Mark Twain Day by Day
An Annotated Chronology
Of the Life of Samuel L. Clemens
Volume One (1835-1885)
David H. Fears
© 2008, 2014 David H Fears
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper
Second Edition, volume one
First Printing 2013
ISBN # 0-9714868-2-4
ISBN13 : 978-0-9714868-2-9
Library of Congress Control Number: 2007927972
Published by Horizon Micro Publishing, LLC
Books available directly from the publisher:
Horizon Micro Publishers, LLC
P.O. Box 266
Banks, OR 97106
[email protected]; https://MarkTwainDayByDay.webs.com
Thanks to my wife, Kimberley for her love and support. Special thanks to Thomas A. Tenney for his continual support, anecdotes, and advice, to whom this 2nd edition volume is dedicated. Without his many calls, this project would have been completed six months earlier (though perhaps not as complete). Thanks to JoDee Benussi for sharing mountains of paper and extra books. Thanks to the folks at the Mark Twain Project, especially Robert Hirst and Victor Fischer, who really do possess quite a good sense of humor, and who gave freely of their time, advice, and opinions, as well as permissions for use of MTP material. Thanks also for help and contributions made by the following: Barb Schmidt, Robert Slotta, Kevin Mac Donnell, Robert Monroe, Martin Zehr, Ron Vanderhye & Carol Beales for permission from the James S. Copley Library, La Jolla, Ca., and Debby Applegate, the 2007 Pulitzer prize winner for Henry Ward Beechers biography. Lastly, thanks to certain readers of the MT ListServ who have encouraged my efforts, including Jason Horn, Michael McBride, Arianne Laidlaw, Wes Britton, and Steve Crawford. A personal thanks also to Duncan Carter at Portland State University for his friendship and encouragement even though he favors Dickens over Twain, as well as David W. Robinson for his steadfast faith in my ability in the face of much evidence to the contrary.
Thomas A. Tenney (1931-2012)
Scholar, editor, friend, who made this work possible.
This second edition completes his vision.
What a wee little part of a persons life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible, thin crust of his world, with its scattered snow summits and its vacant wastes of waterand they are so trifling a part of his bulk! a mere skin enveloping it. The mass of him is hiddenit and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and never rest, night nor day. These are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written. Every day would make a whole book of eighty thousand wordsthree hundred and sixty-five books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the manthe biography of the man himself cannot be written.
David H. Fearss log of Samuel Clemens life is often downright interesting in itself for Twainians. Furthermore, they will get a heightened sense of the whirligig he somehow shaped into an ongoing presencehis now well-known business activities, his tireless socializing, his dealings with plumbers, and his paying bills for groceries (including pilsener beer and cigars, of course). As for Mark Twain authors, Fears will help resolve some cruxes while setting up others unsuspected until now. Im envious that my generation didnt have this resource when we were starting out. LOUIS J. BUDD Professor Emeritus at Duke University, author of Mark Twain: Social Philosopher
More fascinating and far better documented than any existing biography of Mark Twain, this study provides a window into every wakingand for that matter, sleepingmoment of Twains hyperactive life. Many scholars before David Fears had contemplated undertaking this staggeringly daunting but incredibly useful project .All students of Mark Twain should give heartfelt thanks for this masterful accomplishment. Fears interweaves even Twains most quotidian activities into a textured fabric, threading helpful explanations where needed. This book now qualifies as the single most essential reference work in Mark Twain scholarship. We will be indebted to David Fears forever. ALAN GRIBBEN Author of Mark Twains Library: A Reconstruction
Mr. Fears must be fearless! To undertake such an immense project certainly requires courage. Going day-by-day in Twains life gives valuable information regarding Twains multi-faceted literary, business, and speculative career. Despite the short length of the quotations the flavor of Twain is there: his attention to household matters, his caring role as husband and father, his experience with publishers, the wide-ranging friendships and his biting wit. Fears volumes will be a major contribution to Mark Twain Studies. HOWARD G. BAETZHOLD Author of Mark Twain & John Bull
In these pages there is a rich record of the life, works, and Twains family and friends. THOMAS A. TENNEY, author of Mark Twain A Reference Guide; editor of The Mark Twain Journal.
David H. Fearss enormous Mark Twain Day By Day: An Annotated Chronology of the Life of Samuel L. Clemens takes Twains activities all the way from [1835-1910]. A huge index even lists such things as Twains donations and individual gifts. Surely all Twain scholars and editors will want to have this research available in their campus or personal libraries. This massive project, undertaken by an independent scholar unsupported by grants, subventions, or even a conventional publisher, has to rank as one of the most extraordinary individual efforts by any one student of Twain ever to see print. ALAN GRIBBEN, American Literary Scholarship 2010.
Introduction (from First Ed.)
Samuel Langhorne Clemens lived 74 years, 4 months, and 23 daysor 27,171 days. At 27 years of age he began using the nom de plume, Mark Twain, which most Americans have known him by since. It is understatement to say that his life was a full one. His life has become an area of study that can occupy a lifetime and still reward researchers with fresh insights into the man, his era, and the human condition.
Some 40 years ago I gained an undergraduate degree in history, and started but did not finish a graduate program, focusing on the Populist Movement of the 1880s and 90s. I was surprised then to discover that Mark Twain had visited my hometown, Portland Oregon, in 1895 on a world tour. It was a fact I tucked away for four decades, till I turned back to graduate school after careers in business and computers. I often wondered what Sam did here in the Rose Citywhat did he see? Whom did he talk with, and what words of wisdom and mirth did he leave on our stage? Those musings were the beginning of this work.
Sam Clemens has remained a fresh interest since that time, possibly because I may be something of a humorist myself, and most certainly have always been a willful boy. Or, possibly because I have a passionate feeling for cats, or for writing, or for women, and God knows I enjoy a good glass, though I gave up cigars in my twenties, something Sam was never able to do, and should he have, Id have perhaps another decade of chronology in front of me.
By the time I returned to the ivory tower for my masters, I was senior to all of my professors. Id had fifteen or so short stories published and was hard at work on a few detective novels, and I studied composition theory and Huck Finn. I sat in some of the same classrooms I had four decades before. My thesis work involved original research on correlating writing apprehension and writing myth. Composition theory and fiction writing were my passion, and I was blessed to be able to teach English Composition for two career collegesor try to anyway, since for many propeller heads, the idea of writing an essay was akin to root canal work without anesthetic.
About this work, I confess to being naïve and chuckleheaded about the scope of the project at the beginning. I am still naïve and chuckleheaded enough to believe I will finish a second volume, just begun. I remember being astonished that with all the miles of paper about Mark Twain, no one had yet published a detailed daily chronology. I started by using the MT Project volumes of letters. Like a man struggling on the foothills of Mt. Everest I kept a steady pace. I was dedicated, if at times overwhelmed, but ploughed on through standard works and adding bookcases as I went.
I smouched (as Sam would say) a vision of a readable, enjoyable, daily chronology, as made possible by one hundred years of scholarship. But a chronology with a differenceone that is essentially a narrative of the mans life, by lining up, highlighting and summarizing as many of those 27,171 days as possible. As my friend Tom Tenney would say, a different sort of biography.
Many times I have concluded there is simply too much information, too little time. The minutiae of this mans life often threatened to rob my joyful climb. Seemingly everything was interesting, everything neededwhat to include, leave out? The biographer has the luxury of excluding the mundane; a detailed chronology should not. Sam was on the go for most of his life, touching hundreds, if not thousands, of places, speaking and lecturing hundreds of time, and writing thousands of notes and letters (by some educated estimates, 50,000 letters written and received), both personal and professionalnot to mention his vast array of literary works. Before the term multi-tasking was coined, Sam lived it.
To study the life of Mark Twain is to study Americas passage from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries, and also to understand what is quintessentially the American spirit. Other scholars and biographers have articulated these realities much better than I am able, so Ill leave it there.
The dual purpose of the book is to give the general reader a more comprehensive chronology of Sams incredible life, and to aid researchers in locating taking-off places for further study. The book is a general reference guide for dates, places and events, built mainly from the scholarship of others who have invested lifetimes in their passion, and of my humble diggings through primary and secondary sources.
A chronology can be another way of reading a life story. Where was Sam on a particular day? What was he doing, thinking about? Whom did he interact with? Moreover, what is the significance of the events? How much do we know; what might we deduce? What is missing that would enlighten our understanding? Who were those in Sams life now mostly forgotten by history? What was the relationship with those closest to him, his friends and allies as well as his antagonists? Hopefully, this work might begin to answer some of those questions for some readers. Or, simply create more questions.
It is definitely true that the world knows him as Mark Twain, but to me that was his stage persona, the humorist, and the unparalleled writer. I maintain that the manthe heart and soul of the manis, and always has been, simply, Sam. Academics often call him S.L.C. which is fine but does not serve the purpose of intimate narrative. Most of his friends called him Sam, and his best friend Howells called him simply, Clemens. His wife called him Youth in person and Mr. Clemens when writing to others. In many ways his nom de plume hid his real face, and purposely so. My use of Sam is perhaps a reflection of the intimacy I feel with him, both as a fellow writer and a human being. Plus, it has the advantage of making the entries shorter and youve got to call the man something.
This book is not offered as major discovery of primary sources as yet unprinted, though I have visited the Mark Twain Project and waded through many primary documents; neither is it an analysis in the normal sense of the word, but a day-by-day timeline extricated from most known major historical sources in print. I have not attempted to present any historical thesis or position on the significance of Twains life or works, aside from those events that are often pointed to as turning points in his path. I have offered few opinions on issues, only some where I could not resist. I have not knowingly told any stretchers, nor have I made this work essentially my take on the man. Neither have I set out to discredit or show up any of the recognized Mark Twain scholars, by pointing out errors or omissions in their work. Where there is disagreement on a particular date/place/experience, I attempt to present the various sides.
I was principally guided in the effort by the Berkeley MTPs multi-volume works, both in print and electronic of Mark Twains Letters as well as other letters available there. I have reviewed most of the major biographies, from Albert Bigelow Paines 1912 work, through contemporary studies by Kaplan, Powers, Perry, Hoffman, and others. We all owe a great debt to those scholars who devoted their energies and talents to the tedious and time-consuming research tasks: Albert Bigelow Paine, Bernard DeVoto, Dixon Wecter, Henry Nash Smith, Justin Kaplan, Andrew Hoffman, Ron Powers, James D. Wilson, Kenneth Andrews, Hamlin Hill, Margaret Sanborn, all the tireless workers of the Mark Twain Projectand many, many others. I could not have put this book together without them. I deeply appreciate the guidance and support of Thomas A. Tenney, retired English professor at the Citadel, and also Editor of the Mark Twain Journal since 1982. Barbara Schmidt, another retired educator who is no doubt busier now with research and her Mark Twain website (www.twainquotes) and ListServ responsibilities, has also been very helpful.
I do not pretend that this work is without error, or that it stands complete. There are many errors in biographies and secondary sources, and even in Sams dates and memory. Other sources remain elusive. Not all sources are equally credible. This work is certainly not the last word. I ask the scholar, expert, or interested fan of Sam Clemens to inform me of errors and omissions, so that addenda might be published in forthcoming volumes.
Entries should be read in context. That is, by reviewing dates before and after any particular entry, a deeper understanding of the elements may emerge.
Last, I emphasize that this work is a beginning. There is so much work left to do. But, what other American life is so worthy of study?
David H. Fears 2005-2007
Forward for the Second Edition:
Since the first edition was released in 2008, three volumes have followed, improved in many respects from the original first volume. Many additions and corrections have surfaced since 2008. This second edition of the first volume incorporates over a hundred additions and corrections, including those posted on the website. Also, several noteworthy works on Twain have been published which inform this new edition, especially: Thomas Reigstads important work, Scribblin for a Livin which updates and revises the much-neglected Buffalo period of Twains life; and David C. Antonuccis work on the Tahoe episodes, Fairest Picture: Mark Twain at Lake Tahoe. Other publications have also been reviewed.
Most important, my scholarship and scope improved as I continued through volumes two through four, bringing the realization of the shortcomings of volume one. Incoming letters were mostly not examined for the first edition, and are not summarized, paraphrased, or excerpted here. In many cases, having the incomings greatly illuminates Clemens letters, though when Kevin Mac Donnell first mentioned the need for these I thought him mad and was dumbstruck. The sheer increase in work at first stalled me. Then, as I worked along through the final three volumes I understood the increased value of this reference work that accrued by including those incoming letters to Clemens. A small handful of letters shown in the catalogue were not found at the Mark Twain Project. Often misfiling or burial beneath staff papers may account for these. When they are forthcoming I will put them on the website.
Ive been asked a few times why on earth Id set forth on such a daunting project. Because I love Mark Twain? Because its never been done? To organize the vast array of data that exists? Possibly all are valid reasons and partly to blame or credit for this work. But Ive sensed lately that I simply wanted to get closer to the man, to avoid the cherry-picking and incomplete pictures given to us by various biographers, though not to say they are not valuable. But incomplete. Livy called Samuel Clemens a name that reflected his eternal boy-ness: Youth. In that way I am a kindred spirit to Twain, to Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and all those boys ages two to a hundred-two who, in their hearts, do not take note of old age and who keep an outlook of fun, curiosity, and yes, humor throughout life. I, too, am Youth. I often say things to people I dont know that embarrass my better half, things I see as humorous. Perhaps their reactions provide a crude but instant way of seeing into them and finding if they too have a kindred spirit. After my first visit to the Mark Twain Project I wrote a short essay on whether or not the people there had a sense of humor (I judged, mostly, they do). I discovered later that several academics on a Mark Twain website do not have a sense of humor. I no longer frequent the place. The academics I deal with in my own part-time teaching and most all of my students have a perfectly muscular sense of humor.
After the thousands of hours spent on research for this four-volume work (and the second edition for the first volume), I do feel closer to the man, in many ways a giant who rose above the vicissitudes and sorrows of life to cling to his humor. Without humor, what would Mark Twain be? What would I be? What is man without humor? Not much, I suspect. I still believe that analyzing humor sucks the marrow from it (as Clemens also believed), though the sourpuss academics I speak of would disagree. I can think of no greater aim for my own life than to remain a Youth in my outlook and relationships, and to do so requires a fresh, positive view of all that is humorous and interesting in life.
I was saddened by the deaths of Tom Tenney, Lou Budd, and Howard Baetzholdall of whom gave this work a glowing puff when it had only begun. There is no connection with their glowing praise and early departure, and only Alan Gribben now survives of those original four testimonials. I hope hes well. To paraphrase Clemens, Im not feeling well myself.
Finally, I owe much to the Mark Twain Project at UC Berkeley, especially Victor Fischer and Robert Hirst. I cannot express my thanks fullyto do so would take another four volumes.
David H. Fears 2014
Dates: I have followed the conventions used by the University of California Press on the volumes of Mark Twains Letters, except I have added the day of the week. To wit:
October 5 Thursday Sources indicate this is a confirmed date, or a deduced date from events or
other evidence. Firm dates come before conjectured or circa dates and date ranges.
October 3? Tuesday
The question mark indicates a conjecture of October 3. Conjecture dates are listed separately.
June 2429 Saturday
A span of dates joined by a dash indicates a less specific conjecture: the date or dates of composition are thought to fall within this span. Day of the week is ascribed to the last date in the span. The last date in a period is noted by its day of the week. Such entries are listed separately.
June 24 to 29 Saturday Not a conjecture, but an assertion that some event ran from June 24 through June 29. Such date ranges are listed separately.
May 2 and 3 Friday
Not a conjecture, but an assertion that the event or activity occurred at least in part on both days. Such inclusive dates are listed separately.
May 1 Friday ca.
A conjecture of circa a date, month, year or season. Similar to May 1st? but with less specificity. May also be specified as on or before, or on or after. Circa dates are listed separately.
Items for which only a month is known, or for magazine-type publications issued for a given month.
Items for which a year is known, but not a month or date.
Note: Dates are arranged in order; spans of dates and single dates are sorted by the first date in a span. Conjectured dates are usually separate from known or consensus dates. Thus there are separate entries for May 1 Friday, and May 1? Friday; May 17 Thursday would follow May 1220 Sunday. Occasionally entries are labeled Mid-month or End of Month or Early Spring, etc. Confirmed dates are listed first.
Where unsigned articles have been ascribed to Sam Clemens by major researchers, I have followed their lead but specified, attributed. Sam when shown without surname is used throughout to mean Mark Twain/ Samuel L. Clemens; likewise Livy designates Olivia Louise Clemens; Susy has been chosen for Olivia Susan Clemens over the spelling Susie, which is seen in earlier references to her. Jane Clemens is used for Sams mother, Pamela or Pamela Moffett for his sister, Orion for his brother. For certain dominant people in Sams life, or dominant within certain periods, last
names only are given: Howells, Twichell, Cable, etc. Middle names are usually omitted, in favor of a middle initial; some middle initials are omitted, when reference is clearly to one person, such as Hjalmar Boyesen. Frank is often given for Francis; Joe for Joseph, when the person was a familiar figure in Sams life, such as Joe Twichell, Frank Bliss, etc.
