Serving Hohenwald, Lewis County Tennessee Since 1898

About Lewis County Herald

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The staff of the Lewis County Herald also serves the region with a full service print shop from their offices at 31 East Linden Avenue, in the heart of Hohenwald. A print edition of the newspaper is published weekly on Thursday with frequent online updates.

Editor & Publisher Hulon O. Dunn Jr. is assisted by his sister, Managing Editor Becky Jane Newbold and a staff of long time employees including Glenda Atkinson, Julie Reeves, as well as part time staff and contributors from across the county.

Publication of the Lewis County Herald began early in 1898, just one year after Hohenwald was named the new county seat of Lewis County. The masthead of the paper, dated July 22, 1898, Volume 1, No. 25 stated the paper was “Devoted to upbuilding Hohenwald and Lewis County." Publishers were Schubert and Jones.

W. W. Pollock became editor and publisher of the Lewis County Herald in March 1920, publishing his first issue on March 25. Nathan W. Black was publisher of the Herald prior to that time with James E. Chessor as editor. In 1920, the Herald was a single sheet, a four page paper, printed on a sheet fed press. The type was handset by Mr. Pollock assisted by “two girls.” Mr. Pollock’s wife assisted in mailing the paper.

Ernest and Carlene Pollock purchased the Lewis County Herald when W. W. Pollock retired in 1953. W.W. Pollock died September 29, 1970. Ernest Pollock passed away May 25, 1982.

In March 1956, Hulon O. Dunn and his wife, Byrne Dunn, took ownership of the newspaper. They raised four children in the industry, Hulon Jr., Walton, Becky Jane and Robert. Mr. Dunn passed away June 6, 1987 at which time Byrne K. Dunn became editor and publisher. Mrs. Dunn retired in 2012 naming her eldest son, Hulon O. Dunn Jr. as editor and publisher.

Today, a four unit offset press on site produces the bulk of the news read each week by Hohenwald, Lewis County residents. Four color portions of the newspaper are outsourced for higher quality printing.

The Lewis County Herald print edition reaches approximately 7,200 readers each week.

A History of Lewis County, Tennessee

Lewis County c. 1850 In 1843, the Tennessee General Assembly created Lewis County out of parts of Maury, Lawrence, Wayne, and Hickman counties. The Assembly chose the name “Lewis” because the land included the area on the Natchez Trace where the famous explorer Meriwether Lewis’ died from gunshot wounds. It also ordered that a monument be erected over the site of his grave. The first county seat was located near Swan Creek in the town of Gordon and the first circuit court met at the John Blackburn house. The jury deliberated in the “shucking barn” or corn crib of the Blackburn farm. However by 1849, the seat moved closer to the Natchez Trace to the small community of Newburg. This created a boom for Newburg as town lots were developed and a courthouse and jail were built. At its height, Newburg contained four stores, two saloons, two hotels, a livery stable for horses, and several mechanic shops. New roads led from the new county seat to the neighboring towns of Hampshire, Waynesboro, Swan and Cane Creek, and Perryville. Early Lewis County extended as far east as present-day Hampshire. 1850 marked the early highpoint of population in the county. Over 4,000 whites, a handful of free blacks, and over 700 African American slaves resided in Lewis County. Most whites lived on small subsistence farms, but a few managed to own more than 20 slaves who likely labored in agriculture or mining. A lawsuit challenging creation of the county led to a temporary dissolution of the county in 1853. The legislature soon reinstated the county; however, its size was much reduced. According to local tradition, a series of poor years in farm production also led to a significant population decline.

A History of Hohenwald

Hohenwald was established in the late 1800s when an influx of German immigrants combined with the promise of rail service in the county helped create the small community. Established around 1878 by a German immigrant family headed by Warren and Augusta Graffameyer Smith, Hohenwald is located on the Western Highland Rim in an area surrounded by dense forests. According to oral tradition, Augusta Smith chose the name “Hohenwald” (German for “high forest”) for the community. The Smiths’ lumber operation and store provided the foundation for the growing town that provided business for the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad.

State agriculturalist J.B. Killebrew examined the Lewis County soils and determined that it would support the creation of a wine industry. He encouraged The Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad to create a colony along its line in the county to produce wine. The railroad and the Smith family, which owned the Hohenwald land, encouraged the efforts of Swiss American J. G. Probst to establish a Swiss colony near Hohenwald. Probst and the Swiss Pioneer Union of Milwaukee, Wisconsin persuaded Swiss American farmers in the Midwest to purchase stock in the Union and relocate to Tennessee. In addition to the Swiss, settlers from France, Austria, and the Netherlands (including a small contingent of the Jewish faith) came to the area. Planners drew a city plat for the town, called New Switzerland, which featured perfect 90-degree plots.

New Switzerland may have existed on paper, but those who arrived in 1895 were stunned by the undeveloped woodland they encountered. An eighteen-room barracks constructed on present-day South Park Avenue provided shelter while suitable housing was being built. Once constructed, the town exhibited a European flavor that distinguished it from most neighboring communities. Agricultural pursuits included wine making and the town had its own orchestra, brass band, and literary society. Fine wood carvings graced many local houses and a two-story school house in the center provided rudimentary courses along with lessons in German and Latin. The Kursheedt Manufacturing Company of New York opened in 1903 and employed Swiss labor to produce Hamburg lace for baby clothes and other embroidery.

The close proximity of the old German community of Hohenwald and the new Swiss community of New Switzerland inevitably led to conflict. Only a single street separated the towns. Each had its own cultural activities and economic concerns, yet they shared a post office and railroad line. Local legend tells of residents changing the post office’s sign back and forth between “Hohenwald” and “New Switzerland.” To resolve the conflict, a judge determined that consolidation of the communities was the only answer. The post office was moved to the larger community of New Switzerland, but the name for the consolidated town became the more established “Hohenwald,” and it subsequently became the new county seat in 1897. By 1910, around 1,200 people lived in Hohenwald; a significant number considering only 2,555 people lived in the entire county prior to the arrival of the Swiss immigrants.