History Through the Headlines Part 2

In continuation from last month's newspaper blog:

Lifestyle:  THE NEWS comes to Lynchburg on January 15, 1866

When asked how much money it would take to hire him as editor of a proposed daily newspaper in Lynchburg, Colonel Robert Withers, M.D. answered “Twenty-five hundred a year.” After leasing a farm in Southwest Virginia and then returning to Central Virginia, Colonel Withers became the first editor of a newspaper called THE NEWS that serves as the ancestor to THE NEWS AND ADVANCE. Designated as a political newspaper rather than as a literary newspaper, THE NEWS had a conservative political voice and “was never in danger of going under” (Lynchburg, Virginia, The First 200 Years, 1786-1986). Following the 1866 premiere of THE NEWS, other Lynchburg newspapers saw changes.  In 1875, THE VIRGINIAN absorbed the REPUBLICAN and was later purchased by THE NEWS. In 1886, Carter Glass purchased THE NEWS.  In 1880, THE DAILY ADVANCE was born; in 1895, Carter Glass purchased THE DAILY ADVANCE “giving him and his descendants a virtual monopoly on the press in Lynchburg for almost a century” (Lynchburg, Virginia, The First 200 Years, 1786-1986). A four page newspaper cost 50 cents and an annual subscription cost $8.00. The Glass family owned THE NEWS AND DAILY ADVANCE until 1979. During the history of the newspaper, both morning and afternoon editions were published. In 1986, the two editions per day ceased. Having been sold twice since then, THE NEWS AND ADVANCE, renamed in 1991, is now a seven-day morning newspaper.

Front Page:  THE NEWS on January 15, 1866

Newspaper readers in Lynchburg see a railroad schedule, church directory, lawyer directory, and articles on artificial ivory and Chinese art. Colonel Withers also wrote an editorial explaining the hard work of editing a newspaper while at the same time rebuilding Virginia from the destruction of the Civil War. Not only did the editor feature a poem not complimentary about the African American community in this first edition, but there was also the indication that some African Americans were not willing to sign labor contracts for a long period of time. In the same edition, a letter from the wife the former President of the Confederacy appeared as Lynchburg attempted to recover from the Civil War through her newspapers.   

The former Art Deco offices of  The News and Advance  on Church Street in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia. Image Credit: Library of Congress

The former Art Deco offices of The News and Advance on Church Street in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia. Image Credit: Library of Congress

Local:  THE NEWS AND ADVANCE in 2016

Turn the page forward 150 years later in Lynchburg and find that, similar to 1866 readers, the readers of the Lynchburg newspaper in 2016 are witnesses to a wide variety of top headlines. Just as Colonel Withers wrote about rebuilding Virginia, the 2016 Lynchburg newspaper shows the rebuilding of a high-tech Heritage High School. Just as the white elite in 1866 fear that the African American community might become too powerful, landowners in 2016 fear that a pipeline might be built on their property. Newspapers in Lynchburg reveal the social issues of the times. Just as Jubal Early’s oath to the United States is questioned in 1866, the headline for 2016 reports alleged criminal charges against law enforcement officials. Not all news is good news. The point, of course, is that the history of the newspaper in Lynchburg is the history of the people in Lynchburg.  

A Breakdown of Lynchburg's Newspapers

  1. Lynchburg & Farmers Gazette
    • Published 1798-1804
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: For Agriculture
    • Editors/Publishers: John Carter & Button & Busey
  2. The Press
    • Published 1809-1818 and 1820-1822
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: Constitutional
    • Editors/Publishers: Fleming Grantland, William Duffy, & John Pleasants
  3. Jeffersonian Republcian
    • Published 1828-1830
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: Constitutional Liberty
    • Editors/Publishers: Dr. John Cabell
  4. The Express
    • Published 1852-1854
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: Lynchburg's First Daily
    • Editors/Publishers: George Bagby & L.J. Cappon
  5. Lynchburg Virginian/The Daily Virginian/Lynchburg Gazette
    • Published: 1822-1827 (as the LV), 1829-1893 (as the DV), & 1882-1883 (as the LG)
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: The County Newspaper
    • Editors/Publishers: Charles Button, Toler et al, Button & Busey
  6. The News
    • Published: 1866-1986
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: Leans conservative, not a literary newspaper
    • Editors/Publishers: Robert Withers & Carter Glass
  7. The Daily Advance
    • Published: 1880-1986
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: Key Moments in History
    • Editors/Publishers: Thomas Whitehead, A.T. Gunn, Thomas Glass, Ed Freakley, and William Cline
  8. The News & Daily Advance
    • Published: 1986-1991
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: Covering Your World First
    • Editors/Publishers: Carter Glass
  9. The News & Advance
    • Published: 1991-Present
    • Motto/Slogan/Purpose: Community Content & Community Involvement
    • Editors/Publishers: Caroline Glickman & Alton Brown


Cabell.  Sketches and Recollections of Lynchburg by the Oldest Inhabitant 1858.


Elson, James.  Lynchburg, Virginia:  The First Two Hundred Years, 1786-1986.

Library of Congress. Descriptions of Early Newspapers in Lynchurg, Virginia.  



By Tom Yarber, Staff
Lynchburg Museum System