George Alexander (Oct. 18, 1808-Mar. 15, 1851) and Jacob Page (Dec. 3, 1810-May 20, 1866). Originally from Massachusetts, the brothers were publishing the Wabash Enquirer in Terre Haute by 1838. The newspaper folded following the statewide Democratic defeat of 1840 and in June 1841, the Chapmans moved to Indianapolis where Jacob purchased the Indiana Democrat, renaming it the Indiana State Sentinel. The first issue, dated July 21, 1841, included a rooster atop the banner “Crow, Chapman, Crow!!!,” which became a rallying cry for Democrats throughout Indiana and inaugurated the rooster as the state party’s symbol. The brothers divided duties, with Jacob assuming most of the editorial responsibilities.

The masthead features a rooster between the words "State" and "Sentinel".
Masthead of the Indiana State Sentinel, ca. 1840s Credit: Indiana State Sentinel View Source

Known for its rabid political attacks, the Sentinel quickly became the state’s leading paper and principal organ of the Democratic Party. It appeared each Wednesday, although the Chapmans published daily issues during the 1841-1842 legislative session, a practice they repeated for the next two General Assemblies. They moved their operations to new quarters on Illinois Street in 1844 and accepted John S. Spann as a partner in November 1846. George served on the city’s board of trustees, 1848-1849, but died the following year.

Jacob represented Marion County at the state Constitutional Convention in 1850 and later sold the Sentinel to Austin H. Brown. After retiring briefly, Jacob founded a new weekly. The Chanticleer (1853-1854), with son George H. and Berry Sulgrove. That same year, Jacob was a candidate for president of the State Bank but lost to Ebenezer Dumont of Dearborn County. By 1855, Jacob’s mental health deteriorated, and he was committed to an asylum.

Revised February 2021

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