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The Neshoba Democrat. : (Philadelphia, Miss.) 1881-current
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Philadelphia, Neshoba, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
L. Stainton
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1881.
  • English
  • Mississippi--Philadelphia.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01219305
  • Philadelphia (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 8, no. 34 (Aug. 9, 1888).
sn 87065535
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The Neshoba Democrat. June 11, 1908 , Image 1


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The Neshoba Democrat

Located in east-central Mississippi, Neshoba County was created from the third Choctaw cession of 1830 and was one of 16 counties established on the same day in 1833. Meaning "wolf" in Choctaw, Neshoba was supposedly so named because of large numbers of the animal found in the area. The headwaters of the Pearl River form in the county's hilly terrain, and its fertile soil has always been suitable for farming. Similar to other parts of Mississippi, farmers in Neshoba County began to diversify their crops in the 1880s and 1890s and, in addition to cotton, produced corn, oats, wheat, sweet and Irish potatoes, and sorghum. Livestock included cattle and hogs. With the arrival of railroads and lumber industries during the late 19th and early 20th century, Philadelphia, the county seat originally incorporated in 1837, thrived.

Founded by Charlton A. Brand, Philadelphia's long-running newspaper, the Neshoba Democrat, frequently changed ownership. The first issue of the four-page weekly was published on August 6, 1881. In 1883 a school master, Lafayette Stainton, bought the newspaper and was editor for the next eight years. An issue dated August 8, 1888, indicates that Stainton coined the Democrat's motto "Truth, Justice, and Progress." Stainton sold the paper to Adam Monroe Byrd and Jefferson Davis King in 1891. Byrd, a renowned attorney and staunch Democrat, later served in the United States House of Representatives (1903-11). As editor, Byrd changed the paper's motto to "Patience, Tolerance, and Triumph," which continued into the 1920s. In 1906, William Taylor Quinn bought the Democrat and ran it for the next five years before moving north to manage the Okolona Messenger. Still a weekly, the Neshoba Democrat is published today.

After the Civil War, about 72 percent of Mississippians relied on farming as their primary source of employment. With good land in short supply, many landless whites and former slaves resorted to sharecropping. Ground by a cycle of debt, farmers in Mississippi expressed their grievances against the prevailing economic system. For example, the August 20, 1908 issue of the Democrat included an impassioned editorial from a member of the Farmers Union: "Now my friends, what are you going to do for homes and lands for your children . . . wake up and join us in this fight . . . ."

The pro-agrarian and Democratic newspaper was witness to many social and economic reforms in Mississippi during the Progressive Era. It covered national party conventions, including the 1908 Democratic National Convention held in Denver and reported extensively on agricultural innovations. Since 1891, the Neshoba County Fair has annually provided a venue for local farmers to display their livestock and crops and for women to share needlework and recipes. Every May, the Neshoba Democrat printed a special program for the event which included the schedules of notable state politicians, including James K. Vardaman and Theodore G. Bilbo, who regularly addressed their constituents at the fair. Farming news and domestic advice were also covered in the Neshoba Democrat in sections called "Dairy facts" and "The Kitchen cabinet." Separate columns featured local news, notices, and advertisements.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History