That was 1897.
120 years later, from the Richmond-Times Dispatch:
I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
115 West Ninety-Ffifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are right. There used to be a Santa Claus, but not anymore.
Oh, he is real, dear girl. He most certainly exists. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist. But he has gotten out of the gift-giving game.
Read the entire column here.