On August 16, 1845, Daniel B. Culley, John H. Ohr, and David R. Elder printed the first copy of The Locomotive. Financial problems plagued the paper and forced the owners to suspend publication after a few issues. Publication resumed for three months beginning with the April 3, 1847, issue and again for a 13-year run beginning January 1848. John Harkness and John R. Elder became proprietors in March 1850.

The Locomotive, Volume 1, Number 2, August 23, 1845 Credit: The Locomotive View Source

They enlarged the paper from its original 7 x 10 dimensions to typical newsprint size. The Locomotive was a nonpolitical newspaper focusing on gossip, original stories, and poems. Especially popular were the poetic tributes to local girls sent in by Indianapolis authors. It had the largest circulation in the county and printed the coveted “letter list,” which gave the names of citizens who had letters waiting at the post office. The Locomotive was the first local newspaper to carry society reporting.

On July 17, 1860, Elder and Harkness began The Old Line Guard, a political newspaper that supported John Breckinridge in his bid for the presidency. On November 10, 1860, in its final issue. The Locomotive announced its merger with The Old Line Guard, which was then renamed the Indiana State Guard. The following year, Harkness and Elder discontinued publication of the Indiana State Guard when they purchased the Indiana State Sentinel.

Revised February 2021

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