The first newspaper, “The Potsdam Gazette” was published in January 1816. Printed by a hand press, it was a sheet 18 x 22 and consisted of 4 columns. Interesting “ads” in the issue of May 13, 1818, tell what was for sale in those days. J. J. Goulding advertised “cotton yarns, thread and cloth, mens’ and womens’ shoes, axes, scythes, and a small quantity of applesauce which we will dispose of for ready pay.” S. Raymond advertised the following articles “which are of very good quality and which will be sold very low for ready pay: Jamaica Rum, Parishville whiskey, Hyson-skin tea, sweet scent tobacco, snuff, iron shovels, etc.” S. Raymond also advertised “Wanted 10 tons of Black Salts; for which $3.54 per CWT will be paid in cash, grain or old debts, on delivery.” Cash also paid for Potash. N.B. Persons indebted to the Subscriber are reminded that they ought to pay S. Raymond. A tailor in Canton advertised to make suits. He had experience in European and American cities – “Cutting done in the latest fashion and guaranteed to fit.”
After the “Gazette” folded in 1824, a succession of papers was established for brief periods including “The Potsdam American”, “The Potsdam Herald”, “The Patriot”, and the “St. Lawrence Republican”, which later moved to Ogdensburg and was the ancestor of today’s “Ogdensburg Journal”.
“The Northern Cabinet” was started in 1845 and its name was soon changed to “St. Lawrence Mercury”. By 1850, it had been sold to Harry Fay, who changed its name again to “Potsdam Journal”. “The Potsdam Courier” made its appearance in 1850 and by 1851 the two papers were combined as “The Courier and Journal”. In 1856, the “Northern Freeman” was established “in defense of abolishing slavery.” When the two papers combined in 1861, “The Potsdam Courier-Freeman” was launched. This weekly newspaper has been published continually in Potsdam since that time.
Another weekly “The St. Lawrence Herald” made its appearance in 1878 with a third “The Potsdam Recorder” coming on the scene in 1892. The two papers combined in 1905 and continued until 1949. Frederick Swan was editor of this newspaper from 1905 to 1947.