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Macon beacon. [volume] : (Macon, Miss.) 1859-1995
Place of publication:
Macon, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Macon, Noxubee, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Henry C. Ferris
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1859; ceased in 1995.
  • English
  • Macon (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Mississippi--Macon.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01219912
  • Mississippi--Noxubee County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207416
  • Noxubee County (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 10, no. 21 (Jan. 4, 1860).
  • Publishers: Ferris & Ward, <1873-1874>.
sn 83016943
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Macon beacon. [volume] January 4, 1860 , Image 1


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Macon Beacon, Noxubee Rifle, and Union Beacon

Macon, the seat of Noxubee County, is a small town in fertile farmland in east-central Mississippi known as the black prairie. Although not the earliest paper in Macon, the Macon Beacon is the county's lone surviving paper.

Edmond W. Ferris came to Noxubee County from Washington, D.C. in the mid-1840s and established a drug store and weekly newspaper named The Noxubee Rifle. When his brother Henry C. Ferris, a printer, came to Macon in 1849, they changed the name to the Union Beacon reflecting their opposition to the dissolution of the union. The name was changed to the Macon Beacon in 1859 when secessionist sympathies prevailed in the state. By January 1860, Henry Ferris was the sole proprietor of the paper and remained so throughout the Civil War.

The Civil War was the most notable event covered by the Macon Beacon. Although often reduced to two pages by 1862, the weekly paper was published throughout the war. Early in the conflict, the paper included news of the formation and muster of locally raised regiments; in 1863 stories of the Jackson and Vicksburg campaigns were prominent. After the siege of Jackson in July 1863, the seat of state government left Jackson; in March 1864, the legislature convened in Macon, where it remained for the rest of the war. By 1864, the Beacon included pleas for cooked food and assistance at hospitals set up in local schools and churches. Towards the end of the war, notices appeared calling soldiers to report to their units or be reported as deserters.

After the Civil War, the Macon Beacon returned to its pre-war four-page format. Henry Ferris continued as publisher and editor until 1867 when his son, Phillip T. Ferris, purchased the paper. He ran the Beacon, either as sole proprietor or with a partner, until his death in 1905. Under his leadership, the paper's layout became more organized with national news and general interest articles on the first two pages and local news, including ads and legal notices, on the third and fourth pages. Birth, marriage, death notices and other social news increased throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth century.

In 1905, Phillip's son, Douglas C. Ferris, became editor and publisher. During his tenure, there was an increase in state news with the addition of two columns: "News and Views from the State Capitol," and "Mississippi Happenings." By 1922, there were separate columns for news from the nearby communities of Brooksville and Shaqualak. Starting in 1909, the Beacon typically was eight pages long. By 1947, responsibility for the paper had passed to a Ferris cousin, and in 1972 the paper was purchased by a non-family member. Dropping "Macon" from the title in 1995, The Beacon is still in publication today.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History