Carey W. Styles, Founder of The Atlanta Constitution

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Carey W. Styles, Founder of The Atlanta Constitution - TIRE-EATING CAREER' Constitution's Founder...
TIRE-EATING CAREER' Constitution's Founder Fought For Georgia With Pen and Sword By RAYMOND B. NIXON Director, Division of Journalism, Emory University, and Author, "Henry W. Grady: Spokesman of the New South." V r r. Seventy-seven vears ago yesterday on June 16, 1863 The Atlanta Constitution was founded by Col. Carey V. Styles. It's a safe bet that nearly everyone who read that first four-page, tevni column issue knew some-thins ,-tbout the paper's founder and editor. Vet today almost no one recognizes his name. Styles began to intrigue me as a result of bits of information picked up here and there in the course of historical research. He was a veteran of two wars; he once had killed a man in Brunswick: he had had at least one "personal encounter" and another "near-duel" in Atlanta; he was said to have wrecked his own political future by insisting that the state of Georgia pay its just debts. Although a lawyer by profession, he had been connected with at least 21 different r.ewspapers. MEMENTOES IX ATTIC Thanks to the help of his only surviving grandson, Upshur Vincent, of the Fort Worth Star-Tele gram, it is now possible to recon struct the major events in Styles' "fire-eating career. Mr. Vincent dug through 17 trunks in his attic to find every possible letter, news paper, photograph, and other memento relating to his grandfathers life. He has presented these memen- j toes to the Emory University Li brary, where they will be pre served along with the personal papers of three other famous Con stitution writers, Henry W. Grady, Joel Chandler Harris and Frank L. Stanton. Here is the story they tell: BORN" IN SPARTANBURG Carey Wentworth Styles was born October 7, 1825, near Spartanburg, S. C, the son of Gabriel and Rebecca Farrow Smith Styles. He spent his early years on his lather s plantation, gaining a prac tical knowledge of cotton farming and stock raising. Upon the outbreak of the Mex can War in 1846, he enlisted in e Palmetto Regiment, South arolina Volunteers. As one of the .2 men in this regiment who sur- ived the fierce fighting around hapultepec, he was given a silver edal by the state of South Caro- a. At the time of his discharge June. 1848, he held the rank of rgeant. Returning to Spartanburg, he ead law and was admitted to the oar. boon atterwara ne movea to Edgefield, S. C, to enter practice lor himself. On November 23, 1852, Styles married Miss Frances Jean Evans, daughter of John and Frances Knight Evans, of Fayette vi lie, N. C. They had two children. The first, Louisa Ga-briella Styles, born in 1853, later became Mrs. James U. Vincent. The second was Frank Evans Styles, born in 1856. ENTERS JOURNALISM While living in Edgefield, Styles became impressed by the r.eed for a railroad between Columbia. S. C, and Augusta, Ga. To build up public opinion in favrr of the new line, he began publication of a weekly newspaper, the Edgefield Informer. From that time on the law was always second to his love for land, the title to much of it passe ! into private hands. The rights of Glynn Academy to the land might have been forgotten except for the fact that in 1855 the trustees failed to accept the application of one James Houston for the principalship. His pride nettled, Houston began studying the history of the land grants and in 1856 made them an issue in a successful campaign for mayor. With the aid of Jacob Moore, Glynn county's representative in the state legislature, Houston then the Republican nominee for gov ernor, ituius a. Bullock, was elected. Some Georgia leaders, like for mer Gov. Joseph L. Brown, urged submission to the radical demands in order that the state might get back into the union as quickly as possible. But not Styles and the majority of native whites. They stood lor "constitutional recon struction," and under the leader- nv. r - : t t r r : 1 1 a. i (inn nf 9 wppI-W npwenarr 1ht Deiijdimn n. mil lurnea