Monday, August 17, 2015

Newspaper went down, but the soul was saved

     My newspaper colleagues will enjoy the following story, which I discovered in the April 26, 1865 issue of the Southern Watchman, published in Athens, Ga., the week before Stoneman’s Yankee cavalry invaded the Classic City and commandeered the press.

     Google finds more than a dozen versions of this story in various newspaper archives. The earliest I've found was in the Baltimore Patriot, which printed it in 1857 and folded in 1859. Of course, you can trace the roots of the story all the way back to the Garden of Eden
     I know of at least one Civil War newspaperman who prospered by selling his journalistic soul to the godforsaken Yankees. William Brownlow was a former Methodist preacher who was paid by the Federal government to publish a pro-Union paper in Tennessee. Brownlow's Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator propelled "the Fighting Parson" to election in 1865 as the post-war governor of Tennessee.

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