xt7f4q7qp159 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7f4q7qp159/data/mets.xml Perrin, William Henry, d. 1892. 1888  books b92-46-26946200 English J.P. Morton, : [Louisville, Ky.] : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Press Kentucky. Pioneer press of Kentucky  : from the printing of the first paper west of the Alleghanies, Aug. 11, 1787, to the establishment of the daily press in 1830 / by William Henry Perrin ; written for the Filson Club and read before the club at its Aus August meeting, 1887. text Pioneer press of Kentucky  : from the printing of the first paper west of the Alleghanies, Aug. 11, 1787, to the establishment of the daily press in 1830 / by William Henry Perrin ; written for the Filson Club and read before the club at its Aus August meeting, 1887. 1888 2002 true xt7f4q7qp159 section xt7f4q7qp159 

Bradford s Gazetie'

Started Here In 1787

//Ctd/d eai ero 't A67By Ruth Parker
    On a hot August morning one hundred and, seventy years ago an
astute-looking man stood balanced on the bow of a barge as it was com-
ing down the Ohio7 River. He watched carefully as the flatboat was
maneuvered to a landing at the settlement Limestone. Standing just be-
hind him was his brother and between them they had a curious cargo,
wrapped in woolen cloths, then covered with skins and tied with leather

strips-protected from both damp-
ness and dirt.
  The package contained neither guns, nor
ammunition, food, supplies, nor silver nor
gold, but it was however the 'most valuable
thing ever brought into the new Kentucky
  For John and Fielding Bradford had sue-
cessfully gotten a printing press and a case
of type from the East, through Pittsburgh,
and now they were about to land it at
Limestone and to undertake to get it trans-
ported over "Smith's Wagon Road") the
old Buffalo Trace, now U. S. 68), to Lex-

             John Bradford
  They wqe delayed by illness and by
the scattering of some of the type when
Fielding half set up some of it and locked
the first form. They had to ford swollen
streams and go through deep forests where
savage Indians lurked; the way was rough,
but they finally made it to Lexington.

   And on Aug. 11, 1787, John Bradford pub-
 lished here the first Issue of the Kentucky
 Gazette, first published newspaper west of
 the Alleghenies.
   It is fortunate that some of the very
early copies of diie Gazeite are preserved
in the Lcxington Public Library.
   The house which later on was home to
John Bradford, which was also at one time
the home of Lucretia Hart, who there was
married to Henry Clay, and also later the
home of Miss Laura Clay, stood for more
than a century and a quarter at the south.
west corner of Second and Mill streets. A
few years ago It was torn down. It would
have made a wonderful museum for pound;ex-
ington. It had entrances on two streets,
large high-ceilinged rnomg, large wtindows
and plenty of rambling space in which to
exhibit treasures. Everything from printinig
to painting, artifacts and mementos of
Kentucky and the Blue Grass could have
been kept in this old house. It was not a
particularly beautiful building but it could
have been a wonderful storehouse of his-
tory. Even an early log schoolhouse could
have been placed in the back yard.
  The Foundation for the Preservation of
Historic Lexington and Fayette County
hopes that from now on everyone will be
aware of historic treasures and that val-
uable things and places of the past can be
saved that they may be useful to the fu-
  Not preserved just for the sake of preser-
vation, collecting for the sake of collecting,
but preserved to enjoy beauty, to learn and
benefit from history, from architecture,
and from contained knowledge.
  For to preserve the past is a basis, of
learning for the future.
  Then progress Is given a perspective.
  It would have been an interesting ex-
hibit In this museum to have had a model
of Bradford's first printing press; side by
side with a model of Cassius M. Clay's press
that printed The True American.

 This page in the original text is blank.


