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The Ocala banner. : (Ocala, Marion County, Fla.) 1883-194?
Alternative Titles:
  • Banner
  • Daily banner
  • Ocala daily banner <Jan. 5-Apr. 29, 1889>
Place of publication:
Ocala, Marion County, Fla.
Geographic coverage:
  • Ocala, Marion, Florida  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Banner Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 17, no. 12 (Aug. 25, 1883)-
Weekly <Jan. 3, 1890-Mar. 5, 1943>
  • English
  • Florida--Marion County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204301
  • Florida--Ocala.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215855
  • Marion County (Fla.)--Newspapers.
  • Ocala (Fla.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued on microfilm from University of Florida.
  • Also published a daily edition (title unknown), <1908-1920>.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Daily ed.: Ocala morning banner, 1930-1943.
  • Description based on: New ser., v. 2, no. 14 (Dec. 1, 1883).
  • Editors: T.W. Harris, F.E. Harris, C.L. Bittinger.
  • Issues for 1884 later called new ser., v. 2.
  • Latest issue consulted: Vol. 78, no. 9 (Mar. 5, 1943).
  • Publisher varies: Frank Harris & Frank Harris, Jr., <1913.
  • The East Florida Banner [LCCN: sn84022783] first started publishing weekly in Marion County, Florida in 1866. The Florida Newspaper Chronology, promulgated by David Shedden at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL, lists a variant for the initial appearance of the newspaper, the East Marion Banner [LCCN: not known to exist]. The East Florida Banner described itself as "Democratic" and as the "Official Organ of the 5th Judicial Circuit"-. It is the direct forerunner of today's Star-Banner [LCCN: sn95005532]. The East Florida Banner was sold to George W. Wilson in 1881, and renamed The Florida Banner-Lacon [LCCN: sn95047283], having merged with the Florida Lacon [LCCN: not known to exist]. In 1883, the name was changed to the Ocala (FL) Banner [LCCN: sn88074815]. In 1890, it became a daily newspaper. In 1895, the Ocala (FL) Evening Star [LCCN: sn84027621] surfaced as a rival publication to the Ocala Banner. They subsequently joined merged into one publication on September 1, 1943. The resulting Ocala (FL) Star-Banner [LCCN: sn78002071] has remained the daily newspaper in Marion County (FL) since that time. The Ocala Banner bore the alternate titles the Banner, the Daily Banner, and the Ocala Daily Banner. A daily edition, published between 1908 and 1920, is thought to have existed, but its title is unknown. Another daily edition, the Ocala Morning Banner was published between 1930 and 1943. R.N. Dosh, editor of the Ocala Evening Star in the 1920s and 1930s, gave an address to the Ocala Rotary Club, recalling by-gone editors and rival publications, chiefest of whom was Col. Frank E. Harris of the Ocala Banner in the 1890s. Frank E. Harris was sent to Florida to fight in the Seminole Wars. He later fought in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy in the First Florida Infantry Regiment. Other editors included T.W. Harris and C.L. Bittinger. T.W. Harris also published the daily, except Mondays, Daily Item (Ocala, FL) [LCCN sn95026901], from 1885 through 1886 and the weekly Rural Free Press (Ocala, FL) [LCCN sn95072056] from 1886 through at least 1888. Before moving to Florida, C.L. Bittinger had served as a commander in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Civil War. His only known newspaper work was with the Ocala Banner. Ocala (FL) is the seat of Marion County (FL) government. The Freeze of 1894 dramatically changed Ocala, devastating the citrus industry in Marion County. Between 1883 and 1943, other forms of agriculture took the place of citrus while tourism in the area grew. The Silver Springs theme park, known for its crystal clear waters, would do its part like no other attraction in pre-World War II Marion County. The County remained primarily agricultural until after the war, when its character would again change dramatically. The Ocala Banner covered agriculture, tourism and civic issues. --E. Kesse, University of Florida Digital Library Center.
sn 88074815
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The Ocala banner. March 13, 1891 , Image 1


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Ocala Banner, Ocala Star and Ocala Evening Star (Ocala, FL)

The Ocala Bannerwas founded in 1883 as a successor to the Ocala Banner-Iacon, itself the product of a merger between the East Florida Banner and the Florida Iacon. In 1890, the Ocala Banner became a daily. Over the years it bore alternate titles: the Banner, the Daily Banner, and the Ocala Daily Banner.

Situated in rural Marion County, the Ocala Banner covered farming, business, and civic issues in Ocala, where the Freeze of 1895 had devastated the citrus industry and paved the way for diversified agriculture and the growth of tourism.

The most important of the early editors of the Ocala Banner was Frank E. Harris, a veteran of the Confederate army, who ran the paper in the 1890s. Other editors included T.W. Harris, who had published several other newspapers in Ocala, and C.L. Bittinger, who before moving to Florida had served as a commander in the Grand Army of the Republic.

In 1895, the Ocala Evening Star surfaced as a rival to the Ocala Banner. Beginning in 1897, it also appeared in a weekly edition, the Ocala Weekly Star. During an address to the Ocala Rotary Club, R.N. Dosh, editor of the Evening Star in the 1920s and 1930s, recalled that the “Star first saw the light of day in the press room of the Florida Baptist Witness”, founded in 1884 as the weekly press organ of the Florida Baptist Convention, a branch of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Former competitors, the Ocala Evening Star and the Ocala Banner joined in 1943 to form the Ocala Star-Banner, which remains the daily newspaper of Marion County.

Provided by: University of Florida