The Placer Times
Originally a weekly publication, the Times, which was initially published by E.C. Kemble & Co., began the distribution of its first issue on April 28, 1849.
At the time that Edward Cleveland Kemble established this pioneer newspaper, the Times was one of only two newspapers being published in California.
The other newspaper was Yerba Buena’s (San Francisco’s) Alta California, which began through a mergence of California’s first two newspapers, the Californian and The California Star.
The Californian, which included news in English and Spanish, was first published in Monterey on Aug. 15, 1846. The paper was relocated to San Francisco about a year later.
Predating the Californian’s arrival in San Francisco, the Star, which was founded by Samuel Brannan, became San Francisco’s first newspaper, as it was published for the first time in Yerba Buena on Jan. 9, 1847.
Like Brannan, Kemble came to California on the Brooklyn, which dropped anchor at Yerba Buena (in San Francisco harbor) on July 31, 1846. Soon, he acquired both the Californian and the Star, merging them as the Alta California. And then he made his historic decision to establish a paper at Sutter's Fort, the gateway to the "diggings."
According to the 1880 book, “History of Sacramento County,” type was acquired from the old Alta office, a Ramage press (the same one used by California's first printer, Augustin V. Zamorano) was repaired and old Spanish printing paper was obtained. Then the items were shipped to Sacramento City (originally known as simply "the Embarcadero") on a small schooner, Dice Me Nana, and carted up to the walls of Sutter's Fort.
The Times, which was originally printed on 13-inch by 18-inch paper and had its title cut from wood with a pocketknife, also served as a bullhorn for news of the Gold Rush.
The original price of the newspaper, which originally featured three columns of text per page, was $10 per year, $6 for six months, $4 for three months and 25 cents for single copies. Although the first issue of the Times was not rich with advertisements, it nonetheless included notable advertisements such as a notice that Captain John A. Sutter was offering a $200 reward for the return of two horses that went missing from Sutter’s Fort.
Kemble’s time with Sacramento’s first newspaper was short lived, as is evident by the following words that were printed in the June 23, 1849 edition of the Times: “The ill health of Mr. E.C. Kemble has obliged him to retire from his post as editor of this paper. He has been succeeded in the duties as such by (T.R. Per Lee).”
Under this new editorship, the Times was relocated to Front Street during the following month.
Four months later, however, the Times was being printed on 2nd Street, between K and L streets.
In only a short period of time, the Times would experience many other changes, including an enlargement in its size and cost, its evolution to a tri-weekly publication on April 22, 1850 and its emergence as Sacramento’s first daily newspaper on June 5, 1850.