The Herald and General Advertiser

The Herald and General Advertiser for the Counties of Oxford, Norfolk, and Elgin, despite not having Tillsonburg in the name, was Tillsonburg’s first Newspaper in 1862.


Thomas A. McNamara came to Tillsonburg after trying unsuccessfully to publish a newspaper in Ingersoll. The first edition of The Herald is at the provincial archives of Ontario, in Toronto. This edition was published by McNamara on his portable printing press and came out on August 7th, 1862. The cost of subscription for a year of the paper was $1.50. McNamara wanted to get circulation beyond Tillsonburg and named his paper to reach the largest audience.


McNamara published his newspaper on a portable printing press he brought to town with him but no records exist of where he was located in town.


Many of the articles in this paper were taken from other sources and not written by McNamara himself. The paper featured serials, common in 19th century newspapers where pieces of literature, such as books were published in chapters in each newspaper, thus hooking the reader into subscribing so they could learn the end of the story. This was a more affordable way for people to read books that were too expensive for average people to buy.


One thing is clear from Tillsonburg’s first paper, E. D. Tillson was a prominent citizen and his impact is clear in the advertisements for his store on the west side of Broadway.


It is not known why McNamara, and with him The Herald, left Tillsonburg but it was shortly after, in 1863 that The Tillsonburg Observer started its run as Tillsonburg’s newspaper.


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