                                          Loui sv4 119, TVy'0, eb. 20, 1906
Mr. F4.D. TMacoy,
     Cincinnati, 0
           I have your letter of the 115th inst. and since r;ceivir;, it
have been tryiiyC to see  ha I cculd do towards helping ycu to ccmplete

your set of the Filson Club publictions . I can furnish you at tds timt
with a copy  of the Pioneer Press and alsc -with  The Life ard Tines of
Caleb tiallace  fcr . 4.On each . This is just what theyr will cost the
club, as the club has nr. copi    and  has tcbky them"iW tlirArket . I
am in the habit of buying for the club every copy that is cffered for
sae19 in the market and th  only waq to have  them for sale there is to
Pay fbr them. You can have these two copies if' you vent them at  8.00,
and deducting your 21st publication to which you are entitled free at
 3.00, the publication price, the difference to be paid by you will be
 5.nn . I have been trying; to get you a copy of the sketch of St. Paul's
Church but. have not yet been abl 9 to do so . All copies wnich were left
wwer  burnt up whegi t.hB chu-ch burnpd some ylears  o  I .1 -have . fbw codie.s
reserved for myself but de not want to part with them . If I find I can-
not secure you a copyr it will be my pleasure to make you a present of one
of these, however, 1 want to avoid it if I can . I dc not know when 1
shall be able tb get you a copy of The ftiloirness Road as it is almst
as scarce as  The Life and TiJMs of John Fiison. It is nothing but a pam-
phlet of 75 pages and yet if I Get it at all it will probably be at
 5.00, unless good luck should throw one in mry way at a less price. if
The Pioneer Press and Life of Caleb Wallace are acceptable to you at
the price namd, let me know and 1 will send th6m to you Instead of the
21st publication .                T           /   ""
                                   Truly,    J/  


                                              0 R.






aXrLY TO ' A cLTjZErtmOFikmro
IsTatRIc STATI O TS14tt1sStIR.

           Not. IL.
  In addition to the imple-
nients of cOtton manufacture,
mentioned in my laff, tbejpring
PZuilZle ortJbivtdlla deserves, the
p articuJarattenttoo of the cot
ton railing flates.  It baa a
Loaom of a particular: conflruc-
tion with arace i board, a pair
of temples, flays, c. This
kind afloorn  fliuttle are well
nade by Mr. F,';x rrraofnrd

  On a frequent and long can
liderations of rbisa aeubjet it is
rccoinmended, that a' fip.
tion or legilalfivc graat be forth-
Wiltl obtained, tu raise a me-
derate fund; to i:e applied'.lto
purcisase (asi modela) iaanm  ot
the Atlantic :ports.a!the moft
complete and perfect set or
colledtion of all the varietica of
tihe aInplements, utenfilsa, and
machincry used in the mantu-
factUrc of cottot; -now pos-
se!.d in the At'antic flateS, to
he carefully p.acked and trans-
ported to suclh town - in Ten'
::-.C! .: , _ I.. Ea 21"s.-I. r1J r;`0, j.w

  G.soern  rent is n cctllrv.  It is by  (latr,  by   a orllgi       81ifre j l  for the
that wec hI-oe kuct ed ttw us the btricilt l1tnt, thercby  Nekenl' thie fJCc 
U. rciwy, tI. imptnrrn.-rnt cf Itar ra  lellroyiog the btrfiefir t gmfC rot..t
rimtral n.g l   .nrd  the  errn!uenst  of  itU11  titt/iuci-g  ant uirJy  and  c tlou.
r    10e tlafoty.It it byliat,owe.,ton.
ilttrulatrrl by fell paili.., 1tho hay  'IThe laws ought to lc held in v,!t-
nut thc f: 2V t, God before their eves, eration and  fcrrpulotlly  ubed-il.._
are cULaita     Iroat the cnmmiiwnol n 'elrey fhhould Alio be efirced  It any
aistea   s     it it by. tllt, retciirrtibie  be impr,.per, let thr ir be (by the I e
h    le had fir itj-rhs dine. VWidb  griltart) eaxfinfed irom   Ihe c1'ej or
true G-tmattt (bh    wich I meat. letl hir iltco-rvr'iotxce ItC corrUkid
the laws) uttaour'ights wott!J ho per, bitt ft long as tIhy are in frbce. fG;
cariobus and Inrocure, ar-d as itl he dart lng they hav- the faI inc n ic   tfe
of ancient Greece the arttrs uf the pecknftwivns iif th.e r-tfire, and rtLbb,
lteogcff would become tdc fiar.tdard te be bqc:y. Is i -:rt thin the trait
tfjluffice, and phyfical ftsrce. rh- onty drangero-rn .-J te:.ricto treht hlr i:t r,
ttitlrndl rt which to fexk reds5 iur of bis fellot nm.r vilo n-rrd U l:tCtt
rp.oliations  ot 1 urproporre, nitr ci. higovrrnnienoraaaflocd-.tn, fir
ltmties upan our nan:cs !Ied for at. the moini dad!y paftins of!hr  Iran
tempts upon ear lives.  Cat he then inirrd I Can Ire be yott- fidd -si
be the fticnd of his crgitrry, who w-od     wain:only unflinele a bhlnr:
t.ttcj  ttt  4.in   cot tr.-W   in   ite citi-   IlitritY   Arrd   ltbidinos  fide rdrar !,  lcd


