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Water Valley progress. : (Water Valley, Miss.) 1882-1918
Place of publication:
Water Valley, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Water Valley, Yalobusha, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
C.H. Garland
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1882; ceased in 1918.
  • English
  • Mississippi--Water Valley.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01290105
  • Water Valley (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 7 (Feb. 9, 1884).
sn 87065501
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Water Valley progress. September 6, 1884 , Image 1


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Water Valley Progress, The City Itemizer, The Progress-itemizer, and The North Mississippi Herald

Most newspapers established after the Civil War in Water Valley, the largest town in Yalobusha County in north-central Mississippi, merged into the North Mississippi Herald, currently the only journal published in the county seat. Starting as the Mississippi Central (1870-87), R.M. Brown turned his well-edited paper into one of the most respected and influential in the region. When Brown died in 1875, his brother, Captain Samuel Brown, took over the Central's management until he sold it to Judge T. J. McFarland in 1882. Six years later when the weekly changed hands again, it adopted its current moniker.

A committed journalist, Samuel Brown sold the Mississippi Central and started a competing weekly, the Water Valley Progress (1882-1918). Reflecting the owner's political views, the Progress became the organ of the Democratic Party in Yalobusha County. The Captain's son, Garland, took over the Progress upon his father's death in 1907 and ran the newspaper until his own death ten years later. Another weekly, the small-format, 10-to-12 page City Itemizer (1894-1918) ran concurrently with the Progress for 24 years. Editor H. A. Lee's forthright motto was, "Devoted to the interest of the editor. Exclusively." While the Progress printed a typical mix of foreign, national, and local news, the Itemizer was strictly a local newspaper making it an excellent source for birth, marriage, and death announcements as well as in-depth reports on local events and issues. Taking over as editor, Mrs. Cornelia Mize Lee continued this trend upon her husband's death in July, 1916. The Progress-Itemizer became the paper's title when the two papers merged in 1918. Briefly known as the Progress-Herald after its 1929 merger with the Herald, within a year the name reverted to the North Mississippi Herald.

Until this final merger, from 1882-1923, all four newspapers reported on businesses that affected the economy of Water Valley and Yalobusha County. Watermelon and other farm and manufactured products were often in the news, with reports of shipments, as was the Yocona Cotton Mills, a major industry in town. A January 13, 1911 photo caption in the Herald noted the mill was "… the largest twine producing factory in the entire South …." With its maintenance shops and Mississippi headquarters nearby, the Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR) was the other major local employer often highlighted in the press. Considerable numbers of employees at both the Mill and the ICRR contracted influenza during the second wave of the pandemic in the fall of 1918. The situation was so bad the mayor and city alderman passed a temporary ordinance "… prohibiting all public gatherings of any kind as well as unnecessary traveling on the streets."

Current and former residents were often featured in Water Valley newspapers. Issues of the Water Valley Progress in 1902 and 1903 mentioned the removal of local Choctaws west to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Journalist and suffragist Minnie Brewer was born in Water Valley in 1898 when her father, future Governor Earl LeRoy Brewer, briefly had a law practice in town. An August 25, 1922 issue of the Progress-Itemizer featured Miss Brewer and promoted her short-lived newspaper, the Woman Voter (1922-24).

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History