Third Territorial Legislature – Jennie Clemens Dead
Miscegenation Firestorm – “Poltroon and a Puppy”
San Francisco City Beat for the Morning Call – Jackass Hill
January – A photograph of William H. Clagett, Mark Twain, and A.J. Simmons was taken for the third Territorial Legislature at Carson City. The handwritten caption reads: “three of the suspected men still in confinement in Aurora” [MTL 1: 279].
January 1 Friday – On New Year’s Day, Sam wrote in the Territorial Enterprise:
“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath” [Fatout, MT Speaks 10-11].
Charles F. Browne (Artemus Ward) wrote from Austin, Nev. to Sam
My Dearest Love,—I arrived here yesterday a.m. at 2 o’clock. It is a wild, untamable place, but full of lion-hearted boys. I speak to-night. See small bills.
Why did you not go with me and save me that night?—I mean the night I left you drunk at that dinner party. I went and got drunker, beating, I may say, Alexander the Great, in his most drinkingest days, & I blackened my face at the Melodeon, and made a gibbering, idiotic speech. God-damit! I suppose the Union will have it. But let it go. I shall always remember Virginia [city] as a bright spot in my existence as all others must or rather cannot be, as it were.
Love to Jo. Goodman and Dan. I shall write soon, a powerfully convincing note to my friends of “The Mercury.” Your notice, by the way, did much good here, as it doubtlessly will elsewhere. The miscreants of the Union will be batted in the snout if they ever dare pollute this rapidly rising city with their loathsome presence.
Some of the finest intellects in the world have been blunted by liquor.
Do not, sir—do not flatter yourself that you are the only chastely-humorous writer onto the Pacific slopes.
Good-bye, old boy—and God bless you! The matter of which I spoke to you so earnestly shall be just as earnestly attended to—and again with very many warm regards for Jo. and Dan., and regards to many of the good friends we met. I am Faithfully, gratefully yours…[MTLP 93-94]. Note: The Union newspaper in Va. City; The NY Sunday Mercury, to which Ward had urged Sam to contribute. See Ward’s second letter of Jan. 21.
January 2 Saturday – Sam wrote his mother from Carson City about the fraudulent proceedings of the Nevada convention. He urges his mother to welcome Artemus Ward when he reached St. Louis: “But don’t ask him too many questions about me & Christmas Eve, because he might tell tales out of school.” Ward never went to the Moffett home due to illness. Clemens also asked his mother another favor: “If Fitzhugh Ludlow, (author of the ‘Hasheesh Eater,’) comes your way, treat him well also. He published a high ecomium upon Mark Twain, (the same being eminently just & truthful, I beseech you to believe,) in a San Francisco newspaper [S.F. Golden Era Nov. 22, 1863] [MTL 1: 267]. Fitz Hugh Ludlow (1836-1870) was a NY Bohemian. See source notes for more on Ludlow. See also Sept. 8, 1865 entry.
January 4 Monday – Sam, urged by Artemus Ward on his visit, wrote an article for the New York Sunday Mercury on this day titled “Doings in Nevada” [MTL 1: 268n1].
January 9 and 10 Sunday – Sam wrote from Carson City to his mother, and sister Pamela. He told them about the New York Sunday Mercury article, which was printed Feb. 7. Overnight Sam wrote “Those Blasted Children,” the two Mercury articles [MTL 1: 271; ET&S 1: 348]. He also wrote to Clement T. Rice, who discussed Sam’s “joking” letter about threats to move the capital of Nevada [Smith 126].
January 11 Monday – “Letter from Mark Twain” (dated Jan. 10) ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.]. Sections: “Politics,” “Baggage,” “Young Gillespie,” “Legislature,” “House Warming,” “Warren Engine Co.,” “Religious,” “Squaires Trial,” “Marsh Children,” and “Artemus.”
I received a letter from Artemus Ward, to-day, dated “Austin, January 1.” It has been sloshing around between Virginia and Carson for awhile. I hope there is no impropriety in publishing extracts from a private letter – if there be, I ought not to copy the following paragraph of his:
“I arrived here yesterday morning at 2 o’clock. It is a wild, untamable place, but full of lion-hearted boys. I speak tonight. See small bills. ### I hope, some time, to see you and Kettle-belly Brown in New York. My grandmother — my sweet grandmother — she, thank God, is too far advanced in life to be affected by your hellish wiles. My aunt — she might fall. But didn’t Warren fall, at Bunker Hill? (The old woman’s safe. And so is the old girl, for that matter.—MARK) DO not sir, do not, sir, do not flatter yourself that you are the only chastely-humorous writer onto the Pacific slopes. ### I shall always remember Virginia as a bright spot in my existence, and all others must or rather cannot be, ‘as it were.’”
I am glad that old basket-covered jug holds out. I don’t know that it does, but I have an impression that way. At least I can’t make anything out of that last sentence. But I wish him well, and a safe journey, drunk or sober. / MARK TWAIN [Smith 127-30].
Sam paid $60 in cash to Daggett & Myers for two months rent shared with De Quille [Mack 246].
January 12 Tuesday – Sam joined in a photograph of 17 other men in formal garb, legislators and newspaper men, most wore top hats [MTP].
Sam enjoyed R.G. Marsh’s Juvenile Comedians perform at the Opera House in Carson City and wrote about it in his “Legislative Proceedings” letter of Jan. 13. The troupe performed in Carson on Jan. 11, 12 and 13, and included William M. (“Billy”) O’Neil in the farce, The Limerick Boy; or Paddy’s Mischief. Sam wrote that O’Neil, on Jan. 11, had been “The drunkest white man that ever crossed the mountains.” George Boulden and Mr. Alexander sang “When this Cruel War is Over, as it Were” and were encored three times. The Marsh group also presented The Toodles which had first been performed in New York in 1848 [Smith 129, 131-2].
January 12 to February 20 Saturday – The Third Territorial Legislature met in Carson City. Sam reported on the proceedings for the Enterprise. His daily reports, “LEGISLATIVE PROCEEDINGS,” exist for January 12 to 15, 20, 21, 27, 28, and February 8 to 20. These were humorous weekly updates by Sam on the political goings-on in Carson [For text of these see Schmidt or Smith].
Benson points out the contrasting influence that Sam had with his brother Orion, and the increased influence Sam’s writings from Carson gave:
“Now, in Carson City, his humor became more substantial writing, more thought-provoking, less ephemeral, and much less coarse than some of his previous writings. No doubt, the fact that he felt that he now had some real influence in public affairs had much to do with the change in content, style, and tone of his articles” . From Sam’s Autobiography:
Orion was soon very popular with the members of the legislature, because they found that whereas they couldn’t usually trust each other, nor anybody else, they could trust him. He easily held the belt for honesty in that country, but it didn’t do him any good in a pecuniary way, because he had no talent for either persuading or scaring legislators. But I was differently situated. I was there every day in the legislature to distribute compliments and censure with evenly balanced justice and spread the same over half a page of the Enterprise every morning; consequently I was an influence [MTA 2: 307-8].
January 14 Thursday – Sam visited the school of Miss Clapp and Mrs. William K. Cutler, accompanying William M. Gillespie, member of the House Committee on Colleges and Common Schools. Sam noted changes in school lessons and tactics since he’d attended.
They sing in school, now-a-days, which is an improvement upon the ancient regime; and they don’t catch flies and throw spit-balls at the teacher, as they used to do in my time—which is another improvement, in a general way….The “compositions” read to-day were as exactly like the compositions I used to hear read in our school as one baby’s nose is exactly like all other babies’ noses [Smith 136].
January 15 Friday – From “Legislative Proceedings”: HOUSE—FOURTH DAY
…we had better let “parliamentary usage” alone for the present, until our former knowledge on the knotty subject returns to our memories. Because Providence is not going to put up with this sort of thing much longer, you know. I observe there is no lighting rod on these county buildings. —MARK TWAIN [Smith 141].
January 19 Tuesday – The election was held and Orion won the Secretary of State office. But the electorate, putting Nevada’s statehood in doubt, rejected the new constitution. Fatout describes the scene in Virginia City:
Voting day was a carnival in Virginia. Business houses closed, and the holiday spirit brought on a number of good fights, one of the best being a brisk encounter in which a butcher attempted to decapitate his adversary with a cleaver. His aim was poor….Band wagons, representing both sides, rolled around town all day, musicians playing “John Brown’s Body,” “Hail Columbia,” “Yankee Doodle.” Decorating the wagons were garish slogans: “Vote the Constitution and Union,” “Vote Down the Constitution and Taxation,” “Down with the one lead party, Bill Steward and the other Politicians, “White Men vote anywhere—Niggers can’t.” At night a huge transparency opposite Stewart’s law office depicted the burial of the constitution [MT in VC 147].
Sam’s article on schools was published in the Enterprise this day or the next [ET&S 1: 333].
January 19 or 20 Wednesday – Sam wrote “Letter from Mark Twain,” from Carson City (dated Jan. 14) about schools. The description of “Miss Clapp’s School” is quite similar to the “Examination Evening” scene in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ch. 21 [ET&S 1: 333-8].
January 20 Wednesday – From “Legislative Proceedings”: HOUSE—NINTH DAY
Mr. Dean offered a resolution to employ a copying clerk.
Mr. Gillespie offered an amendment requiring the Engrossing and Enrolling Clerks to do this proposed officer’s work. (These two officers are strictly ornamental—have been under wages since the first day of the session—haven’t had anything to do, and won’t for two weeks yet—and now by the eternal, they want some more useless clerical jewelry to dangle to the Legislature. If the House would discharge its extra scribblers, and let the Chief Clerk hire assistance only when he wants it, it seems to me it would be better. —Rep.)
Without considering the appointment of a new jimcrack ornament, and starting his pay six weeks before he goes to work (only thirteen dollars a day), the House adjourned [Smith 141].
The Gold Hill Daily News had been pro-constitution, and with the defeat of the bill, ran an announcement of loss:
The good old ship “Constitution,” Captain Bill Steward, master and George W. Bloor, pilot, will leave the wharf in front of the Bank Exchange, Gold Hill, at sunrise to-morrow morning, for the head of Salt River….Mark Twain is expected to get aboard at Carson City, with the seat of government in his breeches [Fatout, MT in VC 148-9].
January 21 Thursday – From “Legislative Proceedings”: HOUSE—TENTH DAY
QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. Stewart rose to a question of privilege, and said the ENTERPRISE and Union reporters had been moving Ellen Redman’s toll-bridge from its proper position on the Carson Slough to an illegal one on the Humboldt Slough. (I did that. If Ellen Redman don’t like it, I can move her little bridge back again—but under protest. I waded that Humboldt Slough once, and I have always had a hankering to see a bridge over it since.—Mark.)
The Gold Hill Daily News continued to rib Sam about the election, calling him the “historian of the Hopkins family,” referring to the Dutch Nick massacre hoax. It was a common theme for opposing newspapers [Fatout, MT in VC 149].
Charles F. Browne (Artemus Ward) wrote from Salt Lake City:
My Dear Mark,—I have been dangerously ill for the past two weeks here, of congestive fever. Very grave fears were for a time entertained of my recovery, but happily the malady is gone, though leaving me very, very weak. I hope to be able to resume my journey in a week or so. I think I shall speak in the Theater here, which is one of the finest establishments of the kind in America.
The Saints have been wonderfully kind to me, I could not have been better or more tenderly nursed at home—God bless them!
I am still exceedingly weak—can’t write any more. Love to Jo and Dan, and all the rest. Write me at St. Louis. / Always yours… [MTLP]. Note: Sam’s reply is not extant.
January 23 Saturday – Sam responded to a request by Seymour Pixley and G.A. Sears, trustees of the First Presbyterian Church of Carson City, to charge a dollar for attendees of the mock “Third House” of the legislature and donate the funds to the church. Sam wrote:
Gentlemen:—Certainly. If the public can find anything in a grave state paper worth paying a dollar for, I am willing they should pay that amount or any other. And although I am not a very dusty christian myself, I take an absorbing interest in religious affairs, and would willingly inflict my annual message upon the church itself if it might derive benefit thereby [MTL 1: 272].
January 25 Monday – Sam spoke to a sold out benefit for the Third House [A. Hoffman 86]. Paine quoted those who attended as Sam’s “greatest effort of his life” [MTB 246; Fatout, MT Speaking 648]. Sam was presented with a gold watch from wealthy Theodore Winters and Alexander W. (Sandy) Baldwin (1835-1869). The engraving read, “To Gov. Mark Twain,” etc. Sam wrote to his sister Pamela on Mar. 18 [MTL 1: 275].
January 26 Tuesday – Jennie Clemens, eight-year-old daughter of Orion and Mollie, took ill. A. Hoffman cites this as “one day after” Sam’s speech . Note: Fanning claims Jennie was stricken on Jan. 29 .
January 27 Wednesday – Sam’s “Message to the ‘Third House,’ Delivered in Carson City, 27 January” ran on or about this date in the Enterprise. The paper is lost but the piece was reprinted on Jan. 29 and 30 in two other Virginia City newspapers [Camfield bibliog.]. Sam wrote in HOUSE –SEVENTEENTH DAY, Jan. 28 of the speech:
I delivered that message last night [Jan. 27], but I didn’t talk loud enough—people in the far end of the hall could not hear me. They said “Louder—louder,” occasionally, but I thought that was a way they had—a joke, as it were. I had never talked to a crowd before, and knew none of the tactics of the public speaker…Some folks heard the entire document, though—there is some comfort in that. Hon. Mr. Clagett, Speaker Simmons of the inferior House, Hon. Hal Clayton, Speaker of the Third House, Judge Haydon, Dr. Alban, and others whose opinions are entitled to weight, said they would travel several miles to hear that message again…One of these days, when I get time, I will correct, amend and publish the message, in accordance with a resolution of the Third House ordering 300,000 copies in the various languages spoken at the present day.
P.S.—Sandy Baldwin and Theodore Winters heard that message, anyhow, and by thunder they appreciated it, too. They have spent a hundred dollars apiece to San Francisco this morning, to purchase a watch chain for His Excellency Governor Twain. I guess that is a pretty good result for an incipient oratorical slouch like me, isn’t it? I don’t know that anybody tendered the other Governor a testimonial of any kind. MARK TWAIN [Smith 146-7].
January 29 Friday – “Carl” (Clement T. Rice) reported from Carson City to the Virginia City Union about Sam’s speech (now lost) to the burlesque assembly known as the “Third House.”
Last night [Jan. 27] a large and fashionable audience was called out to hear a message delivered by the Mark Two—otherwise called Twain. Indeed, this was the resuscitation of the celebrated Third House, or rip-snorting gymnasium, prepared for the benefit of outsiders who must orate or bust. Hal. Clayton assumed the chair, and the levities spread spontaneously. Mark Two’s message only helped to keep up the effervescing spirit of the good work in behalf of that same, ever-present gaping skeleton of a church. The benefit on this occasion was large—perhaps $200—which will take the institution in out of the weather and hasten its completion very materially [Smith 145-6].
Smith notes that this may have been Sam Clemens’ “first appearance on what seemed to him a public occasion…noteworthy as the beginning of a long and brilliant career as a platform artist” .
February 1 Monday – Orion and Mollie Clemens’ only daughter and niece of Sam’s, Jennie, died of cerebrospinal meningitis (“spotted fever.”) [MTL 1: 383].
Sam’s article “Satirical Account of Bill Stewart’s Party” ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].
February 3 Wednesday – The Nevada Territorial Legislature adjourned to attend Jennie Clemens’ funeral at 10 AM [MTL 1: 383; Mack 278].
February 5 Friday – Sam wrote “Winter’s New House,” published a week later in the Enterprise, along with a second article written this day “An Excellent School” [ET&S 1: 343].
February 6 Saturday – Sam wrote to the Territorial Enterprise describing the fierce competition for 72 positions of county notary created by the legislature. “There are seventeen hundred and forty-two applications for notaryships already on file in the Governor’s office.” Sam decided he might as well apply, too. The article, “Concerning Notaries,” appeared in the Enterprise on Feb. 9 and was reprinted in the Golden Era on the 28 [MTL 1: 278n9; Sanborn 224].
February 7 Sunday – The New York Mercury ran Sam’s article, “Doings in Nevada” [Powers, MT A Life 134; Camfield bibliog.]. Note: Fatout reports this as “For Sale or to Rent,” a spoof advertising used territorial officials rejected by the voters, and connects this publication to the help of Artemus Ward [MT in VC 131].
February 8 to 15 Monday – Sam and Clement T. Rice reported in “Legislative Proceedings” each day. Some pieces were signed, some not. See Smith, p.153-62 for details.
February 9 Tuesday – Sam’s “Letter from Carson,” with “Concerning Notaries” ran in the Enterprise [Walker 67-70].
February 12 Friday – Sam’s article, dated Feb. 5, “Winter’s New House,” ran in the Enterprise. It described the Carson City home of Theodore Winters, who had struck it rich in the Ophir vein and became a principal stockholder in the Spanish Mine. Also in the Enterprise was “An Excellent School” [ET&S 1: 339].
February 13 Saturday – “Letter from Mark Twain,” Carson City, was published in the Enterprise. The weekly letter, “The Carson Undertaker,” was an attack on the Carson Independent [Smith 159].
February 16 Tuesday – “The Removal of the Capital,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Enterprise. [Smith 162]. Note: see also Aug. 17, 1869.
February 21 Sunday – Sam’s sketch “Those Blasted Children,” (written on Jan. 9 and completed during a long night session lasting until 7 AM on Jan. 10) was published in the New York Sunday Mercury [ET&S 1: 348]. Sam’s made-up letter to “Mark Twain” from “Zeb. Leavenworth” contained a “sovereign remedy” for stammering children—sawing off the child’s underjaw. Zeb and Beck Jolly had been Sam’s shipmates on the John J. Roe [MTL 1: 271-2n2].
February 27 Saturday – Adah Isaacs Menken (1835?-1868) arrived in Virginia City. In Sept. 1863 Sam saw her in one of her sixty San Francisco performances of Mazeppa, where she rode horseback in nothing but flesh-colored body-tights. Sam wasn’t impressed with her performances. Adah invited Sam to dinner in her hotel room with Dan De Quille and the Bohemian poet Ada Clare (Jane McElhinney, 1836?-1874). Menken’s current husband, her third, poet and dramatic critic Orpheus C. Kerr (Robert H. Newell 1836-1901), was not allowed in the room. The Jewish actress had also been married to John C. Heenan, “Benicia Boy,” the prizefighter, as well as Alexander Isaacs Menken [Benson 94-5].
According to De Quille (this may have been a tall tale) the “evening terminated when Clemens, aiming a kick at one of the actress’s numerous dogs, accidentally ‘hit the Menken’s pet corn, causing her to bound from her seat, throw herself on a lounge and roll and roar in agony’” [MTL 1: 277-8n5; Powers, MT A Life 136].
February 28 Sunday – Sam’s recent Enterprise article “Concerning Notaries” was reprinted in the Golden Era as “Washoe Wit Mark Twain on the Rampage” [Walker 67; Camfield bibliog.].
February 29 Monday – In Virginia City, Sam wrote to J.T. Goodman & Co., asking them to pay Orion $150. This may have been money Sam owed Orion [MTL 1: 273].
March 1 Tuesday – Governor James Warren Nye (1815-1876) appointed Sam to a two-year term as notary for Storey County [MTL 1: 279n9]. In his Autobiographical Dictation of Apr. 2, 1906 Sam described Nye:
Governor Nye was an old and seasoned politician from New York—politician, not statesman. He had white hair; he was in fine physical condition; he had a winningly friendly face and deep lustrous brown eyes that could talk as a native language the tongue of every feeling, every passion, every emotion. His eyes could out-talk his tongue, and this is saying a good deal, for he was a very remarkable talker, both in private and on the stump. He was a shrewd man; he generally saw through surfaces and perceived what was going on inside without being suspected of having an eye on the matter.
Governor Nye was often absent from the Territory. He liked to run down to San Francisco every little while and enjoy a rest from Territorial civilization. Nobody complained, for he was prodigiously popular. He had been a stage-driver in his early days in New York, and he had acquired the habit of remembering names and faces, and of making himself agreeable to his passengers. As a politician this had been valuable to him, and he kept his arts in good condition by practice. By the time he had been Governor a year, he had shaken hands with every human being in the Territory of Nevada, and after that he always knew these people instantly at sight and could call them by name. The whole population, of twenty thousand persons, were his personal friends, and he could do anything he chose to do and count upon their being contented with it [AMT 2: 4-5]. Note: Nye had been a district attorney and judge in Madison Co. NY, an attorney in Syracuse, and president of the NYC Metropolitan Police Commission; Lincoln appointed him Governor of N.T. in 1861 .
March 2 Wednesday – Menken and troupe opened at Maguire’s New Opera House. Sam had written a series of reviews including some severe criticism of other companies who performed in Maguire’s Opera House. No doubt he was on hand for Adah Menken’s Virginia City debut. Benson writes, “Every seat in the house had been sold the day previous…as no one wanted to miss seeing the glamorous star” . The show was not a great success due to Adah’s choice of the play The French Spy for opening night, where she wore too many clothes [Fatout, MT in VC 162].
March 3 Thursday – Henry L. Blodgett and Sam. L. Clemens, notaries public, began running advertisements in the Virginia City Evening Bulletin [MTL 1: 279n9].
March 4 to 7 Monday – Sam visited Como, Nevada, near Carson City, purpose unknown. Daniel Martin, a past resident of Hannibal owned a saloon in Como, so it’s likely Sam saw him. He would see him again in the Sandwich Islands, and write about a “learned pig” Martin had. Martin claimed the pig could speak seven languages! [MTL 1: 340n3].
March 6 Sunday – Sam was “an associate, apparently in a sort of unofficial advisory capacity” for The Weekly Occidental, a new literary paper published by Thomas Fitch and Co. This was an ambitious journal that may have had as many as seven editions. The first five, from Mar. 6 to Apr. 3, 1864 [RI UC 1993 explanatory notes 678]. The contributors were Joe Goodman, Dan De Quille, Dr. R. Eichler, Fitch and Rollin Daggett. It was once thought the publication had only one issue. Fatout describes the publication and its contributors, and writes that Sam was to be in the second issue [MT in VC 169-175]. The “memory of the lost Occidental” is mentioned in Roughing It.
Sam’s mother, Jane Clemens wrote from St. Louis to Sam and Orion “To my dear children”. Pamela Moffett also wrote to Sam.
From Jane: “Mrs. Kerchivel [sic Kercheval, Helen] from Hannibal spent the day here last week…She wished to be remembered to you all. You have the sympathy of all of your friends as much as any person I ever saw. Jennie was an uncommon smart child she was a very handsome child but I never thought you would raise her, she was a heaven born child, she was two [sic] good for this world.” She also wrote of persons there, & that Dr Meredith died 3 hours before Mrs Rose.
From Pamela: “We rec’d your letter post-marked Feb 6st two or three days after Orion’s post-marked 9st. We thought it strange that you would write to Artemas [sic] Ward, and not to us.” She encouraged Sam to turn to Christ. Also wished he would come to the Fair, and spoke of gifts intended to send to the late Jennie Clemens [MTP].
March 7 Monday – By this date, Adah Menken was giving the miners what they wanted and what had built her reputation, Mazeppa, where she rode a steed up an incline in flesh colored tights which left little to the imagination. That is, Adah wore the tights, not the steed. Fatout writes: “Julie Bulette, the highly esteemed madam, regal in sables, occupied a stage box. Joe Goodman went all out in unrestrained praise…” [MT in VC 162].
March 8 Tuesday – Dan De Quille paid Daggett & Myers $75 toward rent owed with Sam [Mack 246].
March 10, Thursday – Joseph Alfred Slade (Jack) was hanged at Bannock City, Idaho [RI UC 1993 587].
March 18 Friday – Sam wrote from Virginia City to sister Pamela and sent a drawing he made of himself for his niece, Annie Moffett. He wrote about Joe Goodman going to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii): “I wanted to go with Joe, but the news-editor was expecting every day to get sick (he has since accomplished it,) & we could not all leave at once.” Sam also wrote of the gold watch he’d received at the meeting of the Third House of the legislature on Jan. 25 [MTL 1: 275].
March 27 Sunday – Sam’s article “Those Blasted Children” ran in the Golden Era [Walker 18].
March 31 Thursday – Adah Menken “suddenly left Virginia without saying goodbye to anybody, and returned to San Francisco.” Of course, she had $36,000 worth of comfort plus gifts of stock certificates bearing a naked lady on a galloping stallion, which she sold a year later for $50,000 [Fatout, MT in VC 167]. She died in 1868 at age 33.
April 1 Friday – “Another Traitor – Hang Him!” a hoax article in the Enterprise is attributed to Sam [Fatout, MT in VC 180]. Also printed in the Evening Bulletin on Apr. 1 as “Another Goak” [Camfield bibliog.].
April 14 Thursday – Sam wrote to Orion, resigning his commission as a notary public for Storey County [MTL 1: 279n9]. No reason was given, but this work was similar to the scraps of work and fees his father, John Marshall Clemens, had sought, and so by association, Sam may have concluded the small fees were not worth the effort. Noted on the letter for Apr. 15 is Orion’s acceptance.
April 16 Saturday – Sam and Dan De Quille had been taking fencing lessons from Professor O. V. Chauvel, who ran a gymnasium at 12 North C Street [Mack 251]. The Gold Hill Daily News ran an article about their fencing expertise:
It would appear that our two friends, Mark Twain and Dan De Quille, have little faith in the old saying that the pen is mightier than the sword, as they are taking lessons daily in the latter weapon. It is said to be highly amusing to witness these two “roosters,” they sometimes get so terribly in earnest. Then do their blades describe wicked circles, and their nostrils breath forth wrath. We understand that Dan came out of one of these conflicts minus several buttons and one shirtsleeve, and that Twain was in an almost equally dilapidated state .
April 17–24 Sunday – Sam’s item in the Enterprise Local Column was “Missionaries Wanted.” This humorous drubbing of two locals in a fictional scene was typical of Sam’s barbs for those he wanted to deflate. Such reports won him the title of “wild and unpredictable humorist.”
Yesterday morning [John] Gashwiler and Charley Funck, citizens of Virginia City and of the Territory of Nevada, and officers of the great Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company, came rushing into our office in a state of excitement bordering on lunacy… [Note: John W. Gashwiler (1831-1883) “Old Gash”]
What followed was the pair demanding that an article in another newspaper be read, the article being only verses from the book of John in the Bible.
When men get so far gone that they do not know the Sermon on the Mount from a bid for a water franchise, it is time for them to begin reform and stop taking chances on the hereafter [ET&S 1: 424-5].
April 19 Tuesday – Ruel Colt Gridley (1829-1870), an “old schoolfellow of Mark Twain’s” and owner of the Gridley Store in Austin, made a wager on the outcome of a city election, with the loser having to carry a fifty-pound sack of flour from Austin to Clifton, a mile and a quarter’s distance [Fatout, MT in VC 186]. Note: the next day the process began which led to the great flour sack promotions for the Sanitary Fund, a forerunner of the American Red Cross (See May 17 entry.)
April 20 Wednesday – “Frightful Accident to Dan De Quille,” was printed in the Territorial Enterprise. Branch called this sketch “in Mark Twain’s best vein–a typical product of the mutual raillery he carried on with De Quille, resembling his earlier ‘feuds’ with the Unreliable” [ET&S 1: 359].
April 22 Friday – In his Autobiography, Sam wrote of his attempt at a duel with James L. Laird, editor of the Virginia City Union and how it all came about:
…inasmuch as it was the 22d of April, 1864, the next morning it would be the three-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s birthday—and what better theme could I want than that? I got the Cyclopaedia and examined it, and found out who Shakespeare was and what he had done, and I borrowed all that and laid it before a community that couldn’t have been better prepared for instruction about Shakespeare than if they had been prepared by art. There wasn’t enough of what Shakespeare had done to make an editorial of the necessary length, but I filled it out with what he hadn’t done—which in many respects was more important and striking and readable than the handsomest things he had really accomplished. But next I was in trouble again. There was no more Shakespeares to work up. There was nothing in past history, or in the world’s future possibilities, to make an editorial out of suitable to that community; so there was but one theme left. That theme was Mr. Laird, proprietor of the Virginia Union [MTA 1: 354-5]. Note: It’s doubtful that Sam needed to “look up” Shakespeare by this time.
April 24 Sunday ca. – Sam got his nose bloodied by George F. Dawson at Chauvel’s Fencing Club, a Virginia City gymnasium. Dawson, an Englishman, at the time an assistant editor at the Enterprise, was a skilled boxer [Mack 252; Fatout, MT in VC 184]. Sam clowned around with a pair of boxing gloves, but evidently Dawson thought Sam was threatening, so uncorked a punch to Sam’s unguarded nose. De Quille claimed a “plentiful flow of claret” and a nose “like an egg-plant” that supposedly embarrassed Sam enough for him to take an out of town assignment for the newspaper. Branch says this happened “shortly before Apr. 25” [ET&S 1: 358]. Sam volunteered for an assignment to Silver Mountain (in Alpine County, Calif.) to escape the embarrassing teasing his appearance received [ET&S 1: 358].
April 26 Tuesday ca. – Sam left for Silver Mountain to report on mining activity there and to allow his swollen nose to recede for a couple of days.
April 28–30 Saturday – “Letter from Mark Twain” from Carson City, was published in the Enterprise.
“I depart for Silver Mountain in the Esmeralda stage at 7 o’clock to-morrow morning. It is the early bird that catches the worm, but I would not get up at that time in the morning for a thousand worms, if I were not obliged to. MARK TWAIN”[Smith 178].
April 30 Saturday – A fragment of Sam’s Enterprise piece about De Quille survives:
The idea of a plebeian like Dan supposing he could ever ride a horse! He! why, even the cats and the chickens laughed when they saw him go by. Of course, he would be thrown off. Of course, any well-bred horse wouldn’t let a common, underbred person like Dan stay on his back! When they gathered him up he was just a bag of scraps, but they put him together, and you’ll find him at his old place in the Enterprise office next week, still laboring under the delusion that he’s a newspaper man [ET&S 1: 364].
The Enterprise item about Gashwiler and Funck was reprinted in the Amador, California, Weekly Ledger [Fatout, MT Speaks 16-7].
May – Sometime during May, Sam’s article “Burlesque Life of Shakespeare” ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].
May 1 Sunday – Sam’s article “Mark Twain and Dan De Quille / Hors de Combat” ran in the Golden Era [Walker 50]. This was essentially a reprint from the Enterprise of “Frightful Accident of Dan De Quille” [Camfield bibliog.].
May 1–15 Sunday – “Washoe—‘Information Wanted’” was printed sometime in the first two weeks of May, and reprinted in the Golden Era on May 22. Branch opines that Sam was disenchanted by this point with Silver-Land, principally over the scandal with the ladies of Carson City and the contributions to the Sanitary Fund with the Virginia Union. The sketch is hyperbole about Nevada that Branch calls an “appropriate farewell” [ET&S 1: 365].
Nevada was discovered many years ago by the Mormons, and was called Carson county. It only became Nevada in 1861, by act of Congress. There is a popular tradition that God Almighty created it; but when you come to see it, William, you will think differently. Do not let that discourage you, though. The country looks something like a singed cat, owing to the scarcity of shrubbery, and also resembles that animal in the respect that it has more merits than its personal appearance would seem to indicate [ET&S 1: 368].
May 5 Thursday – The Sanitary Fancy Dress Ball was held in Carson City in connection with the St. Louis Fair (a larger Sanitary charity event to help the Union wounded veterans).
May 15 Sunday – The first meeting in Virginia City for the “Sanitary Fund” was trumpeted from the Virginia City Union:
To-day, at 2 o’clock, the long deferred mammoth Sanitary meeting will be held at the Opera House. The announcement ought to fill the house, but when it is remembered that sweet singers, eloquent orators, pretty ladies, and a fine brass band will be in attendance, who can stay away? Turn out for the honor of Nevada! [Benson 106]. Note: the Enterprise no doubt ran similar fare.
May 16 Monday – Joe Goodman was again away from Virginia City, and Sam was in editorial charge of the Enterprise [Benson 107]. Sam drafted a “joke” about the funds for the Carson City Ball going to a miscegenation society back East. He showed it to De Quille, who agreed with Sam that it shouldn’t be printed. Sam later guessed the foreman, needing filler, picked it up and printed it [Powers, MT A Life 137].
Sam’s article, “History of the Gold and Silver Bars—How They Do Things in Washoe,” ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].
May 17 Tuesday – In Virginia City, Sam wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens, and sister Pamela about raising money for relief of sick and wounded Union soldiers, called the “sanitary fund.” The Enterprise and the Union bid against each other to raise funds. Sam related Reuel Colt Gridley’s efforts at hauling a flour sack from town to town for the people to bid on as a means of raising funds. This letter was published (and it appears written for publication) in an unidentified St. Louis newspaper [MTL 1: 281-287].
Sam’s article “Grand Austin Sanitary Flour-Sack Progress through Storey and Lyon Counties” ran in the Enterprise on or about this date (reprinted, Evening Bulletin May. 19) [Camfield bibliog.].
Sam’s “joke” appeared in the Enterprise. In an editorial Sam wrote while “not sober” he claimed that the money raised at the Sanitary Fancy Dress Ball in Carson City was to be sent “to aid a Miscegenation Society somewhere in the East.”
May 18 Wednesday – Sam’s EDITORIAL “How Is It?” ran in the Enterprise:
How is it that The
Union outbid us for the flour Monday night and now repudiate their bid?
How it is that Union employees refused to pay their subscriptions when they fell due? Did they pledge themselves for a big amount solely to make a bigger display than The Enterprise? Had they any other idea than to splurge?
[Schmidt: reprinted in The Saga of the Comstock Lode, George D. Lyman, (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1957), p. 294, quoting Virginia City Daily Union, May 19, 1864].
An unsigned article “Travels and Fortunes of the Great Austin Sack of Flour” attributed to Sam also ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].
May 19 Thursday – Four ladies on the Carson City Sanitary Ball Committee drafted a letter of protest to the Enterprise over Sam’s miscegenation editorial. Joe Goodman, back at his desk, tried to ignore the uproar [Powers, MT A Life 138].
May 20 Friday – Sam wrote from Virginia City to his sister in law, Mollie Clemens, explaining and apologizing for the appearance of the “joke” of May 17. Sam’s confessed he was not sober when he wrote the miscegenation editorial, and had never intended it to be published. He theorized that after sharing it with Dan De Quille he left it in the office and the foreman found it, thinking it was to be published [MTL 1: 287-290].
Another Enterprise editorial continuing the feud with the Union is attributed to Sam [Schmidt].
“Anticipating the Gridley Flour-Sack History” attributed to Sam ran on or about this date in the Enterprise (reprinted May 26 Evening Bulletin) [Camfield bibliog.].
May 21 Saturday – The Virginia Daily Union reacted to the “libelous article” in the Enterprise signed anonymously by “CITIZEN.” Sam’s humor was too raw for these folks, and a full-blown scandal was on. In a further squabble over each newspaper’s contribution to the Sanitary fund, Sam was called “an unmitigated liar, a poltroon and a puppy” in the pages of the Virginia Daily Union. On this same day, Sam wrote to James L. Laird, a partner in the publishers of the Union, demanding a public retraction “of the insulting articles I have mentioned, or satisfaction.”
