James King, a voice for San Francisco

At the same time James King was talking to San Franciscans boldly, plainly and always in the most courteous way, he avoided any suggestion of indecency and professed to provide a moral, family oriented newspaper that would not offend even the most sensitive reader. He wrote with great favor on churches and schools but seemed hard pressed to find words strong enough to express his repugnance for gamblers and houses of ill repute that infested the city.

James King of Wm.

He was always careful about what advertisements he accepted. Those unsuitable to be read by his own fireside he considered unfit for his readers.  When informed that other papers could not get along without such advertisements he said that if he too could not get along without them then he would shut the paper and head for the mines. He then railed about Hampton North, the city marshal, for not doing his duty and closing the bawdy houses. King threatened to publish the names of the owners of those properties in his paper.

Portsmouth Square 1856

No newspaper such as the Bulletin had been seen before, perhaps anywhere in the country. It was an epic, heroic and ideal fighting journal. Even with its occasional mistakes the sincerity of James King came through and the better class of citizens took to the Bulletin at once. In the first month King printed twenty-five hundred copies and within two months the Bulletin had the largest circulation in San Francisco. This popularity increased month after month until the influence of the Bulletin outshone all other papers in the city combined. The Bulletin was exactly what people wanted. With fraud, corruption, crime and immorality everywhere about the people rallied to King’s paper, the one place where honesty and integrity converged with law and order, and around which all good San Franciscans could find comfort and hope.


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