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Newspaper Macon Beacon (Macon, Miss.) 1859-1995

About Macon Beacon (Macon, Miss.) 1859-1995

Macon, the seat of Noxubee County, is a small town in fertile farmland in east-central Mississippi known as the black prairie. Although not the earliest paper in Macon, the Macon Beacon is the county’s lone surviving paper.

Edmond W. Ferris came to Noxubee County from Washington, D.C. in the mid-1840s and established a drug store and weekly newspaper named The Noxubee Rifle. When his brother Henry C. Ferris, a printer, came to Macon in 1849, they changed the name to the Union Beacon reflecting their opposition to the dissolution of the union. The name was changed to the Macon Beacon in 1859 when secessionist sympathies prevailed in the state. By January 1860, Henry Ferris was the sole proprietor of the paper and remained so throughout the Civil War.

The Civil War was the most notable event covered by the Macon Beacon. Although often reduced to two pages by 1862, the weekly paper was published throughout the war. Early in the conflict, the paper included news of the formation and muster of locally raised regiments; in 1863 stories of the Jackson and Vicksburg campaigns were prominent. After the siege of Jackson in July 1863, the seat of state government left Jackson; in March 1864, the legislature convened in Macon, where it remained for the rest of the war. By 1864, the Beacon included pleas for cooked food and assistance at hospitals set up in local schools and churches. Towards the end of the war, notices appeared calling soldiers to report to their units or be reported as deserters.

After the Civil War, the Macon Beacon returned to its pre-war four-page format. Henry Ferris continued as publisher and editor until 1867 when his son, Phillip T. Ferris, purchased the paper. He ran the Beacon, either as sole proprietor or with a partner, until his death in 1905. Under his leadership, the paper’s layout became more organized with national news and general interest articles on the first two pages and local news, including ads and legal notices, on the third and fourth pages. Birth, marriage, death notices and other social news increased throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth century.

In 1905, Phillip’s son, Douglas C. Ferris, became editor and publisher. During his tenure, there was an increase in state news with the addition of two columns: “News and Views from the State Capitol,” and “Mississippi Happenings.” By 1922, there were separate columns for news from the nearby communities of Brooksville and Shaqualak. Starting in 1909, the Beacon typically was eight pages long. By 1947, responsibility for the paper had passed to a Ferris cousin, and in 1972 the paper was purchased by a non-family member. Dropping “Macon” from the title in 1995, The Beacon is still in publication today.

Provided By: Mississippi Department of Archives and History

About this Newspaper


  • Macon Beacon (Macon, Miss.) 1859-1995

Dates of Publication

  • 1859-1995

Created / Published

  • Macon, Miss. : Henry C. Ferris


  • -  Macon (Miss.)--Newspapers
  • -  Noxubee County (Miss.)--Newspapers
  • -  Mississippi--Macon
  • -  Mississippi--Noxubee County
  • -  United States--Mississippi--Noxubee--Macon


  • Newspapers


  • -  Weekly
  • -  Began in 1859; ceased in 1995.
  • -  Publishers: Ferris & Ward, <1873-1874>.
  • -  Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • -  Description based on: Vol. 10, no. 21 (Jan. 4, 1860).
  • -  Beacon (Macon, Tenn.) (DLC) 2015218516 (OCoLC)900986449


  • volumes ; 58-69 cm

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn83016943

OCLC Number

  • 10232493

ISSN Number

  • 2378-1734

Succeeding Titles

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress believes that the newspapers in Chronicling America are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions. Newspapers published in the United States more than 95 years ago are in the public domain in their entirety. Any newspapers in Chronicling America that were published less than 95 years ago are also believed to be in the public domain, but may contain some copyrighted third party materials. Researchers using newspapers published less than 95 years ago should be alert for modern content (for example, registered and renewed for copyright and published with notice) that may be copyrighted. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Macon Beacon Macon, Miss. -1995. (Macon, MS), Jan. 1 1859.

APA citation style:

(1859, January 1) Macon Beacon Macon, Miss. -1995. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Macon Beacon Macon, Miss. -1995. (Macon, MS) 1 Jan. 1859. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,