James L. Laird of the Virginia Daily Union answered Sam:
…in short, Mr. Wilmington has prior claim upon your attention. When he is through with you, I shall be at your service. If you decline to meet him after challenging him, you will prove yourself to be what he has charged you with being: “a liar, a poltroon and a puppy,” and as such, cannot of course be entitled to the consideration of a gentleman [MTL 1: 294].
Not satisfied with this reply shifting blame to J.W. Wilmington, Sam wrote Laird a second note:
In the columns of your paper you have declared your own responsibility for all articles appearing in it, and any farther attempt to make a catspaw of any other individual and thus shirk your responsibility that you had previously assumed will show that you are a cowardly sneak. I now peremptorily demand of you the satisfaction due to a gentleman—without alternative.
Sam sent a third letter, in ever-stronger terms, at 9 PM, demanding satisfaction [MTL 1: 290-2].
J.W. Wilmington wrote to Sam, stating flatly “I have nothing to retract” [MTL 1: 292; MTPO].
May 22 Sunday – Sam’s article “Washoe” was published in the Golden Era [Walker 54].
May 23 Monday – Sam wrote Ellen G. Cutler (Mrs. William K. Cutler), president of the Carson City Sanitary Ball committee his apologies for the unintended printing of the “joke.” Sam wrote, “I address a lady, in every sense of the term” [MTL 1: 296].
James L. Laird of the Virginia Daily Union wrote again answering Sam [MTL 1: 295].
May 24 Tuesday – Sam printed under the title “Miscegenation,” an article in the Enterprise explained the hoax with an apology to the ladies of Carson City. Sam also printed all of his letters in the scrape with the Union, plus those of Laird, Wilmington, and Gillis in the Enterprise, numbering them I through VII (See Smith 191-6 for text). He then called Laird a coward, liar and a fool. In 1872 Sam claimed that a duel was averted when Steve Gillis (Stephen Edward Gillis; 1838-1918) during pistol practice, shot the head off a sparrow and conned Laird’s seconds that Sam had done it [MTL 1: 296]. Note: This story has the ring of fiction.
Sam’s “Personal Correspondence” ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.]. Note: this is probably the above mentioned.
May 25 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Virginia City to Orion and Mollie. Orion had been appointed president of the Ormsby County sanitary committee, and Sam wrote, “I am mighty sick of that fund…” Sam expressed a desire for the whole controversy to go away [MTL 1: 298].
Charles P. Pope (1832-1899), actor & theatrical manager, wrote to Sam, sending a trout he caught in Lake Tahoe. The letter itself is not extant but Walter Leman wrote of it in Memories of an Old Actor (1866): “That splendid trout was boxed up and sent to Mark Twain, for the delectation of the newspaper fellows of the Enterprise, with a letter from Charley Pope, and I fully believe that he told them he caught it; if he did I forgive him…” [MTP].
June 17–23 Thursday – The article “‘Mark Twain’ in the Metropolis” was probably first printed sometime between these dates in the Territorial Enterprise, copies of which were lost [ET&S 2: 9]. (See June 26 entry)
Sam’s stay at the Morning Call was from June 7 to Oct. 11, 1864. As the primary local reporter during these four months, it is estimated the Call published approximately 5,400 local items, ranging from one-sentence notices to lengthy articles. Listed here are 471 items, from Clemens of the Call, by Edgar Branch,  attributed to Sam. Local items were not signed, yet for a great part of this period Branch believes Sam was the only local reporter (though Sam limited his hours at one point, so this is not clear, nor it is clear how much local material others contributed.) Certainly after Sept. 17 (see entry) other reporters were used. Editors may have also written some items. In 1906 Sam remembered his position as the sole city reporter.
The paper had increased circulation to about 10,000 from its beginnings in December 1856, the largest of any daily. James J. Ayers (1830-1897) and George E. Barnes (d.1897) were the primary owners when Sam applied for work. The newspaper was called “The Washerwoman’s Paper,” since it was the cheapest daily (every day except Monday) at 12 & ½ cents per week. It consisted of four eight-column pages, 18 ½ by 23 ½ inches. The Alta California and the Bulletin sold at 50 cents per week. Sam took the job to get a stake together, and almost from the beginning he hated the drudgery of routine and the late working hours. There was not the freedom of the Territorial Enterprise. After four months, Sam was let go .
From TwainQuotes, Barbara Schmidt’s website: “It is safe to speculate that there are many, many more articles by Twain that were written for the Call that are not listed—articles that are simple and mundane daily news reports—often one sentence in length—that do not have the ‘snap’ that is often an unmistakable characteristic of Twain’s authorship. That spectacular Twain ‘snap’ was often an emotional release fired off amidst the drudgery of a job that Twain himself described as ‘killingly monotonous and wearisome . . . fearful drudgery, soulless drudgery, and almost destitute of interest.’ (Twain’s reminiscences of his work on the Call appear in Mark Twain in Eruption, p. 254-260.)”
June 26 Sunday – Sam’s articles, “In the Metropolis,” and “ The Evidence in the Case of Smith vs Jones,” were published in the Golden Era [Walker 77; ET&S 2: 13]. This latter article was an early experiment with reliance on dialogue, dramatic narrative, and rhythm of dialect.
June 28 Tuesday – The following six local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:
“Hackmen Arrested,” “Accessions to the Ranks of the Dashaways,” “Missionaries Wanted for San Francisco,” “Board of Supervisors,” “Charges Against a Police Officer,” (About Lewis P. Ward) “Swill Peddlers” [Branch, C of Call 289].
July 1 Friday – The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Old Thing,” “House at Large,” “School Children’s Rehearsal,” “Police Commissioners,” and “More Steamship Suits Brewing” [Branch, C of Call 289].
July 2 Saturday – The following four local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Policeman Suspended,” “The Swindle Case,” “Chance for the Hotels,” and “Stole a Shirt” [Branch, C of Call 289].
