By Joe F. Head
Historic Newspapers of Bartow County
An Annotated List of Historic Newspapers Published in Bartow County
Recently Tom Hanks starred in a 2021 movie entitled, News of the World. It was the story of a well-educated, former Civil War soldier who earned his living as an itinerant reader of the news at public gatherings. For the admission price of 10 cents, he read sensational excerpts from various state, regional and national tabloids to news hungry audiences.
News of Bartow County
While the practice of reading news to Bartow citizens by an itinerant reporter likely did not occur in our communities, a plethora of newspapers were available and there was a market demand for them as well. The golden age of tabloids thrived in Bartow County, and as a result our history has been well preserved. One only need to do a little research using modern research tools such as Newspapers.com to find rich returns for his/her efforts.
Few people realize that Bartow County has been home to over three dozen newspapers that have printed our history for almost 200 years. Even today these tabloid pages live in the form of brittle hardcopies, microfilm and digital files that serve as a window to our past. Here we can find creditable first and secondhand documentation in the pages of dozens of papers that validate our history. These pages are the historic archives of our past.
We have come a long way from the days of Horace Greeley, paper boys and itinerant readers to a communications explosion of an on demand, 24/7, digital news culture. Today the public gets its news instantaneously via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text, internet, cable and satellite platforms. Now newspapers take a back seat to mobile options. However, the news of Bartow’s yesteryears still speak from vintage paper and ink that ruled those days.
It is no secret that newspapers are suffering from these technological advancements as the public prefers instant and interactive social media options. Even our local community newspaper curbed its editions from 6 issues per week to three in September 2020, reduced page size and opted to deliver the paper by the U.S. Postal Service. Gone are the days when one could enjoy their cup of morning coffee while reading hot off the press news.
The following research mustered an impressive list of forgotten or faded newspapers that once operated in Bartow County. Some of these papers only survived for a year or two while others merged with competitors, spun off sister papers or went out of business only to surface again under the same or similar name. Research often uncovered early newspapers aligned and deliberately sided with a political party or candidate to gain readership.
A quick survey of other surrounding counties reveal that Bartow County has a vastly greater history and number of newspapers than any other surrounding county with the exception of Clark County with 47. According to the Digital Library of Georgia archive most counties averaged less than ten historic newspapers with Bartow exceeding three dozen. Tabloids thrived in Bartow suggesting that Bartow may have been a hotspot for political, religious, industrial, and commercial activity.
1. Cassville Gazette 1835
Established in the 1830’s as a weekly publication, advocated for the preservation of the Union and published in Cassville, Georgia. Publisher/owner possibly John B. Hood
2. The Georgia Pioneer and retrenchment banner 1835
Established in 1835 by S. M. Hood & Co. (Title shortened in 1840’s to Georgia Pioneer) Publisher/owner S. M. Hood,
3. The Cassville Pioneer 1849
Established 1849 by John B. Hood, but removed to Rome, GA.
Source: The Historical News, July 2021, pages 20-21
4. The Cassville Standard 1849
Established in the 1840’s as a weekly publication. It was burned during the Civil War.
Publisher/owner Thomas Burke,
5. The Standard 1849
Established in 1849 as a weekly and operated until 1864 as a democratic newspaper. It printed primarily democratic news and was not in favor of secession from the Union. Multiple proprietors: John Burke, Leeke & Benjamín Bennet, William Wofford, Sam Smith, and John Rice. (John Rice founded the Cherokee Baptist College in Cassville)
6. Cassville Pioneer 1849
Established 1849, Published by Hood
Source: Historical News, July 2021
7. Etowah Valley Star 1853
Established in 1854 as a politically neutral newspaper and published weekly. Publisher/owner Henry D. Wray, Source: Augusta Chronicle, March 10, 1854
8. The Cartersville Express 1858
Established in the 1850’s as a democratic publication and favored secession. Publisher/owner W. T. Goldsmith (Not to be confused with the 1875 Express)
9. The Cartersville Weekly Express 1865
Established 1870 as a weekly (aka The Cartersville Weekly Express) Publisher/owner
10. The Cartersville Standard 1870
Established in 1870 under the proprietorship of Wikle and Word.
11. The Cartersville Semi Weekly 1871
Established in 1871 as a Democratic publication. Publisher/owner S. H. Smith
12. The Standard and Express 1871
Established in 1871 when the Cartersville Express and Cartersville Standard consolidated. Publisher/owner Samuel H. Smith
13. The Semi Weekly Standard and Express 1871
Established 1871, printed semi weekly, The Cartersville Standard eventually consolidated with the Standard and Express. Publisher/owner Smith & Wikle
14. The Weekly Standard & Express 1871
Established 1871, printed weekly, Publisher/owner Smith & Wikle.
15. The (Cartersville) Sentinel 1874
Established 1874 as a weekly Democratic paper often supporting Dr. William Felton. The paper fell into conflict with another local paper and it struggled to survive.
16. The Cartersville Express 1875
Established 1875 as a weekly. The Cartersville Express and Cartersville Standard would consolidate as the Standard and Express (See Cunyus) Publisher/owner C. H. C Willingham (Not to be confused with the 1858 Express)
17. The Planters Advocate 1875
Established in 1875 by W. A. and A. Marschalk
Source: Hawkinsville Dispatch November 4, 1875, Fighting a Cotton Ring https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/
18. The Free Express 1878
Established 1878 as a weekly and became a fierce supporter of Dr. William Felton and opposed conservative bourbon Democrats. Other papers rallied against the Free Express and its political position. Publisher/owner C. H. C. Willingham (& sons)
19. The Cartersville- American 1882
Established 1882 as a weekly but consolidated with the Courant American in 1887. Publisher/owner Douglas Wikle
20. The Cartersville Courant 1885
Established 1885 as a weekly, no other information
21. The Courant American 1887
Established 1889 as a weekly and eventually merged with the Cartersville News. Publisher/owner Freeman and Willingham
22. The Adairsville Ledger 1890
Established 1890 as a weekly and supported the Democratic Reform candidate Dr. William Felton. It ceased operations in 1891 as a result of stronger newspapers in Cartersville.
