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The Earlington Bee, a semi-weekly Republican newspaper, served the Hopkins County mining town for nearly 50 years. Editor Thomas N. Black developed the Bee from the earlier Earlington Tyro in 1889. At the time of the Bee's creation, Earlington was only 19 years old, but the paper promoted a bustling image of the town’s development, with a masthead reading “By Industry We Thrive.” In 1903, the Journal of Newspaper Publishing and Advertising recognized the Bee's contributions to the prosperity of Earlington.
Coal mining, the leading industry in Hopkins County, was one of the main subjects of the paper’s coverage. The Bee's content was often dominated by columns such as “Mining Notes” and “Down in the Mines.” The St. Bernard Coal Company, one of the driving forces behind the founding of Earlington, often bought advertising space in the paper. Railroads, essential to the transport of coal, were also newsworthy, with the weekly column “Locomotive Blasts.” Railroad companies regularly advertised reduced rates to towns such as Louisville, Nashville, and New Orleans.
Also advertising in the Bee was Paul M. Moore of the Earlington Equitable Life Assurance Society. Moore began his career selling insurance but would go on to serve as vice president of the Kentucky State Insurance Federation and the Kentucky Association of Local Fire Agents, as well as president of the Hopkins County Public Health and Welfare League. Moore was so accomplished as a businessman that by the time his name was regularly appearing in the Bee during late 1890s, it was as editor of the paper. His achievements as a journalist led to his election in 1903 as the nineteenth President of the Kentucky Press Association.
The Bee prospered with Moore at the helm. Under his leadership the paper expanded from a weekly to a semi-weekly, covering all aspects of life in Earlington including education, agriculture, and politics. Supplements were printed occasionally to feature events and news deserving extra coverage. After the assassination of Kentucky governor William Goebel in 1900, the Bee took a more political turn by supplementing its October and November issues that year with political commentary and reports on the upcoming election. By 1910, the Bee was chronicling Earlington’s history in the column “Looking Backward,” which highlighted news from issues printed in earlier years.
In addition to Moore, several other businessmen contributed to the Bee. In April 1892, Walter Ray Platt joined the Bee as an associate editor and worked with Thomas N. Black, who had served as the paper’s first editor until Moore took control of the Bee in the late 1890s. Moore was assisted in turn by associate editor and business manager James E. Fawcett from 1902 until 1907, and then again from 1910 until the paper ceased publication in 1938.
Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY