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Newspaper The Cecil Whig (Elkton, Md.) 1841-Current

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About The Cecil Whig (Elkton, Md.) 1841-Current

Palmer Chamberlain Ricketts founded the Cecil Whig in 1841 when local Whig party supporters in Elkton, Maryland, decided to launch a newspaper in the aftermath of William Henry Harrison’s presidential victory. Published weekly under the founding editor, the Whig attacked its partisan foes with a stridency that ultimately led to physical violence. Ricketts was indicted in 1843 for killing the editor of the rival Cecil Democrat, Amor T. Forwood, after the two had published an increasingly heated and personal series of editorials. Ricketts continued to edit the Whig from his jail cell, and eventually was acquitted after a jury decided he had acted in self-defense.

The Whigs collapsed as a national party in the 1850s, and the Cecil Whig assumed the standard of the Know-Nothing or American Party. The Know-Nothings were anti-Catholic and opposed immigration, but many party adherents also supported the abolition of slavery. Maryland’s Eastern Shore was a center of Know-Nothing support, which resulted in the election of Thomas Holliday Hicks as governor in 1856. The new Republican Party absorbed many Know-Nothing voters, and the Whig became a very strong pro-Union voice under the ownership of Edwin E. Ewing, who replaced Ricketts after the latter’s death in 1860. Ewing sold the Whig in 1876 and moved west to Kansas where he was associated with the Kansas Farmer of Topeka. In 1882, he relocated again to North Carolina where he started the Blue Ridge Enterprise in Highlands, before returning in 1885 to Cecil County, as publisher of the Midland Journal in Rising Sun, Maryland.

After local attorney and Republican politician Henry R. Torbert took control of the Whig in 1876, the paper focused increasingly on local and regional concerns. The Whig often discussed the railroad lines, which provided excellent transportation links to both Baltimore and Philadelphia. A key beneficiary was Cecil County’s paper industry. The Marley Paper Mill in Elkton owned by George W. Child supplied paper to another of Torbert’s properties, the Philadelphia Public Ledger. In 1888, C.S. Garrett & Sons acquired the mill and embarked on a major expansion in order to compete with other local companies, including the Kenmore and Radnor Mills operated by the Jessup & Moore Paper Company of Philadelphia. In 1894, Henry’s son, Victor M. Torbert joined the masthead as co-editor and publisher, taking a keen interest in local affairs. The Whig noted Victor Torbert’s participation in the incorporation of the Newark, Elkton, and Eastern Shore Electric Railway Company in 1902, as interurban rail lines inaugurated another convenient mode of transportation for Cecil County residents. In 1906, the Torberts sold the Cecil Whig to Frank E. Williams, who was succeeded as editor in turn by co-editors Edward Johnson and Robert T. Thachery in 1921. E. Ralph Hostetter acquired the newspaper in 1947 under the Chesapeake Publishing Corporation, a regional conglomerate that controlled 16 Maryland and Delaware newspapers. The Cecil Whig operates in 2016 under the ownership of the Adams Publishing Group.

Provided By: University of Maryland, College Park, MD

About this Newspaper


  • The Cecil Whig (Elkton, Md.) 1841-Current

Dates of Publication

  • 1841-current

Created / Published

  • Elkton, Md. : P.C. Ricketts


  • -  Cecil County (Md.)--Newspapers
  • -  Elkton (Md.)--Newspapers
  • -  Maryland--Politics and government--Newspapers
  • -  Politics and government
  • -  Maryland
  • -  Maryland--Cecil County
  • -  Maryland--Elkton
  • -  United States--Maryland--Cecil--Elkton


  • Newspapers


  • -  Daily (Mon.-Fri.), Aug. 7, 1989-
  • -  Vol. 1, no. 1 (Aug. 7, 1841)-
  • -  Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • -  Latest issue consulted: Vol. 149, no. 18 (Aug. 30, 1989).


  • volumes

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper
  • AN41.321.E4 C43

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn83016348

OCLC Number

  • 9728296

ISSN Number

  • 1046-2058

Preceding Titles

Additional Metadata Formats


Rights & Access

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

The Cecil Whig Elkton, Md. -Current. (Elkton, MD), Jan. 1 1841.

APA citation style:

(1841, January 1) The Cecil Whig Elkton, Md. -Current. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

The Cecil Whig Elkton, Md. -Current. (Elkton, MD) 1 Jan. 1841. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,