Dennis Cassinelli        and Nevada Press  Association

 Just a few miles south of Dayton, Nevada on a bumpy dirt road are the remains of the old ghost town of Como, Nevada. One of the pioneer citizens of Como was journalist Alfred (Alf) Doten

 Alfred Doten (July 21, 1829 - November 12, 1903) was an American journalist and diarist, and “the Dean of the newspaper men of Nevada.” 

 Born in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1829, he went west to try his luck in the California Gold Rush in 1849. He became a journalist for the Como Sentinel in Como, Nevada in 1863 and the editor of the Virginia Daily Union in 1864, as an editorial writer.

 Alfred Doten moved to Nevada in 1863 to participate in the silver boom but soon began work as a reporter on the Como Sentinel, Virginia Daily Union, Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, and Gold Hill Daily News, which he bought in 1872 and guided to a legacy as one of the leading newspapers of the Comstock.

 In addition to his journalistic efforts, Doten is best known for his exhaustive private diaries, which he began writing when he boarded a ship to California in 1849 and continued until the last day of his life in 1903. Alfred Doten is noted for his daily Diary, considered by historians to be one of the most unique and valuable documents on the social history of the American West. 

 Doten was briefly a colleague of Mark Twain, writing for the Virginia Daily Union and the Gold Hill Daily News, and was a close friend and drinking companion of Dan De Quille. He was the editor for the Gold Hill Daily News from 1867 to 1881. After buying it 1n 1872, he was its publisher until 1881. 

In a recently completed project, The Journals of Alf Doten 1849 - 1903 have been made available for online reading and search by the University of Nevada, Reno.

Upon his death, the 79 leather-bound volumes of his diaries were moved from one family attic to another until the University of Nevada acquired them in 1961. Author Walter Van Tilburg Clark spent years editing the manuscripts and, in 1973, published them in three volumes. They provided an unprecedented look at the daily life of the Comstock era and its cast of historical Nevada characters.

Doten wrote news stories, editorials and theater reviews, as well as short stories and essays on Nevada journalism. Ultimately, however, Doten went into debt and lost the job reporting news. He then moved to Austin to edit the Reese River Reveille. An addiction to alcohol cost him his career and family, and he died alone in Carson City in 1903.

This article is by Dayton Author and Historian, Dennis Cassinelli. You can order his books at a discount on his blog at  Just click on ”order books”