By MICHAEL RAFFETY / Editor
Democrat begins 160th year
Now in its 160th year of publication, the Mountain Democrat is one of 19 newspapers published in El Dorado County before 1858, according to the 1949 reminiscences of former Democrat publisher Clarence Barker.
It is the lone survivor of that remarkable period, and is now the oldest newspaper in California.
By its own account, the earliest paper in the county was the El Dorado Republican, originally founded as the El Dorado News in June 1851. This date was mentioned in the early issues of the Mountain Democrat, although an 1858 survey by the Sacramento Union pegs the first issue of the El Dorado News as July 19, 1851.
The Sacramento Union survey is not entirely reliable, because it pegs the Mountain Democrat’s first issue as Feb. 17, 1854, when in fact the first issue is Feb. 25, 1854.
Thomas Springer moved the El Dorado News from Coloma to Placerville and renamed it the El Dorado Republican Dec. 6, 1851, according to the early files of the Mountain Democrat.
When Springer sold the Republican, including its subscription list and press to Dan W. Gelwicks and William A. January, the Mountain Democrat acquired what had been the first press in El Dorado County. With that sale the El Dorado Republican became the Mountain Democrat on Feb. 25, 1854.
Springer’s press was the first one in the interior of California outside Sacramento, according to the History of El Dorado County by Paolo Sioli written in 1883.
Other papers from that period that we know of include:
The Miner’s Advocate, published from the summer of 1852 through November 1853, according to Mountain Democrat files.
The Empire County Argus, published from Nov. 5, 1853 through Feb. 17 1855, according to the State Library.
The Times and Transcript, mentioned in the Mountain Democrat of 1854.
The Placerville Herald, April 30, 1853-Nov. 5, 1853, according to the State Library.
The Placerville American, a Know Nothing Party paper, July 1855-winter 1856, according to the Sacramento Union’s 1858 survey published Dec. 25, 1858.
The Placerville Appeal, published six weeks from March 1853, according to the Sacramento Union’s 1858 survey.
The Georgetown News, Oct. 19, 1854-May 23, 1856, according to the State Library.
The Index, Feb. 13 1858-September 1858, according to the Sacramento Union 1858 survey.
Squatter Journal, mentioned in the Mountain Democrat
The True Republican, 1857-1858, according to an 1858 survey by the Sacramento Union.
The triweekly Argus, 1857, according to the Heritage Association of El Dorado.
The triweekly Register, 1857, according to the Heritage Association of El Dorado.
Other papers since 1858 have included:
The semiweekly Observer, 1859-60, according to the Heritage Association of El Dorado.
The Central Californian, begun Aug. 4, 1860, according to Sioli.
The (El Dorado County) Union begun June 28, 1861 according to Sioli.
The (El Dorado County) Daily Union, 1861, according to the Heritage Association of El Dorado.
The Placerville Weekly News, begun Aug. 14, 1861, according to Sioli.
The Placerville Daily News, advertised in the 1862 Placerville Directory printed by the Placerville Republican.
The El Dorado Times, 1861, according to the Heritage Association of El Dorado.
The (Lotus) Press, begun June 27, 1882, according to Sioli.
The Weekly Observer, Jan. 18, 1885-Jan. 23, 1889; merged with the Mountain Democrat.
The Republican begun June 26, 1862, a brief existence, according to Sioli.
The Republican, revived 10 years later.
The El Dorado Republican, 1901-1923.
The daily Nugget, 1901-May 5, 1909, absorbed by the El Dorado Republican.
The Placerville Republican, Jan. 2, 1924, which replaced the El Dorado Republican and continued publishing until Dec. 31, 1941 after war was declared; the Mountain Democrat acquired the Republican June 6, 1935.
Placerville Times, June 1936-April 1958; absorbed by the Mountain Democrat May 8, 1958.
The Georgetown Gem, April 12, 1872-April 9, 1880, according to Sioli.
The Georgetown Gazette, April 1880-September 1935; no issues published July 30-Sept. 11, 1886, Aug. 31-Sept. 21, 1893, Sept. 21, 1922-June 21, 1923; suspended May 1, 1924-Dec. 15, 1933. The Gazette was acquired by the Mountain Democrat in 1922 and again briefly in 1935; reactivated in 1972; renamed El Dorado Gazette, 1984.
Georgetown Town Crier January 1961-December 1971, absorbed by the Georgetown Gazette.
Lake Tahoe News, June 21, 1961-1983 absorbed by the Tahoe Daily Tribune 1984.
Tahoe Daily Tribune, 1959-present.
Georgetown Rural Review, Feb. 7, 1963-1965.
Pony Express Courier, June 1, 1934-May 1937, published in Placerville in summers by the Pony Express Association.
The El Doradan, March 1975-1976.
Foothill Times, 1981-1985.
Scenes of the Mother Lode, 1985-1988.
The Sierra Breeze, 1965-1987.
The Reporter 1960-present.
The Divide Harvester, biweekly October 1981-present.
The Foothill Examiner, 1980; absorbed by the Foothill Times.
Sierra Citizen, late 1970s-1988.
Mountain Trader (monthly in Somerset), 1986-December 1988, revived as a monthly magazine March 1991
Scenes of the Mother Lode, January 1984-March 1987
The Journal of El Dorado County, July 1, 1988-July 21, 1988
The Outlook, Aug. 3, 1988-Oct. 9, 1991.
Village Life, biweekly in El Dorado Hills, May 1, 1995-present
Cameron Park Life, biweekly, Oct. 2. 1995-present