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Orangeburg News, Orangeburg Times, Orangeburg News and Times, Orangeburg Democrat and Times and Democrat
The Orangeburg Times and Democrat (1881-present) served as a portal into Orangeburg County, located in the Midlands region of South Carolina, during a time of action and reaction, transition and stasis. The newspaper itself came into being as the result of a series of mergers and ownership changes over a period of almost 15 years. At various times, its proprietors published it as a daily, semiweekly, triweekly, and weekly paper. Even its political orientation alternated between Democrat and Republican.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Orangeburg County embraced numerous contradictions. Its citizens had elected African Americans to the South Carolina General Assembly as late as 1886--a full ten years after the end of Reconstruction--at the same time as its white leaders actively sought to restrict voting rights. It led the nation and state in cotton production at the same time as two of its colleges, Claflin University and South Carolina State Agricultural and Mechanical College (now South Carolina State University), played critical roles in establishing South Carolina’s African American middle class. Significant events included: the gerrymandering of Congressional districts in 1882 to diminish the power of African American voters; the establishment of a graded school in 1890; and the creation of Aiken and Calhoun Counties from portions of Orangeburg, Barnwell, Edgefield, and Lexington Counties in 1871 and 1908.
Several men who were closely associated with the Times and Democrat in its formative years had considerable experience in the publishing trade. Politician Thaddeus (Thad) C. Andrews owned and published several Republican newspapers, including the Orangeburg Carolina Times, Columbia Daily Union, and Orangeburg Times. James Loyal Sims had previously worked for the Charleston News and Courier and Spartanburg Herald before relocating to Orangeburg. Stiles Rivers Mellichamp also served as editor for the Carolina Teacher, the official organ of the South Carolina State Teachers Association.
The Times and Democrat began as two newspapers, the Orangeburg Democrat and Orangeburg Times. James Smith Heyward and Frank P. Beard had launched the Orangeburg Times,a Democratic newspaper, in 1872. Three years later, it merged with the Orangeburg News to form the Orangeburg News and Times, a Republican newspaper, but then reverted back to its old name. The Orangeburg Democrat began in 1877 as the Orangeburg Tax-payer. Thad C. Andrews later took over as publisher and changed the name to the Orangeburg Edisto Clarion. In 1879, the paper passed into the hands of Sims and Hugo Grotius Sheridan, who changed its name to the Orangeburg Democrat. In 1881, Sims and Mellichamp bought out the Orangeburg Times and merged it with the Orangeburg Democrat to create the Times and Democrat. The first issue appeared on Thursday, September 29, 1881.
Provided by: University of South Carolina; Columbia, SC