Friday, February 4, 2011

Wilbur Alexander Cherry 1820-1873

Wilbur Alexander Cherry, early Galveston newspaper owner and editor, was born in New Haven, Oswego Co., New York on January 4, 1820 to Samuel Cherry and Abigail Delano. (Abigail Delano and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt are 3rd cousins 2 times removed.) He died on June 12, 1873 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas, and was buried there in the Old City Cemetery.

His Life and Newspaper Career

Wilbur Cherry, at the age of fifteen ran away from home, and came to Texas in 1835, settling in Liberty County. There he joined Captain Andrew Briscoe's Company of Liberty Volunteers on November 21, 1835. He participated in the Texas war of independence, and was under the command of Ben Milam at the seige of Bexar in December of 1835, along with his later partner Michael Cronican.

After the Texas Revolution Cherry joined the Army of the Republic of Texas. On December 24, 1839 he received a bounty payment of thirty dollars for enlisting as a private in Second Lt. R. W. Lee's Company F of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Infantry. He served briefly in Capt. Benjamin Y. Gillen's Company I and on May 19, 1840, transferred into Capt. Adam Clendenin's Company A at Galveston. [Thomas W. Cutrer, "CHERRY, WILBUR H.," Handbook of Texas Online]

After his military service he spent a short time in Austin working as a printer. Austin had become the capital city for the Republic in 1839, and a number of papers had been started which would have provided ample work for an itinerant pressman. With the failure of the Santa Fe Expedition in 1842, President Sam Houston, fearing a Mexican response, moved the capital back to the city of Houston. This move drove a spike through the fortunes of most all the Austin presses, forcing them to either closure or removal. Cherry most probably left Austin during this period, and relocated to Galveston by 1842 or 1843.

Back in Galveston, he met up with his old friend from the army, Michael Cronican, and together they decided to try their hand at newspaper publishing. According to Ben Stuart, the type and press for publishing the paper were rented from Samuel Bangs, who had the distinction of publishing Galveston's first newspaper, for four dollars a month.

"One historical source describes them in the terminology of the printing trade at the time, Cronican as "an expert press man" and Cherry as "an expert roller of ink on the Washington hand press.... When they took over the paper from Bangs they leased from him the press and type used to print 'The Daily Galvestonian' and 'The Daily News', and their paper came off the press as a semi-weekly. A note on the masthead declared that the paper was to be printed "as soon as possible after the arrival of the boat from New Orleans." [Galveston Daily News, February 23, 1969]

In an article from the November 28, 1961 'Galveston Daily News', the writer states that "Opinions differ as to the location of 'The News' in its early infancy. Some say that Michael Cronican and Wilbur Cherry when they took over The News were located at 68-70 Tremont between Mechanic and Strand or what would be the site of the Washington Hotel today. The other was 100-104 Tremont or the southeast corner of Tremont and Mechanic.

This drawing by Emil Bunjes gives his conception of the frame building — little more than a shack — which housed 'The News' in its infancy. It is believed George H. French published his paper, 'The Daily News,' there on April 11, 1842. It is known 'The News' was housed there a short time later when Wilbur Cherry and Michael Cronican took it over. The building stood at 68-70 Tremont or 23rd, on the east side of the street, and was rented from J. P. Davie. [Galveston Daily News, February 23, 1969]

In June 24, 1843 issue of the 'Civilian' newspaper, Hamilton Stuart reported that Michael Cronican and Wilbur Cherry "had commenced , in this city, the publication of a small semi-weekly entitled 'The News.'" This paper was the parent of the 'Galveston News,' which became the only paper from this period in Texas history to continue on into the twentieth century.

