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35 Newspaper titles added to DigitalNC!

Header from the 1858 Buffalo Springs, N.C. handwritten newspaper The Nation

This week we have added issues from 35 different newspaper titles! One of the titles we have is a paper from the now non-existent town of Buffalo Springs, North Carolina. According to this News & Record article, the Harnett County town ceased to exist when the turpentine industry in the area died out. But the intriguing thing about these papers isn’t the ghost of this town, it’s the man who wrote them: John McLean Harrington. Professor and author Michael Ray Smith penned this fascinating paper about Harrington and his newspapers, in which he writes: “Shortly before the Civil War, the son of an affluent Southern family began a journalism career unlike any in his community, his state, or even the nation and produced 305 handwritten newspapers, perhaps the greatest single output of handwritten newspapers by any American journalist.” Harrington had a subscription list of roughly 100 people and would painstakingly copy each individual paper by hand, even though printing presses were widely available at the time. In 1858, when Harrington was writing issues of The Nation, he was only 19 years old. The young man’s ambitions didn’t stop with just being a journalist. He also apparently worked as a bookkeeper, surveyor, educator, sheriff, and postmaster in Harnett County. While his accomplishments were quite impressive, he was also a man of contradiction. Smith writes this of the rural Renaissance man: “He talked of a partner but never revealed the colleague’s identity—if he indeed had one. He discussed the evil of drinking but died an alcoholic. He served as a member of the Confederate militia only to swear an oath that he would always remain a loyal Unionist. Perhaps Harrington tended to do or say whatever was expedient or expected at the time. Maybe he was himself just conflicted in numerous ways.”

Over the next year, we’ll be adding millions of newspaper images to DigitalNC. These images were originally digitized a number of years ago in a partnership with That project focused on scanning microfilmed papers published before 1923 held by the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Special Collections Library. While you can currently search all of those pre-1923 issues on, over the next year we will also make them available in our newspaper database as well. This will allow you to search that content alongside the 2 million pages already on our site – all completely open access and free to use.

This week’s additions include:

If you want to see all of the newspapers we have available on DigitalNC, you can find them here. Thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries for permission to and support for adding all of this content as well as the content to come. We also thank the North Caroliniana Society for providing funding to support staff working on this project.


Charlotte Toasts Independence in 1826

Unlike their neighbors in nearly Lincolnton, the citizens of Charlotte celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of American independence in a style more fitting the occasion. According to the report in the Catawba Journal from July 11, 1826, the festivities began with a march through town by the Lafayette Artillery, followed by a church service and dinner that featured “several of the venerable relics of the revolution.”

After the meal, “the cloth was removed, the following toasts were drunk, accompanied with discharges of cannon.”  They drank a total of 24 toasts, lauding the leaders of the Revolution (including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom would die on that day), the Army and Navy, the state and federal constitutions, “State Rights,” “Political and Religious Tolerance,” the University of North Carolina (“The pride and ornament of the State”), and the county of Mecklenburg.
Here’s the full list.  If you’re going to a party tomorrow, I’m sure you’ll want to consider printing out a copy and impressing your fellow guests with your historically-accurate salutes.

Lincolnton, N.C. Quietly Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of American Independence

I found this announcement in the Catawba Journal from July 4, 1826, about the town of Lincolnton’s celebration of the Fourth of July.  Fireworks and parades were not on the agenda — quite the opposite.  The organizers wrote that “economy ought to characterize the celebration of the 4th of July, and that extravagance is contrary to the republican simplicity and patriotic spirit of ’76: therefore, a dinner will be furnished at a very moderate price, so that all may unite in feasting together on this glorious occasion.”


Newspapers Selected for Digitization, 2011-2012

The following newspapers were digitized from microfilm in 2011 and 2012.

Title Years Nominating Institution
The Mebane Leader 1911-1915 Alamance County Public Library
Highland Messenger (Asheville) 1840-1851 Buncombe County Public Library
The Standard (Concord) 1888-1898 Cabarrus County Public Library
Daily Concord Standard 1895-1899 Cabarrus County Public Library
Mecklenburg Jeffersonian (Charlotte) 1841-1849 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Miners’ and Farmers’ Journal (Charlotte) 1830-1834 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Catawba Journal (Charlotte) 1824-1828 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Western Democrat (Charlotte) 1856-1868 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
North Carolina Whig (Charlotte) 1852-1863 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Fayetteville Observer 1851-1865 Cumberland County Public Library
The Carolina Times (Durham) 1951-1964 Durham County Library
The Lincoln Republican (Lincolnton) 1840-1842 Gaston County Public Library
The Lincoln Courier (Lincolnton) 1845-1895 Gaston County Public Library
The Roanoke News (Weldon) 1878-1922 Halifax County Public Library
The Marion Progress 1916, 1929, 1940 McDowell County Public Library
Marion Record 1894-1895 McDowell County Public Library
Marion Messenger 1896-1898 McDowell County Public Library
The Pilot (Southern Pines) 1920-1945 Southern Pines Public Library
Sylvan Valley News 1900-1911 Transylvania County Library
The Pinehurst Outlook 1897-1923 The Tufts Archives
The Goldsboro Headlight 1887-1903 Wayne County Public Library
The Elm City Elevator 1902 Wilson County Public Library
The Wilson Advance 1874-1899 Wilson County Public Library

Historic Newspapers from Charlotte and Mebane Now Online

Early newspapers from Charlotte and Mebane have just been added to the North Carolina Newspapers collection.

The Catawba Journal (1824-1828) and the Miners’ and Farmers’ Journal (1830-1835) document the growing town of Charlotte in the early 19th century. Both were nominated for digitization by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
The Mebane Leader (1911-1914) covers the town of Mebane and neighboring communities in Orange and Alamance Counties. It was nominated for digitization by Alamance County Public Libraries.

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