Newspaper & Journal Extracts
Concerning Navarro County, Texas - Index







Interesting mementoes of the early history of Corsicana as a city are now the treasured possessions of Mrs. Robert Neblett of Scheneciady, N. Y. handed down from her grandfather, the late Dr. D. G. Kerr, in the form of copies of pioneer newspapers printed within a few years after Navarro county was created and in the first decade of the history of the municipality.

Examination of the early newspapers was made possible to a representative of the Corsicana Daily Sun, successor of these periocicats, through the courtesy of Mrs. R. B. Molloy, a granddaughter of one of the early editors.

Among the earlies publications was “The Navarro Express” and a copy of this paper dated “Corsicana, Texas, Dec. 17, 1850,” with R. A. Van Horn as publisher and proprietor, is included in Mrs. Neblett’s memoirs. It is numbered Vol. 1, No. 5. Some historians relate that it is the immediate successor to the “Prairie Blade,” first publication in the county. The date of the “Express” places it just five years after the city of Corsicana was incorporated under an act of the Texas Legislature which boasted among its members one Jose Antonio Navarro, for whom this county was named. A daughter of the first editor now resides in Corsicana, Mrs. Nellie Piper.

Under the name plate of the periodical on page one appears the following: “Devoted to News, Literature, Science, Morality, Agriculture, etc.” Its form resembles modern newspapers only in the fact that it carries advertisements, and has an editorial column, and the bulk of the news was contained in the form of letters from various citizens. On the masthead on the editorial page Rev. N. P. Modrall and R. A. Van Horn are listed as editors. Rev. Modrall was a pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian church at that time.

Interesting Advertisement.
One interesting advertisement in the paper urges patronage of the U. S. Mail Line from Anderson (Grimes county) to Waxahachie, listing a fare of $3 from Corsicana to Waxahachie, and $15 from Anderson to the Ellis county city. Another item of interest is a reference to State Senator Marion Martin whose direct descendants still reside in Corsicana.

A lengthy letter on the preceedings of the Texas Legislature over the signature of Roger Q. Mills, calls attention to the fact that on December 2 of that year it was too cold for the representatives to attend to business.

Among the professional men and merchants listed in the newspaper are J. L. Halbert, attorney, father of the former mayor of Corsicana and the man for whom the city lake was named; H. W. Tate & Company, grocers; James Talley, groceries and liquors; C. M. Winkler and T. S. Sweatman, attorneys; J. C. C. Winch, Attorney; William Croft and L. T. Wheeler, attorneys; C. L. Spencer and H. B. Lee, attorneys; William H. Mitchell, attorney at law and general land agent.

Another copy of the “Express,” dated Nov. 23, 1860, is also included in the collection. Among the more interesting features of this paper is an advertisement of the “Masonic and Odd Fellows Male and Female High School at Chatfield’s Point.” Rev. William H. Stokes, principal; Miss Mary Stenhour, assistant. By this time William H. Neblett appears as an editor of the paper, with J. T. Spence and R. A. Van Horn listed as the proprietors.

The professional card of Dr. N. J. Mills, brother of the late Roger Q. Mills, appears in the issue, along with that of Dr. H. H. Molloy, an uncle of R. B. Molloy, local attorney.

“The Texas Immigrant.”
Still another edition listed in the collection is one that is not mentioned by some narrators of the early history of the county. “The Texas Immigrant,” dated April 25, 1875, with J. W. Scott listed as editor and publisher. Included in the professional cards of this newspaper are those of Simpkins & Simpkins, Sam R. Frost, Bryan T. Barry, William Croft, all attorneys; A. Beaton & Sons, John B. Jones & Company, bankers; Kerr & Roberts, dry goods and groceries; S. A. Pace, groceries, and C. H. Allyn & Company, grocers. A list of the churches is also carried with the names of their attendants carried at the end of the announcements for the week. It shows the Church of the Immaculate Conception with Rev. P. Chandy; Presbyterian (O. S. ) Rev. Hillery Moseley; Methodist, Rev. Horace Bishop; and Baptist, S. G. Mullins.

Still other members of the Collection is the “Corsicana Observer,” Vol. VII, No. 47, Oct. 8, 1873, evidently a successor to the “Express,” since R. A. Van Horn is listed as the editor, with Ely H. Forman as associate editor.

Democratic Ticket.
A copy of the state Democratic ticket shows that Hon. Richard Coke of McLennan county was the nominee of the party for governor, with Hon. R. B. Hubbard of Smith county as candidate for lieutenant governor.

A three-column advertisement with several illustrations announces that on Oct. 20 of that year “John Robinson’s great world’s exposition, museum, aquarium, animal conservatory, and strictly moral circus” would appear in Corsicana.

Recognition of Texas and particularly Corsicana and Navarro county as fertile commercial fields is shown by the fact that the later papers carry advertisements from the New York Sun, Harper’s Weekly and other early periodicals, along with the commercial cards of Houston, Navasota and New Orleans merchants, brokers, and shippers.


See Also:

Navarro County TXGenWeb
© Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox