the Copiah County Courier
One of the oldest, if not the oldest, businesses in
continuous operation in Hazlehurst since the town was chartered more than 125
years ago is the community newspaper.
Some of the records indicate that the newspaper, operating
under a series of names and different ownerships, has continued in operation
for more than a century. As indicated above, the publication is now in its 117th
volume of continuous operation.
Earliest records are sketchy and sometimes contradictory (as
genealogists we know that one) as to when the newspaper from which the Copiah
County Courier evolved was established. Limited files on hand at the paper,
which suffered a major loss of all its files during a fire in 1975, indicated
that the paper was established early in 1884.
In a newspaper article written in the 30’s for the
Hazlehurst Courier by the late E.M. Cook, mayor of Hazlehurst from 1921 to
1928, reference was made to Joe L. Meade, editor and owner of the Courier, who
was appointed postmaster but soon resigned.
Annie G. Peyton, in a speech about the school history as of
Nov. 7, 1888, referred to “our worthy editor, W. L. Mitchell, … “ and an
article, which appeared in the Copiah Signal in Feb. 1888.
Records on file at the library confirm the operation of the
newspaper as early as 1895, but information before that time is sketchy, as are
details as to who actually started the newspaper in the then new town of
Still other sources indicate in 1879 the Copiah County
Monitor moved from Crystal Springs to Hazlehurst, and if that date were
accurate, would make the publications some 122 years old.
Information complied by Mrs. H. L. ( Ora Mae Salter) Green
in 1985 indicated that Willie Hawkins was one of the earlier owners and
operators of the Courier and was followed by John Hood, who sold the Hazlehurst
Courier to E. W. Taylor in 1909. Taylor published the paper for the next 25
years. During that time period, in 1920, W. J. Selman, a well-known local
resident, began work at the Courier as mechanical Superintendent. Also in the
early 1920s, T.F. Godwin obtained the Crystal Springs paper, The Meteor, from a
In 1934, E.W. Taylor sold the Courier to Godwin who
continued the operation. Meanwhile in 1935, Everette and Ida Lou (Simmons)
Lewis established the Copiah County News, a competing newspaper. Having bought
½ interest in the Copiah County News, W. J. Selman left the Hazlehurst Courier.
In 1937, W.F. Godwin sold the Courier to Jim McCorkle.
War started in 1941 and Selman began working full time at
the post office and sold his interest in the News back to the Lewises.
In 1963 saw a merger of the two papers when Lewis, publisher
of the Copiah County News, bought the Hazlehurst Courier from Jim McCorkle. The
merger resulted in a name change to the current name of Copiah County Courier.