The West Virginia Press (2022)

By Cheryl Singhal

The media in West Virginia has a long and honorable history, which extends from broadsides and pamphlets to television and the Internet.

Apparently the first publication printed within state boundaries was a pamphlet by James Rumsey, in 1787, A Short Treatise on the Application of Steam. It is not known exactly where this was printed, but Shepherdstown is most likely, as it is where he lived.

In 1797, Christian Panoply: Containing an Apology for the Bible in a Series of Letters Addressed to Thomas Paine, a 332-page book by R. Watson, D.D., F.R.S. was printed in Shepherdstown.

Mrs. Anna (Newport) Royall who lived in Monroe and Kanawha counties was one of the first women newspaper editors in America.

The Potomac Guardian and Berkeley Advertiser was the first newspaper published in the state, in 1790, in Shepherdstown, in what is now Jefferson county. It was published by Nathaniel Willis.

It was joined in 1797 by The Impartial Observer, and in 1808 by the first agricultural journal published west of the Blue Ridge, The Farmer's Repository. A half- dozen or more other newspapers soon followed.

In 1799, Nathaniel Willis moved to Martinsburg (Berkeley county) and began the Martinsburg Gazette. In 1803, the Monongalia Gazette and Morgantown Advertiser became the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies. Like the Guardian, it too was joined by others over the next 20 years.

Wheeling joined the publications in 1807 with the Repository, and Clarksburg's Bystander first appeared in 1810. Charleston got its first newspaper in 1820, the Spectator.

In 1830, William Harper established the Hampshire and Hardy Intelligencer which became the South Branch Intelligencer and published until 1896, when it merged with The Hampshire Review. The combined paper continues to publish today.

In the 1850s, a wide array of newspapers sprouted, many espousing anti-slave sentiments. Among these were the Wheeling Intelligencer, the Kanawha Republican and the Wellsburg Herald.

As of 1990, West Virginia is home to over 100 newspapers.

To access the historic newspapers which are no longer in publication, consult first Newspapers in Microform, 1948- 1972 a Library of Congress publication which should be in your public library's Interlibrary Loan Office. Many of these microforms are also available via the LDS Family History Centers.

For additional information on those newspapers which continue to publish, consult the most recent edition Gale Directory of Publications & Broadcast Media, also at your public library. (This publication used to be the Ayers' Directory.) The West Virginia Press Association may have additional information if you are unable to locate this book.

The above information is extracted and condensed from several sources, including West Virginia: Stories and Biographies by Charles Henry Ambler (c1942, 1954 edition).

©1997, Cheryl H. Singhal

For County Newspapers - - It is IMPORTANT that the researcher read this! The table below is far from comprehensive; it includes ONLY the name and first known publication date of the newspaper.

To simplify my life, the NAME column is only the "call" name. The official name of the paper may well include the name of the town or the county or the state.

The column for WVU is a guide to WVU's known holdings. It may NOT be assumed that WVU has Vol. 1 #1 of the series or that they have a complete run. (For instance, in Hampshire county, the South Branch Intelligencer began publication in 1829. The first surviving issue is from 1837; the big run begins in December 1866 and goes until it merged with another paper in 1896 -- with the exception of 3 weeks in one year, and 18 months between 1894 and 1896.)

Remember, newspapers were ephemera -- only a few people kept for any reason more than a couple weeks worth of issues in their home. The press offices often burnt, destroying their "morgue". Some have suggested that WVU's collection is partly due to homesick students receiving their hometown newspaper and giving it to the University Library when they finished. Whatever the reasons, PLEASE do not assume that microcopies of the earliest newspapers exist. Many of the newspapers not held by WVU are held by the WVa. State Archives. They do not, however, circulate their holdings.

Please consult one of the books mentioned earlier or have your Interlibrary Loan Office contact WVU's ILL office for more details.

The table is arranged alphabetically by COUNTY.

