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

Rockns31 No XXXIComo, Nevada Territory, July 18th 1863 Dear Memorial and Rock,
Rockns32 California Correspondence.No. XXXIIComo, Palmyra District, N. T.,Sept. 14, 1863 EDS. MEMORIAL & ROCK:-
Rockns33 Washoe Correspondence.No. XXXIII.Como, Palmyra District, N. T.,Dec. 11, 1863. EDS. MEMORIAL AND ROCK:--
Rockns34 Washoe Correspondence.No. XXXIV.Como, Palmyra District, N. T.,March 5th, 1863. EDS. MEMORIAL AND ROCK:--
Rockns35 For the Memorial and Rock.Washoe Correspondence.No. XXXV.Como, Palmyra District, N. T.,July 18th, 1864. Editor Memorial and Rock:-- Some little time has elapsed since my last letter, but owing to other duties interfering, the delay has been inevitable, and now I resume my correspondence, promising to do better in the future.
Rockns36 Washoe Correspondence.No. XXXVI.Como, Lyon Co., Nevada.Sept. 23d, 1864. Editor Memorial and Rock:--
Rockns37 Nevada CorrespondenceNo. XXXVII.Virginia, Nev. Nov. 15th, 1864. Editor Memorial and Rock: Moving On
Rockns38 Nevada Correspondence.No. XXXVIII.Virginia, Nevada, Mar. 10, 1865. Editor Memorial and Rock:-- Time flies on apace, and certain twinges of conscience have recently been reminding me that I am neglecting you, in allowing so much time to elapse since my last letter; but then you know the cares of this mortal world, and the absorbing pursuit of wealth often warp out best intentions, so here goes. Mount Davidson
Rockns39 Nevada Correspondence.No. XXXIX.Virginia, Nev. July 11th, 1865. Eds. Memorial and Rock:-- The Glorious Fourth
Rockns40 Nevada Correspondence.No. XL.Virginia, Nev. Oct. 29th, 1865.