The Farmerville Enquirer
Other Union Parish Newspapers Known Prior to the Civil War
The second known newspaper in Union Parish was the Farmerville Enquirer. Presently no known copies of the paper are in existence although in 1942 there was. The Farmerville Gazette of September 10, 1942 records an event in Farmerville at which a May 4, 1855 copy of the Enquirer was on exhibit. The paper was owned by Perry Albritton of Farmerville and from this paper we gain some facts and some assumptions about the newspaper.
The paper was the fourth weekly issue of Volume 5 which indicates that the paper had been in existence several years. The assumption is that the first newspaper, The Expositor had simply experienced a name change. The subscription for the paper was $3.00 a year and advertising rates in 1855 were said to be higher than the 1942 rates for the Gazette. The editor was W.C. Carr and A.R. Craig was listed as the publisher. A story on the death and funeral of George Washington was reprinted in the issue. Several sentences were not legible but Shiloh and Marion Academies were in existence as seen in partial advertisements. I quote the last paragraph in the 1942 article: “ Perusing the old newspaper one feels as though a voice from the distant past speaks through it, informing this generation of how their ancestors lived a century ago. It is something which should be preserved and handed down to succeeding generations for its historic value.” I would like to think it was kept and would love to know if it is still in existence.
News papers across the state of Louisiana and across the South printed items taken from the Enquirer. It was the custom that all newspapers submitted articles to other newspapers in hopes that news from their section of the world would be published.
In May of 1850 the Times Picayune ran an item taken from the pages of the Enquirer. This was a short ten line description of a “large and brilliant meteor” that had been seen in the area of Farmerville which “illuminated the whole heavens”. Most of the articles of 1850 describe the conditions of the crops and the waterways but by the end of that year the paper gained the reputation of being the unofficial newspaper of the Know Nothing Party in Louisiana.
The editor at this time was Francis Marion Levison and his article against The Compromise of 1850 and Solomon Downs (our U.S. Senator) made the headlines of The Daily Union published in Washington D.C. in September of 1850.
By 1855 the paper was under the control of W.C. Carr of whom it was said would “operate the paper upon what is termed true American principals”. The paper took on a more vocal political tone under Carr’s leadership. Carr who had been a Whig adopted the platform of the Know Nothing Party and their stand against Catholics holding governmental positions believing that Catholics gave their allegiance to the Pope rather than to their country.
The paper continued publication into 1856 but no evidence can be found that it existed after that date. In an 1858 article on newspapers in Louisiana it was stated that 39 parishes have journals and nine do not. Union Parish was listed as one of those nine parishes with the comment “Union should be able to support a journal and we are surprised at there not being one published within its limits”.
In 1859 the Union Democrat was being published in Farmerville under the leadership of “Mgssrs. Hargis and Rabun of Farmerville”. The assumption is made that this paper was in circulation up until the outbreak of the Civil War.
In 1861 the American Newspaper Directory stated that the only newspaper in Union Parish was in Ouachita City. This paper bore the name UNION and was published weekly. Another newspaper directory of 1866 reinforces this information with the statement “Ouachita City is a post village in Union Parish and a weekly gazette is published here.”
Cathy Buckley is a native of Union Parish and lifelong citizen of Shiloh. She served as Principal of Spearsville High School for many years until her retirement. Cathy is now the director of the Bernice Depot Museum and a active member of the Bernice Historical Society.