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The Southern star. : (Panola, Miss.) 1856-1856
Place of publication:
Panola, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Panola, Panola, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Ward & Bowers
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 1, no. 11 (Apr. 5, 1856).
  • Began in 1856.
  • English
  • Mississippi--Panola County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01225837
  • Panola County (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 4 (Feb. 23, 1856).
sn 87065523
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The Southern star. February 23, 1856 , Image 1


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The Southern Star, The Panola Star, The Weekly Panola Star, The Daily Panola Star and The Panola Weekly Star

The flat to rolling terrain of Panola County, in northwest Mississippi at the eastern edge of the fertile Yazoo-Mississippi River Delta, was perfect for growing cotton, the cash crop of 19th-century Mississippi. Later in the century, additional profitable crops included corn, potatoes and sorghum. Farmers raised livestock including cattle, mules, and horses; and the timber industry was on the rise.

From 1856 until 1871 the county seat, Panola, had one newspaper, the four-page weekly Star run: the Southern Star (1856), the Panola Star (1856-57) and the Weekly Panola Star (1857-81). A June 21, 1856 editorial summed up the newspaper's pre-war political stance: "Let no one suppose that in publishing a neutral paper, we do not sympathize with either party . . . as an individual citizen, we intend to vote for Millard Fillmore . . . ." This endorsement of Fillmore, who had formerly been associated with the Whig party, reflected the moderate views of the county citizenry. During the Civil War, while Matthew S. Ward, the proprietor/editor of the Weekly Panola Star, served in the Confederate Army, assistants managed the newspaper, which was reduced to two pages in 1862 until it was discontinued in 1864. Civil War reporting included muster lists for at least seven of the twenty military companies raised in the county. When the Star resumed publication on July 1, 1865, the paper supported the Democratic Party. Ward sold the newspaper in 1867, but continued for a time as editor. Among important documents published in post-war issues were proclamations regarding the reorganization of the state government by provisional Governor William L. Sharkey and general orders from Fourth Military District commanders, General Alvan Gillem (1866-67) and General Edward Ord (1867-68). The Star criticized federal policies and Republican Governors Adelbert Ames and James L. Alcorn. Content included the typical mix of editorials, general interest stories, and local news and legal notices; many advertisements were for cotton factors.

In 1871, the county seat and the Weekly Panola Star moved across the Tallahatchie River to thriving Sardis, Mississippi, despite objections of Panola residents as voiced in an April 1, 1871 article. Freeman Randolph, who had joined the Star as co-editor in 1869, was sole proprietor by December 1870. For at least two years, Randolph printed a special, time-limited, daily newspaper, the Daily Panola Star (1871-72), in association with the Sardis Agricultural and Mechanical Society's annual fall fair, which added fair proceedings to the normal mix of news. Two years after R. A. Bonner bought the newspaper in 1880, he changed its title to the Panola Weekly Star (1882-86?). The four-page newspaper printed informational articles about agriculture, promoted the virtues of temperance, supported Democratic policies such as low tariffs and taxes and backed Democrat Grover Cleveland for President of the United States; important local topics included the traffic on the Tallahatchie River, news about the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad, and the affairs of county government. The Panola Weekly Star increased the number of general interest stories, national news, and local social news; there were no legal notices. The Panola Weekly Star was last listed in the 1886 edition of George P. Rowell and Company's American Newspaper Directory.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History