The Newnan Herald – forerunner of The Newnan Times-Herald – was the first newspaper founded in Georgia after the Civil War.
In September 1865, just months after the gunfire ended, the first issue of The Herald rolled off the presses. Coweta County has had a newspaper at least once a week every week since that time.
Before 1865, there were several newspapers published from time to time in Coweta. Now several of those publications can be accessed online.
As part of a $14,495 grant from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation, the Digital Library of Georgia has digitized approximately 53,930 pages of Georgia newspaper titles published prior to 1861 from microfilm held by the Georgia Newspaper Project.
The project creates full-text searchable versions of the newspapers and presents them online for free in its Georgia Historic Newspapers database at http://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu
Newnan publications in the database include:
•The Palladium, 1835. This was one of Coweta’s first newspapers, second only to the short-lived Coweta Advertiser, published by Samuel Minor earlier the same year.
A second paper was started by J. Nelson, who sold that publication to Charles F. Sherborn. Sherborn resurrected it as the The Palladium starting in September 1835. According to the website, The Palladium was “the city’s first stable newspaper.” It ceased publication in 1837.
•Transcript/Georgia Banner, 1840-1860s. James A. and Frank M. Welch founded The Transcript in 1840, but changed the name later that year. Later issues bear the name Georgia Banner and Sentinel.
The Welches were longtime newspaper people who were also involved with The Herald later. Descendants of the Welches still live in Coweta County today.
In antebellum times, The Banner was the legal organ for not only Coweta, but also Carroll, Heard and Meriwether counties.
•The Independent Blade, 1855-early 1860s. Thomas W. Bolton and F. D. Bowen started The Blade, later bringing on Henry A. Livingston as editor and publisher of their paper.
•The Southern Literary Companion, published 1860-1865. This literary magazine was established by I. N. Davis in January 1860. While the focus was on essays, poems, and short stories, the Companion also reported some local news and the events of the Civil War.
J. C. Wooten, who later was associated with The Herald, served as editor at one point. Another staff member was Miss C.W. Barber, formerly of the Madison Visitor. She later started her own publication in Newnan.
University of Georgia spokeswoman Mandy Mastrovita said the project was done in accordance with technical guidelines developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress for the National Digital Newspaper Program.
“The Georgia Historic Newspapers database will utilize the Library of Congress' open source tool, Chronicling America, for the online delivery of the full-text newspapers. Users will be able to search the database for geographic, corporate, family and personal names,” Mastrovita said.
The purpose of the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation Trust is to promote genealogical research and study in Georgia in conjunction with the Georgia Genealogical Society and the Georgia Archives.
The trust has been funding printed materials since 1971 and, more recently, has been providing funds for digital projects. The newspaper will offer “free online access to tens of thousands of Georgia newspaper pages that previously were difficult to research,” Vivian Price Saffold, chairman of the foundation’s advisory committee, said.
“Georgia newspapers are a valuable resource,” Saffold stated. “On the technical side, the online newspaper images are sharp and clear, and the functionality of the indexing is excellent.”
A total of 138 pre-Civil War titles have been digitized. In addition to Newnan, cities represented include Albany, Americus, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Auraria, Calhoun, Carrollton, Cartersville, Cassville, Clarkesville, Columbus, Covington, Cuthbert, Darien, Forsyth, Ft. Hawkins, Greensboro, Griffin, Hamilton, Louisville, Lumpkin, Macon, Madison, Mount Zion, Oglethorpe, Penfield, Petersburg, Rome, Savannah, Sparta, Thomaston, Thomasville, Warrenton and Washington.