Historyabout the patriot
Learn the rich history of one of the oldest newspapers in circulation in the United States.
The Cuba Patriot and Free Press has strived to provide the facts to the citizens. In a world full of bias, we strive to give facts and allow the citizen to interpret the facts for themselves.
A group of professionals follow up on leads, and provide you with a well organized newspaper. Each story is handled with class and care by a dedicated staff.
This newspaper has stood the test of time. From being a paper that helped to encourage and inspire the Union in the Civil War to updating residents on local politics and events, you can count on the Cuba Patriot and Free Press.
The History of the Patriot
Even before the village of Cuba was incorporated in 1850 there was a newspaper here. In 1838 the “Cuba Advocate” was established by Isaac C. Sheldon. This paper continued for several years and in 1852 the “Cuba Whig” was being published here. That paper was soon consolidated with the “Allegany County Advocate,” and in 1856 it was sold to the “Wellsville Reporter.”
In 1855 the “American Banner” was started and two years later the name was changed to the “Southern Tier,” with Cyrus Pratt and M.B. Champlain as editors.
The “True Patriot,” which later became the “Cuba Patriot” was founded by Frank G. Stebbins, a talented artist and printer, in 1862. A history of Cuba says that the Patriot, having been established at the outbreak of the Civil War “did noble service for the Union Cause in stimulating and cheering the masses to deeds of valor for the preservation of our republican institutions.”
Before the Patriot reached the 20 year mark, five other newspapers began and ended in the village of Cuba. In 1909 F. G. Stebbins consolidated the Patriot with the “Genesee Valley Free Press” which which many claim is the first “voice” of the Republican Party in America.
Stebbins was called “the fiery editor of the Alleganies” and because of stature, short and slight of build, with a large head and narrow shoulders, he stood out in a crowd of people. He was in the headlines of newspapers across the county by his famous profane cablegram to Washington, D. C. when he resigned his post of Consul to Manila in the Philippines. It seems that when he arrived there following his appointment to the post, he was greeted by an earthquake.
He cabled back that “this island is too small to hold a man of my size” and promptly returned to Cuba and his newspaper where he made a bizarre figure on the streets in his tropical white suits and pith helmet which he continued to wear because “the damned things cost too much to just throw away!”
Possibly to supplement his income, Stebbins served as a railway mail clerk every third day on the train from Hornell to New York and back, and also worked as a substitute clerk in the Cuba post office when needed. His wife managed the newspaper when he was away.
During the Civil War he served for several months as a drummer. He said they would not give him a gun because he “might shoot someone” and telling of his experiences with the troops marching through Georgia, he said, “I beat hell out of that drum. I wanted the Rebs to know there was one Yank who could make noise, and I guess they did”.
Before his death in 1883 he had made arrangements for his own funeral, requesting that the Cuba band play his favorite tune “Marching Through Georgia” and also asked that his friend, Judge Harlan J. Swift, deliver the funeral address. These wishes were carried out when Frank died at age 46. He is buried in a family plot in Gowanda, NY.
The Stebbins’ lived at 64 South Street in the home they had built. The story has been told that Stebbins lacked sufficient funds to finish building his home and a local benefactor agreed to help finance the construction if the family would agree to install a Mansard style roof. That is why this home still today has that type of roof. It is one of only a handful of homes in Cuba so constructed.
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