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The organizer. : (Oxford, Miss.) 1845-18??
Place of publication:
Oxford, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Oxford, Lafayette, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
B.F. Dill & Wm. Delay
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1845?
  • English
  • Mississippi--Oxford.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01217576
  • Oxford (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 32 (July 26, 1845).
sn 87090127
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The organizer. March 31, 1849, Image 1


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The Organizer, The Oxford Signal, The Oxford Intelligencer and The Oxford Falcon

In 1832, with the Treaty of Pontotoc, the Chickasaw gave up their ancestral lands in the rolling terrain of northern Mississippi. Lafayette, established four years later, was one of 12 original counties created from the cession. The county seat, Oxford, was chosen as the site of the first state college, the University of Mississippi, which opened its doors to students in 1848. A raid by Union troops in August 1864 left much of the town destroyed. Notable Oxford residents included lawyer, politician, and university professor Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825-93) who was a member of the 1861 secession convention and who served in the United States House of Representatives (1857-60, 1873-77) and U. S. Senate (1877-85), as Secretary of the Interior (1885-88), and as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1888-93). Nobel-Prize winning author William Faulkner (1897-1962) also called Oxford home.

Oxford had a number of short-lived, unrelated, four-page, weekly newspapers in the 19th century. The Organizer (1845-50?) was published by Mexican War soldier William Delay; by 1849 many articles discussed secession and promoted Democratic Party unity. The Oxford Signal (1856-60?) purchased the office and printing equipment from Delay's next endeavor, the failed Democratic Flag (1852-55?). In 1856, the Signal often commented on the conflict between pro- and anti-slavery adherents in Kansas.

States' rights advocate Howard Falconer established the Oxford Intelligencer (1860-62?). Volume 1, number 1, issued on June 6, 1860, stated: "it is our design to make the Intelligencer a reliable general newspaper" that would include domestic, county, local and university news. The January 9, 1861 issue reported on the Mississippi secession convention's January 7th vote to secede from the Union. Beginning January 23, 1861, "A Southern Confederacy" appeared in the masthead. Thereafter, the Intelligencer reported on the progress of secession and printed official documents, such as military ordinances and the constitution of the Confederate States of America and the pro-Confederacy speeches and efforts of L. Q. C. Lamar. The paper closed before the first invasion of Union troops in December 1862; a reprint from the Intelligencer in the April 5, 1862 issue of Canton's American Citizen (1851-63) explained its demise: "Had we the capital Croesus had, we could not continue the Intelligencer, for printing paper is not to be had now, at any price."

Veteran Samuel Moore Thompson, moved to Oxford after the Civil War and founded the Oxford Falcon (1865-88?). The Falcon provided commentary on issues important to the postwar South, such as Negro suffrage, the Freedman's Bureau, establishment of the Fourth Military District and federal rule, and the readmission of state representation in Congress. A March 21, 1868 article summed up the paper's attitudes towards Republicans: "the Democratic State Convention will soon be re-convened at Jackson, for the purpose of preparing for a vigorous and active fight against the odious principles of the Radical party." In addition to political news and editorials, the Falcon carried general interest stories, some local news, lots of advertisements, but virtually no legal notices.

In 1876, Thompson sold the Falcon and started a competing weekly, the Oxford Eagle. Six years later, he was shot to death while in custody for intoxication. With the help of experienced editors, Thompson's widow Eliza, ran the Eagle for another 32 years, even though she had no previous journalism experience. The Oxford Eagle is still published in 2015 as a daily.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History