After Michael Cronican's departure from 'The News,' he "tried his hand at running a hotel between San Felipe and Houston. Then, in Nov. 1845, with John S. (Rip) Ford, a noted Texas frontier character, he purchased 'The Texas National Register,' a paper printed in Austin. Later Cronican became owner and publisher of a newspaper in San Antonio, 'The Western Texian,' which began publication in 1848. Cronican died in San Antonio during the cholera epidemic of 1849." [Galveston Daily News, February 23, 1969]

After Cherry bought out Cronican, "it was Cherry, so one historical source declares, who inserted the word "Galveston" into the name of 'The News.' [Galveston Daily News, February 23, 1969] Cherry continued in partnership with Richard Drake Sebring as his editor, and the semi-weekly became a tri-weekly. Their partnership lasted only a short while, until July of 1844, when Sebring died, probably of tuberculosis.

Cherry then brought in Benjamin F. Neal, who had been printer of a paper called the 'San Luis Advocate,' to help run the paper. Cherry gave Neal a half-interest in 'The Weekly News' in exchange for the Advocate's printing equipment. "The schooner transporting this equipment from San Luis to Galveston capsized in West Bay, and the press was dumped into the water. The press was later salvaged, cleaned up, oiled, and put to work." [Galveston Daily News, February 23, 1969]

Although 'The News' claimed to be politically independent, it was in fact staunchly anti-Houston in its editorial stand, largely in response to the Houston administration's antipathy toward the Texas Navy, whose home port was Galveston.

While Cherry was one of the leading businessmen of Galveston during the 1840's, he was "less than adept" as an editor. Impressed with Willard Richardson's editorial competence and aggressive style at the 'Texas Telegraph and Register,' Cherry and Neal offered him the post as editor at 'The News'. Richardson bought out Cherry the following year and soon developed the 'Galveston News' into Texas' leading newspaper.

I find no mention of Cherry after 1845 to early 1850. I suspect he was working for various papers as a printer, but there is an elusive note that says he dabbled in the real estate market at one point in his business career. A letter dated July of 1851 in which he discusses his land dealings in Liberty seems to verify this.

In February of 1850 Cherry joined with J. M. Gibson to publish the 'Galveston Journal' which became "the leading Whig paper in the state in 1852." [Lone Stars and State Gazettes, Marilyn McAdams Sibley] In July, 1851 Gibson sold off his share to Cherry, who kept the paper alive despite threats of foreclosure. Although he appealed to his customers to pay their bills, Cherry removed himself as publisher in June of 1853 and sold the paper to S. Carter and H. H. Smith.

Cherry later started the 'Herald' in 1857 in partnership with J. C. Hepperla, George Copeland, J. J. Dunn and A. M. Dunn. The Marshall 'Texas Republican' of May 16, 1857, reported that "printers at Galveston recently struck for New Orleans prices, and, many being unemployed, five went into business for themselves to establish the Daily and Weekly 'Herald.'" It ceased to be issued in October of the same year, "not from choice," noted the 'San Antonio Herald' of October 20, 1857, "but from necessity." Of the five printers who started the paper, only two remained. (For many years, Galveston had the reputation as being a graveyard for newspapers.)

After the failure of the 'Herald' Cherry never again started a newspaper. I can only imagine that the expenses of financing a new operation, supporting a growing family, and the onset of the Civil War gave him pause. But printers ink ran through his blood, so Wilbur never strayed far from the presses. In the 1859-1860 city directory, Wilbur is enumerated as a printer working on 23rd Street, between Avenues B and C.

In the 1866-1867 Galveston city directory he is reported as being the foreman at the "News job office." In the 1868-1869 and 1870 directories he is simply listed as "printer" at 118 Market. In 1872, the year before he died, he was working for Robert C. Clarke as a printer.

Ben C. Stuart wrote in his "History of Newspapers in Texas" that Cherry was "one of the old-time printers" who knew the trade "from the ground up" and who turned out proof so clean that it hardly required marking for errors. Appropriately, before he died he had returned to the news as a printer.

Cherry died on June 12, 1873 in Galveston. The Galveston Typographical Union met beforehand at McKenna's job office and attended the funeral. In the Galveston Daily News of Friday, June 13, 1873, Willard Richardson wrote his heartfelt (and decidedly flowery Victorian) memorial to Cherry:

Right often are we called upon to record the doings of death in the circles of our friends and of our distinguished fellow citizens. Few indeed have been his visits of the household of the News. Seldom—and thankful are we for it—has he laid his icy hand on any one of our number. But he has now come for one, and taken from among us Wilbur Cherry. As one of the News family he was the oldest—not in years, but in his connection with this journal.

