March 1: Joseph Borrows Tate (1858)

Long-time Washingtonians will remember when the city had a daily afternoon newspaper, The Washington Star. When founded by Joseph Borrows Tate in 1852, the paper was known as the Daily Evening Star. It was one of dozens of newspapers that sprang up in the mid-19th century in Washington. Like many of its kind, it began modestly as a four-page broadsheet printed by a hand press. Only 250 copies were made for its initial run. Tate and his editorial staff had a vision, which they proudly declared in the paper’s manifest: “The Star is to be free from party trammels and sectarian influences.” Unlike other newspapers that were highly political in nature, the Star was to be neutral.

Joseph B. Tate married Mary Anna Mills at Epiphany on Valentine’s Day 1850. Within the next ten years, Epiphany’s register records the baptisms and burials of three daughters and the burials of Tate and his wife. Tate’s obituary in the Evening Star records that, “No man was better known to the present generation of the citizens of Washington. In all of his dealings with every one, he was strictly an upright man, and took no thought of aught but the conscientious discharge of his duties to his family, his friends, and the community. As a husband, father, son, and friend, his death will leave a void in many hearts that no changes of life throughout time can fill.”

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