[VL nj

K E N T U C K E G A Z E T T ,

                                    S A T U R D A Y, SEPTEMBER to, sisl.

LIXINGUM ' Printed by JOHN BRADFORD at Us OrseuI "Main "ek              m Smbgfs, J u, U'. fe  j   a -Vag
                             ftvellid, and PAtITIdif d lSe if t!'ra1a =ra =  Aie fCa ml pound;padWfla

gx   mt     n fru m tl t 7ea,4il! i  OOr WEN
  Ttt)N kid tf: Dantille the ws'enty eighth day
  ref iai1e. 5756.
  WHIIR'tASiC soppars to the eelberas of this
O    C    njsftt,6nb  tI t355d bates in Ges.
,.WfI Arlinh1Od. haave for the pteelct declined to
aetifrr zhteontpa tt etitd intto heeneett pound;he 1-
ilatota nf Vireii a tnyl the t eoplr'of ihns Dlnidic
snelbeltrnetfa siertion qi' shte D'iflrL into atiane-
.crrotSitss; R nrnfcqlaences of twhich the powers
vele;] in thricotnivelion se liiJUTolveu. and what
,We) btdbttof refqrItLun they plt ceantot be con-
X0ulot.eAs hIann  still le,-A lutorce n1! O'tt atlon:
bar be g atilots for the  afety ,sd plo`pcr tq
vof o; reirtndl    ituents, do tiroefily secom
pent t'    the rc  ,   l eopte inhsbifstt ,ho terecral
Be-etiee withmrta   WWIttIr each to ee  five Ite-
cpteevsi-tisM  refe titinwes hoding hnth  Courts in
uiahe eonnh  ftOAer twal. to mnet at Datiniil
Dn the tirl Monday in Novemiber foloardint. so
coritlr in W4lat untitl the hlle day of Janu wry
1io- aiid that ahey Jclezate to iheir raid Repre-
imntovttwafull pwiers to ns're ruch meaftrcl for
ebtaitrti oRnliion of the Diftrid as a  ep fratp
iW  indfe;endent member of the Unite3 Statws of
iAterrica. an-I Iha nav ition of-the Hives MiW
dftiitei, ar y  5A e.  :mtsit  conducive  to  thore
risporttitt ;etpoter:.:ndi .0o.to form a Conflitu.
ot.n nrt Governtent for the l)iet, anIl organize
mca imehtn t    cthey. Ahl .ulke it necefqty, Cf



     S A L T                           TWO DOLLARS
                                                   I.         D.
     TO     a;.-aiE3 Fv              S A nye fros Lexington, klbOut the firp
                                       16 ofjuie lal a brig-it bay Marc, aoj,
T    0    B     A    C    C      0     darkr haxatP4      lioxe coll, the Mue
                                       four sears Oldtit f prtli Utol1 fiitneen
Lezington, oy  7AWES 'ILKINSOV     h crds high, natuta uotter, branded to
                      Asapa t17U     th- near ihouldcr 40d buttock thus .1 ag.
rlAKEN up on lie RrJit "t'i  Sl lt    p u :d tr.f                 nar.. ; T..F  +
I   !.je t  Cwanyt,  a ose   sheswctifsls  of   Y ukal   left , 1 t i e n a   o li g  . .u i F  e
fMy "re (wish  ieJfjprinsg cati aektk clkmen  livas.faiil Mare to me in Lexington ia
ts Oan a half high, nefther dacr nor branded, i ' sheabre Al)ncwsd.
- ...trA nl/ fi-r PAitd n -  ,rratfd is  5p. 0 sys.  103. PATTMON.


s rajeJ fionm tbe. iubfiribet in Lzx-
   t,;ngn about thle hri of this month,
a "nsuttg bas -lorne two )ears old. lait
ipt-tng, aboi fo)wgen 1n.'asd 111gb, ha a
ma!l Ilat in his loreead. branded, on the
!,tatuck with a pot-11cok; any   terion
ti.at t3kcs up ftid 6,orfe and delivers him
:o. mc tball ecctivc the above reward.

