In 1850, the Mirror was the only newspaper published in Tazewell County, Illinois. Formerly known as the Tazewell Whig, it was owned by John Smith and was Whig in political orientation. In the fall of 1850, James Shoaff and E. S. Rogers started a Democratic newspaper, which they named the Pekin Weekly Reveille. Shoaf and Rogers sold the Reveille to Jackson C. Thompson in 1851, who published the paper until late 1853 or early 1854, when he sold it to Merrill C. Young. In the fall of 1854, Young also purchased the Tazewell County Mirror, which he consolidated with the Reveille to create the Pekin Weekly Plaindealer. Young and his partner, J. N. Underwood, published the Plaindealer as an independent paper, although it leaned Democratic in its politics. In the fall of 1856, Young was elected circuit clerk and Underwood moved to Charleston, Illinois, and, in the winter of 1856, Thomas J. Pickett purchased the Plaindealer. He renamed it the Register, and ran it as an independent paper that leaned Republican. In 1858, the paper was sold again, this time to John McDonald, who published it as a Democratic paper until several years after the Civil War.
History of Tazewell County Illinois (Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman, 1879), 721; Edmund J. James and Milo J. Loveless, A Bibliography of Newspapers Published in Illinois Prior to 1860 (Springfield: Hillips Bros., 1899), 67.