In 1791 George Roulstone, the first printer to set up shop in Tennessee, uprooted his family from Fayetteville, North Carolina, packed his printing press in wagons and headed over the mountains, ultimately settling in Rogersville. There he set up his press and started printing the Knoxville Gazette, the first newspaper ever printed in Tennessee and only the third published west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Roulstone and his partner, Robert Ferguson, published the first issue of the Gazette on November 5, 1791. The newspaper, typically published bi-weekly, consisted of just two pages, each with three columns. The first page featured news and the second contained announcements and ads.

A replica of the 1791 newspaper, printed on Roulstone’s press, is on display at the Tennessee Newspaper and Printing Museum. The contents of three other print shops from the area, dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are also on display. Other print shop equipment, such as a proof press, wire stitches, large paper cutter, type cabinets, and worktables are part of the exhibit.

One of the most interesting parts of the exhibit features the last linotype machine to be used to set type for a newspaper in the state of Tennessee. It came from the Rogersville Review, which used it up until 1982. Newspapers from Rogersville’s history, some of them original copies and some photocopies, are also part of the exhibit.


415 South Depot Street, Rogersville, TN 37857
(423) 272-1961


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