The First Printer - Andrew Marschalk
Other Newspapers

Source:  The Press of Mississippi, by I. M. Patridge, Published in Debow's Review, Agricultural, Commerical, Industrial Progress and Resources, Volume 29, Issue 4;
New Orleans, LA 1860
This material resides in the Public Domain.
The file may be downloaded for personal, non-commercial use only.
Prepared for Early SW MS Territory by Ellen Pack

Ellen Pack
This Page is Copyright 1998 - MSGenWeb


The first printing press introduced in Mississippi was put up in Warren County, in the latter part of the 1700's.  It stood in the United States fort that was situated on what became known as Fort Hill, scarcely north of Vicksburg.  This site was, at the time, on the western boundary of the United States.

The owner of this press was Andrew MARSCHALK, the "father of the typographic art in Mississippi."  Shortly before his death, Marschalk addressed a letter to to L. A. BESANCON, Esq., in which Marschalk gave a brief history of his efforts.

             Washington, Sept. 2, 1837
L. A. Besancon, Esq.:

    "Dear Sir:  The first press in Mississippi was a small mahogany one, brought by me from London, in September, 1790.  It was out of my possession for six years.  When ordered to this [then the Mississippi] territory in the year [17]97-98, I regained possession of it, and obtained a small font of type - say thirty pounds - and while at the Walnut Hills, printed a ballad, "The Galley Slave."  Great excitement was caused in Natchez by the knowledge of a press being in the country, and strong inducements were held out for me to remove to that place.  Finally, I constructed a large press, capable of printing a foolscap sheet, and printed the territorial laws.  This press was sold by me to Ben M. Stokes, and he commenced in Natchez and continued for some time in the summer of 1799, but soon failed.

About March or April, 1800, a Mr. Green from Baltimore, brought a press to Natchez.  I do not recollect the title of his paper;  it ceased while I was at the North, and the press fell into the hands of James Ferrall, who, with one Moffatt, published a paper for a short time.

I arrived from Philadelphia the last of July, 1802, and commenced the "Mississippi Herald," I think, on the 26th of July of the same year.  I cannot conveniently lay my hand on the first volume, but send you, as a specimen of the poverty of those days, a small file of 1803-'4.  I commenced on medium, but was reduced, for want of paper, to cap.

                                                                         I am yours, &c., 

                                                                                       "Andrew Marschalk"

Marschalk also printed the Acts passed at the second session of the General Assembly 1803, printed in 1804.  Those Acts were all signed by William CONNER, as Speaker of the House, John ELLIS, President of the Senate, and William C. C. CLAIBORNE, Governor.

The Acts of the first and second sessions of the General Assembly of the Territory of Mississippi were published in Natchez in 1802, by D. Moffatt & Co.

Andrew Marschalk, of Dutch extraction by both parents, was an ensign in Wayne's army during the Revolutionary War.  He entered the army during the administration of the elder President ADAMS.  Later, owing to some differences between himself and his brother officers who were stationed at Walnut Hills, he was recalled.   Preferring, however, to remain in Mississippi, he resigned.  Having been bred a printer, he removed to Washington in Adams County, then seat of the territorial government, and started a paper called the Republican.  The success of this paper was not satisfactory, and he removed to Natchez and established the Gazette, which, after undergoing many changes, became the Statesman and Gazette, about the time of the Andrew JACKSON and John ADAMS excitement, when it became the organ of the JACKSON party.

The Statesman and Gazette was edited by several aspiring young politicians of that school, the principal one of whom was John F. H. CLAIBORNE, then a law student in the office of GRIFFITH and QUITMEN.  Claiborne was later widely known as a scholar and politician.

After the election of President JACKSON, Mr. Marschalk removed back to Washington, where he was appointed Postmaster.  He established a paper there called the Tablet,  but it did not last long.  Mr. Marschalk also served as Justice of the Peace.  He continued to reside in Washington until his death, in 1837.

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One of the earliest papers published in Natchez was The Messenger, by Samuel and Timothy TERRELL.  They were North Carolina gentlemen of excellent character and ability, who came to the territory shortly after its organization.  They were stanch Jeffersonian republicans, and their paper was edited with dignity and decorum.  The former of these gentlemen resided in New Orleans in 1860.

The Mississippi Republican was established in Natchez in 1810 by Peter ISLER.  He was a native of Pennsylvania, and a man of pure morals and honorable character.  The Republican succeeded The Messenger, and was the organ of what was then known as the Jeffersonian or Republican party, headed at that time in Mississippi by such men as Gen. Ferdinand Leigh CLAIBORNE, George POINDEXTER, Clowes MEAD, Wm. B. SHIELDS, Chancellor CLARKE, Edward TURNER, Alexander MONTGOMERY, Judge TURNER, and others equally prominent and influential, all deceased before 1860.

Mr. Isler conducted a very able paper, but he was not successful, owing principally to a diseased physical constitution, under which he almost constantly labored.  After leaving Natchez, he removed to Jackson, Hinds County, where he shortly afterward died.  Some of his descendants maintained a connection with the press in Jackson, for a time.

One of the ablest men connected with the territorial press was Dr. John SHAW, who conducted at one time a paper called The Halcyon, and afterward wrote extensively for the papers of TERRELL and ISLER.  His style was rough, rasping, and vigorous, and his powers of ridicule and satire were of the very highest order.  He was also a poet of the Hudibrastic school, and was famous for epigrams and pasquinades.  He belonged to the Jeffersonian party, and, for the reasons mentioned, was greatly dreaded by his adversaries.

SHAW lived at Natchez, and afterward at Greenville, in Jefferson County, once a gay, refined, and very thriving village, but entirely extinct well before 1860.  Dr. SHAW was for a long time a member of the territorial legislature, and was also a member of the convention which framed the constitution of the State of Mississippi.  He died during the session of that body, in 1817.

The Statesman was established in Natchez by the Jackson Committee, and was first published by a Mr. DOYLE, an Irish gentleman of education, but its business affairs were badly conducted, and it was united with The Gazette, MARSCHALK's paper.

The Southern Galaxy was established at Natchez, by Cyrus GRIFFIN.  He was a Northern gentleman, and a brilliant, caustic, and satirical writer.  He was an ADAMS man.  at one time he was connected with The Vicksburg Wig.  He died in 1837.

The Ariel was started in Natchez in 1825 by James K. COOK. The Ariel was considered to have been one of the best papers ever published in Mississippi.  COOK was born in Adams County under the Spanish government.  He inherited a large estate, which he spent improvidently.  Afterward, he turned editor, and his paper became the organ of the ADAMS party.  The paper obtained a large well-deserved circulation.  The publication was an interesting sheet, full of readable articles and news items, with the matter well arranged. Mr. COOK was not a polished writer, but always sensible and well-informed.

After the lapse of a few years, COOK changed the name of his paper to The Natchez.  Soon after, he retired from the press, and subsequently removed to Brooklyn where he died.  It is said that the only contributions to the press of the North, from his pen, were in defense of the traduced institutions of the South.
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