HISTORY OF THE CENTRAL RECORD
In May 1969, the late James R. Whittaker, managing editor and co-owner of The Central Record, wrote the following article commemorating The Central Record’s 80th anniversary.
“A Short History Of‘The Central Record’”
We do not know when (exactly) or by whom the first Lancaster Newspaper was published, but we notice in the “Lancaster Enterprise” published in 1879 the following:
Mr. Charles Gallanger, of this place has in his possession, an old copy of the “American Sentinel” of December 1856, published here, H.N. Zimmerman, as editor. It was known as a “Know Nothing” in politics, and has the appearance of having been a thrifty, newsy, newspaper.
In looking over its columns, we found no business firms that exist here in Lancaster now. Men and measures have greatly changed in Lancaster since then, and the sight of the paper carried us back to the time when prosperity smiled on the land.
We see from this there was a paper published here in 1856, but the oldest Lancaster newspaper of which a copy was available, was published by one Joseph Rucker from 1872 to 1875. Adding to this confusion is the fact that a partial paper available for research to us indicated that “A Stranger” was in the midst of the Garrard County citizens in 1849 in the personage of a Capt. Euzenith Smith and his bride from Massachusetts. The Captain, retired from the sea after better than thirty-one years and his bride of nineteen years seven months and two days, established the “Great” newspaper “The Recorder” to last until --?--. What become of this man, his bride or the newspaper has passed into history with no one to record the success or failure of any part. Imagination can play a great part here in Garrard County....an old “Salt” of the sea, a “Child Bride” and to find one self a “landlubber” conjures up wonderment.
Rucker’s paper was followed by “The Lancaster Letter,” published by French Tipton in 1876. The next newspaper in line was the paper call “The Alpha” and published by A.B. Elkin in 1876. (History does not say if this was a two-paper town but in 1876, this small sheet was enlarged and called the “County News.” Mr. Elkin then formed a partnership with a Mr. M.M. Vaught, and the name was once again changed, this time to The Kentucky Visitor.” In 1879, Mr. Elkin sold out to a Mr. W.G. Dunlap who edited the “Lancaster Enterprise,” assisted by Miss Eugenia Potts.
Taking up at the year 1883 to1887 was what was known as “The Central Kentucky News”, and was edited by Mr. M.D. Hughes, since this time Lancaster has never been without a newspaper.
Next in line in the editorship came Mr. J.R. Marrs of Danville who purchased the “Central Kentucky News,” from Mr. Hughes. In the venture Mr. Marrs (“considered a foreigner from Boyle”) (according to his ownwritings!) was assisted by Mr. R.E. Hughes who later went on to become “one of the best newspaper men in the state,” according to past papers.
On April 1, 1889, Lewis Landrum and Henry Cartwright purchased the plant. Mr. Landrum was the editor-in-charge until the fall of 1909 when Mr. J.E. Robinson and Mr. F.S. Hughes purchased the paper from Landrum and Cartwright.
Somewhere, although not definitely determined, in May 1889, the name “The Central Record”, was selected and remains on the masthead to this day.
Mr. Hughes acted in the capacity of editor until 1910, and then sold his interest to Mr. Green Clay Walker, who gave up the newspaper field in December of 1912, to enter politics, making a successful race for the office of County Attorney here in Garrard County. In a short period of time Mr. Walker sold his interest in “The Central Record,” to Mr. Robinson, thus making him the sole owner.
It might be well to enter into the record of “The Record” that L.N. Miller, who joined The Record in 1902, actually was editor during the years that Goodman, McCauley, and Hudson were named editors, since they were editors, but rather inactive and Miller saw to the printing and running of the newspaper. Morrow was an owner with three others and again Miller served in the active part.
On January 9, 1942, J.E. Robinson died and The Central Record was placed on public auction to settle the Robinson Estate. Purchasers were composed of four local businessmen, Henry C. Cox, then County Attorney, and at the time a member of the Armed Services; Paul Morrow, John McRoberts and Clayton Morrow.
Later in 1950, Mr. Cox purchased the interests of Paul Morrow and John McRoberts. In 1951 the stock of Clayton Morrow was purchased by James R. Whittaker. The entirety of the stock was then passed to Henry Cox's son, Jim Cox in 1990. Jim Cox sold the paper in 2017 to Ted Cox, of no relation, ending 75 years of ownership by Henry Cox and his discendents.