Stephen A. Colston, Book Review Editor
Sam Cameron’s Diary and Records of Daily Events, 1878-1903.
Edited by Jean Gideon Taylor and Meredith Vezina. Campo, California: Mountain Empire Historical Society, 1994. Illustrations,. Notes. Index. xiv + 55 pages. No price listed (paper).
Samuel Wesley Cameron (1856-1926) was born in Canada and migrated with his family, via short residencies in Yuma, Arizona and Tecate, Mexico, to settle in the Mataguay Valley near Campo in southeastern San Diego County during the early 1870s. He remained rooted in this valley and nearby Morena Valley until around 1893, engaging in cattle and sheep ranching as well as vegetable farming. He continued to reside in the vicinity of these two valleys until his death more than three decades later. Although possessing only rudimentary writing skills, Cameron was blessed with a keen eye for observation. His diary entries, spanning more than a quarter of a century, provide vivid, even if at times roughly fashioned, portraits of the natural and human elements which formed the fabric of his rural world. Cameron’s unique recountings of everyday life in San Diego’s back country are enhanced by a well-researched biographical introduction and numerous explanatory references which accompany the original diary entries as marginal notes.