Otis (February 10, 1837 – July 30, 1917) was the second publisher of
the Los Angeles Times.
Born in Medina
County, Ohio, he was part of the Republican National Convention that
nominated Abraham Lincoln for president. He volunteered for the Union army
during the American Civil War and fought in William McKinley's regiment,
the 23rd Ohio Infantry. After the war, he worked as a publisher before
moving to California.
He worked for
smaller newspapers before becoming affiliated with the Times. He
wrote editorials and local news before buying a half interest in the
paper. He then named himself president and editor-in-chief.
His home was one
of three buildings that were targeted in the 1910 Los Angeles Times
Otis was known
for his right wing political views, which were reflected in the paper.
Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Otis asked his former commander
William McKinley, now the commander-in-chief, for an appointment as
Assistant Secretary of War. Secretary of War Russell A. Alger did not want
the conservative Otis serving under him however. Instead, Otis volunteered
for the army once again and was appointed brigadier general of volunteers.
He served in the Philippines. He did not see any action against the
Spanish, but commanded the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, VIII Corps during
the Philippine-American War.
After the war,
he returned to his position at the Times. His support for Los Angeles,
California, was instrumental in the growth of the city. He was a member of
the San Fernando Syndicate, a group of investors who bought land in the
San Fernando Valley based on inside knowledge that the Los Angeles
aqueduct would soon irrigate it. Otis used the Times to frighten
citizens (with news stories of a false drought) to vote for a 1905 bond
issue that funded the aqueduct.
He was succeeded
as publisher of the Los Angeles Times by Harry Chandler, the husband of
his daughter, Marian Otis Chandler.
[ From Wikipedia ]