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Country: United States
City: Pulaski, Tenn.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 1,061
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 4,301
Earliest Date: 5 January 1866
Latest Date: 23 December 1886
The Pulaski Citizen has been in continuous publication since 1866. Its origins, however, can be traced back to December 1854, when Abe Watkins and George E. Purvis purchased the Pulaski Gazette and changed its name to the Pulaski Citizen. A year later, Purvis sold his share and moved to Winchester, Tennessee, where he established the Winchester Appeal. In January 1856, Luther W. McCord purchased a share in the Citizen. The following year he bought Watkins’ share and became sole proprietor, and changed the name of the paper to the Independent Citizen. Publication ceased in 1862 when the town was occupied by Union troops. When McCord resumed publication in 1866, the paper’s name reverted to the Pulaski Citizen (and remained so into the 21st century). In his opening editorial, McCord apologized for the delay in getting the paper to press, blaming the “immense amount of labor and expense required to repair and replenish [the type and presses].” McCord reminded readers that in politics “we were not a partizan [sic] before the war, and our friends may rest assured we are much less a partizan [sic] now.” However, the Citizen regularly expressed strong opinions on subjects such as voting rights and temperance: “We will oppose Negro suffrage […] we believe social equality a humbug and an impossibility.” Although disinclined to side with any political party, the Citizen later backed Edmund Cooper, the Conservative Unionist candidate for Congress in 1867, and in the 1868 presidential election, backed Democrat Horatio Seymour.
In the postwar years, the paper’s local editor was Frank O. McCord, L. W. McCord’s brother. Frank McCord was one of the founder members of the Ku Klux Klan and the Grand Cyclops of Giles County. As local editor, McCord maintained the veil of secrecy around the organization. His editorials read as if he had no idea who the Klan was. In an editorial on April 12, 1867, McCord was apparently perplexed by an order from the “Grand Turk” of the Klan, mysteriously delivered to the Citizen’s doorstep under cover of night by the “old Cyclops.” McCord assured readers that “it is our intention to keep a watch out […] and try to find out where these Ku Kluxers meet and what sort of proceeding they have.” McCord printed many Klan messages over the next few years, all reportedly delivered to the newspaper’s office in equally mysterious circumstances. The messages often requested the public’s patience and sympathy for the organization.
In 1875, a Ladies Column was introduced in a bid to attract a wider female readership. In its second week, the column included a piece entitled “Ladies Should Read Newspapers,” in which editor Haroleen (later Haroline) Harold argued that in order for a woman to qualify for conversation and have something to talk about with men, she should be encouraged to read newspapers. The feature was often three or four columns wide and provided information on fashion and housekeeping, as well as giving opinions on topical subjects.
In January 1880, L.W. McCord sold the paper to his brother, Laps D. McCord, and his brother-in-law, John Bateman Smith. When Smith died in 1881, his wife, Gabriella McCord Smith, became joint proprietor with Laps McCord, and she became sole proprietor in 1888. In 1892, the Citizen was purchased by Allen G. Hall of Nashville, ending 38 years of the Citizen being in the McCord family.
The paper continued into the 20th century and is still published as a weekly.
Provided by: University of Tennessee