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Newspaper Ypsilanti Sentinel (Ypsilanti, Washtenaw Co., Mich.) 1843-1900

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About Ypsilanti Sentinel (Ypsilanti, Washtenaw Co., Mich.) 1843-1900

Ypsilanti lies in southeastern Michigan’s Washtenaw County, just eight miles down the Huron River from Ann Arbor. The first white presence at Ypsilanti was the Godfroy trading post established by French-Canadian traders in 1809. In 1823, Benjamin Woodruff established a small community he named “Woodruff’s Grove” on the east side of the Huron River. In 1825, a new plat west of the Huron was entered at the Government Land Office in Detroit. Originally called “Springfield,” the proposed settlement was renamed “Ypsilanti” for the hero of the ongoing Greek War of Independence, General Demetrios Ypsilantis. In 1832, the settlement of Ypsilanti was made a village by an act of the Michigan Legislature. The railroad arrived on the east bank of the Huron River in 1837, the same year the University of Michigan relocated from Detroit to Ann Arbor and Michigan gained statehood. In 1853, the Michigan State Normal School (founded in 1849), now Eastern Michigan University, opened its doors in Ypsilanti–the first normal school created west of the Appalachians.

The Ypsilanti Sentinel was first published in December 1843. A weekly released each Wednesday, its masthead featured an eagle over the phrase E Pluribus Unum, as well as the exceptionally long tagline: “Our Liberty and Happiness as a Nation are in our own keeping, if they are ever sacrificed it will be on the altar of Party Spirit, at the instance of designing ambition and by our own hands.” Despite decrying partisanship, the first editor-proprietor John Van Fossen embraced a strictly Whig political line advocating internal improvements. When Henry Clay was defeated by James K. Polk in the presidential election of 1844, Van Fossen sold the Sentinel to Charles Woodruff (son of Benjamin), who continued publication until 1848, when publication was suspended for two years. The Sentinel resumed in 1850 with Woodruff as editor. Gustavus Lemuel Foster’s The Past of Ypsilanti: A Discourse (1857) noted “that it [the newspaper] has been, and yet is, of great service to the town is plain. That it has been properly appreciated, is questionable.”

Democratic since 1860, in the 1870s the Sentinel was owned by Charles Woodruff and his son Marcus Tullius Woodruff. In 1879, their partnership dissolved and M.T. Woodruff struck out on his own, establishing the successful Ypsilantian, which he eventually sold. Woodruff Jr. also launched the Michigan State Democrat in Detroit and purchased the Cadillac (Weekly) Times which he joined with the Michigan State Democrat. After these many changes, Marcus Tullius bought back in to the Sentinel Publishing Company, retaining his father as editor until the latter’s death. By 1892, facing stiff competition, M.T. Woodruff began to offer free sample copies of the Sentinel and lowered the cost of an annual subscription to $1. At this time, the Sentinel described itself as the “Representative Democratic Organ devoted to the interests of Ypsilanti and Wastenaw [sic] County.” The paper merged with the Ypsilanti Commercial in 1900 to form the Ypsilanti Sentinel-Commercial.

Provided By: Central Michigan University, Clark Historical Library

About this Newspaper


  • Ypsilanti Sentinel (Ypsilanti, Washtenaw Co., Mich.) 1843-1900

Dates of Publication

  • 1843-1900

Created / Published

  • Ypsilanti, Washtenaw Co., Mich. : John Van Fossen


  • -  Ypsilanti (Mich.)--Newspapers
  • -  Washtenaw County (Mich.)--Newspapers
  • -  Michigan--Washtenaw County
  • -  Michigan--Ypsilanti
  • -  United States--Michigan--Washtenaw--Ypsilanti


  • Newspapers


  • -  Weekly
  • -  Began with Dec. 20, 1843 issue; ceased in 1900. Cf. Gregory, W. Amer. newspapers.
  • -  Editor: C. Woodruff, <1876>.
  • -  Publishers: Charles Woodruff, <1852>; C. Woodruff & Son, <1876>.
  • -  "Democratic," <1876>.
  • -  Whole numbering added: Vol. 2, no. 47 (Dec. 17, 1845) = whole no. 99. Whole numbering dropped: and resumed .
  • -  Issue called: Ypsilanti sentinel--extra, June 17, 1844, and July 3, 1847.
  • -  Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • -  Merged with: Ypsilanti commercial (Ypsilanti, Mich. : 1865), to form: Ypsilanti sentinel-commercial.
  • -  Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 4 (Jan. 10, 1844).
  • -  Ypsilanti commercial (Ypsilanti, Mich. : 1865) (DLC)sn 85033825 (OCoLC)12277369
  • -  Ypsilanti sentinel-commercial


  • volumes

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn85026593

OCLC Number

  • 12289161

ISSN Number

  • 2332-6271

Succeeding Titles

Additional Metadata Formats


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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:

Ypsilanti Sentinel Ypsilanti, Washtenaw Co., Mich. -1900. (Ypsilanti, MI), Jan. 1 1843.

APA citation style:

(1843, January 1) Ypsilanti Sentinel Ypsilanti, Washtenaw Co., Mich. -1900. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Ypsilanti Sentinel Ypsilanti, Washtenaw Co., Mich. -1900. (Ypsilanti, MI) 1 Jan. 1843. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,