In 1844 the present senior proprietor of the News became associated with Mr. Cherry as editor of the paper, and in the year following bought out his interest. Although he then ceased to be a proprietor, his connection ended not until last night, when he died. Occasionally he would accept employment and take work in other places, but he ever returned to what he considered his business home.

Wilber Cherry came to Texas as early as the year '39 [more likely 1835], and worked in Austin as a printer at the time it became the capital city. He afterward resided near Liberty, and came to Galveston in the year '43 or '44 associated himself with Mr. Michael Cronican, who was then publishing the News, and a little subsequently Mr. Willard Richardson became its writing editor.

In 1847 Mr. Cherry married Mrs. French, a widow who survives him, and is for the second time bereft. He leaves one daughter and three sons, neither of whom is married, and also a step-daughter who is married.

The toilsome life of a practical printer has in it but few events to arrest public attention. It is a daily conflict with the stern duties of life in all its relations of husband, father and citizen, employer and employee. How well Mr. Cherry discharged these varied relations, no men knew better than those whose sad duty it is to put in form the words and the types that compose this the last record of his earthly virtues. They part from their friend with that sorrow to which long companionship gives birth, and in a steadfast faith that with his errors all corrected, and his proof clean, he will rise to that life immortal which awaits all who steadily strive to do well while on earth.

To his widow and his children they render their sympathy and words of condolence — a sympathy which is heart-felt, and words which express their own deep emotions. May the sweetest mercies of Heaven rest on the wiow and the orphans of their officemate; may he hedge them round with his protecting arm, and may they always find, in every printer, a friend and a brother.
Family Life

Wilbur Cherry married Catherine Rebecca Crosby in Galveston on August 7, 1847. Catherine Crosby had previously married George H. French in Galveston on January 20, 1842. French died shortly therafter, most probably in 1843 or 1844, during a yellow fever epidemic. Catherine and George had a daughter, Josephine, born around January of 1843.

George French, along with his brother Henry, were well known in printing circles along the Texas coast. They printed, edited, or published several newspapers, usually in cooperation with the pioneer printer Samuel Bangs. Bangs had also married their sister Caroline French, who also contributed to this newspaper family by writing articles under the pen name "Cora", which was also the name of Wilbur and Catherine Cherry's first child.

Catherine was born in Sligo, Ireland sometime around 1826, and arrived in the United States the same year, according to the note in the 1900 Census. In an article in the March 15, 1888 Galveston News she was visiting her daughter Cora Currie in Abilene, Texas. It was reported that the trip was the first time since her arrival in Galveston in 1830 that she had been more than 50 miles "from the sound of the breakers on its shore." The later emigration date makes more sense.

Ben C. Stuart, writing in an article dated September 1, 1907, related that "the old Cherry homestead [was] built in the early '40s and occupied from 1842 to the present day by the venerable Mrs. Wilbur Cherry.... There is probably no other instance in Galveston where the same person has occupied the same home for a period of more than sixty-five years."

Catherine continued to reside at 1602 Church St. past the turn of the century. Catherine died at her daughter Cora's house at 1828 Avenue M in Galveston on February 15, 1908, at the age of 82. She was buried alongside her husband in the Old City Cemetery in Galveston.

Catherine and Wilbur had five children together:

1. Cora, was born July 25, 1848, and died September 6, 1912.
2. Charles Chester, was born January 12, 1851, and died April 30, 1912.
3. Edwin Dugat, was born December 6, 1853, and died November 27, 1932.
4. Wilbur Alexander, was born October 14, 1854, and died February 6, 1889.
5. William H. Sandusky Cherry, was born December 25, 1856, and died August 2, 1858.