Georeia Forester ' to the national Democratic party Georgia Forester, vannah. where he became a close FOUNDING OF CONSTITUTION for relief. friend of Charles A. L. Lamar, the sportsman who is best re membered today as the owner of the "last slave ship," the Wanderer. The Wanderer's spectac- inis was tne atmosphere in which The Atlanta Constitution was founded. The Intelligencer, the city's oldest daily, was too lukeworm in its democracy to suit In 1857 Styles and his family moved to Brunswick, Ga. He may have been attracted by Brunswick's promise as a seaport, but more likely he was drawn there by a civic struggle in which the town appeared to need a defender. . Unde- an act of the general assembly in 1788 much of the public land in Brunswick had been dedicated to the erection and maintenance of an academy. Through the sale of lots a school had been built and supported for a time. During the 1820s, however, Brunswick had become almost a "deserted village." With no one to exercise control over the academy Four Eyes Deserve Attention ConAtlt DR. JOHN KAHN OPTICAL DEPTFIRST FLOOR COL. CAREY W. STYLES At all times in the thickest of the fight. proceeded to gain control of the land. In December, 1857, the general assembly passed an act appointing a new board of trustees for Glynn Academy with Houston as president and his friend Moore as secretary. A second act authorized the trustees to "lease or sell and convey any of the academy buildings and real estate." Both bills were introduced by Moore. Styles disapproved of the man ner in which Houston and Moore had gained control of the property. He announced himself as a candi date for mayor and called a mass meeting to be held in the academy building on the night of Dec. 24. The night was stormy, but the meeting was well attended. Styles called the gathering to order and began a talk on Men and Meas ures. After a few pointed re marks, he declared that the two bills passed by the general assem bly were "dishonorable." Moore, who was sitting beside Houston, immediately jumped to his feet and shouted that Styles' statement was a falsehood. According to official testimony on file m the Glynn county court house, Styles cried out: "You are a damned liar!" "You are a damneder liar!" re plied Moore. Both men reached for their pis- tols. In the quick exchange of shots that followed, Moore was killed. Although most of the witnesses were too busy crawling under desks or jumping out of windows to note details, the bulk of their testimony indicated that Moore fired first. At any rate? a charge of murder against Styles was changed to manslaughter and eventually dropped. On March 1, 1858, he was triumphantly vindicated by his election as mayor of Brunswick for a one-year term. THE "WANDERER" CASE Soon after finishing his term as mayor Styles moved with his family to Waresboro, Ware coun ty, where he practiced law and announced plans for the publica- A7 LOANS AT FOR EACH $100 YOU BORROW A $300 loon hcra cesH only $18! Figure it out yourielf you got a full $300 and per it back in 12 monthly installments t $26.50. Twelv. tim $26.50 it $313. . . . Whether you borrow $60 or $6,000 th rete if the tame. Alto, we ore lenient in the vent regular payments can't be met ... Personal loans are mode on your own note, automobile, furniture, diamonds or reol estate. All applications are confidential. If you need money see, write or telephone this bank. Your request will be promptly handled. Loons Arranged By Telephone If o ran'l trl from your Jnb during bankinr hours tele-lhone il Call KA, 7S and ilk for lh Personal 1, a n Department. The PEOPLES MM Of JTLANTA rCtSONAt ANO UtMItt iOANt I -Otii-o-Ttrn Saving Int-iOcf- iilar vrwar in 1 R.SH ic sairt In men llKe Styles and Mill. Ill have resulted from a reckless bet Daily Wew tla was a Republican bv Lamar that he could land a Kan. The third paper, the Daily shipload of slaves on the Geor- opinion, naa opposed jjuuock o& gia toast and get away with it. loie me nepuuncan convention While the excitement over the aiier me nomination me eai Wanderer msp was at its height tor of Opinion