John Christian Blum was born on this day in 1784, in Bethabara, to Jacob and Mary Elizabeth Blum.
Christian moved with his parents to Salem in 1787 so that his father could operate the Salem tavern.
Christian attended the Salem Boys School, and was apprenticed to Timothy Vogler to learn the gun-making trade.
When Christian’s father died in 1802, he helped with the tavern for a year. Then, for six years, he held several jobs, but returned to tavern keeper until 1815. At that time, he embarked on a career in banking, when the Fayetteville bank opened an agency in Salem.
Blum did well as an agent, and rose to head bank agent, thus increasing his income. With money to invest, and more free time, Blum requested permission to open a print shop and start a newspaper. The print shop was approved, but the newspaper idea was denied.
Blum had no printing experience, and he did not have a press. So he hired a man with printing experience and bought a secondhand press, and began printing odes. His first large project was the Farmers’ and Planters’ Almanack, printed in 1828. Blum and his sons printed the almanac annually until 1892, when they sold the rights to Crist and Keehln, who sold the rights to J. B. and W. A. Goslen, in 1922.
When Blum was in the banking business, a sum of money in his care was lost in a fire. He had to sell all of his possessions and go into debt for the rest of his life to repay what was lost.
In 1829 he announced that he was starting a weekly newspaper, and he began publishing the Weekly Gleaner. It lasted for one year.
In 1830 Blum became a partner in a paper mill, and operated the business until 1842. He also made another attempt at publishing a newspaper, which came out in the next few years under various titles. Blum’s son, Levi, received printing training, and the business was renamed Blum and Son.
Christian Blum’s health was endangered in 1842 due to pneumonia, and he could never operate the printery after that.
Christian Blum’s last attempt at a newspaper was the People’s Press, which began in 1851.
Blum’s son, Levi, was joined in the business by his brother, Edward. They operated Blum and Son from 1850 to 1892.
They announced in the People’s Press in 1854 that John Christian Blum, the senior editor of the newspaper, had passed away.
Photo courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection.