West Virginia’s first newspapers…

January 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The history of West Virginia newspapers dates some 70 years before West Virginia became a state. Statehood came late to West Virginia, carved from Virginia in the midst of the Civil War, happening officially on June 20, 1863. But its first newspaper began in 1790 when Nathaniel Willis began his “Potowmac Guardian & Berkeley Advertiser” at Shepherd’s-Town, near Harper’s Ferry.  Less than two years later Willis moved the newspaper to Martinsburg.

The second newspaper was the “Shepherd’s Town, Charles-Town and County Advertiser” begun by Philip Rootes and Charles Blagrove on June 28, 1797. No copies beyond October 11, 1797 have been located. The third newspaper was the “Berkeley Intelligencer” done at Martinsburg on April 3, 1799 by John Alburtis.  Many followed, including what is shown in the image, “The Observer, and Western Advertiser”, Lewisburg, [West] Virgina, 1884.