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The Kingwood chronicle. [volume] : (Kingwood, Va. [W. Va.]) 1861-1861
Place of publication:
Kingwood, Va. [W. Va.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Kingwood, Preston, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
[George & Amos] Row
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 26, 1861)-Aug. 17, 1861.
  • English
  • Kingwood (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • West Virginia--Kingwood.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01226783
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 86092243
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The Kingwood chronicle. [volume] January 26, 1861 , Image 1


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The Kingwood chronicle

On January 26, 1861, the newly-established The Kingwood Chronicle hit the streets of Kingwood in Preston County, Virginia. A weekly four-page paper, the Chronicle was published by brothers George and Amos Row who aimed "to publish an independent journal," vowing "in political quarrels we shall take no part." It was a promise the editors found impossible to keep. Although in publication for a mere eight months, the Kingwood Chronicle provides insight into the political chaos enveloping western Virginia in 1861.

George and Amos Row hailed from a newspaper family. Their father, Jonathan Row, founded and edited the Indiana Register in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Jonathan's sons (including George and Amos) grew up helping their father publish the Register. Sometime around 1860, local interests encouraged George and Amos Row to establish a newspaper of their own in western Virginia, and the two brothers began publication of the Chronicle.

The Kingwood Chronicle's publication coincided with the gravest political crisis in United States history. As Southern states seceded to form the Confederacy, Virginia's future within the Union was unclear. The Row brothers routinely reported on political developments. Early in the secession crisis, the Chronicle expressed hope that a peaceful, diplomatic solution would be found, even going so far as to "consider that the crisis is passed" in February. Despite their promise to be apolitical, the Row brothers' support for the Union was clear: the Chronicle regularly reported on local pro-Union rallies, flag raisings, and speeches.

By April 1861, the secession crisis had reached a boiling point as the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter and several Upper South states, including Virginia, joined the Confederacy. In the face of civil strife, George and Amos took a firm stance in the Chronicle's pages: "And now a position must be taken by every individual—either we are for the Union and the Constitution and the enforcement of the laws, or we are against these," they declared. "We regard the Union as the palladium of our liberties, and to the fullest extent of our feeble talents we shall sustain it." The editors embraced the prospect of western Virginia forming its own state.

The Chronicle kept readers abreast of the first military campaigns of the war, including the Union's victory at nearby Philippi, Virginia in June and the larger defeat at First Bull Run in July. Besides the latest political and military developments, the Chronicle also offered its readers more mundane and practical information, including local court and civic proceedings, poetry (though the editors scorned "the flash literature of doubtful tendency, so popular in large cities"), self-help columns, and the usual slate of local advertisements.

Despite a sizable readership and praise from other regional papers, the Row brothers struggled financially. Many subscribers and advertisers to the Chronicle failed to pay their dues, and the brothers sank in debt. Compounding the paper's financial difficulties was the local political chaos. Although Preston County heavily favored the Union, George and Amos Row's Unionism had drawn threats of violence from Confederate sympathizers. Faced with financial and political troubles, the Rows suspended publication of the Chronicle in August 1861. Despite their intention to resume publication, they did not. The brothers returned to Pennsylvania, and George Row assumed control of the Indiana Register until 1869.

Provided by: West Virginia University