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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Western Carolinian

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

The Western Carolinian was founded in Salisbury on 13 June 1820, with Jacob Krider and Lemuel Bingham as editors. The western counties of North Carolina, more sparsely populated than those in the east, had long needed a newspaper to voice its desire for equal representation in the state legislature and otherwise serve its interests. Salisbury, as the region's largest city, was an ideal location for such a paper. In most antebellum political newspapers, national politics received the majority of the editorial attention, but the Western Carolinian was a leader in the movement to increase coverage of state issues. The obvious determination of western North Carolina-so forcefully confirmed on the pages of the Carolinian-led other editors to take sides on these issues, which included the establishment of a public school system and a public college in the west, internal improvements, the convening of a constitutional convention, the need for a state penitentiary, the care of the handicapped, and free suffrage for all white males. Although it changed hands and political affiliations several times, the Western Carolinian remained a strong advocate of the economic growth and political rights of western counties until it ceased publication in 1844.

First edition of the Western Carolinian, June 13, 1820. Image from the State Archives of North Carolina.


Thad Stem Jr., The Tar Heel Press (1973).

Additional Resources:

Search the Western Carolinian at the North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project:  (accessed November 1, 2013).

Chaffin, Kathy. "Early Salisbury newspapers among those online." January 5, 2010 (accessed September 6, 2012).

"State Archives Launches Online Newspaper Collection." Federation Bulletin 30. No. 1. March 2010. p. 4.,51633  (accessed September 6, 2012).

Rumple, Jethro. A History of Rowan County North Carolina Containing Sketches of Prominent Families and Distinguished Men with an Appendix. Salisbury. N. C.: J. J. Bruner. 1881. p.20-22, 323, 330.  (accessed September 6, 2012).

Image Credits:

"The first issue of the Western Carolinian a newspaper from Salisbury North Carolina, published by Krider and Bingham on Tuesday, June 13, 1820." State Archives of North Carolina.

Origin - location: 



I have just become aware of an obituary on pg 3 of the Western Carolinian dated March 12, 1822 that reads as follows:
"Died – In Haverhill, (Mass.) Mr. John Whiting, aged 94. He was born in Chester, (N. H.) Feb. 22, 1728, and is said to have been the first white child in that settlement. He was in the expedition to Cape Breton, when the important fortress of Louisburg yielded to the undisciplined valour of the New-England militia. Since his 80th year, he has repeatedly walked 30 miles in one day, and returned the next. At 82, he had a new set of teeth—his sight continued good, but his hearing failed a little during the last ten years—he was strictly temperate."
It refers to an, obviously, long removed ancestor. Do you have any idea why that obit would have run in your newspaper in North Carolina. Thanks


Dear Jack,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your comment and question.  

That’s a really good question!  Is it possible your ancestor had a North Carolina family connection, such as a relative (niece, nephew, etc.) who migrated to the state at some point?  My best speculation is that he had a local fan in North Carolina, perhaps in the Salisbury area. It would be interesting to see if the obituary duplicated one that ran in his hometown in Haverhill, as well.

Unfortunately, we otherwise do not have any direct information that would help with establishing this connection, apart from conducting an extensive family history project.

I’m sorry to be of less than definitive help, but that is my best guess. People of the day were prolific correspondents and newspapers were like the social media and Facebook of today and I suspect someone in Haverhill shared the news with North Carolina connections who shared it with the paper.

Additionally, if you haven’t seen a facsimile of that issue of the paper, her is a link to a digitized version in the North Carolina Digital Collections:

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

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