a study has become more and more apparent. The study of the Standard is secondary to that of DeMorse. The issues selected for study are chosen because of their major importance in the minds of the editor and the people of the state, and because they reveal DeMorse in a true perspective against the background of his time.