MLA formatting is followed for in-text and Works Cited, with exceptions made for MT standard abbreviations such as MTBus or MTLTP (see abbreviations), and follow the MT Projects conventions when possible. Use of [brackets] for in-text citations, as well as editors inserts within quoted text.
Some exceptions are made to standard MT scholarly convention, such as MTL with volume numbers used for the MTP volumes, whereas this abbreviation in the past was used for Paines volumes of letters, which I cite as MTLP, if I use them at all. A few conventions are modified, such as LM instead of LoM for Life on the Mississippi. See Abbreviations.
Nearly every date given requires a citation, though some are calculated from sources. Because both primary and secondary sources are used, errors and omissions may have been introduced. Hopefully, more study of primary sources will amend such shortcomings.
The few opinions on events or interpretation of an entry follow all citation designators as well as extra information following Note; These remarks are offered as simply one mans view, and every effort has been made to keep them short and pithy, without obstacle to the meaning of the listing. Of course, I hold title to many more opinions than the few exposed here. Admittedly, a work of this scope carries errors and inconsistencies. Thats what future appendixes and supplements are for.
Bold Entries, Quotations:
All references to dates are bold, save for those within quotes. Also bold are first mentions of persons and places (including lecture halls, etc.) within each date entry. Subjects and titles are not bold. Indented are letter, newspaper excerpts (boxed) and longer commentaries from biographers and scholars. This may aid ease of reading, finding ones place and appearance.
CY Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court
ET&S 1: 2: Early Tales & Sketches. Vol. 1, 1851-1864. Vol. 2, 1864-1865. Edited by
Edgar M. Branch and Robert H. Hirst. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979-81.
GA The Gilded Age
IA Innocents Abroad
LLMT The Love Letters of Mark Twain. Edited by Dixon Wecter. New York: Harper & Bros 1949
LM Life on the Mississippi
MMT My Mark Twain, by William Dean Howells. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1910.
MTA Mark Twains Autobiography. Edited by Albert Paine. 2 vols. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1924.
MTB Mark Twain A Biography, by Albert Paine, 4 vols. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1912.
MTHL 1: 2: Mark Twain-Howells Letters: The Correspondence of Samuel L. Clemens and William Dean Howells. Edited by Henry Nash Smith and William M. Gibson. 2 vols. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960.
MTJ Mark Twain Journal. Edited by Thomas A. Tenney.
MTL 1: 6: Mark Twains Letters. Volumes 1-6. 1853-1875. Edited by Edgar M. Branch, et al. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988-2002.
MTLE 1: 5: Mark Twains Letters, Electronic Volumes 1-5. 1876-1880. Mark Twain Project.
MTLP Mark Twains Letters. 2 vols. Edited by Albert Bigelow Paine. New York: Harper & Bros 1917.
MTLTP Mark Twains Letters to His Publishers, 1867-1894. Edited by Hamlin Hill. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.
MTMF Mark Twain To Mrs. Fairbanks. Edited by Dixon Wecter. San Marino: Huntington Press, 1949.
MTP Mark Twain Project/Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
MTPO Mark Twain Project Online, University of California, Berkeley.
MT & GWC Mark Twain and George W. Cable, by Alan Turner.
MTNJ 1: – 3: Mark Twains Notebooks & Journals. Volumes 1 3. 1855-1891. Edited by Frederick Anderson, et al. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.
MTS&B Mark Twains Satires & Burlesques. Franklin R. Rogers, ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.
MTTMB Mark Twains Travels With Mister Brown. New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1940.
P&P The Prince and the Pauper
ViU Barrett Collection, University of Virginia
Sister Margaret Died John Marshall Clemens Became Judge Moved to Hannibal Sammy Survived Infancy
November 30 Monday Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) was born two months premature in the hamlet of Florida, Missouri to John Marshall Clemens (1798-1847) and Jane Lampton Clemens (1803-1890). The baby was named Samuel, for Johns father; Langhorne, for the friend of John Marshalls who had helped him in his youth in Virginia.
26-year-old Dr. Thomas Jefferson Chowning (1809-1854) delivered baby Sam in the absence of the family physician, Dr. Hugh Meredith (1806-1864). The birthplace was a little frame house on South Mill Street [Wecter 43]. Sam was born sickly. His mother later recalled, When I first saw him I could see no promise in him [Powers, MT A Life 8].
Halleys Comet had reached its perihelion on Nov. 17. It would return again in 1910, reaching its greatest visibility on Apr. 19 of that year, two days before Sams death.
John Marshalls ancestors had come from England to Virginia [Wecter 3-7]. A generation later they moved over the Alleghenies and kept pushing west . Sams grandfather, his namesake, was five when America declared independence in 1776. In 1803, the year of the Louisiana Purchase, Samuel B. Clemens (1770-1805) moved west into what would become West Virginia. He had married a Quaker named Pamelia (Parmelia) Goggin (1775-1844) and took their first of five children, John Marshall Clemens, named in honor of the first Chief Justice of the U.S. John Marshall married Jane Lampton on May 6 1823 .
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the sixth child. The Clemens family moved to Florida, Missouri about June 1, 1835 from Tennessee [Wecter 39]. Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was President of the United States, and the Alamo was four months away. The Souths pastoral economy was firmly upheld by slavery and the Norths industrial economy waxed stronger. The early 1830s were a period of inflationary boom. The Federal government encouraged the speculative fever by selling millions of acres of public lands in western states like Michigan and Missouri. The West had spread to the edge of the Great Plains, and like many other families who had not found bounty in the East, the Clemens family moved into Missouri, the outpost of civilization, looking for the good life. Dreams of wealth in such an environment seemed realistic.
May 21 Saturday John Marshall Clemens purchased a somewhat larger house on the south side of Main Street in Florida, Missouri for $1,050 from Sams grandfather, Benjamin Lampton (1770-1837), who had occupied the house and moved to the country [Wecter 46].
Sam was small and sickly, not expected to live. He was often in bed under the care of his mother, Jane Clemens, who told stories of Indians chasing her grandmother, also named Jane. His mother was aided in his care by his older siblings: Orion b.1825, Pamela b.1827, Margaret b.1830, Benjamin b.1832. Another boy child, Pleasant Hannibal (both family names) died at three months, b.1828 or 1829 [MTL 1: 382]. [ page 1401 ] [ page 1400 ] [ page 1399 ] [ page 1398 ] [ page 2 ]
John Marshall was involved in the project of making Salt River navigable as well as a plan to build a railroad between the town of Paris, Mo. and the smaller village of Florida. He frequented citizens meetings in the region and became well known in Pike, Ralls, and Monroe counties. He also spoke to members of the Legislature at Jefferson City.
November 30 Wednesday Baby Sams first birthday.
February Big plans were afloat for developing the area. The Missouri Legislature appointed John Marshall to head a commission of six members to promote a Florida & Paris railroad. The same Legislature also encouraged John Marshall, together with John Adams Quarles (1802-1876), Dr. Hugh Meredith and others to found a school to be called The Florida Academy [Varble 125]. An educational foundation was set up with Marshall and Quarles as trustees. John Marshall was also involved in schemes to make the Salt River into a minor Mississippi [Wecter 47; Varble 125].
March 18 Saturday Sams grandfather, Benjamin Lampton, age 67, died in Florida, Mo. [Wecter 47].
May 10 Wednesday The early part of the decade saw an inflationary boom, which led to The Panic of 1837. The crisis occurred when every bank stopped payment in specie (gold and silver coinage). The West was badly hit by the panic, and would not recover for four or five years. The Clemens family would struggle financially for years, in part due to this panic.
November 6 Monday John Marshall Clemens was sworn in as a judge of the Monroe County court. Wecter calls this the zenith of his professional life and one that fixed upon him ever after the title of Judge [Wecter 48]. He received two dollars a day while the court met . John had trained to be a lawyer and was very exacting in his work. His letters show the graceful Spenserian script which educated people of the day displayed. Sam got his exacting nature from his father, and his humor and red hair from his mother. John Marshall built a one-story house, known as the double house on the land hed bought before Sammy was born [Wecter 49; Powers MT A Life 14].
November 30 Thursday Sams second birthday.
First half of year The Clemens family moved to their third house in Florida, Mo. Wecter says probably before the birth of their youngest child, Henry Clemens, on June 13 [Wecter 49]. They sold their second Florida house to John Quarles for a sum that reflected settlement of unpaid debts from the dissolved store partnership .
July 13 Friday Henry Clemens, the youngest child of John Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton Clemens was born in Florida, Mo. [MTL 1: 382]. Henry was the model for Sid Sawyer in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a boy upright in every way, not at all like his older brother Sam.
August ca. Shortly after Jane Clemens recovered from childbirth, thirteen-year-old Orion was dragged along a picket fence by two oxen. He was saved from death or injury by Jane and a peg leg man who happened to be passing [Varble 127].
August 8 Wednesday John Marshall Clemens term on the Monroe County court expired [Selby 1].
November 30 Friday Sams third birthday.
February John Quarles had married Martha Ann Patsy Lampton (1807-1850), Janes younger sister, and opened a store at Florida, Missouri the year before the Clemens family arrived. In this month he closed his successful store at Florida and bought 70 acres of good farmland. A few months later he added 160 acres more [Wecter 50]. The farm was three and a half miles northwest of town. Quarles kept slaves (Some claim as many as 30 slaves, some eleven, and some as few as six) [Powers, Dangerous 41; Powers MT A Life 11; Dempsey 4]. Frequent visits to the Quarles Farm allowed Sam to hunt and fish, and gave him intimate contact with blacks. Stories told by his uncle John and also by older blacks fed Sam with grist for his later tales. (See The Twainian, Mar. 1942 for an insightful article on Quarles.)
A family story about three-year-old Sam, retold years later by his niece, Annie Moffett Webster (1852-1950).
When Sam was about three he was distressed because he had no tail bebind. He said, The dog has a tail bebind, the cat has a tail bebind, and I havent any tail bebind at all at all. His uncle (I think it was his Uncle Hannibal) made a tail of paper and pinned it on his little dress, and he went around very proud and happy [MTBus 44].
August, mid About this time one-year-old Henry Clemens eluded the colored boy who was caring for him and toddled into the hot embers at a soap kettle. While he was being tended by Jane Clemens and neighbor Mrs. Penn, Henrys sister Margaret fell ill [Varble 127]. Sam sleepwalked into sister Margarets bedroom and tugged at her blanket. Nineteenth century rural America called this act plucking at the coverlet, an act presaging death. The family took this as a sign that little Sammy had second sight [Wecter 51].
August 17 Saturday Nine-year-old sister Margaret died of bilious fever (typhoid or malaria). It was the first of many family deaths Sam would suffer. Wecter gives this date as Aug. 19 .
November 13 Wednesday John Marshall Clemens sold properties around Florida for $3,000 to speculator Ira Stout. At the same time, John purchased a quarter of a city block in Hannibal on the Mississippi, about forty miles east of Florida, for what Wecter calls the thumping price of $7000 paid in full [Wecter 51-2; Powers, MT A Life 21]. Note: Hannibal was also a family name with no connection to the town. It may be argued that John paid too much for the quarter block in Hannibal.
November 20 Wednesday ca. John Marshall sold another large parcel, 326 acres near the Ralls County line, for $2000 to Ira Stout [Wecter 52].
November, mid-late The Clemens family moved to Hannibal: John, Jane, Orion, Pamela, Benjamin, Sammy (nearly age four), the baby Henry, and a slave girl Jennie. Paine, in Boys Life of Mark Twain says the family lived first at Paveys Hotel (later Planters Hotel). The Paveys later moved to St. Louis. Wecter gives the time of the move as about mid-November .
The first home for the Clemens was the Virginia House, a rickety two-story hotel close to the river at the northwest corner of Main and Hill Streets [Varble 129].
John Marshall traveled to St. Louis soon after the familys arrival. There he stayed with his half-sister Ann Polly Hancock (d.1893), and her English husband William Saunders (d.1885). John Marshall sought a loan from a distant relative James Clemens, Jr. (1791-1878) in order to make token payments on stock he needed to open a store in Hannibal. The two men had not met but had corresponded as youths. The loan was given; John Marshall returned to Hannibal and opened a store on the main floor; the family lived on the second floor. [Varble 131-2; Powers, MT A Life 21].
Sam grew up on the river, in that sleepy white washed town which was to be his theatre of boyhood. Here he knew dreams, adventure, terror and sorrow. Sam Clemens would immortalize Hannibal in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn [Powers, Dangerous 50].
November 30 Saturday Sams fourth birthday.
December, mid John Marshall had been drafted for a border war with Iowa over a disputed boundary, but the matter was settled by this time [Wecter 56].
Brother Benjamin Died Family Moved to Hill Street House Murder Witnessed
Many Adventures Cholera, Measles and Death John Marshall Clemens Died
Sam the Printers Devil
Sams boyhood days in Hannibal, from ages four to eleven were filled with adventures, escapades and personalities many of which were to find their way into his many novels years later. Among those that might have taken place anytime during this decade were: The sale, beating and killings of slaves. Accidents on the river; Corpses washing up at Hannibal; Cave adventures, including the cadaver kept in McDowells Cave; Town drunks, including the Blankenship clan, Tom (b.1831?) being Sams model for Huck Finn. Injun Joe. Judge Clemens keeping the peace with a hammer on the head of two rowdies; Pranks at school. Sams claims of near drowning nine times; Rafting adventures; Hunting, fishing; Gang hangouts; Falling through the ice on the river; Steamboats arriving at the Hannibal docks; The swimming hole in Bear Creek; Jim Wolfes descent in his flying nightshirt into a candy pull; Sam dancing naked and playing bear in the moonlight while two girls watched in secret behind a shade, etc.
Most of these boyhood adventures cannot be pinned to a date, or even to a specific year. Wecter does a good job of identifying many of them, and Powers writes a powerful treatment of the psychological makeup of these boyhood years in Dangerous Waters. Some listings of Sams boyhood friends are found here and there. A picture taken in 1922 of Sams surviving childhood friends included Norval Gull Brady (1839-1929), Dr. B.Q. Stevens, John Ro Bards (1838-1925), Moses D. Bates Jr., Mrs. Laura Hawkins Frazer (1837-1928), and T.G. Dulaney; not pictured and deceased at that time: S.H. Honeyman, Jimmy McDaniel, B.O. Farthing, and Ed Pierce [The Fence Painter, Winter 1986/1987 Vol. VI No.4 Hannibal, Mo.]. Other friends are listed in various dated entries. See especially Feb. 6, 1870 to Will Bowen for several escapades remembered.
In his Nov. 30, 1906 A.D., Clemens recalled minstrel shows in Hannibal:
I remember the first negro-minstrel show I ever saw. It must have been in the early 40s. It was a new institution. In our village of Hannibal, on the banks of the Mississippi, we had not heard of it before, and it burst upon us as a glad and stunning surprise.
The show remained a week, and gave a performance every night. Church members did not attend these performances, but all the worldlings flocked to them, and were enchanted.
The minstrels appeared with coal-black hands and faces, and their clothing was a loud and extravagant burlesque of the clothing worn by the plantation slave of the time .Standing collars were in fashion in that day, and the minstrel appeared in a collar which engulfed and hid the half of his head and projected so far forward that he could hardly see sideways over its points. His coat was sometimes made of curtain calico, with a swallow-tail that hung nearly to his heels and had buttons as big as a blacking box. His shoes were rusty, and clumsy, and cumbersome, and five or six sizes too large for him. There were many variations upon this costume, and they were all extravagant, and were by many believed to be funny.
The minstrel used a very broad negro dialect; he used it competently, and with easy facility, and it was funnydelightfully and satisfyingly funny [AMT 2: 294]. Note: see source for more.
A later work by Clemens is Villagers of 1840-3. The MTP says this about it:
The most intriguing of the factual works, however, is Villagers of 1840-3, published here in its entirety for the first time [see MTPO]. This extended series of notes about life in ante-bellum Hannibal contains over one-hundred capsule biographies of the towns residents, including Mark Twains own family. Written in 1897, forty-four years after Samuel Clemens left his boyhood home, it is a remarkable feat of memory, compelling both as a historical and a literary document. Evidently Mark Twain intended to use it as a master list of possible characters for any subsequent stories he might set in St. Petersburg or [ page 6 ] Dawsons Landing, his imaginary re-creations of Hannibal [MTPO]. Note: Sam gave his father the name of Judge Carpenter.
The Aberdeen (S.D.) Daily News, 4 Jan. 1905, p. 2, Mark Twains Pranks reported reminiscences by Captain H. Lacy, who was born in Hannibal in 1839. Lacy claims it was not Jim Wolfe who was the victim of the famous skeleton-in-bed prank (sometime in the 1840s), but a tramp printer named Snell, who blew into Hannibal one day and was given work on the paper. Lacy claimed to be along on the prank; his account offers not only a different victim than has been imagined (see MTL 1: 18n4; also Ch. 23 TA) but a different outcome:
He was an uncommunicative sort of fellow, but a good worker and obedient. Sam decided to bring him out of his reserve and to do it borrowed a skeleton from a doctors office and slipped it into the printers bed. Then we got around to a window about bedtime to see what was going to happen. The print pulled off his shoes, piled his clothes over on the floor and blew out the light. The next thing we supposed would be a yell and a printer shooting out of the window in his nightshirt. But there wasnt anything of the sort. There was a sleepy yawn and:
Get over on your own side, darn you.
We heard the ghastly bedmate of Snell fall to the floor, and then everything was quiet except for the snoring of the sleeping printer. The joke had failed, and we went up to our rooms in disgust.
Next day Snell didnt show up, and we began to feel a little hopeful that maybe the trick had worked after all. But we were again disappointed. Snell was in a gin mill, boiling drunk and having the time of his life.
Killed erm man deadern a red Injun, he yelled, an shell corpsus fer dollar an sheventy-five! Wow!
He had rolled the skeleton up in a sheet and sold it to another doctor!
The Chapman Troupe came through Hannibal annually in the 1840s until 1847. For 35 years the troupe was perhaps the most celebrated theatrical family in the West. Mary Parks Chapman (1813-1880) was one of the seven children in the show and later had 20! children herself. Sammy Clemens undoubtedly saw one or all of the Hannibal performances as they were advertised as children welcome [MTP]. Note: see Dec. 16, 1865 for a letter from Mary to Clemens.
See A Memory a sketch which ran in the Galaxy for Aug. 1870, about Sammys relationship to his father.
U.S. Census reported 1,034 people living in Hannibal, up from the sixty families that were there in the Panic of 1837 [Wecter 57]. Hard times came to the Clemens family during the first years of the decade. Judge John Marshall Clemens was forced to sell Jennie, the slave girl brought from Virginia. She was tall, well formed, nearly black, and brought a good price [MTB 41]. For a time, things improved. John Marshall borrowed money from his wealthy cousin James Clemens, Jr. A wealthy Whig attorney in St. Louis, and from James A.H. Lampton (1824-1879), Janes half-brother who lived near Florida, Missouri. John Marshall opened another store with already bookish, absent-minded, inept, fifteen-year-old Orion behind the counter [Wecter 57].
Spring Sam started school at Mrs. Horrs school in Hannibal, a small log cabin at the southern end of Main Street, near Bear Creek. Elizabeth Horr (ca.1790-1873) and daughter Miss Lizzie were the only teachers. On Sams first day of school he broke a rule twice and was told to go find a switch for his punishment. He kept looking for smaller and smaller switches until he came back with a coopers shaving (a cooper is a barrel maker). Later, Miss Mary Ann Newcomb (1809-1894) would help at the school [Wecter 54]. Sam, during his last visit to Hannibal in 1902, would say: I owe a great deal to Mary Newcomb, she compelled me to learn to read [Wecter 84]. McGuffeys Readers were the new rage.
In his Aug. 15, 1906 A.D. Sam recalled his first school: There were no public schools in Hannibal in those early years, but there were two private schools in Hannibalterms twenty-five cents per week per pupil, and collect it if you can. Mrs. Horr taught the children, in a small log house ; Mr. Sam Cross taught the young people of larger growth in a frame schoolhouse on the hill [AMT 2: 177].
July 28 and 29 Wednesday The Log Cabin Campaign rally on Market Street in Hannibal would surely have included John Marshall, a devout Whig. Jane Lampton Clemens loved parades and funerals. Four and a half year old Sam no doubt witnessed the celebration [Wecter 58]. Note: For more about Jane Clemens as recalled by her granddaughter Annie Moffett Webster in Fredonia, see May 22, 1870 entry.
October John Marshall sold on credit about $1,000 for merchandise bought wholesale to one Ira Stout, who then used the new bankruptcy laws to avoid payment. Ultimately this led to the loss of the Clemens home [Wecter 56].
November 30 Monday Sams fifth birthday.
January 5 or 7 Friday Sams father wrote on his failed trip of being unable to collect debts or even to sell Charlie for $40 in Vicksburg [MTB 43]. Powers suggests he sold Charlie for ten barrels of tar [Powers, Dangerous 124]. Wecter cites the letter date as Jan. 5 and the sale for tar as Jan. 24 .
May 12 Thursday Ten-year-old Benjamin L. Clemens died after a weeklong, unexplained illness. Bilious fever they sometimes called such illnesses. Sam was six. He remembered his parents grief; Orion recalled that his parents kissedthe only time the Clemens children had seen them do this [MTB 44]; Powers writes that it was Sam who remembered; its likely both recalled the event. In her grief, Sams mother made all the children approach the bedside of Benjamin and touch his dead cheek. For Sam, this act left an impression, and once again, Sam felt partly responsible for a family death.
Sams father, already a judge, was elected justice of the peace, but fees were few and far between. (Powers: probably in 1842; Paine [MTB 41] states this was in 1840, Wecter  also in 1842).
July 17 Sunday ca. (After this day) Sams brother, Orion, now seventeen and a very good journeyman printer, obtained a position in St. Louis, and was able to send support home for the family, three dollars out of ten per week [MTB 44]. (Powers characterizes it as Orion being sent off.) Orion wrote home that he was trying to imitate the life of Benjamin Franklin, even to the extent of living on bread and water. While in St. Louis until 1849, Orion made friends with attorney Edward Bates (1793-1869) and began studying law in his office. Bates would later secure Orion an appointment as secretary to the Nevada Territory, a connection that led Sam west and into history .
August 12 Friday Though a boy of nearly seven, Sam probably was witness to the sinking of the side wheel steamboat Glaucus at Hannibal. Such an event would have brought the whole town out to gawk. Sam noted the sinking in his notebook in 1883 [MTNJ 3: 30n52].
October 13 Thursday Exactly one year before, John Marshall and Jane Clemens lost their real estate in Hannibal, interest being transferred to James Kerr, St. Louis merchant and debt holder. On this day the property was auctioned but failed to meet the amount of the debt [Dempsey 49].
November 30 Wednesday Sams seventh birthday.
Sams father caught him in a lie. John Marshall Clemens did not often punish his children, for his stern mien often did the trick. The family had made one or two moves since coming to Hannibal, and Sam recalled his fathers punishment in a house theyd only been in a year. During 1843 Sams father was building the family a new house [MTB 44]. Some sources site 1844 for the move in.
Sam attended his second Sunday school in the basement of the Presbyterian Church. The first had been for two or three years prior in a shabby little brick Methodist church on the public square called the Old Ship of Zion [Wecter 86].
Summer This was the first year of long summer visits to the Quarles Farm, about three and a half miles northwest of the old Clemens home in Florida, Mo.. These visits would continue until Sam was eleven or twelve (1847-8). Sam was seven on this first visit. He loved his uncle John Quarles, a warm, affable, hospitable, country man who told jolly jokes and played with the children. Quarles made hunting trips through the woods. His wife Aunt Patsy set a marvelous table; they had eight children and about thirty slaves (some sources say far fewer). These idyllic summers were grist for many of Sams later stories. Sam had a favorite playmate cousin a year younger than him, Tabitha Quarles (1836-1917), they called Puss. He loved cats (his mother had at one time nineteen felines about!). Puss recalled:
When he arrived at the farm father would lift his big carpet bag out of the wagon and then would come Sam with a basket in his hand. The basket he would allow no one except himself to carry. In the basket would be his pet cat. This he had trained to sit beside himself at the table. He would play contentedly with a cat for hours, and his cats were very fond of him and very patient when he tried to teach them tricks [Wecter 92].
Significant was Sams exposure and relationship with the Negroes, especially with Aunt Hanner, Uncle Danl (b.1805?) and Uncle Ned, the latter a slave of his fathers in the Florida days, and the source of the Golden Arm story [Wecter 46].
It was on the farm that I got my strong liking for the race, and my appreciation of certain of its fine qualities [Nieder 6].
Sam made a sketch of Uncle Danl, using that name in The Gilded Age. He later acknowledged that the Danl was the model for Hucks friend Jim. Lorch writes it was probably from John Quarles that Mark Twain first heard the Jumping Frog story, an ancestral version of the one he later heard in the barroom at Angels Camp in California [Nieder 10].
September 4 Monday Sam played hooky from school and got home at night, so he climbed into his fathers first floor office, only to discover a corpse, James McFarland, a local farmer stabbed by Vincent Hudson in a drunken argument about a plow. Since John Marshall Clemens was a judge, the body was taken to his office to be embalmed the next day. This was the first recorded murder in Hannibal [Wecter 104].
October 27 Friday James Kerr, as trustee, sold the Clemens home to James Clemens Jr., of St. Louis, a cousin of John Marshall Clemens. The price on the abstract was $300. The legal description: the west 20 feet and 6 inches of the east 101 feet of lot 1 in block 9 in the original town of Hannibal [Hannibal Courier-Post, Mar. 6, 1935 p10b].
Late Fall On Mar. 11, 1883 the N.Y. Times, p.4 ran an article, Judge Clemens and attributed it from Communication to the St. Louis Missouri Republican. The article described John Marshall Clemens as a stern unbending man of splendid common-sense, and was, indeed, the autocrat of the little dingy room on Bird-street, where he held his court [as Justice of the Peace]. An excerpt:
Note: Wecter p.104-5 and notes, takes issue with some of the details of the Republicans story, noting that R.F. Lakenan did not come to Hannibal to practice law until two years after the date of the incident. Other versions appear in HMC, p.914 [Holcombes History of Marion County, Missouri] and Paine, Biography, p.45. In MTP, DV 47, Villagers, Mark Twain writes: Judge Carpenter [Clemens] knocked McDonald down with a mallet and saved Charley Schneider, and in another note refers to McDonald the desperado (plasterer).
November 30 Thursday Sams eighth birthday.
December The Clemens family moved out of the Virginia House and into 206 Hill Street, which forever more would be considered Sams boyhood home. Sam shared a second-story bedroom with his brother Henry [Powers, MT A Life 34].
Hannibal by 1844 took pride in four general stores, three sawmills, two planing mills, three blacksmith shops, two hotels, three saloons, two churches, two schools, a tobacco factory, a hemp factory, and a tan yard, as well as a flourishing distillery up at the still house branch. West of the village lay Stringtown, so called because its cabins and stock pens were strung out along the road. Small industry was the lifeblood of the town [Wecter 60].
The Clemenses had moved into Sams boyhood home, built by his father on Hill Street in Hannibal. Across the street lived the Hawkins family. Laura Hawkins (Frazer) (1837-1928), a blonde daughter, was a romantic interest of young Sams. She later became the model for Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Tom Blankenship was a friend of Sams who lived up Hill Street. The Blankenships were infamous drunks and neer-do-wells; Sam based Huck on Tom Blankenship, a model for rebelliousness in the face of all authority [Powers, MT A life 34].
Summer A measles epidemic swept through Hannibal. Sams mother was obsessed with keeping her children from contracting the disease, but Sam decided to expose himself. Sam snuck into his friend Will Bowens house and bedroom. He was discovered and chased away, but tried again and slipped into bed [ page 11 ] with Will. Rediscovered by Wills angry mother, Sam was taken home, but contracted measles. I have never enjoyed anything in my life any more than I enjoyed dying that time [Powers, Dangerous 85].
Will Bowen (1836-1893) later became a steamboat pilot with Sam, and the two would maintain a unique correspondence and relationship throughout their lives. Will had an older brother Barton (1830?-1868) and a younger brother Sam (1838?-1878).
October 22 Tuesday Sam watched worshippers from the Millerite sect (led by William Miller) wrap themselves in robes and climb the steep hill to Lovers Leap, expecting the world to end. In his visit back to Hannibal in 1902, Sam and pal John Briggs (1837-1907) went up Hollidays Hill and pointed over the valley.
There is where the Millerites put on their robes one night to go up to heaven. None of them went that night John but no doubt many of them have gone since [Wecter 89].
September 14 Saturday Henry, a Negro, was tried and convicted in Judge Clemens court of menacing with a knife. State law prohibited slaves from having weapons. John Marshall Clemens found Henry guilty and imposed punishment of 20 lashes to be given publicly. Dempsey writes, Nine-year-old Sam liked to play about Hannibal on pretty fall days. A public whipping would have been high entertainment in 1844 Hannibal .
November 30 Saturday Sams ninth birthday (he didnt want to be called Sammy any longer.) In his 1906 Autobiography, Sam claimed to be a private smoker from age nine, and a public one after his fathers death, in 1847 [Neider 43].
1845 From Sams Autobiography:
I recall Mary Miller. She was not my first sweetheart, but I think she was the first one that furnished me with a broken heart. I fell in love with her when she was eighteen and I ninebut she scorned me, and I recognized this was a cold world .I soon transferred my worship to Artimisia Briggs, who was a year older than Mary Miller. When I revealed my passion to her she did not scoff at it. She did not make fun of it. She was very kind and gentle about it. But she was also firm, and said she did not want to be pestered by children.
And there was Mary Lacy. She was a schoolmate. But she was also out of my class because of her advanced age. She was pretty wild and determined and independent. She was ungovernable, and was considered incorrigible. But that was all a mistake. She married, and at once settled down and became in all ways a model matron [AMT 2: 212-13].
January 24 Friday Sam witnessed the premeditated murder of Uncle Samuel Smarr (1788?-1845), shot at close range by William P. Owsley. Smarr was carried into the drugstore of Dr. Orville Grant, the very house that poverty would soon force the Clemens to move into. Sam squeezed into the room where they laid the dying Smarr and watched [Wecter 106]. Note: The scene would be grist for Colonel Sherburns cold-blooded killing of Boggs, the town drunk, in chapters 21-22 of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
February 24 Monday Hannibal, Mo. was granted a city charter [Hannibal Courier-Post, Mar. 6, 1935 p10b].
March 19 Wednesday From the Hannibal, Mo. Library web site: In 1840 many citizens of Hannibal, Missouri felt a need for a public library. Judge John Marshall Clemens (Mark Twain’s father), [ page 12 ] Zachariah Draper (1798-1856), Dr. Hugh Meredith, and Samuel Cross (1812-1886) took on the responsibility of this task. They organized the Hannibal Library Institute. On March 19, 1845 this library was chartered by the General Assembly of Missouri. The books were kept in Dr. Meredith’s office in a building at the corner of Main and Bird Streets. This was not a free library. Users paid a membership fee that entitled them access to the 425 books. In the spring of 1849 Cross led a group of Hannibal citizens to California, settling in Sacramento; he then practiced law and later became a judge [AMT 2: 1906].
Summer Sam stowed away on a steamboat headed south. He was found by a crewmember and put ashore thirty miles down river, at the town of Louisiana, Mo. There he spent the night with Lampton relatives. The next day they returned him home.
August 24 Sunday In Hannibal, John Marshall Clemens wrote to Orion in St. Louis. He enclosed a course of twenty oral lectures on grammar by Professor Hull. John was taking Hulls class and promised to outline the material and send it on to Orion, who might benefit in the printers trade from such lessons. Sam was nearly ten years old and probably received the same instruction at home [MTBus 9-10].
August 25-26 Tuesday The Philadelphia North America reported on Aug. 26, Affray at Hannibal, Mo.a fight between Dr. Orville R. Grant and a man named Railey, who stabbed Grant with a spear attached to his cane. In his Dec. 2, 1906 A.D. Sam recalled the mans name as Dr. Reyburn [AMT 2: 590].
Fall In either 1844 or 1845, Sam left the dame school for a good common school on Center Street near the town square, taught by a middle-aged Irishman, William O. Cross [Powers, D. Waters 93].
November 6 Thursday Record of Jimmy Finns death [MTP].
November 30 Sunday Sams tenth birthday.
Hard times forced the family to move in with Dr. Orville R. Grants family (above Grants Drug store; Grant 1815?-1854). Jane Clemens cooked for both families in exchange for rent. For more on the Grant family see AMT 2: 590].
John Marshall Clemens led a civic group organizing a rail line from Hannibal to St. Joseph. The line was chartered and completed twelve years after his death.
March 14 Saturday William P. Owsley, was acquitted of murdering Samuel Smarr by a Palmyra jury. [Wecter 108].
Summer Cholera claimed 30 lives in Hannibal. Many fled the town [Wecter 213].
August Hannibal slave dealer William Beebe sued and gained a judgment against John Marshall Clemens for $126.50 stemming from debts for the store [Wecter 112].
