SOME VENERABLE OLD NEWSPAPERS (April 4/16)

The first Nova Scotia newspaper was published in Halifax in the spring of 1752. Just over a century later, in 1859, the first publication in Kings County that might or might not be called a newspaper appeared in Wolfville. In the History of Kings County, Eaton said this publication (A Small Sheet) was “not more than prospectus;” in other words probably a printed document advertising a commercial enterprise.

Since 1859 year, a number of county newspapers have sprung up, flourishing briefly and vanishing; this had made it a bit confusing trying to time line these papers and achieve a reasonable idea of how long they lasted, who published them and where. I’ll give one example of what I mean. Between 1866 to about 1880 a newspaper called The Star was first published in Berwick, and then moved back and forth between Berwick, Kentville and Wolfville. The Star had a grand total of six different publishers while moving from town to town. Other early county newspapers have similar histories.

Except for a short stay in New Minas, this newspaper, The Kings County Advertiser, has been published in Kentville since 1892, and there’s no confusion about it lineage. This makes The Advertiser one of the longest continuously running papers in the county. The Advertiser had its origin in Wolfville as The New Star (not to be confused with The Star) and it started circa 1884. When The New Star was purchased in 1892 by Dr. Frank Herbert Eaton and moved to Kentville, the name was changed to The Advertiser.

Along with The Advertiser, The Western Chronicle is perhaps one of the best know of the Kings County newspapers that have come and gone. Like other county papers, it had a series of owners since it was first published in Kentville in 1873. The Western Chronicle was published until the early 1930s. In other words, Kentville was served by two weekly newspapers for several decades. Competition must have been hot for a time between The Western Chronicle and The Advertiser. This changed when in 1930 The Advertiser’s parent company, Kentville Publishing Co., purchased The Western Chronicle. A few years later The Western Chronicle was amalgamated with The Advertiser.

Competing with The Advertiser and The Western Chronicle for about three years was a newspaper called The Wedge. First a weekly and then a semi-weekly, The Wedge began running in Kentville in 1898, apparently ceasing publication in 1901. “Apparently” is used here since two sources, Eaton’s Kings County history and an article on Nova Scotia newspapers published in a Halifax County magazine in 1904 note that The Wedge may have been published for a while after 1901.

Its sister paper, The Kings County Register, has been published in the county for almost as long as The Kings County Advertiser. Berwick’s first newspaper was The Star, which as mentioned above moved around from town to town under various publishers between 1866 and until 1879 when it apparently ran out of steam or out of publishers. The next Berwick paper, The Berwick News, began publishing in 1888 and only lasted a few years. In 1891 an experienced newspaper man, John E. Woodworth, took over where The Berwick News left off and began publishing The Register. This paper has been published every year since 1891 and along with The Kings County Advertiser is the longest running newspaper in the county.

One of the earliest newspapers published in the county was Wolfville’s The Acadian and if it hadn’t been merged with The Advertiser in the 1970s it would be in the same class as The Kings County Advertiser and The Kings County Register for longevity.

If you discount A Small Sheet, the honour of being the first newspaper in the county belongs to The Kings County Gazette. This paper was established in Canning in 1864 by H. A. Borden for two years and then by Major Theakson until 1866 when it folded. Theakson then moved to Wolfville where he published another short-lived newspaper he called The Acadian until 1869.

The Acadian was brought to life again in 1883 by Arthur S. Davison and his brother, Benjamin O. Davison, who first called their newspaper The Young Acadian. Following Arthur’s premature death in 1899, B. O. Davison and his heirs published the paper until 1965 when it was sold to Lancelot Press Ltd and then to a Truro firm. The Kentville Publishing Company purchased the paper in 1968, eventually printing it as a section of The Advertiser.

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