Place of publication: Bristol, VA & TN
In 1865, printer John Slack trekked nearly 90 miles from his new home in Bristol to Independence, Virginia, where he purchased a hand-turned printing press. He hauled the press on a wagon across rugged terrain back to Bristol where he began editing and publishing a weekly. Between 1865 and 1867, the paper was known simply as the News, with the words "The Bristol News" also printed on the front page. This publication perhaps revived a former Bristol newspaper dating to 1857, the Virginia & Tennessee News, edited by Albion K. Moore. J. Austin Sperry replaced Moore as editor in 1858, and the paper ceased publication in 1862 when Sperry moved to Knoxville to edit the Knoxville Register.
In 1866, Slack leased the News to David F. Bailey, and on August 7, 1868, it was sold to two brothers from Tazewell, Virginia, I.C. (Isaac Chapman) and Elbert Fowler, at which point it became the Bristol News. Early in 1869, the paper was moved to the adjoining town of Goodson, Virginia, but retained the title the Bristol News. In 1890, Goodson changed its name to Bristol, so that today there are two Bristols-one in Tennessee and the other in Virginia. Fowler's paper had pushed for economic development for both cities, editorializing on August 7, 1868, "We shall advocate the consolidation into one great line of several railroads now used as a link . . . between Norfolk and the trade west and south of Virginia." As editor, I.C. Fowler was colorful, frank, and fearless. He served as mayor of Goodson from 1871 to 1875, working for development of both Goodson and Bristol. Fowler's outspoken journalism, including calling for closing of a local brothel, brought him political support. He was elected to three consecutive terms in the Tennessee legislature, serving as speaker of the house in his final term. Fowler retired from newspapering in 1884, becoming clerk of the U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia. He then turned his paper over to long-time employee, Albert C. Smith, who continued the Bristol News as a weekly until it switched to daily publication in 1890. Samuel Smith succeeded his father as editor, and the paper continued into the 20th Century. In 1912, the paper, by then entitled the Bristol Evening News, was bought out by the Bristol Herald Courier, which is still published today.