Where in the World? The Winchester Advertiser

Published 11:49 am Friday, October 14, 2016

By Harry Enoch
Sun columnist

The Winchester Advertiser’s news focus included approximately three pages of stories from the nation’s capital, Canada and Europe.
There were occasional items of happenings in Kentucky, usually from Frankfort, but no local news at all.
The publishers of newspapers at that time assumed readers already knew what was going on in their communities.
The coverage of local news versus national and international was almost the reverse of today’s Winchester Sun.
The paid advertisements in the Advertiser provide a window for viewing Winchester in the early 19th century.  I have copies of the paper from 1814 through 1817 and one issue of 1819.  The town was evidently a prosperous place during and immediately after the War of 1812.  Keeping in mind that there were only six streets then—Washington, Main Cross, Fairfax, Water, Main, Highland—a surprising number of businesses show up in the paper.
The stores advertising in the few surviving issues of 1814 alone included William and Mathew Alexander, George G. Taylor, Clark & Pelham, Samuel Poston, William Poston, James Anderson & Co., James Ritchie, James L. Hickman, C. K. Duncan, Edward McGuire & Co., Coons, Collins & Crosthwait, Walter Karrick, E. G. Browning & Co., and Cast & Holley. All of these carried general merchandize.
Other concerns combined manufacturing and sales at their business locations.
Examples are Benjamin Doggett, shoe and boot making; Linville Brinegar, shoe and boot making; James and Thomas Barr, tanning; John Bruner, tanning; James and Philip Pool, tailors.  Thomas Jones, Edmund Callaway and Hay Taliaferro kept tavern.
Taliaferro had the Winchester Hotel (southwest corner of Main and Lexington Ave.), and Joshua Lampton kept a livery stable next door.
The doctors were Thomas Barbee, John Mills and Robert Taliaferro.
Another surprise was how often businesses formed and broke up partnerships.
George G. Taylor & Co. dissolved his business with an unknown associate and formed a new store with William N. Lane. Browning & Co. broke up with E. G. Browning and Samuel Poston each going on their own, and the same for Robert Clark and Jesse W. Garner, and a long list of others.
Ads also indicate that businesses frequently changed locations.
Alexander & Co. moved to Samuel Poston’s old place, while Poston moved to “the frame house at the north end of Colonel John Martin’s Tavern.”
Martin ran a tavern on the site of the present Clark County National Bank Building (present offices of Ludwig Blair & Bush).
Achilles Eubank & Son “removed their store to the building occupied by Peter Flanagan.  James Ritchie moved his store “to the room lately occupied by William R. Massie just below the Hotel.”
Even the Advertiser moved three times in four years. And many more.
There was still a shortage of specie (cash money) in Kentucky during these years and many businesses were forced to resort to barter.
For example, William Poston offered merchandise “which will be sold cheap for cash, feathers, good linen, or saltpetre.”
James Ritchie took payment in country linen, linsey, feathers, hog’s lard, whiskey, and country sugar.
The Advertiser, desperate for payment from delinquent subscribers, accepted “most of the productions of husbandry at the market prices, viz.: flour, meal, corn, wheat, rye, pork, beef, hams, pickled pork, poultry, potatoes, lard, tallow, wood, &c.”
Curiously, in 1814-15, Winchester sported four hat makers.
An ad to purchase flaxseed announced that deliveries would be accepted at “the house formerly occupied by Benjamin Webb, hatter.”
Frederick Merckley informed the public that he had moved his “Hat Manufactory” from Mt. Sterling to Winchester.
In the same issue of the paper, William R. Massie “informs his friends and the public generally that he still continues to carry on his hat manufactory in Winchester, at his former stand, three doors below the Hotel, where he has on hand a real good assortment of hats.”
Later that year, Fritzlen & Decret advertised for “two apprentices to the hatting business.”
The papers carried ads for property sales. “For public sale on December 1, the late dwelling of Mary Strode, deceased, near Winchester and all the estate consisting of horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, corn, hay, farming utensils, wagon, &c.  (1814)” Mary was the widow of John Strode who established Strode’s Station in 1779.
William Jamison offered for sale a corner lot, where Dan’s Discount Jewelry now stands, “containing a full quarter of an acre under good fence, having on it a hewed Log House, 18 x 24, with a shingled roof and brick chimney, also a convenient Log Kitchen.”
There were regular notices for schools in town. Most were for the Winchester Academy, on the site of the later Hickman Street School, which stood at the corner of Highland and Hickman. A notice of December 1814 is typical: “Mr. Amzi Lewis, late of New York, will commence his first session in the Winchester Academy on the 11th of December.  He will teach Spelling, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, English Grammar, the Latin & Greek Languages and the various branches of Mathematics.  It is hoped parents and guardians will avail themselves of this advantage of having their children and wards well educated.  By the order of the Board, James Sympson, President.”
In 1816, a Mr. Green of Lexington informed “the ladies and gentlemen of Winchester that he wishes to undertake a school for teaching the Piano Forte.”
One of the few items the paper carried from time to time that could be called local news was marriages.  An example from October 15, 1814: “Married:  On Thursday evening last by Rev. Augustin Easton, Hubbard Taylor, Jr. of this place to the amiable and accomplished Miss Mary Ann T. Arnold of Paris.  Also John H. Hickman of this place to the amiable Miss Eliza Burnau of Mercer.”
Military announcements also appeared regularly. “We have heard that Governor Howard has required 1000 men from Kentucky to check the insolence of the savages, and guard some defenceless parts of our frontier.  (1814)” That was Benjamin Howard, governor of the Missouri Territory and son of Clark County pioneer, John Howard.
“The men composing Captain Robert Scobee’s company of detached militia are requested to meet at Winchester on Monday, the 16th of January, at 12 o’clock to fix upon a suitable uniform. (1815)”