A brief history
Founded as the Carolina Patriot sometime between 1821 and 1825--Greensboro historical Ethel Stephens Arnett suggested that there was more hard evidence to suggest 1821 than any other year--the Patriot's first issue preserved on microfim is dated 24 April 1826. With this issue, T. Early Strange assumed control as editor and proprietor. Strange was also known for being named the first secretary of Greensboro (then spelled "Greensborough") in 1829 and for completing a census and map of the town; Strange gave up control of the Patriot that same year. During his three years as editor the paper primarily reprinted material from other sources and had little editorial voice of its own.
A series of ownership and name changes occurred through the 1820s and 1830s, during which the paper was published under the following names:
The longest and most stable period of editorial control during the 1820s and 1830s was the tenure of William Swaim from 1829-1835. Unlike Strange, Swaim was apparently a very activist editor who eventually demonstrated some abolitionist sympathies. Swaim developed the Patriot as primarily a Whig paper, which it remained until the Civil War when it became a Democratic publication.
Swaim died in 1835, and the Patriot went through several unstable years, including a merger with E.S. Zevely and J.R. West’s Carolina Beacon, before Lyndon Swaim and Michael Swaim Sherwood took over as editor-proprietors in 1839. Lyndon Swaim, cousin of William and a former Patriot employee, was one of Greensborough’s first city commissioners. He remained on the Patriot's masthead through the end of 1854, although his association with the paper is reputed to have continued for several more years after that. According to Arnett, Swaim’s tenure “kept the publication on a very high plane” and made it one of the largest weeklies in the South. Sherwood stayed on through 1863, taking on James A. Long as partner between 1857 and 1861. This coincided with the paper’s temporary name change to the Patriot and Flag during 1857 and 1858. Sherwood and Long also published a more overtly political (Whig and Know Nothing) newspaper, the Little Ad, for a few months in 1860 and briefly set a North Carolina newspaper circulation record of eight thousand readers. In August, 1865, the Patriot became known as the Greensboro Patriot, adopting the simplified spelling of the city’s name that was becoming more common.
During the final two years of the Civil War, control passed to "Ingold and Clendenin" and in 1864 simply to A.W. Ingold. In 1867 and 1868, the paper was under the control of D.F. Caldwell, a former state representative and the grandson of Rev. David Caldwell, prominent Greensboro educator and founder of the Log College. With the 11 June 1868 issue, the Greensboro Patriot became the Patriot and Times under the ownership of brothers Robert H. and James W. Albright. The name change stemmed from a merger with the Greensboro Times, which the Albrights had published since 1859. By February 1869, it was the Greensboro Patriot again. James Albright remained with the paper until 1877 except for a brief departure during 1872 and 1873. P.F. Duffy became editor of the Patriot in 1869 and apparently was both editor and proprietor from 1877 to 1879.
As the 1870s became the 1880s, R.T. Fulghum assumed responsibility for the weekly Patriot and also began publishing a daily evening edition. This effort at a daily publication continued off and on with subsequent editor-proprietors John B. Hussey (1881-ca. 1883, 1888-1889) and Z.W. Whitehead (ca. 1884-1888) and was renamed The Daily Evening Patriot in 1888. Few of these daily issues have been preserved, although a four-month run from 1888 exists on microfilm and is part of this digitization project. Significant competition for the daily Patriot arrivedwith the debut of the Daily Record in 1890 and the Greensboro Daily News in 1909, and the Patriot apparently had become a weekly once again by the 1890s.
By 1891, the Patriot Publishing Company owned the Patriot and H.W. Wharton served as editor. In 1893, W.M. Barber & Company took over, followed by W.L. Underwood, and then by another entity called The Patriot Publishing Company. From 1914 on, the paper was published twice weekly. In 1941, the Greensboro News Company, publishers of the Greensboro Daily News and the Greensboro Record, took over the Patriot and converted it into a farm weekly, selling everything but the name to the Southern Agriculturalist in 1950.
Numbering conventions and missing issues
Over the years, there were multiple volume and issue numbering schemes so it is impossible to assign a valid sequential number to issues of the Patriot. Each new owner during the 1800s seems to have initiated a new system, most of which reset the numbers. W.M. Barber tried to remedy this around the turn of the century and the Patriot used these new extrapolated volume numbers, which were based on a presumed initial publication date of 1821, for the rest of its existence.
No issues of the Patriot exist prior to the first issue published by T. Early Strange in April, 1826. There are many gaps, some several months long, in the microfilm record produced by the North Carolina State Library in the 1960s from the original, bound issues. Notable lapses occur in the early years (1826-1834) and only three issues remain from 1828. Most of 1837 and 1838 are also missing. The second half of 1861 is largely absent from the microfim as are numerous issues from 1865. Other significant gaps include January through August, 1882; most of July, 1885, through October, 1887; and all issues between April, 1889, and January, 1891, except for one from 1890.
Most of the daily issues published during the 1880s are also missing; only a few scattered issues from 1880, 1881, and 1883, and a fairly long run from 1888 remain and are included in this project.
- David Gwynn