A weekly agricultural newspaper, the Prairie Farmer traced its origins to 1839 and the publication of the Union Agriculturalist. The first issue of the Prairie Farmer appeared in January 1841 under the title the Union Agriculturalist and Western Prairie Farmer. The paper devoted itself to western agriculture, education, and mechanics. The Union Agricultural Society published the paper, and John S. Wright was its editor. In 1842, the Union Agricultural Society sold the paper to Wright, and in January 1843, Wright published the first issue under the name Prairie Farmer. Wright published the paper and edited it alongside J. Ambrose Wight. In January 1857, the paper changed from a monthly to a weekly. Wright continued to publish and edit the paper until 1857 or 1858, when he sold it to James C. and William H. Medill. The Medills sold it in October 1858 to Emery & Co. Henry D. Emery and Charles D. Bragdon became editors, and Emery merged the Prairie Farmer with his Journal of Agriculture and published it as Emery's Journal of Agriculture and Prairie Farmer before
reverting back to the Prairie Farmer in January 1859.
"Seventy Years of Prairie Farmer," The Prairie Farmer (Chicago, IL), 15 November 1911, 1:1-2.