The Southern alliance farmer. (Atlanta, Ga.) 18??-189?
Place of Publication:
- Atlanta, Fulton county
Dates of publication:
- Began in 1870s?; ceased in 1890s.
- Atlanta (Ga.)--Newspapers.
- Fulton County (Ga.)--Newspapers.
- Georgia--Fulton County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211153
- "For farmers, fruit growers & workingmen."
- "United we stand, divided we fall"--Masthead, June 28, 1892.
- Also on microfilm: Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Libraries.
- Description based on: Vol. 12, no. 35 (November 29, 1889); title from masthead.
- Editor: M.D. Erwin.
- Latest issue consulted: Vol. XV, no. 33 (June 28, 1892).
- Official organ of the Georgia State Alliance.
The Southern alliance farmer. November 29, 1889
In 1889, three Georgia-based Farmers’ Alliance newspapers, the Alliance Advocate of Montezuma, the Southern Alliance of Atlanta, and the Farmer and Fruit-Grower of Griffin consolidated to form Southern Alliance Farmer. H. C. Brown and F. W. Searcy became editors of the consolidated Alliance paper, which established itself in the older Southern Alliance offices in Atlanta, Georgia. The Farmer circulated weekly at a cost of one dollar and was the Georgia State Farmers’ Alliance’s de facto newspaper until August 1889, when it formally became the organization's official organ. The Southern Alliance Farmer notably met its demise in the early 1890s when it fell victim to this split in leadership over the rise of the People’s Party. M. D. Irwin, president of the Georgia Press Association and prominent member of the Farmers’ Alliance, became editor-in-chief in 1891, and his arrival to the paper proved fateful. The Farmer endorsed Baptist leader and anti-populist William J. Northen for Governor in 1890, but Irwin steered the paper into a decidedly more Populist direction. The Farmer’s eventual cessation in October 1892 corresponds with the larger near-disintegration of the Farmers’ Alliance that same year.
On March 30, 1892, at a secret meeting of People’s Party leaders at Tom Watson’s People’s Party Paper offices, Irwin was appointed to the People’s Party’s campaign committee. This resulted in an explicit promotion of the Populist platform in the pages of the Southern Alliance Farmer, including supporting Thomas E. Watson for Congress and William L. Peek (Irwin’s father-in-law) for governor. This partisanship drew the ire of other prominent Alliance members, notably Colonel L. F. Livingston and M. V. Calvin. The Athens Weekly Banner of April 19, 1892 detailed the growing dispute in an article titled 'What’s Next? Irwin Refuses to Step Down and Out.' The story revealed that Livingston and Calvin sent Harry C. Brown, president of the Southern Alliance Farmer Publishing Company, a letter stating the board of control for the State Alliance organ voted to remove 'Mr. Irwin from the head of the paper, on account of his partisan stand in politics, and that Mr. Joe M. Massey had been named as his successor.' Brown, however, refused to comply with the letter and since he and Irwin held majority stock in the Southern Alliance Farmer, Livingston’s influence was limited. Livingston and Calvin’s response was to encourage Farmers’ Alliance members to discontinue subscriptions, and they circulated a resolution disparaging the integrity of the paper. The ensuing loss of dedicated subscribers meant the Southern Alliance Farmer was financially struggling by fall of 1892. The paper last appeared in September 1892 before Irwin severed ties with the Alliance, took the Farmer’s printing materials, and established his own sheet, Living Issues, which advocated for the People’s Party of Georgia.