Franc M. Paul
Induction Year: 1969
Chattanooga Rebel; The Knoxville Tribune; Chattanooga Dispatch
Little is known of Franc M. Paul, publisher of the Chattanooga Rebel, one of the most influential newspapers published in the South during the Civil War. He had owned a Nashville print shop, it is believed. He also was clerk of the Tennessee Senate, in the General Assembly that became the first secession legislature, which indirectly led to his entry into newspapering.
On orders of the governor, Paul fled Nashville with the state archives for Memphis. He was forced to flee Memphis and planned to go to Chattanooga by way of Atlanta. But in Atlanta another state official relieved him of the state records, and he went on to Chattanooga alone.
While on this visit he decided to publish a newspaper for circulation in the Southern army. The first issue of the Rebel appeared in August 1862. It was aimed at the troops but soon proved to be popular with civilians as well. At one point its circulation reached 8,000 daily in spite of the difficulty in getting paper and other supplies.
The Rebel carried war news (some true but much more rumor), local news, columns, and feature items. As the war progressed, the format remained the same, and the content was not without merit despite many staff changes. Among the Rebel's writers was Henry Watterson, who later gained fame in Louisville.
When Chattanooga fell in 1863, the Rebel moved to Marietta, Georgia. It was driven south to Griffin by Sherman's advance. And after Atlanta fell, the paper was published from Selma, Alabama, until Federal forces seized the town and destroyed the Rebel's plant April 2, 1865.
After the war Paul became business manager of the Knoxville Tribune, and in 1877 he launched the Chattanooga Dispatch, which lasted a few months.