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The Advertiser began in 1836 as a weekly published by Byron Kilbourn, a one-time surveyor and later a successful businessman, who became an early mayor of Milwaukee..Hans Crocker a business associate of Kilbourn was the first editor. It became a daily in the mid-1840s, about the time the city of Milwaukee was formally incorporated.
It was started, typically of frontier papers, as a vehicle to promote the real-estate and community development efforts of the founder. The Advertiser paper initially concerned itself with the land development and new town growing at the mouth of the Milwaukee River. Soon it became linked to politics, and the paper became the mouthpiece of Kilbourn, promoter of Milwaukee's West Side, who was locked in political combat with Solomon Juneau, promoter of Milwaukee's East Side. This feud resulted in another paper, Wisconsin's fourth, the Milwaukee Sentinel being established by Juneau in 1837.
In 1841 it was purchased by J.A. Noonan and changed to the Courier. In 1845 the Courier was purchased by Messrs. Brown & Sullivan. In 1847, these gentlemen sold out to Messrs. Cramer & Curtis, by whom the Daily & Weekly Wisconsin, the successor of the Courier was now published.