CWRU Links

HARRIS, JOSIAH A.

HARRIS, JOSIAH A. (15 Jan. 1808-21 Aug. 1876), noted publisher and editor, son of Charity (Messenger) and Judge Josiah Harris, moved with his family from Becket, Mass. in 1818 to N. Amherst, Lorain County. In 1832, Harris settled in Elyria, was elected sheriff, and revived Elyria's first newspaper as the weekly Ohio Atlas & Elyria Advertiser. He sold the paper and traveled before coming to Cleveland in 1837 and purchasing the CLEVELAND HERALD & GAZETTE with Judge CHAS. WHITTLESEY, who gave up his share after 1 year. Harris solidly established the Herald, paying its debts and providing its own printing office. He won local support by printing marriage, death, and meeting notices, and furnishing free papers to clergymen. He refused to print ads for the more notorious quack medicines, or notices for the return of runaway slaves. Harris kept the Herald solidly behind the WHIG PARTY. He was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1847. Joined by partners A. W. Fairbanks in 1849 and GEO. A. BENEDICT in 1853, Harris began loosening his ties with the Herald. Benedict took over as editor in 1857, when Harris moved over to Edwin Cowles's Leader, which he edited from Feb. 1857-Nov. 1860. Although Harris briefly returned thereafter to the Herald, he quit journalism permanently after the CIVIL WAR. His retirement was spent on a farm in ROCKY RIVER where he raised grapes. Harris married Esther M. Race in 1830 and had 4 children: Bryon C., Brougham E., Zacharia, and Helen (Mrs. F. X. Byerly). After suffering a series of strokes, Harris died at his daughter's home and was buried in the ERIE STREET CEMETERY.