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Newspaper Southport Telegraph (Southport, W.T. [i.e. Kenosha, Wis.]) 1840-1850 Telegraph

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About Southport Telegraph (Southport, W.T. [i.e. Kenosha, Wis.]) 1840-1850

The Southport Telegraph was first published in June 1840 by Charles C. Sholes, who had previously run the Green Bay Wisconsin Democrat. The Telegraph reflected Sholes’ Jeffersonian Democrat leaning, as well as his support for the Free-Soil campaign of 1848, which helped Van Buren win the majority in Racine and Walworth Counties. In the 1840s and 1850s, the newspaper was utilized to promote temperance, and, although geographically far removed from Fond du Lac County, the Telegraph also covered the Wisconsin Phalanx, or Ceresco, a utopian socialist commune active between 1844 and 1850.

Shortly after its founding, Sholes’ brother Christopher Latham Sholes, also known as the inventor of the typewriter, purchased the publication. Michael Frank joined the Telegraph as well, intermittently serving as editor and publisher. Frank was the first village president and is considered the architect of Wisconsin’s free public school system supported by property taxes. The state’s first free school opened in Southport after a bill he had introduced was passed in 1845.

Located at Wisconsin’s southern-most natural harbor on Lake Michigan, the town’s newspaper covered the beginnings of formal harbor improvements and, later, its rise as a wheat shipping port for southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois. When the town was renamed Kenosha in 1850, the newspaper changed its title to Kenosha Telegraph.

After merging with the Whig-leaning Kenosha Tribune in 1855, the weekly became the Kenosha Tribune and Telegraph. In the first issue on January 4, the editors and proprietors, Sholes, Savillon S. Schoff, and John A. Butts announced the union of the two publications claiming the community had no need for three newspapers: “under the existing state of things, public sentiment calls for but two organs—the liberal, progressive Republican, and the old Hunker, Pierce and Nebraska Democracy. Our entire population is divided into these two parties […].” Further, they addressed their political stance against slavery: “Our paper, as heretofore, will strenuously oppose any and every measure of the general government, that has for its object the extending and strengthening the institution of Slavery and the building up of one section of our common country, at the expense of another.”

The newspaper’s title varied slightly throughout the 1850s and 1860s: Tribune and Telegraph (1855-1856), Kenosha Tribune & Telegraph (1856-1859), The Kenosha Telegraph and Tribune (1859-1860), The Kenosha Telegraph (1860-1888). The last title change occurred on October 4, 1888, when subscribers learned about a merger with The Kenosha Courier: “We make no extravagant pledges, only saying all reasonable effort will be made to render the Telegraph-Courier a faithful exponent of Republican principles and an acceptable reading journal.” Until it was discontinued in 1946, The Telegraph-Courier covered the local news as Italian, Danish, German, Polish and Irish immigrants settled in the area at the turn of the century and as their work in local factories made the city well known for the production of brass, iron beds and other metal furniture, leather, wagons, and automobiles through much of the 20th century.

Provided By: Wisconsin Historical Society

About this Newspaper


  • Southport Telegraph (Southport, W.T. [i.e. Kenosha, Wis.]) 1840-1850

Other Title

  • Telegraph

Dates of Publication

  • 1840-1850

Created / Published

  • Southport, W.T. [i.e. Kenosha, Wis.] : C.C. Sholes, 1840-1850.


  • -  Southport (Wis.)--Newspapers
  • -  Kenosha (Wis.)--Newspapers
  • -  Wisconsin--Kenosha
  • -  United States--Wisconsin--Kenosha--Kenosha
  • -  United States--Wisconsin--Kenosha--Southport


  • Newspapers


  • -  Weekly
  • -  Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 16, 1840)-v. 10, no. 40 (Mar. 29, 1850).
  • -  Publisher varies.
  • -  Available on microfilm from The State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • -  Kenosha telegraph (Kenosha, Wis. : 1850) (DLC)sn 85040305


  • volumes

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper 10216-X

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn85040303

OCLC Number

  • 11801445

ISSN Number

  • 2837-1852

Preceding Titles

Succeeding 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:

Southport Telegraph Southport, W.T. i.e. Kenosha, Wis. -1850. (Kenosha, WI), Jan. 1 1840.

APA citation style:

(1840, January 1) Southport Telegraph Southport, W.T. i.e. Kenosha, Wis. -1850. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Southport Telegraph Southport, W.T. i.e. Kenosha, Wis. -1850. (Kenosha, WI) 1 Jan. 1840. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,