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EARLY NEWSPAPERS

MURRAY COUNTY'S EARLY NEWSPAPERS

The first newspaper in Murray County began publication at Dalton in 1847. This was The North Georgia Citizen. Originally called White Plains, Dalton lay within Murray county at that time. Four years later the western part of Murray County became Whitfield County. This meant that Murray lost roughly half of its land and it's only newspaper. Without its own newspaper, Murray County's legal notices had to be published in the Dalton newspaper.

Before Murray County was created, this area was part of The Cherokee Nation. Soon after Sequoyah perfected his Cherokee alphabet, Cherokee leaders undertook a major education project to teach most of their citizens to utilize the newly created alphabet to read and write their language. Very quickly the Cherokees became a literate nation.

They started an unusual newspaper printed in a mix of two languages-Cherokee and English. This became the Cherokee's communication medium for their own people and all English-speakers beyond their borders. The first issue of The Cherokee Phoenix was printed at the Cherokee Capital, New Echota, February 21, 1828. Elias Boudinot, educated at the Brainerd Mission (near present-day Chattanooga) and at Cornwall, Connecticut, was named editor.

The last issue of The Cherokee Phoenix published at New Echota was dated May 31, 1834. Publication ended because Georgia officials, determined to drive the Cherokees from the state, ordered the seizure and destruction of their printing press and type. The type probably was just thrown away near the newspaper's office because pieces of it have been found over the years. These relics can be seen at New Echota and in the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The first newspaper published within the boundaries of present-day Murray County was The Murray County Gazette. Asa Holcomb's father reportedly gave his son the resources to start the paper. The Gazette published its first issue at Spring Place, then the county seat, on October 11, 1878. A subscription for one-year cost 50 cents. The paper suspended publication after about 18 months.

Either very late in 1880 or very early in 1881, Colonel Trammel Starr founded the Spring Place Times at Spring Place. The last known issue was printed in 1887. It seems probable that the assets were then sold to C. N. King and S. B. Carter, with the paper being renamed North Georgia Times. King and Carter appear to have terminated their business arrangement in 1891 because King was then working with a new partner, J. C. Heartsill. The paper became the Spring Place Jimplecute. Because of its "spicy, original writing" this newspaper was read far beyond Murray County. City newspaper editors often reprinted items from the Jimplecute in their own newspapers. The Jimplecute published until 1903.

Murray News began publication at Spring Place, with its first issue dated August 21, 1896. A year later this paper was taken over by the Jimplecute.

The Spring Place Journal, with C. H. Shriner as editor and publisher, published its first issue December 20, 1901. Publication ceased in about a year.

The Murray News (note the newspaper name includes "The" because this is a different newspaper than the previously mentioned newspaper with the same name except for "the".) started publication at Spring Place very soon after the Spring Place Jimplecute folded in 1903. The Murray News was published its final edition in October 1913.

Odd as it may seem today, several (perhaps all) of the early newspapers were actually printed in the Murray County Courthouse at Spring Place. As late as 1910, The Murray News was being printed inside the courthouse.

The first newspaper in the new town of Chatsworth, The Chatsworth Progress, debuted January 5, 1907. A "forceful editorial" by the paper's founder, George E. Sherman, has been credited for changing the spelling of the town's name-from Chattsworth to Chatsworth.

A second paper for Chatsworth, The Chatsworth Times, began publication June 5, 1913. The owners of this second paper bought The Murray News in October, 1913, and combined the two publications.

T. E. Millmore, who had worked for several earlier newspapers in the county, launched The Murray County Messenger, which was published briefly at Eton. The first issue was dated July 2, 1914. Only 8 issues are known to have been published.

On June 12, 1935, The Murray Herald began publishing at Chatsworth. Lyman Hall was the founder of this paper, which ceased publication in August 1943.

Only The Chatsworth Times survives today.

Copies of many of these historically important newspapers are available on microfilm at the Chatsworth-Murray County Library.

(Much of the basic information in this article came from research and writings of J. Roy McGinty, Jr.)

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