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Country: United States
State: South Carolina
City: Laurens, S.C.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 1,522
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 11,700
Earliest Date: 19 August 1885
Latest Date: 27 December 1922
The weekly Laurens Advertiser (1885-1973) served the citizens of Laurens County, located in the Piedmont region of South Carolina, during an era of economic transformation. In the late nineteenth century, textile manufacturing became a major industry. Cotton fields gave way to mill villages. The early twentieth century saw the establishment of major companies (Laurens Glass and Palmetto Bank), schools (Presbyterian College of South Carolina), and charitable organizations (Thornwell Orphanage and State Training School for the Feeble-Minded--now the Whitten Center, both located in Clinton). The Laurens Advertiser championed the county’s growth, acting as an agent for change as well as a news source.
John Conway Garlington established the Laurens Advertiser on August 5, 1885. Local wisdom has it that the Advertiser grew out of a newssheet published by Samuel Garlington, John’s brother, but this story has never been substantiated. In 1890, John Garlington sold the Advertiser to William Watts Ball for $1,500 and later went on to found the Spartanburg Daily Herald. Ball edited and managed the Advertiser on an off-and-on basis for a number of years before becoming editor of the Charleston News and Courier. His father, Beaufort Watts Ball, and sister, Sarah Ball Copeland, also served as editors of the Advertiser; his brother-in-law, Mason Langston Copeland, managed the paper. In 1910, owner and publisher Samuel Elmore Boney sold the Advertiser to Arthur and Alison Lee. After the First World War, Arthur Lee sold out his interest to his brother Alison who edited the paper for the next 40 years.
Like the majority of newspapers in South Carolina published for whites, the Laurens Advertiser generally supported the state Democratic Party, but its editors criticized Democratic and Republican leaders equally. Democratic Governor Benjamin “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman (1890-94) and his supporters, called Tillmanites, were frequent targets. The Advertiser’s independent streak set it apart from many of its peers, and at times, its own community. In 1910, William Ball recalled that “When I began to conduct the paper, it was under the shadow of a Farmer’s Alliance boycott … I learned then that political opposition is not to be feared by a newspaper if the paper ha[s] reasonable honesty and some intelligence behind it.” The Advertiser opposed the South Carolina Dispensary, the state-controlled system of alcohol sales created by Tillman, and favored local option and even statewide prohibition as alternative strategies.
In 1971, the Laurens Advertiser became a semiweekly paper; the last issue appeared on April 16, 1973, after which it changed its name to the Laurens County Advertiser.
Provided by: University of South Carolina; Columbia, SC