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As It Was: Amos Earle Voorhies Spends 55 Years as Journalist

Amos Earle Voorhies came to Oregon from Michigan looking for work as a journalist in 1891.

After a series of apprenticeships in Portland, Voorhies got a salaried job with the Portland Sun, not long before it folded.  Jobless, he found his way to Grants Pass where he became a foreman at the Oregon Observer.  It was there he picked up the nickname “Boss.” 

Voorhies’ duties at the Observer also included soliciting subscriptions by traveling through Josephine County on horseback.  When that paper closed some friends helped him purchase the weekly Rogue River Courier by cosigning a note for his first payment on the business. 

Voorhies outlasted a partner in that adventure, keeping it growing with an eye for the latest technology.  The Courier was the first weekly in Oregon to have a typesetting machine, and in 1910, when it changed its name to the Grants Pass Daily Courier, it was the smallest paper in the country to have a leased wire service. 

Later, when radio and television came along, Voorhies got involved in that too.  After 55 years of journalism, and many honors, the “Boss” died in 1960.  He was named posthumously to the Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame in 1979.

Source: Murphy, Martha A., editor. A History of Josephine County, Oregon. Grants Pass, Ore., Josephine Historical Society, 1988.

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.