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The comet. [volume] : (Jackson, Miss.) 1877-1882
Place of publication:
Jackson, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
F.T. Cooper
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1877.
  • Ceased with Dec. 23, 1882 issue.
  • English
  • Hinds County (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Jackson (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Mississippi--Hinds County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01208481
  • Mississippi--Jackson.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205500
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 3, no. 25 (Apr. 10, 1880).
  • Issued also in daily edition: Daily comet (Jackson, Miss.).
  • Publisher: Hunter & Jayne, <August 26>-December 23, 1882.
sn 85038603
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The comet. [volume] January 11, 1879 , Image 1


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The Comet

Located beside the Pearl River, in a cotton-producing region in west-central Mississippi, the capital city of Jackson was the political center of the state since its incorporation in 1823 even though throughout the 19th century it was not one of Mississippi's most populous or prosperous towns. Like much of the surrounding area, Jackson was largely destroyed by the end of the Civil War, and rebuilt slowly during the Republican-controlled Reconstruction era.

Through violence and intimidation, Mississippi Democrats defeated Republicans in the 1876 election and reigned supreme for the next century. Prevailing attitudes allowed several Democratic papers to flourish concurrently in Jackson. Fleet T. Cooper was an experienced newspaperman when he established the Comet (1877-82) in Jackson, having owned and edited at least two previous titles: the Jackson-based Weekly Mississippian (1859-67?), which he and partner A. Newton Kimball purchased from influential editor, Ethelbert Barksdale in 1861, and the Meridian Weekly Gazette (1867-76). The Daily Comet was issued only during legislative sessions and possibly only in 1880. The Comet may have been managed by Fleet T. Cooper, Jr. from the time of his father’s death in August 1881, until R. K. Jayne became editor in February 1882. No known issues exist after December 23, 1882, however; the Comet may have been absorbed by the State Ledger (1883-88), another Jackson newspaper.

Published weekly, the highly political Comet was four pages in length; the name plate included a shooting star image with the motto "Droit et Avant," translated as "Right, then Forward." The newspaper painted a rosy picture of Democratic rule as exemplified in the January 11, 1879 issue: "Under the just and liberal administration of the Democratic Party in Mississippi, race-clashes have disappeared from the State, riots are unknown, and insubordination to law unheard . . ." Writing in support of the 1880 Democratic presidential nominee, Winfield Hancock, editorials in the September 18, 1880 issue charged Republicans as being hypocrites regarding Negro suffrage, stating “. . . it is the Southern Democrats who are the colored man’s friend. . .” The Comet often featured articles on political races, such as the 1880 Senate contest in which Blanche K. Bruce (1875-81), the last major African-American office holder in 19th century Mississippi was replaced by "redeemer" James Z. George (1881-97) of Carrollton. Political commentary and reports supporting Governor John M. Stone (1876-82, 1890-96) were common, as were articles about the decisions and opinions of the state Supreme Court. Local, foreign, and general interest news often consisted of short "bullets." A "House Farm and Garden" column featured such diverse topics as fish culture, cost of cotton production, and raising game fowl. In addition to the usual advertisements for goods and professional services, marriage announcements, obituaries, and legal notices, the Comet announced public speaking engagements by well-known politicians, such as James Z. George and Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, and reported on other local entertainments, such as musical concerts and theatrical productions.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History