Craig Keeney, Published Materials Cataloger at the South Caroliniana Library here at USC and one of our Principal Investigators of the SCDNP, has composed fascinating essays about each of the South Carolina newspapers digitized in Chronicling America.
These essays or “scope notes” may be accessed by a link titled More about this Newspaper, for each newspaper in Chronicling America.
The following is an essay Craig wrote for the history of The Anderson Intelligencer…
The Anderson Intelligencer (1860-1917), a weekly newspaper “devoted to politics, literature, news, morals, agriculture, science, and art,” reported on local, national, and statewide events for the residents of rural Anderson County, in the Upstate region of South Carolina, for over fifty years. The first issue appeared on Tuesday, August 14, 1860. In it, editors and publishers James A. Hoyt and John C.C. Featherstone declared that “in our prospectus we announced that we would conduct our paper independent of all parties, factions, or cliques…we are strictly states rights in our constructions of the Constitution,” at once a contradiction in terms and telling evidence of the ideological and political divisions between Northerners and Southerners in the tense years leading up to the Civil War.
Throughout its existence, the Anderson Intelligencer reflected on the economic and political forces transforming Anderson County. Articles titled “Grand ovation to Gov. Hampton!” (April 5, 1877) and “Our political deliverance” (April 12, 1877), both references to former Confederate Army General Wade Hampton, convey the triumphant mood of many white Carolinians with the return of the so-called Bourbons, or antebellum leaders, to political power in 1877. The later decades of the 19th century saw the citizens of Anderson County invest in and develop their energy infrastructure with such vigor as to earn the town of Anderson the approbation “Electric City.”
Several persons responsible for producing the newspaper played significant roles in the history of the Upstate region. James A. Hoyt, who edited the Anderson Intelligencer in 1860-77, served as chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Committee, president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and a trustee of Furman University (a Baptist-affiliated college in Greenville, South Carolina). Hoyt’s successor, Edward Bobo Murray, served as chair of the Anderson Democratic Party (1878-90), president of the Western Carolina and North Georgia Railroad (1891-94), South Carolina Representative (1878-83), and as South Carolina Senator (1886-89). The Anderson Intelligencer adhered closely to the conservative political and social views of its editors. The paper staunchly supported the South Carolina Democratic Party, criticized the state’s dispensary system of liquor sales, and promoted temperance. Through several decades, it also regularly featured the humorous letters and reminiscences of a backwoodsman named Bill Arp, who in reality was Charles Henry Smith, a journalist for the Atlanta Constitution.