Old Brevard County Newspapers 

The information about Brevard County newspapers was written by Jim Garmon (2012 - Cocoa, Florida)

You will find online copies of the old newspapers at Chronicling America. Some paid sites also have copies of these newspapers. The Catherine Schweinsberg Rood Central Library (Central Brevard Library & Reference Center) has copies of these newspapers on microfilm.

Early newspapers published in Brevard County, Florida

Florida Star

The Florida Star was first published in New Smyrna Beach, Volusia County, Florida in 1877 by the Coe’s, a family of printers originally from Waterbury, Connecticut. The paper was a monthly journal at first, then a weekly publication. The only sample of the Florida Star we have located from this period is posted online by the University of Florida Digital Library Collection, a copy of Volume 3, no. 22, dated May 29, 1879. The editor and publisher is listed on the masthead as Chas. H. Coe.

By April, 1880 the Florida Star newspaper had been acquired by Mr. S. W. Harmon and Mr. Norris T. Feaster who continued publishing the Star in New Smyrna. Shortly afterward, Mr. Harmon was compelled to give up the Star and attend to another paper he owned in Volusia county, leaving Mr. Feaster in charge of the Star. Mr. Feaster was forced to abandon the paper in a few weeks due to consumption, selling the business to Perry and Ellis Wager, father and son, of Titusville. The two men brought the presses to Titusville in Brevard County and began publishing a one page, four column paper in the middle of June 1880. In March, 1881 the paper expanded to a six column folio, using a patent inside (syndicate-supplied sheets printed on one side with “news of the day,” advertisement and other canned news. The local publishing office would add the local content of the newspaper.) About a year later the paper changed to a five column quarto. The masthead carried the notation “P. E. Wager, Publisher, E. B. Wager, Editor.”

On March 7th, 1886 Perry Edward Wager was lost in the woods on Merritt Island and was never found. He was assumed dead. His son, Ellis B. Wager continued the paper, as publisher and editor.

On October 25, 1912, Ellis Wager published the last issue of the Florida Star in Titusville. The paper was sold to Thomas R. Puckett and moved to Cocoa, thus ending Ellis Wager’s thirty-two years history with the Star.

Thomas Puckett continued to publish the newspaper as the Florida Star until the end of June, 1914, when the paper was consolidated with the Cocoa-Rockledge News and became THE NEWS AND STAR.

The majority of this history of the Florida Star is based on the following articles written by Ellis Benedict Wager, the publisher and editor of the newspaper for thirty-two years of its existence. Additional sources are “The Book Lover’s Guide to Florida, 1992, Edited by Kevin M. McCarthy; “East Coast of Florida”, by Dr. J. M. Hawks, 1887; “A History of the Book in America, Volume III: The Industrial Book”, 1840-1880, 2007, Scott E. Casper, et al.


The Florida Star newspaper celebrates anniversary

Florida Star, April 14, 1892, Page 4

With this issue the STAR closes the twelfth volume of its existence in Titusville. For twelve long years the weekly record of happenings and events, political, personal and otherwise have been chronicled in these columns.

Our record has been without a break. The present editor and publisher took charge of the little office and plant, which was moved here from New Smyrna about the middle of June 1880, or, in other words, during the second month of the papers existence. Since that time we have never missed a publication, nor been even ONE DAY behind with our paper.

One of the first rules that we adopted was never to disappoint our readers, and the STAR has always appeared on its regular publication day, unless notice was given the week before that the day would be changed on account of holidays or some such cause; and to the adherence to this rule we attribute, in a measure, our success.

The STAR was, during the first five months of its existence, one page only of four columns width to the page, but those little pages contained many little spicy bits of political matter during the Hancock and Garfield campaign, and during those months local politics in Brevard were quite exciting. In March 1881 the paper was enlarged to a six-column folio, using patent inside and about a year later took on the form of a five-column quarto which size sheet has been retained to the present time with the exception of a change in the arrangement of the pages.

The patent inside was dispensed with in 1885 and steam power added for presses in 1886, after which the business rapidly grew to its present size.

The policy of the paper, in the main, has been always to furnish the news, and no favoritism has ever been allowed. Our columns have been open for those who were against us as well as for those with us, and a news item has never been suppressed because we did not approve it or disliked it or the person connected with it.

Without making a pretentious display or wishing to seem egotistical, we say to our friends, our patrons and readers that the past year has been the most successful in our history and we have never had a year that showed a decline of business over that of a previous one. The circulation of our paper and job printing business has increased steadily each year and we are satisfied that it is keeping pace with our rapidly growing and improving country.

We shall continue in the future to give the best paper to our readers that we possibly can. We thank them one and all for the kind words they have bestowed on us, and the compliments we have received. The same policy that has characterized the past will mark the future and we turn at last to eulogize the “old timers” of this section of Florida who have stood by us like a rock; scores of whom have taken the STAR from the initial number. None but those who have spent the time here during the earlier days of Indian River can realize through what hardships we all have gone, which knit the ties of friendship closer together than any of the business forms or fads of fashion of the present day can accomplish. Next week we will re-publish the first editorial in the STAR of May 1880 which was written by the youthful publishers who then started the paper—Messrs. Harmon & Feaster. Mr. Harmon was compelled to give up the Star and attend to a paper he owned in Volusia County, leaving Mr. Norris Feaster in charge of the business who had to abandon it in a few weeks on account of consumption, we took hold of it then as a pastime and amusement, we have brought it to where it is today.

Florida Star, April 26, 1907, page 1

With this issue THE STAR enters upon its twenty-eighth year of publication under its present ownership and management. The paper was started at Titusville in April, 1880

Florida Star, October 25, 1912, page 4

Change of Ownership

With this issue THE STAR changes ownership and the entire management of the paper passes into another hands. The undersigned has sold the news and the job plant, good will, etc., to Mr. T. R. Puckett, who will remove it to Cocoa, where it will be issued next Friday, Nov. 1st. The sale is made on account of steady increase in all lines of business that are controlled by me, and we want too to emphasize the statement that it is NOT due to any DECREASED business in the printing or newspaper line, as THE STAR records show a steady increase of business for the past several years. But my ability to give personal supervision and attention to several lines of business account solely for this transfer. We believe, however, that the removal of this paper from the county seat leaves an opening that will be surely taken advantage of at an early date, as all county seats on the whole East Coast support two or more newspapers.

We feel THE STAR has been taken on by deserving hands and that the new publisher will fully merit all the support that can be tendered him. The fact that he is not new at business on Indian river, having very successfully managed the Cocoa-Rockledge News several years ago should bespeak for him the support of those who already know him, and we hope he may receive the support of those who have favored THE STAR therewith in the past.

And now a parting word to the many friends who have so nobly stood by THE STAR during all the thirty-two years that it has been owned and controlled by the writer. We have sung your praise and wept with you in your distress until the attachment between us has seemed inseparable. In leaving the editorial chair we will always cherish and remember your good deeds, your good will and your support; we earnestly hope the future will be bright and prosperous to you all alike; this is our valediction.


Florida Star, October 25, 1912, page 4

All accounts due to THE STAR for advertising and job printing up to October 31st, 1912, are payable to E. B. Wager, of Titusville; all subscriptions due should be paid to T. R. Puckett, at Cocoa, who will carry all advance subscriptions to date of expiration.

In this connection I desire to correct a rumor that is abroad to the effect that I will leave Titusville. Such is not the case. I expect to remain here permanently and will devote my entire time to business interests already engaged in and work, too, for the welfare and improvement of our city.


Florida Star, October 25, 1912, page 4

In assuming control of THE STAR, as announced above, I wish to say that I appreciate to the fullest extent the duties and responsibilities of the task I have undertaken. Briefly, the policy of the paper will be to work for the up-building of our section, and the best interest of those who have made it what it is, as well as the strangers who comes seeking a home among us.

The business will be carried on at Cocoa, the first publication day under the new management being made from that point Friday, November 1st. Present subscribers will receive the paper without interruption, and any that are due or in arrears will make payment to me. I ask a continuance of your advertising and job printing patronage, in both of which you will get a “square deal.”

Respectfully, T. R. PUCKETT

Florida Star, June 5, 1914, page 4


Notice of incorporation of the News and Star Publishing Company appears in another column on this page.

After July 1 the Cocoa-Rockledge News and THE FLORIDA STAR, both of which have for years been identified with the development of this section, will be consolidated and published as THE NEWS AND STAR.

We believe the change will be for the benefit of the community as well as the owners of both plants, for while making a better paper possible the consolidation will eliminate considerable expense in the way of duplication.

The job printing department will also be in position to render a better service and its equipment will be kept up with of a little ahead of all demands, and the quality of its output equal to any on the East Coast. 

“The Book Lover’s Guide to Florida”

Kevin M. McCarthy, Editor

The city’s [New Smyrna] first newspaper was the Florida Star, launched in 1877 by the Coes, a family of printers originally from Waterbury, Connecticut, who had settled a homestead four miles west of New Smyrna in 1875 in an area that came to be called Glenco. According to an 1878 note by Dr. J. M. Hawks, “They lived in a frame house built by themselves, a few rods south of Mr. Sellecks and perhaps 80 rods from Lewis H. Bryan’s.”

Although the newspaper was sold (and later moved to Titusville and Cocoa) after the father of the family died in 1879, one of the sons, Charles H. Coe (1856-1954), left his mark on Florida’s literature with a book, Red Patriots: The story of the Seminoles. …

“East Coast of Florida”

By Dr. J. M. Hawks, 1887

The Florida Star, a monthly at first, then a weekly, was published here in 1877, ’78 and ’79 by Charles Coe.”

Publishers and Editors

Charles H. Coe (1856-1954) is the author of “Red Patriots: the story of the Seminoles”, published in 1898. The 1880 Federal census, Glenco, Volusia County, lists Deborah Coe, age 54, two sons; Charles H., age 24 and William A. Coe, age 22. Charles’s occupation is “port collector.”

Notes of Interest

We can find very little information on S. W. Harmon. The 1880 Federal census shows a Sirolia W. Harmon and his wife Ada living in Orange City, just to the west of New Smyrna. His occupation is listed as “Editor.”

Norris T. Feaster died of tuberculosis in 1881 and is buried in the LaGrange cemetery, near Titusville.

The body of Perry Edward Wager is never found. He apparently died on Merritt Island after becoming lost in the woods.

Ellis Benedict Wager died August 8, 1939 in Titusville. He continued a printing business after selling the Florida Star newspaper.

Thomas R. Puckett and wife Fannie are listed in the 1910 Federal census in Washington, D. C. Occupation—GPO. They are both listed in the 1920 Federal census living in Palm Beach. Occupation—Job Printer.

East Coast Advocate

First issue this name—August 15, 1890,

Editor—W. S. Graham

Associate Editor & Manager—C. H. Walton

Last issue this name—Nov. 13, 1891

Graham & Walton, Proprs.

Indian River Advocate

First issue this name—Nov 20, 1891

Graham & Walton, Proprs.

Last issue this name—Nov 20, 1896

Chas. H. Walton, Editor & Proprietor

Indian River Advocate and East Coast Chronicle

First issue this name—Nov 27, 1896

Chas. H. Walton, Editor & Proprietor

Last issue this name—July 6, 1900

Charles H. Walton, Editor & Proprietor

East Coast Advocate and Indian River Chronicle

First issue this name—July 13, 1900

Charles H. Walton, Editor & Proprietor

Last issue this name—March 5, 1920

Star Advocate

East Coast Advocate and Indian River Chronicle merged with Indian River Star and was known as Star Advocate

First issue this name—March 12, 1920

Last issue this name—November 30, 1926

Titusville Star Advocate

First issue this name—December 7, 1926

Last issue this name—September 7, 1962

Star Advocate

First issue this name—September 14, 1962

Continues to present --

East Coast Advocate, August 15, 1890, page 1, Volume 1, No. 1

This week’s ADVOCATE is not to be considered as a fair sample of what we expect to furnish in the way of a paper. We have not yet begun to get down to smooth running or working order. Much of our outfit is still “on the road,” and we were delayed in securing a compositor. When it is understood that a thousand and one different article are absolutely necessary to make up a complete newspaper outfit, and that Atlanta is our nearest base of supply our readers will understand that is not an easy thing to fix the date for the first issue and come to time in even  fair form. Our time has been limited and we have done the best we could under the circumstances, and we ask no more charity in the way  of criticism than any new enterprise of this character deserves. In a few weeks we will have completed our outfit and opened up channels for obtaining the news of the county, and we feel confident that those who may see fit to honor us with their subscriptions will not be disappointed with their investment.

Indian River Advocate, November 20, 1891, page 4

It will be noticed that the ADVOCATE has changed its name with this issue from that of the “East Coast” ADVOCATE to “The Indian River” ADVOCATE. This has been done because the term East Coast was too general—it may mean St Augustine, Daytona or Miami—while the term “Indian River” signifies and defines the particular territory which we cover. The east coast of Florida embraces several sections having varied advantages, but The Indian River Country is well known and famous throughout the entire country, and we believe that with this name many persons in distant states who are anxious to become conversant with the particular advantages of this particular section will subscribe for the ADVOCATE who would not do so if its name should remain as formerly. We trust our patrons will approve the change.

The Indian River ADVOCATE changed names again on November 27, 1896, becoming the Indian River ADVOCATE and East Coast Chronicle. This change of names was made with no comment from the editor.

