George Roulstone was one of the first trustees of Blount College (now the University of Tennessee). He announced the founding of the college in his newspaper, the Knoxville Gazette. He came to East Tennessee from North Carolina, packing his printing press on horseback. Indian trouble prevented him from reaching the territorial capital (Knoxville) and the first issue of the Knoxville Gazette was published in Rogersville on November 5, 1791. Eleven months later, he moved to Knoxville, where he began publication of the Gazette on October 6, 1792. He instituted a “modern” horseback circulation system to serve subscribers within a 50-mile radius.
He was Knoxville’s first postmaster, Tennessee’s first public printer, clerk of the Council of the Territorial Legislature, clerk of the Senate of the First General Assembly in Tennessee, and printer of the Laws of the State of Tennessee, considered the first book published in Tennessee. Roulstone has been inducted into the Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame.
In 1971 the UT Libraries located and purchased nine legislative journals printed between 1794 and 1796 by Roulstone and obtained additional imprints in 1977 as a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Howard Wilson of Kingsport.