Williams family helmed newspaper generations

Published: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM.

The Woodhams took possession of the Advertiser in 1981 from Williams relatives, Orren and Dianne Williams Smith. Woodham was the fourth generation in a family of newspaper publishers. His two great-uncles started in the newspaper business in 1917, followed by his grandfather, then his father and mother, according to an article published in the Wednesday, March 11, 1992 issue of the Advertiser.

The Woodhams were natives of Alabama and owned four other newspapers — The DeFuniak Springs Herald-Breeze, The Beach-Breeze in South Walton County, The Beach Bay News in Panama City and The Florala News.

In 2003, the Woodhams sold the Holmes County Advertiser and the Washington County Post to Chipley Newspapers Inc.  According to CNI President Maurice Pujol, CNI published the Washington County News and the Holmes County Times, along with the Weekly Advertiser, a free shoppers’ guide which was distributed in both counties.

The merger of the Times and the  Advertiser was historic, Pujol said, “in that it represents the combination of over two great centuries of newspaper publishing in Washington and Holmes counties.”

Pujol founded the Holmes County Times in 1989. The late Jack Davis, retired educator and coach, served as the Times’ first managing editor until his death in 1992.

Davis was a retired principal, coach and teacher and one of the founders of the Northwest Florida Football Conference. He not only served as managing editor of the Holmes County Times, but he was known as an exciting radio color commentator for HCHS football games.

“He was one of the fairest newspaper reporters I’ve ever known,” said Holmes County Clerk of Circuit Court Cody Taylor in 1992. “He was cordial, objective and he never tried to embarrass anyone, yet his work was always in-depth and thorough.”

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