Meet our 2023
Hall of Fame Recipient
Louis Cody Sossamon
Publisher of The Gaffney Ledger (1969-1999)
Louis Sossamon began his journalism career in 1949 when he joined his father at The Gaffney Ledger as advertising manager.
He graduated from Gaffney High School in 1938 and from the University of South Carolina in 1943, where he was president of the student body, a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and USC’s first AP All-American football player. He served in the United States Navy from 1943-1945 and played professional football for the New York Yankees (All-America Football Conference – later merged with NFL) for three years before returning to Gaffney in 1949.
Although his title was “advertising manager,” Sossamon wrote numerous front page editorials excoriating public officials for underhanded activities ranging from deal making by school officials to selective enforcement of laws and criminal activity by law enforcement officials.
Sossamon purchased the newspaper from his father in 1969. In 1974, he built a facility on W. Floyd Baker Boulevard to house The Ledger offices and printing plant.
In 1962, Sossamon received the first ever South Carolina Press Association and Associated Press News Council Freedom of Information Award. A press release at that time read in part: “Mr. Sossamon’s recognition resulted from his determined public discussion of the Cherokee County Grand Jury’s involvement in a local school issue, even though he had been subpoenaed by the jury and threatened with indictment. He writes a front page column for the Gaffney newspaper.”
In another example, the Cherokee County Sheriff threatened to sue Sossamon for an editorial accusing the sheriff of tipping off owners of slot machines about an upcoming SLED raid. The threatened lawsuit never materialized.
Sossamon led The Gaffney Ledger to numerous national and state awards for reporting, including coverage of the infamous “Gaffney Strangler” case, which brought national attention to the small city. Rumor has it that Sossamon threw Dan Rather of CBS fame out of The Ledger office when he was in town covering the serial killings.
During Sossamon’s tenure as publisher, the newspaper uncovered an illegal dumping scheme that led to a Superfund cleanup in the county.
Both his grandfather, Edward Hope DeCamp, who founded The Gaffney Ledger in 1894 and was publisher until 1927, and his father, F.W. Sossamon, publisher of The Gaffney Ledger from 1927-1969, are previous inductees into the S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame.
Sossamon served as President of the S.C. Press Association in 1968.
Highlights of his resume include: Junior Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, elder at Limestone Presbyterian Church, director of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, Limestone College trustee, USC trustee where he was chairman of the Intercollegiate Activities committee when USC joined the SEC, past member of the State Development Board, USC Athletic Hall of Fame and State of SC Athletic Hall of Fame.
In 1998, he was named a Diamond Circle Honoree by the USC College of Journalism for outstanding contributions to print journalism.
Sossamon retired in 1999 and his son Cody became publisher of The Gaffney Ledger.
In 2015, Sossamon’s granddaughter, Abbie, joined the newspaper staff, becoming the fifth generation of the Sossamon family to be associated with the newspaper.
At a reception in 2010 honoring Sossamon, USC President Harris Pastides praised him and his accomplishments before toasting him saying, “This is just a snapshot of a long, productive, wonderful life, but I believe it’s enough to earn status as THE Carolina Man. Ladies and gentleman, please join me in toasting The Honorable Louis C. Sossamon, THE Carolina Man.”
S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame
The S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame was established in 1973 to recognize and honor men and women who have excelled in their craft and made significant contributions to journalism and their communities. Only 74 newspaper journalists – from Colonial days to the present – have been chosen by their peers for recognition. Learn more.