Published in Bel Air, MD

Articles from 1866

Articles from 1869

About the The Aegis & Intelligencer

The Southern Aegis, published weekly, was established in 1857 in Bel Air, Maryland, as a pro-southern paper by John Cox. It is an example of the important function local newspapers served in responding to the political debates dividing the country in the years leading up to the Civil War. Cox, who had formerly edited the Harford Gazette and General Advertiser, maintained an editorial tone that was hostile to the Union. For example, in July 1861 he published a disparaging description of a Pennsylvania infantry regiment that passed through Bel Air. Cox also engaged in a spirited editorial contest with the rival Unionist paper in Bel Air, the National American. His partner after 1858 was John Carroll Walsh whose interests were more focused on agricultural and transportation. Ultimately, Cox found northern Maryland to be barren ground for his advocacy of the Confederate cause. In March 1862, he announced his withdrawal from journalism, and sold his interest in the paper to the prominent local lawyer, A.W. Bateman. For the next two years, the paper was known as theSouthern Aegis, and Harford County Intelligencer.

Under Bateman and his successors, the Aegis & Intelligencer assumed a conservative Unionist political stance. Frederick W. Baker published the newspaper in the post-Civil War years (1864-1894) when Bel Air and the surrounding region experienced economic growth due to its emergence as a major center for food canning and distribution. Although Baker’s editorial positions often were violently opposed to the federal government and any advancement for African Americans under Reconstruction, the Aegis also documented the rising prosperity of the town. Stories recorded the arrival in Bel Air of the American Union Telegraph Company and its new building in 1880, the construction of the Maryland Central Railway in 1883, and the growth of the Bulett Carriage Company as it built the largest factory of its kind on the East Coast in 1889. A racetrack opened in Bel Air in 1878, and the town’s neighborhoods soon featured impressive Victorian houses, new church structures, banks, fraternal organizations, and a thriving social scene. The pages of the Aegis & Intelligencer also preserve evidence of the eastern European immigrants who worked in Bel Air’s canning and related industries.

John D. Worthington, Sr. purchased the Aegis & Intelligencer in 1904. The newspaper remained in the Worthington family’s hands until the owner of the Baltimore Sun, the Times Mirror Corporation, acquired it in 1986.