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The weekly picket. : (Canton, Miss.) 1894-19??
Place of publication:
Canton, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Canton, Madison, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Ross & Almon
Dates of publication:
  • Began with Aug. 17, 1894 issue.
  • English
  • Canton (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Mississippi--Canton.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01219893
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 12, no. 40 (Dec. 7, 1894).
  • Numbering is irregular.
sn 86074081
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The weekly picket. September 21, 1894 , Image 1


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The Madisonian, The Canton Mail, The Weekly Picket and The Canton Times

Cotton was the primary crop in Madison County, one of the richest farming sections of antebellum Mississippi. An important railroad center, Canton, the county seat, was the northern terminus of the New Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern, and the southern terminus for the Mississippi Central lines. When fighting came during the Civil War, the railroads were a primary target. In 1874 the Illinois Central bought and reorganized the two lines. By the end of the 19th century, diversification added fruits and vegetables, shipped by rail to northern markets, as profitable agricultural products.

Prominent citizens often published Canton's Democratic newspapers. A. P. Hill, Sr., a judge and later member of the Mississippi secession convention, edited the four-page, weekly Madisonian (1850-55) for a short time. The Madisonian printed letters and addresses of prominent citizens and the prospectus of like-minded newspapers. International events were covered, such as General Narciso Lopez's failed attempt to overthrow the Spanish government in Cuba, vigorously supported by Mississippi Governor John A. Quitman who subsequently was forced to resign because of his support of the filibuster. National topics included the admission of California as a free state and in local news the establishment of a Canton to Jackson railroad.

The Canton Mail (1865?-83) and its successor the Canton Picket were produced by two established newspaper families. By 1868, the four-page weekly Mail was edited and owned by Singleton Garrett; among his business partners was his younger brother Joseph Walker Garrett. Emmett L. Ross, who bought the Mail in 1873, was the paper's most noted editor. Recognized by his fellow editors as an accomplished orator, Ross was often elected "poet laureate" at the annual Mississippi Press Association meeting. In the September 25, 1875 issue, the Canton Mail covered racial "disturbances" in Yazoo [City], Clinton, and Vicksburg; many editorials in the mid-1870s decried the unfair depiction of race relations in the South by northern newspapers.

Joseph Walker Garrett resumed ownership of the Canton Mail and in 1883 changed its title to the Picket. Soon it became the Canton Picket (1883-94), and for a time there appeared a concurrent daily version, the Daily Picket (1886?-1903?). Emmett L. Ross resumed the editorship of the Picket in 1886, and Howard G. Ross, Emmett's son, took over the paper in 1891. In 1894, the weekly version became the Weekly Picket (1894-1909?). Early in the 20th century, the Picket expanded from four to eight pages. In 1907, the Picket carried news on contemporary issues, strongly backing prohibition, for example. The last record of the Picket was in 1909, according to George P. Rowell and Company's American Newspaper Directory.

The Weekly Picket's main competition was an eight-page Democratic weekly, the Canton Times (1893-1906). Dr. Benjamin Passmore owned and edited the Times by 1895; in January 1902, his son Ellis joined him as publisher. With another change in ownership in 1906, the Times became the Madison County Herald; it is published today as a semiweekly. Among the topics the Canton Times covered at the turn of the century were Cuban efforts towards independence culminating in the 1898 Spanish-American War and the construction of a new state house in Mississippi. Fictional stories, poems, editorials, general interest news, advertisements, political news, social announcements, and legal notices also appeared in varying degrees in all the newspapers.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History