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Lancaster gazette. [volume] : (Lancaster, Mass.) 1828-1830
Place of publication:
Lancaster, Mass.
Geographic coverage:
  • Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
F. & J. Andrews
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 4, 1828)-v. 3, no. 15 (Apr. 13, 1830).
  • English
  • Lancaster (Mass.)--Newspapers.
  • Massachusetts--Lancaster.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01222584
sn 83020243
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Lancaster gazette. [volume] March 4, 1828 , Image 1


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Lancaster Gazette

The Lancaster Gazette was ushered into existence by Ferdinand Andrews and his brother Joseph on March 4, 1828, with minimal effort through the "almost spontaneous accord of a large and respectable list of subscribers" (Volume 1, Number 1) from Lancaster and neighboring towns. Thus began the earliest newspaper in the town of Lancaster, Massachusetts. Incorporated in 1653, Lancaster is the oldest town in the state's largest county, and this paper was the sixth newspaper in Worcester County in central Massachusetts. Previously, Ferdinand had been the proprietor and editor of the Salem Gazette from 1823-26 where he started his journalistic career and eventually took over when his uncle Thomas Cushing retired. He left the Salem Gazette, indicating in the October 3, 1826, issue only that he had been "induced by various considerations" to relinquish his part.

Ferdinand Andrews, the primary voice behind the paper, refrained from taking an overt political stance due to a desire to remain neutral and to avoid being caught up in tumultuous political waters. In his estimation, this also enabled a more impartial and unprejudiced stance by which "we may chance to see clearly truths that are hidden from others and be better enabled to render our newspaper subservient to its legitimate purposes, viz. the information, instruction and amusement of its readers" (Volume 1, Number 1). For political issues conscience and judgement would direct the work, and the guiding principle overall would be to promote the public good.

Just over a month after its start, the April 8, 1828, issue of the weekly Tuesday-evening paper published two poems, "Liberty and Slavery" and "Slavery," sent in by Lancaster native Caroline Lee Hentz living in North Carolina and submitted on behalf of enslaved George Moses Horton (later known as the "Black Bard of North Carolina"). Hentz prefaced his work by describing how he produced and retained the poems by memory until later transcribed by another person and could only work on them at night. She also noted that "[h]e has had no education, but having an ardent desire to learn to read, he accomplished his purpose by dint of steady perseverance, and at an early period discovered that love of the muses which has triumphed over the bonds of slavery …" (Volume 1, Number 6). These are believed to be the first poems published by a southern enslaved African American, the first published by a poet who could not write, and the first antislavery poems published by a person who was enslaved. Soon after these first poems were published, other newspapers followed suit and published his work. A third poem by Horton, "On poetry and musick," was published in the June 24, 1828, issue, noting how unusual it was that "such a being, so situated, should produce poetry, and such good, nay, excellent, poetry too—is really [a] matter of admiration." These poems were later renamed and included in Horton's first published book The Hope of Liberty in 1829.

Despite the relative ease in starting the paper, its existence came to a close just over two years later with the April 13, 1830 (Volume 3, Number 15) issue due to lack of sufficient support to pay the expenses of running the publication. Although that was enough reason to close, the brothers felt that the key issue was that they did not have time to devote proper attention and care to the paper due to their other business interests of printing and engraving, and so the only course of action was to discontinue the newspaper. In 1835, Ferdinand would go on to assume editorial control of the short-lived Salem Landmark, and in 1845 become editor and joint proprietor of the Boston American Traveller semi-weekly and weekly.

Provided by: Boston Public Library