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The Pearl River banner. : (Monticello, Miss.) 1837-18??
Place of publication:
Monticello, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Monticello, Lawrence, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Donald Cameron
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1837.
  • English
  • Mississippi--Monticello.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01219387
  • Monticello (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 11 (Dec. 16, 1837).
sn 87065417
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The Pearl River banner. December 16, 1837 , Image 1


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The Pearl River Banner

Located in southwest Mississippi, one of the earliest parts of the state settled by Europeans, Lawrence was one of the 14 counties created before statehood in 1817. Established about 1812, Monticello, its county seat, was located at the intersection of the Pearl River and St. Stephens Road, which connected Fort St. Stephens in Alabama to the territorial capital, Natchez, on the Mississippi River. Prosperous from the start, Monticello narrowly missed being named the state capital by the 1821 legislature. Cotton, and later yellow pine timber, were two major commodities produced in the region. Hiram G. Runnels, son of Monticello's founder, was Mississippi's ninth Governor (1833-35), followed shortly thereafter by another Monticellan, the state's eleventh Governor Charles Lynch (1836-38).

There were several newspapers in Monticello prior to 1840, but the four-page weekly Pearl River Banner (1837-39) may have been the sole Whig publication in a strongly Democratic county. Publishers and editors Donald Cameron and George J. Cohea often struggled to distribute the paper in a timely manner; at first, there were few advertisers. In addition to supporting the Whig Party, the publishers were adherents of states' rights, as explained in the prospectus: ". . . all powers not granted to the Federal Government, are reserved to the States or to the People . . . ." The purpose of the Banner was to provide news of interest to patrons, such as agricultural information and articles promoting "sound moral principles . . . [and] intellectual improvement." The newspaper apparently did not last long after Cohea's departure sometime in April 1839, for no known issues exist after April 27, 1839.

With the nation in the midst of a recession when the Pearl River Banner began operation, the banking and financial crises were topics of many editorials. International news focused on the 1837-38 rebellions in Canada and the border conflict between Mexico and the Republic of Texas. Political news included the Whig ticket for state offices, reports on Whig meetings, election results, and a regular column entitled "Doings of the Miss. Legislature." Numerous articles and news bullets commented on the vital steamboat traffic on the Pearl River, which provided a route to New Orleans via lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. City ordinances and Board of Police notices discussed issues like the sale of "spirituous liquors' and the construction of a new courthouse. Entertainments publicized were balls, plays, and orations. Other content included general interest stories, poetry, witticisms, newspaper prospectuses, legal notices, and the occasional obituary and marriage announcement.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History