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Country: United States
City: Richmond, Ky.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 91
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 858
Earliest Date: 1 January 1913
Latest Date: 29 September 1914
The ravages of the Civil War left Richmond, Kentucky, without a newspaper as early as 1862. Several startups failed in short order during the war, but in 1866, B.H. Brown launched the successful Kentucky Register. Starting with only a few drawers of type and a used hand crank press, the paper was touting “the finest editorial and library rooms in the state” by 1880.
Brown sold half interest in the Democratic paper to Judge William C. Miller in 1868. Three years later, Brown sold his remaining interest in the Kentucky Register to Francis Marion Green, a Richmond lawyer who never married or held political office of any kind. Within a year, Miller retired, leaving Green as the sole proprietor. He would remain so until his death in 1895, though he had at least one notable editor during his tenure. The infamous Madison County newspaperman, French Tipton, who was later shot and killed by a rival journalist, took the editorial reins in 1875 until he left the paper in 1887. Green was succeeded by civil engineer Capt. Samual F. Rock who began to publish both the weekly Register and a semiweekly edition known as the Semi-weekly Register. Rock is said to have also owned the Valley View Argent, the Ford Index, and the Irvine Leader, making him one of the biggest publishers in the state at that time. The Semi-Weekly Register ceased publication soon after 1900. In 1907, Rock sold the weekly to Thomas H. Pickels, who maintained the Kentucky Register until 1917 when it was sold to Grant E. Lilly.
Lilly was a notable lawyer, and both he and his wife, Anna Dudley McGinn, were active civic leaders in Madison County. On New Year’s Day in 1913, Lilly launched his first newspaper, the Madisonian, in Richmond. The Democratic weekly carried no advertisements on the first two pages and only a select few on subsequent pages. “A busy man is entitled to read the news without having to search for it among flaming advertisements,” Lilly declared. The first page of the Madisonian was reserved for national and the second for general state news. A single page was devoted to local news and social events, along with material for women, children, and farmers, religious and temperance facts, general literature with “good short stories,” and “as many other pages as necessary to carry out the general plan.”
The Madisonian was the culmination of Lilly’s 20-year dream to become a newspaperman. Lilly had initially hesitated in pursuing this course because of his strong friendships with other publishers. However, those friendships didn’t prevent expansion of his publishing empire once the Madisonian began. By October 1914, Lilly had bought a Democratic competitor, the Richmond Climax , and merged the two papers into the Climax-Madisonian. The latter followed the timbre of the Climax, being less rigid in contextual appointment than the Madisonian, with multiple advertisements on all pages. Within a year, the Climax-Madisonian claimed a larger circulation in Madison County than all its competitors combined. Around 1917, the Climax-Madisonian was renamed the Richmond Climax. As mentioned above, Lilly acquired the Kentucky Register in 1917, reportedly as a gift for his wife who wished to try her hand at the editorial profession.
However, Grant E. Lilly’s career as a publisher was short lived. In only a few months, central Kentucky newspaperman Shelton M. Saufley bought both the Kentucky Register and the Richmond Climax and merged them into the Richmond Daily Register on December 1, 1917. The following year, the Lilly’s moved to Lexington in Fayette County, bringing to a close their involvement with newspapers. The Richmond Daily Register remained in operation until 1978 when it was sold to the Richmond Publishing Corporation and became the Richmond Register, which is still published today (see http://richmondregister.com/).
Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY