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The Southern herald. : (Liberty, Miss.) 1866-current
Place of publication:
Liberty, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Liberty, Amite, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
P.R. Brewer
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1866.
  • English
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 2 (Feb. 24, 1866).
sn 87007277
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The Southern herald. June 16, 1866 , Image 1


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The Southern Herald

Situated on the Louisiana border in the southwest corner of Mississippi, Amite County was created in 1809 in the Mississippi Territory, before statehood in 1817. With flat to hilly terrain and sandy and silt loam soil, the area was a rich agricultural and timber-growing region, forested with longleaf yellow pine. Cotton reigned supreme in antebellum Amite County; diversification after the Civil War added such profitable crops as corn, oats, potatoes, jute, rice, and sugar cane. Primarily rural, even in the early 20th century, industry in the county included cotton gins and grist and saw mills. The establishment of a seat of government to be known as Liberty was also authorized in 1809, and the town, near a branch of the Amite River, was incorporated in 1828.

One of the longest-running newspapers in the state, the weekly Southern Herald (1866-current) began in 1825 as the Amite Democrat (1825-66). When the title changed in 1866, P. R. Brewer owned the newspaper. In 1866 the masthead declared that the paper was "Devoted to Literature, News &c.;" Brewer ran the Democrat-affiliated Herald until 1892, when Asa G. Stratton purchased the newspaper; it remained in Stratton's family until 1969. The Southern Herald is still published in 2015 as a weekly.

Content was fairly consistent throughout the Southern Herald's run: political editorials advocating southern Democratic views, all types of legislative news, poetry and serialized stories, current news, advertisements, death and marriage notices, and legal notices. Over time, the paper became less overtly partisan and more organized, and content shifted from general interest articles and interesting facts to more foreign and national news. The Southern Herald also featured news from around the state and had abundant local news. For example, the June 16, 1866 issue reported on a meeting called ". . . for the purpose of organizing a permanent association with a view of erecting a suitable monument to the Confederate dead of Amite County . . . . " Built in 1871, Liberty's was the oldest Confederate monument in Mississippi and arguably the oldest in America. Southern loyalty also manifested itself in numerous organizations and reunions, such as the request for ". . . all veterans of Amite county . . . to organize and formulate a plan for a permanent organization" published in the September 20, 1889 edition.

Usually four pages long, the paper expanded to eight during "the great war" years (1914-18), as World War I was known at the time. Although it did not claim to be the official county newspaper until 1918, the Herald published board of supervisor proceedings and notices from the county school board throughout much of its run. From the 1880s onward, there were numerous agricultural articles, often about raising livestock or caring for poultry. Prohibition was another issue of longstanding importance in the county; as early as July 2, 1881, the paper included a call for a meeting of "the friends of prohibition in Amite County," and the January 23, 1920 issue had an article announcing national prohibition. In the 20th century, content of the Herald expanded to include school news, columns for nearby communities, sports, household tips, and the latest fashions.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History