Name: Joseph A. Lingan

First Date: 1805; Last Date: 1809

Function: Printer, Publisher

Locales: Winchester


Publisher of The Philanthropist (1806-09) at Winchester with Matthias E. Bartgis (025), then of the succeeding Democratic Lamp or Winchester Aurora (1809) on his own.


Printer & Publisher Winchester Publisher of The Philanthropist (1806-09) at Winchester with Matthias E. Bartgis (025), then of the succeeding Democratic Lamp or Winchester Aurora (1809) on his own. Lingan was a journeyman printer whose first independent ventures as a journalist came in Winchester. He was born in 1776 at George Town Hundred (today Georgetown, D.C.) into the long-established Maryland family that also produced Gen. James McCubbin Lingan (a distant cousin), the Revolutionary War veteran and militia leader who was killed in the 1812 anti-Federalist riots in Baltimore. That familial connection led several nineteenth-century chroniclers to report erroneously that the Winchester Lingan was the Baltimore Lingan. Still, his origins suggest that he trained near or in Georgetown in the 1790s, as the trade grew in anticipation of the planned relocation of the federal government, and that he moved to Winchester around 1800, when that town's first Republican paper appeared. Lingan's weekly would be a lineal successor to that paper: the Triumph of Liberty (1799-1803) of George Trisler (419) and John Hass (205). The Triumph was succeeded in 1804 by the Independent Register of Peter Isler (235) and Joseph Harmer (201), both of whom had worked for Trisler as journeymen. Lingan seems to have followed that pattern as well; Harmer pulled out of the Register in early 1805 in search of new opportunities elsewhere, so forcing a suspension of its publication; when Isler was unable to restart the Register later that year, he sold his business to Lingan, by then his foreman. Intent on producing his own paper, Lingan sought out the support of the Valley publishing entrepreneur Matthias Bartgis (024); Bartgis dispatched his fifteen-year-old son, Matthias E. Bartgis, to assist Lingan as his financial partner and a journeyman printer. Their new Philanthropist issued its first number in March 1806, a year after the end of the Register. Lingan's association with the elder Bartgis, a well-established publisher, was clearly crucial in the face of competition from the long-lived Federalist journal of the Heiskells, William (211) and John (210), the Winchester Gazette, allowing his Philanthropist to survive longer than had its predecessor. Indeed, the father supplanted his adolescent scion as Lingan's partner in early 1807, and continued as such until March 1809. It also seems that their alliance provided Lingan with the services of another Bartgis protégé, Jonathan Foster (168), who departed Alexandria in August 1807 to take up presswork in his Winchester office. Foster thus became a key figure in Lingan's business in the spring of 1809, when the younger Bartgis attained his majority and moved on to Rockville, Maryland to conduct a newspaper there. His departure led to a suspension of the Philanthropist over that summer as his accounts with the Bartgis family were settled. When the weekly finally reappeared in July, it had a new name: the Democratic Lamp or Winchester Aurora. Foster, and not Lingan, seems to have been the recast paper's driving force, as just six months after the change, Lingan sold his office to Foster; on January 2, 1810, Foster's new Republican Constellation appeared in the place of the Democratic Lamp; it would survive until 1862 in varying guises under several publishers, evincing the firm foundation that Lingan had provided. Shortly after the sale, Lingan removed to Clark County in the Indiana Territory on the Ohio River and the new (est. 1808) town of Charlestown. That town was the home of Jonathan Jennings (1783-1834), brother of Lynchburg's Samuel K. Jennings (236), then leader of the territory's anti-slavery faction, and later its representative in Congress, president of its 1816 constitutional convention, and the newly-admitted state's first governor. Lingan was soon a part of the Jennings circle, serving in a county militia regiment raised by Jennings's partisans during the War of 1812. He returned to the printing trade in about 1818, producing a pro-Jennings paper there – The Indiana Intelligencer – for Dr. Elias McNamee (1777-1833), also a proprietor of the Indiana Centinel at Vincennes (the state and territorial capital) published by Virginia expatriates Charles Keemle (246) and Samuel Dillworth (138); Lingan conducted the paper in partnership with Lawson L. Dunkin (d. 1834) when McNamee quit the venture later that year. The Lingan-Dunkin affiliation continued until Dunkin's removal to Columbus, Indiana, sometime after 1827, even as Dunkin became titular publisher of the Intelligencer after 1821. Though relegated to a lesser role in Charlestown, Lingan seems to have found the situation worthwhile, trading town lots with Dunkin throughout the 1820s and leading the town's Masonic lodge from 1818 onward. Indeed, his success prompted his wife's sister (and her husband) to join the Lingans there; following his wife's early death, the printer married that now-widowed sister. Being so well situated, Lingan did not find a need to leave Charlestown for the rest of his life. Personal Data Born: ca. 1776 Georgetown, Frederick Cty, MD (now DC) Married [1]: Feb. 3 1803 Mary McMakin @ Loudoun Cty, VA (d. by 1830). Married [2]: Sept. 15 1840 Nancy McMakin Table @ Charlestown, Indiana. Married [3]: Nov. 25 1844 Margaret Ford @ Orange County, Indiana. Died: by 1850 Charlestown, Indiana? Children: No children noted in census data Sources: Imprints; Brigham; War of 1812 Service Records; Federal Decennial Census, 1820-40; Clark County Indiana, Deed Indexes; Owens, Mr. Jefferson's Hammer: William Henry Harrison (2007); Hammond, Slavery, Freedom, and Expansion (2007); genealogical data from Lingan family charts posted on and (November 2012).

Joseph A. Lingan is associated with 4 other people.

Joseph A. Lingan is associated with 2 newspaper variants.

Joseph A. Lingan is associated with 3 imprint records:

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