“In 1879 a municipal election was held in Kings County at the cost to the county’s taxpayers of $91.65. L. DeVere Chipman was the county clerk of the day, and councillor J. W. Barss was the warden. This was reported in The Advertiser of Kentville, then one year old.”

This publication’s former managing editor and current columnist, Harold Woodman, began a recent address at the Kings Historical Society with this introduction. The topic was the history of Kings County newspapers, and a condensed version follows.

The Advertiser was by no means the first newspaper in Kings County,” Woodman continued. “Campbell Stevens, a deaf mute, started a paper in Wolfville in 1859. It lasted for only a few issues.

“The first newspaper of any consequence was the King County Gazette, which in 1864 began to publish in Canning. It lasted only about two years, being forced out of existence by the major fires which destroyed the whole of Canning’s business district. Major Theakston had at the time been the owner and publisher and perhaps editor as well.

“Theakston then moved the paper to Wolfville where it lasted for about three years, going under in 1869. It had been known as The Acadian. Some years later, in 1883 to be precise, the brothers Arthur and B. O. Davison entered into partnership to produce the Wolfville Acadian.

“The Western Chronicle, founded by a group of young men headed by Joseph Cogswell, came on stream in 1873, six years before The Advertiser made its appearance.

On July 5, 1866, James A. Starr bought out The Star in Berwick. In 1866 he moved to Kentville where he continued to publish The Star for another five years before returning to Berwick. In 1879 the Star’s premises burned to the ground. Around 1883 A. J. Pineo made an attempt to revive The Star in Wolfville (later moving it to Kentville and calling it the New Star).

“The Western Chronicle and New Star became bitter rivals and warred with words… on their front and editorial pages. They also gave full support to the two political parties of the day, becoming unofficial spokesmen, the Chronicle for the Liberals and Star for the Tories.

“In 1888 another paper, The Canning Gazette, was founded by Alexander M. Liddell. The Western Chronicle was its printer. Less than a year later… it was merged with the Western Chronicle.

The Advertiser‘s birthing was not easy. It struggled long trying to make its way in a county which appeared to be already more than adequately served by weekly newspapers. Around the turn of the century The Advertiser bough the Western Chronicle… and for several years there was a succession of owners, all of whom ran one man shows. It is significant to note that of all those newspapers, just two, The Advertiser and Berwick Register are their only surviving descendants.

“In 1921 Kentville Publishing Company Ltd. was incorporated and became publisher of The Advertiser. The plant was situated east of the Main Street Church Avenue intersection.”

To follow: The conclusion of Mr. Woodman’s talk, in which he discusses the Baker family’s role in moulding Kentville Publishing into a major Valley business and the career of the illustrious Frank J. Burns.

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