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Country: United States
State: South Carolina
City: Pickens Court House, S.C.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 2,208
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 12,743
Earliest Date: 18 May 1849
Latest Date: 27 December 1922
The Walhalla Keowee Courier (1849-present), a weekly newspaper, has served the residents of Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina for over 160 years. Its very name, an allusion to the Cherokee Indians, speaks to the region’s rich history (the town of Keowee, or “Place of the Mulberries,” was once the capital of the Lower Cherokee Nation). To its readers, the Courier is an institution and remains a source of community pride.
Elliott M. Keith, Jesse Ward Norris, and William H. Trimmier established the Keowee Courier; the first issue appeared on May 18, 1849. Its masthead contained a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou can’st not then be false to any man.” A one-year subscription cost $1.50. In 1853, Robert Anderson Thompson, who had previously worked for the Laurensville Herald and Pendleton Messenger , took ownership of the Courier. Thompson was involved with the paper for 45 years, serving as associate editor, editor, and sole proprietor at various junctures. His conservative, pro-secession views influenced its editorial tone (in 1860, he served as a delegate to the South Carolina Secession Convention).
The Courier suspended publication only once, during the Civil War. On March 15, 1862, proprietor Robert Young announced, “With this issue ends the publication of the Keowee Courier … should fortune smile on the Southern Confederacy, the publication of the Courier will be resumed at the end of the war.” In September 1865, Young resumed the Courier. In 1868, Thompson moved the newspaper from Pickens to the town of Walhalla in the then newly-formed Oconee County. A decade later, the Courier survived a devastating office fire with assistance from the printers for the Anderson Intelligencer .
Several persons who were involved with the Courier were also community leaders. During the Civil War, Robert Thompson had served as captain in Company B of Moore’s Second South Carolina Rifles. He later represented Oconee County as a South Carolina State Representative (1901-02). William Calhoun Keith, who edited the Courier in 1869-89, served as director of Walhalla Bank, trustee of Walhalla Female College, South Carolina State Representative (1868-70), and as South Carolina State Senator (1872-76). Keith’s successor, Robert Thompson Jaynes, practiced law with Thompson and Courier joint editor Joseph Warren Shelor and served as president of Oconee Knitting Mill. Shelor served as a trustee of Furman University in Greenville and as a South Carolina State Senator (1917-20).
The Keowee Courier exists to this day. It is still locally owned; even its masthead has remained the same. It holds the distinction as one of South Carolina’s longest-running newspapers, along with the Edgefield Advertiser and the Orangeburg Times and Democrat .
Provided by: University of South Carolina; Columbia, SC