A week from this coming Monday, we celebrate this venerable old rag’s 132nd anniversary, its first issue having been published Dec. 9, 1887 exactly one block west of where it is published now.
By “celebrate” we mean show up and work all day like we normally do. Maybe during the day one of us will say something about it being the newspaper’s birthday, and someone else will say, “Oh, yeah. I forgot.” That will be about it as far as celebrating goes.
The newspaper’s history is important to us, though, and your editor wishes more people would discover the value of it, as well as the value it offers today. This newspaper’s history is the history of Liberty County and its residents. Anyone whose family has been here for many years can likely find something in old editions about what their forebears got up to.
For example, if you are related to Joe Sappington, you might be interested in a story he wrote for this newspaper in 1909 about the purchase of his first derby hat. It was not a positive experience for him. Incidentally, his story mentions the use of newspapers stuffed in the sweat band of a hat too large. So, there’s another reason to buy newspapers.
Are you related to the late Shearer Wells of Devers? If so, you might like to know that on April 1, 1909 he had his nose broken, hit by a baseball in a game the Middlebrook Wonders of Devers played with Pickett’s Youngsters from Liberty.
“The game was close and exciting up to the fifth inning, the score being 2 and 2; but after that time the boys began to hit the ball all over the lot.”
The Youngsters won, 19-5. Wells played shortstop for the Wonders.
Was Pet Blair an ancestor? From that same 1909 issue you can learn Pet was a bright girl. She made the fifth grade honor roll for arithmetic, grammar and geography.
George Hadley’s descendants might not want to know this, but he was on the court’s criminal docket that week for “carnal knowledge with Vera Edwards.” Her descendants might not want to know, either.
Arthur Rodgers and Peter Franklin were on the docket for playing cards.
In Dayton, “Mexican John,” whoever he was, had his shoulder dislocated when a horse fell on him; and in Fuqua, “Deputy sheriff Curley… had a Mexican lunatic in charge for several days, who appeared to get more crazy in confinement than at large.” Curley had to bring him to the jail in Liberty.
There is much more in that one edition alone.
The Vindicator has told the story of Liberty County since before there were railroads here or any bridges over the river.
On its pages have been reported thousands of local births and deaths, over a hundred county fairs, hundreds of high school graduating classes, and an unknown number of letters to Santa.
Readers have used the newspaper to keep themselves apprised of what their local government was doing, or not doing, or trying to do. It has run stories of thousands of arrests and trials, and several dozen jail breaks, plus seemingly countless murders, burglaries, train robberies, manhunts, and local scandals of one kind or another.
But, besides the bad news we have had to report, The Vindicator’s readers have also enjoyed any number of articles on every kind of sport played here; articles or announcements of birthdays, engagements, weddings and anniversaries; stories of what generations of children did in our area schools; reports of local resident’s travels, along with their visitors, parties and dances.
This newspaper, in recording and reporting those kind of day-to-day goings on, was a big part of what made our towns into the closely knit communities they once were, and with your help we can make it that way again. Social media is failing miserably in that respect, given over as it is to so much gossip, argument and trolling.
A newspaper can give readers more information, fact checked, and without all of the ugly comments.
Those of us working for The Vindicator would very much like to have the old gal make another century. To do that, we need your support, and that support doesn’t cost much. It can be as little as $17.50 for a six-month subscription to our e-Edition. Subscribe to the print edition for only $20, or pick up The Vindicator where it’s sold for just $1. We are committed to making sure that no one who buys a copy of this newspaper is ever left feeling he wasted a dollar. We intend to give every buyer more than his money’s worth.
SUBSCRIBE to the print edition of THE VINDICATOR here for as little as 77¢ a week. Or, buy only the e-Edition for as little as 68¢ a week. Subscription rates start at $17.50. THE VINDICATOR has been reporting the local news and sports in Liberty County for over 131 years now, and we've just about gotten the hang of it.