STrayoed away from the fubi-ciiber laR
   Ipring, Strawbery road Pdare shout
FtU.tcen hands high, three years old l1D
fpring. blackl mane, rail and legs as high
a. the knees a  mraill flar in her forehead,
-rn  snot dockt, btandtd on the negr
Ihouldq talus ID W o ver delasers Taid
tdr: io, eae ntear Lnezil 0.9n. (hall receint
I WoDrlaas ,w rd, and r            har r.le rhas
S,              IAMOSES 0OUOHEITY

             IUSi OmanF.D

IFrom Copies in possessiosa of Col. R. T. Durrett.I

OL. 11.



             OF KENTUCKr,

                  PRESS IN 1830.



                   WRITTEN FOR



            gobtn I. Mtorton  (lompant),



Uu John R1. Wonton t rompanu.


  The i th day of August, i887, closed the
first hundred years from the establishing of a
printing press and the issuing of a newspaper
in Kentucky. This event having been deemed
worthy of commemoration by the FILSON CLUB,
one of its members, WILLIAM HENRY PERRIN,
was requested to prepare and read to the Club
a sketch of the Pioneer Press of the State.
This request was promptly complied with, and
the article so prepared was read at the August
MLCeeting of the Club in i887, and is here pub-
lished as Filson Club Publication Number
                      THOMAS SPEED,
  LOUISVILLE, JUNE, i888.           Secretary.

 This page in the original text is blank.


                 OF KENTUCKY.

   The introduction of the press in a new country is an
important event. it can be made to contribute more to the
pleasure and happiness of mankind than almost any thing
else. Thomas Jefferson, whose hand penned the Declara-
tion of Independence, one of the grandest compositions that
ever fell from the pen of mortal man, wrote also: " If I had
to choose between a government without newspapers or news-
papers without a government, I should prefer the latter."
Daniel Webster said that no newspaper was so insignificant
but that "every issue contained something that was worth
the -subscription price." Among the gems of wisdom left to
Mhe wold by Hurace 'Greeiey was the following: "A history
which takes no account of what was said by the press in
memorable emergencies befits an earlier age than this."
Dean Stanley said: "Once architecture was the press, and
told great thoughts to the world in stone, but now the press
is architecture, and is building up the world of ideas and


usages." Said Napoleon Bonaparte: "Four hostile news-
papers are more to be dreaded than one hundred thousand
   But to come down to our own time. The Rev. Mr. Tal.
mage, in his famous sermon a few years ago on the news-
paper press, said: " If a man from childhood to old age see
only his Bible, Webster's dictionary, and his newspaper, he
could be prepared for all the duties of this life or all the hap-
piness of the next." The Boston Herald recently published
an article entitled "Don't Snub the Reporter," in which it
pleaded for kind treatment for the reporter. Commenting
upon the article, the Detroit Free Press remarked that " the
reporter is not apt to be snubbed," that "very few can afford
to snub him," and that "the man who does the snubbing is
the one who deserves sympathy," and added: " Keifer's
downfall was said to be due to the fact that he snubbed re-
porters, and it is claimed that a Union general who had a
great career before him lost all chance of fame by insulting
a newspaper man, whereupon the rest agreed never to men-
tion that general's name in their reports, and so the unfor-
tunate man dropped out of sight." Mr. Lynn R. Meekins,
a member of the editorial staff of the Baltimore American,
in the alumni address delivered before Western Maryland
College a few weeks ago, on the " Romance of Journalism,"
after saying that criticism of newspapers was always a good
proof of their vigor and usefulness, continued: " No news-



