Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Western Enterprise and the Mountain Mercury

Monday night I was at Appalachian State (I was there Tuesday night also) systematically going through sources for the book on the 58th NCT. These sources range from their compiled service records which are on microfilm, to family history to historical society newsletters. You never know when a set of letters, or some little tidbit of information will pop up.

I grabbed a roll of microfilm out of the cabinet that was labeled Miss. McDowell Co. Newspapers. I found a real treasure. I was not aware that Marion, in McDowell County, had attempted to start a newspaper during the war.

The first was The Western Enterprise. On this roll of microfilm, they had Volume 1, Issue 1, dated March 14, 1862. It is rare to find the first issue. The paper was published by R. L. Abernathy and E. A. Poe. This issue was extremely hard to read, but had articles on President Davis’s Inaugural Address and a possible treaty with France. The next issue was Volume 1, Number 7, dated April 25, 1862, which contained an article on the battle of New Bern, North Carolina. The last issue on the roll of microfilm was a different newspaper, the Mountain Mercury. This was also Volume 1, Issue 1, dated January 7, 1863. It appears that A. C. Halyburton and William Williams had purchased the Western Enterprise and had renamed the newspaper.

In this solitary issue, C. O. Conley, Captain of Company F, 58th North Carolina Troops, had issued a $180 reward for the apprehension of a group of men that had deserted his company.
I have no other information regarding the Mountain Mercury, no other issues, no idea when it ceased publication. I don’t recall it being on the Guide to North Carolina Newspapers on microfilm before (it’s there now).

It is always nice to find little gems when one is out researching.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be spending a lot of time at App., going through newspapers, more family histories, and whatever else I can get my hands on as I try and wrap up my research.

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