[Ravenna, OH: 1832]. Newspaper extra. Single sheet, 39cm. 2pp. Text in three columns. Old fold lines, separated across horizontal fold but text legible, overall toning of sheet, small ink note [illegible] in upper right corner; thumbnail sized chip in outer margin, not affecting text.
On the recto of this extra the newspaper publisher, under the title "More Church & State / Combination to overawe the Press," defends his printing on the previous Thursday of a subscriber's opinion on the so-called "Meeting-House case." The reprint of the "statement of facts" regarding the case appear on the verso, entitled "Church and State," signed in type by "Zeno." The issue involved an 1828 vote by the Board of Commissioners, consisting of several Presbyterians, to override the intended public use of a county-owned lot to build a Presbyterian meeting house. Upon publication of the statements of Zeno objecting to this "union of Church and State" in the Western Courier, several subscribers cancelled their subscriptions. The editor John Harmon prints twelve of their names and reminds all of his subscribers of the principles on which a "Free Press" is based. Item #63940
John Harmon purchased and published the "Western Courier," the Democratic organ of Portage County from 1832-1836. The paper was originally established in 1825 with an initial subscription list of 320 which more than doubled in the first six months. [see the short history of the paper written by Jennifer Seymour for the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio]. It ceased publication in 1838. Ravenna, Ohio and vicinity experienced an increase in sectarian disputes in the early 1830s. An Anti-Masonic party was on the rise in Ohio and there was also reaction to Joseph Smith and the Mormons who had established a community in Kirtland, Ohio in 1831. Smith and his wife were living in Hiram, Ohio, about 15 miles from Ravenna when a mob dragged him from his home and tarred and feathered him in early 1832. Harmon's admonition to his community to be mindful of the separation of church and state seems a wise caution in these times.