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Victoria Jacobs married Maurice Franklin at her home on March 31, 1857. Her father performed the ceremony. The San Diego Herald wrote: “In the new relation of husband and wife, may our friends find their cares lessened by sympathy and their joys multiplied by participation. May they be spared to each other to a good old age.”

LONESOME SAM In 1870, Sam Cameron’s family came to the Campo area to raise sheep. In winter, his father Thomas moved the herd nearer the coast. Sam watched over them, often alone, for five months at a time. In his 21st year, at a sheep camp on Otay Mesa, Sam began keeping a diary. He wrote, not always with proper spelling, of backcountry life in the late 19th Century.

JANUARY 24, 1878: “TRC [his father, Thomas R. Cameron] has gone to town today and left me alone in my glory.”

MARCH 6, 1878 (still at Otay Mesa): “I have nothing to read. Am awful lonesome, hardly now what to do with myself.”

MAY 7, 1878: “I am about sick of sheep camp. I long for some thing new. I have not saw a man or heard a bit of news in a week. If I stay here much longer I will be [a candidate] for the loonitick silam. Eny one with half an eye can see that I was not born to be a hermit.

“Sheep herding is pretty much the same as penetenchery. He must be with them day and night. If they ever get out of his site they will not stop this side of kingdom come. Ba ba fifty thousand bas may be music for some but no charm for me.”

Sometime between February 26 and March 19, 1879, he met a woman, most likely in San Diego. He put this entry on a facing page of the diary:

“She is as pretty

As a rose

Mollie Dole

Cares for me,

A heap

Mine

Ere long then I will

Rome

Ore the sea

No more

XXX

S.W.C. that is me.”

APRIL 4, 1879: “Got to the camp to day. Every thing OK. Of all the things that I love best is a little _ An a starry night.”

DECEMBER 18, 1879 (on the mesa): “Take a young man and put him in a sheep camp and leave him thar alone, month after month, in time he will think that thar is only one damn fool on this earth and that fool is him self.”

FEBRUARY 4, 1880: “I have got the blues to day, but I will stand it and think of the good times coming by and by.

“Evening. The son is setting. Another day numbered with the past. I would not live all ways.”

AUGUST 16, 1880: “I am not very handsom I know, but for all that I am a pretty good beau. S.W.C. that is me. And don’t you for get it.”

Neighbors, even close ones, lived so far apart in the backcountry they rarely saw each other. So they periodically held mammoth potluck get-togethers. Families brought fried chicken, roast pork, cakes, and gooseberry pies. After a day of games and races, they danced — the two-step, waltzes, polkas, Spanish styles — accompanied by everyone who could play an instrument. At midnight they put the children to bed, usually in or under a wagon, and broke for coffee, poured from a large iron kettle, then danced the night away. They stopped shortly before dawn, writes historian Shirley Bowman, so “the boys got home in time for morning chores.”

FEBRUARY 25, 1881: “Last Christmas I was at one of the best dances that you never saw in Motiquwhat [now Cameron Valley]. Fun, lots of it. Wickey, a little. Some not much.”

MARCH 6, 1881: “To day I feel like giving up the ghost and going on a trip to explore the mistereys of the great here after.”

APRIL 1, 1881: “Fool April. I fooled myself to day because I had no one els to fool.”

APRIL 21, 1881: “2 day I am in need of a good_. You know how it is your self when you feel that way.

“I have been alone in the camp for the last 10 days. I do not know when the governor [his father] will come. And I dont give a damn. That is me. Independent as a hog on ice. If I cant stand up I can lay down.”

JULY 1882: [copied a letter he wrote to his sister Jane] “My dear sister. I guiess you think that I am high toned because I did not write but I am not. I would a wrote B 4 now but I did not have eny thing to write only that I was well and you know that.”

Between March 1883 and October 1885, Sam

didn’t keep a diary. During that time, his family switched from raising sheep to cattle.

FEBRUARY 14, 1887: “Valentine’s Day and more rain. I got a Val. Yes two of them.”

JULY 5, 1888: “I went to the dance at Poterero last night. And it was a pretty good dance. There was lots of girls and we kept it going all night till brode day light…. No one started a fight so we got along fine. All is well that ends well.”

DECEMBER 25, 1888: “There was a big dance last night at Pete McCain’s house. But I did not get there. Once again I missed a good dance. A man can not take in all the good things. He would be a hog if he tried to. I put on a cleen pare of socks and shaved. I feel about as well as if I had went to the dance. What must be will be and what wont be will never come to pass.”

JANUARY 1, 1889: “New Years day. On this day lots of young fellow promice to turn over a new leaf, and be good boys in the future. But at the end of the year thay find them selves deeper in the mud than they was before. I never make promices. I tend to my own affairs, let other peoples business alone and go on and say nothing…. I hate to grow old as bad as any one. But I would like to know how I will stand at the end of the year. I would give a year of my life to know. But no doubt I will find out all in good time. But there is several little things I would like very well to know.”

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Comments

shizzyfinn Sept. 12, 2008 @ 2:43 p.m.

To the author - what's the deal with the two blanks in Sam's entries? Was he censoring himself, or were the omissions someone else's?

"Of all the things that I love best is a little _ An a starry night."

"2 day I am in need of a good_. You know how it is your self when you feel that way."

You can't leave us hanging like that!

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