It is hard not to go down a rabbit hole as we unearth more about Moses Yale Beach, a man which our town fathers see as an owner of a mid-19th century mansion in Wallingford and little else. This project our contribution to @Wallingford350
Moses Y Beach (1800–1868) Inventor, Newspaper Man, Father, Philanthropist
His Time: The Turn of the 19th Century to the Death of Abraham Lincoln
As a young man he invented a rag-cutting machine and a gunpowder engine. In 1838 he bought the New York Sun from his brother-in-law, Benjamin Henry Day, for whom he had been working as production manager. The Sun’s chief competitor in the penny-paper field was the New York Herald, edited by James Gordon Bennett. The two rival papers used ingenious means to get news fast—the Sun even kept carrier pigeons in a special house atop its building. Costs, especially during the Mexican-American War, mounted so much that at a conference in Beach’s office the editors of a number of New York newspapers established the New York Associated Press to cooperate in securing the news. In addition to the role the penny papers of the time would play in the war, Beach was also declared a spy. Beach is credited with the first European edition of an American paper, the weekly American Sun (1848), and with starting the newspaper syndicated article. In 1848 he turned the New York Sun over to his sons, Moses Sperry Beach and Alfred E. Beach.
News is for the present and the future and as we excavate the Moses Yale Beach Story, we are discovering the role of newspapers, diaries and letters in the history of daily life.
We are asking questions. You can join us!
Why is it that Moses Y. Beach is not heralded as a native son of Wallingford? His is a rags to riches story. Is there something in his climb to be among the elite of his time troubling, or is the fact that he succeeded of concern to some. Were his political and religious views troubling? If so, what were they?
Few people know much the time in US History between 1800 until the Civil War. And maybe what we know is more myth than fact. Can a better understanding of the role of inventions, media, religion and politics; especially, as it related to “All Men Are Created Equal” hold lessons for us today?
We have a reading list and a few committed team members. But a few more folks willing to seek out primary source materials, read the books and help with puzzling together of the story are welcome to join in. Write the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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#MYB1800 Here is a link to the school that bears his name. It is proof that there is much yet to bare witness to about the Life and Legacy of Moses Yale Beach. According to the Wallingford Post ( Nov. 21 1950) The Freemen of Wallingford favored renaming the North Main St High School after Moses Yale Beach. It was disputed, in part, out of concern over who has authority to do such a thing. Interestingly the what if scenario put forth about a precedent What if it is suggested to name a school after a well-liked janitor. (Oddly, that honor would be saved for the Town Council Chambers) Four men appeared to go on record in support of the name change: Rotarians Dr. George Craig and James S McGaughey (lived to 101). A Mr. Emerson Leonard whose is depicted in a B&W photograph by Delano, Jack, U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War (shown) and a William Stevens who described Beach as an honorable man and that something should be left of his heritage as he had given the land for the school. Stevens is said to have cited other contributions by Beach. The contributions appeared not to be notable enough as there were many inclined to retain the name based on its location.