came out in favor in the sDrinr? of 1860. Stvles ac- of Bullock and sold the paper to comDanied Lamar and two other a group 01 primers. friends to the Savannah jail. otyies -was corresponding witn mil an during mis period and vis ited Atlanta in May for confer ences with democratic leaders. Fi nally, on June 9 he announced that he had obtained the financial backing of an Atlanta business man, James H. Anderson, and had bought the "material, good will and business" of the Daily Opinion. He "begged indulgence'' until the morning of June 16, when a new Democratic daily would appear According to the late Sam W. Small, who was connected with The Constitution intermittently lor more than sixty years. Styles al ready had obtained the idea lor the new paper's name from Presi dent Andrew Johnson. Small re lated that Styles made a trip to New York in May to purchase type and materials. On his way back to Atlanta he stopped in Washington to congratulate Presi dent Johnson on the failure of the recent impeachment proceedings against him. Johnson recalled that before the war there had been a democratic daily in Washington called "The Constitution." He sug gested this as an appropriate name for the new Democratic paper in Georgia, and Styles, liking the idea, christened the sheet acocrd ingly STYLES' FIRST EDITORIAL Associated with Styles as busi ness manager was Anderson's son-in-law, William A. Hemphill,' who had come to Atlanta from Athens in 1867 as a school teacher. All the newspaper experience was vested in Styles, Anderson being a com mission merchant. Styles obviously wrote the salu tatory editorial which appeared in Vol. I, No. 1. It included these sentences "We have the honor this morn ing to offer 'The Constitution' to the country as a candidate for puo lie favor, and to bow ourselves, for the first time, mto the arena oi daily journalism. "finr nnst. rnnnprtinn with the Here they demanded the keys press of the state renders unneces- xium me jaiier aim released sary any foreshadowing of the line Capt. J. Edgar Farnham, one of nf nnlicv we Duroose Dursuing. As the Wanderer's two principal of- editor of the Albany News we co-ficers. They apparently had no operated with the national democ- inienuon oi neiping rarnnam xo racy and fixed our political siaius. evaoe inai, as mey surrendered Our views have undergone no him two days later at a local ho- change, and it is our unalterable tei upon aemana oi tne ieaerai determination to 'light it out-on attorney. But Styles and his that line.' three associates were fined $250 "Our name, 'The Constitution,' each and sentenced to spend 30 at once suggests to the thoughtful days in jail, ine "jan turned reader the grand idea that gave out to be Lamar s "sumptuous birth to the experiment of a new business rooms," where the citi- naner in Atlanta . . . We have de- zens of Savannah showered them I parted from the faith of our fa- witn food, iiowers and cnam- thers, and wandered iar irom me pagne. ark of safety. We must return . Styles later referred to that There will be no repose for tne na- n,arL nn nf tion. no Deace. no urusyeiuj. mi V-j UlAUU nUVtlllUtC UJl 4. i . - - , , the happiest memories of my we end me revolution uj lc-caiau- life." When the case of the usning cuusihuuuii Wanderer came to trial, his and constitutional uuei tjr u. daughter wrote, "there was not a states oi tne union. Negro to be found who was not "For this mission the national i. i t- : democratic Dartv is ordained, and eer xn st, as one of its sentinels on the outer oooiwi nnu 11 Hut sc will hf faitniUHV. in me evenia icduiiig up w v,otw -foor-loccW nprfnrmed War Between the States, Styles UjatiotJal CONVENTION played a conspicuous part. In c,rio atorri thP national January, 1861, as the olticiai tw.