The Ohio Democrat and Dover Advertiser was launched by Charles H. Mitchener, Tuscarawas County’s “Father of Democracy,” and a Mr. Hill on August 1, 1839, in Canal Dover, Ohio. The Democratic paper was small, comprising only six columns, and printed with equipment purchased through a joint-stock company. The next year, soon after the presidential election, the paper ceased publication due to lack of support. In May 1841, Mitchener revived the paper, partnering with Charles H. Mathews and moved its offices to nearby New Philadelphia, the county seat. The first issue of The Ohio Democrat was published on June 17, 1841, with the words of Roman philosopher Cicero printed below the masthead: “Where liberty dwells, there is my Country.”
Because the paper supported Democratic candidates and interests in a county that was predominantly Whig, the Democrat had only 400 subscribers at first and struggled to pay its expenses. Business had improved by 1846, however, and the paper was enlarged. Later that year, Mitchener sold his interest in the Democrat to Jesse D. Elliott, who eventually became sole proprietor in 1852. The Democrat changed hands several times over the next two decades, with Mitchener returning in 1862 and Mathews repurchasing the paper in 1865. In June 1870, Elliott and Oliver H. Hoover purchased one-half interest in the Democrat to form Mathews, Elliott and Co. Under their leadership, the paper increased subscriptions rapidly and became one of the leading Democratic journals in eastern Ohio and the “Official Paper of Tuscarawas County.”
In addition to printing political news and editorials, the paper also covered matters of general interest. Among the items a reader would find were poetry, marriage and death announcements, advertisements, and court news. In 1900, the Ohio Democrat merged with the New Philadelphia Times to form the Ohio Democrat and Times, which ceased publication in 1925.