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SharePrint Wheeling Intelligencer

West Virginia’s oldest continuously published daily newspaper is arguably its most famous as well. The Wheeling Intelligencer began in 1852, a landmark year when the tracks of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad reached Wheeling and development blossomed. Unlike most other papers of the same era, the Intelligencer did not originate as a weekly or semiweekly but appeared daily from the beginning. J. H. Pendleton, one of those who established the paper, was the first editor.

In 1856, the Intelligencer was acquired by the city editor, Archibald Campbell (1833–1903), nephew of Alexander Campbell of nearby Bethany, the founder of the Disciples of Christ religious denomination and of Bethany College. The younger Campbell was one of the fathers of West Virginia. He favored the Republican Party and in 1860 was the only editor in Virginia to support Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy for the office of president of the United States. As a reward, Archibald Campbell was appointed Wheeling’s postmaster. He left the paper in 1866 but repurchased it with a new partner in 1873.

The other important figure in the early history of the Intelligencer was Herschel Coombs Ogden (1869–1943), who came to Wheeling in 1888 and worked as a reporter, later founding the competing News, an evening paper. After Campbell’s death, Ogden acquired the Intelligencer. Under Ogden, the newspaper, previously published from a building on the north side of Quincy (now 14th) Street between Main and Market, was installed in its present home at 1500 Main Street. In 1936, Ogden merged the News with the Register, traditionally a Democratic paper, to form the Wheeling News-Register, which continues as an afternoon paper. The morning Intelligencer retains its stoutly Republican policies and pro-business slant.

The Wheeling Intelligencer often has been associated with important events. It strongly opposed the secession of Virginia during the Civil War and became a staunch advocate for the creation of West Virginia. The newspaper became increasingly anti-slavery and radical in its politics as the war progressed. Nearly a century later, the Intelligencer again found itself at the center of the national stage when it broke the news of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s 1950 Wheeling speech. McCarthy’s speech charged that the U.S. State Department was overrun with communists and triggered the national red scare of the early 1950s. Today, Intelligencer back files are an important primary source for historians, especially for the Civil War period.

Following H. C. Ogden’s death, control of the paper passed to his daughter and then to her son, G. Ogden Nutting, president and publisher of Ogden Newspapers Inc., who has guided a fourth generation of his family into the business. Ogden Newspapers owns papers in 12 states, including five dailies in West Virginia, and has various other media and communications interests. Rich in tradition and loyal to its roots, the Intelligencer has been the early home of many journalists who have gone on to renown in larger centers. In 2013, the daily circulation was 14,830.

This Article was written by George Fetherling

Last Revised on May 14, 2013

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Cite This Article

Fetherling, George "Wheeling Intelligencer." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 14 May 2013. Web. 20 April 2018.

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