John Byrne DescendantsDescendants of John Byrne of Windham Connecticut (1760-1830)
The town of Windham takes the lead in being the first in the county to send out that great modern educator, the newspaper. The first effort of this kind was made in 1790. During that year John Byrne, of Norwich, set up a printing press in the lower room of the court house in Windham Green, and early in the following year began the publication of The Phenix or Wind-ham Herald. His office was now removed to a location just north of the court house. The first issue was dated Saturday, March 12th, 1791. It was a modest little sheet, printed on coarse, bluish-gray paper, but in most respects, if not all, fully equal to the average newspaper of its day. General and foreign news was furnished with customary promptness-foreign news three months after date, congressional reports in ten or twelve days, and full reports of Connecticut elections three weeks after they took place. These, with advertisements, short moral essays, humorous anecdotes and occasional casualties, made up the table of contents. But few items of local events were printed. Meager as was the paper, it satisfied the public. It was accepted as the organ of Windham county, and in a few years was supported by some twelve hundred subscribers, being distributed in all directions by post riders.
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