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Richmond semi-weekly times. [volume] : (Richmond, Va.) 184?-1853
Place of publication:
Richmond, Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Richmond, Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City State
W.C. Carrington & W.H. Davis
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1853.
  • English
  • Richmond (Va.)--Newspapers.
  • Virginia--Richmond.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205345
  • Description based on: Vol. 75, no. 124 (Mar. 12, 1850).
sn 94060040
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Richmond semi-weekly times. [volume] January 31, 1851 , Image 1


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Daily Richmond Times, Richmond Daily Times, and Richmond Semi-Weekly Times

Long before "Times" appeared in the title, the Daily Richmond Times began as the Daily Compiler on May 1, 1813. Originally published by Leroy Anderson and Philip Duval, the Daily Compiler was Richmond's first daily newspaper. In 1816, Thomas Ritchie, editor of the Richmond Enquirer, bought and owned the paper until 1833, when he sold it to M. M. Robinson, an anti-Jacksonian.

Initially the paper comprised primarily advertisements, with only the second page set aside for news, mostly excerpted from other newspapers, but by 1835, the Compiler's non-advertising content expanded and improved. While ads continued to take up the first and fourth pages, the second and third pages contained news, poetry, obituaries, and congressional reports. The Compiler regularly endorsed one of the few literary magazines offered in the South, the Southern Literary Messenger, published in Richmond from 1834–1864 and edited by Edgar Allen Poe from 1835 until 1837.

A semiweekly edition of the paper, the Richmond Courier and Semi-Weekly Compiler, began sometime in the 1830s. From 1835–1844, the title of the semiweekly edition changed a few times before settling on the Richmond Times in 1844 and then the Richmond Semi-Weekly Times sometime in the late 1840s or 1850.

In April 1845, William Cabell Carrington joined William H. Davis as editor and proprietor of the Times and Compiler. On July 18, 1850, Davis announced his retirement from publishing and Carrington carried on editing and publishing the Daily Richmond Times (the Times and Compiler changed its title in 1849), which contained a good deal of advertising but also included editorials, letters to the editor, poetry, political news, maritime news, local, state, national and foreign news and gubernatorial and presidential addresses. Carrington, a native of Charlotte County, had attended Hampden-Sidney College and studied law at the University of Virginia before taking over the editorial duties of the Times and Compiler. At the time of his arrival in 1845, the paper was an organ of the Whig Party, the dominant party in Richmond from the 1830s until the 1850s. In 1850, at age thirty, Carrington was elected to represent Richmond in the Virginia House of Delegates, but became ill with pneumonia and died three weeks before taking office.

William Cabell Carrington's sudden death required action to deal with the future of the Richmond Daily Times and the Richmond Semi-Weekly Times, titles that had been running concurrently during the late 1840s and early 1850s. After Carrington's death, his father and executor, posted a notice to the public in the January 9, 1852 Richmond Daily Times (the Daily Richmond Times had changed its name in 1850), "The unexpected death of my son," he wrote, "has devolved upon me, his legal representative, the necessity of making such arrangements as will ensure the regular publication of this paper." He added that he would prefer to sell the paper, but if he did not find a buyer, he would employ a capable editor. Regardless of whether it was a new owner or a new editor, H. Carrington required the Times remain faithful to the principles of the Whig party. He also explained that a purchaser would find the paper in "a prosperous condition."

On the morning of February 14, 1852, the Richmond Daily Times announced that Carter H. Irving and John Scott were its new editors and proprietors. "Suffice it for the present to say," they wrote in their introduction, "it will be our endeavor to uphold and defend the cherished principles of the Whig party." They also explained that they would respect southern institutions while upholding the principles of the Union, making clear their Union sympathies in the face of growing sectional crisis. "We yield to no man in devotion to Southern institutions," they wrote, "but not until the last hope of maintaining them in the Union shall have died away." Their time as the editors and proprietors was short-lived, however, as both the Richmond Daily Times and the Richmond Semi-Weekly Times ceased sometime in 1853.

Provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA