January 13, 1869: 19 newspapers gathered to form KPA

Somewhere around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 13, 1869, representatives from 19 “outstanding Kentucky newspapers of the time” gathered at the office of The Frankfort Yeoman to begin forming the Kentucky Press Association.

That’s 149 years ago tomorrow that those representatives, as described by Orval Baylor then editor of the Woodford Sun, came from as far away as Owensboro, Lebanon, Stanford, Mt. Sterling and Maysville to an office on St. Clair Street, across from the Franklin County Courthouse and a block and a half from the Old State Capitol. Baylor’s account lists the Frankfort Commonwealth, Harrison Democrat, Paris Citizen, Owensboro Monitor, Georgetown News, Lexington Observer & Reporter, Mt. Sterling Sentinel, Cynthiana News, Clark County Democrat, Lexington Gazette, Paris True Kentuckian, The Kentucky Free Mason, Frankfort Yeoman, Farmers Home Journal, Stanford Banner, Lebanon Clarion, Louisville Daily Democrat, Kentucky Intelligencer, Louisville Courier-Journal and Maysville Eagle. (You may note that his account lists 20 newspapers.)

Just a year from this Saturday, KPA will be approaching its 2019 KPA Winter Convention with 2018 President Peter Baniak and 2019 President Jay Nolan joining to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this organization. I wonder what those 19 newspapers envisioned would be the future of journalism in Kentucky, of newspapers in Kentucky and of its effort that day, the Kentucky Press Association.

John Nelson, editorial director for Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc., is writing a history of the first 150 years, a publication that will be available as KPA reaches its Sesquicentennial celebration. Serving on the 150th committee with John will be 2018 President Peter Baniak, editor of The Herald-Leader, Lexington;  2019 President Jay Nolan, publisher The Mountain Advocate, Barbourville; and Sharon Burton, publisher of the Adair County Community Voice and a 2017 State At-Large Board member.


John Nelson

Sharon Burton

Peter Baniak

Jay Nolan

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