James Johnston: Georgia’s First Newspaper Publisher and Printer

James Johnston: Georgia’s First Newspaper Publisher and Printer

James Johnston Georgia's First Newspaper Publisher and PrinterYear Erected: 1955

Marker Text: Here repose the remains of James Johnston (1738-1808) — editor of Georgia’s first newspaper.

A native of Scotland, Johnston settled at Savannah in 1761. “Recommended as a person regularly bred to and well skilled in the Art and mystery of Printing,” he was appointed public printer of the Province by legislative Act during the following year. The first issue of the Georgia Gazette appeared in Savannah on April 7, 1763, and with some interruptions publication continued until 1802.

In the American Revolution Johnston sympathized with the royal government and, in his words, “refused to admit to his Paper any of the Seditious publications then circulating thro’ the different provinces.” He closed his printing press in February, 1776. When British rule was restored in 1779 he returned to Savannah and resumed publication of the newspaper under the title, Royal Georgia Gazette.

A good man and a skilled printer, Johnston did not lose the respect of the Patriots. After the Revolution he was permitted to return. In 1783 he began publication again under the style, Gazette of the State of Georgia. He died in his 70th year, October 4, 1808.

Tips for Finding This Site: In Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah

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