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Civil War News (1863-64)
Articles Transcribed from The Bay City Press And Times newspaper.
Newspapers owned by the late Harry Pierson - Contributed by Rick and Linda Pierson
  • by Marvin Kusmierz (February 2005)

  • THE BAY CITY PRESS AND TIMES
    No. 1 - Vol. 5Bay City, Michigan, Saturday, October 17, 1863.$1.50 Per Annum.

    Advertisements --
    Solid advertisements will be inserted in the
    BAY CITY PRESS AND TIMES
    at the following rates:
    1 Insertion, 7 cents per line,
    2 Inseriton, 10 cents per line,

    Displayed advertisements inserted at double those rates.

    The space accepted by five lines of solid type will be allowed each line in displayed advertisements.

    Legal Advertisements done at Statue Rates, and payment in Advance required.

    Payment in Advance will be required for all Advertisements from abroad; also for all advertisements done for those with whom we have an account. This rule will be stictly adhered to.

    SHOW US A NEWSPAPER whose columns are at crowded with New Advertisements, and we
    will show you a community alive with business enterprise. The age is a moving one. A man that stands still in these "latter days" will, in a short time, find himself behind his competitor.

    No communication will be inserted unless accompanied by he Author's name.

    Persons receiving this paragraph specially marked will know that the time for which they subscribed has expired.

    We respectfully solicit the advertising patronage of men in all parts of the county, assuring them that it is a matter of no small importance to attract the attention, and thus gain the custom of this large and growing community. Prompt attention will be paid to all communications addressed to the publisher.
    WE ARE NOW PREPARED to execute in the latest test styles, and on the most reasonable terms.
    POSTERS HANDBILLS and SHOW CARDS.
    BUSINESS and VISITING CARDS.
    CHECK NOTE and RECEIPT BOOKS.
    LEGAL BLACKS, LABELS, LETTER HEADINGS
    ENVELOPES &c. &e.
    W. A. BRYCE, Publisher.


    Corner Fourth and Saginaw streets.

    {View} Larger size of above image.
    {View}
    Photo of newspaper.)

    About the Bay City Press and Times

    The left column is a recreation of the typical information information provided in each of the paper for its advertisers. This information usually appeared on the first page in the left-hand column at the top. Above is a photo showing a full page of the paper. (Click to enlarge it.)

    Civil War and history buffs will enjoy the content of this Civil War News section which covers issues of The Bay City Press And Times from October 17, 1863 (No. 1 -- Vol. 5.) to October 1, 1864 (No. 62 - Vol. 6.).

    This newspaper consisted of four pages and was published weekly paper on Saturdays until June 25, 1864 (No. 37, Vol. 5), at which time it was published twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

    Advertising represents the largest portion of space in the newspaper. A full page was devoted to advertising revenue and ads often appear on the other pages with news items. Regular coverage was given to proceedings of the Bay County Commission and the Bay City Council Board. Coverage is also provided for the Circuit Court, Sheriff Sale, Marriages and Deaths as these activities take place. National and local news items on a variety of subjects fill the balance of space available in each edition.

    William A. Bryce, devoted a great deal of space to coverage of the Civil War on a national and local level. It is our hope to transcribe all articles revelant to local news specfic to the Civil War, which will be posted here as they are completed.

    You can read an actual copy of the January 2, 1864 edition of the newspaper. The paper is in pdf file format and can be viewed using the Adobe Reader (free), which includes zooming feature to make the type as large as you want. These files can be accessed from the menu in the upper right-hand column of this page.

    The Story of the Missing Paper.

    Bay-Journal.com - March 10, 2005
    Marvin Kusmierz, Editor

    Bay-Journal is very fortunate to have in its possession the original issues of the Bay City Times And Press newspaper from October 17, 1863 (No. 1 - Vol.5) to October 1, 1864 (No. 62 - Vol. 6). But even more than our good fortune, the Bay City community is lucky that this piece of its history did not perish.

    These papers were never captured on micro-film and have been considered lost for all of these years until February, 2005 when they were donated to Bay-Journal by Rick and Linda Pierson. The papers were initially in the possession of Rick's father, Harry Pierson, and were passed onto Rick after he died in 1964. Rick and Linda have held them in storage unaware they were originals of huge historical significance to the history of their community.

    I have known the Pierson family since I was a teenager and attended many of the family reunions jointly held by the Pierson and Larson clan. However, it wasn't until after I retired and began Bay-Journal that the paper ever had a point of mutual interest to come up in conversation.

    In 2004, that conversation happened when I ran into Linda while out shopping. I mentioned in our conversation that I had a history website called Bay-Journal and she brought up this the copies of some old newspapers that belonged to Harry and I might find something interesting in them to use on Bay-Journal.

