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Library gets copy of first county paper

A piece of Lawrence County's history has come home.

The Briggs-Lawrence County Public Library recently acquired copies of four pages of the county's first newspaper, The Lawrence County Gazette.

The Gazette was published in Burlington until 1850, when its publisher, W.C. Wheeler died at the age of 29.

Martha Kounse located the copies of the paper at Case Western Reserve Library in Cleveland. The newspapers, by now 155 years old, had long been copied to microfilm.

"I don't know how they got it," Kounse said. "Usually these things go to the Ohio Historical Society. But it's great to have them home. I don't have words to describe it. It's like bringing back home a part of our history."

The 16-by-20 sheets have been matted and framed, and will enjoy a bit of a homecoming Sept. 14 when they are on display in the Bookmobile at the Walk-a- Thon in Burlington.

Usually the newspaper copies are kept in the main library's Hamner Genealogy Room.

Kounse said the addition of the Lawrence County Gazette copies is part of an on-going effort to expand and preserve the library's historical archives

"The whole purpose of the Hamner Room is to preserve historical records and make them available to the public," Kounse said.

Kounse said the library has lately been binding cemetery and other historical documents in an effort to keep the documents from being lost or damaged.

"They were being kept in looseleaf binders, but the binders were falling apart," Kounse said. "We had to make a decision what we were going to do. We decided the best way to preserve them was to have them bound." Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune