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The central gazette. [volume] : (Charlottesville, Va.) 1820-1827
Place of publication:
Charlottesville, Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Charlottesville, Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City State
C.P. & J.H. McKennie
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in July 1827? Cf. Cappon, L.J. Va. newspapers.
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 29, 1820)-
  • English
  • Charlottesville (Va.)--Newspapers.
  • Virginia--Charlottesville.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204493
  • Also available in digital format on the Library of Congress website.
  • Available on microfilm from the University of Virginia, and the Library of Congress.
  • Democratic. Cf. Cappon, L.J. Va. newspapers.
  • Publisher varies: C.P. McKennie, <1823-1827>.
sn 85025230
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The central gazette. [volume] November 19, 1824 , Image 1


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Central Gazette and Virginia Advocate

The Central Gazette (1820-27) and its successor the Virginia Advocate (1827-61) were Democratic-leaning newspapers central to life in Charlottesville, Virginia. They documented important political events, local and national, that were critical to Charlottesville's development, such as the landmark 1828 presidential election of former U.S. Army general Andrew Jackson and the southern Secession Crisis that precipitated the Civil War. Brothers Clement Pynes and John Harris McKennie established the Central Gazette on January 29, 1820; they published the paper until July 1827, after which it was succeeded by the Virginia Advocate. Thomas W. Gilmer, a former associate of the Gazette, and John Anthony Gardner Davis (of Gilmer, Davis, & Co.) began printing the Advocate as a weekly on approximately July 28, 1827, until March 22, 1828.

The Virginia Advocate provided breathless coverage of the 1828 presidential election, predicting the victory of Charlottesville's favored candidate, the Democratic General Andrew Jackson, over the incumbent Whig John Quincy Adams, who had previously defeated Jackson to win the 1824 election. A blatantly pro-slavery and pro-secession newspaper, the Virginia Advocate's motto was, "Error ceases to be dangerous, when reason is free to combat it." Revealing the white-supremacist tenor of Charlottesville's antebellum politics, the Advocate published "An Address on the Right of the State to Institute Slavery" from November 4, 1858. In this speech before the Virginia State Agricultural Society, James P. Holcombe defended the institution of slavery in no uncertain terms, contending that "the incipient civilization of the negro has been arrested by his emancipation: with the cessation of forced labor … savage habits and pleasures have resumed their ascendancy over the sable race. The attempts to instruct and civilize them have, for the most part, proved a failure."

The Advocate has a convoluted history, and it changed ownership many times before ceasing publication in 1861 due to the outbreak of the Civil War. It was published by Davis and Nicholas P. Trist & Co. from March 29 to July 26, 1828; by Jefferson Clark from August-September 1828, for Davis and Trist, who sold out to Clark and Frank Carr on November 8, 1828; by Carr & Co. from November 1828-October 1829; by Carr and T. G. Elliot from October 1829-July 1830; by E. W. Reinhart from August 1830-31(?); by Wilson M. Cary and Egbert R. Watson from 1831-August 1832; by Watson and William Tompkins from September 1832-February 1833, or later; by Tompkins and Alexander Moseley from 1835-July 1836; by Tomkins and Robert C. Noel from August 1836-7, or later; ed. by Thomas Wood and pub. by Noel, 1840. During the 1840s and '50s it was edited by James C. Halsall, William J. Shelton, and John L. Cochran, with O. S. Allen & Co. publishing. In 1860, the Virginia Advocate's title changed to the Charlottesville Advocate, and it continued under J. L. Cochran until the spring of 1861, when the Civil War ignited.

Provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA