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Country: United States
City: Hopkinsville, Ky.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 255
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 1,076
Earliest Date: 18 February 1879
Latest Date: 30 October 1883
The Hopkinsville Conservative was founded in 1866 by Col. J.M. Dodd as the first newspaper in post-Civil War Christian County. In ten years’ time, Dodd had taken a man named Wallace as his publishing partner. They used the partnership to change the paper’s title to the Hopkinsville Democrat, a name that more accurately reflected changing postwar attitudes in Kentucky’s Pennyrile Region. By January 1879, and in declining health, Dodd sold the paper to William A. Wilgus and William T. Townes. It is unclear what became of Wallace. In 1879, Wilgus and Townes established their weekly as the South Kentuckian. In 1881, Charles M. Meacham bought Townes’ share of the paper.
Meacham was a prominent politician in central and western Kentucky. He became president of the Kentucky Press Association in 1893 and was elected Mayor of Hopkinsville from 1906 to 1914. A devout Baptist, Meacham also served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Hopkinsville Bethel Women's College. The Baptist-run school opened in 1856, making it one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women in America.
Meacham and Wilgus began printing a daily edition soon after Meacham came aboard. It was called the Daily South Kentuckian and it ran concurrent to the weekly. Both papers were Democratic agents for the three congressional districts that surrounded Christian County at the time. After a short two years, in 1883, Wilgus and Meacham combined the editions to form a single publication, the Semi-weekly South Kentuckian.
In 1889, Wilgus left the newspaper, and Meacham immediately created the Hopkinsville Kentuckian. Influenced by Meacham’s political career, the Kentuckian regularly reported political news including state and national committee reports, Congressional proceedings, and Christian County Circuit Court notes. The paper supported the Democratic Party and, not surprisingly, politics was the main topic of Meacham's editorial copy. Meacham never hesitated to express his opinion of public officials and their policies in his columns. "Secretary [of State Philander C.] Knox is developing into a jingo statesman with a chip always on one shoulder or the other," Meacham wrote in one editorial.
The paper's earliest slogan, "Live, Newsy, and Progressive," suggests that the Kentuckian promoted Hopkinsville as a forward-looking and educated community. Along with correspondence from neighboring towns such as Sinking Fork, Montgomery, and Beverly, the paper included national news columns. "Cream of the News" gave readers updates on current events, including important Hopkinsville happenings and other hot topics in local and national news. "Here and About" promised local news "tersely told" for the busy citizens of Christian County. The Kentuckian also printed a variety of agricultural content such as tobacco and grain market reports as well as local and national market prices.
On April 29, 1898, Meacham again tried his hand at a daily with the Daily Kentuckian. The paper churned out six issues a week, excluding Monday. As before, it ran concurrently with its semiweekly sibling. The Daily Kentuckian’s life was short, ending after only four months on August 13. It is unclear precisely why Meacham chose to produce a daily since he already owned a successful semiweekly. The Daily Kentuckian’s content suggests that the decision was due in no small part to the Spanish-American War. The conflict raged from April to August 1898, coinciding exactly with the period of the Daily Kentuckian’s existence. Most of the news in the Daily focused on the war, from the battles to the political activities of both the Spanish and United States governments.
In 1918, Meacham made a final push to revive the Daily Kentuckian, but this endeavor lasted less than a year. Upon the Daily’s demise, the paper became a triweekly known simply as the Kentuckian. It was published by the Kentuckian Company with Meacham at the helm. After nearly 40 years, the Kentuckian finally ceased publication in 1920, ending one of Hopkinsville's longest running newspapers.
Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY