September 16 Thursday – Sam satirized Josiah T. Hinton, the new editor of the competing Hannibal Tri-Weekly Messenger, in an article, “Local Resolves to Commit Suicide.” See insert. It seems Hinton had been a jilted lover, so went to the river one night to drown himself, but could not follow through. Sam heard of this and wrote his article along with engravings he fashioned from wood blocks, picturing the editor testing the water’s depth. After the editor retaliated, Sam published two more ridiculing sketches. In a rage, the editor stormed the Journal’s office, only to find seventeen-year-old Sam sitting calmly in the editor’s chair [A. Hoffman 30]. Also during Orion’s absence, Sam’s first use of a pen name appeared: W. Epaminondas Adrastus Perkins (See Sept. 9 entry.) Perkins was soon changed to “Blab” [Powers, Dangerous 199].
Posing as an observer of local society and morals, Sam satirized a drunk and family on Holliday’s Hill. Such subjects were not usually mentioned in newspapers. Sam through Blab, reported with sarcasm on the wife beating by the drunk as “an extreme case of matrimony.” Sam also wrote other pieces with the W.E.A.B. or Blab nom de plume, “Historical Exhibition —A No.1 Ruse,” and “Blabbing Government Secrets!” [ET&S 1: 78]. “Editorial Agility” appeared unsigned and is attributed to Sam [Camfield, bibliog.].