Illinois State Register

City: Springfield

County: Sangamon

State: Illinois

The Illinois State Register was the major Democratic newspaper in Springfield, Illinois during the life of Abraham Lincoln. The Illinois State Register had its origins in the Illinois Advocate, a Whig Party organ established by John Y. Saywer in 1831 in Edwardsville, Illinois. In December 1832, Sawyer moved the paper to Vandalia, merging it with the Western Plowboy. In February 1836, William Walters established the Illinois State Register as a Democratic Party organ. Sawyer continued to edit and publish the Illinois Advocate until his death in March 1836, when Walters purchased the Advocate and merged it with the Illinois State Register. Walters published the new combined venture as the Illinois State Register and Illinois Advocate. In June 1836, Walters dropped Illinois Advocate from the title, publishing the paper as the Illinois State Register and People’s Advocate from June 1836 to August 1839. Following the move of state offices from Vandalia to Springfield, Walters moved the offices of the paper to the new state capital. He quietly dropped People’s Advocate from the title, and on August 10, 1839, Walters and his partner George R. Weber published the first edition of the Illinois State Register. Walters and Weber continued to edit and publish the paper until 1845. In 1845, Weber sold his interest to Walters, who continued alone until the onset of the Mexican War, when he leased the office to Charles H. Lanphier and volunteers for military service. Following Walters’ death in March 1846, Lanphier assumed control of the Register. He edited, owned, and published the Register, alone and in partnership with George Walker, Edward Conner, and William M. Springer until he sold his interest in November 1863. In January 1849, Lanphier began publishing a daily edition to go along with the weekly edition. Following Lanphier’s departure, the paper ceased publication for a few months before the Illinois State Register Printing Company revived it. Norman B. Judd served as business manager of this new company, and Isaac N. Higgins became editor. This venture proved unsuccessful, and in November 1864, the paper again ceased publication. In January 1865, John W. Merritt and sons, Edward L. and Joseph D., revived the paper, with John W. Merritt as editor in chief and Edward L. Merritt as associate editor.

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), 167, 322-23, 341, 342; History of Sangamon County, Illinois (Chicago: Inter-State, 1881), 225-29; Paul Selby, ed., History of Sangamon County Illinois (Chicago: Munsell, 1912), 745-46.