This 1903 Herald newspaper owned by Harold Benton was on display at the County Commission meeting. (Photo by Faye Gaston)

This 1903 Herald newspaper owned by Harold Benton was on display at the County Commission meeting. (Photo by Faye Gaston)

By Faye Gaston

This is the Historical Preservation Report Faye Gaston gave at the City Council meeting on October 4, 2021. "Since the recent 10th anniversary of Johnny Adams and Kim Graham Adams owning the Union Springs Herald newspaper, this report is a partial history of the newspaper.

One value of the local newspaper is preserving history, providing a permanent record in print for future generations.

It is a source for those researching family history and historical data. The Union Springs Herald newspaper was founded in 1866, 155 years ago. Thomas T. Crew was the founder. He "bought the material, published, partly edited, did his own job work, corrected proof sheets and got copy himself." His wife, the former A.M. Bagby, gave it the name Union Springs Herald.

Thomas T. Crew and W. Stanley Hunter afterward bought the Union Springs Times newspaper from George M. Drake, its founder, owner, and editor, and ran it for a short time. Crew and Hunter made this statement to the public on January 1, 1870: "It will be our constant and most earnest effort to promote the interest of Union Springs and Bullock County: to labor for the general good, and in whatever manner necessary, and to shrink from no duty enjoined upon us as journalists."

Some time afterward, Crew bought out Hunter, and so the two newspapers, the Union Springs Herald and Union Springs Times, consolidated, and the name became Union Springs Herald and Times. Crew named Col. R. H. Powell as associate editor. Finally, the "And Times" was dropped and left its present name Union Springs Herald, its original name. The Union Springs Herald was owned and edited by Pierre F. Mile in 1898.

C.D. Norman owned and published the Herald for about 30 years, from 1921 until 1951. W. H. Garner purchased it in 1951 and published the first edition as its editor on October 4, 1951. After 25 years, Garner retired on April 1, 1976, and sold the Herald to Terry Everett of Enterprise, Alabama. Thomas May had worked at the Herald for about 20 years, and Publisher Everett named him editor.

After many years, Everett sold the Herald to Jacques Jarry. Later Sharon Roughton bought the Herald on July 10, 2010.

The newspaper's January 10, 2011 issue, now called the "Bullock County Press/Union Springs Herald," had Sharon Roughton as its Executive Editor and Publisher.

Thomas May retired on July 20, 2011. He wrote in the Herald, "Thanks to Sharon for using my stories for the past year. I wish her the best in her endeavors". The newspaper's name was still "Bullock County Press/Union Springs Herald" in the September 7, 2011 issue. The headline on September 21, 2011, issue was "Judge Rules in Herald Case."

The result was that Jacques Jarry again owned the Herald. Johnny Adams was to manage the newspaper for one month, assisted by Thomas May.

In this process, Johnny Adams and Kim Adams Graham became the owners with Johnny as the Editor and Kim as the Publisher in September 2011, with its original name, the "Union Springs Herald." Johnny's first article on the front page of September 21, 2011, issue was titled, "National Guard Burglarized."

Ten years later in 2021, each week 2,000 issues are printed and distributed in local stores in Union Springs, mailed to readers in Bullock County. Several hundred are mailed outside Bullock County. In the 10th anniversary issue, it is noted that most comments were made about enjoying the reading of the column "Years Gone By" 10, 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago.

This 1903 Herald newspaper on display at tonight's meeting is owned by Harold Benton. I wrote for the Herald as a volunteer under four different editors. Johnny and Kim hired me as a reporter and have provided an office for me. I continue to do the job I love, but now I get paid for it. "Thank you, Johnny and Kim. Best wishes for the continued success of this local weekly newspaper, as it has preserved the history of Bullock County for 155 years."

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