paper has ever reached or will ever reach perfection. A
thousand years from now people will grumble at it just as
much as they do to-day. It is and always will be a human
institution, with human sins, dealing with human affairs, and
reflecting the vice of humanity as well as the virtue. Its
office is to print the news, to give the history of yesterday,
to chronicle the joys and the sorrows, the blessings and the
crimes. The Texas editor who declared that 'newspapers
are bad because so many bad things happen' summed up
the philosophy of the situation. The only way to make
newspapers good is to take the wickedness out of the world
or to stop people from talking about it. As it now is, nine
persons will read an account of a great battle when only
one will wade through the proceedings of a peace congress.
The strength of the press consists in part of the very fact
that it gives us a picture of human life with the shadow as
well as the light." All this is true. Human nature is
prone to evil. It has an innate fondness for the horrible,
and it is safe to say that nine, nay, that forty-nine persons
read the Courier-Journal's account of the trial and execution
or Albert Turner, where the fiftieth reads one of Mr. Tal-
mage's sermons.
   But it is of the coming of the press, the printers, the ed-
itors, the writers, publishers, and others connected with the
press of Kentucky that this article has to speak. They were
altogether a remarkable set, who published remarkable news-



papers, and some still more remarkable articles. As has
always been the case everywhere, they had their differences
and quarrels, and there are instances where men lost their
lives for too free a use of editorial thunder. But upon the
whole they were men of education, worth, and ability.
   It seems strange and somewhat unaccountable that none
of the early histories of Kentucky give a sketch of the
press. Mr. Collins' history, which contains almost every
thing else of interest, ignores the press, save the mere an-
nouncement that certain papers were established at certain
times in certain towns. Marshall's history says more on the
subject than any other, but Mr. Marshall is more hypercrit-
ical than otherwise, and we gain little historical knowledge
from him concerning the press at large. It is left to one of
the last histories published of the State (Perrin's) to give
any thing like a narrative history of the newspaper press.
But even in a history of the State it is scarcely possible to
devote the spare to the press thnt its imnnrtance demands,
or that can be given it in a sketch of this character.
   The first newspaper west of the Alleghany Mountains
was established in Kentucky one hundred years ago. Its
origin was mainly due to a political necessity. Kentucky
then formed a county of Virginia, and the people were ear-
nestly debating the propriety of separating from the parent
State and setting up an independent government. To ac-
complish this a convention had been held at Danville, the



territorial capital as it might be called. A second conven-
tion assembled in I785, at the same place and for the same
purpose, which, during its sitting, adopted the following res-
   That, to insure unanimity in the opinion of the people respecting the
propriety of separating the district of Kentucky from Virginia, and forming
a separate State government, and to give publicity to the proceedings of
the convention, it is deemed essential to have a printing press.

   A committee was appointed by the convention, and
charged with the duty of carrying out the spirit of the reso-
lution, but it was two years before it was fully accomplished.
Finally, John Bradford, who had recently removed to Ken-
tucky, became interested in the matter, and was induced to
undertake the important enterprise. He proposed to the
committee to establish a paper if he was guaranteed the
public patronage. His offer was accepted, and Mr. Brad-
ford at once set about the work, which at that day was no
;n consdrab;_le a sk.
..Cv,- .-c vaIn A.
   The people of Lexington, then the most important town
west of the mountains and of the surrounding tountry, man-
ifested their interest by substantial encouragement. The
Lexington Board of Trustees, in July, 1786, ordered "that
the use of a public lot be granted to John Bradford free, on
condition that he establish a printing press in Lexington."
    Kentucky was never organized under a territorial form of government, but was
known as the district of Kentucky, and then as Kentucky County-a county of Vir-



This liberal donation was eagerly grasped by Mr. Bradford,
and the paper was established, not at Danville, the capital of
the district or county of Kentucky, but at the more flourish.
ing town of Lexington. Bradford sent to Philadelphia for
the material, but he did not receive it until the following
summer. When it did arrive it was duly arranged, and on
the i ith day of August, 1787, the first number of the Ken-
tucke Gazette was given to the Bluegrass pioneers. It was
a small, unpretentious sheet, scarcely as large as a half sheet
of foolscap paper. Its contents comprised two short orig-
inal articles, one advertisement, and the following from the
   My customers will excuse this my first publication, as I am much hur-
ried to get an impression by the time appointed. A great part of the types
fell into pi in the carriage of them from Limestone [Maysville] to this office,
and my partner, which is the only assistant I have, through an indisposition
of the body, has been incapable of rendering the smallest assistance for ten
days past.                              JOHN BRADFORD.

