Biography of Clarence Hedges
Oregon Biographies





Clarence Hedges, for years one of the best known newspaper publishers and printers in this part of the state of Oregon, having been the owner of the Daily Chronicle at The Dalles, which he began conducting in 1916, is a native of the great Empire state, born in Long Island, New York, in 1857. He sold the Chronicle to W. P. Merry, the present owner, in June, 1920, and Mr. Merry incorporated it, with Ben R. Litfin as manager.

Mr. Hedges is a son of Captain Hiram B. and Mary A. (Nicholson) Hedges, both of whom were descended from old New England stock. Hiram B. Hedges was a ship's captain, who in 1857 brought his family to the Pacific coast, coming by way of the Isthmus, and after a short stay in California he moved to Oregon and took up farming near Oswego, on what is known as the Dickinson place. His wife, Mary A. (Nicholson) Hedges, died in 1858 and two years later, in 1860, Captain Hedges was drowned. leaving his son, Clarence, an orphan.

Clarence Hedges, thus orphaned while a mere child, was cared for by an uncle, with whom he lived until he was seven years old, when he was taken by Sam Miller of Oregon City. He was educated in the public schools and when quite a youth he took up the trade of a compositor on the Forest Grove Independent, then under the control of A. L. Loose. Mr. Hedges next moved to Salem and for several years worked at his trade on all the Salem papers, laying the foundations for the work which was the goal of his ambition, for he wished to become an editor and publisher. From 1874 to 1876 he worked on the Portland papers and in the latter part of 1876 he moved to California, where he found employment in the state printing office.

It was in 1877 that Mr. Hedges made the first move toward becoming an editor on his own account, and in that year he held an interest in the Fresno Republican, which he conducted for some time. The Bakersfield Californian, The Watsonville Transcript and Monterey Argus came into his hands, and these also he edited and published for a considerable period. In 1906 Mr. Hedges established a job printing plant at Santa Cruz; in 1908 he purchased the Salinas Daily Journal, moving his job office to Salinas, and proceeded to put life into the Journal, with a view to making it a worth while publication. How well he succeeded is evidenced by the fact that after running the Journal for seven years he disposed of the plant for fifteen times the amount he paid for it.

In 1916 Mr. Hedges came to The Dallies and bought the Daily Chronicle, and such is Mr. Hedges' practical knowledge of newspaper values that he took over the Chronicle after an examination of about two hours. During the four years he conducted the Chronicle he succeeded in increasing the circulation by about two hundred per cent, and having given wider publicity by that means to advertisers he also reaped the reward of his enterprise in the form of enhanced revenue from advertising. Today the Daily Chronicle is recognized as one of the leading papers of the state published outside of Portland, and in the matter of political influence it is not surpassed by any of the dailies of eastern Oregon. The Daily Chronicle is a member of the American Audit Bureau, and its circulation is guaranteed and placed on record by that organization.

Although a stanch republican, Mr. Hedges has refused all public offices tendered to him stating that he prefers to make office holders rather than have them make him; the only office he has ever held was that of assistant postmaster at Fresno, California, when President Garfield was in office. Mr. Hedges is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has filled all the chairs in that order; he is also an Elk; he still feels pride in having been a member of the Typographical Union, the card of which he retains.

In 1882 Mr. Hedges was united in marriage to Miss Eva Forman of Modesto, California, and to this union four children have been born: C. G. Hedges, a building contractor of The Dallies; Mrs. J. F. Kerns; F. A. Hedges, of San Francisco; and Hiram Hedges, a lintoype operator on the Fresno Republican of California.

From:
History of Oregon Illistrated
Vol. 3
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922


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