May 21, 1847: William H. Waldron and Dr. Alonzo Garcelon (1813-1906) publish the first issue of the weekly Lewiston Falls Journal.

Waldron, a printer, also is a co-founder of the Boston Herald. Garcelon is a medical doctor who also serves as a surgeon general of Maine during the Civil War and is elected Maine’s governor in 1878. He serves several terms in the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate, and he convinces the founders of Bates College to place the school in Lewiston.

The paper’s first home is on lower Main Street in Lewiston. Subscriptions cost $1.50 a year, but almost anything is accepted as payment, including sheepskins and pumpkins.

Nelson Dingley Jr., another future Maine governor, buys a half-interest in the newspaper in 1856 and the rest in 1857. Also in 1857, the Journal publishes a 27-day run of daily editions to cover the murder trial of George Knight of Auburn, accused of stabbing his wife while she slept. The paper becomes a full-fledged evening daily in 1861, then merges with the Lewiston Daily Sun in 1989 to form today’s Sun Journal.

Among the Evening Journal’s more illustrious employees is Holman Day (1870-1935), who works there for 17 years and becomes a poet and prolific writer of novels, several of which become movies in the silent film era of the early 20th century.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. He can be contacted at: [email protected]


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