   When the mode of transportation of that period is taken
into consideration, and the dangers to be met with by "flood
and field," the fact that "a great part of the types fell into
pi" is little matter of wonder. They had to be transported
overland from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and thence down
the Ohio River by boat to Limestone; the latter a dangerous
voyage, as proved by the experience of many a band of pio-
    Kentucky was originally spelled with a terminal e. This was Rfterward changed
topy by the legislature of Virginia,



V X          
, ,z kA X  ,AD   -o




   n co

 C   C


   P c

 This page in the original text is blank.


neers. In every thicket, behind almost every tree, from
Limestone to Lexington lurked unseen dangers. Scarcely
a rod of the distance but was stained by the blood of the red
man or that of his pale-faced foe. Along this dangerous
trail, when ever and anon was heard the crack of the In-
dian's rifle or his blood-curdling yell, Bradford's types, the
most of which had been "set up" at Limestone, and his
press were transported on pack-horses to the then metrop-
olis of Kentucky. That they reached their destination at all
was one of the few favors now and then vouchsafed to the
early settlers of the State. They did arrive in safety, the
paper was established and sent forth upon its mission. What
that mission was is shown by its files for over sixty years.
   " The office of this pioneer newspaper," says Mr. Ranck,
"compared to those of our great metropolitan dailies, would
present as strange a contrast as the editorial surroundings
of Bradford to the costly furnishings of the fashionable ed-
itor of the present." Bradford's office was not a stone-front
building, but a rude log cabin, one story high, and covered
with clapboards. He printed his paper on an old-fashioned
hand-press, which he had purchased in Philadelphia at sec-
ond hand, and which, when pushed to its full capacity, might
probably turn off from fifty to seventy-five sheets per hour.
His " editor's easy chair" was a three-legged stool of his own
manufacture, and his editorial table corresponded in style
with the chair. When he wrote at night it was by the flick.



ering, sputtering light of a buffalo tallow candle, or a greasy
lamp fed by bear's oil, or perhaps by firelight. Many of his
advertisements were as quaint as his office and its equip-
ments. Among them may be noted those of "spinning-
wheels, knee-buckles, gun-flints, buckskin for breeches, hair
powder, saddle-bag locks," and other articles now obsolete.
A notice appeared in one of the early issues that "persons
who subscribed to the frame meeting-house can pay in catle
or whisky'"-an evidence that two of the chief products of
the famous Bluegrass region were even then legal tender.
Another early issue contains the Constitution of the United
States, with an editorial reference that it is " just framed by
the grand Convention now in session." A few weeks later
notice is given that " a company will meet at Crab Orchard
next Monday for an early start through the wilderness; most
of the delegates to the State Convention at Richmond (to
adopt the Constitution of the United States) will go with
them." The following appears in the same issue over the
signature of Charles Bland: " I will not pay a note given to
Wm. Turner for three second-rate cows till he returns a rifle,
blanket, and tomahawk I loaned him." These are samples of
many that are similar. Hundreds of others could be given
which would doubtless prove interesting reading matter, as
for instance: " Runaway Negro-5o Reward ;" " The Won-
derful Elephant on Exhibition at -'s Stable ;" and " People
Flocking in to See the Dromedary," etc.



   The early files of the Gazette show a great dearth of
local matter, but its columns bristle with ponderous edito-
rials and communications that are hurled at political antag-
onists like battering-rams. Foreign news from six weeks to
six months old form an important department, sometimes
occupying a page; but the local happenings are almost
wholly ignored; and yet the paper seems to have been of
intense interest in the community, as Mr. Bradford pub-
lishes the following from a subscriber: "Mr. Bradford, as I
have signed the subscription for your press and take your
paper, my curiosity eggs me on to read every thing in it."
   Such a paper would do for those days, but in this fast
age a newspaper filled with dry political problems, scientific
essays, and philosophical treatises alone would fall short of
the popular demand. But it must be remembered that then
there was not another paper printed within five hundred
miles of Lexington, nor a post-office in the whole district of
Kentucky. The paper was taken to the different settle-
ments by postriders, and when it arrived the best reader
among the inhabitants would mount a stump and never stop
until he had read the paper through, advertisements and all.
   The London Times, upon the occasion of its centennial
anniversary, said: "The Times writes its own history day
by day along with the history of the world." And so the
Kentucky Gazette wrote its history along with that of Ken-
               Rmnck in the History of Fayette County.



