Timothy, Ann (c. 1727–1792)

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Timothy, Ann (c. 1727–1792)

Colonial American newspaper publisher and printer. Born Ann Donovan around 1727, probably in Charleston, South Carolina; died on September 11, 1792, in Charleston, South Carolina; thought to be a descendant of Daniel Donovan (a South Carolina settler); married Peter Timothy (a publisher), on December 8, 1745 (died 1783); children: possibly 15, including Peter (d. 1770); Sarah; Robert; Elizabeth Anne (who married Peter Valton); Frances Claudia (who married Benjamin Lewis Merchant); Benjamin Franklin; and seven who died in infancy.

Published the Gazette of the State of South Carolina (1783–92); "Printer to the State" of South Carolina (1785–92).

Ann Timothy was the second woman in South Carolina to become a newspaper publisher. The first was her mother-in-law Elizabeth Timothy . Upon the deaths of their husbands, the Timothy women maintained the colony's first permanent newspaper, the Gazette of the State of South Carolina, keeping the venture in the family for three generations.

Probably born in Charleston, South Carolina, around 1727, Ann may have been related to Daniel Donovan, who had settled in the colony as early as 1687. Her marriage to Peter Timothy, in Charleston in 1745, would determine her later career. In 1746, Peter assumed full responsibility of what was then called the South Carolina Gazette from his mother Elizabeth, who had become publisher of the paper after the death of her husband Lewis Timothy. (When the paper was 12 months old, Lewis had taken it over in partnership with Benjamin Franklin.) During the ensuing years of marriage, Ann was often pregnant. Of her many children (possibly fifteen), seven died in infancy.

In 1777, Peter changed the name of the paper to the Gazette of the State of South Carolina, no doubt to emphasize states' rights. When the British occupied Charleston in 1781, Ann and her family were displaced to Philadelphia. The following year, Peter and two of the couple's daughters were lost at sea en route to Santo Domingo. Returning to Charleston and the Gazette in 1782, Ann assumed the role of publisher. With an assistant, E. Walsh, she continued the publication, which she renamed the State Gazette of South Carolina in 1785. Savvy in business, she also filled the post of "Printer to the State" from 1785 until her death in 1792, issuing at least 15 imprints. She died on September 11, 1792, whereupon her son Benjamin Franklin Timothy inherited the newspaper. He maintained it until his retirement in 1802, when the Gazette ceased publication.


James, Edward T., ed. Notable American Women, 1607–1950. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1971.

Lolly Ockerstrom , freelance writer, Washington, D.C.