Belington Barbour News 1893 N
Gerrardstown Berkeley Times 1870 Y
Martinsburg Berkeley Guardian 1792 N
Madison Boone News 1925 Y
Peytona Boone Herald 1892 N
Whitesville Boone News 1945 Y
Burnsville Braxton Enterprise 1903 N
Sutton Braxton Central 1881 Y
Follansbee Brooke Review 1911 N
Wellsburg Brooke Gazette 1816 Y
Barboursville Cabell Co. Press 1869 N
Cabell C. H. Cabell Co. Press 1869 N
Guyandotte Cabell Herald 1853 N
Milton Cabell Record 1898 N
Grantsville Calhoun Chronicle 1883 N
Clay Clay Free Press 1905 N
W. Union Doddridge Record 1878 Y
Fayetteville Fayette Free Press 1898 N
Gauley Bridge Fayette Knapsack 1863 N
Oak Hill Fayette Times 1929 Y
Salem Fayette Herald 1904 N
Glenville Gilmer Pathfinder 1892 N
Petersburg Grant Gazette 1878 N
Alderson Greenbrier Advertiser 1897 Y
E. Rainelle Greenbrier Dispatch 1930 Y
Lewisburg Greenbrier Palladium 1823 Y
Ronceverte Greenbrier Messenger 1886 N
White Sulphur Springs Greenbrier Sentinel 1910 Y
Romney Hampshire Intelligencer 1829 Y
New Cumberland Hancock Courier 1869 Y
Weirton Hancock Times 1928 Y
Moorefield Hardy Examiner 1874 Y
Bridgeport Harrison News 1930 Y
Clarksburg Harrison Rep. Compiler 1818 N
Shinnston Harrison News 1897 Y
Ravenswood Jackson News 1873 N
Ripley Jackson Herald 1876 N
Charles Town Jefferson Repository 1808 Y
Harper's Ferry Jefferson Free Press 1821 N
Shepherdstown Jefferson Guardian 1790 N
Charleston Kanawha Spectator 1820 N
Dunbar Kanawha Advance 1917 Y
Montgomery Kanawha Herald 1940 Y
Nitro Kanawha Leader 1944 N
St.Albans Kanawha Pioneer 1874 N
Weston Lewis Herald 1853 N
Hamlin Lincoln Monitor 1902 Y
Holden Logan News 1942 Y
Logan Logan Banner 1889 Y
Fairmont Marion Pioneer 1842 N
Mannington Marion Advocate 1897 Y
Winfield Marion Democrat 1876 Y
Worthington Marion News 1958 Y
Moundsville Marshall Echo 1891 Y
Pt. Pleasant Mason Sentinel 1848 N
Iaeger McDowell News 1923 N
Welch McDowell Recorder 1891 Y
Bluefield Mercer d. Telegraph 1893 Y
Princeton Mercer Press 1917 Y
Keyser Mineral Tribune 1869 N
Piedmont Mineral Herald 1881 N
Williamston Mingo Republican 1904 N
Morgantown Mononegalia Chronicle 1825 Y
Union Monroe Frmr Friend 1853 N
Berkeley Springs Morgan Mercury 1869 Y
Richwood Nicholas Republican 1903 N
Summersville Nicholas Chronicle 1880 Y
Wheeling Ohio Repository 1807 N
Franklin Pendleton Times 1913 Y
St.Marys Pleasant Oracle 1881 Y
Marlinton Pocahontas Times 1881 N
Kingwood Preston Chronicle 1861 N
Newburg Preston Broad-Axe 1880 Y
Terra Alta Preston Enterprise 1883 Y
Buffalo Putnam Star 1855 Y
Hurricane Putnam Breeze 1900 N
Beckley Raleigh Register 1880 Y
Beverly Randolph Enterprise 1874 Y
Elkins Randolph Enterprise 1874 Y
Harrisville Ritchie Gazette 1873 Y
Pennsboro Ritchie News 1891 N
Mt.Hope Roane Leader 1917 Y
Spencer Roane Record 1888 N
Hinton Summers Mtn Herald 1872 N
Fetterman Taylor Vanguard 1866 N
Grafton Taylor Sentinel 1870 N
Parsons Tucker Avocate 1896 N
Middlebourne Tyler Star 1877 Y
Paden City Tyler Journal 1963 Y
Shilo Tyler Blowpipe 1872 N
Sistersville Tyler Oil Review 1885 Y
Buckhannon Upshur Delta 1869 Y
Ceredo Wayne Crescent 1857 N
Huntington Wayne Advertiser 1869 Y
Wayne Wayne News 1918 Y
Webster Springs Webster Echo 1879 N
New Martinsville Wetzel Democrat 1877 Y
Elizabeth Wirt Journal 1908 N
Parkersburg Wood Gazette 1835 N
Mullens Wyoming Advocate 1914 Y
Pineville Wyoming Herald 1912 N

The above table was constructed by Cheryl H. Singhal, using materials from the 1972 edition of "U.S. Newspapers in Microform, 1948-1972" a publication of the Library of Congress.

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