The Douglas enterprise. (Douglas, Ga.) 1905-current
Place of Publication:
- Douglas, Coffee county
Dates of publication:
- Vol. 16, no. 23 (Oct. 7, 1905)-
- Coffee County (Ga.)--Newspapers.
- Georgia--Coffee County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214860
- Also on microfilm: Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Libraries.
- Formed by the union of: Douglas weekly breeze, and: Coffee County gazette.
The Douglas enterprise. October 7, 1905
P. L. Smith and C. A. Ward Jr. established the Douglas Breeze between 1888 and 1890 in Coffee County, Georgia. Warren P. Ward’s “History of Coffee County” suggests the paper’s establishment date as April, 1888, but the Breeze isn’t quoted by neighboring newspapers, nor does it appear in national newspaper directories, until 1890. P. L. Smith handled both editorial and managing responsibilities of the paper, which circulated weekly at a subscription cost of one dollar per year. Albert C. Sweat replaced Smith as editor and manager in January 1891, and the paper became a more outwardly anti-populist, Democratic sheet under his editorship. C. A. Ward Jr. remained associated with the Breeze for the rest of the decade, but he had a limited role in the day-to-day management of the newspaper. In April 1893, the paper experienced such growth under Sweat’s direction that he arranged for the purchase of the Waycross Headlight’s $2000 steam press. After accepting a position with the Jesup Sentinel in July 1893, Sweat was replaced by R. L. Park at the Breeze’s editorial helm. Between 1893 and 1896, the newspaper experienced four changes in the editorial department. M. J. Parker and John W. Greer purchased the paper in January 1896, but they were replaced when Sweat returned in December 1896. There was some controversy among south Georgia newspapers in February 1897 when the Breeze lost legal advertising rates to the recently-established Douglas Leader. In its February 5, 1897 issue, the Tifton Gazette reported that the Leader’s owners, both former Breeze owners, made a deal with Democratic Populists in Coffee County to become the county’s paper of record. The Gazette stated that W. W. McDonald and J. W. Quincy “posed as Democrats” in Douglas until agreeing with the Populist Party to be a populist organ in exchange for county printing rights. The Breeze and the Leader competed for county patronage until 1899 when James M. Freeman, a job printer from Waycross, acquired the Douglas Breeze. Freeman organized the uniquely named “J. M. Freeman & Daughters” as the paper’s publishing company, which indicated the active role his daughters played in the Breeze’s offices. Freeman, or “Uncle Jim” as he came to be called in Douglas, bought out the Douglas Leader in 1899, and regained Douglas Breeze’s legal organ status. In 1903, the paper’s title slightly changed to the Douglas Weekly Breeze when Freeman introduced a semiweekly edition. Freeman was an active member of the Baptist Church and well-known prohibitionist speaker, and these topics frequently found their way into the Breeze’s pages. In 1905, the Douglas Breeze absorbed another competitor, W. P. Ward’s Coffee County Gazette, and the Breeze became the Douglas Enterprise. J. M. Freeman & Daughters owned and operated the paper until selling out to W. R. Frier, former owner of the short-lived Broxton Journal, in 1908. The sale occurred, in part, because Freeman was elected Justice of the Peace in Coffee County. Even after selling the publication, Freeman remained in Douglas and contributed a weekly column titled the “Note Book” to the Enterprise. In 1914, the Enterprise again absorbed a competitor, this time the Coffee County News. W. R. Frier was editor-in-chief and owner of the Enterprise until 1939 when his son, Thomas Frier, succeeded him. The paper continues to circulate today as Coffee County’s paper of record.