County Papers Kept Early And Present History Alive
Many people who have come to read
the Chronicle have thought of it as Jefferson County's oldest and only
newspaper, but records show that journalists were recording the history
of our county as early as 1830.
"THE RODNEY GAZETTE" was started
as a political publication and supported the philosophy of John Adams and
Henry Clay, who were leaders of the Whig party. They opposed the group
known as the "Jackson Men," who were supporters of President Andrew Jackson.
Printing in those days was
a tedious affair which required long hours of setting type by hand, inking
the finished plates, and then proofing the product on a screw-turned pressed.
In 1859, the Jefferson County Weekly Journal published an editorial which
gives us a glimpse of these early printers’ lives. That is also reflected
in the modern technical age of printing a newspaper. It reads as follows:
“The Life of a Printer.” “Printers, it is said, die at an early age.” This
doubtless caused by the noxious effluvia rising from the types, want of
exercise, constant employment, and the late hours to which their work is
There is no other class of human
beings whose privileges are so few, whose labor is so continuous, whose
wages are so inadequate as printers. If a "Typo" be a man of family, he
is debarred of the privileges of enjoying their society at all times, because
his hours of labor are almost endless, and his moments of leisure so few
that they must be spent to recruit his exhausted energies, and prepare
him for the renewal of his toils. Poor fellow! He knows nothing of sociability,
and is shut out from the world as a convict in a prison cell. Truly he
is in the world, but knows not of it. Toil--toil—toil, by night and by
day, is his fate, until premature old age ends his existence. For the advancement
of science, morality, and virtue, the chords of his heart are severed--
he goes down to the grave uncared for and unknown, though his existence
has been sacrificed for the benefit of his race.
"When we hear mechanics cry out against
oppression, and demanding certain hours for labor and for rest, we cannot
but reflect upon this situation of our own craft; how every moment of their
lives is forced into service to earn a bare subsistence, how uncomplainingly
they devote themselves to the food of that public, who wear them as a loose
garment to be donned when convenient, and doffed when no longer needed.
"Printers are universally poor men,
and for two reasons. The first is they rarely ever receive a fair compensation
for their services, and the second is that inured to continued suffering
privation and toil, their purse strings are ever untied at the bidding
of charity, and the hard-earned 'dimes' are freely distributed for the
relief of their fellowmen, Thus it is that they live poor, die poor, and
if a suitable reward does not await them after death, and indeed must by
the beginning, the existence and the
end, of a poor 'typos' PRINTER.”
In 1839 the paper now named the "RODNEY
STANDARD" was moved to Fayette, and its name was changed to "THE SOUTHERN
WATCHTOWER." W.B. Tebo was the editor and remained at the post until 1845
when H.M. Youngblood took over. The Watchtower had the responsibility of
keeping up with the legal notices, police warrants and minutes published
by the County Board of Supervisors. In this way they were able to communicate
to the people the political happenings of the day.
In 1858 the Watchtower merged with
"THE JEFFERSON JOURNAL." Few copies are said to exist of this publication,
and the only information available is from records kept in the county courthouse.
In 1866 the forerunner of the "FAYETTE
CHRONICLE" was published and William Marschalk was then listed as its editor.
Subscription to the Chronicle was listed at $4.00 a year during the first
year in operation.
In 1869 the Chronicle was sold to two gentlemen
named Paddock and Culley. In addition to the Chronicle they started a venture
called "THE NEW SOUTH" but it lasted for only a year.
Ownership then changed hands to a
Mrs. H. S. Whitney in 1894 and she continued to operate the paper until
the Schober Printery bought it in 1902. A young gentlemen known as B.C.
Knapp became the general manager and it was Mr. Knapp who eventually is
credited with Schober in printing the 1904 Exposition Edition.
The records go on to show from 1905 until
1908 Geo. V.D. Schober operated the paper. In 1908, B.C. Knapp, "Mr. Bennie"
took the paper over to own and operate The Fayette Chronicle until the
year 1952. During some of these years he was assisted by his son Edwin
After Mr. Knapp death in 1952, the
paper was bought in September 1952 by I. Hunt Howell. Mr. Howell sold the
paper in May 1955 to L.M. McKnight and Mr. Howell returned to Batesville,
Mississippi as Editor of the weekly newspaper there, The Panolian.
On June 5, 1958, Mr and Mrs. Jimmie
Walker, purchased the paper and operated it until 1978 with Mrs. Walker
as Editor and Mr. Walker as Publisher.
Bill Delaney was an press operator
under the Walker ownership, who subsequently purchased the rights and ran
the paper for 2 years.
Charles Vess purchased and operated
the Fayette Chronicle until 1982, Roy Thomas of Mobile, Alabama purchased
the Fayette Chronicle and was in 1984 forced in bankruptcy court where
Dr. Bernard Shaw a college professor at Jackson State University acquired
ownership and for a brief period changed the name to Jefferson County Chronicle,
Bill Delaney unable to publish for two weeks lost the rights to publish
legally in the county.
Charles B. Shepphard and associates,
a management consultant firm in 1987 purchased the trade name (The Fayette
Chronicle) and began publishing under a minority controlled management
firm, "Rivertown Tech," who presently manage and operate under the trade
name The Fayette Chronicle.
We at the Chronicle are pleased to bring
you this and hope that you will enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed bringing
it to you. Our purpose was to show our readership the many wonderful things
that are still existing in our beautiful town and county, both through
original stories, photos and articles which have appeared throughout the
There is by no means the time to
incorporate the several stories which lie in our town and county, but if
this venture is successful we are going to publish future historical articles
for your enjoyment. Fayette and Jefferson County have contributed much
to the history of the state and to the nation. We hope that by preserving
some of our great past we can lay the groundwork for a great future.
Charles B. Shepphard, Publisher