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SHERMAN PATRIOT

SHERMAN PATRIOT. Regarded as a "Black Republican" newspaper for its Union sympathies during the Civil War, the controversial Sherman Patriot first appeared in June 1858 and lasted intermittently for two decades. The first manifestation of the paper reflected the iconoclasm of its founder, E. Junius Foster. Born in North Carolina around 1814, Foster had established himself in Texas as a well known Whig who, by the mid-1850s, espoused his Know-Nothing sympathies through his work as a journalist. The history of the Patriot's name dates back to Foster's work on a Marshall, Texas, newspaper known as the Star State Patriot. In 1853 Foster and S. H. Parsons acquired this paper, which at that time was a respected newspaper and the only Whig journal in East Texas. Shortly thereafter, Foster purchased the Bonham Advertiser, moving its offices to Paris, Texas, where he published under the name the Frontier Patriot. Some time in 1858 Foster probably bought out his partner Parsons and decided to settle in Sherman. The town gave the paper a mixed reception, and its reputation in Sherman fluctuated so erratically that at one point in 1859 Foster carried through his threat to move the paper to Tishomingo. He soon returned the Patriot to Sherman and began a series of editorials that falsely led East Texans to believe that an abolitionist conspiracy was stirring in the region. The Patriot strongly advocated slavery despite its opposition to secession. The exigencies of producing a local newspaper often caused Foster and his paper into difficult political territory. Despite Foster's Whig affiliations, the Patriot was careful to side with Sam Houston in respect for both Houston's opposition to secession and his obvious popularity in Grayson County. In the first years of the Civil War, Foster's loyalty to the Union cause resulted in an increasingly "radical" reputation for the Sherman Patriot. Using the Patriot as a platform for his views, Foster's paper was derided as "submissionist" for the proposal to demarcate a new state in North Texas for supporters of the Union. In 1862, after an editorial in which he praised the murder of Col. William C. Young by Union men, Foster was confronted by the victim's son, Jim Young, and two other men. When he refused to recant his criticism of Colonel Young and the Confederacy in general, Foster was shot and killed. Although Jim Young confessed twenty-two years later, none of the assassins were jailed. The death of Foster brought the production of the Patriot to a halt for eight years. In 1870 Alphosoe Lamartine Darnell revived the paper. Darnell, originally from McKinney, Texas, remained as editor of the Sherman Patriot for nine years, during which time the paper followed a more sedate course than its previous incarnation. In the 1870s the Sherman Patriot advertised itself as "the oldest, largest, and cheapest paper in North Texas." Indeed, its twenty-four by thirty-six inch format, and two dollar per annum subscription rate seems to support this claim. The paper also claimed, perhaps with the fate of Foster still recent memory, that "in politics the Patriot will be Independent and Republican, and labor to cement a lasting Union of Peace and Prosperity to our Nation." The Sherman Patriot of the 1870s advocated free schools, "a liberal system of internal improvements," and boasted of the "latest news and market reports" as well as "a good list of subscribers in the Indian Territory, and is, therefore a most valuable advertising medium." In 1879 the Patriot was sold to P. N. Peters, who rechristened the paper the Sherman Daily Chronicle.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Graham Landrum and Allen Smith, Grayson County (Fort Worth, 1960; 2d ed., Fort Worth: Historical Publishers, 1967). Marilyn M. Sibley, Lone Stars and State Gazettes: Texas Newspapers before the Civil War (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983).

Randolph Lewis

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Randolph Lewis, "SHERMAN PATRIOT," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ees25), accessed September 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.