The Rock

In addition to his daily entries in his diaries, Alf Doten also wrote a regular column in the form of letters to his home town newspaper, The Plymouth Rock, summarizing his Western experiences for Massachusetts readers. He began this practice in 1854 when he was mining in Calaveras County, California and ended it in 1867 when he was working long hours as a reporter for local papers in Virginia City and journalism had become his profession. He published a total of 93 letters that began “Dear Rock.” Eighty of the letters originated in California, with 13 from Nevada. After his first 50 letters, Doten began numbering a “new series,” beginning with NS1 and ending with NS43.0. He saved the clippings for 81 of the letters, and for the rest, he saved his handwritten drafts. Two photostat copies of missing clippings were added to the collection later. The letters were transcribed during the process of editing Doten’s journals for publication in the 1960s, and Walter Van Tilburg Clark included 42 of them in their entirety within the three-volume publication. For most of the rest, Clark included summaries or partial transcriptions. We now present a complete and searchable archive of the entire collection of transcripts of Doten’s letters to The Plymouth Rock, alongside the clippings or handwritten originals. Our assistant Challen Wright digitized the clippings and prepared the transcripts for the project. We hope this online collection will be useful to researchers of the West as the region unfolded during a pivotal time.

- Donnelyn Curtis and Christopher Church, editors

Rock31 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXI.Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.,Cal. Aug. 17th, 1855. FRIEND ROCK: --
Rock32 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXII.Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.,Cal. Sept 2d, 1855. FRIEND ROCK: --
Rock33 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXIII.Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.,Cal. Sept 18, 1856. FRIEND ROCK: -- You will see in the California papers by this mail, the full particulars of the trial and acquittal of Durkee charged with piracy, in boarding a schooner in the bay, on the 22d of June last, by order of the Vigilance Committee, and taking by force from her, sundry cases of muskets and other arms belonging to government.
Rock34 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXIV.Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.,Cal. Oct 3rd, 1856. FRIEND ROCK: --
Rock35 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXV. Mountain View, Santa Clara Co., Cal. Oct 18th, 1856. FRIEND ROCK: --
Rock36 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXVI. Mountain View, Santa Clara Co., Cal., Nov. 3d, 1856. DEAR ROCK: -
Rock37 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXVII. Mountain View, Santa Clara Co., Cal., Nov. 23d, 1856. DEAR ROCK:--
Rock38 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXVII.Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.,Cal., Dec. 23d, 1856. DEAR ROCK:-- In my last letter, I related some stories of the grizzly bear, the animal so familiarly spoken of in connection with California and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and as anecdotes of the habits and peculiarities of the beast form a theme which may not be uninteresting to some of your readers. I will touch up the grizzly subject again.
Rock39 From our California Correspondent.No. XXXIX.Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.,Cal., Dec. 18th, 1856. DEAR ROCK:--
Rock40 From our California Correspondent.No. XL.Mountain View, Santa Clara Co.,Cal., Jan. 3d, 1857. DEAR ROCK: -- A "happy new year" to you. The old year has passed away, with its cares and vexations, to keep company with the many that have gone before it to the realms of the past. Let us look forward with hopeful hearts to brighter, happier days; hoping on, and hoping ever, that the trials and storms of the future may pass over us lightly. Adieu to the old year. Adieu to the events and troubles of the past, and trust in Providence for a happy future.