September 10 Thursday John Marshall Clemens wrote to Buffum & Co., in New York concerning sale of the Tennessee Land. John had canceled the agency of Meredith & McCullough and gave exclusive sale of my Tennessee lands for two years on the terms propose.That you will be at the expense of agencies and advertising as in your letter mentioned; and will make sales as speedily and advantageously as possible [MTBus 11]. Note: The Tennessee Land created a rift between Sam and Orion in later years, and hung around the familys neck until the 1880s.
October 16 Friday James Clemens, Jr. leased the Hill Street house to Orion Clemens for a period of 25 years at a rental of $28 per year [Hannibal Courier-Post, Mar. 6, 1935 p10b].
November John Marshall Clemens chaired a citizens committee to promote a macadamized road between Hannibal and St. Joseph, Mo. [Wecter 110].
Henry La Cossitt, new to Hannibal, established the Democratic Gazette [Wecter 201]. Note: Wecter surmises that Sam Clemens was briefly an apprentice for the Gazette.
November 5 Thursday Hannibal Gazette announced John Marshall Clemens candidacy for clerk of the circuit court in 1847s election.
November 6 Thursday County records show $8.25 for coffin Jimmy Finn, pauper, town drunk and model for Huck Finns Pap [Wecter 150].
November 30 Monday Sams eleventh birthday.
Winter of 1846-7 Now president of the Hannibal Library Institute, John Marshall Clemens worked for the establishment of a Masonic college in Hannibal [Wecter 111].
December 17 Thursday Hannibal slave dealer William Beebe was granted a writ of attachment ordering the sheriff to sell the goods and chattels and real estate of the said John M. Clemens [Wecter 112].
In his Dec. 2, 1906 A.D., Clemens recalled their house:
In 1847 we were living in a large white house on the corner of Hill and Main streetsa house that still stands, but isnt large now, although it hasnt lost a plank; I saw it a year ago and noticed that shrinkage. My father died in it in March of the year mentioned, but our family did not move out of it until some months afterward. Ours was not the only family in the house, there was another, Dr. Grants [AMT 2: 301].
March 11 Thursday John Marshall Clemens rode to the village of Palmyra (the county seat) to attend a judicial hearing that would clear him in a debt matter. Riding home he was chilled by a sleet storm. He became ill from the shock to his system. Judge Ezra Hunt of the Circuit Court at Palmyra accepted John M. Clemens reasonable plea that his own unpaid claims against Beebe be considered as an offset to Beebes demands upon himand with that decision the case fades from the records [Wecter 112]. John Marshall may have traveled to Palmyra for this particular hearing .
March 24 Wednesday John Marshall Clemens died of pneumonia at the age of 49. Paine gives some of Johns last words: Cling to the land, he whispered. Cling to the land, and wait. Let nothing beguile it away from you [MTB 73].
Orions comments about his father were included in Sams Jan. 29, 1907 A.D. In part:
My father may have hastened the ending of his life by the use of too much medicine. He doctored himself from my earliest remembrance. During the latter part of his life he bought Cooks pills by the box and took one or more daily [AMT 2: 409]. Note: Cooks Pills were a combination of strong laxatives used to treat many ailments.
Sam recalled never having heard his father laugh, and seeing the only kiss his father had given in his presence, a deathbed kiss to Sams sister Pamela. The stern, hardworking aspect of Sams father underlined the influence he received from his mother. That night, through the keyhole, Sam and Orion witnessed an autopsy (or, some sort of post-mortem examination) of his father, a traumatizing event [Powers, MT A Life 43]. Fanning posits the exam took place due to Janes suspicions that John Marshall had contracted a venereal disease . (See June 14, 1880 entry on Howells reaction to Orions lost autobiography.)
March 25 Thursday John Marshall Clemens was buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery a mile and a half from Hannibal. Sam walked in his sleep this night and a few others. In 1876 John Marshall and Henry Clemens were later transferred to the newer Mount Olivet Cemetery, southwest of Hannibal [Wecter 118-9]. The following obituary ran in the Hannibal Gazette:
April A torchlight parade celebrated victories in the Mexican War. Sam no doubt was there, watching the pomp and a huge transparency showing Old Zac at Buena Vista. A band played and the streets were full of cheering townspeople [Wecter 123].
April 12 Monday Orion leased the house on Hill Street from James Clemens, Jr. , a wealthy St. Louis cousin, who bought some of John Marshalls property [Wecter 102]. Jane and children moved back into the Hill Street house. Sister Pamela, (named for an aunt and sometimes spelled Pamelia, and always pronounced as such) now twenty, had been giving piano and guitar lessons in the villages of Florida and Paris, Mo. (Sam became proficient in both) She moved back to take care of her mother Jane.
April 14 Wednesday The doors of J.D. Dawsons school, later immortalized in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, opened in Hannibal. Dawsons son, like Henry Clemens and Sid Sawyer, was a model boy, except that the Dawson boy added priggishness. It was in this school that Sam experienced many of the pranks and games that would fill the novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn [Wecter 132; Powers, D. Waters 93]. Note: John D. Dawson (b.1812?). [ page 15 ]
From Sams 1906 recollection of his schoolmates:
I remember Andy Fuqua, the oldest pupila man of twenty-five. I remember the youngest pupil, Nannie Owsley, a child of seven. I remember George RoBards, eighteen or twenty years old, the only student who studied Latin. I remember vaguely the rest of the twenty-five boys and girls. I remember Mr. Dawson very well. I remember his boy, Theodore, who was as good as he could be. In fact he was inordinately good, extravagantly good, offensively good, detestably goodand he had pop-eyesand I would have drowned him if I had had a chance. In that school we were all about on an equality, and, so far as I remember, the passion of envy had no place in our hearts, except in the case of Arch Fuquathe other ones brother. Of course we all went barefoot in the summertime. Arch Fuqua was about my own ageten or eleven He was our envy, for he could double back his big toe and let it fly and you could hear it snap thirty yards. There was not another boy in the school that could approach this feat. He had not a rival as regards a physical distinctionexcept in Theodore Eddy, who could work his ears like a horse. But he was no rival, because you couldnt hear him work his ears; so all the advantage lay with Arch Fuqua [MTA 2: 179-80]. Note: Archibald Fuqua (b.1833?).
April 23 Friday The Marion County Court appointed Orion administrator of John Marshall Clemens estate [Wecter 120].
Spring and Summer Sam clerked in a grocery store until he was fired for eating too much sugar. He enrolled at Dawsons School a few weeks after the death of his father. He worked many odd jobs during these months. He clerked for a bookstore, delivered newspapers, helped out at a blacksmiths, and even studied law, but gave it up because it was so prosy and tiresome [Ch. 42 of Roughing It; Wecter131].
May 6 Thursday The Hannibal Gazette reported that Sparhawk & Layton were giving nightly lectures and demonstrations at Hawkins saloon on human magnetism (hypnosis). Such subjects as mesmerizing and phrenology excited the town when experts arrived. In a few years Sam would engage in outdoing another boy whod been put in a trance. See AMT 2: 589.
May 21 Friday An appraisal of John Marshall Clemens property was filed in Marion County. The most valuable item was 6 volumes Nicholsons Encyclopedia. Orion inherited the volumes, which went to Sams library after Orion and Mollies deaths [Gribben 507].
August 13 Friday One of Sams playmates, Clint Levering, age ten, drowned after falling out of an empty flatboat while playing with a number of his playmates. Sam was no doubt among these boys, as he remembered the tragedy in his notebook and wrote of it in Life on the Mississippi, Chapter 54, where Sam called him Lem Hackett. (See May 13, 1882 entry.)
August 19 Thursday Reported in the Hannibal Journal: While exploring on Sny Island and Bird Slough with pals John Briggs and Will Bowen, the boys went wading. Tom Blankenships older brother Bence Blankenship had discovered a runaway slave, Neriam Todd, hiding on the island weeks before, and had secreted food to him until a group of men chased the slave into the water and lost him. When the boys waded, suddenly the negro rose before them, straight and terrible, about half the length out of the water. Thinking the corpse was after them, the boys fled in terror [Wecter 148].
September Sams memory wasnt always accurate. He recalled being taken from school at once upon my fathers death and placed in the office of the Hannibal Courier, working for Joseph P. Ament. The Courier, however, was not established in Hannibal until 1848. Wecter says Sam no doubt delivered extras for Henry La Cossitt, owner of the Gazette, in particular after the victorious battle of Chapultepec in the Mexican War, in Sept. 1847 [Wecter 122-3]. [ page 16 ]
November 30 Tuesday Sams twelfth birthday.
February 19 Saturday Orion made a temperance speech in Hannibal [Wecter 294n5].
May 3 Wednesday 24-year-old Joseph Ament purchased the Hannibal Gazette and moved his Missouri Courier to Hannibal. He established his newspaper in the second-floor Gazette offices on Main Street, over Brittinghams Drugstore [Dempsey 155]. The merged papers went under the name of the Hannibal Gazette [Benson 2].
June The family now in worse financial straits than ever, Sam landed his first full-time job as a printers devil for the Missouri Courier, owned by Joseph P. Ament. He worked only a half block from the family home. The journalism field has prepared many a great writer, and typesetting words is where Sam Clemens got his start. A printers devil made up pages one letter at a time. Sam was paid meals only and two suits of clothes a year, but got only one, a suit way too big for him. I had to turn up his pants to my ears just to make them short enough. Wecter gives the date as the end of May or beginning of June .
Sam would be an apprentice for two years. During this time he worked with Thomas P. Pet McMurry, a journeyman printer in his twenties; and apprentices William T. League (1832-1870), Richard Rutter, and Wales R. McCormick, a large lad of eighteen whose hilarious sense of humor, practical jokes, and stories amused and sometimes irritated Sam [Lorch 11; Dempsey 155]. Note: see Sams 1906 remembrance of Wales, MTA 2: 276; also his Dec. 3, 1907 to W.H. Powell, which mentions these and others.
Summer Either this summer or the prior was the last year of annual visits to Quarles Farm near Florida, Mo These visits to the farm where hunting was allowed (the Clemens boys were never allowed guns), food was bountiful, and Sam thought the slaves (who were never sold or split up from families) were the most joyous people in his boyhood [Wecter 91].
October 12 Thursday The Hannibal Gazette, where Sam was apprenticing, changed its name to the Missouri Courier [Benson 2]
November 30 Thursday Sams thirteenth birthday.
December The California gold rush was on. Hannibal felt the impact. Emigrants rushed to Hannibal and St. Joseph, eager to travel west. Some 300 Hannibal residents would head west. Sam later ran into a few of his townspeople in California. By the last week in December, Hannibal newspapers reported that the gold dust of California is carrying away crowds of our citizens [Wecter 216]. [ page 17 ]
Sometime this year, Sam found a page in the street about Joan of Arc, which began his fascination with the figure. Younger brother Henry told Sam about the young maids life and fiery end (Wecter cites Isabel Van Kleek Lyon (1868-1958), Mark Twains secretary in his later years, as claiming Sam consulted his mother about Joan of Arc). Nevertheless, the chance find of a loose page sparked a desire to read and learn everything he could about medieval history [Wecter 211]. Note: Its possible this find ultimately sparked Prince and the Pauper as well as Connecticut Yankee. Sam considered his book on Joan his best work.
A group of Hannibal citizens led by Samuel Cross left for California and the gold rush.
On October 3, 1902 Clemens wrote William Dean Howells that he ran away twice; once at about 13, & once at 17. There is not much satisfaction in it, even as a recollection. It was a couple of disappointments, particularly the first one [MTHL 2: 746]. Note: the runaway at age 13 would have been in 1849.
Sam assigns this year to an ice-skating episode with Tom Nash, the postmasters son. Tom fell in the river in a desperate attempt to regain the shore. Sam writes,
He took to his bed, sick, and had a procession of diseases. The closing one was scarlet fever, and he came out if it stone deaf [MTA 2: 97-8].
Summer, early Hannibal suffered from a cholera epidemic.
Fall Sam remembered in his Autobiography the scene of practicing for his part as a bear in his sisters autumn party. Hed chosen a vacant house to try out moves for his part, and went there with a little black boy, Sandy . Not noticing a screen in the corner and costumes on a hook, Sam pranced about in his birthday suit until a smothered burst of feminine snickers came from the other side of the screen, which had enough holes to make it interesting for the voyeurs. After a clamorous escape, Sam avoided girls for several weeks. He would discover the identity of one of the peepers 47 years later, in Calcutta, India [MTA 1: 127-9].
September, first week The telegraph came to Hannibal. Dempsey calls the event Hannibals technological coming of age. Before the telegraph, news came from boats from St. Louis or across the river in Quincy, Illinois. The intersection of Main and Hill Streets became known as Telegraph Corner [Dempsey 125]. At the Courier, Sam was well regarded, and was put in charge of gathering telegraph information on the Mexican War and other news that came over the wire [Benson 6-7].
October 26 Friday The U.S. Senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858) was an occasional visitor to town, and on this day gave a large rally of Hannibalians in fiery vein. Wecter notes that Sam Clemens shared Tom Sawyers emotions when the greatest man in the world Mr. Benton, an actual United States Senator, proved an overwhelming disappointmentfor he was not twenty-five feet high [Wecter 195].
October 30 Tuesday The date of the horrendous attack by a slave named Ben, owned by Thomas Glasscock (Glascock), a Marion County farmer, upon twelve-year-old Susan Bright, and her ten-year-old brother Thomas Bright, who were looking for walnuts in the woods. See Dempsey, chapter 13 for a full account [Dempsey 126].
November 8 Thursday Glasscocks Ben was accused of killing Thomas Bright with a rock, then raping his twelve-year-old sister, Susan Bright, and mutilating her. He was hanged early the next year.
Yellow fever hit Hannibal in early winter, as well as another siege of cholera [Wecter 214].
November 30 Friday Sams fourteenth birthday.
December 4 Tuesday Glasscocks Ben was convicted and sentenced to be hanged on Jan. 11, 1850 [Dempsey 130].
December 6 Thursday Joseph P. Aments newspaper printed a long account of the Glasscocks Ben trial. The Negro was found guilty and sentenced to death. Sam was a printer devil at Aments Missouri Courier. Two comic verses (Amalgamation here we view, and Abigail Brown, with a span new gown .) ran with marriage announcements and a note that the printer was duly remembered. Branch attributes these to Sam [Chronological 113].
April 9 Friday The Saluda, a side-wheel, wooden hull packet, 223 tons, christened in 1846, sank in 1850 but eventually was raised and restored. On Apr. 9, 1852, Good Friday, with Mormon emigrants aboard, the boat was headed for Council Bluffs, Iowa. Upon arriving at Lexington, the current was swift. Pilot Charles S. LaBarge pushed her too hard and her boilers blew. Pilot and Master Belt and about 75 others died. It was the worst disaster to that time on the Missouri River. At that time, Sam was still in Hannibal, working on Orions newspaper, the Journal and must have heard and even reported the news. Still when Samuel E. Belt wrote Sam on Feb. 12, 1905 asking for his recollection of the disaster, Isabel Lyon answered for Clemens:
Mr. Clemens wishes me to say that if he ever knew anything about the Saluda disaster it long ago went out of his memory [MTP].
My Dear Mother: you will doubtless be a little surprised, and somewhat angry when you receive this, and find me so far from home; but you must bear a little with me, for you know I was always the best boy you had, and perhaps you remember the people used to say to their childrenNow dont do like Orion and Henry Clemens but take Sam for your guide!
Well, I was out of work in St. Louis, and didnt fancy loafing in such a dry place, where there is no pleasure to be seen without paying well for it, and so I thought I might as well go to New York. I packed up my duds and left for this village, where I arrived, all right, this morning.
It took a day, by steamboat and cars, to go from St. Louis to Bloomington, Ill; another day by railroad, from there to Chicago, where I laid over all day Sunday; from Chicago to Monroe, in Michigan, by railroad, another day; from Monroe, across Lake Erie, in the fine Lake palace, Southern Michigan, to Buffalo, another day; from Buffalo to Albany, by railroad, another day; and from Albany to New York, by Hudson river steamboat, another dayan awful trip, taking five days, where it should have been only three. I shall wait a day or so for my insides to get settled, after the jolting they received, when I shall look out for a sit; for they say there is plenty of work to be had for sober compositors.
The trip, however, was a very pleasant one. Rochester, famous on account of the Spirit Rappings was of course interesting; and when I saw the Court House in Syracuse, it called to mind the time when it was surrounded with chains and companies of soldiers, to prevent the rescue of McReynolds nigger, by the infernal abolitionists. I reckon I had better black my face, for in these Eastern States niggers are considerably better than white people.
