Clarksville Standard

By: Ernest Wallace

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

The Clarksville Standard, a weekly newspaper of Clarksville, Red River County, was the first and for many years the most important paper in Northeast Texas. It was founded as the Northern Standard by Charles DeMorse, who remained sole owner, publisher, and editor until his death in 1887. The first issue appeared on August 20, 1842, and bore the motto "Long May Our Banner Brave the Breeze-The Standard of the Free." The sparsely settled region, the lack of adequate roads and mail routes, and the numerous streams and rivers that could not be crossed during floods created serious problems, but by 1846 the paper had done so well that it was enlarged, the plant was moved into a new building, and an unsuccessful attempt was made to open a branch office at Bonham. In 1852 the name was changed from Northern Standard to Standard. In 1854 DeMorse erected a two-story brick building to house the paper and installed new equipment, including a cylinder press. The only other such press in Texas at the time was that of the Galveston News. In the following years the Standard was second in circulation among Texas newspapers and had agents as distant as Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

While DeMorse, who was colonel of the Twenty-ninth Texas Cavalry, was away during the Civil War, the Standard was managed by John R. Woolridge. Although its size was reduced, publication continued throughout the war. In 1874 DeMorse closed the office and retired; but, persuaded by his friends, he purchased a Campbell press, installed it in the old building, and in 1879 resumed publication. After DeMorse's death in 1887 his daughter continued the publication of the paper for about a year.

The Standard was unusual because for forty-five years it was edited and published by a single individual whose personality, opinions, and hopes it reflected, and neither DeMorse nor his family desired that its control should pass even partially to any other. The files of the paper in the University of Texas at Austin library are almost complete. They constitute a valuable source for the study of the economic, social, and political life of Texas during the periods of the republic and early statehood.

Ernest Wallace, Charles DeMorse (Lubbock: Texas Tech Press, 1943; new ed., Paris, Texas: Wright Press, 1985).
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas

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

Ernest Wallace, “Clarksville Standard,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 09, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994