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History Monday: The Columbia Spectator, 1894

By Mike Watson

The Columbia Spectator was the first newspaper in Columbia and Adair County that operated for any length of time. Though there were a couple of gaps, the paper ran from 1869 through early 1910. There were various owners and editors, including Rollin T. Hurt and Herschel C. Baker, both early historians of the area.

We researchers and historians are always on the look-out for copies of this long defunct paper. No archive of the Spectator exists, but scattered copies are housed in a few hands, including a collection to be housed with the Local History and Genealogy Research Center of the Adair County Public Library as soon as the facility is opened.

Some years ago a "new" issue of the Columbia Spectator, dated Thursday, 11 January 1894, was located. It revealed the following items of interest:

The bulk of the Cane Valley newsletter was on the state of the town at that time, January 1894:
Cane Valley has a population of about 125 with three dry goods stores--S.G. Banks & Son, which was also the location of the telephone office; A.H. Judd; and J.D. Eubank. Dudgeon & Callison operated the flour and saw mill.

"Since the fire of June 9, 1891, we have had only one church, the Baptist, in which all denominations meet and worship." New Methodist Church and Christian Church are in course of erection. In the fire we lost one church, the Christian Church, an undertaker's shop, & the dry goods store of Christie & Christie.

School is conducted by Prof. R.L. Hill and he has taught nine successful terms of five months each.

Cane Valley has two boarding houses: Mr. Eubank and Mr. Bartlett. Our blacksmiths are Joseph E. Eubank and Henry Cundiff. Our doctor is Dr. Hancock.

In other news...
The sad news of the death of Esq. Thomas Collins, of Crocus Creek, in this county (Cumberland County), has just reached us. On Wednesday, the 3rd inst, he was hauling a load of household goods for Doc Dutton, his son-in-law, over to the farm of Mrs. Amanda Phelps, where he had rented, and it seems that Esq. Collins had the lines of the team over his neck, and the horses became frightened at some of the plunder falling off the wagon, and started to run, and jerked him from the wagon, and one of the front wheels ran across his neck and broke it. He was killed instantly. Esq. Collins was about 65 years old and had been a Justice of the Peace of Cumberland County for several years... (copied from) Burkesville Herald.

John W. McClain died at his home in this city Monday, January 8th, at 10 o'clock, a.m., the immediate cause being apoplexy...remains, after a funeral service by Rev. S.L.C. Coward (sic), pastor of the Methodist Church, were interred in the town cemetery... Mr. McClain was born February 28, 1832, married to Jennie Mollie Murrell on the 12th day of September 1858...held the office of jailer of Adair County for two terms. His wife and daughter, Miss Annie, survive...

Katie Robertson...died 28 December 1893, at the home of Mr. George Robertson, of Milltown... (Long obituary, signed M.A.K.)

Aunt Lucy Bridgwater, an old and respected colored woman, died last Saturday. [Cane Valley letter]

Ed "Conelison" died at his home in Green County last week.

Mrs. W.A. Wisdom died in Cumberland County a few days ago.

Mrs. Frances Harper, aged 89 years, died near Summer Shade Dec. 29th.

Mrs. Mary Yates, an estimable lady of the Hickory Ridge neighborhood of Metcalf[e] County, died Wednesday of last week.

Some of the advertisements in this issue of the Columbia Spectator were:

Columbia and Campbellsville State Line, owned and operated by the Barbee Bros.

Turpen Bros--"We Remount, Rebuild or Repair Any Carriage or Vehicle...our shot is at the Old Clerk's Office building near the jail".

Powell Bros--Grocers & Confectioners, Staples & Fancy Groceries, Hardware, Etc. [Located on] Brick corner opp[osite] Grissom Hotel--T.K. Powell & S.L. Powell.

Reed & Miller--Grocers.
If any reader knows of the location of any editors of this newspaper, please contact the Adair County Public Library and you will be thanked!

This story was posted on 2021-02-15 09:06:57
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