University of North Carolina at Asheville
D.H. Ramsey Library
Special Collections/University Archives

Manuscript Register

Asheville, North Carolina
vol. II, issue 15 [partial]

[Is part of Julia and Richard Richards Collection]

"Framed and mounted view of Highland Messenger newspaper, 1841,"
D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville.

Title Highland Messenger newspaper, 1841, Asheville North Carolina
Alt. Title Highland Messenger
Creator Highland Messenger, Asheville, N.C.
Subject keyword Highland Messenger ; newspapers ; Asheville, NC ; politics ; Whig Party ; agriculture ; journalism ;
Asheville (N.C.) -- Newspapers
Asheville (N.C.) -- Periodicals
Asheville (N.C.) -- Commerce -- Periodicals
Buncombe County (N.C.) -- Periodicals


Description The four pages of the Highland Messenger newspaper of 1841, vol. II, issue 15, an early Whig  newspaper published in Asheville, North Carolina, represent one of the earliest newspapers to be printed in western North Carolina. Only the North Carolina Spectator and Western Advertiser and the Carolina Gazette, both Rutherfordton, NC newspapers, appear to be earlier. The pages (two, front and back), in remarkably good condition, contain a prospectus of the newspaper, want ads, local information on slaves, education, women's rights (or non-rights), medical practice, political commentary, humor, and other topics of current interest and entertainment. The early newspaper, published weekly, was priced at two dollars and fifty cents per annum in advance (or "THREE dollars if payment be delayed of the receipt of the 10th number from the time of subscribing.") The circulation is unknown, but it is known that the city of Asheville around 1841, had a population of  approximately 500 people. In 1860 the population had more than doubled to approximately 1,100  The newspaper which began in 1840 and apparently persisted until 1848, when it ceased, would have been published during a time of rapid growth and change in the city. . During its brief life the newspaper was also published as  the Asheville Messenger, later to be called, simply, The Messenger, from July 22, 1842, to February 3, 1843. The last known issue of the paper was on August 17, 1848.

The newspaper was donated in a matted and framed condition which was not archival. The decision was made to remove the paper from its original housing and to place it in a better archival housing that would allow for the two sides of each of the pages to be seen.  Little regarding the provenance of the newspaper is known. Andrew Fischel, nephew of Richard Richards passed the framed paper to his uncle and Richard "Dick" Richards presented the item to the university in September of 2006. Small tears and holes had been repaired with archival tape, but other than these minimal degredations and the loss of pages [?], the newspaper is in remarkable condition for its age.

As indicated earlier, the reverse of the two pages could not be viewed in the original frame. The fragments were removed from the original frame, enclosed in museum glass, framed so that  both sides of the two pages might be viewed, and the whole frame, mounted for public viewing by the UNCA facilities staff. The large mounted frame was then placed  in the newspaper area of D. Hiden Ramsey Library at UNC Asheville, where it may currently be viewed.

Publisher Original:  Highland Messenger, 1841 ; Digital file: D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804. 
Contributor Andrew Fischel ; Richard Richards
Date 2006-10-11
Type Collection ; Text ; Image
Format 4 pages from Vol. II, issue 13
Source M2006.
Language English
Relation Is Part of:  Julia and Richard Richards Collection, D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections ;
Coverage 1841 ; Asheville, North Carolina
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Acquisition  2006
Citation "Highland Messenger newspaper," in the Julia and Richard Richards Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Processed by Special Collections staff, 2006-10-11
Context According to the prospectus of the paper printed in this issue, the Highland Messenger sought to provide information on the "religious, moral, educational, agricultural, and political interests of the community." It was a Whig paper and like many of its counterparts, it spared no one in its criticism and political analysis.

The earliest newspaper in the state of North Carolina was the North Carolina Gazette which first appeared in New Bern in 1751. In the western part of the state, the earliest newspaper appears to have been the North Carolina Spectator and Western Advertiser,  published first in 1830 in Rutherfordton.  It is not surprising to find a large number of newspapers published  in Rutherford County in the early years of the nineteenth century, as Rutherfordton served as the center of land speculation activity and mineral exploration in western North Carolina. The North Carolina Spectator and Western Advertiser and the Carolina Gazette of 1836, are two of only a handful of  papers that were published before the Civil War in the western region and that helped to promote the region. Most were of exceptionally short duration or were subsumed under other titles and publications.