I saw a curiosity to-day, but I dont know what to call it. Two beings, about like common people, with the exception of their faces, which are more like the phiz of an orang-outang, than human. They are white, though, like other people. lmagine a person about the size of Harvel Jordans oldest boy, with small lips and [ page 32 ] full breast, with a constant uneasy, fidgety motion, bright, intelligent eyes, that seems as if they would look through you, and you have these things. They were found in the island of Borneo (the only ones of the species ever discovered,) about twenty years ago. One of them is twenty three, and the other twenty five years of age. They possess amazing strength; the smallest one would shoulder three hundred pounds as easily as I would a plug of tobacco; they are supposed to be a cross between man and orang-outang; one is the best natured being in the world, while the other would tear a stranger to pieces, if he did but touch him; they wear their hair Samson fashion, down to their waists. They have no apple in their throats, whatever, and can therefore scarcely make a sound; no memory either; what transpires to-day, they have forgotten before to-morrow; they look like one mass of muscle, and can walk either on all fours or upright; when let alone, they will walk to and fro across the room, thirteen hours out of the twenty-four; not a day passes but they walk twenty-five or thirty miles, without resting thirty minutes; I watched them about an hour and they were tramping the whole time. The little one bent his arm with the elbow in front, and the hand pointing upward, and no two strapping six footers in the room could pull it out straight. Their faces and eyes are those of the beast, and when they fix their glittering orbs on you with a steady, unflinching gaze, you instinctively draw back a step, and a very unpleasant sensation steals through your veins. They are both males and brothers, and very small, though I do not know their exact hight. I have given you a very lengthy description of the animals, but I have nothing else to write about, and nothing from here would be interesting anyhow. The Crystal Palace is a beautiful buildingso is the Marble Palace.11 If I can find nothing better to write about, I will say something about these in my next.
[ closing and signature missing] [MTPO].
My dear Mother:
New York is at present overstocked with printers; and I suppose they are from the South, driven North by the yellow fever. I got a permanent situation on Monday morning, in a book and job office, and went to work. The printers here are badly organized, and therefore have to work for various prices. These prices are 23, 25, 28, 30, 32, and 35 cents per 1,000 ems. The price I get is 23 cents; but I did very well to get a place at all, for there are thirty or fortyyes, fifty good printers in the city with no work at all; besides, my situation is permanent, and I shall keep it till I can get a better one. The office I work in is John A. Grays, 97 Cliff street, and, next to Harpers, is the most extensive in the city. In the room in which I work I have forty compositors for company. Taking compositors, pressmen, stereotypers, and all, there are about two hundred persons employed in the concern. The Knickerbocker, New York Recorder, Choral Advocate, Jewish Chronicle, Littells Living Age, Irish , and half a dozen other papers and periodicals are printed here, besides an immense number of books. They are very particular about spacing, justification, proofs, etc., and even if I do not make much money, I will learn a great deal. I thought [Thomas] Ustick was particular enough, but acknowledge now that he was not old-maidish. Why, you must put exactly the same space between every two words, and every line must be spaced alike. They think it dreadful to space one line with three em spaces, and the next one with five ems. However, I expected this, and worked accordingly from the beginning; and out of all the proofs I saw, without boasting, I can say mine was by far the cleanest. In St. Louis, Mr. Baird said my proofs were the cleanest that were ever set in his office. The foreman of the Anzeiger told me the sameforeman of the Watchman the same; and with all this evidence, I believe I do set a clean proof.
My boarding house is more than a mile from the office; and I can hear the signal calling the hands to work before I start down; they use a steam whistle for that purpose. I work in the fifth story; and from one window I have a pretty good view of the city, while another commands a view of the shipping beyond the Battery; and the forest of masts, with all sorts of flags flying, is no mean sight. You have everything in the shape of water craft, from a fishing smack to the steamships and men-of-war; but packed so closely together for miles, that when close to them you can scarcely distinguish one from another. [ page 33 ]
Of all the commodities, manufacturesor whatever you please to call itin New York, trundle-bed trashchildren I meantake the lead. Why, from Cliff street, up Frankfort to Nassau street, six or seven squaresmy road to dinnerI think I could count two hundred brats. Niggers, mulattoes, quadroons, Chinese, and some the Lord no doubt originally intended to be white, but the dirt on whose faces leaves one uncertain as to that fact, block up the little, narrow street; and to wade through this mass of human vermin, would raise the ire of the most patient person that ever lived. In going to and from my meals, I go by the way of Broadwayand to cross Broadway is the rubbut once across, it is the rub for two or three squares. My planand how could I choose another, when there is no otheris to get into the crowd; and when I get in, I am borne, and rubbed, and crowded along, and need scarcely trouble myself about using my own legs; and when I get out, it seems like I had been pulled to pieces and very badly put together again.
Last night I was in what is known as one of the finest fruit saloons in the world. The whole length of the huge, glittering hall is filled with beautiful ornamented marble slab tables, covered with the finest fruit I ever saw in my life. I suppose the fruit could not be mentioned with which they could not supply you. It is a perfect palace. The gas lamps hang in clusters of half a dozen togetherrepresenting grapes, I supposeall over the hall.
[closing and signature missing]
P.S. The printers have two libraries in town, entirely free to the craft; and in these I can spend my evenings most pleasantly. If books are not good company, where will I find it? [MTL 1: 9-12]. Note: for more on the publications Sam listed in the first paragraph, see p.11n4 in source; for more on the Printers Free Library and Reading Room see n.10. Thomas Watt Ustick (b. 1800/01) prominent St. Louis printer.
I am very sorry to learn that Henry has been sick. [in margin: Write, and let me know how Henry is] He ought to go to the country and take exercise; for he is not half so healthy as Ma thinks he is. If he had my walking to do, he would be another boy entirely. Four times every day I walk a little over one mile; and working hard all day, and walking four miles, is exerciseI am used to it now, though, and it is no trouble. Where is it Orions going to? Tell Ma my promises are faithfully kept; and if I have my health I will take her to Ky. in the springI shall save money for this. Tell Jim and all the rest of them to write, and give me all the news. I am sorry to hear such bad news from Will and Captain Bowen. I shall write to Will soon. The Chatham-square Post Office and the Broadway office too, are out of my way, and I always go to the General Post Office; so you must write the direction of my letters plain, New York City, N. Y., without giving the street or anything of the kind, or they may go to some of the other offices. (It has just struck 2 A.M. and I always get up at 6, and am at work at 7.) You ask where I spend my evenings. Where would you suppose, with a free printers library containing more than 4,000 volumes within a quarter of a mile of me, and nobody at home to talk to? I shall write to Ella soon. Write soon.
Truly your Brother
P.S I have written this by a light so dim that you nor Ma could not read by it [MTL 1: 13]. Note: Ella Evelina Hunter married James A.H. Lampton, Janes younger (by 21 years) half-brother, in Nov. 1849. Paine misidentified Ella as Ella Creel who lived in Keokuk; Twain didnt visit Keokuk until 1855.
My Dear Brother:
I received your letter to-day. I think Ma ought to spend the winter in St Louis. I dont believe in that climateits too cold for her. [in Muscatine]
The printers annual ball and supper came off the other night. The proceeds amounted to about $1.000. The printers, as well as other people are endeavoring to raise money to erect a monument to Franklin, but there are so many abominable foreigners here (and among printers, too,) who hate everything American, that I am very certain as much money for such a purpose could be raised in St Louis, as in Philadelphia[.] I was in Franklins old office this morning,the North American (formerly Philadelphia Gazette), and there were at least one foreighner for every American at work there.
How many subscribers has the Journal got? What does the job-work pay? and what does the whole concern pay? I have not seen a copy of the paper yet.
I will try to write for the paper occasionally, but I fear my letters will be very uninteresting, for this incessant night work dulls one[s] ideas amazingly.
From some cause, I cannot set type near so fast as when I was at home. Sunday is a long day, and while others set 12 and 15,000, yesterday, I only set 10,000. However, I will shake this laziness off, soon, I reckon.
I always thought the eastern people were patterns of uprightness; but I never before saw so many whisky-swilling, God-despising heathens as I find in this part of the country. I believe I am the only person in the Inquirer office that does not drink. One young fellow makes $18 for a few weeks, and gets on a grand bender and spends every cent of it.
How do you like free-soil? I would like amazingly to see a good, old-fashioned negro. My love to all
Truly your brother
Sam [MTL 1: 28-9].
My Dear Sister:
I have already written two letters within the last two hours, and you will excuse me if this is not lengthy. If I had the money, I would come to St. Louis now, while the river is open; [i.e., not frozen] but in the last two or three weeks I have spent about thirty dollars for clothing, so I suppose I shall remain where I am. I only want to return to avoid night work, which is injuring my eyes. I have received one or two letters from home, but they are not written as they should be; and know no more about what is going on there, than the man in the moon. One only has to leave home to learn how to write an interesting [letter] to an absent friend when he gets back. I suppose you board at Mrs. Hunters yetand that, I think, is somewhere in Olive street above Fifth. Phila is one of the healthiest places in the Union. I wanted to spend this winter in a warm climate; but it is too late now. I dont like our present prospect for cold weather at all.
Truly your brother
Return to St. Louis and Muscatine Orion Ties the Knot
Orion & Mollie Moved to Keokuk; Sam Followed Visit back home
Oh! to be a Cub Pilot Worked for Orion in Keokuk Warsaw, Illinois Back in Keokuk
Keokuk, St. Louis and Snodgrass Letters Cincinnati Typesetter Macfarlane
[This first part written on May 21 is lost]
of the hurricane deck is still visible above the water. Here is another Royal George I think I shall have to be a second Cowper, and write her requiem.
Sunday, May 25.
Well, Annie, I was not permitted to finish my letter Wednesday evening [May 21]. I believe Henry, who commenced his a day later, has beaten me. However, if my friends will let me alone I will go through today. Bugs! Yes, B-U-G-S! What of the bugs? Why, perdition take the bugs! That is all. Night before last I stood at the little press until nearly 2 oclock, and the flaring gas light over my head attracted all the varieties of bugs which are to be found in natural history, and they all had the same praiseworthy recklessness about flying into the fire. They at first came in little social crowds of a dozen or so, but soon increased in numbers, until a religious mass meeting of several millions was assembled on the board before me, presided over by a venerable beetle, who occupied the most prominent lock of my hair as his chair of state, while innumerable lesser dignitaries of the same tribe were clustered around him, keeping order, and at the same time endeavoring to attract the attention of the vast assemblage to their own importance by industriously grating their teeth. It must have been an interesting occasionperhaps a great bug jubilee commemorating the triumph of the locusts over Pharaohs crops in Egypt many centuries ago. At least, good seats, commanding an unobstructed view of the scene, were in great demand; and I have no doubt small fortunes were made by certain delegates from Yankee land by disposing of comfortable places on my shoulders at round premiums. In fact, the advantages which my altitude afforded were so well appreciated that I soon began to look like one of those big cards in the museum covered with insects impaled on pins.
The big president beetle (who, when he frowned, closely resembled Isbell when the pupils are out of time) rose and ducked his head and, crossing his arms over his shoulders, stroked them down to the tip of his nose several times, and after thus disposing of the perspiration, stuck his hands under his wings, propped his back against a lock of hair, and then, bobbing his head at the congregation, remarked, B-u-z-z! To which the congregation devoutly responded, B-u-z-z! Satisfied with this promptness on the part of his flock, he took a more imposing perpendicular against another lock of hair and, lifting his hands to command silence, gave another melodious b-u-z-z! on a louder key (which I suppose to have been the key-note) and after a moments silence the whole congregation burst into a grand anthem, three dignified daddy longlegs, perched near the gas burner, beating quadruple time during the performance. Soon two of the parts in the great chorus maintained silence, while a treble and alto duet, sung by forty-seven thousand mosquitoes and twenty-three thousand house flies, came in, and then, after another chorus, a tenor and bass duet by thirty-two thousand locusts and ninety-seven thousand pinch bugs was sungthen another grand chorus, Let Every Bug Rejoice and Sing (we used to sing heart instead of bug), terminated the performance, during which eleven treble singers split their throats from head to heels, and the patriotic daddies who beat time hadnt a stump of a leg left.
It would take a ream of paper to give all the ceremonies of this great mass meeting. Suffice it to say that the little press chawed up half a bushel of the devotees, and I combed 976 beetles out of my hair the next morning, every one of whose throats was stretched wide open, for their gentle spirits had passed away while yet they sungand who shall say they will not receive their reward? I buried their motionless forms with musical honors in Johns hat.
Now, Annie, dont say anything about how long my letter was in going, for I didnt receive yours until Wednesdayand dont forget that I tried to answer it the same day, though I was doomed to fail. I wonder if you will do as much?
Yes, the loss of that bridge almost finished my earthly career. There is still a slight nausea about my stomach (for certain malicious persons say that my heart lies in that vicinity) whenever I think of it, and I believe I should have evaporated and vanished away like a blue cloud if Johnindefatigable, unconquerable Johnhad not recovered from his illness to relieve me of a portion of my troubles. I think I can survive it now. John says der chills kill a white boy, but sie (pronounced see) cant kill a Detch-man.
I have not now the slightest doubt, Annie, that your beautiful sketch is perfect. It looks more and more like what I suppose Mt. Unpleasant to be every time I look at it. It is really a pity that you could not get the shrubbery in, for your dog fennel is such a tasteful ornament to any yard. Still, I am entirely satisfied to get the principal beauties of the place, and will not grieve over the loss. I have delighted Henrys little heart by delivering your message. Give the respected councilman the Latin letter by all means. If I understood the lingo well enough I would write you a Dutch one for him. Tell Mane I dont know what Henry thinks of the verb amo, but for some time past I have discovered various fragments of paper scattered about bearing the [ page 44 ] single word amite, and since the receipt of her letter the fragments have greatly multiplied and the word has suddenly warmed into amour all written in the same hand, and that, if I mistake not, Henrys, for the latter is the only French word he has any particular affection for. Ah, Annie, I have a slight horror of writing essays myself; and if I were inclined to write one I should be afraid to do it, knowing you could do it so much better if you would only get industrious once and try. Dont you be frightenedI guess Mane is afraid to write anything bad about you, or else her heart softens before she succeeds in doing it. Dont fail to remember me to herfor I perceive she is aware that my funeral has not yet been preached. Ete paid us a visit yesterday, and we are going to return the kindness this afternoon. Good-by.
My Dear Mother & Sister:
I have nothing to write. Everything is going on well. The Directory is coming on finely. I have to work on it occasionally, which I dont like a particle. I dont like to work at too many things at once. They take Henry and Dick away from me too. Before we commenced the Directory, I could tell before breakfast just how much work could be done during the day, and manage accordinglybut now, they throw all my plans into disorder by taking my hands away from their work. I have nothing to do with the bookif I did I would the two book hands do more work than they do, or else I would drop. It is not a mere supposition that they do not work fast enoughI know it; for yesterday the two book hands were at work all day, Henry and Dick all the afternoon, on the advertisements, and they set up five pages and a halfand I set up two pages and a quarter of the same matter after supper night before last, and I dont work fast on such things. They are either excessively slow motioned or very lazy. I am not getting along well with the job work. I cant work blindlywithout system. I gave Dick a job yesterday, which I calculated he could set in two hours and I could work off in three, and therefore just finish it by supper time, but he was transferred to the Directory, and the job, promised this morning, remains untouched. Through all the great pressure of job work lately, I never before failed in a promise of the kind.
Excuse brevitythis is my 3d letter to-night.
My Dear Brother:
Annie is well. Got your letter, postmarked 5th about two hours agocome dd quick, (to be a little profane.) Ward and I held a long consultation, Sunday morning, and the result was that us two have determined to start to Brazil, if possible, in six weeks from now, in order to look carefully into matters there (by the way, I forgot to mention that Annie is well,) and report to Dr. Martin in time for him to follow on the first of March. We propose going via. New York. Now, between you and I and the fence you must say nothing about this to Orion, for he thinks that Ward is to go clear through alone, and that I am to stop at New York or New Orleans until he reports. But that dont suit me. My confidence in human nature does not extend quite that far. I wont depend upon Wards judgment, or anybodys elseI want to see with my own eyes, and form my own opinion. But you know what Orion is. When he gets a notion into his head, and more especially if it is an erroneous one, the Devil cant get it out again. So I knew better than to combat his arguments long, but apparently yielded, inwardly determined to go clear through. Ma knows my determination, but even she counsels me to keep it from Orion. She says I can treat him as I did her when I started to St. Louis and went to New YorkI can start to New York and go to South America.! (This reminds me thatAnnie is well.) Although Orion talks grandly about furnishing me with fifty or a hundred dollars in six weeks, I am not such an ass as to think he will retain the same opinion such an eternity of timein all probability he will be entirely out of the notion by that time. Though I dont like to attribute selfish motives to him, you could see yourself that his object in favoring my wishes was that I might take all the hell of pioneering in a foreign land, and then when everything was placed on a firm basis, and beyond all risk, he could follow himself. But you would soon discover, when the time arrived, that he couldnt leave Mollie and that love of a baby. With these facts before my eyes, (I must not forget to say that Annie is well,) I could not depend upon Orion for ten dollars, so I have feelers out in several directions, and have already asked for a hundred dollars from one source (keep it to yourself.) I will lay on my oars for a while, and see how the wind sets, when I may probably try to get more. Mrs. Creel is a great friend of mine, and has some influence with Ma and Orion, though I reckon they would not acknowledge it. I am going up there to-morrow, to press her into my service. I shall take care that Ma and Orion are plentifully supplied with South American books. They have Herndons Report now. Ward and the Dr. and myself will hold a grand consultation to-night at the office. We have agreed that no more shall be admitted into our company.
