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The story of Pulaski Newspapers

Since newspapers have been the big topic of conversation throughout Pulaski County for the past couple of weeks, I thought this week I would look back on Pulaski County papers of the past. From the very earliest days, citizens of the area have felt the need to have a newspaper. The first in the county was published in the village of Snowville, and was called, The Virginia People. It made its first appearance in Snowville in 1870, with the date line: Snowville, Newbern, and Dublin. It was issued simultaneously from every post office in the county at the time. It was a seven column, eight page weekly, Democratic, and devoted to the interests of the county and state, with Charles A Heermans, owner and editor In 1872, Heermans moved the place of publication to Newbern, Virginia, where it continued until 1875., at which time he suspended publication. In 1876, R. L. Gardner came from Alabama to make his home in Newbern with his uncle, Colonel Gardner, formerly of the Stonewall Brigade, who was Clerk of the Circuit Court for Pulaski County. Colonel Gardner made him his deputy. R. L. Gardner later became professionally associated with his brother-in-law, Joseph Cloyd Wysor, in the law firm of Wysor and Gardner
In 1881, R. L. Gardner bought all rights and equipment of the newspaper from Heermans, and changed the make-up to a seven column folio, and the name to “The Pulaski People.” William Wirt Wysor became associate editor, and the paper was published under this leadership for several years, when in 1888-89, he transferred its publication to Pulaski City, when he sold the entire outfit to George t. Mills, then interested in several undertakings in and near Pulaski City. Mills sold to A.A. Christian at the zenith of the boom days, who ran the paper under the name of The News, as a small afternoon daily. Christian printed his paper on the second floor of the S.B. Steger building on the corner of Washington Avenue and Third Street, NE.
During the above years, the tiny village of New River went through a brief period of prosperity, and a newspaper was established there. This was called “The New River Bulletin, and was an active newspaper from 1882 until 1886.
Christian moved later to a one story building on Lee Street. The News was a weekly paper at first, but after it was moved to Lee Street, an afternoon edition was added, but was not successful, the weekly edition continuing.
In approximately the year 1890, the Smith family went into the newspaper business. B.D., Lewis, and Conway (not to be confused with the Conway Smith who authored “The Land That Became Pulaski County,”) bought the Pulaski News from A.A. Christian, and consolidated it with the Pulaski Advertiser, a smaller paper that never gained any success. They continued publishing this paper at the Lee Street location. They later moved to a two story brick building located west of the Pulaski Hotel, said hotel being located at the southwest corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue. W.C.Smith was taken in to the concern and remained a partner for several years, until the plant was moved to Third Street Northwest
In writing about the newspaper business years later, Lewis Smith told of some of the legal hazards of operating a newspaper, as follows, “As publishers of the News Review , Smith brothers had some lively experiences that might be worth recording. When the paper was located on Lee Street a number of rowdies were attempting to intimidate police officers and were criticized by the paper for their conduct. Soon afterwards, at about 10:30 one night, a charge of dynamite was put off under the News Review Building, while several people worked inside, resulting in an explosion that tore off the weatherboarding to the roof, and breaking out glass windows.”
Smith wrote of being sued several times because of stories published. It must have been sort of like the old west in Pulaski in those days.
This story will be continued next week.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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The story of Pulaski Newspapers

Since newspapers have been the big topic of conversation throughout Pulaski County for the past couple of weeks, I thought this week I would look back on Pulaski County papers of the past. From the very earliest days, citizens of the area have felt the need to have a newspaper. The first in the county was published in the village of Snowville, and was called, The Virginia People. It made its first appearance in Snowville in 1870, with the date line: Snowville, Newbern, and Dublin. It was issued simultaneously from every post office in the county at the time. It was a seven column, eight page weekly, Democratic, and devoted to the interests of the county and state, with Charles A Heermans, owner and editor In 1872, Heermans moved the place of publication to Newbern, Virginia, where it continued until 1875., at which time he suspended publication. In 1876, R. L. Gardner came from Alabama to make his home in Newbern with his uncle, Colonel Gardner, formerly of the Stonewall Brigade, who was Clerk of the Circuit Court for Pulaski County. Colonel Gardner made him his deputy. R. L. Gardner later became professionally associated with his brother-in-law, Joseph Cloyd Wysor, in the law firm of Wysor and Gardner
In 1881, R. L. Gardner bought all rights and equipment of the newspaper from Heermans, and changed the make-up to a seven column folio, and the name to “The Pulaski People.” William Wirt Wysor became associate editor, and the paper was published under this leadership for several years, when in 1888-89, he transferred its publication to Pulaski City, when he sold the entire outfit to George t. Mills, then interested in several undertakings in and near Pulaski City. Mills sold to A.A. Christian at the zenith of the boom days, who ran the paper under the name of The News, as a small afternoon daily. Christian printed his paper on the second floor of the S.B. Steger building on the corner of Washington Avenue and Third Street, NE.
During the above years, the tiny village of New River went through a brief period of prosperity, and a newspaper was established there. This was called “The New River Bulletin, and was an active newspaper from 1882 until 1886.
Christian moved later to a one story building on Lee Street. The News was a weekly paper at first, but after it was moved to Lee Street, an afternoon edition was added, but was not successful, the weekly edition continuing.
In approximately the year 1890, the Smith family went into the newspaper business. B.D., Lewis, and Conway (not to be confused with the Conway Smith who authored “The Land That Became Pulaski County,”) bought the Pulaski News from A.A. Christian, and consolidated it with the Pulaski Advertiser, a smaller paper that never gained any success. They continued publishing this paper at the Lee Street location. They later moved to a two story brick building located west of the Pulaski Hotel, said hotel being located at the southwest corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue. W.C.Smith was taken in to the concern and remained a partner for several years, until the plant was moved to Third Street Northwest
In writing about the newspaper business years later, Lewis Smith told of some of the legal hazards of operating a newspaper, as follows, “As publishers of the News Review , Smith brothers had some lively experiences that might be worth recording. When the paper was located on Lee Street a number of rowdies were attempting to intimidate police officers and were criticized by the paper for their conduct. Soon afterwards, at about 10:30 one night, a charge of dynamite was put off under the News Review Building, while several people worked inside, resulting in an explosion that tore off the weatherboarding to the roof, and breaking out glass windows.”
Smith wrote of being sued several times because of stories published. It must have been sort of like the old west in Pulaski in those days.
This story will be continued next week.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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