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Ceredo crescent. [volume] : (Ceredo, Va.) 1857-1861
Place of publication:
Ceredo, Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Ceredo, Wayne, Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Ceredo, Wayne, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
W.B. Wilson
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in late 1861.
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Oct. 24, 1857)-
  • English
  • Ceredo (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • West Virginia--Ceredo.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01282005
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Editors: W.B. Wilson, 1857-<1858>; C.B. Webb, <1858-1860>.
  • Publisher: C.B. Webb, <1858-1860>.
sn 84037807
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Ceredo crescent. [volume] October 24, 1857 , Image 1


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Ceredo Crescent

The first newspaper ever published in Wayne County in western Virginia (today West Virginia), the Ceredo Crescent traced its unique origins to the anti-slavery ambitions of a Massachusetts Congressman. Eli Thayer believed that creating free labor colonies in the South would demonstrate the superiority of wage-based labor over chattel slavery. In May 1857, Thayer purchased land along the Ohio River in northwestern Virginia and named the newfound colony Ceredo, after the Roman goddess of plenty. Settlers began to arrive throughout the summer, motivated less by anti-slavery politics than by the economic opportunities presented by the colony. Among its members were W. Boyd Wilson and Charles B. Webb, who quickly saw an opportunity to launch a newspaper for the burgeoning young community. In October of 1857, the first issues of the Ceredo Crescent rolled of the press. Webb served as the editor and publisher, with Wilson as the newspaper's proprietor and contributing editor.

The four-page Crescent offered its readers the usual content staples of the era: local news, short stories, health advice, information for farmers, advertisements (including those for Eli Thayer's Land Company), and more. The Crescent also paid attention to national matters, and reports on the rising sectionalism across the United States are apparent in the Crescent's pages. Despite their association with an anti-slavery community, the newspaper's editors opined relatively little on slavery in their columns. As the editors noted, "Well, it is not our "mission" to talk on the subject of slavery... Its effects upon social industry can be best met by the establishment of machine shops, manufactories, and all the various industrial pursuits of free labor." In short, the editors of the Crescent mirrored Senator Thayer in their hope that the free-labor colony of Ceredo would speak for itself in regards to the advantages of free over slave labor.

The few extant copies of the Crescent also reveal a newspaper responsible for sharing information about the Ceredo colony to prospective settlers nationwide. Most issues contained a fact sheet detailing the region's climate, agriculture, mineral resources, along with popular routes for emigrants to travel to the Virginia town. Every issue contained questions about the colony from inquiring settlers, to which the editors devoted weekly columns. Through these letters, Webb and Wilson promoted the bright agricultural prospects of the region, the affordability of land and goods, and the acceptance by Ceredo's Virginian neighbors and county. Still, the editors warned its readers that Ceredo was "not a purely benevolent undertaking," and discouraged the influx of "shiftless men or dreamers and visionaries." Land was not given freely but had to be purchased and worked.

The Ceredo Crescent continued publication until the outbreak of the Civil War in the spring of 1861. Although the editors refused to expound upon slavery's evils, the politics of the 1860 presidential election could not be avoided, and the Crescent made its political preferences clear in declaring support for Abraham Lincoln and the Republican ticket. This position proved costly, and subscriptions plummeted. By early 1861, the Crescent was discontinued. Charles Webb, however, continued to express his politics by enlisting in the Union army in the summer of that year As a member of the Fifth West Virginia Infantry, Webb would go on to help direct the production of the regimental newspaper, the Knapsack, in 1863.

Provided by: West Virginia University