The Western Pioneer (TX, 1862)

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THE WESTERN PIONEER

Publication History:

Place of Publication: Fort Lancaster, Crockett County,  (Western) Texas

Frequency: Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Four pages; Feb. 1, 1862

Size and Format: Unknown

Editor/Publisher: Unknown

Title Changes and Continuation: Unknown

General Description and Notes:

None

Information Sources:

Bibliography:

Locations: University of Houston (original); The Texas Newspaper Project, Center for American History (microfilm), University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

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The True Blue (MX, 1842)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Mexico City, Mexico; Castle Perote Prison, Santiago, Mexico

Frequency:  Weekly (for six weeks)

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 4, April 21, 1842

Size and Format:  Variable; 9 x 13 inches; two columns; written in cursive

Editor/Publisher:  “Simon Pure”

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:         

The True Blue was handwritten by Texan soldiers imprisoned in Mexico City.  According to a Texas State archivist, the newspaper was published as a “literary journal” by the 1842 Texan Santa Fe Expedition prisoners while in the Castle Santiago in Mexico City.  The prisoners were later moved to the Castle Perote near the coast.  At least six issues appeared.  The fourth issue, April 21, 1842, announced a “Ball” to be held in celebration of the Battle of San Jacinto, “a day ever to be remembered by Texans.”

The paper’s name appears in large, bold capital letters.

Information Sources:                               

Bibliography:  Bob Karolevitz, “Pen and Ink Newspapers of the Old West,” Frontier Times, 44:2 (Feb.-Mar., 1970), 31, 62; Robert F. Karolevitz, Newspapering in the Old West:  A Pictorial History of Journalism and Printing on the Frontier (New York:  Bonanza Books, 1969), p. 140; Workers of the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration, Texas:  A Guide to the Lone Star State (New York:  Hastings House, 1940), 121.

Locations:  Vol. 1, Nos. 1 and 6 (original); Vol. 1, Nos. 1, 5 and 6 (photocopy) Texas State Library Archives, Austin, Texas

The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

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The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

Publication History:

Place of Publication: Camp Ford, Tyler, Smith County, Texas

Frequency:  Bi-weekly, irregular

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 1, Feb. 17, 1864-No.3, March 13, 1864

Size and Format: 8 1/2 x 11; four pages per issue; three columns; pen and ink

Editor/Publisher:  Capt. William H. May (and J.P. Robens?); a 12-page facsimile edition was published by J.P. Robens and William H. May entitled, The Old Flag: First Publication by Union Prisoners at Camp Ford, Tyler, Texas, V. 1, No. 1-3; Feb. 17-March 13, 1864: Preface includes history of the manuscript plus some items and advertisements from the Ford City Herald

Title Changes and Continuation:  Some references to advertisements from the Ford City Herald  in the Library of Virginia’s Civil War 150 Legacy Project (thanks to Renee M. Savits, of the CW 150 Legacy Project). According to the Herald, “This branch of our imense (sic) establishment is now complete. The new Type and Materials of The Herald, in addition to the well stocked Office of the “OLD FLAG,” removed and refitted, enables us to give notice that we are fully prepared to execute all kinds of Plain and Fancy Job Printing with neatness and dispatch. Terms, CASH.”

General Description and Notes:

The Old Flag was published by a Union soldier during an imprisonment of 13 months in the Confederate prison at Tyler, Texas.  Each issue was read aloud in the various cabins by some member of the “Mess.”  When all had read or heard it read, the paper was returned by the “subscriber” to the “office publication.”

The paper’s primary goal was to relieve the almost unbearably eventless and monotonous life of Camp Ford.  Contributions commented on local news and camp issues, displayed poetry and art, and played with satire, jokes and chess problems.  Advertisements, which appeared in every issue, were genuine.  Most offered the services of skilled prisoners for the benefit of the others.  For example, pipe makers, barbers, cigar makers, shoe shines and “job printing” (by the editor) were all available in the prison city.

The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

The Old Flag was one of two and possibly three handwritten Civil War newspapers published at Camp Ford, a Confederate prison complex in Tyler and Hempstead, Texas.  Camp Ford was the largest Confederate military prison in Texas.  The prison held both officers and enlisted men from 1863 to the end of war.  The prison held as many as 4,900 prisoners by July 1864.  Living conditions in the tented enclosure were generally good.  Fresh water, adequate shelter and plentiful food supplies made the prison a relatively healthy place; during its 21-month existence, roughly 250 soldiers died in the camp.  Most soldiers were allowed to keep many of their possessions, to manufacture items for sale and to purchase food and supplies from local farmers and merchants.[1]  To facilitate these economic transactions, The Old Flag published a “REVIEW OF THE TEXAS MARKET-for the Month of February, 1864” in its March 1 edition.

