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History of the Copiah County Courier

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05/30/14 was the last day I modified this page.

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History of the Copiah County Courier


One of the oldest, if not the oldest, businesses in continuous operation in Hazlehurst since the town was chartered more than 125 years ago is the community newspaper.


Some of the records indicate that the newspaper, operating under a series of names and different ownerships, has continued in operation for more than a century. As indicated above, the publication is now in its 117th volume of continuous operation.


Earliest records are sketchy and sometimes contradictory (as genealogists we know that one) as to when the newspaper from which the Copiah County Courier evolved was established. Limited files on hand at the paper, which suffered a major loss of all its files during a fire in 1975, indicated that the paper was established early in 1884.


In a newspaper article written in the 30’s for the Hazlehurst Courier by the late E.M. Cook, mayor of Hazlehurst from 1921 to 1928, reference was made to Joe L. Meade, editor and owner of the Courier, who was appointed postmaster but soon resigned.


Annie G. Peyton, in a speech about the school history as of Nov. 7, 1888, referred to “our worthy editor, W. L. Mitchell, … “ and an article, which appeared in the Copiah Signal in Feb. 1888.


Records on file at the library confirm the operation of the newspaper as early as 1895, but information before that time is sketchy, as are details as to who actually started the newspaper in the then new town of Hazlehurst.


Still other sources indicate in 1879 the Copiah County Monitor moved from Crystal Springs to Hazlehurst, and if that date were accurate, would make the publications some 122 years old.


Information complied by Mrs. H. L. ( Ora Mae Salter) Green in 1985 indicated that Willie Hawkins was one of the earlier owners and operators of the Courier and was followed by John Hood, who sold the Hazlehurst Courier to E. W. Taylor in 1909. Taylor published the paper for the next 25 years. During that time period, in 1920, W. J. Selman, a well-known local resident, began work at the Courier as mechanical Superintendent. Also in the early 1920s, T.F. Godwin obtained the Crystal Springs paper, The Meteor, from a Mr. Abbey.


In 1934, E.W. Taylor sold the Courier to Godwin who continued the operation. Meanwhile in 1935, Everette and Ida Lou (Simmons) Lewis established the Copiah County News, a competing newspaper. Having bought ½ interest in the Copiah County News, W. J. Selman left the Hazlehurst Courier.


In 1937, W.F. Godwin sold the Courier to Jim McCorkle.


War started in 1941 and Selman began working full time at the post office and sold his interest in the News back to the Lewises.


In 1963 saw a merger of the two papers when Lewis, publisher of the Copiah County News, bought the Hazlehurst Courier from Jim McCorkle. The merger resulted in a name change to the current name of Copiah County Courier.


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