Thursday, April 16, 2015

Yanceyville Newspaper History

Yanceyville Newspapers

The history of newspapers published in Yanceyville, North Carolina, before The Caswell Messenger launched in 1926 is not clear. However, The Caswell Messenger does not appear to be a direct successor to any publication.

Thomas J. Henderson (1883-1959) established The Sentinel at Yanceyville, with an initial issue on April 20, 1908. Henderson was editor for at least two years, being replaced by John A. Massey (1881-1956) in 1911. However, Henderson apparently regained editorship in October 1912, and the newspaper was still in publication on May 3, 1916, the last known issue. When The Sentinel ceased publication has not been determined, but it was not listed in a 1921 national newspaper directory.

Thus, it is possible that for some years before 1926 (possibly up to ten years) no newspaper was published in Yanceyville.

Thirteen-year-old Thomas J. Henderson launched The Little News in 1895. Published in Yanceyville, the newspaper survived for three years (1895-1898).

The News Advocate was published in Yanceyville around 1890, as one issue, dated 9 January 1890, survives.

There may have been a Yanceyville newspaper titled News and Commercial published 1884-1898, but no copies are known.

The Caswell News was launched in 1884, being edited and published by W. H. Thompson in Yanceyville. It apparently was published in the old Azariah Graves building, which now houses a restaurant. Note the lettering on the side of the building: "The Caswell News Office." This newspaper was published until at least December 1888.

At the time of the 1900 US Census (June 21) Albert Yancey Kerr (22) and his wife Willie Myers (18) were living in the household of Albert's father, John Kerr in Yanceyville, North Carolina. Albert is shown as a newspaper editor. This probably was The Caswell News. This is the same Albert Yancey Kerr who purchased The Caswell News Office building (now, in 2015, Hushpuppies Restaurant) in 1906. In the 1910 US Census, Albert Yancey Kerr was described as a newspaper publisher. This provides some support for The Caswell News being published as late as 1910.

However, the 1920 US Census shows him as Post Master, apparently having abandoned the newspaper business. By the time of the 1930 US Census he was an insurance agent. But, he apparently returned to the newspaper business as the 1940 US Census gives his occupation: county newspaper editor. As the only county newspaper in 1940 was The Caswell Messenger, presumably he was working for or with Erwin Duke Stephens at that newspaper.


Known Yanceyville Newspapers:

1. The Caswell Messenger
2. The Sentinel
3. The Little News
4. The News Advocate
5. News and Commercial
6. The Caswell News

Sources: (an online newspaper archive, available by subscription).

Powell, William S. "When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977." Durham: Moore Publishing Company. 1977. Print.

Whitlow, Jeannine D. Editor. The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Article #409, "A. Yancey Kerr" by George Yancey Kerr. 1985. p. 329.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating. Your interest in the subject made me interested in the subject. Well done your research. It consumes my interest the process of time and movements in history, which is history. This little tibit: "Thirteen-year-old Thomas J. Henderson launched The Little News in 1895. Published in Yanceyville, the newspaper survived for three years (1895-1898)." jumped out at me.

    In my life I find times to encourage children and teenagers to look beyond the immediate to see what their age groups are doing in the world at higher conscious levels of thinking today with the new technologies. Thomas J. Henderson, at 13, did not have access to cyberspace, or the idea of an internet on the horizon to publish a paper in 1898. His audience were adults with higher literacy standards than present day adults, who haven't the strict adherence to the standards set by the literary giants of that era in the Gay '90's! We are stuck on things floating aimlessly around tweeter, and gossip without the literary giants of our time holding our attention to higher standards to exemplify for our young people. . . - Gregory E. Woods, Keeper of Stories (Dawn Wolf)