Children of Wilbur and Catherine Cherry

Josephine French Cherry, was the daughter of Catherine and her first husband George French. She was born sometime around January of 1843 in Galveston. I haven't found out if she was legally adopted by Cherry, and in the 1860 Galveston census she was listed as J. French, so I don't know is she used French or Cherry as her maiden name throughout her life.

She married Paul Logre (or Loguery) on May 25, 1891 in Galveston. Paul Logre was born in Texas on January 1, 1836, the son of Frank Brashear Logre of France, and died February 16, 1921 in Galveston. Paul had previously married Catherine (Kitty) Conlon in Galveston on November 6, 1874. Paul and Kitty had at least two children from this marriage.

I haven't been able to find Josephine's death date, but she must have died prior to the 1910 census.

In the 1873 Galveston city directory, Paul Logre was a baggage agent at the Galveston Depot, and lived at the corner of 33rd and Market. He was listed in the 1875-76 directory as baggage master with the Galveston Houston & Henderson railroad, and resided at the corner of Avenue K and 26th. He lived at the same address in 1876-67.

In 1900 they were living at Josephine's mothers house at 1602 Church St. They had at least two children, whose names wern't listed, so perhaps they were away at school.

The Galveston census of 1910 and 1920 lists Paul Logre living at 1024 Avenue G with his daughter Lillie and her husband Maurice H. Van Liew, their daughter Hortense, and Paul's son Edward F. Logre.

Cora Cherry, was born July 25, 1848 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas, and died September 6, 1912 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas.

Cora married John Grant Currie on December 15, 1874 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. John was born on 16 Nov 1845 in Scotland. He died on November 4, 1924 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas.

1873 Galveston City Directory: J. G. Currie, with McAlpine & Baldridge at 425 Postoffice, residence at the corner of 32nd[?] and Postoffice.

1875-76 & 1876-77 Galveston City Directory: J. G. Currie, bookkeeper & cashier with McAlpine & Baldridge, residence at the corner of Avenue F (Church) and 16th Street.

On the 1910 Galveston census, the family was living at 1828 Avenue M.

Cora died September 6, 1912 at the family residence at 2963[??] Avenue O1/2 "after a lingering illness," reported the Galveston News, and had "surrounded herself with a large circle of friends." Her funeral was held, on September 7, at her home.

They had the following children:

1. John Wilbur Currie was born on July 3, 1880 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. He died on January 21, 1937 in McAllen, Hidalgo Co., Texas. He was buried in Dallas, Dallas Co., Texas. John Currie was an auditor living in Dallas, Texas.

John married Louie Salmonds.

2. Cora Cherry Currie was born on April 19, 1886 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. She died on February 13, 1967 in Houston, Harris Co., Texas. She was buried on February 16, 1967 in Old City Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.

Cora married [unnamed] Clark.

Charles Chester Cherry, was born January 12, 1851 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas, and died April 30, 1912 in San Antonio, Bexar Co., Texas.

Charles married Mary Elizabeth Lanier on November 29, 1885 in Erath Co., Texas. Mary was born about June of 1870 in Erath Co., Texas. She died after 1934 in Nocona, Montague Co., Texas.

In the 1870 Galveston city directory, C. C. Cherry is listed as a clerk for a cotton press at the corner of Mechanic and 30th. Chester is listed, in 1872, simply as a clerk., living at his parents house on Church. He next appears in the 1875-76 directory working for the Galveston City railroad and living at 21st and Avenue I. In the 1876-77 directory he is listed as a clerk living back at his mothers house on Church.

They had the following children:

1. [unknown] Cherry was born about 1887 in of Erath Co., Texas. NN died before 1900.

2. Chester Wilbur Cherry was born on July 17, 1889 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. He died on July 20, 1967 in Odessa, Extor Co., Texas. He was buried on July 22, 1967 in Sunset Memorial Garden, Odessa, Texas.

