03 August, 2006

A Justification for an 1855 Origin

As I prepared the last post about the change in the Santa Barbara News-Press's birthdate from 1863 (itself wrong) to 1855, I realized how a claim for 1855 might work.

The Santa Barbara Gazette was started on May 24, 1855, by B. W. Keep and R. Hubbard; it went out of business in 1858 or 1861, according to various sources.

B. W. Keep later started The Democrat (with F. A. Moore) on Jan. 19, 1878. F. A. Moore bought out Keep and changed the name of this paper to the Independent starting on Aug. 17, 1878. This Independent is not related to the contemporary weekly now publishing in Santa Barbara.

Eventually this original Independent was purchased by Thomas M. Storke, in 1913, and merged with The Daily News at that time. Storke could claim a tradition existed back through Moore's seven-month overlap with Keep to the 1855 Santa Barbara Gazette.

The Daily News eventually merged (under Storke) with The Morning Press to form the Santa Barbara News-Press.

The Democrat is not available in local libraries; the only copies seem to be at U.C. Berkeley. So, it is not so easy to check if B. W. Keep was indeed involved in The Democrat. The story is verified by the 1941 WPA history posted earlier, however.

The history of the Independent looks pretty complicated. A copy from 1903 gives its founding date as 1878 or 1879, but a 1914 edition gives its birth date as 1880 or 1881. The paper was sold and re-sold a number of times, and had both daily and weekly editions. Actually verifying the claimed connections through the Independent will be a time consuming project.


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