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The Daily Public Ledger was an informative four-page Republican daily in Maysville founded in 1892 by eight men, including Maysville native Thomas A. Davis, who also served as editor. Davis had started in the printing trade at age 15, cutting his teeth on several newspapers while living in Philadelphia. Upon returning to Maysville, he took an interest in the city’s oldest paper, the Maysville Eagle. In 1867, Davis launched the Maysville Republican, and 25 years later he parlayed that experience into the Daily Public Ledger. Davis became the sole owner in short order, and the paper quickly gained a respected reputation in the community. Situated on the Ohio River, Maysville had been an old frontier settlement (originally known as Limestone) and a stopping point on the Underground Railroad. Maysville had also developed into a center for hemp and burley tobacco production. The Ledger reported on economic activity and Republican Party happenings in the area and never failed to carry local society, state, and national news as well. By 1907, the Ledger boasted the largest circulation of any daily in Mason County, of which there were several. In contrast to the intense business and political rivalries of most papers, the Ledger maintained a cordial relationship with its local Democratic competitor, the Daily Evening Bulletin. Little did either newspaper know that their paths would later converge.

In January 1907, Davis sold the Ledger to Arthur F. Curran. Davis continued to operate his own printing press and assumed an editorial position with the Maysville Daily Republican, the successor to the old Maysville Republican, now published by Daris and Hill. The two papers were closely aligned, and it is not unusual to find advertisements for the Republican in the Ledger. Meanwhile, the Ledger’s new owner became known statewide for his eloquent editorials. Like Davis, Curran had worked at several other papers, including Mason County’s Dover Public Messenger, before settling at the Ledger.

In 1915, both the Ledger and the Republican were sold to Clarence Mathews and William D. Cochran, who merged them to form the Public Ledger, which contined to publish six days a week. Mathews became the sole owner by 1920, and the paper stayed in the Mathews family until 1968. At that time, the Daily Independent, successor to long-time Democratic rival Daily Evening Bulletin, along with the Public Ledger, were bought by the Gadsden (Alabama) Times Publishing Company and joined to become the Public Ledger the Daily Independent. A year later the title changed for the final time to the Ledger-Independent, which still publishes in Maysville (http://www.maysville-online.com).

Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY