The Ledger Independent is the source for local news in the seven-county area covering Bracken, Mason, Fleming, Lewis and Robertson counties in Kentucky and Adams and Brown counties in Ohio. While they will celebrate their 50th year under The Ledger Independent masthead on October 1, 2018, the roots of Maysville’s daily newspaper, can be traced more than 150 years into the past.
The Ledger Independent was first published on Oct. 1, 1968, following the simultaneous buyout of the city’s two daily newspapers, The Public Ledger and The Daily Independent, by the Gadsden (Ala.) Times Publishing Corporation. The newly-chartered Maysville Publishing Corporation, with former Gadsden Times business manager James M. Striplin as president and publisher, continued publication of an afternoon edition of The Public Ledger while the company’s morning edition carried the masthead of both papers.
By early 1969, Maysville Publishing Corporation was printing one morning edition six days a week under the combined Ledger-Independent masthead. Both The Ledger and The Independent were family-owned and operated newspapers.
The Public Ledger began publication in 1892 under eight incorporators, including Thomas A. Davis who soon became sole owner. The paper was bought by Arthur F. Curran in 1909 and was sold to Clarence Mathews and William D. Cochran in 1915.
By 1920, The Public Ledger was under the sole ownership of Clarence Mathews. The paper remained in the Mathews’ family until the 1968 sale to Gadsden and Maysville Publishing.
Clarence Mathews served as publisher until his death in 1958. His son, William B. Mathews, became the fourth and last solitary owner and publisher. Mary Mathews, the publisher’s wife, served as editor of The Ledger, following her husband into retirement after the sale.
The Daily Independent, first published under the “Mason Independent” masthead in 1907, was founded by James and John L. (Jack) Purdon. In 1911, the paper came under the sole ownership of James Purdon, but by 1913, Purdon had acquired another partner, L.F. Schatzman, who continued his association with the publication until his death, at which time the newspaper was again under the ownership of the Purdon family.
The Daily Independent absorbed its morning rival, The Daily Bulletin, in 1936.
Martha Purdon Comer, who worked at the paper for more than half a century and was elected to the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, began her career with the family-owned Daily Independent. She followed her brother, J. Clifford Purdon, as editor of the newspaper in 1935.
In 1980, Howard Publications, Inc., a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Oceanside, Calif., purchased the Maysville Publishing Corporation.
The Howard family sold all 17 of its daily newspapers to Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa in 2002. It was under Lee ownership that the current newspaper facility in downtown Maysville was built.
Robert L. Hendrickson, who began his career with The Ledger Independent as a reporter in 1978, served as editor of the newspaper and was named publisher in 1991. He retired in December, 2016.
Rodney A. Baker, a veteran newspaper professional who worked for the Cincinnati Enquirer for almost 17 years, was named publisher in December, 2017.
In February, 2018 Lee Enterprises sold The Ledger Independent and all of it’s assets to Champion Media, LLC headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina.
The Ledger Independent is located in the heart of a seven-county area of northern Kentucky and southern Ohio and has shown tremendous growth in both quality and quantity over the past 50 years, meeting the expanding needs of the community reporting on local news and information.
Their website www.maysville-online.com was launched in 1996, and has evolved into the key online news and information source within the Buffalo Trace area. In addition to its web presence, the newspaper uses other electronic information platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to distribute news content.