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October 1, 1854: Journalist Anne Newport Royall Dies at 85

Anne Newport Royall
Slashme via Wikimedia Commons

Journalist Anne Newport Royall died on October 1, 1854, at age 85. She first arrived in present West Virginia when she was 17, after spending her early years in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She and her widowed mother lived in Sweet Springs in Monroe County with Captain William Royall, whom Anne would later marry. Anne had access to Captain Royall’s immense library and was tutored in history and the politics of the American Revolution and early United States—an uncommon opportunity for women in the late 1700s.

Following Captain Royall’s death in 1812, Anne moved to Charleston and began traveling extensively throughout the South. In the 1820s, she wrote, published, and marketed 11 volumes describing people and places from New England to Western Virginia to the Deep South. Her writings provide some of the most vivid depictions of life in present West Virginia in the early 1800s.

When she was in her 60s, she moved to Washington and started a newspaper that, in her words, “exposed political evil and religious fraud.” Anne Royall is remembered today as one of the most important female journalists in U.S. history.

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