Capt. William H. May, of the 23rd Connecticut Volunteers, with the assistance of other Union soldiers, published and edited at least three issues of The Old Flag between February 17 and March 13, 1864,[2] during their 13-month confinement in the Confederate prison camp.  According to J.P. Robens, one of the prisoners, the paper was published on sheets of “unruled letter paper, in imitation of print, a steel pen being employed in the absence of a Hoe Press.”[3]  The three-column, four-page paper made liberal use of large headlines and graphic elements.

The paper’s primary goal was “to contribute as far as possible towards enlivening the monotonous, and at times almost unbearably eventless life of Camp Ford–and to cultivate a mutual good feeling between all.”  Contributions were solicited on matters of local news and camp issues.  The Old Flag published poetry and art, and included satire, jokes and chess problems.  Display advertisements appeared in every issue, and “most of them bona fide, genuine.”  Most of the ads promoted the services of skilled prisoners for the benefit of the others.  For example, pipe makers, barbers, cigar makers, shoe shines and “job printing” (by the editor) were all available in the prison city.[4]

————————————————————————————–

Summary of Contents of The Old Flag, 1:1, February 17, 1864

(Measured in column inches; 33 column inches per page)

 


————————————————————————————————-

The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

The first number announced that the next issue would be in “an entire new dress, we having received new Types from the Foundry of J. Connor & Son, of N.Y.!  This number is printed with ‘secesh’ ink, which does not appear to ‘take’ well upon Yankee paper.”[5]  Only one copy was published of each number, which was then read aloud in the various cabins by some member of the “Mess.”  When all the prisoners had read or heard it read, the paper was returned by the “Subscriber” to the “Office of Publication.”[6]

In the third number, March 15, 1864, the editor published his intentions to preserve The Old Flag after his release from Camp Ford.

TO OUR PATRONS

We shall make it our first object on our arrival at New York City–which will probably be within a few week after our Exchange–to learn the practicability of getting the three numbers of the “Old Flag” Lithographed.  Should the expense be too great to warrant our adopting this means of securing fac simile [sic] copies, we shall print with types as nearly as similar to the letter penned by us as can be procured, with heading and illustrations engraved.  We shall endeavor to make the copies close imitations of the original papers.  In addition we propose to publish a few accurate pictures, delineating life at Camp Ford, Camp Groce, &c, printed on sheets inserted in each number of the “Old Flag” with a Title Page, and complete List of the Officers Prisoners [sic] at this place, neatly bound.

The editor kept his promise.  The lithographed reproduction of The Old Flag was published in New York in 1864 and included a “List of officers, prisoners of war at Camp Ford . . . giving rank, regiment, where and when captured.”

After prisoners were released from Camp Ford, the editor published a lithographed reproduction of the handwritten.

According to Mary Witkowski, of the Bridgeport Public Library, Bridgeport, CT, Captain May was a newspaper man in civilian life.

Information Sources:                                                         

The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

Bibliography:  Roy Alden Atwood, “Captive Audiences: Handwritten Prisoner-of-War Newspapers of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition and the War Between the States,” Annual Convention of the American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA), Salt Lake City, UT, Oct. 1993;  F. Lee Lawrence and Robert W. Glover, Camp Ford, C.S.A.:  The Story of Union Prisoners in Texas(Austin:  Texas Civil War Centennial Advisory Committee, 1964), 36-37;  The Old Flag (privately published, 1914).

Locations:  Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT; The Old Flag, lithographed reproduction:  DLC


[1].  Patricia L. Faust, editor, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War, p. 110.

[2].  The date on The Old Flag, 1:3, isMarch 13, 1864, but a poem on p. 3, “To Mrs. Col R.T.P. Allen,” is dated March 14.  The poem was likely a day-late insertion.

[3].  J.P. Robens, “Preface,” The Old Flag, lithograph reproduction (New York:  W.H. May, [1864]), n.p.

[4].  The Old Flag, 1:3 (March 13, 1864), p. 2:  “Statistic–There have been manufactured by knife in this camp, since last September, over forty setts [sic]of Chessmen, of which Lt. John Woodward has himself completed eight of the best!

“The number of Pipes turned out, as near as can be arrived at, is not less than Five Hundred–both of wood and clay.”

[5].  The Old Flag, 1:1 (Feb. 17, 1864), p. 2.

[6].  J.P. Robens, “Preface,” n.p.

Little Joker (TX, 1866-1869)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Jacksboro, Texas

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Published sometime between 1866 and 1869.

