South Carolina Gazette

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The South Carolina Gazette was South Carolina's first successful newspaper. The paper began in 1732 under J. Whitemarsh in Charlestown (now Charleston). but within only 2 years he died of yellow fever. In 1734 another former printer with Benjamin Franklin, Lewis Timothy, revived the Gazette and ran it until his accidental death four years later. His widow Elizabeth then ran both the paper and the print shop until their son, Peter, was old enough to take over. Peter also worked with the colonial postal service and was appointed Deputy Postmaster-General of the Southern Provinces. The “Gazette” printed news of Europe, what the royalty had worn at the last formal event, news of the colony, notices of births, deaths, marriages and estate auctions, and advertisements, including those for runaway slaves. It was in his own Gazette that Peter Timothy advertised in 1764 for his own runaway black slave, a "well dressed female who spoke English, French and Italian" – and whom he apparently never found. He and his wife Anna had a son named Benjamin Franklin Timothy and a daughter, Elizabeth, who by the time the Revolution is in full swing had married, borne two children, and been widowed. Peter Timothy was from the early years a Patriot, was known to join in from time to time around the Liberty Tree, and expressed his views in the Gazette. So it is no surprise in 1780 as CharlesTown prepares again for an invasion by the British that Peter Timothy is aboard a ship with Colonel John Laurens (e.g., John's March 4, 1780 letter to his father), chasing the British and keeping his Journal of the real events of the time, making Peter Timothy one of America's earliest war correspondents. However, when CharlesTown is captured in May, 1780, the Gazette is seized by the British and given to the Tory Robert Wells who continues it as the Royal Gazette, reflecting the British perspective. In August Peter Timothy is one of almost 100 leading citizens dragged out of his house and put aboard the prison ship, Sandwich, headed for prison in St. Augustine while their families are exiled to Philadelphia because "there are too many plots a-foot." Although another prisoner, Christopher Gadsden, reports that all have arrived safely enough, he apparently did not know that Peter Timothy had not arrived. According to British records he was "lost overboard." After the British occupation ended, Peter's widow Anna once again continued the paper until their son, Benjamin Franklin Timothy, was able to take over and publish the paper until 1802.