Emma Graham has got home, and Bettie Barrett has gone up the country. I may as well remark that Annie is well. I spent Sunday afternoon up there, and brought away a big bouquet of Etes dd stinking flowers, (I mean no disrespect to her, or her taste,)[.] Any single one of the lot smells worse than a Sebastopol stink-pot. Between you and I, I believe that the secret of Mas willingness to allow me to go to South America lies in the fact that she is afraid I am going to get married! Success to the hallucination. Annie has not heard from the girls yet. I believe the Guards went down to Quincy to-day to escort our first locomotive home. [ page 46 ]
The report that Belle and Isbell are about to be married, is still going. Dick was engaged in sticking up Whig office hand bills at last accounts.
P. S. I will just add that Annie is WELL [MTPO; MTL 1: 65-7]. The former source notes: Mary Ann Creel (b. 1822 or 1823), Mollie Clemenss cousin, was the eldest daughter of Colonel William S. Patterson (180289), Iowa pioneer and legislator and Keokuk pork packer, postmaster, and later three-time mayor. She was married to Jane Clemenss cousin Robert P. Creel (b. 1815), a brickmason who owned a successful construction business. In 1856 he was a member of the Iowa legislature, and in 1862 became mayor of Keokuk
Gee Whillikens! Mister Editors, if you could a been there jest then, youd a thought that either old Gabriel had blowed his horn, or else there was houses to rent in that locality. I reckon there was nigh onto forty thousand people setting in that theatreand sich an other fannin, and blowin, and scrapon, and gigglin, I haint seen since I arrived in the United States. Gals! Bless your soul, there was gals there of every age and sex, from three months up to a hundred years, and every cherubim of em had a fan and an opery glass and a-tongueprobably two or three of the latter weepon, from the racket they made. No use to try to estimate the oceans of men and mustachesthe place looked like a shoe brush shop [MT Encyclopedia, Abshire 694; Camfield, bibliog.].
Official Cub Pilot Learning the Big Muddy
1857 Sometime during his stay in Keokuk Clemens saw Henry Clay Dean (1822-1887), eccentric philosopher who inspired Twains 1905 The War Prayer. In Ch. 57 of LM, Twain described Dean:
Keokuk, a long time ago, was an occasional loafing-place of that erratic genius, Henry Clay Dean. I believe I never saw him but once; but he was much talked about when I lived there. This is what was said of him:
He began life poor and without education. But he educated himselfon the curbstones of Keokuk. He would sit down on a curbstone with his book, careless or unconscious of the clatter of commerce and the tramp of the passing crowds, and bury himself in his studies by the hour, never changing his position except to draw in his knees now and then to let a dray pass unobstructed; and when his book was finished, its contents, however abstruse, had been burned into his memory, and were his permanent possession. In this way he acquired a vast hoard of all sorts of learning, and had it pigeonholed in his head where he could put his intellectual hand on it whenever it was wanted. [Note: see also Rasmussen 107-8].
January On Dec. 29, 1905 Sam answered a question from an unidentified person:
You seem to think Keokuk property is so good to speculate in, youd better invest all your spare change in it, instead of going to South America [MTBus 31-2]. Note: The writing seems familiar, doesnt it? Henry may have been the perfect alter ego of Sam, but he was as literate at the young age of eighteen.
[postscript in pencil:]
P. S.I have just returned from another cemeterybrought away an orange leaf as a memorialI inclose it.
New Orleans, June 1st. 1857.
My Dear Friend Annie
I am not certain what day of the month this is, (the weather being so warm,) but I expect I have made a pretty close guess.
Well, you wouldnt answer the last letter I wrote from Cincinnati? I just thought I would write again, anyhow, taking for an excuse the fact that you might have written and the letter miscarried. I have been very unfortunate with my correspondence; for, during my stay of nearly four months in Cincinnati, I did not get more than three or four letters beside those coming from members of our own family. You did write once, though, Annie, and that rather set me up, for I imagined that as you had got started once more, you would continue to write with your ancient punctuality. From some cause or other, however, I was disappointedthough it could hardly have been any fault of mine, for I sat down and answered your letter as soon as I received it, I think, although I was sick at the time. Orion wrote to me at St. Louis, saying that Mane told him she would correspond with me if I would ask her. I lost no time in writing to hergot no replyand thus ended another brief correspondence. I wish you would tell Mane that the Lord wont love her if she does so.
However, I reckon one page of this is sufficient.
I visited the French market yesterday (Sunday) morning. I think it would have done my very boots good to have met half a dozen Keokuk girls there, as I used to meet them at market in the Gate City. But it could not be. However, I did find several acquaintancestwo pretty girls, with their two beauxsipping coffee at one of the stalls. I thought I had seen all kinds of markets beforebut that was a great mistakethis being a place such as I had never dreamed of before. Everything was arranged in such beautiful order, and had such an air of cleanliness and neatness that it was a pleasure to wander among the stalls. The pretty pyramids of fresh fruit looked so delicious. Oranges, lemons, pineapples, bananas, figs, plantains, watermelons, blackberries, raspberries, plums, and various other fruits were to be seen on one table, while the next one bore a load of radishes, onions, squashes, peas, beans, sweet potatoeswell, everything imaginable in the vegetable lineand still further on were lobsters, oysters, clamsthen milk, cheese, cakes, coffee, tea, nuts, apples, hot rolls, butter, etc.then the various kinds of meats and poultry. Of course, the place was crowded [ page 51 ] (as most places in New Orleans are) with men, women and children of every age, color and nation. Out on the pavement were groups of Italians, French, Dutch, Irish, Spaniards, Indians, Chinese, Americans, English, and the Lord knows how many more different kinds of people, selling all kinds of articleseven clothing of every description, from a handkerchief down to a pair of boots, umbrellas, pins, combs, matchesin fact, anything you could possibly wantand keeping up a terrible din with their various cries.
Today I visited one of the cemeteriesa veritable little city, for they bury everybody above ground here. All round the sides of the inclosure, which is in the heart of the city, there extends a large vault, about twelve feet high, containing three or four tiers of holes or tombs (they put the coffins into these holes endways, and then close up the opening with brick), one above another, and looking like a long 3- or 4-story house. The graveyard is laid off in regular, straight streets, strewed with white shells, and the fine, tall marble tombs (numbers of them containing but one corpse) fronting them and looking like so many miniature dwelling houses. You can find wreaths of flowers and crosses, cups of water, mottoes, small statuettes, etc., hanging in front of nearly every tomb. I noticed one beautiful white marble tomb, with a white lace curtain in front of it, under which, on a little shelf, were vases of fresh flowers, several little statuettes, and cups of water, while on the ground under the shelf were little orange and magnolia trees. It looked so pretty. The inscription was in Frenchsaid the occupant was a girl of 17, and finished by a wish from the mother that the stranger would drop a tear there, and thus aid her whose sorrow was more than one could bear. They say that the flowers upon many of these tombs are replaced every day by fresh ones. These were fresh, and the poor girl had been dead five years. Theres depth of affection! On another was the inscription, To My Dear Mother, with fresh flowers. The lady was 62 years old when she died, and she had been dead seven years. I spent half an hour watching the chameleonsstrange animals, to change their clothes so often! I found a dingy looking one, drove him on a black rag, and he turned black as inkdrove him under a fresh leaf, and he turned the brightest green color you ever saw.
I wish you would write to me at St. Louis (Ill be there next week) for I dont believe you have forgotten how, yet. Tell Mane and Ete [Mary Jane Taylor and Esther Taylor] howdy for me.
Your old friend
Sam. L. Clemens [MTL 1: 71].
Notes: Interestingly, Sam did not brag about being a cub pilot, or say anything about piloting or his ambitions. It is thought this was his last letter to Annie. On this date the Crescent City left for St. Louis.
New research by Michael Marleau indicates that during this time frame Clemens most likely made a trip up the Missouri River with pilot Horace Bixby aboard the D. A. JANUARY. Edgar Branch never placed Clemens on the Missouri River and had previously theorized that Clemens was on board the RUFUS J. LACKLAND from 11 July to 3 August 1857. Further research by Michael Marleau includes a new interpretation of Clemens’ personal journals and indicates the 1859 dates are the most likely dates of service for the RUFUS J. LACKLAND as a licensed pilot.
Until such time as Marleaus new citations are published, with dates and places for the purported Missouri River leg, the chronology will continue to present Edgar Branchs conclusions. If Marleaus information is confirmed, it would affect dates July 11 through Aug. 3 on the Lackland, and also re-date Sams comments about the steamboat (above) to July 21, 1859 in the New Orleans Crescent.
Henry Dead from Pennsylvania Explosion More Steamboats, More Work
Dear Brother and Sister:
I must take advantage of the opportunity now presented to write you, but I shall necessarily be dull, as I feel uncommonly stupid. We have had a hard trip this time. Left Saint Louis three weeks ago on the Pennsylvania. The weather was very cold, and the ice running densely. We got 15 miles below town, landed the boat, and then one pilot, Second Mate and four deck hands took the sounding boat and shoved out in the ice to hunt the channel. They failed to find it, and the ice drifted them ashore. The pilot left the men with the boat and walked back to us, a mile and a half. Then the other pilot and myself, with a larger crew of men started out and met with the same fate. We drifted ashore just below the other boat. Then the fun commenced. We made fast a line 20 fathoms long, to the bow of the yawl, and put the men, (both crews) to it like horses, on the shore. Brown, the pilot, stood in the bow, with an oar, to keep her head out, with and I took the tiller. We would start the men, and all would go well till the yawl would bring up on a heavy cake of ice, and then the men would drop like so many ten-pins, while Brown assumed the horizontal in the bottom of the boat. After an hours hard work we got back, with ice half an inch thick on the oars. Sent back and warped up the other yawl, and then George [Ealer] (the first mentioned pilot,) and myself, took a double crew of fresh men and tried it again. This time we found the channel in less than an hour, and landed on island till the Pennsylvania came along and took us off. The next day was colder still. I was out in the yawl twice, and [ page 56 ] then we got through, but the infernal steamboat came near running over us. We went ten miles further, landed, and George and I cleared out againfound the channel first trial, but got caught in the gorge and drifted helplessly down the river. The Ocean Spray came along and started into the ice after us, but although she didnt succeed in her kind intention of taking us aboard, her waves washed us out, and that was all we wanted. We landed on an island, built a big fire and waited for the boat. She started, and ran aground! It commenced raining and sleeting, and a very interesting time we had on that barren sandbar for the next four hours, when the boat got off and took us aboard. The next day was terribly cold. We sounded Hat Island, warped up around a bar and sounded againbut in order to understand our situation you will have to read Dr. Kane. It would have been impossible to get back to the boat. But the Maria Denning ,was aground at the head of the islandthey hailed us,we ran alongside and they hoisted us in and thawed us out. We had then been out in the yawl from 4 oclock in the morning till half past 9 without being near a fire. There was a thick coating of ice over men, yawl, ropes, and everything else, and we looked like rock-candy statuary. We got to Saint Louis this morning, after an absence of 3 weeksthat boat generally makes the trip in 2.
Henry was doing little or nothing here, and I sent him to our clerk to work his way for a trip, by measuring woodpiles, counting coal boxes, and other clerkly duties, which he performed satisfactorily. He may go down with us again, for I expect he likes our bill of fare better than that of his boarding house.
I got your letter at Memphis as I went down. That is the best place to write me at. The post office here is always out of my route, somehow or other. Remember the direction: S.L.C., Steamer Pennsylvania, Care Duval & Algeo, Wharfboat, Memphis. I cannot correspond with a paper, because when one is learning the river, he is not allowed to do or think about anything else.
I am glad to see you in such high spirits about the land, and I hope will remain so, if you never get richer. I seldom venture to think about our landed wealth, for hope deferred maketh the heart sick.
I did intend to answer your letter, but I am too lazy and too sleepy, now. We had had a rough time during the last 24 hours working through the ice between Cairo and Saint Louis, and I have had but little rest.
I got here too late to see the funeral of the 10 victims by the burning of the Pacific hotel in 7th street. Ma says there were 10 hearses, with the fire companies (their engines in mourningfiremen in uniform,)the various benevolent societies in uniform and mourning, and a multitude of citizens and strangers, forming, altogether, a procession of 30,000 persons! One steam fire-engine was drawn by four white horses, with crape festoons on their heads.
Well, I amjustaboutasleep
[MTL 1: 76]. Notes: from the source: Elisha Kent Kane (182057), a U.S. Navy surgeon, participated in two unsuccessful Arctic expeditions in the 1850s in search of Sir John Franklin, the explorer who died in 1847 while trying to find a northwest passage to the Orient. Kane published two popular accounts of the expeditions. Also: Clemens artfully inscribed his closing and signature to suggest a gradual loss of control over his pencil. See other notes in source.
June 4 Friday Pilot William Brown forbade Sam entrance to the pilothouse for the rest of the trip. Sam was an emancipated slave listening to George Ealers flute and his readings from Oliver Goldsmith and Shakespeare. Sometimes he played chess with Ealer, and learned a trick which he would use himself in the long after-yearsthat of taking back the last move and running out the game differently when he saw defeat [MTB 137].
June 5 Saturday After the Pennsylvania arrived in New Orleans on this date, Brown left the boat. Captain Klinefelter offered Sam a co-pilot position back up the river, but Sam did not feel ready. He left the boat with the understanding he would rejoin it after Brown was replaced. Henry Clemens stayed on the Pennsylvania as a mud clerk.
June 9 Wednesday The Pennsylvania left New Orleans at 5 PM without Sam and with Henry Clemens aboard. Klinefelter had been unable to hire another pilot, attributed by Powers to the pilots union [Powers, MT A Life 86].
June 11 Friday Two days behind Henry on the Pennsylvania, Sam left New Orleans bound for St. Louis on the Alfred T. Lacey with Captain John P. Rodney and Sams Hannibal friend Barton S. Bowen, pilot [MTL 1: 82n3].
June 13 Sunday 70 miles south of Memphis at about 6 A.M., the steamboat Pennsylvanias boilers exploded, severely injuring Henry Clemens. Henry was blown free of the ship, but swam back to help rescue passengers. Either Henry did not realize the extent of his own injuries, or was scalded in his attempts to help. About 150 people were killed, including pilot William Brown. Klinefelter helped with the rescue and received only minor injuries. Henry was taken aboard the Kate Frisbee to Memphis, some sixty miles up river from the disaster [MTL 1: 80n1].
June 14 Monday Henry Clemens arrived at Memphis at 3 A.M. with 31 other victims, some twenty-one hours after the explosion and after several transfers, including the Kate Frisbee. Henry was taken to the Memphis Exchange, a makeshift hospital. 100-degree heat increased the suffering of the wounded [Powers, MT A Life 87; MTL 1: 84n7].
June 15 Tuesday The Lacey docked in Memphis and news of the explosion reached Sam [MTL 1: 82-3n3]. He rushed to the Memphis Exchange. He sent a telegram to brother-in-law William Moffett: Henrys recovery is very doubtful [MTL 1: 80].
June 15 to 18 Friday Sam stayed by brother Henrys side.
June 18 Friday Sam wrote to Dear Sister Mollie (Orions wife) about Henrys situation:
Dear Sister Mollie: / Long before this reaches you, my poor Henry, my darling, my pride, my glory, my all, will have finished his blameless career, and the light of my life will have gone out in utter darkness. O, God! This is hard to bear. Hardened, hopeless,aye, lostlost and ruined sinner as I amI, even I, have humbled myself to the ground and prayed as never man prayed before, that the great God might let this cup pass from me,that he would strike me to the earth, but spare my brotherthat he would pour out the fullness of his just wrath upon my wicked head, but have mercy, mercy, mercy upon that unoffending boy. The horrors of three days have swept over methey have blasted my youth and left me an old man before my time. Mollie, there are grey hairs in my head to-night. For forty-eight hours I labored at the bedside of my poor burned and bruised, but uncomplaining brother, and then the star of my hope went out and left me in the gloom of despair. Then poor wretched me, that was once so proud, was humbled to the very dustlower than the dustfor the vilest beggar in the streets of Saint Louis could never conceive of a humiliation like mine. Men take me by the hand and congratulate me, and call me lucky because I was not on the Pennsylvania when she blew up! My God forgive them, for they know not what they say.
Mollie you do not understand why I was not on that boatI will tell you. I left Saint Louis on her, but on the way down, Mr. Brown, the pilot that was killed by the explosion (poor fellow,) quarreled with Henry without cause, while I was steeringHenry started out of the pilothouseBrown jumped up and collared himturned him half way around and struck him in the face!and him nearly six feet highstruck my little brother. I was wild from that moment. I left the boat to steer herself, and avenged the insultand the Captain said I was rightthat he would discharge Brown in N. Orleans if he could get another pilot, and would do it in St. Louis anyhow. Of course both of us could not return to St. Louis on the same boatno pilot could be found, and the Captain sent me to the A. T. Lacey, with orders to her Captain to bring me to Saint Louis. Had another pilot been found, poor Brown would have been the lucky man.
I was on the Pennsylvania five minutes before she left N. Orleans, and I must tell you the truth, Molliethree hundred human beings perished by that fearful disaster. Henry was asleepwas blown upthen fell back on the hot boilers, and I suppose that rubbish fell on him, for he is injured internally. He got into the water and swam to shore, and got into the flatboat with the other survivors. He had nothing on but his wet shirt, and he lay there burning up with a southern sun and freezing in the wind till the Kate Frisbee came along. His wounds were not dressed till he got to Memphis, 15 hours after the explosion. He was senseless and motionless for 12 hours after that. But may God bless Memphis, the noblest city on the face of the earth. She has done her duty by these poor afflicted creaturesespecially Henry, for he has had fiveaye, ten, fifteen, twenty times the care and attention that any one else has had. Dr. Peyton, the best physician in Memphis (he is exactly like the portraits of Webster,) sat by him for 36 hours. There are 32 scalded men in that room, and you would know Dr. Peyton better than I can describe him, if you could follow him around and hear each man murmur as he passesMay the God of Heaven bless you, Doctor! The ladies have done well, too. Our second Mate, a handsome, noble-hearted young fellow, will die. Yesterday a beautiful girl of 15 stooped timidly down by his side and handed him a pretty bouquet. The poor suffering boys eyes kindled, his lips quivered out a gentle God bless you, Miss, and he burst into tears. He made them write he[r] name on a card for him, that he might not forget it.
Pray for me, Mollie, and pray for my poor sinless brother.
Your unfortunate Brother,
Samℓ. L. Clemens.
P. S. I got here two days after Henry [MTL 1: 80-82]. Note: see notes in source and chapters 18-20 LM. This tragedy was one of the singular events of Clemens life, creating great grief and guilt.
Sams brother-in-law, William A. Moffett, in St. Louis, telegraphed Sam in Memphis, asking:
Will it be better for your Mother to come down / Answer / W.A. Moffett [MTP].
June 21 Monday Henry Clemens died. Sam was grief-stricken. Images of a prior dream about Henrys death haunted Sam, and magnified the trauma of Henrys final sufferings. Sam telegraphed William Moffett: Henry died this morning leave tomorrow with the Corpse.
Henry had always been the model of innocence and uprightness, contrasting with Sams rebellious instigator. The injustice of Henrys death was a blow that shaped Sams life, and increased the guilt he always carried. He felt tremendous guilt for securing the clerk job for Henry, for not being on the Pennsylvania on its last trip, and for not protecting his younger brother [MTL 1: 85; Powers, MT A Life 87-9].
June 25 Friday Sam arrived in Hannibal with Henrys body aboard the steamer Hannibal City. Henry buried the same day next to his father, John Marshall Clemens in the Old Baptist Cemetery. In 1876 Sam would have both bodies moved to Mount Olivet Cemetery [MT A Life 88-9]. Dempsey writes: After emancipation, the Baptist church in Hannibal kicked its black members out of the church. Most white people quite burying in the old Baptist Cemetery, though blacks continued burying there .Mt. Olivet became the fashionable cemetery for white Hannibal Protestants .
June 26 Saturday The Clemens family buried Henry [A. Hoffman 55]. Sometime during the year Sam wrote My Brother, Henry Clemens. The piece was later found clipped in one of Sams scrapbooks; the newspaper that printed it remains unknown [Camfield, bibliog.].
July 11 Sunday Sam, cub pilot under Samuel A. Bowen (1838?-1878), co-pilot George G. Ealer, Captain John P. Rodney left St. Louis for New Orleans on the Alfred T. Lacey. Sam loved Ealer, who read Shakespeare, played the flute and was fond of chess. Sam remembered steering for Bowen. This was the only round trip that the Lacey made that month [MTL 1: 86].
July 16 Friday Alfred T. Lacey arrived in New Orleans.
July 21 Wednesday Alfred T. Lacey left for St. Louis.
July 28 Wednesday Alfred T. Lacey arrived in St. Louis.
August 4 Wednesday The shorter run from St. Louis to Memphis and back allowed Sam to stay closer to his family after the death of Henry and make weekly visits. The John H. Dickey (403 tons) left St. Louis on this date with Sams old friend Sam A. Bowen, pilot and Daniel J. Able (b.1825?) captain. Andrew Hoffman claims Bart Bowen got Sam the position as steersman with his brother Sam Bowen in order to get Sam back on the river .
Sam knew Daniel Able from Hannibal days. On these runs Sam saw the growth of the cotton trade. A lot of money was being made. Besides weekly visits home, Sam also had time to write. He penned three articles about the Dickey, Captain Able, and the City of Memphis for three newspapers . Branch also gives this date for Sams return to the river [Branch, Dickey 195].
August 7 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis. In these runs there was either one-day layover or no layover. All departures were Wednesdays from St. Louis, Saturday from Memphis.
August 11 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
August 18 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
August 21 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
August 25 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
August 28 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
August 30 Monday Sam dated the article he signed as Rambler this day [Branch, Dickey 196]. This was the same pen name Sam had used for the Hannibal Journal from Apr. 29 through May 14, 1853.
September 1 Wednesday Sams article was printed in the St. Louis Missouri Democrat using the pen name Rambler [Branch, Dickey 196]. The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
September 4 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
September 8 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
September 11 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
September 12 Sunday Heavy fog delayed the Dickeys arrival in St. Louis [Branch, Dickey 198].
September 15 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
September 16 Thursday The John H. Dickey laid over at Cairo for six hours, where Senator Stephen A. Douglas was speaking in his campaign against Abraham Lincoln [Branch Dickey 198].
September 18 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
September 22 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
September 25 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
September 29 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
October 2 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
October 5 Tuesday The John H. Dickey arrived at St. Louis and unloaded 1006 bales of cotton, the largest lot brought on any one boat this season [Branch, Dickey 198].
October 6 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
October 9 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
October 13 Wednesday The John H. Dickey left St. Louis.
October 16 Saturday The John H. Dickey left Memphis.
October 20 Wednesday The Dickey was laid up for repairs, so Sam and probably Sam Bowen and Captain Able, made the St. Louis to Memphis run on the White Cloud (345 tons).
October 22 Friday Sams article was printed in the St. Louis Missouri Republican using the signature C [Branch, Dickey 199-200]. Note: MTPO Notes on Aug. 1, 1876 to Cist calls this chatty river correspondence.
October 23 Saturday The White Cloud left Memphis.
October 24 Sunday Sams article, MemphisThe Cotton TradeIllinois PoliticsWhat Tennessee Thinks of Them, was printed in the Memphis Daily Appeal [Branch, Dickey 201].
October 30 Saturday Sam left St. Louis on the New Falls City (880 tons; built in January of that year, the largest ship Sam served on. Sam took passage on the boat in January as well) Pilot Horace Bixby, Captain James B. Woods.
November 8 Monday New Falls City arrived in New Orleans.
November 10 Wednesday New Falls City left for St. Louis.
November 17 Wednesday- New Falls City arrived in St. Louis.
November 19 Friday New Falls City left for New Orleans.
November 26 Friday New Falls City arrived in New Orleans.
November 29 Monday New Falls City left for St. Louis.
November 30 Tuesday Sams 23rd birthday.
December 8 Wednesday New Falls City arrived in St. Louis.
Running Aground and Heroism Working the River
January 1 Saturday The Aleck Scott arrived in St. Louis.
January 27 Thursday The Aleck Scott arrived in St. Louis.
February 27 Sunday The Aleck Scott arrived in St. Louis
March 9 and 11 Friday In New Orleans, Sam began a long letter to sister Pamela Moffett, that he finished on Mar. 11. He wrote of the Mardi Gras, and Maria Piccolomini, an Italian princess singer Here, in part:
. . . . [first part not extant]
beginning of Lent, and all good Catholics eat and drink freely of what they please, and, in fact, do what they please, in order that they may be the better able to keep sober and quiet during the coming fast. It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans.
I posted off up town yesterday morning as soon as the boat landed, in blissful ignorance of the great day. At the corner of Good-Children and Tchoupitoulas streets, I beheld an apparition!and my first impulse was to dodge behind a lamp-post. It was a womana hay-stack of curtain calico, ten feet highsweeping majestically down the middle of the street (for what pavement in the world could accommodate hoops of such vast proportions?) Next I saw a girls of eighteen, mounted on a fine horse, and dressed as a Spanish Cavalier, with long rapier, flowing curls, blue satin doublet and half-breeches, trimmed with broad white lace(the balance of her dainty legs cased in flesh-colored silk stockings)white kid glovesand a nodding crimson feather in the coquettishest little cap in the world. She removed said cap and bowed low to me, and nothing loath, I bowed in returnbut I could nt help murmuring, By the beard of the Prophet, Miss, but youve mistaken your man this timefor I never saw your silk mask beforenor the balance of your costume, either, for that matter. And then I saw a hundred men, women and children in fine, fancy, splendid, ugly, coarse, ridiculous, grotesque, laughable costumes, and the truth flashed upon meThis is Mardi-Gras! It was Mardi-grasand that young lady had a perfect right to bow to, shake hands with, or speak to, me, or any body else she pleased. The streets were soon full of Mardi-gras, representing giants, Indians, nigger minstrels, monks, priests, clowns, every birds, beasts,everything, in fact, that one could imagine. The free-and-easy women turned out en masseand their costumes and actions were very trying to modest eyes. The finest sight I saw during the day was a band of twenty stalwart men, splendidly arrayed as Comanche Indians, flying and yelling down the street on horses as finely decorated as themselves. It was [ page 64 ] worth going a long distance to see the performances of the daybut bless me! how insignificant they seemed in comparison with those of the night, when the grand torchlight procession of the Mystic Krewe of Comus was added. [MTL 1: 87-91]. Note: the Krewe was established in 1856; prior to that the celebrations was exclusively Catholic, informal, and not regular. Six Anglo businessmen met in a secret society to improve Mardi Gras, inspired by Miltons Comus. The torchlight procession was one of their additions.
New Orleans, Friday 11th.
I saw our little Princesses, Countesses, or whatever they arethe Piccolominisin St. Charles street yesterday. They came down from Memphis in the cars, I believe. Their first concert takes place to-night, and we shall leave this afternoon. So we shall not hear the young lady sing. We had a souvenir of the warbler written on our sla old slate, but some sacrilegious scoundrel rubbed it out. It was Je suis fachèr quil faut que nous allons de ce batteau à la Memphis. (I am sorry that we must leave the boat at Memphis.) To which I replied en mauvais française, Nous seront nous aussi très fachèr. (We shall be very sorry, also.) Ben was going to head it The Lament of the Irish Emigrant, & sell the old slate to Barnum for five hundred dollars. Ben said he had a very interesting conversation with the old dowager, Madame Pic. He remarkedI imagine, Madame, that if it would only drizzle a little more, the weather would soon be in splendid condition for young ducks! And she repliedAh, mio, mio,une petèI not can ondersthand not! Yesm, its a great pity you cant ondersthand not, for it has cost you the loss of a very sage remark. And she followed with a tremendous gush of the musical language. Then BenjaminYes, madame, youre very rightvery right indeed. I acknowlege the justice of your remarks, but the devil of it is, Im a little in the dark as to what youve been saying all the time!
In eight days from this, I shall be in Saint Louis, but I am afraid if I am not careful Ill beat this letter there.
My love to all,
Sam [MTL 1: 87-91].
March 19 Saturday The Aleck Scott arrived in St. Louis
April 8 Friday The Aleck Scott arrived in St. Louis
April 9 Saturday Sam was granted a license as a full steamboat pilot from the Department of Commerce in St. Louis. Until May 1861, Sam had the best job in the world. Note: Until copies of Sams pilot license surfaced in the late 1930s, it was thought by Paine, DeVoto and others (from Sams autobiographical estimates of eighteen months from his apprenticeship under Bixby,) that the date was Sept. 9, 1858. Sam may have recollected being allowed to pilot crafts without passengers prior to the issuance of his license, which would have been lawful at that time [The Twainian, Nov. 1939].
May 4 Wednesday Now a full pilot, Sam left St. Louis on the Alfred T. Lacey, copiloted by Bart Bowen (brother of Sam and Will Bowen), under Captain John P. Rodney, for New Orleans. A pilot, in those days, was the only unfettered and entirely independent human being that lived in the earth [LM; MTL 1: 14].
Isaiah Sellers letter to the New Orleans Picayune:
The item served as grist for Sams Sergeant Fathom spoof [MTB 1593].
May 8 Sunday Sam used the pen name of Sergeant Fathom and wrote a piece parodying Isaiah Sellers, the rivers only genuine Son of Antiquity [LM, Ch. 50]. Sellers had been a fixture on the Mississippi since Missouri became a state. He wrote river intelligence for various newspapers. According to Andrew Hoffman, Sam thought Sellers was egotistical, long-winded, and incapable of trimming a tale to his audiencethe last sin unforgivable in Sams eyes . No story another pilot could tell was beyond being outdone by Sellers. Sams fellow pilots had the piece published in the New Orleans Crescent in this month. Sellers was so mortified he never again wrote for a newspaper. Sam later claimed he took the name Mark Twain (which means two fathoms12 feetor enough for most steamboats to navigate) from Sellers after his death, but no record has ever been found of Sellers using the name, and when Sam first used the name, Sellers was still alive (he died in 1864). An excerpt from Sams parody of Sellers:
You can form some conception, by these memoranda, of how high the water was in 1763. In 1775 it did not rise so high by thirty feet; in 1790 it missed the original mark at least sixty-five feet; in 1797, one hundred and fifty feet; and in 1806, nearly two hundred and fifty feet. These were high-water years. The high waters since then have been so insignificant that I have scarcely taken the trouble to notice them. Thus, you will perceive that the planters need not feel uneasy. The river may make an occasional spasmodic effort at a flood, but the time is approaching when it will cease to rise altogether.
In conclusion, sir, I will condescend to hint at the foundation of these arguments: When me and De Soto discovered the Mississippi I could stand at Bolivar Landing (several miles above Roaring Waters Bar) and pitch a biscuit to the main shore on the other side, and in low water we waded across at Donaldsonville. The gradual widening and deepening of the river is the whole secret of the matter [ET&S 1: 126-133].
July 1 Friday J.C. Swon arrived in New Orleans
July 3 Sunday J.C. Swon left for St. Louis.
July 6 Wednesday Sam wrote to John T. Tom Moore from Memphis. Moore was a mud clerk on the Roe when Sam was a cub pilot there. The letter appeared in the Arkansaw Traveler July 14, 1883; the original has not been found and its authenticity is in doubt, though many elements argue for it being Sams [MTL 1: 91-2, n2; MTB 156]. Note: this may be the same Tom Moore that presented Sam for Masonic membership.
My Dear John:
I have made many attempts to answer your letter which received a warmth of welcome perspiringly in keeping with the present system of hot weather; but somehow I have failed. Now, however, I screw myself down to the pleasant task. It is a task, let me tell you, and it is only by the courtesy of friendship that I can call it pleasant.
I have been wondering lately what in the name of Mexican cultivation and flatboat morality is to become of people, anyhow. Years, now, I have been waiting for the summers to become cooler, but up to the present moment of agony I see no change. I wish there was some arrangement by which we could have the kind of weather we want; but then I suppose I would call for an arrangement by which we could make a living without work. What a fool old Adam was. Had everything his own way; had succeeded in gaining the love of the best looking girl in the neighborhood, but yet unsatisfied with his conquest he had to eat a miserable little apple. Ah, John, if you had been in his place you would not have eaten a mouthful of the apple, that is if it had required any exertion. I have often noticed that you shun exertion. There comes in the difference between us. I court exertion. I love to work. Why, sir, when I have a piece of work to perform, I go away to myself, sit down in the shade and muse over the coming enjoyment. Sometimes I am so industrious that I muse too long.
No, I am not in love at present. I saw a young lady in Vicksburg the other day whom I thought Id like to love, but John, the weather is too devilish hot to talk about love; but oh, that I had a cool, shady place, where I could sit among gurgling fountains of perfumed ice-water, an be loved into a premature death of rapture. I would give the world for thisId love to die such a glorious and luxurient death.
SAM CLEMENS [MTPO].
