About Athens union post. (Athens, Tenn.) 1863-186?
Athens, Tenn. (1863-186?)
- Athens union post. : (Athens, Tenn.) 1863-186?
- Place of publication:
- Athens, Tenn.
- Geographic coverage:
- N. Smith Boynton
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 17, 1863)-
- Athens (Tenn.)--Newspapers.
- McMinn County (Tenn.)--Newspapers.
- Tennessee--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Newspapers.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Newspapers.
- "First Union paper in East Tennessee since the commencement of the war."
- Also available on microfilm from Tennessee State Library and Archives.
- Editor: Lieut. N. Smith Boynton, <Sept. 17, 1863>
- Issued by the Union Army during suspension of: Athens post (Athens, Tenn.).
- sn 85038543
- View complete holdings information
The Athens Post
In 1841, Captain James Williams established the Knoxville Post, a weekly Whig newspaper in Knoxville, Tennessee. The paper was published by New Jersey native, Samuel P. Ivins, with Williams serving as editor. At thirty years old, Ivins was already an experienced newspaperman. His career began at the True American printing room in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1824 when he was just fourteen years old. Ivins spent four years there before leaving to become a journeyman printer, traveling to most of the larger towns in Pennsylvania over the following five years. He then spent several years in New York City before heading south, where he traveled for some time, eventually settling in Knoxville in the early 1840s.
In 1844, Williams retired from the editorial department of the Knoxville Post, leaving Ivins in charge. Ivins ran the paper in Knoxville for the next four years, then in 1848, foreseeing the potential of the region to the south of Knoxville, he moved the paper to Athens, Tennessee, renaming it the Athens Post.
Construction of a railroad linking Knoxville and Dalton, Georgia, had commenced in 1837 but halted in 1839 due to financial and legal problems with the Hiwassee Railroad Company. Ivins determined that the success of the area hinged on that railroad. Writing editorials in the Athens Post, he campaigned for the completion of the railroad, and for Athens to be a depot on the line. Interest in the area’s undeveloped resources was reawakened and construction resumed in 1849, under the newly named East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. The line reached Athens in 1851.
Like many towns in East Tennessee, loyalties were divided during the Civil War. In 1861, Athens voted against secession by a narrow margin. Ivins was opposed to secession at first, but when Tennessee left the Union, he followed his state and declared support for the Confederacy. Publication of the Post was suspended from September 1863 to December 1867. However, upon its suspension, the occupying Union Army launched the Athens Union Post. Little is documented about this publication as the inaugural issue is the only one known to survive. In addition to news, the paper printed some lighthearted material such as poetry and jokes. In its first issue, the paper apologized for its appearance, noting that “the former editor (Mr. Ivins), probably not thinking that we would want to issue his paper in his absence, took with him nearly all the material necessary to give it a genteel appearance; consequently we were thrown upon our ingenuity in making up the forms.”
In 1864, Ivins was taken prisoner by General Sherman’s troops and sent to Camp Chase, Ohio. When he was released in 1865, he went to Nashville to edit the Nashville Daily Press and Times. In 1866, he edited the Daily American Union in Chattanooga, and later the Atlanta Daily Intelligencer, before returning to Athens to resume publication of the Post in December 1867. Ivins continued working at the Post until his death in 1887. The town’s current newspaper, the Daily Post-Athenian, is a direct descendant of Ivins’ newspaper.
Provided by: University of Tennessee