Size and Format:  On foolscap

Editor/Publisher:  H.H. McConnell

Title Changes and Continuation:  Same editor/publisher produced the BIG INJUN at Fort Belknap,Texas and THE GRASSHOPPER at Fort Buffalo, Texas.

General Description and Notes:

According to Whisenhunt, the Jacksboro area had no fewer than four newspapers between 1866 and 1869, although only one was printed.  The editor of all four was H.H. McConnell, a soldier first assigned to Jacksboro, Texas in 1866.  McConnell recounts his journalistic efforts and military experience on the Texas frontier in the Reconstruction period in his autobiography, Five Years a Cavalryman.

Shortly after he arrived in Jacksboro, McConnell and other soldiers published a weekly newspaper, LITTLE JOKER, on foolscap.  The paper circulated among the soldiers at Jacksboro.  The Jacksboro post was temporarily abandoned by the military, and the LITTLE JOKER “was ignominiously packed on a Quartermaster’s house and moved to Fort Belknap.”

At Fort Belknap soon issued another handwritten paper, BIG INJUN, intended for a military audience.  According to McConnell, “Here the genius of the editor again broke forth, and the ‘Big Injun’ for a time shed an undying lustre on the literature of the nineteenth century.”  The paper was short-lived:  “Like a meteor flashing along the midnight sky–brilliant for a moment, then rendering the darkness more intense–so the ‘Big Injun’ ran its course.”

McConnell’s transfer to nearby Fort Buffalo Springs marked the publication of his third handwritten, THE GRASSHOPPER.  Like its predecessors, THE GRASSHOPPER was short-lived.  Fort Buffalo Springs was soon abandoned for the more strategic Jacksboro post.

McConnell was finally reassigned to Fort Richardson where he contracted with a Weatherford,Tex.printer to publish The Flea.  This, his first printed newspaper, appeared Feb. 1, 1869, but lasted only six issues, until June 15, 1869.

According the Whisenut, McConnell’s handwritten papers did little more than provide diversion for the soldiers at their respective military posts, but “this was important.  Their very existence also implies that the life of the frontier soldier was mostly a monotonous existence despite the legend and aura of romance that surrounds the United States Cavalry.”

Information Sources:                   

Bibliography:  H.H. McConnell, Five Years a Cavalryman (Jacksboro, Texas:  J.N. Rogers and Co., 1889), p. 174; Donald W. Whisenhunt, “The Frontier Newspaper:  A Guide to Society and Culture,” Journalism Quarterly, 45:4 (Winter 1968), 727; see also Theronne Thompson, “Fort Buffalo Springs, Texas, Border Post,” West Texas Historical Association Yearbook, 36:168 (October 1960).

Location:  None

The Grasshopper (TX, 1866-1869)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Fort Buffalo Springs, Texas

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Published sometime between 1866 and 1869.

Size and Format:  Unknown

Editor/Publisher:  H.H. McConnell

Title Changes and Continuation:  Same editor/publisher produced LITTLE JOKER at Jacksboro, Texas and the BIG INJUN at Fort Belknap, Texas.

General Description and Notes:

According to Whisenhunt, the Jacksboro area had no fewer than four newspapers between 1866 and 1869, although only one was printed.  The editor of all four was H.H. McConnell, a soldier first assigned to Jacksboro, Texas in 1866.  McConnell recounts his journalistic efforts and military experience on the Texas frontier in the Reconstruction period in his autobiography, Five Years a Cavalryman.

Shortly after he arrived in Jacksboro, McConnell and other soldiers published a weekly newspaper, LITTLE JOKER, on foolscap.  The paper circulated among the soldiers at Jacksboro.  The Jacksboro post was temporarily abandoned by the military, and the LITTLE JOKER “was ignominiously packed on a Quartermaster’s hourse and moved to Fort Belknap.”

At Fort Belknap soon issued another handwritten paper, BIG INJUN, intended for a military audience.  According to McConnell, “Here the genius of the editor again broke forth, and the ‘Big Injun’ for a time shed an undying lustre on the literature of the nineteenth century.”  The paper was short-lived:  “Like a meteor flashing along the midnight sky–brilliant for a moment, then rendering the darkness more intense–so the ‘Big Injun’ ran its course.”

McConnell’s transfer to nearby Fort Buffalo Springs marked the publication of his third handwritten, THE GRASSHOPPER.  Like its predecessors, THE GRASSHOPPER was short-lived.  Fort Buffalo Springs was soon abandoned for the more strategic Jacksboro post.

McConnell was finally reassigned to Fort Richardson where he contracted with a Weatherford, Tex. printer to publish The Flea.  This, his first printed newspaper, appeared Feb. 1, 1869, but lasted only six issues, until June 15, 1869.

According the Whisenut, McConnell’s handwritten papers did little more than provide diversion for the soldiers at their respective military posts, but “this was important.  Their very existence also implies that the life of the frontier soldier was mostly a monotonous existence despite the legend and aura of romance that surrounds the United States Cavalry.”

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  H.H. McConnell, Five Years a Cavalryman (Jacksboro, Texas:  J.N. Rogers and Co., 1889), p. 174; Donald W. Whisenhunt, “The Frontier Newspaper:  A Guide to Society and Culture,” Journalism Quarterly, 45:4 (Winter 1968), 727; see also Theronne Thompson, “Fort Buffalo Springs, Texas, Border Post,” West Texas Historical Association Yearbook, 36:168 (October 1960).

Location:  None

Ford City Herald (TX, 1864)

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Ford City Herald (TX, 1864), front page

Publication History:

Place of Publication: Camp Ford, Tyler, Smith County, Texas

Frequency:  Unknown; only one extant issue known, but in the extant edition the editors promise “Our Next Herald” (page four, bottom of column two)

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 1, July 4, 1864

Size and Format: 8 1/2 x 11; four pages; three columns; pen and ink

Editor/Publisher:  Probably Capt. William H. May (and J.P. Robens?), also editor(s) of The Old Flag; a 12-page facsimile edition of The Old Flag, published by J.P. Robens and William H. May entitled, The Old Flag: First Publication by Union Prisoners at Camp Ford, Tyler, Texas includes some items and advertisements from the Ford City Herald

Title Changes and Continuation:  Related to the Old Flag, but continuation unknown

General Description and Notes:

While reference to The Herald was made in the facsimile edition of The Old Flag , the Handwritten Newspapers Project was unaware of any extant copies of The Herald until October 2012 when Renee M. Savits, of the Library of Virginia’s Civil War 150 Legacy Project notified us that a donor, the great-great-granddaughter of Capt. William H. May, editor of the Old Flag, had supplied the project with a framed copy of The Herald and a collection of letters from Capt. May before his capture near New Orleans in the summer of 1863.

Letter re. Capt. Wm. May, July 5,1863, explaining he has been taken prisoner (p.1)

Letter re. Capt. Wm. May, July 5,1863, explaining he has been taken prisoner (p.1)

Capt. May served with Co. I, 23rd Infantry Regiment, Connecticut, in Brashear City, LA, and New Orleans in 1863. A two-page letter dated July 5, 1863 (right, courtesy of the CW 150 Legacy Project) indicates his capture and transport to Houston, TX.

The Herald is closely related to the The Old Flag, which was published at Camp Ford, the Confederate prison at Tyler, Texas, during an imprisonment of 13 months.  On page two, under “Herald Job Printing Office,” the editor indicates the relationship between the two papers when he writes,

“This branch of our imense (sic) establishment is now complete. The new Type and Materials of The Herald, in addition to the well stocked Office of

Letter re. Capt. Wm. May, July 5,1863, explaining he has been taken prisoner (p.2)

Letter re. Capt. Wm. May, July 5,1863, explaining he has been taken prisoner (p.2)

the “OLD FLAG,” removed and refitted, enables us to give notice that we are fully prepared to execute all kinds of Plain and Fancy Job Printing with neatness and dispatch. Terms, CASH.”

Under “Terms” (first page, top left column), the editor of The Herald also wrote, “The Herald is published Semi-Occasionally; subscription, Two Bits, payable in Lincoln Green at time of Publication.”

Ford City Herald (TX, 1864), Camp Ford, Tyler, TX

According to the editor of The Old Flag, each issue was read aloud in the various cabins by some member of the “Mess.”  When all had read or heard it read, the paper was returned by the “subscriber” to the “office publication.”

The Old Flag’s primary goal was to relieve the almost unbearably eventless and monotonous life of Camp Ford.  Contributions commented on local news and camp issues, displayed poetry and art, and played with satire, jokes and chess problems.  Advertisements, which appeared in every issue, were genuine.  Most offered the services of skilled prisoners for the benefit of the others.  For example, pipe makers, barbers, cigar makers, shoe shines and “job printing” (by the editor) were all available in the prison city.

