Peek into Panola
By Vina Lee
July 2, 1873 marked the first printing of the Panola Watchman by Thomas M. Bowers in Carthage, Texas at the age of 36 years. Previous to the launching of the Watchman, Bowers published the Carthage Banner beginning in 1859.
At the age of 16, he left Carthage to join the Confederate army, returning to continue his publishing career. From 1884 until 1906, the paper was operated by state representatives T. E. Boren, O. P. Carswell and Jasper Collins.
The early newspapers were hand-set with type made of wooden cubes forming the letters of the alphabet. They were held in place in a flat box so sentences could be formed, tightened in place and transferred to the type bed. A wooden-framed platen press was hand inked and paper laid on top of the type pages. Many papers were single sheets.
The Panola Watchman has been in print now for 141 years.