A virtual stroll through some newspapers from well before the “storm”

Posted on July 14, 2012 by


I was gearing-up for writing another post about another Southern Unionist… ummm, or so he said he was… this morning, but became distracted by something about which I became aware, a few days ago.

Thanks to a grant from The Harpers Ferry Historical Association, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has digitized several early 19th century newspaper from that neck of the woods. Now, one might think I’d be quick to jump-in on the Civil War years, but, well, there’s just not that much available, considering publications were severely hampered after 1861. So, with my fascination with the years leading up in that area… well before the storm… I took a different sort of virtual stroll in time. Yes, I have “family interests” in that part of the Shenandoah Valley from that time, but it’s also an interest in the culture of the place.

I first dived into the editions of the Virginia Free Press  for 1832… looking for a marriage announcement for my fourth great grandparents, Robert McKinney and Catharine Baker. I found it, but… sigh… it happens to be in a crease.

I still need to browse a bit for additional entries that might pertain to them.

As for cultural fascination, I enjoyed (as I always do) the advertisements, such as these, from June 17, 1847…

… and some unique pieces such as this, from August, 1839:

Ah, and poetry, how can I not recognize the passion they held in the 19th century for poetry? This piece is also from the front page of the issue of June 17, 1847:

But, while I was “fishing” for interesting material… how could I not look to see what was being said within days (this snip from October 20, 1859) of the John Brown Raid?!

For virtual time travel on your own, visit the West Virginia GeoExplorer Project home page… and enjoy…