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The first newspaper in upper South Carolina, the Messenger was established in Pendleton about 1807 as Miller's Weekly Messenger, becoming The Pendleton Messenger in 1808. John Miller, its founder, a London publisher, migrated to Philadelphia in 1782. Persuaded by eminent Carolina statesmen to move to Charleston, he served for a while as State printer and publisher of the South Carolina Gazette and General Advertiser. Miller came to Pendleton in 1785, and became the clerk of court for the Pendleton District. One of the first agricultural magazines in the South, The Farmer and Planter, was also published in Pendleton. ("South Carolina-The WPA Guide to the Palmetto State", 1941, University of South Carolina Press, 1988, Second printing, 1992, page 443-444, ISBN 0-87249-603-1.)

The current Messenger was established as a weekly independent in Seneca in 1954, moving its office to Clemson in 1959, although it continues to be published by the Journal-Tribune Company in Seneca. In 1959, Paul League was editor and publisher. Bob Herndon and J.A. Gallimore were later associated with the paper. In November 1986, the Messenger added "Weekender" to the masthead and began a new number system.

With a redesign and down-sized format on Thursday, October 1, 2009, the Seneca Journal and the Clemson Messenger ceased to be printed with separate editions, being combined as simply "The Journal". (The Journal, Thursday, 1 October 2009, Volume 105, Number 185, pages 1A, 6A.) And with this change the Messenger masthead fades into history after 202 years.

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