Indiana’s first newspaper, published by Elihu Stout, was The Indiana Gazette, the first issue of which appeared on July 4, 1804 at Vincennes, then capitol of the Indiana Territory. In 1813, The Western Eagle was second newspaper in Indiana Territory. Founded in Madison 1813 by Seth M. Leavenworth who later founded the town of Leavenworth and William Hendricks who became the second Governor of the State of Indiana. These two men brought the press and other materials down the Ohio River on a flat boat.
The first issue of The Western Eagle was published on June 4, 1813. In September 1813 Leavenworth dropped out of the firm and was replaced by William Camron. In April 1814 Hendricks became inactive in the partnership as it began to interfere with his practice. William Camron replaced Hendricks with Captain Jacob Rhoades.
By 1813, the new town of Lexington, located in the southwestern portion of Jefferson County, at the time, had been established at the site of an earlier tavern and trading post on June 1, 1813 by General William McFarland, Jesse Henley and Nehemiah Hunt. Evidently, the community showed a greater promise of importance than did Madison. By 1815, Jacob Rhoades bought out Camron’s interest and moved the press to Lexington, leaving Madison without a paper until 1816.
The Western Eagle did not survive in the rough pioneer town of Lexington for the last issue of the paper dated January 6, 1816, editor Rhoades said, “partly for want of support, but mostly owing to the negligence of those in arrears, I am compelled to discontinue the publication of The Western Eagle.” Rhoades was also the official printer of the Territory and published all official reports.
In June of 1816, a new newspaper called the Cornucopia of the West was started at Lexington by Maddox and Brandeberry. However, it was only published for a couple months before it was moved to Madison, IN.
A gap of about 34 years existed with no evidence indicating whether a newspaper was published in Scott County during the years of 1820 to 1855. It was in September of 1855 that the publication of The National Guard began in Lexington by D.W. Lusk & Company. Unfortunately, we don’t know how long it was published.
Between1855 and 1902 several papers were started with no longevity. Following the closure of The Lexington Argus no other newspapers have been established in Lexington.
The Lexington Express – first issue dated March 23, 1856
The Western Casket – first published on March 26, 1857
The Lexington Times – first published April 15, 1858 –
The Lexington Times – name changed in June 1858 to The Lexington Clipper
The Monitor – published sometime in 1867- biweekly paper written in pen and ink
The Lexington Enterprise – published in 1869
The Lexington Express – published in the early 1870’s
The Scott County Journal – published in January 1883 – 1886 moved to Scottsburg
The Lexington Argus – first published May 15, 1902
The Archives Division and the Indiana Historical Society Library together have most of the issues of The Western Eagle that were published in Madison and Lexington between June of 1813 and January of 1816.