Chicago Times

City: Chicago

State: Illinois

The Chicago Times was a Democratic newspaper in Chicago, Illinois. James W. Sheahan, Isaac Cook, and Daniel Cameron established the paper in August 1854 with the support and encouragement of Stephen A. Douglas. The Kansas-Nebraska Act cost Douglas support of the Democratic press in Chicago, and with the 1854 Federal Election approaching, Douglas was desperate to establish another Chicago newspaper to support his position. Douglas selected Sheahan to edit the paper, and Sheahan, Cook, and Cameron published the first daily issue on August 20, 1854. Sheahan edited the paper alone until 1856, when Cameron joined him, and Sheahan and Cameron jointly edited the paper until 1858. Upon Cameron’s withdrawal from the editor’s chair, William Price joined Sheahan, and the two edited the paper until 1860. Cyrus H. McCormick purchased the Times in 1860 and merged it with the Herald to become the Times and Herald, with Elisha W. McComas as editor and Cameron as publisher. The paper continued under this title for a short time before assuming the title the Daily Chicago Times. In June 1861, McCormick sold the Times to Wilbur F. Storey. Storey changed the name from the Daily Chicago Times to the Chicago Times. The Times remained a Douglas paper until his death, but financial difficulties and conflicts within the management prevented it from becoming the type of organ Douglas envisioned. After the Emancipation Proclamation, the paper stopped supporting the Union war effort and launched vicious attacks against Abraham Lincoln and his administration. The Times’ Copperhead proclivities became so pronounced that General Ambrose E. Burnside issued an order for its suppression, and on June 3, 1863, the Union Army seized possession of the paper. President Lincoln revoked Burnside’s order and the paper resumed publication on June 5.

A. T. Andreas, History of Chicago (Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1884), 1:410; William E. Connelley, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (Chicago: Lewis, 1918), 3:1346; Robert W. Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1973), 448-49; Patricia B. Swan and James B. Swan, “James W. Sheahan: Stephen A. Douglas Supporter and Partisan Chicago Journalist,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 105 (Summer-Fall 2012), 133-34; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 65-66.