Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Rare issue of Bessemer City Messenger now on DigitalNC

Front page of the Bessemer City Messenger, dated May 25, 1895.

An issue of the Bessemer City Messenger has been newly digitized and added to DigitalNC. The issue is date May 25, 1895, making the Messenger one of the oldest newspapers we have on file. Unfortunately, not much else is known about this newspaper, including when it began or when it ended. This 1895 issue is only the second instance of the Messenger being preserved to this day. The only other copy of any issue known to exist is an 1892 edition held in the State Library of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.

 

Published out of Bessemer City, the Messenger served the residents of Gaston County during its circulation. Its articles take a distinctly Populist stance, celebrating Populist Party victories throughout the country in the early 1890s, while also arguing for greater distribution of wealth among workers and increased living conditions for children and women. A number of articles are also dedicated to trade protection, wheat production, manufacturing, and tariffs. For example, the article on the right is dedicated to the rapid expansion of cotton production mills in the South, with North Carolina being a particular spot for growth. While there were some notices of local events and local news among Gaston County and nearby towns in Cleveland County, the majority of this paper’s articles were dedicated to national or international events, creating an interesting dynamic when compared to other North Carolina papers of the time on our site. 

 

Having the Bessemer City Messenger added to our collection is an invaluable resource when it comes to learning about the lives of North Carolinians in the late 1800s. 


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