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The Spirit of the times. : (Pontotoc, Miss.) 1841-1842
Place of publication:
Pontotoc, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Pontotoc, Pontotoc, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 2, no. 18 (Sept. 3, 1842).
  • Began in 1841?
  • English
  • Mississippi--Pontotoc.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01276556
  • Pontotoc (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 36 (Jan. 8, 1842).
sn 86090963
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The Spirit of the times. May 15, 1841 , Image 1


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The Spirit of the Times and Southern Tribune

Pontotoc County, in northeastern Mississippi, was established in 1832 from land obtained from the Chickasaw under the Treaty of Pontotoc Creek. The town of Pontotoc was incorporated in 1837 and is the county seat.

The Spirit of the Times, a four-page Democratic paper published every Saturday in Pontotoc, was established in 1841 by William W. Leland. Prior to establishing the Times, Leland was proprietor of the Pontotoc newspapers, the Chickasaw Union (1836-38) and the Mississippi Intelligencer  (1840-18??); due to the Panic of 1837 the two journals were short-lived. The Times also endured financial instability, partially due to subscribers failing to pay their subscription fee, as evident in the September 18, 1841 article entitled, "Keep it before the people." In the editorial Leland stated that "... printers can't live on kind words and fair promises." Because of the newspaper's financial difficulties, the Times was published irregularly. The last installment of the Times was issued on September 3, 1842, but it resurfaced the following week as the Southern Tribune with Leland and Charles A. Bradford, a lawyer who once worked with Leland on the Mississippi Intelligencer, as publishers. For the first seven months of 1845 Leland, now with a different partner, moved the place of publication to Aberdeen and temporarily changed the title to the Southern Tribune and Aberdeen Commercial News; by August Leland had moved the operation back to Pontotoc. The Southern Tribune continued to be issued every Saturday until it ceased publication in 1847.

The Spirit of the Times initially started as a newspaper devoted to the topics of agriculture, commerce and literature; however, later issues shifted focus to the banking crisis and local and national political coverage such as congressional elections and affairs. Local matters were also reported, for example, the March 12, 1841 issue contained news about the establishment of the local militia, the Pontotoc Dragoons. The Southern Tribune reported a similar mix of news; by April 1846 coverage of the Mexican-American War had begun, and it lasted throughout the run of the paper. Being heavily involved in politics, the Tribune often published addresses delivered by key political figures; speeches by John C. Calhoun and President James K. Polk appeared in the December 20, 1845 issue. Other content of the Southern Tribune included bankruptcy and other legal notices, fugitive slave announcements, local advertisements, and amusing stories like "Let go my hair," about a trick played on two sleepy deacons, which appeared in the December 6, 1845 issue.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History