The Vicksburg Post – a brief history

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

John Gordon Cashman published the first edition of the Vicksburg Evening Post

on May 4, 1883, in a second-floor office on Washington Street. It was the result of

his having, without your advice, concluded to go into

another newspaper enterprize, as he stated in a letter

dated March 26, 1883, to his wife, Fannie.

At the time he was working for a

morning newspaper and became weary of the arduous night

work, as it was injurious to both eyesight and health. He

told Fannie that his new venture would be “an evening paper,

and we will have little if any night work.

He named it the Vicksburg Evening Post

to distinguish it from the dominant daily morning newspaper of

the day. Type for his first newspapers was

tediously set by hand from handwritten copy and laboriously

printed on a hand-powered flat bed press … a far cry from

today’s electronic system of publishing.

Since that day, Cashman’s newspaper

has survived depressions, wars, floods, tornadoes, bad economic

times, many competitive newspapers and assorted ups and downs.

Now in its fifth generation of family ownership, it is a rarity:

a home-owned newspaper in an era of chain ownership of more than

80 percent of our nation’s daily newspaper circulation.

In 1883, Cashman’s newspaper was a

bold undertaking. Vicksburg has had more than 80 in its long

history, but this one was a success from the start, as well as

being a family affair.

As the sons of John G. Cashman grew,

each joined his father in working in the business. John Jr. was a

reporter; William Bernard, and Randall became printers. Later,

Randall pursued a career at First National Bank. Frank was a

reporter and succeeded his father as editor. Louis concentrated

his energies on the business side of the newspaper and later

served as editor and publisher. The founding Cashman’s only

daughter, Katherine, served briefly as a reporter.

In February 1889, the growing

newspaper moved its offices to a second floor location in what

now is the 600 block of Crawford Street. After a few years it

moved again to a nearby, larger building in the same block of

Crawford Street.

Over those early years, that old

hand-powered press gave way to an electric power, and

hand-set type was put to rest by invention of the

Linotype, a revolutionary machine that took molten lead and

transformed it into a column-wide line of type as fast as eight lines

a minute. That machine forever changed the newspaper industry,

and mass circulation newspapers became a reality.

After the Linotype came improved

methods of transmitting national and international news with the

teletype machine, as opposed to the old dotdash method of sending

and receiving by Morse code. Changing the way a newspaper was

printed soon became a constant race with technology.

Fierce competition of the Vicksburg

Evening Post and The Vicksburg Herald finally was subdued when

the Cashman family purchased the Herald on February 7, 1925. For

a quarter of century after that Vicksburg had a morning and

an afternoon paper, which was combined on Sundays as The Sunday

Post-Herald.

In 1951, The Post designed and built a

modern two-story building at the corner of South and Cherry, the

first issue at the location being printed on April 7, 1952.

In December 1953, tragedy struck

Vicksburg that will forever be remembered by those who lived it.

A violent tornado killed dozens of citizens. It destroyed the

building from which the newspaper had just moved. It also offered

the newspaper staff a challenge.