Spirit of the Tennessee Press

Illustration from Mark Twain’s Sketches, New and Old (1882)

Twain’s Journalism in Tennessee (see November 30 post) may be fiction but it isn’t too far removed from the reality of the times. Tennessee seemed to have quite the reputation for editorial feuds, as noted in this report from Nashville, printed in the New York Times, November 15, 1908.

Source: www.nytimes.com

The newspapers covering the infamous editorial feud between George G. Poindexter and Allen Hall, mentioned in the clipping above, can now be accessed through Chronicling America. Poindexter, editor of the Nashville Union and American had been caught up in an “editorial war” with Hall of the Nashville Daily News. The conflict reached a high point in November 1859, when Poindexter accused Hall of being an abolitionist. Threats were exchanged, and when Poindexter confronted Hall at his office, Hall shot and killed him.

Search Chronicling America for more on this story, including details from the court case.

Announcement of G.G. Poindexter’s death, Nashville Union and American November 19, 1859