23. North Georgia News
Established 1890, Represented by Charles Johnson, fiercely against Dr. William Felton, lasted four weeks
Source: Courant-American November 20, 1890, Turned its Toes to the Daisies
24. The Voice of the People 1892
Established in 1892 as a weekly and supported the Peoples Party. It ceased publication after one month of operation. Publisher/owner Robert Goodman.
25. The Signal 1894
Established 1894, as a weekly and published by I. W. and J. M. Neaton
Source: Savannah Morning News, September 29, 1894, Signal
26. The Cartersville News (and Courant) 1896
Established Courant in 1887 and merged with Cartersville Courant, then becoming the Cartersville News in 1896, Publisher/owner Wikle and Smith
27. The Emerson News 1897
Established in the 1890’s as a weekly edition. The publication was intended to promote and attract people to the Emerson community. Publisher/owner Emerson Publishing Co,
28. The Adairsville Banner 1898
Established 1898 as a Saturday weekly. It struggled because of the stronger papers in Cartersville. Publisher/owner Thomas Johnson
29. The News and Courant 1901
Established 1901 as a weekly. In 1904 it became the Cartersville News and then merged with the Bartow Tribune in 1917. Publisher/owner D. B. Freeman & H. A. Chapman
30. The News 1901
Established in 1901 as a weekly and became the Cartersville News and then merging with the Cartersville Courant. Publisher/owner NA
31. The Georgian 1907
Established 1907. Published in Atlanta for distribution in Bartow County. Owner Sam P. Jones (son of Rev. Sam Jones)
Source: Atlanta Georgian and News, Apr. 06, 1907 — page 7, Paper carriers
32. The Kingston Times 1908
Established 1908 by a group of local citizens. It never declared a political party and discontinued operations in 1912. Publisher/owner W. H. Griffin
33. The Bartow Tribune 1910
Established 1910 as a weekly and sold in 1917. It was supported by the Democratic party and merged later with the Cartersville Courant. Publisher/owner Perry & Callahan
34. The Cartersville News (aka Tribune) 1917
Established 1904 as a weekly and operated until 1917 when it merged with the Bartow Tribune. Publisher/owner Jim A. Hall
35. The Tribune News 1918
Established 1918, in 1920 M. L. Fleetwood became sole owner of the Tribune News becoming the Daily Tribune News in 1946.
Source: Google, Library of Congress
36. The Bartow Herald 1929
Established 1929 under W. R. Frier (also established WBHF radio in the 1940’s )
Source: Google, Library of Congress, The Historical News, July 2021, pages 20, 21
37. The Daily Tribune News 1946
Established 1946, Fleetwood, Currently operating. Publisher/owner Cartersville Newspapers
Source: Google, Library of Congress
38. The Herald Tribune 1969
Established 1969, Currently operating. Publisher/owner Tribune Publications
Source: Google, Library of Congress
It became apparent that the lineage, ownership, mergers, name changes and consolidations were confusing and entangled as proprietors angled to survive in a highly competitive field. A number of entrepreneurs appeared multiple times in a variety of newspapers and by sheer frequency surfaced as local giants in the tabloid industry.
A scattering of other tabloids existed in the history of Bartow County papers such as the Methodist Way of Life first published in 1832. It was not uncommon for existing newspapers to criticize new upstart papers and declare the field too crowded. One such article appeared in the December 4, 1890 North Georgia Citizen located in Dalton, Georgia. It condemned Cartersville’s North Georgia News as being “one horse journalism.” Not all such papers are reported in this research. Currently there are specialty papers in operation such as the Cartersville Patch, North Bartow News, Bartow Trader and Bartow Neighbor.
To learn more history about newspaper owners, publishers and mergers listed in this article visit the Georgia Digital Library web site printed below.
A tip of the hat to Mr. Sam Graham for his keen research skills to ferret out miniscule details and uncover remote information that escapes most individuals.
History of Bartow County, Cunyus, Lucy, 1933, pp 155 – 159
Digital Library of Georgia, Historic Newspapers
Georgia Historic Newspapers
Library of Congress
Roadside Thoughts, Newspapers Published in Bartow County
The Way of Life, 1882, W. A. Dodge publisher, Cartersville, Methodist Episcopal Conference
The Historical News, July 2021, Newspapers of Bartow County
The Atlanta Georgian & News, April 6, 1907, Cartersville Carriers are Young Hustlers
The Georgia Constitutionalist, Cassville Gazette, May 13, 1834
Augusta Chronical, March 10, 1854, Etowah Valley Star
The Standard and Express, April 1, 1874, Sentinel
Savannah Morning News, September 29 1894, Signal
The Free Press, August 22, 1878, The Free Press
The Hawkinsville Dispatch, November 4, 1875, Fighting a Cotton Ring
North Georgia Citizen, December 4, 1890, Too Many Newspapers
The News and Courant, July 25, 1901, Some Things Said About the Press
The Daily Tribune News, August 23, 2020, DTN to Reduce Print Frequency