Serving Wayne County For 62 Years
In the fall of 1933, a young businessman from Columbia purchased Wayne County’s weekly newspaper which was at that time being published under the mast heading The Wayne Countian.
As a first order of business, H. D. Bailey changed the newspaper’s name to The Wayne County News, rolling the first edition under this new mast head off the press on October 6, 1933. For over sixty-one years since that first issue hit the streets, the H. D. Bailey family has continued to supply Wayne County with news of the political, social, civic and commercial happenings in this southwestern most corner of Middle Tennessee in weekly issues of The Wayne County News.
“The News” traces its history to The Waynesboro Times, first published as a weekly newspaper in Waynesboro in 1857. The subscription list for The Waynesboro Times has been sold many times, usually resulting in a name change under its new owner and publisher, but, except for a brief period during the Civil War and Reconstruction, that subscription list has for over a century, faithfully sent copies of the weekly news into homes all across Wayne County.
H. D. Bailey was a native of Savannah, but moved as a young man to Lawrenceburg. After graduating as an honor student from Lawrence County High School, Bailey made a decision that proved to be a lifetime career choice by accepting employment with J. D. Vaughn Publishing Company in Lawrenceburg, a company that later became The Lawrence News.
Six years after marrying and beginning his family, Bailey moved to Columbia to accept a position on the staff of The Daily Herald. During the fifteen years he was associated with that newspaper, he thoroughly learned the publishing business, rising to the position of circulation and business manager.
The Wayne County News continued under the direct supervision of H. D. Bailey until his retirement from the positions of Senior Editor and Publisher in 1960. Bailey’s daughter, Nelle Bailey Cole, who had been infused with printer’s ink from infancy, continued her father’s tradition as The News Editor and Publisher after her father’s retirement.
In 1964, Nelle welcomed to the News management team a new managing editor, her son, Daniel Andrew Cole, Sr. Under Nelle and Dan’s guidance, The News grew from a publication of under ten pages to a two-sectioned weekly of nearly twenty pages.
Nelle also had the able assistance of her sister, Virginia Bailey Sharp, who returned to Waynesboro in 1967 to accept a position with The News. The production of Wayne County’s newspaper was a real family enterprise during the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. Despite his retirement, Mr. Bailey himself couldn’t break the habit of showing up at The News for about four hours each day to offer his, well appreciated expertise. He continued to work at the paper on this part-time basis until shortly before his death in 1974.
By 1981, Nelle was semi-retired, confining her work mainly to news writing and feature writing. It appeared that The News would be carried into the twenty-first century under the leadership of Nelle’s son Dan, but in 1982 at the age of 39, Dan suffered a fatal heart attack. Nelle resumed her active role as publisher and Kathy Brison, an employee of the newspaper since 1971, was named managing editor.
The News continued to grow under Brison’s management to a circulation of 6800.
On October 19, 1997 Ms Cole passed away. Her grandchildren; Dan A. Cole Jr., Dana Cole, Madora Cole, and Paige Cole inherited ownership. Dan Jr. had been working there since 1982 and took over as publisher in 1997. In 1998 Dan Jr. purchased The News from his three sisters.
In 2007 American Hometown Publishing inquired and bought The Wayne County News. The News has continued to grow and aspires to become an even better representative of Wayne County than ever, under the supervision of AHP, Dan and Kathy. Staff members are Lisa Calton, Chris Bevis, Linda Hayes, Thad Calton and Stacy Phillips. The News operates a job printing business and offers office supply products. It is located at 119 East Hollis St.