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The State guard. [volume] : (Wetumpka, Ala.) 1847-18??
Alternative Titles:
  • Guard
Place of publication:
Wetumpka, Ala.
Geographic coverage:
  • Wetumpka, Elmore, Alabama  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J. Hardy
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1847.
  • English
  • Alabama--Elmore County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212094
  • Alabama--Wetumpka.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215720
  • Elmore County (Ala.)--Newspapers.
  • Wetumpka (Ala.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 19 (May 11, 1847).
sn 86050185
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The State guard. [volume] May 11, 1847 , Image 1


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The State Guard

The city of Wetumpka, seat of Elmore County, sits along the Coosa River in the east-central part of Alabama. The area was long inhabited by the Creek people; the name "Wetumpka" comes from Creek words that describe the river's rumbling water.

The town was later under French and then British authority until it became part of the U.S. territory of Mississippi in 1798, and of Alabama territory in 1817. Following statehood in 1819, Wetumpka grew rapidly in the 1830s, and the Alabama state penitentiary, completed in 1841, was located there. By 1845, when Alabama officials decided to move the state capital from Tuscaloosa to a more central location, Wetumpka was one of the top contenders for the site, losing out to nearby Montgomery.

The weekly Wetumpka The State Guard was established in 1847 by John Hardy, a man whose January 25, 1883 obituary in the Selma Times called him "first and last perhaps the most unique character in the history of Alabama." Born in 1823, Hardy ran away from home around age twelve, becoming a printer's apprentice in the newspaper offices of the Cahawba Southern Democrat. This newspaper was purchased in 1838 by William Lowndes Yancey, a major proponent of Southern secessionism. Hardy worked for years under Yancey, but, the obituary explains, "From the end of his stay with Yancey he never ceased to be his most bitter enemy, always asserting that his employer marred his future life by not allowing him to go to school alternate years as agreed upon."

Early issues of the four-page The State Guard were a mixture of political news, editorials, poetry, letters to the editor, and advertisements for area goods and services. Several issues provided information about the state penitentiary. The front page for May 25, 1847, gave a list of the names, ages, occupations, and offenses of all convicts, indicating that among the inmates' top crimes were larceny, murder, and assault with intent to murder, while two people on the list had been imprisoned for "harboring slaves" or "aiding slaves to escape."

As the The State Guard was a Democratic paper, issues during 1847 and 1848 frequently discussed the Mexican-American War and decried the Whigs' opposition to it. In a May 18, 1847 editorial, Hardy declared: "The time has been when Whiggery might have passed off, and existed as a principled party, but alas! that day has fleeted away, never to return while Democracy flourishes so disadvantageous to the dearest wishes of their hearts."

The State Guard appears to have continued until at least 1853 under various combinations of editors. Hardy was involved until about 1851. The paper also existed as the Daily State Guard in 1849 and the Weekly State Guard in 1851.

In 1848 Hardy was named an inspector of the Alabama state penitentiary, a position he held until 1853. That year, he moved to Selma, where he began publishing the Alabama State Sentinel in February 1853. After the Civil War, Hardy embarked on a somewhat checkered career in politics, including time as a city council member and mayor of Selma.

Provided by: University of Alabama Libraries, Tuscaloosa, AL