"Bloody News. Portsmouth, April 20, 1775."
Although breaking news usually appeared on the interior of colonial newspapers as that side of the paper was generally printed last, this copy of the New-Hampshire Gazette—published by Daniel Fowle (ca. 1715-87)—leads with a front-page breaking news story of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. This account describes the confusion of the early accounts of the battles (“The foregoing is the different Accounts we have receiv’d, but how far and what Part is authentic, Presume not to determine”) and makes references to the “Expresses” carrying news of the engagement. These expresses were fast riders and horses who were sometimes commissioned by the Committees of Correspondences to relay the events as quickly as possible. Publishers often employed post riders as express riders, who would, when not carrying an individual missive, deliver both printed materials as well as letters. Isaiah Thomas, along with fellow printers William Goddard of Baltimore, John Holt of New York, and Thaddeus Burr of Fairfield, Connecticut, established a system of post riders that not only carried their publications but also communications from the various Committees of Correspondence throughout the northern colonies.Click the image below to browse the full issue.