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About Spirit of Kosciusko. (Kosciusko, Miss.) 1838-1839
Kosciusko, Miss. (1838-1839)
- Spirit of Kosciusko. : (Kosciusko, Miss.) 1838-1839
- Place of publication:
- Kosciusko, Miss.
- Geographic coverage:
- William E. Smith & Co.
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 2, 1838)-v. 1, no. 52 (Aug. 31, 1839).
- Kosciusko (Miss.)--Newspapers.
- Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
- sn 87065304
- Related Links:
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
Spirit of Kosciusko, Central Register, Attala Register, Central Journal, Jeffersonian Democrat and Jeffersonian
Attala County, in central Mississippi, was established in 1833 from land obtained by the United States in 1830 in the final Choctaw cession. Its flat to rolling terrain and fertile soil were suited to cotton-growing. With no navigable waterways, transportation was facilitated by the nearby Natchez to Nashville military road, the Natchez Trace. Kosciusko, named after Polish-born Revolutionary War hero, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, was selected as the county seat due to springs at the site.
Several short-lived, four-page, weekly Democratic newspapers, were published in antebellum Kosciusko. The Spirit of Kosciusko (1838-39), published by William E. Smith, was reportedly the earliest newspaper in the town and perhaps the county; it soon became the Central Register (1839-40?). The Attala Register (1843-44), edited by William B. Harper, later continued as the Central Journal (1844-45?). The third paper, the Jeffersonian Democrat (1844), was owned by Richard Jacobs; it quickly shortened its title to the Jeffersonian (1844-45) and after June 1844 was published in Macon, Mississippi.
These early Kosciusko newspapers covered significant national events such as the banking crisis and depression precipitated by the Panic of 1837, Texas independence and annexation, and the possibility of war with Mexico. In addition to foreign and national news, content included editorials on state political and legislative news, general interest articles, poetry, and newspaper prospectuses. Local information was sporadic, primarily advertisements, obituaries, marriage announcements, and legal notices, which were most plentiful in the Spirit. The December 7, 1839 issue of the Central Register, for example, included an article about a gathering in the state capital of Jackson to honor the late General Andrew Jackson. The January 22, 1845 issue of the Journal included a rare reference to Choctaw removal: "We learn som [sic] 3 or 400 of these indians are now encamped on the Big Black [River], some 8 or 10 miles from Canton, Madison county. They are waiting the arrival of the rest of the tribe, whe [sic] they will proceed on their journey across the Mississippi." Despite similar political outlook, news coverage, and content, each title run had distinctive features. Staunch states' rights supporters, Smith and company at the Spirit/Central Register were the most vociferous politically, advocating for the separation of state and bank. A November 9, 1839 extra edition of the Central Register reported election results and announced with apparent pleasure" . . . that the cause of the people has triumphed over whiggery and the swindling banks." Harper, at the Attala Register/Central Journal, had an open "letter to the editor" policy, inviting all social and political opinions whether or not the editor agreed. Jacobs' Jeffersonian often carried uplifting religious stories, moral lessons, and church news.
Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History