Biography of Timothy S. Givan

Last Updated on March 20, 2013 by

Timothy S. Givan, editor and proprietor of the Tullahoma Messenger, one of the prominent weekly papers of Middle Tennessee, was born in Hardin County, October 8, 1845. He is the son of James M. and Mellona (Needham) Givan, both of whom were born in Kentucky, the former November 4, 1811, and the latter September 19, 1819. The parents, married October 9, 1834, had ten children born to them, six of whom were boys, and of these our subject is the youngest. The mother died April 4, 1854, and in 1856 the father married Rachael Clark. He died October 5, 1859.

The childhood days of our subject were spent on the farm, and at the age of ten years he entered the office of the Cloverport (Kentucky) Journal, where he served an apprenticeship of four years. Previous to the breaking out of the civil war, he taught a term of five months in his native state, and when the crisis came, enlisted in the Federal Army, joining at first, Company I, Thirty seventh Regiment of Kentucky Mounted Infantry, and later, the Sixteenth and Second Regiments of United States Regulars. He was subsequently commissioned teacher and chaplain of the Second United States Regulars, and also post chaplain and librarian for the garrison at Mobile, Alabama. At the close of the war he returned to Kentucky and re-entered the newspaper business in the position of local editor of the Kentucky Intelligencer, published by W. D. Givan, his brother, first at Munfordsville, and afterward at Caverna. In 1870 he purchased the material of the Kentucky Templar and Kentucky Presbyterian, and removed the same to Olney, Illinois, where he established the Western Guardian and published it for eighteen months. His next literary work was as associate editor of the Little Bouquet and Journal, two religion-philosophical periodicals, and also superintendent of the Chicago publishing department from which they were issued. Four and a half years were spent in this capacity when he returned to Kentucky and in 1876 established the Breckenridge News at Cloverport. Two years later he came to Nashville, Tennessee, and opened a printing house from which were published the Weekly Protectionist, the Weekly Tennessee Farmer, the Weekly Progress, the Semi-Weekly Standard, the Weekly Tennessee Republican, and the Weekly Southern Broadax. He was both editor and proprietor of the last two mentioned papers. The above publications were discontinued with the destruction of the office by fire in December 1883. From Nashville he returned to Hardin County, Kentucky, purchased a farm, and for farming and merchandising. December 8, 1885, our subject became business manager of the Tullahoma Republican, then owned by a stock company, and July 13, 1886, he formed a co-partnership with J. A. Lewis and purchased the paper. During the same month he leased his partner’s interest and became sole editor and proprietor of the publication. The following January the name of the paper was changed to that of The Messenger, while the policy became politically independent instead of republican. Our subject is a man of recognized literary talent and attainments, and has contributed largely to the periodicals of the west and south. He is the author of the following works: “The Pearl of Great Price,” “Happy at Last,” My Darling,” The Guardian Angel,” and “Two Novel Marriages.” In mentioning his connection with the Breckenridge News, the Memphis Trade Journal said: “We have received the initial number of the Breckenridge News, published at Cloverport, Kentucky. It is edited by T. S. Givan, who contributions to the literature of the country have stamped him as an author of no ordinary merit. Major Givan is one of the brightest of the many brilliant writers of the west.” Mr. Givan is one of the prominent citizens of Tullahoma, and his newspaper is enjoying merited success.

He was married June 6, 1876, to Ellen Sloan, a native of Warren County, Tennessee, who is the daughter of Rev. John L. and Mary J. Sloan, and was born May 2, 1860. Rev. Sloan was a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and an author of considerable note. He died in 1863, and his widow is now a resident in Nashville. Four children have been born to our subject and wife as follows: Harry M., born July 24, 1877; Minnie M., born March 31, 1879; Walter T., born February 26, 1881, and James Archer, born February 25, 1883. Mr. and Mrs. Givan are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. W. D. and John F., brothers of our subject, were ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, John F. died at Woodsonville, Kentucky, in the fall of 1866, and W. D. on New Year’s night, 1883, at Nashville. The latter belonged to the Savannah District, Clifton Circuit, at the time of his death.


Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the earliest time to the present. Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1887.

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