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South Branch intelligencer. [volume] : (Romney, Va. [W. Va.]) 1830-1896
Place of publication:
Romney, Va. [W. Va.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Romney, Hampshire, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
William Harper
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 101, no. 26 (Dec. 24, 1896).
  • Began in 1830.
  • English
  • Hampshire County (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • Romney (Va.)--Newspapers.
  • Romney (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • West Virginia--Hampshire County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01218292
  • West Virginia--Romney.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215757
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 8, no. 1 (June 24, 1837).
  • Suspended during the Civil War. Cf. Kiplinger, J.L.W. Va. History, Jan. 1945, pp. 127-176.
sn 84026826
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South Branch intelligencer. [volume] June 28, 1834 , Image 1


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South Branch intelligencer

Located in Romney, West Virginia, the South Branch Intelligencer served eastern West Virginia as a source of news and politics throughout the 19th century. The newspaper was the product of William Harper, a young editor from a family of editors: William's father George ran The Franklin Repository in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania for many years, while William learned the printing business from his older brother Kenton, editor of the Staunton Spectator in Virginia. In 1829, William Harper moved from Staunton to Romney and established the Hampshire and Hardy Intelligencer, but by 1830 renamed it the South Branch Intelligencer. Under Harper's leadership, the Intelligencer would continue publication for nearly six decades.

In the years before the American Civil War, the Intelligencer promoted Whig politics and as the clouds of war loomed in 1860 and 1861, it advocated for settlement of the slave question within the Union. Yet the eruption of the Civil War swept over Romney and the nation regardless; the town of Romney endured occupation by both sides numerous times throughout the war. The war's turmoil left Harper unable to produce the Intelligencer and the paper ceased publication from 1861 to 1865. With the cessation of hostilities, however, Harper quickly revived the Intelligencer. In the post-war era, the newspaper supported the Democratic Party, although politics rarely dominated the Intelligencer's pages. Instead, the newspaper devoted most of its columns to local and national news, business affairs, short stories, and poetry.

Upon William Harper's death in 1887, his wife Sallie kept the paper afloat for several years. In 1890, a company of local investors purchased the Intelligencer and Charles Poland served as the paper's editor. Poland had prior editorial experience, having founded and edited the crosstown The Hampshire Review until he sold it to local attorneys John Jacob and William Cornwall (John Cornwall later served as West Virginia's governor). Poland continued as the Intelligencer's editor for six years but in January 1897, he sold the paper to the Cornwall brothers. Uninterested in maintaining two local newspapers, the Cornwall brothers ceased publication of the Intelligencer but incorporated the paper's founding date into the masthead of their own Review. The Review remained under the Cornwall's purview until the 1950s and it continues publication to this day.

Provided by: West Virginia University