    As in most cases with such conversations, it slips out of our memory as we busy ourselves dealing with daily issues. Then in January, 2005, The Bay City Times, ran a story about Bay-Journal which Rick and Linda read. Shortly thereafter on a Saturday morning they showed up at my home unannounced with the paper in hand.

    They said they wanted to make sure that I got Harry's old newspaper before they moved to California where they will spend their retirement years.

    I couldn't have been happier for them, and for me to have the gift. At the time, neither they or I had, had any reason to believe they of great importance. We simply thought they were copies made up for some special occassion.

    Anxious to share what had happened, I called a friend who is very knowledgeable regarding local history, and most other matters related to it. His response to my gleeful news was, "Are you sure they are copies and not original? Sounds to me from what you have described, they could very well be originals."

    The conversation with my friend left me feeling shocked and concerned. I had be very carefully until I was able to determine whether or not they were orginals. I was hoping they weren't originals as it would be easier for me in extracting information from them if I didn't have to worry about how they were handled.

    With paper in hand, I visited the Bay County Historical Society museum the following week. It only took a moment for the curator to confirmed my friend's suspicion, what I had was a bound set of original newspapers.! They were indeed an important community artifact. After leaving the museum I headed over to the Central Library on Center Avenue to find out whether or not the papers had been micro-filmed -- They had not!

    Thanks to Mary McManman and Tom Birch, staff members at the Central Library, the historic newspapers are now in the process of being copied to microfilm.


    Update - August 20, 2006:

    Much has transpired in the past year regarding the 1863-64 editions of the Bay City Press and Times. The information they contain has been preserved on micro-film and are available for viewing at the Alice and Jack Wirt Library in Bay City.

    In addition, the original newspaper has been digitized in pdf format using the copying services of Bay City Blue Printing. Also, a full size copy of each page was been printed so the public may view what the original, perserved in storage, actually looks like.

    Currently, work is being done to index each day of the digitized newspapers to create a "user friendly" CD which can them be made available to public. This time consuming work will take a year or more to complete, but when it is done - researchers interested in this Civil War period newspaper will be able to view it from their home computer.

    The History of Bay City Press and Times.

    Mr. Bryce's newspaper wasn't the first to be published in Bay City, however, his was the first to have longevity.

    The first newspaper to go to press in Bay City is credited to Perry Joslin's "The Press" (aka: Bay City Press) in 1856. Joslin living in Saginaw at the time, decided to move to Bay City and start a paper in this growing community known as Lower Saginaw and still a part of Saginaw County. a . He from Saginaw to Bay City for that purpose believing he would be able to land a contract to print state tax lists to support his new business. He didn't get the contract, and after two or three weekly issues, he shut it down and headed back to Saginaw.

    According to Gansser’s history (3) on this subject, James Birney was the editor of the "Bay City Press" in 1856, and no reference is made to Joslin's being the owner of the newspaper.

    In the H.R. Page & Co. book (4), William Bryce given credit for having the first "established" newspaper in Bay City in 1959. Joslin’s offering in 1856 is simply referenced as a "failed attempt" without any mention of James Birney’s as it's editor.

    Historian, Leslie Arndt, states in his writings on the subject (1)(2), “Most historians 'agree' that Perry Joslin became the first Bay County publisher in 1856", and in this book, James Birney is attached to Joslin's newspaper as its editor. Birney, the son of James G. and Agatha (McDowell) Birney, was a lawyer at the time. His father, a leader in the national abolitionist movement, came to Lower Saginaw (now Bay City) in 1842, and was among the a handful of pioneers that laid the foundations for the earliest settlement here.

    Two years later William Bryce made his entry with the "The Press" newspaper, later known as the “Press And Times” before becoming “The Bay City Press And Times.” According to Leslie Arndt (2), many of the early newspapers were typically started by individuals who had an agenda or promoted their own point of view on the news. However, Arndt states that Bryce took a neutral postion on the news, that is, until the political campaign in 1860, at which time, it began slanting more towards the political view of the Republican party.

    The Bay City Press And Times suspended its operations in 1864 when Bryce enlisted as soldiers to join in the Civil War that he had regularly reported on in his newspaper. He enter the Army as a quartermaster assigned to the 29th Michigan Infantry.

    According to Arndt(1), the The "Bay City Journal" picked up printing press and editor, John Cuthbert (Culbert), began publishing the paper shortly thereafter. H.R. Page (4, Pg. 118.) states Henry D. Dow joined the paper in 1871 as an editor -- he later started his own paper in 1871, called the "Lumberman's Gazette."

    In 1871, Robert L. Warren, a business man from Troy, N.Y., turned it into Bay City’s "first daily newspaper." He ran it for only last two or three years, when James Birney took it over began the "Daily Weekly Chronicle." In 1875, he was selected by President Ulysses S. Grant to be U.S. minister to the Netherlands. Birney accepted the honor, and turned the newspaper over to his son, Arthur M. Birney.

    Arthur Birney ran the Chronicle until 1879, at which time, it was merged into the "Bay City Tribune". The Tribune started its operations in 1873, with a weekly and daily publication, as partnership, owned by owned by T. K. Harding, Edmund Kronecke and Griffin Lewis. H.R. Page (4) includes Culbert as one of the partners. They ran a book-binding business along publishing the paper.

    In 1881, a stock company took over ownership of the Tribune(1). Henry S. Dow, according to H.R. Page(4), purchased the Tribune (no date specifiied), and in 1875 he dropped the weekly edition. Sometime after, the Tribune fell a stock company too over ownership running it until September, 1881.

    According to the H.R. Page book (4), it states that Edwin T. Bennet was the owner at the time their book was printed in 1883. They also mention that under Bennett,

    "There is now a morning Republican paper, and the printing office the most extensive one in the city. There are a large and well equipped-job print office connected with it, which does an extensive business. The weekly edition of the Tribune is published under the name of the 'Chronicle and Tribune.' Edwin T. Bennett, the proprietor of the Tribune and 'Lumberman's Gazette,'and part owner of the 'Evening Press' is one of the representative business men of Bay City. He came here from New York State in October, 1866, and worked on the Lumberman's Gazette for a time, becoming its proprietor in 1874, as already stated."

    The Bay City Times acquired the Tribune in 1916, and merged it into their operations. The Times was founded in 1889 by a partnership of W. H. Gustin, L. L. Cline and F. M. VanCampen. When ownership was transferred to the "Booth Publishing Co.," Gustin remained on as the managing editor.


    Sources:

    1. The Bay County Story - From Footpaths to Feeways (1982), by Leslie E. Arndt.
    2. The Bay City Times, Sunday, January 25, 1976, Article by Leslie E. Arndt.
    3. History of Bay County, Michigan And Representive Citizens (1905), by Capt. Augustus H. Gansser.
    4. History of Bay County, Michigan with Illustrations & Biographical Sketches (1883), H.R. Page & Co.
    The Bay City Press & Times.

    Return to /
    Writings
    Business Publishing
    People Referenced
    Arndt, Leslie E.
    Birney, Arthur
    Birney, James
    Birney, James G.
    Birney, Agatha (McDowell)
    Bryce, William A.
    Cline, L.L.
    Cuthbert, John
    Dow, Henry S.
    Gansser, Augustus H.
    Grant, Ulysses S. (Pres.)
    Gustin, W.H.
    Harding, T.K.
    Joslin, Perry
    Kronecke, Edmund
    Lewis, Griffin
    VanCampen, F.M.
    Warren, Robert L.
    Subjects Referenced
    29th Michigan Infantry
    Bay City, MI
    Newspaper
    Bay City Press
    Bay City Press & Times
    Bay City Times
    Bay City Tribune
    Booth Publishing Co.
    Daily Weekly Chronicle
    The Press
    The Netherlands
    Civil War
    Lower Saginaw
    Saginaw
    Troy, NY
    About the Paper
    The Bay City Times & Press was founded by William A. Bryce in 1859. Its offices were on the corner of Fourth and Saginaw streets.
    The paper started out as a weekly, issued on Saturdays until Jun. 25, 1864, when it was published twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

    The paper was printed both sides of a single sheet of rag-paper, which when folded presented the reader with four pages of news. One of the pages was devoted almost entiredly to advertisements. The 1861-64 editions covered local and national news related to the Civil War.

    The paper was suspended in 1864 when Bryce, who carried news on the Civil War almost daily, joined the 29th Michigan Infantry.
    About Wm. A. Bryce
    Little was found regarding the life of Mr. Bryce. The following are bits of data listed chronologically:
    1854:
  • Age 21, married Asebell S. Morse, age 18, on Oct. 8, 1854 by Justice Obed Smith in St. Clair, MI. Witnesses were A.E. & L.E. Morse. (Not certified as same Bryce)
    1859:
  • Sep. 14 - Starts Bay City Press newspaper in Bay City.
  • Bryce is among notaries for Tuscola Co., appointed by the State.
    1860:
  • Changes name of newpaper to Bay City Press and Times.
  • Bryce is among group forming a Mason lodge in Bay City.
    1861:
  • Bryce is chosen as the first Master of Mason Lodge No. 129 in Bay City.
  • Bryce is elected by State Senate to serve as assistant Senate secretary to A.B. Turner.
    1862:
  • Bryce becomes Secretary of the State Senate, holds position until Feb., 1864.
  • Bryce is among notaries appoint for Tuscola Co. by the State.
    1864:
  • Mustered in Jul. 29, 1864, Staff officer, Lt., Quartermaster, 29th Michigan Infantry, which was organized at Saginaw, by Hon. John F. Driggs. His newspaper, continued to be published until Oct., when it closed down. It's not known who published the final issues.

