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About The Copiah signal. (Hazlehurst, Miss.) 1882-1883
Hazlehurst, Miss. (1882-1883)
- The Copiah signal. : (Hazlehurst, Miss.) 1882-1883
- Alternative Titles:
- Place of publication:
- Hazlehurst, Miss.
- Geographic coverage:
- Oscar H. Johnston
- Dates of publication:
- Ceased in 1883.
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (Feb. 10, 1882)-
- Hazlehurst (Miss.)--Newspapers.
- sn 87065172
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
The weekly Copiahan, The Copiahan, The Copiah signal, The Hazlehurst signal, Copiah signal, and Signal-Copiahan
Located southwest of the Mississippi state capital, Jackson, Copiah County was established in January 1823 from land ceded to the United States by the Choctaw through the New Purchase of 1820. After the Civil War, the county became known for the large-scale production of tomatoes. Hazlehurst became the county seat in 1872. As a railroad town, it was a shipping point for the tomatoes, other fruit and vegetables, wool, hides, and lumber, in addition to the ever-important cotton.
The Weekly Copiahan made its debut on a Saturday in September 1865; by the end of December, John Vance and S. F. Massengill were the editors and publishers. From 1874-76 the alternative title, the Copiahan, was consistently used in the masthead and thereafter used occasionally as the front page title. The Copiahan described itself as "… a friend to the farmer, the mechanic, the laborer, and all trades and professions …." The Copiahan carried numerous legal notices in addition to political commentary, some national news, letters to the editor, legislative acts, advertisements, and business cards. Examples of legislation in the aftermath of the Civil War include Mississippi's Freedmen law and Vagrant law, which appeared in the December 30, 1865 issue. Democratic-Conservative Party election tickets and announcements of "anti-radical" meetings belied the large-format paper's political leaning.
A competing four-page weekly, the Copiah Signal, was started in February 1882 by Oscar Johnston, a former Weekly Copiahan employee. While both papers focused on news relevant to the county and local announcements from Hazlehurst, Beauregard, and Wesson, the Signal included more general interest content than the Copiahan. Johnston, a fervent Democrat, used his paper to attack those with opposing political views—so vehemently that he was challenged to at least one duel. The Signal covered significant county events including a cyclone that hit Wesson and Beauregard in 1883 as well as a controversy over temperance that same year. Most notably, however, the November 19, 1885 issue of the succeeding Hazlehurst Signal recounted the fire that devastated downtown Hazlehurst the Monday prior. The Signal was able to survive the conflagration; the Weekly Copiahan was not. Two weeks after the fire it was announced that the two papers would combine under a new name, the Signal-Copiahan. In 1888, the title reverted to the Copiah Signal.
William Mitchell continued to publish the consolidated paper on the same day (Thursday) as his previous newspaper, the Hazlehurst Signal, and to begin with, used similar content and formatting. For a time, he also continued to use the Signal's motto, "Home Men and Home Rule." Although news and advice specifically for farmers appeared as early as the 1870s in the Copiahan, by 1888 the Copiah Signal was the official journal of the Farmer's Alliance, an agrarian organization associated with the populist movement. It was also the official journal of Copiah County. The Copiah Signal does not appear to have survived into the 20th century; its last appearance in N. W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual was in the 1899 edition, which showed that the paper had been moved to the nearby town of Wesson.
Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History