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Yorkville enquirer. [volume] : (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006
Place of publication:
Yorkville, S.C.
Geographic coverage:
  • York, York, South Carolina  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Dates of publication:
  • Began in January 1855; ceased with March 16, 2006.
Weekly 1943-
  • English
  • South Carolina--York County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213427
  • South Carolina--York.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214685
  • York (S.C.)--Newspapers.
  • York County (S.C.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from Micro Photo Division, Bell & Howell Co.; Arcata Microfilm Corp.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, No. 13 (April 5, 1855); title from masthead.
  • Latest issue consulted: March 16, 2006.
  • Publication suspended February 22-March 2, and May 10-August 17, 1865.
  • Publishers: J.E. & L.M. Grist, <1858-1865>; Lewis M. Grist, <1876>.
sn 84026925
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Yorkville enquirer. [volume] April 5, 1855 , Image 1


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Yorkville Enquirer

For over 150 years, the Yorkville Enquirer served the communities of Hickory Grove, McConnells, Sharon, Smyrna, and Yorkville (present-day York), located in York County, South Carolina. Through much of its existence, the Enquirer was edited and published by the Grist family, so much so that the family and the newspaper were nearly synonymous in the minds of Yorkville residents. John E. Grist, the family patriarch, had previously worked for the Pendleton Messenger before relocating to Yorkville. In the 1840s, he started a number of short-lived newspapers, including the Yorkville Journal of the Times, Yorkville Compiler, and Farmers’ Miscellany. In 1851, John Grist sold the Farmers' Miscellany to his son, Lewis Mason Grist, who renamed it the Yorkville Miscellany.

On January 4, 1855, Lewis Grist launched an entirely new paper, the Yorkville Enquirer, "an independent journal for the promotion of the political, social, agricultural, and commercial interests of the South." John L. Miller and Samuel Wickliffe Melton served as editors and proprietors. The accolades came quickly flowing. On May 9, 1855, the editor of the Edgefield Advertiser wrote, "The pains you bestow upon your admirable sheet, brother editors, should not only command commendation, but should draw into your fold a host of paying subscribers."

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lewis Grist turned over the management of the Enquirer to his father John Grist and enlisted in the Confederate States Army. During the war, the Enquirer only suspended publication twice, in spite of paper shortages. In the years following the war's end, York County became ground zero in an undeclared war of racial terror on African Americans. In 1871, the members of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan were deemed responsible for having committed at least ten murders and approximately 600 assaults on Black residents, provoking President Ulysses S. Grant to place Yorkville under martial law. Lewis Grist appears to have distrusted the Klan and the Union Leagues (formed to bolster support for the Republican Party) in equal measure. On April 13, 1871, he approvingly quoted a recommendation from the Charleston Daily Republican that, "Let us have done with these secret organizations... Let us now openly grapple with our difficulties, and the very fact that our efforts are open, will cause many of those difficulties to vanish.”

In the 1890s, Lewis Grist turned over control of the Yorkville Enquirer to his sons Lewis George, Wood Davidson, Oliver Ellis, Albert Mason and Reginald M. Grist. Under Wood Davidson Grist's leadership, the Enquirer successfully transitioned from a weekly to a semiweekly paper and increased its circulation. In 1943, the Grist family sold the Enquirer, having conducted it as a family business through several generations. In 2006, the Yorkville Enquirer was merged with the Clover Herald and became the Enquirer-Herald. The last issue of the Yorkville Enquirer appeared on March 16, 2006.

Provided by: University of South Carolina; Columbia, SC