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Flat Top monitor. : (Bramwell, W. Va.) 1890-????
Alternative Titles:
  • Monitor
Place of publication:
Bramwell, W. Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Bramwell, Mercer, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J. F. Haas & A. A. Barr
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1890.
  • English
  • Bramwell (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • Mercer County (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • West Virginia--Bramwell.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01284878
  • West Virginia--Mercer County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01224868
  • "Official organ of Bramwell, W. Va."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Vol. 2, no. 29 (Feb. 5, 1891); title from masthead.
  • Vol. 2, no. 38 (Apr. 9, 1891).
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Flat Top monitor. February 5, 1891 , Image 1


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Flat Top monitor

In the 1880s, the discovery of the Flat Top Coal Field transformed Mercer County in southern West Virginia. Coal companies and workers poured into the area, and the county's population doubled within a few years. Taking advantage of the population boom was John D. Hewitt, president of the local Buckeye Coal & Coke Company. Hewitt recognized the growing need for a local newspaper. Partnering with lawyer Charles P. Latham, in 1888 the pair established the Flat Top Monitor as the "official organ of Mercer County" in the newly-incorporated town of Bramwell. Latham served as the paper's editor and publisher, and Hewitt as its business manager.

Published every Thursday, the Flat Top Monitor reflected John Hewitt and Charles Latham's Republican politics. Indeed, Hewitt was Bramwell's first mayor and a member of the Republican State Committee. The Monitor backed the candidacy of Republican candidate Nathan Goff, Jr. in the contested gubernatorial election of 1888. Charles Latham legally represented Goff during the campaign; Goff's candidacy proved unsuccessful.

Aside from politics, the Monitor kept readers abreast of national news and featured a regular "Southern Items" column that focused on Southern affairs. As might be expected given the nature of the paper's origin, the Monitor paid special attention to industrial developments and local mining operations in its "State of the Trade" column. Local events likewise received attention, ranging from church notices to fraternal organizations' meetings. A "Sunday School" column offered readers bits of Biblical wisdom.

Although the paper boasted "a larger circulation than any other paper in the Flat Top Coal Field," its tenure proved short lived. By 1891 the paper changed ownership, passing from Hewitt and Latham to J.F. Haas and A.A. Barr, of whom little is known. Although Mercer County continued to enjoy the industrial boom provided by Flat Top coal for several more decades, the Flat Top Monitor ceased publication around 1891 for reasons unknown. Only a few extant issues survive, but they shed light into Mercer County's quick rise amidst a coal boom.

Provided by: West Virginia University