Sara E. Lewis
From an index to the Virginia Gazette, produced in 1950 by Lester J. Cappon and Stella F. Duff of the Institute of Early American History and Culture (Omohundro Institute) with additional Gloucester (including Kingston Parish) material not noticed or selected by the indexers. Annual lists of world events put local listings in context. Please review primary source material before citing.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

About the Virginia Gazette


The Virginia Gazette was printed in Williamsburg, the capital of colonial Virginia, by William Parks, William Hunter, Joseph Royle, Alexander Purdie, Purdie & John Dixon, Dixon & Hunter, and finally Dixon & Thomas Nicolson, from about August 6, 1736,to April 8, 1780, when the paper was moved to the new capital city of Richmond. While in Williamsburg, others printed papers with the same title. On May 16, 1766, William Rind established a competing paper which was printed by Rind, Clementina Rind (his widow), and John Pinkney, until February 3, 1778. A third Virginia Gazette was inaugurated by Alexander Purdie on February 3, 1775. After Purdie's death, the paper was printed by John Clarkson & Augustine Davis until December 9, 1780.

English law precluded printing by the colonists for years after Jamestown's founding in 1607. Allowed after 1690, it was regulated by the royal government and required a license and the governor’s permission.

Earlier, in 1682, a printer named William Nuthead arrived in the colony and published the acts of an Assembly and several other papers without a license. Although it has been stated that Nuthead worked in Jamestown, local historian Martha McCartney thinks that Nuthead worked in colonial Gloucester County. McCartney notes that Nuthead was a servant indentured to Gloucester County Clerk of Court John Buckner and, "Since there is no evidence that Buckner or Nuthead ever owned or occupied property on Jamestown Island, it is very likely that the illicit printing episode took place in Gloucester County, at Marlfield, where both men resided." (With Reverence for the Past: Gloucester County, Virginia, p. 68-69). Nuthead is later found in St. Mary's City, the colonial capital of Maryland.

In 1730 William Parks moved from Annapolis to Williamsburg to open a printing shop. He had previously founded the Maryland Gazette.

For more information about the Virginia Gazette, visit Williamsburg's current bi-weekly newspaper's Web site at www.vagazette.com.