Ford City Herald (TX, 1864), pages 2-3

Camp Ford was the largest Confederate military prison in Texas during the Civil War.  The prison held both officers and enlisted men from 1863 until the end of war.  The prison held as many as 4,900 prisoners by July 1864.  Living conditions in the tented enclosures were generally good compared to some other Civil War prison camps.  Fresh water, adequate shelter and plentiful food supplies made the prison a relatively healthy place; during its 21-month existence, roughly 250 soldiers died in the camp.  Most soldiers were allowed to keep many of their possessions, to manufacture items for sale and to purchase food and supplies from local farmers and merchants.[1]  To facilitate these economic transactions, The Old Flag published a “REVIEW OF THE TEXAS MARKET-for the Month of February, 1864” in its March 1 edition.

Capt. William H. May, of the 23rd Connecticut Volunteers, with the assistance of other Union soldiers, published and edited the Ford City Herald in July 1864 and at least three issues of The Old Flag between February 17 and March 13, 1864,[2] during their 13-month confinement in the Confederate prison camp. According to J.P. Robens, one of the prisoners, The Old Flag was published on sheets of “unruled letter paper, in imitation of print, a steel pen being employed in the absence of a Hoe Press.”[3]  The three-column, four-page paper made liberal use of large headlines and graphic elements.

The Old Flag’s primary goal was “to contribute as far as possible towards enlivening the monotonous, and at times almost unbearably eventless life of Camp Ford–and to cultivate a mutual good feeling between all.”  Contributions were solicited on matters of local news and camp issues.  The Old Flag published poetry and art, and included satire, jokes and chess problems.  Display advertisements appeared in every issue, and “most of them bona fide, genuine.”  Most of the ads promoted the services of skilled prisoners for the benefit of the others.  For example, pipe makers, barbers, cigar makers, shoe shines and “job printing” (by the editor) were all available in the prison city.[4]

The lithographed reproduction of The Old Flag was published in New York in 1864 and included a “List of officers, prisoners of war at Camp Ford . . . giving rank, regiment, where and when captured.”

After prisoners were released from Camp Ford, the editor published a lithographed reproduction of the handwritten version.

According to Mary Witkowski, of the Bridgeport Public Library, Bridgeport, CT, Captain May was a newspaper man in civilian life.

Information Sources:                                                        

Bibliography:  F. Lee Lawrence and Robert W. Glover, Camp Ford, C.S.A.:  The Story of Union Prisoners in Texas(Austin:  Texas Civil War Centennial Advisory Committee, 1964), 36-37;  The Old Flag (privately published, 1914); see also Roy Alden Atwood, “Captive Audiences: Handwritten Prisoner-of-War Newspapers of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition and the War Between the States,” Annual Convention of the American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA), Salt Lake City, UT, Oct. 1993.

Locations:  

Library of Virginia’s Civil War 150 Legacy Project (thanks to Renee M. Savits, of the CW 150 Legacy Project), William H. May papers (Leonora Schmidt, great-great-granddaughter, collection); for Old Flag, see Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT; The Old Flag, lithographed reproduction:  DLC


[1].  Patricia L. Faust, editor, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War, p. 110.

[2].  The date on The Old Flag, 1:3, is March 13, 1864, but a poem on p. 3, “To Mrs. Col R.T.P. Allen,” is dated March 14.  The poem was likely a day-late insertion.

[3].  J.P. Robens, “Preface,” The Old Flag, lithograph reproduction (New York:  W.H. May, [1864]), n.p.

[4].  The Old Flag, 1:1 (Feb. 17, 1864), p. 2.

The Camp Ford News (TX, 1865)

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Camp Ford News (TX, 1865)

Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Camp Ford (Confederate Prison Fort), Tyler, Texas

Frequency:  “Only one copy is known to have been printed, this being the issue of May 1, 1865”

Volume and Issue Data:  May 1, 1865 (one issue: Civil War ended the next week)

Size and Format:  One sheet broadside

Editor/Publisher:  Capt. Lewis Burger

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description & Notes:

Like the OLD FLAG and RIGHT FLANKER, this was a paper created to relieve the monotony and trials of prison life during the Civil War.  Only one issue appeared apparently because May 13-17, 1865 marked the end of the Civil War and the abandonment of Camp Ford.

Camp Ford was part of a Confederate prison complex in Tyler and Hempstead, Texas.  The prison held officers and enlisted men from 1863 to the end of war and the prisoners had built their own shelters.  After 1864 and the Red River Campaign, prison crowding and sickness increased, and the general conditions of prison life declined.  It was during these latter days of the War that the paper was produced.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  F. Lee Lawrence and Robert W. Glover, Camp Ford, C.S.A.:  The Story of Union Prisoners in Texas (Austin, Texas:  Texas Civil War Centennial Advisory Committee, 1964); Mark Boatner, III, The Civil War Dictionary (New York: Random House, 1991).

Locations:  Smith County Historical Society, Texas

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