Oct 31

Horatio S. Rembaugh takes over the Tribune

Horatio Southgate Rembaugh, was the public face of the Tribune when it was founded in 1869. The photo is circa 1910. Photo courtesy Stacy McKitrick.

The Tribune has had competition for all but 8 of the over 140 years it has been published. As founder Walter Murray turned the reins of ownership over to his partner Horatio Southgate Rembaugh both wrote editorials reviewing the contentious early history of the paper. Murray’s column is linked here.
Both the San Luis Obispo Pioneer and Democratic Standard had engaged in attacks both personal and professional on the Tribune. The Democratic papers were quick to insult the Tribune and rabid in their endorsement of “States’ Rights”. This is a code phrase for repealing what are often called The Reconstruction Amendments to the United States Constitution. The amendments abolished slavery, provided equal protection under the law and granted voting rights regardless of “race, color or previous servitude.”
Republicans supported the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments and states that did not ratify them were denied voting privileges in the presidential election.
When Ulysses S. Grant was first elected President in 1868 Texas, Mississippi and Virginia were ineligible to vote.
Elections were deeply partisan and emotions forged before and during the Civil War sometimes still cut deeply.
The Tribune though supporting the Republican cause was less likely to hurl a personal insult and covered general interest news unlike the two failed competitors that were almost exclusively party organs.
For the next 8 years the Tribune would be the only choice for San Luis Obispo subscribers and H.S. Rembaugh wanted to make sure the paper remained viable by appealing to the widest number of readers.
He hints at hiring an editor at some future date and hopes to make the Tribune the best paper in Southern California.

April 20, 1872


We commence to-day a new series of the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Having purchased of its former proprietor the material upon which it has heretofore been published, and added thereto the material of the late Democratic Standard, we shall hereafter have ample facilities for the supply of all the wants of a country newspaper office. We have determined upon changing the course of the paper from that of a republican organ to an independent basis. Henceforth the Tribune will forbear to comment upon or discuss editorially any branch of party politics. If its readers or contributors desire to do so, they can have the free use of its columns, as far as that use shall be sought reasonably and without undue acrimony on either side. The strictest impartiality will be exercised in it editorial management, so that we may ever defy any criticism upon this head. The space heretofore used for the discussion of politics will be hereafter devoted to the illustration of our county resources, the giving of local news, and the discussion of such matters as will interest everybody. We shall endeavor to steer entirely clear of all personal or partisan advocacy, and pledge ourselves never to allow the columns of our paper to be used as the organ of any particular man, or set of men. The present proprietors of the Tribune will be their own editors, and fearlessly appeal to their future course for the proof of their good faith as laborers for the best interests of all the inhabitants, and of every section, of the county.
Some explanation may be deemed necessary in regard to the name of our firm, which happens to be the same as that used from the first issue of the paper almost to the present time. H.S. Rembaugh, one of the present proprietors, was the first printer employed upon it, and loaned his name to Mr. Murray, at his request, for use as the name of the publishing firm. The proprietorship of the paper has now for the first time changed, and the name now in use is that of its editors, proprietors, and publishers. Mr. Rembaugh is no stranger here, having been a resident of the county almost constantly from July, 1869, until now. Most of that time he has been employed in the chief typographical conduct of our paper. He has pretty extensive acquaintance with its former patrons, and hopes to enlarge that circle indefinitely in the future. The present proprietors will devote all their energies toward the production of a weekly newspaper which shall not fall behind any in Southern California, except such whose wide circulation justify the employment of extra talent. In this connection we throw ourselves upon the justice of our constituency, and promise them that as soon as our advertising support and subscription list shall justify it, we will not be behind-hand in the procurement of competent editorial assistance.
Having at our command the united job offices of both newspapers, we are now prepared to do job printing of all kinds in a manner far superior to anything heretofore exhibited in this county. We intend adding to our job type, to provide plenty of stock for the execution of any work that may be demanded of us, and finally to purchase as soon as possible a Gorden press, which will enable us to compete with San Francisco in every department of job printing.
We have endeavored, in this our debut before the San Luis Obispo public, to put forth no flourish of trumpets, but merely to body out the course which we intend to adopt, and the leading ideas which actuate us. If an unswerving application to the business which we have taken in hand, an honest purpose to fill the role of journalists of an impartial county paper, a determination to deserve the success which usually waits upon honest endeavor can commend us to the entire patronage of the public of San Luis Obispo County, we feel assured that we shall receive it. We therefore invite the cooperation of all our fellow citizens, and ask them only to treat us as we shall deserve, in the full confidence that if this be done the San Luis Obispo Tribune under its new management will be a success.

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Here is youtube video of a Gordon Press.

Related posts:

  1. Horatio Southgate Rembaugh, Tribune editor
  2. Walter Murray retires from journalism after founding the Tribune
  3. James J. Ayers, western journalist, Tribune editor part 2
  4. Early days of the Tribune
  5. James J. Ayers, founder of the San Francisco Call, editor of San Luis Obispo Tribune