Hardesty's History of Wirt County

NEWSPAPERS

The first newspaper published in Wirt county was The Elizabeth
Gazette, the first number of which made its appearance on the 
evening of the 13th day of March, 1867. The publishers were 
William McCoy and John McWilliams. It was a four-page, six
column paper and was "independent in all things, neutral in
nothing." Some time in the year of 1868 O.G. Scofield purchased
the half interest of McCoy, and he and McWilliams continued in
its publication as an independent journal until 1869; it was 
removed to Parkersburg and consolidated with The Times of that
city, after which it was continued under the name of The Times
and Elizabeth Gazette. It was there published by E.T. Drahosh,
McWilliams & Scofield for about one year, when it suspended,
and thus perished the first newspaper of Wirt county.

The second paper which made its appearance was The Wirt
County Democrat, which came out in 1868, with James E.
Wharton -- then the oldest newspaper man in West Virginia -- as its
editor and proprietor. He continued its publication until 
December, 1869, when he sold it to Samuel D. Gordon and O.L.
Williams, the present circuit clerk of Wirt county.  At the end
of six months Williams retired, but Gordon continued it until
1870, when it was purchased by C.T. Caldwell, now an attorney
of the Wood county bar and R.H. Phelps, at the present time
practicing law at La Grange, Texas. They were succeeded early
in 1871 by Mark M. Rockhold and W.H.H. Pearson, soon after
which it suspended, but in May, 1873, the office was purchased
by John McWilliams -- formerly interested in the Elizabeth
Gazette. He revived the paper under the name of the Wirt
County Mentor, as an independent journal. It continued to make
its weekly visits to its patrons until 1875, when Mr. McWilliams
sold it to A.L. Hammond, who was assisted editorially by the
Rev. Milton Wells, who soon after purchased the office and
became proprietor as well as publisher. Under his management
it continued for a time, and then he associated with him his son,
Clifford M. Wells. In 1879 the senior partner retired, leaving his
son as his successor, who continued the paper until 1883, when he
sold it to M.M. Rockhold and F.T. Lockhart, and he went to
Evansville, Wisconsin, where he is now one of the proprietors of
The Evansville Review of that city. Messrs. Rockhold & Lock-
hart changed the name of the paper to the West Virginia
Transcript, which made its first appearance on the 19 day of
January, 1883. Mr. Lockhart withdrew on the 9th of March
ensuing, Mr. Rockhold then becoming sole proprietor, and as such
he continues at the present time.

The third and last paper that made its appearance in the county 
was The Wirt County Appeal. In February, 1877, M. M. Rock-
hold began the publication of a paper at Spencer, in Roane county,
which he called The Roane County Appeal. It was the first 
paper that ever appeared in that county. He continued its
publication at that place until January, 1879, when he removed
the press and office material to Elizabeth, where he issued it as
The Wirt County Appeal, the initial number appearing February
19, 1879. Soon after he associated with himself V. B. Archer,
but only for a short time, Mr. Archer withdrawing after about
six months. Mr. Rockhold sold the paper January l2, 1881, to
C. M. Wells, of the Mentor, who consolidated it with that paper
under the name of the Mentor Appeal, and thus the Appeal ceased
to be. Such is the history of journalism in Wirt county. 

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