July 3 Sunday – Sam’s article “Early Rising, As Regards Excursions to the Cliff House” was published in the Golden Era. The piece is “manifestly an attempt to elaborate the experience of his own recent trip into a humorous, essentially literary sketch” [Walker 83; ET&S 2: 22].
The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “The Secesh Highwaymen,” “Theatrical Record. City,” “Nabbed,” “Young Thieves,” and “Those Thieves” [Branch, C of Call 289-90].
July 4 Monday – Sam’s “Original Novelette,” an imitation of John Phoenix in a form popularized by Bret Harte and Charles Webb, was published in the Call [Wilson 195; ET&S 2: 31].
The following three local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam:
July 8 Friday – The following five local articles in the Call are attributed to Sam: “Swill Music,” “Arrested for Bigamy,” “Insane,” “En Route,” and “The Bigamist” [Branch, C of Call 290].
…and he used to go with little Steve Gillis and me to the beer saloons in Montgomery street when work was over, at two o’clock in the morning, and where I used to sit around till dawn and have a restful, pleasant time, while little Ward and Steve—weighing ninety-five pounds each—good-naturedly picked quarrels with any strangers over their size who seemed to need entertainment, and they always thrashed those strangers with their fists. I never knew them to suffer a defeat. [AMT 2:113].
Bret Harte was one of the pleasantest men I have ever known. He was also one of the unpleasantest me I have ever known. He was showy, meretricious, insincere; and he constantly advertised these qualities in his dress. He was distinctly pretty, in spite of the fact that his face was badly pitted with smallpox. In the days when he could afford it—and in the days when he couldn’t—his clothes always exceeded the fashion by a shade or two. He was always conspicuously a little more intensely fashionable than the fashionablest of the rest of the community.
He hadn’t a sincere fibre in him. I think he was incapable of emotion, for I think he had nothing to feel with. I think his heart was merely a pump, and had no other function [AMT 2: 119]. Note: see also p 415-30.
…there was way too much of it for one man. The way I was conducting it now, there was enough of it for two or three. Even Barnes noticed that, and told me to get an assistant, on half wages. There was a great hulking creature down in the counting-room—good natured, obliging, unintellectual—and he was getting little or nothing a week and boarding himself. A graceless boy of the counting-room force who had no reverence for anybody or anything, was always making fun of this beachcomber, and he had a name for him which somehow intensely apt and descriptive—I don’t know why. He called him Smiggy McGlural. I offered the berth of assistant to Smiggy, and he accepted it with alacrity and gratitude. He went at his work with ten times the energy that was left in me. He was not intellectual, but mentality was not required or needed in a Morning Call reporter, and so he conducted his office to perfection. I gradually got to leaving more and more of the work to McGlural. I grew lazier and lazier, and within thirty days he was doing almost the whole of it. It was also plain that he could accomplish the whole of it, and more, all by himself, and therefore had no real need of me [AMT 2: 116-17]. Note: Smiggy was William K. McGrew (1827-1903); his nickname came from the title of a humorous popular song in the 1860s. See more about McGrew in AMT 2: 516.
Mrs. Hall entered complaint against a groggery at the corner of Post and Taylor streets, as a nuisance, yesterday, in the Police Court. The case was dismissed. It might not have been, if she had gone to the expense of procuring more legal assistance to prosecute it. The Prosecuting Attorney is a powerful engine, in his way, but he is not infallible. If parties would start him in and let him worm out of the witnesses all the facts that have no bearing upon the case, and no connection with it, and whether the offence was committed “In the City’n County San Francisco” or not, and then have another talented lawyer to start in and find out all the facts that do bear upon the case and are really connected with it, what multitudes of rascals that now escape would suffer the just penalties of their transgressions. With his spectacles on, and his head tilted back at a proper angle, there is no question that the Prosecuting Attorney is an ornament to the Police Court; but whether he is particularly useful or not, or whether Government could worry along without him or not, or whether it is necessary that a Prosecuting Attorney should give all his time, or bend all his energies, or throw all his soul into the one thing of being strictly ornamental, or not, are matters which do not concern us, and which we have never once thought about. Sometimes he has some of his witnesses there, and isn’t that sufficient? [Branch, C of Call 218-19].
HAD A FIT
A lad of some twelve years was seized with convulsions, while sitting in a buggy at the corner of Sacramento and Montgomery streets, yesterday afternoon. Restoratives were speedily brought in play, and in a short time the youth went on his way, viewing with astonishment the multitude that had collected, which was variously estimated at from one thousand to four thousand eight hundred and eighty. One kind hearted person, whose condition, unfortunately, bordered on the “salubrious,” had his place close to the convulsed boy, and puffed smoke from a villainous cigar into his eyes with seeming industry, until gently remonstrated with by a Policeman, on whom he turned furiously, insisting upon tobacco smoke as an infallible remedy for fits, and that he would give the officer fits if he interfered further. However, during this sanitary dispute, the subject had come to and gone off; and the opportunity for determining fully the efficacy of burnt tobacco and whisky fumes in cases of fits, was unfortunately lost for the present [Branch, C of Call 53].
October 21 Friday – Sam had to pay an assessment of $100 on four shares of Hale & Norcross mining stock [RI 1993, explanatory notes 701].
October 22 Saturday – Sam’s article, “Whereas” appeared in the Californian [ET&S 2: 86]. The story was shortened (later published in the Jumping Frog book) and re-titled, “Aurelia’s Unfortunate Young Man” [Wilson 1; Budd, “Collected” 1003]. Sam’s article, “Earthquake Almanac,” was published in the Golden Era [Walker 90].
October 29 Saturday – Sam’s article, “A Touching Story of George Washington‘s Boyhood,” was published in the Californian [ET&S 2: 94].
November 19 or 21 Monday – Sam’s article, “The Pioneers’ Ball,” first ran in the Enterprise [Budd, “Collected” 1005].
November 26 Saturday – Sam’s article, “The Pioneers’ Ball,” was re-printed in the Golden Era [Walker 41].