The publication of a newspaper in colonial South Carolina received its impetus from the General Assembly. The need for a printer in the colony led the General Assembly in 1731 to offer £1,000 to a printer who would move to South Carolina and open for business. George Webb, Eleazer Phillips, and Thomas Whitmarsh moved to Charleston to vie for the money; Phillips and Whitmarsh began publishing newspapers soon after they arrived. No copies of Phillips’s paper, the South-Carolina Weekly Journal, have survived, and publication stopped after his death in July 1732. Whitmarsh’s paper, the South-Carolina Gazette, began publication on January 8, 1732, and continued with some interruptions for more than four decades. Whitmarsh was a native of England and a former employee of Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. After Whitmarsh died in September 1733, the paper was published by the Timothy family. Lewis Timothy, a journeyman printer from France who had also worked for Franklin, restarted the newspaper in 1734. His young son Peter was designated as his successor. When Lewis died in 1738, his Dutch-born wife Elizabeth ran the paper under Peter’s name; Peter took over shortly thereafter and continued to publish the paper until the end of 1775.
By 1764 the Gazette had subscription agents in North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The newspaper had a typical mix of news items, advertisements, reprinted material from other periodicals, and literature. Small woodcuts were published from 1735 onward; the publication of higher-quality images was aided by the acquisition of a new press in 1747. Although the newspaper was generally apolitical, Timothy eventually became a vocal supporter of the Revolutionary cause. The Boston Massacre and blockade of Boston were both announced in the newspaper with heavy black borders. The newspaper printed the names of those who violated nonimportation, and Timothy remained in close contact with Benjamin Franklin and the Boston patriot leader Samuel Adams. The Gazette continued to be a strong supporter of the rebel cause until it ceased publication in December 1775.
Cohen, Hennig. The South Carolina Gazette, 1732–1775. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1953.
Smith, Jeffery A. “Impartiality and Revolutionary Ideology: Editorial Policies of the South-Carolina Gazette, 1732–1775.” Journal of Southern History 49 (November 1983): 511–26.