East Coast Advocate and Indian River Chronicle, July 13, 1900, page 4

Presto Change

The EAST COAST ADVOCATE AND INDIAN RIVER CHRONICLE is our new cognomen, and under that name we shall be known in the future. This change of name is the result of various changes that have taken place since the ADVOCATE was first launched upon what has proven to be a continued era of prosperity. At one time Indian River comprehended all those towns and communities south of Daytona, but today there is a great population that the ADVOCATE reaches, that extends above and below Indian River, hence, our former name was inappropriate and entirely too local, under the present circumstances. With all due modesty we wish to say that no paper along the East Coast has done more to build up and encourage the various enterprises and industries throughout this section than the ADVOCATE, and this policy will be steadfastly pursued as long as the present management exists. It has been our aim to oppose the “calamity howler” by showing our people the bright side of every dark cloud, and bringing predominately before them the multiplicity of their resources and the greatness of their opportunities. In the accomplishment of this task we have been eminently successful, as many letters now on file in our office will testify. It is seldom a week goes by without some subscriber writing us a complimentary letter in which gratitude is expressed for the encouragement given them from time to time in the ADVOCATE. The up-building of Florida generally, and the East Coast especially, has been out constant aim, and under the new name we have adopted, we hope to turn a still brighter page in our history and make the ADVOCATE an inspiration to our people and a live exponent of their every material interest. Politically the ADVOCATE is not rabid, but at the proper time it has not failed to speak out clear and distinctly upon all questions that it deemed either for or against the interest of the people. More generally speaking, conservationism has marked all our utterances on subjects purely political, and in no instance have we attempted to stir the passions and prejudices of men by incendiary or bitter attacks upon either men or measures. Our intentions has been, and out policy will continue to be, one of fairness and impartiality, always confining ourselves strictly to the truth and rightfulness of things, irrespective of party or creed. If anything wrong appears in the democratic party we will not hesitate to point it out, but, of course, our position would not mean that we are arrayed against the party to which we are allied. The righting of the wrong will be our ultimate aim.

So here’s to the East Coast ADVOCATE the champion of the people and the guardian of their liberties.

East Coast Advocate, March 5, 1920, page 1


W. B. Dobson, editor and publisher of the “Indian River Star,” of Cocoa, Florida, has purchased of Chas. H. Walton the “East Coast Advocate,” of Titusville, Florida, and will consolidate the two papers under the name,

Star Advocate

With publication office at Titusville, Florida.

The publishing company (now incorporated) will be reorganized as the Star Advocate Company (incorporated), with capital stock increased from $10,000 to $15,000, and the following

Officers and Directors

President—W. F. Allen, President of the Titusville Civic League.

Vice-President—R. J. Glenn, Mayor of Titusville.

Secretary-Treasurer-Manager—W. B. Dobson, of Titusville.

E. B. Wager, of Titusville.

T. R. Dobson, of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The first issue of the consolidated papers, the Star Advocate, will be published from the Company’s plant at Titusville on Friday, march 12, 1920 (next Friday).

The Star Advocate plant will be equipped with a latest model Standard Two-Magazine Merganthaler Linotype, known as Model 18, enabling the Brevard county-seat newspaper to publish a greater amount of reading matter every week than before. With the choice of everything in the way of printing material now in the two plants, the Star Advocate will have the best equipped newspaper and job printing plant on the East Coast.

Under Mr. Dobson’s editorial management the Star Advocate will devote especial attention to Brevard county-seat news; and will publish each week all the news from the various county offices, county commissioners’ and school board news, circuit court and county judges’ court news, real estate transfers, marriage licenses, and everything of a public nature at the county-seat—making the Star Advocate a county-wide paper that every resident of Brevard county interested in what is going on will have to read to keep posted.

The Star Advocate will start off with the combined circulation of both the “Indian River Star,” of Cocoa, and the “East Coast Advocate,” of Titusville, and will cover Brevard county like sunshine, reaching every noon and corner in the county, making the Star Advocate invaluable to advertisers—with a greater circulation in Brevard county than all other county papers combined.

Subscribers who have paid in advance to either paper will receive due credit on the Star Advocate’s subscription list. Subscribers in arrears should become advance-paying subscribers at an early date, as the Postoffice Department requires all newspaper subscriptions to paid in advance.


W. B. Dobson

Chas. H. Walton

East Coast Advocate, March 5, 1920, page 1

Having sold all my interest in the EAST COAST ADVOCATE to the Star Advocate, through ill health, I wish to thank all my supporters for the past 28 years. I retire from my duties as publisher of the ADVOCATE with regret, but sincerely hope that the new editor and publisher—Mr. W.B. Dobson—will receive every possible support from the merchants and residents of Titusville. Thanking all my past patrons, correspondents, subscribers and others, I am,

Yours very cordially,


East Coast Advocate and Indian River Chronicle merged with Indian River Star and is named the Star Advocate.