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Hartford Herald (Hartford, Kentucky)
The Hartford Herald, a weekly newspaper published each Wednesday, served Hartford, Kentucky, for over 50 years. Located in the heart of Kentucky's Western Coal Field Region, Hartford, the seat of Ohio County, was settled around 1790. Eighty-five years later, John P. Barrett established the Hartford Herald as the city's first Democratic newspaper.
The Herald offered an eclectic array of material, including election coverage, reports on agriculture, news items from Hartford and larger Kentucky cities such as Lexington and Louisville, church news, and correspondence from surrounding towns. Particularly newsworthy was its coverage of important events in Hartford's history, including the establishment of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad's Madisonville, Hartford & Eastern line in 1909. Citizens were anxious for the track's completion; the front page of the June 2, 1909, issue reads: "The railroad's locomotive is now steaming at the verge of our city limits!"
One important contributor to the paper was Harrison D. Taylor. A self-proclaimed pioneer and a native of Hartford, Taylor wrote a series of historical sketches that was first published by an Owensboro paper in 1857, and re-published by the Hartford Herald 20 years later. Taylor explored historical topics of interest to the citizens of Ohio County. In addition to discussing the countyâ€™s important leaders, physicians, and lawyers, his writings covered prehistory, early pioneer families, and life in the "olden" days. In one sketch, titled "The War of 1812," Harrison recalls Ohio County residents who â€œwere so patriotic they had to burn an old vacant house - and there were quite a few in Hartford then - whenever they heard of a victory."
The Hartford Herald changed ownership many times during its existence. Around eighteen individuals served as editors at one point or another in the paper's history, some holding the job for only a few months and others serving for decades. John P. Barrett headed the paper for almost 12 years on and off. For a brief period James S. Glenn and Cicero T. Sutton owned the paper, and for one year after that Sutton was solely responsible. Various others, including Lycurgus Barrett, the brother of John P. Barrett, edited and wrote content for the paper. By 1886, the Hartford Herald was back in the hands of the founder, John P. Barrett, who soon sold it to Frank L. Felix and McHenry Rhoads. Ben D. Ringo bought Rhoads's share of the paper in 1891, but after about two years Felix became the sole editor and continued on his own for the next 24 years. In 1917, the Hartford Herald Publishing Company purchased the paper and operated it under various editors until 1926. On February 15, 1926, the Hartford Herald, after over half a decade of reporting, merged with the Hartford Republican to become the Ohio County News.
Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY