Samuel Davis – Diary from 20 January 1858
Not sure how this all happened, but somehow I am now a reporter for The Nevada Journal, a fine, upstanding newspaper. I came to Sacramento in pursuit of another teaching position as the one I was “promised” in Nevada City fell through. I had a lead for a position at a local college, but that also did not pan out, so an acquaintance suggested working for the local newspaper.
The newspaper gig has been interesting. Ironically, the first story I helped cover was the formation of the Sacramento County Teachers Association. Sometimes I think that God has a wicked sense of humor. I have been helped mightily in learning the business by following the local star reporter F.R. Folger of the Sacramento Daily Union
I confess it was an interesting assignment. The work was being ably discharged by the Sacramento County superintendent of many years (Dr. F. W. Hatch) and then as the deed was almost complete, a San Franciscan of some skill but little formal education (John Swett) attempted to vaingloriously establish himself as the mentor and author of what had been considered a purely local concern.
22 January 1858
With the legislature in session, my life has been rather busy. It is amazing how little can be said by using so many words. Winnowing through to get at the heart of the matter takes more skill than I would have anticipated. The arrival of two federal legislators has the entire city in an uproar. This should be the highlight of the current reporting cycle.
Fortunately I have secured an introduction through Folger to Mr. Cazneau, clerk of the Assembly. I am well aware that his friendship is mostly expediency – but I shall endeavor to generate the most possible benefit to my readers and the Nevada Transcript.
27 January 1858
My world has been upended. Folger has been assailed on the streets of Sacramento and put near death. The publisher (J. Anthony) has been quite supportive and is offering a $250 reward for the prosecution of the guilty – but I fear this attack may go unreported.
Many believe this was a random act – but I suspect otherwise. Folger had told me in confidence that he was conducting a deep investigation into the situation with the escaped slave, Archibald Lee, and I suspect that lead him into mischief.
If only he had told me more, I might be able to track down his wrongdoer.
3 February 1858
It has cost me many nights, and quite a lot of my expense account, but I have secured an itinerary for Senator Gwin and Rep Scott a highly placed source who wishes to remain anonymous. I have it on good authority that they are finishing the tour of the Gold Country in Folsom and then will turn west into Sacramento.
Furthermore it is widely believed that they will be taking the SVR, and that Gwin plans to give an “impromptu” speech on the future of progress from the back of the train upon his arrival.