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Oxford eagle. : (Oxford, Lafayette Co., Miss.) 1876-current
Place of publication:
Oxford, Lafayette Co., Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Oxford, Lafayette, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.E. Herndon
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Feb. 11, 1876)-
Daily (except Sat., Sun. and holidays)
  • English
  • Lafayette County (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Mississippi--Lafayette County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01216320
  • Mississippi--Oxford.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01217576
  • Oxford (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 87065469
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Oxford eagle. February 11, 1876 , Image 1


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Oxford Eagle

Lafayette County is located in the rolling hills of north central Mississippi, ancestral homeland of the Chickasaw. The county seat, Oxford, was named after the college town in England in the hope of becoming the site of the state's first public institution of higher learning. Three years after incorporation in 1837, Oxford was chosen as the home of the University of Mississippi, which opened its doors to students in 1848. Oxford became known as a cultural center due, in part, to the university as well as to the many authors who made it their home.

Veteran Samuel Moore Thompson moved to Oxford after the Civil War and founded the Oxford Falcon (1865-88?). In 1876, Thompson sold the Falcon and by 1879 owned a competing four-page weekly, the Oxford Eagle (1876-current). His uncompromising southern Democrat ideals were reflected in the newspaper's early motto, "White Men must rule our Country." Thompson's brother, Victor, edited the short-lived Oxford Weekly Ricochet (1874-18??), the rival Republican newspaper. Samuel Thompson was shot to death in 1883, while in custody for intoxication. With the help of skilled writers, his wife, Eliza, successfully ran the Eagle for another 32 years. Shortly after purchasing the Eagle from Eliza in 1915, George W. Price also bought the Lafayette County Press (1906-15); he expanded the merged paper from four to eight pages. The Oxford Eagle is still published in 2020 as a daily.

For the first 50 years, the Eagle was devoted to politics, printing the latest legislative news, candidacy announcements, and editorials in support of the Democratic Party. The first issue, published on February 11, 1876, contained an article discussing the possible impeachment of Republican Governor Adelbert Ames. National and international stories as well as general intelligence articles appeared, but the paper was mostly known as an excellent source of state and local news. From 1905 into the 1920s, it served as the official organ of Lafayette County, publishing the proceedings of the Board of Supervisors, as well as those of the Board of Mayor and Alderman for Oxford. County legal notices, local marriage and death announcements, and advertisements appeared throughout the newspaper. Reminiscences of the Civil War occasionally appeared, including one on December 18, 1919 about local regiment the University Greys.

News about Oxford's famous sons and their families can be found in late 19th and early 20th century issues of the Oxford Eagle. Lawyer, professor, and statesman, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825-93) moved to Oxford after the Civil War to establish a legal practice. The Eagle reviewed his political career from his days in the United States House of Representatives (1873-77) and U.S. Senate (1877-85), as Secretary of the Interior (1885-88), and as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1888-93). Playwright, novelist, and literary critic Stark Young (1881-1963) often appeared in social news, including an item in the September 18, 1902 issue, which announced his move to New York to take up a career in journalism. Like Young, Nobel Prize winner for literature William Faulkner (1897-1962) grew up in Oxford. Faulkner, originally spelled Falkner, was first known for his poetry. A couple of his poems were published in 1919 editions of the paper while he was a student at Ole Miss.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History