Robert Hodge Index to The Free Lance, 1885-1900

The Free Lance began on 27 January 1885 published by the Free Lance Newspaper and Job Printing Company, John W. Woltz, managing editor. John Woltz died in 1893 and was replaced by W. Seymour White. In 1896 the Free Lance was enlarged to six pages. In 1926 the Free Lance and the Daily Star were merged into the Free Lance Star, whose publication continues today.

The index was prepared by Robert Hodge. The twice-weekly (until 1893), four-page, six-column (or more at later dates) issues were scanned for items deemed of value to the LOCAL historian and genealogist. The index begins in 1885. Each entry consists of essentially four parts: Name, Reason for being, Publication date, and Page/Column numbers. Bob Hodge did not record the page and column numbers before 1897. Names included in lists (schools, fair awards, socials) were not indexed after 1896, but notations identify where these lists may be found. County columns were not indexed for all names, only for deaths and marriages. These contain 'news notes' about residents' activities. Although Robert Hodge indicates that he indexed 1896, the paper copy could not be located, and that year is not presently included in this index. Bob stopped his index of The Free Lance with 10 May 1900. He stopped in 1900 because The Free Lance and The Daily Star papers were then owned and operated by the same firm. Robert indexed The Daily Star, up through 1926. However, by chance, The Daily Star does not survive for 1901 so there has always been a one year gap in the coverage of activities reported in the Fredericksburg press during 1901. In the Fall of 2007 Melissa K. Leggett, a senior in the Historic Preservation Department with support from the Knight Family Scholarship for Historic Preservation undertook the task of indexing The Free Lance for the year of 1901. Melissa worked diligently at the project and by her graduation in May 2008 had indexed eleven months of the newspaper. In the academic year 2008-2009 Melissa Ford, a student aide in the Historic Preservation Department, helped me complete the index of those issues through December 1901. The electronic version was created by the Center for Historic Preservation at Mary Washington College by scan ning a copy of the text and then modifying the format to fit a table.

The microfilm reels of The Free Lance are available in Fredericksburg at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and at Simpson Library at the University of Mary Washington.

If you prefer, or if you have difficulty accessing this database you can right-click the download button and bring the data to your machine as a tab-delimited text file and open the file in your spread sheet program. Be certain to set your fields to text before you open this file in Microsoft Excel or it will assume all dates are twentieth century. download