By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 2002

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            This publication contains an assortment of genealogically related abstracts from the Memphis DAILY APPEAI,, founded in 1840 and by many persons considered to have been the premier newspaper of its time in Memphis, Tennessee.

            In order to make this a more comprehensive coverage, additional such information has been taken from two other newspapers of this city, the DAILY AVALANCHE, founded in 1858 and the PUBLIC LEDGER, founded in 1865. The first two mentioned were morning dailies whereas the latter was published for daily evening distribution.

            The newspapers of this period carried articles and/or news coverages of political issues and characters. The DAILY APPEAL was fiercely partisan, an advocate of the Democratic Party. The other two newspapers were less "shrill" in political matters although they were consistently pro-southern in editorial outlook. There were reports of the cotton and money markets, train and steamboat schedules, advertisements of many of the city's principal businesses and some from other localities, legal announcements, a wide variety of literary selections, an immense amount of news stories and tidbits gleaned from many newspapers throughout the country.

            Besides longer articles on current topics of local interest there were so-called brevities that deal with local people and situations and death and marriage notices and from time to time genuine obituaries, from which there is considerable data relevant to the heritage interests of genealogists. Of the latter brevities cynics would tend to be dismissive, considering such information as trivia but the experienced genealogist and local historian know the value of such "tidbits" in attempting to piece together family and community histories.

            The present compiler has tried to glean accurately information from these old newspapers for the year 1876, choosing it simply because it was the centennial year of our nation. He has taken at least one piece of information from each of the extant issues of the DAILY APPEAL. He has been able to annotate some of the abstracts from other research sources.

            Gratitude is extended here for assistance given the compiler in this research endeavor to James R. Johnson, manager of the history and genealogy department of the Memphis Public Library and his staff; Jack D. Wood and Robert D. Taylor, Jr., librarians, Tennessee Room, Jackson-Madison County Library in Jackson, Tennessee; Sara Matthews Holmes, historian; Todd Fox, superintendent; and Donna Little, horticulturist-arborist; the last three of the Elmwood Cemetery staff in Memphis; Russ Campbell, superintendent of Temple Israel Cemetery in Memphis; Bernice Taylor Cargill, keen mid-South genealogist.

Jonathan K. T. Smith
Jackson, Tennessee
Fall, 2002


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