IN MAY 1785 the second convention to discuss "separation from Virginia and the formation of a new state," in session at Danville, passed a resolution to establish a printing press in the western territory for the purpose of "giving publicity to the proceedings of the Convention."
A committee was appointed to negotiate with a printer and start a paper. But for some reason the West had not appealed to printers, and none could be found among the settlers in the territory. Finally a young surveyor and soldier of the Revolution, John Bradford of Fauquier County, Virginia -- without any previous experience as a printer or editor, but a man of unusual common sense -- approached the committee with the proposition that he would undertake the establishment of a newspaper if the convention would assure him of public patronage when the new State came into existence. His terms were met and the Kentucky Gazette was launched.
The citizens of Lexington were more generous in their support of the new movement than the citizens of Danville, and when the town council of Lexington granted Bradford lot number 43, free of cost as long as the press continued, Lexington became the birthplace of the first newspaper published in Kentucky.
An antiquated press, type, ink balls, and ink were secured in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. This equipment was hauled over the mountains to Pittsburgh, loaded on a flatboat and transported to Maysville, then taken by pack horse to Lexington. Some of the type was set by Bradford's brother, Fielding Bradford, as they drifted down the river, but most of it was reduced to "pi" on the journey from Maysville to Lexington. Nevertheless, on August 11, 1787, Bradford issued the first edition with an editorial apology. It was a small sheet about 8 x 10½ inches, folded once, making a four-page paper of news collected by the Bradfords on their journey to and from Philadelphia. No copies of this first issue of about 180 papers are in existence. Local news was given little consideration in the early editions, but partisan