About the West Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive
The LaGrange Herald, which began publication in 1843, was the first newspaper established in LaGrange and one of the earliest in western Georgia. It was later renamed the Chattahoochee and by the mid-1850s, the paper was again retitled the LaGrange Reporter. During the Civil War and in the years that followed, C. H. C. Willingham edited the paper. He was a staunch critic of the Federal occupation of the South after the war and was nearly arrested on several occasions for his criticisms. In 1928, the LaGrange Herald, the LaGrange Graphic, and the LaGrange Shuttle were all absorbed into the LaGrange Daily News, which continues publication in LaGrange to the present day.
Attorneys J. S. Bigby and J. C. Wootten established the Newnan Herald in September 1865, making it the first newspaper founded and published in Georgia after the end of the Civil War. The Herald merged with a local competitor, the Coweta Advertiser, and became the Herald and Advertiser in 1887. James E. Brown took over as editor of the paper after the merger. In 1915, the publication absorbed the Newnan News and reverted to its original name, the Newnan Herald. The Herald moved into the same plant with another competitor, the Newnan Times (established in 1936) in 1947 and the two papers merged by the end of the year to become the Times-Herald. Under that title, the paper served Newnan through the twentieth century before owners renamed it the Newnan Times-Herald. The paper continues publication in Coweta County as a five-day a week publication.
Edwin R. Sharpe founded two of Carrollton’s earliest newspapers. In 1872, he established the Carroll County Times but quickly sold the paper and took up farming for over a decade. He founded a second newspaper in 1883 titled the Carroll Free Press. Sharpe continued publication of the paper until his death in 1899. The County Times and Free Press were brought under combined ownership in 1943 and eventually merged into the Times-Free Press in 1948. In 1980, the Times-Free Press merged with the Carroll County Georgian to form the city’s current paper, the Times-Georgian.
William B. Burch established the Butler Herald in Taylor County on October 1, 1876. He only held the paper for six months before selling it to Jap Mathews, who himself only owned the paper for a few months before selling it to William N. Benns. During this time, the Herald proudly accepted "chickens, eggs, butter, wood, corn, potatoes, and any kind of country produce" as payment for subscription. William's son, Charles E. Benns took over the publication after his father’s death in 1909. He remained at the helm before passing the editor duties to his son Charles E. Benns, Jr. in 1938. The paper remained in under Benns family control until 1962, when the Butler Herald merged with the Taylor County News to form the Taylor County News and Butler Herald.
Journalism in Douglasville didn’t commence until 1879, when attorney Robert A. Massey began publishing the city’s first newspaper, the Weekly Star. The subtitle of the paper, which ran until 1891, was Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. In April 1905, T. R. Whitley, L. C. Upshaw, and J. A. Pittman established the Douglas County Sentinel and began publishing the title the following month. The Sentinel had an auspicious beginning as an eight page weekly paper with immediate legal organ status. During its run, the paper has changed its name only once when it was published for a month in 1922 as the West Georgia Sentinel, before reverting to its original name. The Douglas County Sentinel continues publication today and remains the largest paper in Douglas County.
In 1882, William Breckenridge began publishing the Paulding New Era in Dallas, Georgia, the same year the first railroad ran through the city. It was the most successful newspaper in the city until the early 1890s, when it faced competition from the Dallas Herald. The new publication aligned itself with the Populist Party. The New Era would emerge victorious, however, as the Herald eventually ceased publication due to the decline of the Populist movement. The paper was renamed the Dallas New Era in 1894 and has retained that title into the present. It remains the oldest business in the city’s history.
In 1888, O. A. Clinton began publishing the Fayetteville News as a weekly paper released each Friday. It was the same year the Atlanta to Florida railroad line began operation in the city. Fayetteville experienced tremendous growth in the year that followed and the Fayetteville News continued to serve Fayette County into the 1920s.
James C. Bonner, Georgia's Last Frontier: The Development of Carroll County (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1971).
Sylvia Brown, "Butler Herald," Independent Research, 2015.
Carolyn Cary, "Fayette County," New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2015. Fannie Mae David, Douglas County, Georgia: From Indian Trail To Interstate 20 (Roswell: W. H. Wolfe Associates, 1987).
W. A. Foster, Paulding County: Its People and Places (Dallas: W. H. Wolfe Associates, 1983).
Louis Turner Griffith and John Erwin Talmadge, Georgia Journalism, 1763-1950 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1951).
The Newnan Times-Herald, “The Newnan Herald was Georgia’s first newspaper after the Civil War. http://times-herald.com/about
Clifford L. Smith, History of Troup County (Atlanta: Footer & Davies Company, 1933).
The West Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive spans the years 1843-1942 with over 67,000 images, and includes the following titles:
- Butler Herald, 1876-1942
- Carroll Free Press (Carrollton), 1883-1922
- Douglas County Sentinel (Douglasville), 1917-1922
- Fayetteville Advertiser, 1845
- Fayetteville Chronicle, 1886
- Fayetteville News, 1888-1925
- Herald and Advertiser (Newnan), 1887-1909
- LaGrange Herald, 1843-1844
- LaGrange Reporter, 1857-1914
- Newnan Herald, 1865-1887; 1915-1921
- Newnan Herald & Advertiser, 1909-1915
- Newnan News, 1906-1907
- Newnan Weekly News, 1905-1906
- Paulding/Dallas New Era, 1883-1908
Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Butler (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Carroll County (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Carrollton (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Coweta County (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Dallas (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Douglas County (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Douglasville (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Fayette County (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Fayetteville (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- LaGrange (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Newnan (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Paulding County (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Taylor County (Ga.) --Newspapers.
- Troup County (Ga.) --Newspapers.
Creation of the Web site: The following UGA Libraries employees contributed to the production of the West Georgia Historic Newspapers web site:
- Lucy Barrett
- Andrew Brill
- Daniel Britt
- Andy Carter
- Ari Feldstein
- Phil Fitzpatrick
- Toby Graham
- Nicole Hodge
- Alyssa Lagimoniere
- Emily Lembcke
- Sabrina Mackey
- Sheila McAlister
- Mandy Mastrovita
- Caitlin Rueden
- Jim StipeMaas
- Donnie Summerlin
- Maggie Touchton
- Mike Wages
- Mary Willoughby
Publisher: The Digital Library of Georgia, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, GA 30602
Master image file details: 400 ppi, TIFF 4.0
Credit: The West Historic Newspapers database is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia as part of Georgia HomePLACE. The project is supported with federal LSTA funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Digitization is also made possible through the generosity of the Taylor County Historical-Genealogical Society and the Flint Energies Foundation.