Thomas T. Russell Journalism

by James Owen Knauss


Mr Knauss does not seem to favor the “zeal” with which Thomas T Russell put forth and defended his political position.

Chapter titled “The Newspapers,”Under “the Newspapers of Saint Augustine,” Page 19

The News.

At length the opposition sheet became a reality. On November 8, 1888, D. W. Whitehurst issued the first number of The News. Of course it stood for all to which the Herald was opposed. It favored the Whig party, opposed the St. Joseph constitution, and advocated division of the territory. Whitehurst was the publisher up to January 15, 1841, and editor to the beginning of March of that year.” As long as he had charge of the News it was better edited than the Herald. Its tone was fairly well subdued. When Thomas T. Russell and Aaron Jones became proprietors on January 15, 1841, this reserve was gradually thrown off and the attacks, personal and political, on its opponents became so unrestrained as to he reminiscent of the days of-Cobbett and Duane at the end of the eighteenth century. Russell, a most ardent Whig, sometimes with partners and sometimes alone, guided the fortunes of the paper up to April 12, 1845, when it became democratic under the proprietorship of Albert A. Nunes. Russell bids an editorial farewell to his readers in the issue of April 12; his tone is one of sadness that the News would now be democratic. This paper in later days developed migratory propensities, first being moved to Jacksonville and then to Fernandina. (53)

(53 See issues in L.C.)

Chapter tilted “The Newspaper Men,” Pages 73, 74

Thomas T. Russell.
In addition to the ten editors already discussed, one other, Thomas T. Russell, publisher of the News of St. Augustine from 1841 to 1845, and of the Florida Whig in 1845, was a native of the South,(314)” but it is not known from what particular state he came [1850 Census says S.C.]. He was undoubtedly a sincere Whig, defending the principles of the party with more zeal than judgment against the attacks of the Goulds in the Herald. In 1848 he was a member of the territorial legislative council. His further career after the demise of the Whig in 1845 is unknown.

(314 News 5-4-44)

(Brackets mine)

Chapter titled “The Newspaper Men,” Page 78

Charles E. O’Sullivan.

Charles E. O’Sullivan, who was associated with Russell in the publication of the St. Augustine News from 1842 to 1844, had been a compositor in the office of the Savannah Republican.” (336) He apparently returned to that city, as a Charles E. O’Sullivan was hook and job printer there in 1869.

(336 News 1-14-43)

Chapter titled “The Newspaper Men,” Page 68

Daniel W. Whitehurst.
The third native of Virginia who became interested in journalism in Florida, Daniel W. Whitehurst, was born in Norfolk on September 29, 1801. While a young man, he was active in the work of the African Colonization Society, which urged the deportation of Negroes to Africa, and made a trip to Liberia where the society was planting its colored colony. During the Seminole War he attained the rank of major. From 1888 to 1841 he was publisher of the St. Augustine News. In 1848 he received the degree of doctor of medicine from New York University.”‘ In 1845 or 1846 lie went to Key West, and accepted & position as post surgeon at Tortugas, the island on which Port Jefferson was in course of construction. Apparently he lived for the rest of his life at Tortugas and Key West, where he died on January 19, 1872.
Whitehurst, as an editor, was one of the better type. He was the only good editor that the News had in the territorial days. While he had charge of it, the violent diatribes against the democrats and especially against the Goulds of the Herald were not so marked as they became later during the editorship of Russell.

Chapter titled “The Newspapers,”Under “the Newspapers of Jacksonville,” Pages 36,36.

East Florida Advocate

The East Florida Advocate published by Aaron Jones, Jr., and Company, was started in Jacksonville on September 7, 1839. Its publication seems to have been fairly regular. When Jones and Thomas T Russell bought the St Augustine News at the beginning of 1841, it is almost certain that the Advocate was discontinued. We know little of its characteristics. It was Whig in politics, favored division of the territory, and was opposed to the St Joseph constitution. This conclusion is based on the fact that the St Augustine News approved of the paper while the Herald expressed strong disapproval.