-;,. rnnvpntinn in July delegate from Ware county, he . . , fVl. fit i:mp in history. attended the Georgia convention he wrote that any Georgia news-and cast his vote for secession. paper had Deen represented at Then, with a newspaperman s such a convention by its own facility for being on the spot special correspondent. The con-whenever trouble breaks out, he vltinn nnminated Horatio Sey- went to Charleston. He was on Gen. Haygood's staff there when nounced the radical reconstruc- : tne iirst snot, was meu on fuiutinn nrnsTam as "unconstituUon aumxer. ai rpunlutinnarv. and void. . e i . A 1 11 f - t A I " Alter tne lau oi ouimei, oi v.irthor Pnrmiraeement came enlisted m the Second Georgia on Jul 4 witn a presidential Volonteers. He organized the , tio restoring the fran- Wire Grass Minute Men at ta- tn ,.1 ftf lhe former Con- vannan ano Decame me nm "P' federates who had been barred tain oi tnat company, wminis- iTntiner in lh Anril election. . . . , . . 1 . v. -r- ... ' . . sioned m August, 1001, as a coio- Former Whigs and "Know-Noth- nci, uv was pwi-cu in liwisc mgs now iomed emnusiasticany a i i ,1 Ka I ' . - j me cuaMdi uciciiac ui ucuigia 1 uith ciporeia uemocrats in a ae tween savannan ano tne c lonaa termination to defeat tne KepuD line. At one tune he command- Hfans in November ed a force of more than 4,000 Although still smarting under men. military rule. Georgia rolled up Eager for more action than was an overwhelming majority for the afforded by the relatively light Democratic national ticket. And skirmishes along the coast, Styles The Constitution received its just by the spring of 1864 had been share of credit for the victory, transferred to an artillery bat- RETURNS TO ALBANY talion near Atlanta. He displayed Meanwhile. Styles was in finan great courage in the Battle of At- cial straits. All through the fall lanta and at the end of the war he had been trying to sell the Al had won high commendation from bany News in order to obtain Davis, Lee and Gordon. money to pay for his interest in RrnnvsTRiirTinN rAV The Constitution. Unable to tind ThP war- nvw stvips ripvntprf a Duyer, ne nnauy oecioea to sur- . , i. w; rm.tr.a himself wholeheartedly to the task "1S w p of restoring Georgia to the union nae""' . wu" ..-lu-.aw .,rw tho rpcpntiai ni,n f ro. Hemphill in charge. The name of OAnt?lf114iAM T - Vl foil rt 1 QC the publishing firm was changed while living in Brooks county, he m ' Ca.rev .,ISlyls Co- to was a candidate for congress from " " . the first district. When that cam- oijiw u-uc iacwC1J . ,.. . .,l, ers of the paper in the issue of paign failed, he moved to Albany . f... ,,,,., u j f ah .. December 5, 1868. "Whatever be- CII1U 1CLUUJ1UCU U1C WCCMY lUCLllV I c i , .U 4 J J comes of me, he wrote somewhat As editor, Styles continued to ""ii 1C " ilJC advocate the presidential plan of , wa ,n ,hA pHiior. ?0ePcUbi1CfnS T lhe,!LCtl2n of who had joined the staff during iuuu oim in mattu, ioui, uigau u. .,, , cmmo. Or. 1Vio ..rail enacting their program into law. of Thf, r-nnstitution's Priitnrial of. With all hope of moderation gone, fio stvic loft h, nr nH nn Styles again jumped to the defense the editor's desk his pen. These i i f- K a '" nc i.""- symbols inspired Barrick to write SlllUtlUIl. under the radical reconstruc- mm mi rii ! a saess tion program, the former Conf ed- II K H T 1 1 lYI A III. HflIN erate states were placed under Illll-UIfiri I lU 11111 military governors. They were HAS YOU DOSINQ AND HOPING cnargeo witn seeing tnat new state constitutions were adopted 2 ror yourielf what effec and that officers were elected in 7u can get now accordance with the specifications wnn tn" medicine of congress. The new Georgia Open your own way toward deliverance constitution, drawn up by a con- others have enjoyed. Make up your mind vention composed almost entirely you're going to use something that gets of carpetbaggers, scalawags and Negroes, was submitted to the voters at a special election in April, 1868. With the polls under military control and most of the former Confederates disfranchised, the constitution was ratified and to work on rheumatic pain. You want help you can feel. So get C-2223, if you suffer from rheumatic pain or muscular aches. Don't be put off with ifs or fcuts. Caution: Use only as directed. First bottle purchase price refunded if cot satisfied. 