Newspapers known to have existed before 1863 in western North Carolina and in chronological order of start date, are:

  • North Carolina Spectator and Western Advertiser (1830) RUTHERFORDTON
  • Carolina Gazette (1836) RUTHERFORDTON
  • Highland Messenger (1840 ?) ASHEVILLE
  • Western Star of Liberty (1840) RUTHERFORDTON
  • Rutherfordton Intelligencer (1841) RUTHERFORDTON
  • Republican (1843) RUTHERFORDTON
  • Western North Carolina Republican (1847) RUTHERFORDTON
  • Mountain Banner (1848) Rutherfordton
  • Carolina Republican (1848) LINCOLNTON
  • Asheville Messenger (1849 ?) ASHEVILLE
  • Asheville News (1849) ASHEVILLE
  • Asheville Spectator (1853) ASHEVILLE
  • Hokeville Express (1855) LINCOLNTON
  • Rutherfordton Inquirer (1858 ?)  RUTHERFORDTON
  • Franklin Observer (1859) FRANKLIN
  • Henderson Times (1861 ?) HENDERSONVILLE
  • Mountain Eagle (1861) SHELBY
  • Western Enterprise (1862) MARION

"A weekly family newspaper, published at Asheville, N.C. devoted to the Religious, Moral, Educational, Agricultural, and Political interests of the community.

The liberal patronage and extensive circulation of the first volume of this journal, induces the Proprietors to issue a prospectus for the second volume -- confident of continuing to receive, s they will ever labor to merit, a liberal share of public patronage.

Our course in future shall be much as heretofore, we shall labor to ascertain the truth in regard to the various subjects which may claim our attention; and when ascertained, we will faithfully and fearlessly proclaim it -- regardless alike of the smiles or frowns of those whom it may affect. As the paper is our own -- established for the benefit of the country in which we live -- we call no man master -- deny all servility to any man or set of men -- think for ourselves -- form our own opinions -- write for ourselves -- and candidly publish what we think will be most instructive and useful to our reader, without inquiring whether it will be acceptable to this, that, or any sect, or party.

In Politics we have hitherto acted with the Whig party, because we believed that the measures advocated by them were most compatible with the general good. We still believe it, and shall continue to act with that party so long as its members advocate the principles which now characterize them.

We believe we can safely say that in no case have we ever prostituted our paper to the unhallowed purposed of detraction and abuse. In many instances we have felt called upon to speak plainly in reference to the character and conduct of prominent individuals; and in doing so, have necessarily, in many instances, been severe ; and exposed corruptions and crime because we were fully convinced that the public good required it -- but in no cases have we wantonly assailed the character, or needlessly exposed the faults of any. This shall continue to be our course. We are the open enemies of vice and immorality -- and no rank or condition shall shield it from its merited rebuke.

We hope never to lose site [sic] of the Educational and Agricultural interests of our readers. To insist upon the necessity and advantages of education in general -- to point out and contrast the various means of imparting it, and throw all possible light upon the question how it can be best promoted throughout the country  -- is what we consider the duty of the public press at all times. In the discharge of this duty we hope to bear our part.

We shall continue to devote a portion of our paper to Agricultural matters, and occasionally  enlarge upon those branches of natural science so necessary to be at least partially understood by all. And finally b-- as we have [on] our exchange list a goodly number of the most approved literary and miscellaneous publications of the day, we shall not fail to keep our readers apprised of the most important occurrences transpiring at home and abroad. "


rich_hig0002.jpg (433097 bytes) rich_hig0003.jpg (430170 bytes) rich_hig0004.jpg (355148 bytes) rich_hig0005.jpg (400048 bytes) rich_hig0006.jpg (420810 bytes)

Note: *Additional contents will be added as the fragments are transcribed and photographed.

Vol. II,
Issue 15
Page 1
Column 1
Article Description and transcription Thumbnail
      View of framed newspaper, not yet mounted on table in D.H. Ramsey Library newspaper area. rich_hig0001.jpg (113250 bytes)
      View of page 1, left rich_hig0002.jpg (433097 bytes)
      View of page 1, right rich_hig0003.jpg (430170 bytes)
      Selected section of reverse of page 1 rich_hig0004.jpg (355148 bytes)
      "A neighbor of ours informs us that wood goes farther when left out of doors than when well housed ; some of his having gone upwards of a quarter of a mile in one night."  
      View of advertising. rich_hig0006.jpg (420810 bytes)
      Close view of page 1, left with volume and issue number. rich_hig0007.jpg (387983 bytes)
      View of page 2, reverse. rich_hig0008.jpg (444180 bytes)

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