The Brownsville States-Graphic was born at the turn of the century as a result of a merger of two competing newspapers, the States-Democrat and the Graphic.
The first recorded newspaper in Brownsville was the Phoenix, established in 1837. In 1840, David McPherson began publishing the Banner, and in 1868 W.I. Westbrook established the Bee. To compete with the Bee, R.W. Haywood started a newspaper called the States in 1870.
The Democrat was first published in 1875 by Thomas Weedlin and John R. Green.
In 1886, the States and the Democrat consolidated to become the States-Democrat.
Several newspapers were published briefly in the 1880s and ‘90s: The Haywood Republican, The Journal and The Tribune. During this period Danial Bond, a native of South Carolina, began publishing a paper called the Brownsville Times. Bond’s obituary states, “On the occasion of its first issue, so sure was he of its typographical, rhetorical and grammatical correctness, that a reward of $5 was offered for any mistake that could be found in it.”
In 1900 when the States-Democrat and the Graphic merged, John R. Green was editor.
The Greens merged, John R. Green was editor. The Greens (there were several in the newspaper business) operated the States-Graphic for several years before selling it to F.R. Ogilvie, longtime private and public school educator in 1900s.
Mrs. Ogilvie retained ownership after Mr. Ogilvie’s death with Paul Sims serving as editor. The paper was sold to Haywood County native John H. Owen, of Bronxville, New York, in December 1948. Sims continued as editor and served in this capacity until his death in 1962. John Owen Burgess succeeded him.
In January 1983, Lyle Reid and Carlton Veirs purchased a free shopper known as the Advertiser, named it the Haywood County Free Press and began publishing it with news content. Frank Cupples was editor of the Free Press.
Mrs. John H. Owen retained ownership of the States-Graphic until 1984, when she sold the newspaper to Reid and Veirs. With Cupples as the editor, the paper became the Brownsville States-Graphic. In June 1985, C.T. Smith succeeded Cupples as the newspaper’s editor.
The newspaper was sold to Albrecht Newspapers, Inc. of Cookeville in 2000.
The Albrecht group managed the newspaper until 2006 when they sold it to it’s present owner, American Hometown Publishing, Inc. of Franklin.
American Hometown Publishing (AHP), a Franklin based holding company started in 2003, acquired States-Graphic on Oct. 5, 2006.
"We understand that local stories and local relationships are what make a community newspaper successful and what keeps the newspaper growing with the community it serves," said Hammond. "We believe local newspapers are a community treasure and we will focus on preserving the integrity and autonomy of your newspaper."
Hammond founded American Profile magazine, which is inserted weekly in the States-Graphic, in the 1990s. It was that successful venture which led him to his love for community newspapers. According to Hammond, AHP is the "antithesis" of many larger newspaper-holding groups, retaining the strong values of the traditional small-town newspaper while providing more resources to enhance the company.
"This is what I'm most excited about," said former States-Graphic principal owner Jay Albrecht said “AHP is committed to our continuing the quality journalism our readers have come to expect and this newspaper will remain just as committed to the community under their ownership."
"The ownership change of the States-Graphic has, for the most part, been seamless," Group Publisher Scott Whaley said. "Readers and advertisers shouldn't see any immediate difference. Our commitment to Haywood County has not, and will not change."
AHP also acquired sister properties in the transaction, including The Leader (Covington), the Chester County Independent (Henderson), The Collierville Herald, Humboldt Chronicle, Tri-City Reporter (Dyer), The Shopper News (Humboldt) as well as two publications in Oklahoma and three in Virginia.
When the States-Graphic began publishing 173 years ago, it dedicated itself to the welfare of the people of Haywood County. That stands true today.