Interior Items

Ambrose Bierce

San Francisco News Letter/May 8, 1869


The old gray-headed party who lost his life last Wednesday at the jeweled hands of our wife deserves more than a passing notice at ours. He came to this city last summer, and started a weekly Methodist prayer meetings, but being warned by the sheriff, who was formerly a Presbyterian, gave up the swindle. He afterward undertook to introduce Bibals and hymn-books, and, it is said on one occasion attempted to preach. This was a little more than an outraged ad poker-playing community could be expected to endure, and at our suggestion he was tarred and feathered. For a time this treatment seemed to work a reform, but the heart of a Methodist is, above all things, deceitful and desperately wicked, and he was soon after caught in the very act of presenting a spelling book to old Sam Spoffer’s youngest daughter, Ragged Moll, since hung. The Vigilance Committee pro tem waited upon him, and he was decently shot and left for dead, as was recorded in this paper, with an obituary notice for which we have never received a cent. Last Wednesday, however, he was discovered sneaking into the potato patch connected with this paper, and our wife, God bless her, got an axe and finished him then and there. His name was John Buckster, and it is reported (we do not know with how much truth) that at one time there was an improper intimacy between him and the lady who dispatched him. If so, we pity Sal.—Coyote Herald.


Our readers may have noticed in yesterday’s issue an editorial article in which we charged Judge Black with having murdered his father, beaten his wife and stolen seven mules from Jo. Gorman. The facts are substantially true, though somewhat different from what we stated. The killing was done by a Dutchman named Moriarty, and the bruises we happened to see on the face of the Judge’s wife were caused by a fall—she being, doubtless, drunk at the time. The miles had only strayed into the mountains and have returned all right. We consider the judge’s anger at so trifling an error very ridiculous and insulting, and shall soot him the first time he comes to town. An Independent Press is not to be muzzled by any absurd old buffer with a crooked nose, and a sister who is considerably more mother than wife. Not as long as we have our usual success in thinning out the judiciary with buck shot.—Lone Tree Sockdolager.


Yesterday, as Job Wheeler was returning from a clean-up at the Buttermilk Sluice, he stopped at Hell Tunnel to have a chat with the boys. John Tooley took a fancy to Job’s watch, and asked for it. Being refused, he slipped away, and going to Job’s shanty, killed his three half-breed children and a valuable pig. This is the third time John has played some scurvey trick, and it is about time the superintendent discharged him. There is entirely too much of this practical joking among the boys and it will lead to trouble yet. –Nugget Hill Pickaxe of Freedom.


The stranger from Frisco with the claw-hammer coat, who put up at the Gag House last Thursday, and was looking for a chance to invest, was robbed the other night of three hundred ounces of clean dust. We know who did it, but don’t be frightened Dave; we’ll never tell, though we are awful hard up, owing to our subscribers going back on us. Verb., spat., snap., (Latin for come down). Choketown Rocker.

(Source: California State Library, Microfilm Collection)

The works of Ambrose Bierce and other American journalists are now freely available at The Archive of American Journalism. Visit our bookstore for single-volume collections–-ideal for research, reference use or casual reading.