Chester married (1) Elizabeth Strong on March 12, 1911 in Austin, Travis Co., Texas. Elizabeth was born on September 24, 1887 in Ellis, Texas. She died on June 20, 1975 in Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico. She was buried on June 23, 1975 in Sunset Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Chester married (2) Kanie Virginia Carter about 1931. Kanie was born about 1902 in Comanche, Comanche Co., Texas. She died in Nocona, Texas. She was buried in Nocona, Texas.

3. John J. Cherry was born on July 17, 1891 in of Erath Co., Texas. He died on February 2, 1905 in Stephenville, Erath Co., Texas. He was buried in Lowell Cemetery, Erath Co., Texas.

4. Leslie Cherry was born before 1895 in of Erath Co., Texas. He died on February 24, 1896 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. He was buried in Old City Cemetery, Galveston, Texas.

Edwin Dugat Cherry, was born December 6, 1853 in Galveston, and died November 27, 1932 in Galveston. He was buried on February 27, 1932 in the Galveston City Cemetery. Edwin never married, and had lived at 911 Ave. E, with his brother Wilbur and his family.

Ed Cherry is listed in the 1872 Galveston city directory as a ticket clerk for the City railroad, 239 Centre (21st) at the corner of Church. He lives at his parents home on Church.

Ed was working for Brown and Lang (Henry M. Lang married Clara Gruetzmacher) in the 1873 directory. In the 1875-76 snd the 1876-77 directories he's back with the City railroad, and lives at the family home on Church.

Wilbur Alexander Cherry, was born October 14, 1854 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas, and died February 6, 1889 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas.

In the 1875-76 Galveston city directory, W. Cherry was clerking for Brown and Lang, and lives at his parents home on Church St. He is still working for the same firm, now called J. S. Brown & Co., in the 1876-77 directory.

Wilbur married Ida Mae Van Ness, daughter of William Van Ness and Kate Wiley on December 20, 1881 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. Ida was born on February 20, 1858 in Aurora, Indiana. She died on August 30, 1928 at 911 Ave. E, in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. In her obituary in the September 1, 1928 Galveston News, it was reported that she was the adopted daughter of Judge Sanford Mason. Funeral services were held at the family residence at 911 Postoffice Street and she was buried at Galveston Memorial Park.

Wilbur and Ida had the following children:

1. Ida Mae Cherry was born on January 10, 1883 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. She died on October 12, 1976 at 911 Ave. E, in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. She was a bank clerk. She never married.

2. Alice Jeanette Cherry was born in June of 1885 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. She died on November 9, 1971 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. She never married.

3. Sanford Mason Cherry was born in of June 1885 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. He died on December 4, 1946 in Beaumont, Jefferson Co., Texas.

4. Wilbur Alexander Cherry was born on November 18, 1887 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. He died on September 15, 1976 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas.

5. Mildred Edith Cherry was born on November 18, 1887 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. She died on September 15, 1976 at 911 Ave. E, in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas. She was a retired lab technician.

William H. Sandusky Cherry, was born December 25, 1856 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas, and died August 2, 1858 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas.

He was named for a noted cartographer who had died almost ten years previously. He published his "Plan of the City of Galveston Texas" in 1845. I haven't found a relationship between these families, as yet.

William H. Sandusky, draftsman and surveyor, was born on January 29, 1813, in Columbus, Ohio, the son of John and Elizabeth (Clarno) Sandusky. At an early age he moved to Pekin, Illinois. In 1838 he established himself in Austin, Texas, as an artist and draftsman. He assisted in surveying the town and making a map of it. He served the state as a surveyor and later as registrar of the General Land Office. In 1840 he was appointed secretary to President Mirabeau B. Lamar; a year later he resigned for health reasons. On May 11, 1841, he was appointed draftsman for the coastal survey of Texas under Edwin Ward Moore. Sandusky married Jane McKnight, and the couple lived in Galveston, where he advertised as a maker of maps, charts, landscapes, and plans of cities and towns. He worked in Galveston until his death on January 18, 1847. Though reflecting limited skill, his sketches of the city of Austin add important material to the early historical record of the city. --Pauline A. Pinckney, "SANDUSKY, WILLIAM H.," Handbook of Texas Online.

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