The Blackshear Times is a weekly community newspaper located in Blackshear and Pierce County, Ga. Issues are regularly published and placed on newsstands Tuesday and delivered to subscribers Wednesday, except when postal holidays alter the schedule. The Times' news coverage focuses primarily on Pierce County, its cities and communities, as well as broader issues affecting its residents. Its circulation is approximately 3,600.
The Times also serves as the production headquarters for SouthFire Newspapers. The SouthFire family includes other Georgia publications The Alma Times, Charlton County Herald (Folkston), The Telfair Enterprise (McRae), The Three Rivers Gazette (McRae) and the Monroe County Reporter (Forsyth).
Current editor and publisher Robert M. Williams Jr. bought into The Blackshear Times and Pierce County Publishing Company April 15, 1971, at age 20. In March 1976, Williams became sole editor and publisher when he bought out partners Roy Chalker Sr. and Wilkes Williams.
The new owner moved The Times into a building previously known as Oak View Pharmacy, located on the corner of Gordon Street and Carter Avenue. The building was constructed by the late Quinton Boyette as a pharmacy building for Kenneth and Katherine Henley. The Henleys purchased the land from the late Mack Carter.
During that time, the early newspaper issues were produced by desktop publishing, wherein cold type is assembled into page and sent to off-set shops. The Times currently uses a computerized newsroom to produce its products.
The newspaper operation moved to a new downtown location at 113 SW Central Avenue in 2003. The Times relocated two doors down to 121 SW Central Avenue in September 2012. The Times is centered between Main and Taylor Streets, facing railroad tracks running through the heart of Blackshear.
Mr. Williams owns the company with his wife, Cheryl, who serves as associate publisher. Both of the Williamses have served as president of the Georgia Press Association.
The name of Pierce County's weekly newspaper has been The Blackshear Times since October 10, 1889.
Exactly who came up with the name is not known, although E.Z. Byrd stated in an editorial on April 17, 1902, that "we presume it was Mr. B.D. Brantley, our present treasurer, who gave The Times its name." The paper was being published by The Times Publishing Company. It was owned by The A.P. Brantley Company.
On March 2, 1911 E.Z. Byrd, who had been owner of, or with, the county newspaper for 23 years, announced that he was selling The Times to Col. C.A. Sydnor.
The Times would have eight owners over the next 15 years. Owners following Sydnor included H. (Harry) Johnsen, partners W.L. Knight and R.D. Thomas, W. Boyce Bailey, parnets F.X. Ebner and G.M. Shepard, Jack Williams, W. Kirk Sutlive and Carl Broome.
Carl Broome eventually sold the newspaper to sons Lee and Dean Broome. Dean became sole owner of The Times in 1958, after having managed and edited the paper for 12 years under his father and as co-owner and editor with his brother, Lee. Little change would occur in the operation after the takeover. On March 5, 1970, Dean Broome sold The Blackshear Times to Donald L. Ferrell.
When Ferrell bought the newspaper, he was one of the triad known as the Pierce County Publishing Company. His partners were Roy Chalker Sr. and Wilkes Williams. Ferrell was president of the company.