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Founded in 1892, the Tazewell Republican was published weekly, on Thursdays, in a four-page format, varying from 20-by-26 to 18-by-24 inches. Annual subscriptions were offered at one dollar. Tazewell, the seat of Tazewell County, rests in the highlands between the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountains, 22 miles southwest of Bluefield, West Virginia. In 1900, Tazewell and the surrounding area were home to a vibrant coal mining industry, lumber mills, and grain and cattle farms. The Ayer and Son's American Newspaper Annual in 1894 noted that theRepublican’s circulation was 720. By 1900, it had risen to 1,300--sharp evidence that the paper’s readership stretched well beyond the town of 550. The circulation held steady until 1909, when it dropped to 1,000; by the next year it had fallen to 900.
The Tazewell Republican’s first editor, J. N. Harman, had in 1884-85 edited the Tazewell Times, a paper devoted to the “Readjuster” program to repudiate a portion of Virginia’s considerable debt and to refinance the remainder. Harman had also edited the Tazewell Index, in 1890–92. After less than a year at the helm of the Republican, Harman was replaced by W. I. Boone, also a former editor (1886–90) of the Index. Boone edited the Tazewell Republican from 1892 to 1893 and again from 1896 to 1898. C. H. Pruett took over from 1893 to 1896. William C. Pendleton purchased the paper from Boone in August 1898 and acted as editor and proprietor until 1910 when he sold it to W. G. O’Brien; Pendleton continued to serve as associate editor until 1912. Under O’Brien, circulation began to rise again and peaked at 1,415 in 1911. O’Brien continued with the paper until it ended in 1919.
In contrast to its Democratic rival, the Clinch Valley News, the Tazewell Republican, as its name suggests, promoted a Republican agenda. The Republican endorsed tariffs to protect domestic production as well as the expansion of the nation’s global influence to stimulate trade. Under Pendleton’s editorship, the Democratic Party and William Jennings Bryan came under constant, strident attack. Editorials dealt with the merits of the Populist Party, the currency question as argued by Gold versus Silver Democrats, and local issues including the need for better roads. The newspaper also reported on the smallest specifics: visitors, traveling businessmen, and the sick. Finally, the Republican reprinted articles of state, national, and international news from other newspapers and published agricultural advice columns, poetry, short stories, and advertisements from Tazewell and regional merchants.
Communities in Virginia served by the Tazewell Republican included Pounding Mill, Freestone, Pocahontas, Horsepen Cove, Thompson Valley, Cove Creek, Lebanon, Richlands, Graham, Laurel Creek, Baptist Valley, Burkes Garden, Whitewood, Swords Creek, Tannersville, and Skeggs, and Bluefield in West Virginia. Yet with Virginia firmly in the Democratic fold (six consecutive Democratic governors were elected since the paper’s inception), the Republican had become a lonely voice and in 1919 it ceased publication.
Provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA