Moses Y Beach (1800–1868) Inventor, Newspaper Man

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.

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?

While there was significant change in America between 1800 until the Civil War, few people know much this time in US History. 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