Monday, May 16, 2016

Early Newspapers in Lawrence County

According to the 1883 Combined History of Edwards, Lawrence, and Wabash Counties the earliest newspaper in Lawrence County was the Star Spangled Banner, published in the winter of 1847.  It was owned and edited by John F. Buntin, who should be considered the county’s first pioneer printer.  He brought the press and material from Vincennes.  The paper was six columns independent of politics.  In a year or two the words Star Spangled was dropped and American substituted. 

 The American Banner was then moved to Olney but by 1855 Mr. Buntin had returned the office and paper to Lawrence County locating at Russellville, where it remained until March 1856 when it once again moved to Lawrenceville.  The name then changed to the Lawrenceville Banner.  In 1858 the paper was purchased by H.C. McCleave and D.L. Brewer.  They changed the name to the  Western Globe, and it became known as a Democratic newspaper.  However, in a few months Mr. Buntin had bought them out and Nat Lander became his editor.  Mr. Buntin changed the name of the paper to the Lawrence County Globe and brought it back into the Republican fold.  In 1868 he moved the paper to Cumberland County. 

In 1867 the Democratic party helped establish the Lawrence County Journal.  The editor and owner was W C Luken.  A few years later Mr Buntin returned to Lawrenceville and purchased the Journal and changed the name to the Lawrence County Courier.  He continued its publication as a Democratic paper until Dec. 1870 when the office was totally destroyed by fire.  Soon after he purchased a new press and material and re-established the Courier at Bridgeport.  It remained there about one year, moved back to Lawrenceville and was soon after suspended.  In 1873 Maj. Daniel L. Gold purchased the paper and started publishing the Rural Republican.  In 1874 Miss Mary Buntin, daughter of John F Buntin, purchased it and continued its publication until Nov. 1880 when it passed into the possession of Sam B Day.

The Lawrence County Democrat was established in October 1871 by W.C. Garrard who continued to publish it for about two years, when it was purchased by S. B. Bowland.  The name was then changed to The Farmers Union.  T. P. Lowery, assumed editorial charge, and the paper was run in the interests of the Grange movement.  In 1874 J. W. Mehaffy became editor and brought the paper back into the Democratic ranks, changing its name to the Democratic Herald.  James K. Dickerson bought the paper in Dec 1878, then sold it to Riley and Garrard in 1880.  The law firm of Huffman and Meserve purchased it in 1881 and Frank C. Meserve assumed editorial control of the paper. 

The Lawrence County Press was the first Sumner newspaper. It was  owned by James A. Ilger.  In 1878 he sold it to C.P. and W, E. Mock.  In Oct. 1875 it was purchased by Dr Z. D. French and A. C. Clippinger and became a Republican paper.  When Clippinger retired in 1879, E. E. Jones succeeded him as half owner.  French and Jones continued the paper until 1880 when Mr. Jones became the sole owner.  In 1881 A.C. Clippinger purchased it making it once again an Independent paper, and changed the name to the Sumner Press.  In 1880 because the Democrats only had one paper and the Republicans two, it was determined that Sumner should have another paper.  Consequently in Feb 1880 Rev. P.C. Caulbe and A.C. Clippinger established the Sumner Democrat. Printing was stopped in Nov 1880 until Joseph M Freese and David B Clark purchased it and commenced publishing the Bridgeport Times.  It was independent in politics but after about eight months of commencement, publication ceased.