The Herald Independent – A Historical Perspective
Fairfield County traces its roots back to 1798, when the Camden District was split up into five smaller districts. The roots of The Herald Independent aren’t quite that old, but they do go back a ways. The earliest attempt at creating a newspaper in Fairfield County was in 1833. One Francis S. Bronson advertised in the Oct. 29 issue of the Columbia Telescope for subscribers for a new publication called the Saturday Post. It doesn’t appear that any issues of this paper were ever produced, however.
One of the early predecessors of today’s Herald Independent was the Daily News, established in February 1865 by J.E. Britton, Editor and Publisher. Publication was suspended after only a week. A month later the name was changed to Tri-Weekly News and publication resumed. In this guise, the paper fared better — it remained in publication for the next 12 years. This paper did go through a name change in 1866 — but it merely rearranged the words in its name to News: Tri-Weekly.
Another early paper of note was the Fairfield Herald, established in 1849. This paper suspended publication during the unpleasantness with the North, but resumed publication on June 20, 1866. H.A. Gaillard was Editor. The News: Tri-Weekly and the Fairfield Herald were published by the same staff in the same office after 1866. This continued for 10 years until the two papers formally merged at the end of 1876. The new paper, edited by John S. Reynolds, simply combined its predecessor’s names — News & Herald. The publication would continue under this name for over a century.
In the last few years of the 19th century, several other papers attempted to compete with the News & Herald with varying degrees of success. Three papers tried their luck in Ridgeway — the Advertiser (1890-92), the Enterprise (1898-99), and the Fairfield News (1909-1915). Based on the short life spans of these papers, it seems that only the Fairfield News had much success.
In Winnsboro, the Advocate was published from 1891 to 1894. The Daily Register began publication in 1850, going to tri-weekly four years later and folding sometime during the unsuccessful war for Southern independence. The Fairfield Courier was established as a weekly in March of 1865 but only seems to have produced one or two issues. The Farmer’s Interest was published weekly for about a year in 1890.
The 1844 date used on the masthead of The Herald Independent seems to have come from the Fairfield And Chester Advertiser, a weekly paper published only during that year. This was the earliest newspaper actually published in Fairfield County (assuming the Saturday Post effort of 1833 came to naught). However, no clear link can be made between this venture and what eventually became the News & Herald.
After the Ridgeway-based Fairfield News ceased publication in 1915, the News & Herald had no competition in the county until 1979. On April 12 of that year, a new weekly was unveiled — the Fairfield Independent. The market just wouldn’t support two papers, however. On March 4, 1982, the two papers were officially combined into one single publication and today’s Herald Independent was born.