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Publication Details

The Union flag.

More information about this newspaper title may be available on the source website.

Source: Chronicling America [US Library of Congress]

Country: United States

State: Tennessee

City: Jonesborough, Tenn.

Issues of this title available in Elephind: 196

Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 778

Earliest Date: 25 August 1865

Latest Date: 13 January 1871


The Union flag

The Union Flag was published in Jonesborough, Tennessee, by George Edgar Grisham between 1865 and 1871. In autumn 1862, Grisham was co-publisher of the Jonesborough Express. His tenure at the Confederate-sympathizing newspaper lasted approximately one year until he joined the Union Army’s 8th Regiment of the Cavalry in September 1863. During his two-year stint in the Union Army, Grisham reached the rank of captain. Upon his return to Jonesborough in 1865, Grisham began publishing the Union Flag.

The Union Flag was a weekly newspaper with subscription prices at $3.00 for one year or $2.00 for six months. Single issues were available for 10 cents per copy. The Union Flag was published on the corner of Cherokee and Water Street, above the Jonesborough depot. The paper’s masthead bore an eagle in front of the American flag with the paper’s motto--“We join no Party which does not carry the Union Flag, and keep step to the music of the Union!”--printed on page two.  In December 1869, Grisham introduced a patriotic tagline to the front page: “The star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave/O’re the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The newspaper carried news articles on general topics such as agriculture and taxes, but also included political items about Reconstruction such as disputes over the nomination of two Republican candidates for state governor in 1869.  Like other newspapers in the era of yellow journalism, the Union Flag printed sensational stories of scorned lovers and other miscellaneous items. The front page usually featured a poem. Advertisements ranged in price based on size and frequency with a single square advertisement beginning at $1.50. The newspaper often featured two to three full columns of advertising, ranging in content from cure-all medicines to industrial equipment, household products, and other services from Jonesborough and farther afield.

When first published, the Union Flag was balanced in tone. It supported federal policies, but contended that Southern secession was a brave fight against a centralized government. In time, however, the paper took a more partisan tone, supporting the Republican Party and endorsing radical Republican William Brickle Stokes in the May 1869 governor’s election. Despite the newspaper’s support, Stokes, who favored a more aggressive approach to protecting freed slaves, lost the election. In 1871, when John G. Hayes became a partner, the Union Flag assumed a more moderate political stance.

The Union Flag continued for two more years, at which time it was renamed the Union Flag and Commercial Advertiser. The paper ceased publication in summer 1873 after Grisham died during a cholera epidemic.

Provided by: University of Tennessee