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McNairy County independent. : (Selmer, McNairy County, Tenn.) 1902-1969
Place of publication:
Selmer, McNairy County, Tenn.
Geographic coverage:
  • Selmer, McNairy, Tennessee  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.W. Purviance
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 27, 1902)-v. 68, no. 20 (Nov. 13, 1969).
  • English
  • McNairy County (Tenn.)--Newspapers.
  • Selmer (Tenn.)--Newspapers.
  • Tennessee--McNairy County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01227037
  • Tennessee--Selmer.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01227036
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Merged with: Adamsville appeal, to form: Independent-appeal (Selmer, Tenn.).
sn 89058154
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McNairy County independent. January 3, 1913 , Image 1


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McNairy County Independent

On June 27, 1902, Colonel James W. Purviance published the first issue of the McNairy County Independent in Selmer, Tennessee, the county seat. Purviance served as editor and publisher for nearly two decades of the weekly newspaper's lifespan. At the turn of the 20th century, the Independent circulated to fewer than 1,000 residents in a largely agricultural region, for a one-dollar annual subscription rate. Throughout much of its early history, the Independent displayed none of the main attributes of Hearst and Pulitzer's new journalism, but instead had more in common visually with newspapers of the 19th century. For instance, unlike many newspapers of the period, the front page of the Independent consisted mostly of advertising. Inside, the section-less newspaper presented a mixture of obituaries and local announcements, alongside regional and national news from the Associated Press wire. In November 1918, the armistice marking the end of the First World War was announced under a modest heading, "The End at Last," alongside a poem, "Peace After Victory." Although the war had officially ended, the Independent continued to receive and publish letters from "local boys" serving in Europe. In the July 18, 1919 issue, a letter from a McNairy Countian stationed in Germany was published on the Independent's front page. The writer stated that he read the Independent most weeks and had learned (May 23, 1919) that there was another "McNairy boy" in Germany, 25 miles from him, whom he planned to visit.

The McNairy County Independent changed owners and publishers many times during its more than 100-year-long history, but it always remained an independent family newspaper. From 1920 until 1938, the Abernathy family served as publishers and editors, while other family members were columnists. The newspaper changed hands several times afterward, and in 1969 the Independent merged with the Adamsville Appeal to form the Independent-Appeal, which is now published online.

Provided by: University of Tennessee