Celebrating 140 years!
Times-Courier to mark 140th anniversary with weekly section
by Whitney Crouch
With the beginning of 2015, the Times-Courier kicks off a celebration of its 140th anniversary.
To commemorate the milestone, the newspaper will be running a special historical page each week this year. Designed to look like past issues, these pages will contain information, stories and ads that actually ran in the newspaper in years past.
See page 6D in this issue for the inaugural installment of this glimpse into the history of the Times-Courier and the local community.
Readers are encouraged to keep in mind that the gathered information comes from different historical time periods and may reflect different mindsets and standards than what are in place today.
Differences in capitalization, word usage and punctuation will also be seen and have been left in their original state.
The Times-Courier staff hopes you enjoy this weekly historical installment throughout the course of 2015.
Looking back at 140 years
The Times-Courier traces its roots back to the year 1875.
At the time, Ulysses S. Grant was president, Reconstruction was underway in the southern states and the country was still gripped in an economic depression set off by the Panic of 1873. The U.S. consisted of 37 states with Colorado set to become number 38 in Aug. 1876.
The origins of the Times-Courier can actually be found in the demise of the Norcross Advance, which was in flux in 1875 due to disagreement among its stockholders. Seeing an opportunity, General Lucian J. Gartrell, of Atlanta, bought the newspaper and its equipment.
He subsequently moved the paper to Gilmer County and renamed it The Ellijay Courier. H. A. Lumsden was hired as the editor, and the newspaper was published in the county courthouse, which at the time was located in a brick building that stood in the middle of the modern day roundabout.
The first issue of The Ellijay Courier appeared Sept. 1, 1875, and the subscription cost was $2 per year.
The next 10 years were turbulent, and while the newspaper continued to be printed, the business underwent management changes some 15 times.
As time went by, the publication day also floated throughout the week and the number of columns on a page and size of the paper itself changed repeatedly.
In the early years, the front page of the paper was often dominated by short stories, poetry and brief articles of interest reprinted from other newspapers around the world. Locally generated information was typically found inside and was brief and often fell into the category of society news.
In December 1894, a newspaper titled The Mountain Sentinel was launched in Ellijay by Horace M. Ellington. Three years later, John S. Everett purchased the paper and combined it with The Ellijay Courier to create The Courier-Sentinel.
The newspaper later fell on hard times and was purchased at a sheriff’s sale by T. H. Tabor in May 1902. Upon assuming publication, Tabor changed the name back to The Ellijay Courier.
Another paper called The Ellijay Times first appeared in print April 11, 1899.
As the years went by, a fierce conflict erupted between the Times and the Courier, as they were divided along political lines.
In 1915, C.F. Owen of Atlanta and the Edge brothers of Jasper purchased both The Ellijay Courier and The Ellijay Times. The papers were consolidated and the first issue of the resulting Times-Courier appeared Jan. 1, 1916. The new owners announced an emphasis would be placed on demonstrating a nonpartisan attitude in reporting.
Owen assumed sole control of the new Times-Courier in 1924 and remained until 1959 when it was sold to Roy A. Cook of Murphy, N.C. Cook moved the newspaper office to its current location on River Street.
Moving to town from Augusta, George and Annetta Bunch purchased the paper in 1967, and it has remained in their family since that time.
As quoted in an article from Sept. 7, 1967, Mr. Bunch said on his arrival, “I believe there is a great future in store for Gilmer County, and I hope that we will be a part of that future. I pledge the support of the Times-Courier and my own efforts to the progress of this county.”
Today the Times-Courier has a print circulation of 6,850 and also can be viewed online at www.timescourier.com.