From "Baptists in Alabama, Their Organization and Witness"

by Avery Hamilton Reid

Published by The Alabama Baptist State Convention, 1967


          No one was designated as editor of 'The Alabama Baptist' at its beginning.. The report to the 1845 Convention stated that it had an 'Association of Editors,' Doubtless Milo P. Jewett served as chief editor and manager. In the issue of September 2, 1843, a communication designated, 'From the Senior Editor' was signed by Jewett. He was assisted by such stalwart Baptist leaders in the state at the time as Jesse Hartwell, James H. DeVotie, Solon P. Lindsley, and Russell Holman. Jewett apparently directed the editorial affairs of the paper until June 23, 1848, when C. M. Breaker assumed the responsibilities as editor.

          A.[lexander] W.[iles] Chambliss became editor and publisher of 'The Alabama Baptist' in 1849. As was the custom in those days, when a newspaper changed ownership it also changed the name either slightly or radically as the new owner might choose. Chambliss changed the name of the paper to 'The Alabama Baptist Advocate' on February 23, 1849. Chambliss announced on June 5, 1850, that the list of subscribers to 'The South Western Baptist Chronicle,' formerly published in New Orleans and then defunct, had been transferred to the Alabama paper.


          With this broadening of the geographical coverage of the subscription list, the newspaper became actually a regional Baptist journal and it was decided to change the name again so as to indicate the broader interest of the publication. Beginning with the issue of July 31, 1850, the paper bore the title, 'The South Western Baptist,' and this name survived without change for fifteen years.


          The population growth in and increasing influence of the eastern Black Belt of Alabama in the 1840's, following the Indian removal in 1836, is reflected in the first relocation of the newspaper, from Marion to Tuskegee, late in the year 1852 with a very temporary stay in Montgomery. Chambliss relinquished his connection with the paper, stating that he would be succeeded by Albert Williams and Samuel Henderson. With the coming of Samuel Henderson, outstanding and influential pastor of the Tuskegee Baptist Church, to the editorial columns of the paper, it took on a more militant and controversial tone. Then in January, 1856 another significant change brought Hardin E. Taliaferro into joint editorship with Henderson. Taliaferro and Henderson continued to share the editorial responsibilities until July, 1859, when John E. Dawson replaced Henderson so that the latter could devote his time to the active duties of the pastoral ministry. However, Henderson was later to return to the newspaper and ultimately was to be placed under a peace bond by federal officers at the close of the war because of his 'inflammatory editorials....’

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