The Library of Congress > Chronicling America > The Monticellonian.

Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities external link and the Library of Congress. Learn more

The Monticellonian. [volume] : (Monticello, Ark.) 1870-1920
Place of publication:
Monticello, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Monticello, Drew, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Cotham & Ramsey
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1870; ceased in 1920.
  • English
  • Arkansas--Monticello.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213919
  • Monticello (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Description based on: Vol. 7, no. 25 (June 22, 1876).
sn 84022980
Succeeding Titles:
View complete holdings information
First Issue Last Issue

The Monticellonian. [volume] September 21, 1894 , Image 1


Calendar View

All front pages

First Issue  |  Last Issue

The Monticellonian

Monticello is the largest town in southeastern Arkansas. It was founded in 1849 to house the county seat of the newly formed Drew County. The town name was likely chosen after Thomas Jefferson's Virginia estate. Monticello built a courthouse in 1851 and was incorporated in 1852; multiple churches, academies, public buildings, and services soon followed. The earliest newspaper was The Sage of Monticello (1857-186?), a reference to Thomas Jefferson. During the Civil War, there were three minor skirmishes in Monticello when Union forces raided the town in search of supplies, artillery, and Confederate soldiers. In 1880, the Little Rock, Mississippi River, and Texas Railroad (later the Iron Mountain Railroad) built a track through town. In the early 1900s, cotton gins, fertilizer plants, ice plants, and a canning factory were the major businesses in Monticello.

Dr. William Henry Barry started The Monticellonian in 1870. Barry previously published The Sage of Monticello and The Monticello Guardian (1865-1868). Barry moved away from The Monticellonian but continued to work in the newspaper business for a time in Little Rock. Eventually, he moved to Hot Springs where he was a prominent physician.

James Richard Cotham bought half interest in The Monticellonian in 1873, and in 1875, Adolphus A. Ramsey bought the other half of the paper from Barry. The two then published the paper together as Cotham & Ramsey. In 1881, Cotham became sole proprietor and editor. At times, The Monticellonian was published by James Cotham & Sons, with James Cotham continuing as editor. Norwood David Cotham, one of James Cotham's sons, acted as business manager for part of the newspaper's run. For many years, The Monticellonian was the only paper published in Drew County, as previous local newspapers had ceased publication just before The Monticellonian was founded.

While running his newspaper business, James Cotham was also practicing law. Cotham continued to publish the paper, with two intermissions, until 1919, at which point Wilson Publishing Company bought the paper. Siblings Brice Wilson and Cora Wilson managed the publishing company. Cotham went on to be elected judge in the county court. In 1920, Charles Cordell Whittington, owner of The Drew County Advance (1894-1907), combined his paper with The Monticellonian and changed the name to the Advance-Monticellonian (1920-current), which runs to the present day.

The Monticellonian was a four-page paper published on Thursdays. It advertised that it was one of the great papers coming out of the cotton counties in the South and the only paper in Drew County. The Arkansas Press Association commended The Monticellonian for its front page design and labeled it as one of the best all-around county papers. It was a Democratic paper, urging its readers to vote Democratic during local and national elections. The Monticellonian focused on local and state news, but it did also include major national news.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives