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The Brookhaven leader. [volume] : (Brookhaven, Miss.) 1883-1891
Place of publication:
Brookhaven, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Brookhaven, Lincoln, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
B.T. Hobbs
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Feb. 22, 1883)-v. 9, no. 41 (Dec. 24, 1891).
  • English
  • Brookhaven (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Mississippi--Brookhaven.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01219890
  • Mississippi.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207034
  • Prohibition--Mississippi--Newspapers.
  • Prohibition.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01078761
  • Temperance--Mississippi--Newspapers.
  • Temperance.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01147309
  • Also issued on microfilm from UMI.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Organ of: Farmers' Alliance of the Seventh Congressional District, <Oct. 29, 1891-Dec. 17, 1891>
sn 86074058
Succeeding Titles:
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The Brookhaven leader. [volume] February 22, 1883 , Image 1


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The Brookhaven leader, Mississippi leader, The leader, The Brookhaven ledger, and The Semi-weekly leader

Benjamin Turner Hobbs began his newspaper career as a printer's apprentice to ambitious Robert Hiram Henry, proprietor of the Newton Weekly Ledger (1871-75). A move to Brookhaven, the seat of Lincoln County located in the longleaf pine belt of southwestern Mississippi, required Henry to rename his journal the Brookhaven Ledger. Taking advantage of his employer's third move, this time to the state capital, Jackson, Hobbs purchased Henry's "office outfit." Seeking to acquire the Ledger's county readership, he established the four-page weekly Brookhaven Leader (1883-91). Hobbs subsequently moved his newspaper to Jackson in 1892 and renamed it the Mississippi Leader (1892-95).

For Hobbs, the transition to the state capital was not as successful as it was for his colleague Henry, whose State Ledger (1883-88) is still published today as the statewide Clarion-Ledger (1941-current); due to financial difficulties, Hobbs quickly returned to Brookhaven. In August 1895, the title was changed to the Leader, and by 1903 it was published twice weekly, even though the title didn't change to the Semi-Weekly Leader until two years later.

The Brookhaven Leader identified itself as Democratic in politics, and for a time its motto was "A Government in the Interest of the People;" however, Benjamin Hobbs's passion was Prohibition. In fact, his motive for moving the paper to Jackson was to promote his cause to a broader audience. When that venture failed, the business was reorganized into the Mississippi Leader Company, with Hobbs continuing as editor and business manager. The major stockholder of the company was Henry Ware, chairman of the executive committee of the Prohibition Party of Mississippi. The motto of the Mississippi Leader and for a time the Leader was "A Live Prohibition Newspaper, Devoted to Moral and Political Reform." Not only did the Leader promote temperance and abolishing liquor sales, it also supported farmers over big business, becoming "The Official Organ of the Farmers' Alliance of the 7th Congressional District" in the early 1890s. Articles and editorials supported state prison reform and backed the Populist Party. By 1897, when the Populist movement was waning and Hobbs was again proprietor of the Leader, the paper carried a more mainstream mix of national, state, and local news and local announcements and advertisements.

The four-to-eight-page Semi-Weekly Leader continued to advocate for Prohibition and other state reforms, including child labor laws and improved public health standards. Issues that affected the local timber industry and lumber production were often discussed. Native daughter Susie Powell, who taught at Whitworth College in Brookhaven, was instrumental in establishing some of the state's first tomato clubs in 1911 in Lincoln County; news about local chapters appeared in the paper. After Benjamin Hobbs died in October 1910, his wife, Lena, and son Paul took over the Semi-Weekly Leader; it remained in the Hobbs family until 1939. The journal is published in 2019 as the Daily Leader (1968-current).

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History