The Rockingham Post-Dispatch of Rockingham, North Carolina, published its first issue on December 6, 1917. Isaac Spencer London (1885-1964), the newspaper’s founder and longtime editor, formed the Post-Dispatch after buying and merging the Rockingham Post and the Rockingham Piedmont Dispatch.
London grew up in the newspaper business. His father, Henry Armand London (1846-1918), published the Chatham Record in Pittsboro, North Carolina, for 40 years. The younger London began his career in journalism with his purchase of the Siler City Grit in 1909. He sold that newspaper just weeks before publishing the inaugural issue of the Post-Dispatch.
“This paper will be devoted to the upbuilding of Richmond county (sic),” London wrote in the Post-Dispatch‘s inaugural issue. “It is for ALL the people, for town, mill and county.” Published weekly on Thursday, early issues of the newspaper featured little national news, despite the nation’s involvement in World War I. Instead, the Post-Dispatch featured copious coverage of local news and events. In addition to articles on crime and court proceedings, municipal actions, and obituaries, the newspaper alsoreported on residents’ travels and visitors to their homes, on their honors and achievements, and on club meetings. News of social events also filled the pages. The October 30, 1919 issue of the Post-Dispatch featured a multi-paragraph account of two young girls’ birthday party, offering details on the decorations, the cake, and the entertainment.
London was an avid genealogist and lover of history. In its early days, the Post-Dispatch featured a column on North Carolina history written by Kemp Plummer Battle, a former president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. London’s columns often discussed important dates and personalities from local history. Late in life, while continuing to edit the newspaper, London also served as official historian for Richmond County, North Carolina.
Although London sold the Post-Dispatch in April 1953 to Sybil (1907-1999) and John Neal Cadieu (1904-1957), he remained the editor of the newspaper until his death in 1964. Other newspapers published in Richmond County included the Richmond County Journal, which Cadieu established September 8, 1931. A successor to the Richmond County Journal is still in production today.