photo: Nevada State Museum
1861 to 1864, writer Mark Twain (real name: Samuel Clemens) lived in Virginia
City and Carson City, where his brother, Orion Clemens, resided. Orion Clemens
served as the secretary to Territorial Governor William Nye.
Twain and his brother
arrived in Carson City in August 1861. After brief but unsuccessful attempts
at mining in Aurora and Unionville, Twain was hired by the Territorial Enterprise newspaper
in Virginia City. In fact, it was while working there that he adopted his nom
de plume, Mark Twain.
Among his assignments for the paper was reporting on
the Territorial Legislature in Carson City in November and December 1862 and
November 1863 through February 1864. In May 1864, Twain, who had tired of Virginia
City, wrote an article that incensed a rival newspaperman and was challenged
to a duel. To avoid conflict, he departed for San Francisco, where he was hired
by the Morning Call newspaper
and later worked for several magazines.
In 1866, Twain returned to Carson City
and Virginia City for a series of lectures. He made his final visit to Nevada
in April 1868 for another lecture at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City.
In 1872, Twain published “Roughing It,” a book about his Nevada experiences.
He died in 1910.
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