60c and $1.00, get C-2J2J. I "TP , f 4f. i f r--'S X'x- y s.y ! f y ". s u FIGHTING EDITOR AND FAMILY Col. Carey W. Styles, who 77 years ago founded The Atlanta Constitution as an instrument in the fight for the return of constitutional liberty, is seen with his wife and two children, Louisa Gabriella and Frank Evans. the poem "The Sword and the Pen, which begins: "Worn by a knightly cavalier On the bloody field of Mars, Under the folds of the battle flag It struck for the Stars and Bars. First in front of the fearful charge It flashed in the light of the sun As it led the fray and carved the way To many a victory won. "Now in the scabbard sheathed, , its rests, And in its hilt the pen That mightier weapon than any drawn In the warfare waged by men." "In no part of his journalistic career has anyone doubted where he stood," wrote another friend of Styles. "At all times he has been found in the thickest of the fight." Styles returned to Albany as editor of the News. In 1872 he was elected as state senator from the 10th district, composed of Dougherty, Lee and Worth counties. It was during the legislative session of this year that he attracted wide attention by his "bold, strong and eloquent speeches ' against the blanket re pudiation of the railroad bonds issued by the Bullock admimstra tion. He urged that the state had received valuable improvements for some of the bonds and that these were "honest debts" which should be paid. So strong was the feeling on this question that Styles became involved in a "personal encounter" with a political opponent, J. C. Nichols. Happily, neither man was injured. He also was confronted by the prospect of a duel with Alexander St. Clair-Abrams, the hot-tempered editor of the Atlanta Herald, but it, too, was averted. In 1876 Styles sold the Albany News and came back to Atlanta, first as editor of the Georgia Daily Commonwealth, and later as one of the publishers of the Atlanta Telegram. When these venttns failed, be bought the Gainesville Eagle on another shoestring which I founder and first editor. soon gave out Then, mt:-a m period of law practice in Omtan, Ga.. he returned in November. 1879, to Brunswick as editor c the weekly Seaport Appeal. MOVES TO TEXAS Like most of Styles other papers, the Appeal went on the financial rocks, and the editor decided in 1831 to move to Texn. Except for a brief period in Birmingham in 1888-89 as managing editor of the Herald, he remained in Texas for the remainder of his life. All told, he was connected, as editor, managing editor, or special writer, with more than a dozen Texas dailies and weeklies. One of the last papers he edited was fhe Wcntherford Constitution, a name which again revealed hit deep affection for th name h had given tho Atlanta dally. !! died at his hom in Sephenvf!Ie. Texas, on Feb. 23, 1897, and u buried there. Meanwhile, the keen busine judgment of W. A. Hemphill steered The Atlanta Constitution safely through the financial waters of the early seventies. On Oct, 18, 1876, the controling interest in the paper was bought by Capt. Evan P. Howell, another veteran of the war. Since that time, under three generations cf the Howell family, the paper has enjoyed steady progress. As Ralph McGIU, the present editor, has described It: "The Constitution grows and lives on, founded to fight, founded to serve the state, founded cn the principle that if one supports the principles of right, decency, integrity, and the rights cf the people, one cannot go wrong. Much of the paper's fighting character, Mr. McGill can now add, is an inheritance frora its THE SUIT THAT NEEDS No Jacket! 1 'A . .-...-;.... $ x war v A say wrv ' b f Mt S. V - i I i - JL' I" Wi y A . WOW i I 7 ' :ffJm S3 SHIRT SUIT by McGregor Now ... for the first time, you have a shirt that's tailored like a jacket. Shoulders are square and upstanding. 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  1. The Atlanta Constitution,
  2. 17 Jun 1945, Sun,
  3. Page 12

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  • Carey W. Styles, Founder of The Atlanta Constitution

    staff_reporter – 25 Apr 2018

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