In February 1782 they changed the "or" in the flag of the paper to "and," so it read The Virginia Gazette, and the Weekly Advertiser. In 1792 the initial "The" was removed from the flag. Nicolson continued the paper until 1797, when it apparently folded with the issue of April 22.

It was a sudden and serious vacuum, considering that in recent years three Virginia Gazettes were competing for readers and advertisers. But there was no news to speak of anyway, since all the government activity that stimulated Williamsburg had shifted 50 miles up the James.

It was many years before another newspaper was established in Williamsburg. In 1824 Joseph Repiton set up the Phoenix Gazette and Williamsburg Intelligencer. In 1828 the Plough-Boy was added and the paper renamed the Phoenix Plough-Boy. Publication continued until July 1829.

Then for the next 25 years the quiet of inactivity again settled on Williamsburg, known as the "great decline." During these years no newspaper was published in the community.

In 1853 Thomas Martin re-established The Virginia Gazette. Harvey Ewing became editor in 1854. In 1857 E.H. Lively associated with Ewing and they continued the Gazette until June 9, 1858.

When Ewing retired R.A. Lively became associated with his brother and continued the publication until the Civil War intervened.

Federal troops took over Williamsburg in May 1862. The Gazette plant was seized and editor Lively, who had joined the Confederate forces, was captured and sent to prison.

At the end of the war the press was returned to Lively in Williamsburg. For a time he published a paper called The Weekly Review, but in 1869 with his brother he again revived The Virginia Gazette. It was suspended a short time later, however, in 1871.

During 1884-1887 Benjamin Long and R.T. Armistead published The Williamsburg Gazette and James City County Advertiser. It was the first and only time a paper carried the name Williamsburg Gazette, though even today many mistakenly call The Virginia Gazette by that name.

There was no paper published for another six years until in 1893 W.C. Johnson revived the Virginia Gazette. This time publication lasted 25 years until 1918. Two years later, Record Publishing Corp. took control and published the Gazette until 1922.

In 1926 Dr. J.A.C. Chandler, president of the College of William and Mary, resumed publication of the Gazette, with Havilock Babcock of the School of Journalism, as editor. The paper died out in six months and eventually so did the journalism school.

1930-2002: Modern Times

In 1930, as work on the town’s first major restoration undertaking, the Christopher Wren Building was nearing completion, newspaper publisher J.A. Osborne came to Williamsburg. He came at the request of W.A.R.

Goodwin, rector of Bruton Parish Church, who originally envisioned the restoration of Williamsburg to its colonial appearance. It was Dr. Goodwin’s idea that if Williamsburg was to be revived, so too should its newspaper, The Virginia Gazette.


Osborne moved his Florida plant to Williamsburg and on Jan.10, 1930, with his son, Hugh S. Osborne, issued the first edition of the revised Gazette under the original Williams Parks motto, "Containing the freshest Advices, Foreign and Domestick."

The paper has been printed every week since, including semi-weekly the past 25 months. It is a curiosity that the two longest spans of uninterrupted publication are at opposite extremes of the paper’s time line: 1736-1780 and 1930-present. In 1932, Frank L. Adolph joined his father-in-law, J.A. Osborne, in the business. Osborne’s son, J.A. Jr., came to the paper in 1944.

From 1930 on, many members of the Osborne family worked for the Gazette. By 1957 Alex Osborne was business-ad-job manager; Mildred Osborne Adolph was social editor; and Marian Osborne was the new assistant editor.

A third sister, Marguerite Osborne, was the editor. She was only the second woman to hold the job in over 200 years, succeeding Clementina Rind.


When the Osbornes sold the paper to John O.W. Gravely III effective Jan. 1, 1961, an era of family control ended as the Gazette changed hands. But Marian Osborne remained and became business manager. She retired in October 1975 after 45 years of service to the paper, the longest stretch by a single Gazette employee.

In 1970 the Gazette turned from the traditional letterpress operation for printing the paper to the more modern offset method.