tucky. The period of its publication covered some of the
most exciting times in the early life of the State, viz., the
Spanish Intrigue and the Burr Conspiracy; the controversy
over the navigation of the Mississippi River, and one of the
bitterest partisan conflicts that ever agitated the State-the
relief and anti-relief, and the old and new court excitement.
It had but reached the zenith of its glory and prosperity
when the repeal of the United States Bank charter again
brought financial disaster to the country. Its declining
years witnessed the war with Mexico, and, as if its work was
now done, its career closed in the same year with that war.
    John Bradford, the pioneer editor of the West, was a
native of Virginia, and was born in I749. He served in the
Revolutionary War, and in 1785 came to Kentucky, settling
in Fayette County. The next year he removed to Lexing-
ton, where the remainder of his life was spent. He was',
a practical printer, as was his father before him, and he
brought up his sons to the same business. He was not a
brilliant editor; but, what was better for the times in which
he lived, he was a man of sound common sense and sterling
honesty. He held many positions of trust and honor, the
duties of which he faithfully discharged. He was long Pres-
ident of the Board of Village Trustees of Lexington, and
for a time was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Tran-
sylvania University. He was the first public printer after
Kentucky became a State in I792, and was elected continu-




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          THE PIONEER NEWSPAPER PRESS.             5

ously until 1798, except the year 1796, when he was defeated
by James H. Stewart, of the Kentucky Herald. For his first
term as public printer he received pound;ioo sterling as the emol-
uments of the office. He printed books as early as I 794, and
some of them may still be seen in both public and private
libraries. Between the years 1825 and i830 he published
his " Notes on Early Kentucky History," one of the most val-
uable works on Kentucky ever published, because "all of it
he saw, and much had been." His mind was stored with sta-
tistics and other useful information, and the great confidence
the people had in his judgment invested him with the sobri-
quet of "Old Wisdom." He was High Sheriff of Fayette
County at the time of his death, which occurred in 1830, and
Circuit Court being in session, Judge Jesse Bledsoe, presid-
ing, alluded to his death in eloquent terms, and adjourned
court in respect to his memory.
   Many anecdotes and incidents of Bradford are remem-
bered, and are told with great gusto by the old citizens of
Lexington. One will suffice to embellish this sketch. Brad.
ford and Henry Clay, though generally on opposite sides of
the political fence, were the warmest friends socially. In
their younger days, like many of the citizens of Lexington
and of Central Kentucky, they were fond of cards, and their
social games were sometimes.characterized by extravagant
betting, which, however, was oftener in fun than otherwise.


At the close of a game one evening, upon summing up the
result it was found that Clay had won 40,000 from Brad-
ford. The next day they met free from the excitement of
the play, when Bradford thus accosted Clay:
   " Clay, what are you going to do about that money you
won last night My entire property, you know, won't pay
the half of it."
   " Oh, give me your note for 500," said Clay, "and let the
balance go."
   The note was given, and a few nights later they engaged
in another game, which lasted pretty well into the morning.
This time fickle Fortune turned her smiles upon Bradford,
and when they arose from the table he was 6o,ooo winner.
When they met again nearly the same conversation occurred
as on a previous occasion, except that the parties to it were
reversed, but Bradford soon settled the matter by saying to
   "I Oh, give me back that note I gave you the other day
for 500, and we'll call it square."
   The Kentucky Gazette was conducted by John Bradford
until early in I802, when he turned its management over to
his son, Daniel Bradford, and he took charge of the Ken-
tucky Herald, the first rival paper in the State. He kept a
watchful supervision over the Gazette, however, and in a few
years again assumed control of it. He sold it in i809 to
Thomas Smith, who was afterward an editor of the Reporter,



but in i8I4 it again passed into the hands of the Bradfords,
and Fielding Bradford, jr., appears as publisher. A part of
the time he wa