Newspapers Tell the Story
The first newspaper in Sparta -- Sparta Gazette -- was published by John W. Ford in 1809. The paper was a four-column folio with news and advertisements. The annual subscription price of the Gazette in 1820 was $2 in cash or $3 on credit. The Gazette closed under financial strain after only a few years. It was replaced by the Sparta Review in 1822.
The Expositor began publication in 1877 and was purchased from the Hill Bros. in 1881 by R. P. Baker. The State and Farm newspaper began in 1886 with F. M. Morrison as publisher and editor. Both newspapers were distributed weekly. In 1887 it was said of both that they "were well edited, and organs of the Democratic Party. The State and Farm, however, as its name would indicate, having a tendency toward agricultural matters." -- Goodspeed, 1887