    The 29th Regiment.

    Field and staff:
    Saylor, Thos.
    Saginaw, Col.
    Eddy, E. Frank
    Flint, Lt. Col.
    Beebe, Alpheus M.
    Lansing, Major
    Duncan, Titus
    E. Saginaw, Surgeon
    Garrigues, Samuel S.
    Bay City, Asst. Surgeon
    Palmer, Elmore
    Ann Arbor, 2nd Asst. Surgeon,
    Seymour, Henry P.
    Linden, Adjutant
    Bryce, Wm. A.
    Bay City, Quartermaster
    Hawker, John
    Portsmouth, Chaplain

    Company regiments:
    Company A -
    Greenfield, Alson
    Vassar, Capt.
    Allen, Edward P.
    Vassar, 1st Lt.
    Wilder, Jefferson J.
    Vassar, 2nd Lt.
    Lewis, Wm. L.
    Bay City, Capt.
    Bunnell, Hiram
    Portsmouth, 1st Lt.
    Monroe, Charles
    Bay City, 2nd Lt.
    Company C -
    Saunders, Edwin
    Saginaw City, Capt.
    Merrick, Benjamin W.
    Port Austin, 1st Lt.
    Tuttle, Wm. H.
    Saginaw City, 2nd Lt.
    Company D -
    Meyer, Charles G.
    E. Saginaw, Capt.
    Berger, John A.
    Frankenmuth, 1st Lt.
    Van Vliet, Frederick
    Bloomfield, 2nd Lt.
    Company E -
    Patterson, Andrew J.
    Owosso, Capt.
    Main, Sidney G.
    Owosso, 1st Lt.
    Close, Wm. F.
    Byron, 1st Lt.
    Company F -
    Swimm, George T.
    St. Charles, Capt.
    Blackmer, Horace
    Bridgeport, 1st Lt.
    Branch, John
    Forest, 2nd Lt.
    Company G -
    Eldridge, Cornelius S.
    Flint, Capt.
    Hawley, Truman W.
    E. Saginaw, 1st Lt.
    Cummings, Charles S.
    Flint, 2nd Lt.
    Company H -
    Schram, LaRue
    Burton, Capt.
    Hill, George A.
    Richfield, 1st Lt.
    Reed, George
    Forest, 2nd Lt.
    Company I -
    Hackett, John H.
    Ypsilanti, Capt.
    Young, Guart V.S.
    Perry, 1st Lt.
    Company K -
    Pain, Waldo W.
    Marquette, Capt.
    Unknown
    Unknown, 1st Lt.
    McQuaid, Robert H.
    Belleville, 2nd Lt.

    The 29th broke camp on the 6th of October, 1864, for Nashville, TN, in command of Col. Saylor, with a 856 officers and men, arriving in Decatur, AL, on the 26th.

    Note: It appears that the Bay City Press and Times printed its last issue on Oct. 1, 1864, three months after Mr. Bryce mustered into the Union Army. Yet, there is no mention found in the paper that year about Mr. Bryce joining the Civil War, nor its impending end.
    1865:
  • Bryce is mustered out Sep. 6, 1865, honorable discharge.
    1866:
  • Bryce dies Jan. 15, 1866, at Marine City, Mich.
  • Bryce is buried at Hillside Cemetery, St. Clair, Mich.
    1866-67:
  • Indian & Pioneer Directory of Saginaw Valley:
    W.A. Bryce is listed in this directory under "Masonic" as a deceased member. It also states that Bryce was among those who organized the Lodge of Free and accepted Masons at Bay City, which was accepted as a charter on Jan. 11, 1861. Also, Bryce was elected Master, serving two years, and he resided over the first meeting of the new lodge which took place near the Bay City Post office, in the upper part of the building formerly occupied by C.R. Jennison, on ground now occupied by the Fraser Hotel block (today the property is occupied by the Delta Planitarium).
    Sources:
  • Gerald Pergande, data on 29th Regiment from 1882 book, Michigan in the War, by John Robertson, publr., W.S. George & Co.
  • Debian Marraige Records - MiFamilyHistory.com
  • 1866-67 Pioneer Directory.
  • Find-A-Grave website.
  • MI State Legislature online records.


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