July 9 Saturday J.C. Swon arrived in St. Louis
July 13 Wednesday J.C. Swon left for New Orleans.
July 19 Tuesday J.C. Swon arrived in New Orleans.
July 28 Thursday J.C. Swon arrived in St. Louis.
August 1 Monday Sam wrote a piece of fiction intended for newspaper publication titled The Mysterious Murders in Risse. It was never published [ET&S 1: 134].
August 2 Tuesday Sam left St. Louis as pilot of the Edward J. Gray, (823 tons) Bart Bowen, Captain. Here was another majestic boat for Sam to pilot.
August 10 Wednesday The Edward J. Gray arrived New Orleans.
August 19 Friday The Edward J. Gray arrived St. Louis.
August 24 Wednesday The Edward J. Gray left for New Orleans.
September 1 Thursday The Edward J. Gray arrived New Orleans.
September 3 Saturday The Edward J. Gray left for St. Louis.
September 9 Friday The Edward J. Gray arrived St. Louis.
September 13 Tuesday The Edward J. Gray left for New Orleans.
September 21 Wednesday The Edward J. Gray arrived New Orleans.
September 23 Friday The Edward J. Gray left for St. Louis.
October 1 Saturday The Edward J. Gray arrived St. Louis.
October 2 to 25 Tuesday Sam stayed at home awhile in St. Louis until he learned that he was to pilot the A.B. Chambers [MTL 1: 95n4].
October 13? Thursday Sam wrote to Elizabeth W. Smith (Aunt Betsy b.1794 or 5) from St. Louis. Smith was not really Sams aunt, but a friend of his mother. As he explained it in his Autobiography,
She wasnt anybodys aunt in particular, she was aunt to the whole town of Hannibal; this was because of her sweet and generous and benevolent nature and the winning simplicity of her character She and my mother were very much alive; their age counted for nothing; they were fond of excitement, fond of novelties, fond of anything going that was of a sort proper for members of the church to indulge in they were always ready for Fourth of July processions, Sunday-school processions, lectures, conventions, camp-meetings, revivals in the churchin fact, for any and every kind of dissipation that could not be proven to have anything irreligious about itand they never missed a funeral. Sam used Elizabeth Smith as a model for at least three stories, Those Extraordinary Twins, Hellfire Hotchkiss, and The Mysterious Stranger [MTL 1: 93-6].
Dear Aunt Betsey:
Ma has not written you, because she did not know when I would get started down the river againand I could not write, because, between you and I, Aunt Betsey, for once in my life I didnt know any more than my own mothershe could not tell when she and the coal-tinted white tom-cat might hope to get rid of me, and I was in the same lamentable state of ignorance myself.
You see, Aunt Betsey, I made but one trip on the packet after you left, and then concluded to remain at home awhile. I have just discovered, this morning, that I am to go to New Orleans on the Col. Chambersfine, light-draught, swift running passenger steamerall modern accommodationsand improvementsthrough with dispatchfor freight or passage apply on board or tobutI have forgotten the agents namehowever, it makes no differenceand as I was saying, or had intended to say, Aunt Betsey, that probably, if you are ready to come up, you had better take the Ben Lewis, the best boat in the packet line. She will be at Cape Girardeau at noon on Saturday (day after tomorrow,) and will reach here at breakfast time Sunday. If Mr. Hamilton is Chief Clerk,very well. I am slightly acquainted with him. And if Messrs. Carter, Gray and Dean Somebody (I have forgotten his other name,) are in the pilot-housevery well againI am acquainted with them. Just tell Mr. Gray, Aunt Betseythat I wish him to place himself at your command.
All the family are well except myselfI am in a bad way againdisease, Love, in its most malignant form. Hopes are entertained of my recovery, however. At the dinner-table, Iexcellent symptomI am still as terrible as an army with banners. [ page 68 ]
Aunt Betseythe wickedness of this worldbut I havent time to moralize this morning.
P. S.All send their love [MTL 1: 93-96; see source notes]
October 26 Wednesday Sam left for St. Louis as the pilot of the A.B. Chambers (410 tons), copilots James C. DeLancey and Will Bowen; Captain George W. Bowman.
November 7 Monday A.B. Chambers arrived in New Orleans.
November 9 Wednesday A.B. Chambers left for St. Louis.
November 20 Sunday A.B. Chambers arrived in St. Louis.
November 23 Wednesday A.B. Chambers left for New Orleans.
November 30 Wednesday Sams 24th birthday.
December 4 Sunday A.B. Chambers arrived in New Orleans.
December 8 Thursday A.B. Chambers left for St. Louis.
December 17 Saturday A.B. Chambers arrived in St. Louis.
December 20 Tuesday A.B. Chambers left for New Orleans.
December 22 or 23 Friday The Chambers ran aground five miles south of Commerce, Mo., where the channel flowed between Powers Island and Goose Islanda notorious trap. It was soon stuck hard with ice piling up around it. Out of wood, the captain ordered Sam and seven others to take a yawl and row up river to fetch a flatboat with wood. Sams judgment in directing the craft avoided certain death by any other course [MTL 1: 95n4]. (See this note for the full story as told by Grant Marsh, first mate.)
December 29 Thursday A.B. Chambers reached Cairo, Illinois.
December 31 Saturday A.B. Chambers arrived in New Orleans.
January 7 Saturday A.B. Chambers arrived in New Orleans.
January 10 Tuesday A.B. Chambers left for St. Louis.
January 20 Friday A.B. Chambers arrived in St. Louis.
February 1 Wednesday A.B. Chambers left for New Orleans.
February 11 Saturday A.B. Chambers arrived in New Orleans.
February 14 Tuesday A.B. Chambers left for St. Louis.
February 24 Friday A.B. Chambers arrived in St. Louis.
March 21 Wednesday According to records accessed at the Department of Commerce, Steamboat Inspection Service in St. Louis in 1925, Sams pilot license, initially issued Apr. 9, 1859 was renewed on this day [The Twainian, January 1940].
March 25 Sunday Sam became pilot of the City of Memphis (865 tons) and left St. Louis this day with co-pilot Wesley Jacobs, Captain Joseph E. Montgomery. Here was a 6-boiler, 300-foot behemoth of a boat. Branch asserts that Sam was a skillful pilot [Branch, Mark Twain: The Pilot 30].
One time I mistook Capt. Ed Montgomerys coat hanging on the big bell for the Capt. himself and waiting for him to tell me to back I ran into a steamboat at New Orleans [MTNJ 2: 536].
May 9 Wednesday A family story told by Annie Moffett Webster disclosed Sams political leaning in 1860 (Annie was 8 years old). That year a third political party of old Whigs and former Know-Nothings called the Constitutional Union Party met in Baltimore and nominated John Bell of Tennessee for president and Edward Everett of Massachusetts for vice president.
In 1860 we moved to 1312 Chestnut Street. This was a presidential year and one in which there was great difference of opinion because of the split in the Democratic Party. My father was for Douglas and Uncle Sam [ page 70 ] was for Bell and Everett. I was in a quandary until Uncle Sam settled my allegiance by giving me a Bell and Everett button [MTBus 47].
What is a government without energy? And what is a man without energy? Nothingnothing at all. What is the grandest thing in Paradise Lostthe Arch-Fiends terrible energy! What was the greatest feature in Napoleons character? His unconquerable energy! Sum all the gifts that man is endowed with, and we give our greatest share of admiration to his energy. And to-day, if I were a heathen, I would rear a statue to Energy, and fall down and worship it!
I want a man toI want you totake up a line of action, and follow it out, in spite of the very devil.
. . . .
yourself from the reputation of a visionary. I am not talking nonsense, nowI am in earnest. I want you to keep your troubles and your plans out of the reach of meddlers,until the latter are consummatedso that, in case you fail, no one will know it but yourself. Above all things (between you and I,) never tell Ma any of your troubles. She never slept a wink the night your last letter came, and she looks distressed yet. Write only cheerful news to her. You know that she will not be satisfied so long as she thinks anything is going that she is ignorant of,and she makes a bitter fuss about it when her suspicions are awakened:but that makes no differenceI know that it is better that she be kept in the dark concerning all things of an unpleasant nature. She upbraids me occasionally for giving her only the bright side of my affairs(but unfortunately for her she has to put up with it, for I know that troubles which I curse awhile and forget, would disturb her slumbers for some time.) (Par. No. 2.Possibly because she is deprived of the soothing consolation of swearing.) Tell her the good news and me the bad.
Putting all things together, I begin to think I am rather lucky than otherwisea notion which I was slow to take up. The other night I was about to round to for a stormbut concluded that I could find a smoother bank somewhere. I landed 5 miles below. The storm camepassed away and did not injure us. I Coming up, day before yesterday, I looked at the spot I first chose, and half the trees on the bank were torn to shreds. We couldnt have lived 5 minutes in such a tornado. And I am also lucky in having a berth, while all [ page 71 ] the young pilots are idle. This is the luckiest circumstance that ever befell me. Not on account of the wagesfor that is a secondary considerationbut from the fact that the CITY OF MEMPHIS is the largest boat in the trade and the hardest to pilot, and consequently I can get a reputation on her, which is a thing I never could accomplish on a transient boat. I can bank in the neighborhood of $100 a month on her, and that will satisfy me for the present (principally because the other youngsters are sucking their fingers.) Bless me! what a pleasure there is in revenge! and what vast respect Prosperity commands! Why, six months ago, I could enter the Rooms, and receive only a customary fraternal greetingbut now they say, Why, how are you, old fellowwhen did you get in? And the young pilots, who used to tell me, patronisingly, that I could never learn the river, cannot keep from showing a little of their chagrin at seeing me so far ahead of them. Permit me to blow my horn, for I derive a living pleasure from these things. And I must confess that when I go to pay my dues, I rather like to let the dd rascals get a glimpse of a hundred dollar bill peeping out from amongst notes of smaller dimensions, whose faces I do not exhibit! You will despise this egotism, but I tell you there is a stern joy in it [MTL 1: 96-99].
Confound me if I wouldnt eat up half a dozen of you small girls if I just had the merest shadow of a chance this morning. Here I am, now, about 3 weeks out from Keokuk, and 2 from St. Louis, and yet I have not heard a word from youand may not, possibly, for 2 or 3 more weeks, as we shall go no further up the river at present, but turn back from here and go to New Orleans.
Just go on, thoughgo on. I have had a pleasant trip, and there is consolation in that. I quarreled with the mate, and made it up with him; and I quarreled with him again, and made it up again; and quarreled and made up the third timeand I have got the shell of half a watermelon by me now, ready to drop on his head as soon as he comes out of the Texas,which will produce quarrel No. 4, if I have made my calculations properly.
Yes, and I have disobeyed the Captains orders over and over again, which produced a state of feeling in his breast, much to my satisfaction(bless your soul, I always keep the law on my side, you see, when the Chief Officer is concerned,) and I am ready now to quarrel with anybody in the world that cant whip me. Ah me, I feel as strong as a yoke of oxen, this morning, and nothing could afford me greater pleasure than a pitched battle with you three girls. It cant be, though. However, Ill fix the mate when he comes out.
Belle, you ought to see the letter I wrote last night for a friend of mine. He is fearfully love-sick, and he feared he should die, if he didnt pour out his soul (he saidstomach, I should say,) in an epistolary form to the being, (Ella Creel knows what that word means,) who has entrapped his virgin affections. Poor devilhe said Make it the letter sweetfill it full of love, and I did, as sure as you live. But if the dose dont turn the young lady inside out, she must certainly be endowed with the stomach of an ostrich. [ page 72 ]
But did you girls see the Aurora Borealis last night (Friday?) It was very beautiful, but it did not last long. It reckon you girls had been home from choir-meeting about an hour when I saw itor perhaps you were out on the bluff. Somebody remarked Snag ahead! and I lost the finest part of the sight.
Now, Belle, cant you write to me, right away, to Care of Eclipse Wharf Boat, Memphis, Tenn? Of course you can, if you will. I sent you 2 pieces of instrumental music and a song to Ella Creel from Vicksburghdid they arrive safely?
Oh, confound Cairo.
Good-bye my dear
Sam [MTL 1: 99-102].
I just received yours and Mollies letters yesterdaythey had been here 2 weeksforwarded from St Louis. We got here yesterdaywill leave at Noon, to-day. Of course I have had no time, in 24 hours, to do anythingtherefore Ill answer after we are under way again. Yesterday I had many things to do, but Bixby and I got with the pilots of two other boats and went off dissipating on a ten dollars dinner at a French restaurantbreathe it not unto Ma!where we ate Sheep-head-fish with mushrooms, shrimps and oystersbirdscoffee with brandy burnt in it, &c &c,ate, drank & smoked, from 1 P. M. until 5 oclock, and thenthenthe day was too far gone to do anything.
To-day I ordered the alligator boots$1200. Will send em up next trip. Please find enclosedand acknowledge receipt of $2000
Sam. L. Clemens [MTL 1: 102].
My Dear Brother:
At last, I have succeeded in scraping together moments enough to write you. And its all owing to my own enterprise, toofor, running in the fog, on the coast, in order to beat another boat, I grounded the Child on the bank, at nearly flood-tide, where we had to stay until the great tide ebbed and flowed again (24 hours,) before she floated off. And that dry-bank spell so warped and twisted the packet, and caused her to leak at such a rate, that she had to enter protest and go on the dock, here, which delays us until Friday morning. We had intended to leave today. As soon as we arrived here last Sunday morning, I jumped aboard the McDowell and went down to look at the rivergrounded 100 miles below here25 miles this side of the crossing which I started down to look atstayed aground 24 hoursand by that time I grew tired and returned here to be ready for to-day. I am sorry now that I did not hail a down-stream boat and go onI would have had plenty of time.
The New Orleans market fluctuates. If any man doubts this proposition, let him try it once. Trip before last, chickens sold rapidly on the levee at $700 per dozlast trip they were not worth $300. Trip before last, eggs were worth $35 @ 40cper dozlast trip they were selling at 12½ which was rather discouraging, considering that we were in the market with 3,600 dozen, which we paid 15 cents fortogether with 18 barrels of apples, which were not worth a dm We expected to get $6 or 7 per bbl. for them. We stored the infernal produce, and shall wait for the market to fluctuate again. But in the meantime, Nil desperandumI am deep in another egg purchase, now.
I am ashamed of myself for not having sent you any money for such a long time. But the fact is, Ill be darned if I had it. I went to the clerk awhile ago and asked him how we stood? Twenty-two days wages$183.33⅓. Deduct my egg speculation and give me the balance. And he handed me $3500! So much for eggs. I gave the money to Ma. However, we shall have been here 4 days to-morrow. Ill go and collect that and divide with you.
When I go to Memphis, Mo, I will see what can be done about produce in your part of the country.
Now, as I understand the house, business, you can get a big, respectable house to live in for $11000 a yearper. centagewhich is cheap enough rent it seems to meand 10 years to pay the principalin law. Take itand take the whole town on the same terms if you can get it. Furnish the house nicely, and move into itand then, if youll invite me, Ill be happy to pay you a visit. Let me know how much money you [ page 74 ] want to furnish the house with. About the other house I can tell nothing. If it be best to purchasewhypitch in. Ill raise the money in some way. You owe Uncle Billy Patterson and old Jimmy Clemens Jr. moneyand if they were to die, their administrators would gobble up everything youve got. Therefore, put no property in your own nameeither put your share in Mas name and my half in my own, or else put it all in Mas or mineMas will do meand you, too, I reckon. If you can buy both houses with law and 10 per cent, take thembut see that the contract is carefully written out. Because, for one reason, the law business of an influential man like Downing is worth a great deal more money in the influence it carries with it, than simply the money which is paid for it. Yesyou might advertize for cheap lots in your local paper. But perhaps you had better wait until I see whether this last egg speculation of mine is going to smash me or not.
Blast ityou didnt ask Belle where she got that stoneand if I dont get another pretty soon Ill lose the settingand its fine gold, and I want to save it.
In conclusionPamela has got a babywhich you may have heard before this. She is now reposing on her honorsseemingly well satisfied with the personal appearance of the very unexpected but not unwelcome young strangerand deeming the matter glory enough for one day. (Sub rosaa very small amount of this kind of glory would go a good way with the subscriberif I were marriedwhich I am not married, owing to the will of Providence and the flickering of my last.) And her nurse is almost the counterpart of Mrs. Gamp in Martin Chuzzlewitwho used to sayNonowhich them is the very words I have said more nor once to Mrs. HarrisNo, mamI am opposed to drinking, I saysnot that I mean to say that I do nor I dont, or I will or I wont, myself. But what I say, is, leave the bottle on the mantle-shelf, and let me put my lips to it when Im so disposed. I dont mean to say that this Mrs. Gamp drinksbut I do say she looks just like the other Mrs. Gamp.
Like all the letters of the family, this is to you and Mollie and Jennieall. And as I am strappedand pushed for time, well sing the doxology, as followshoping to hear from all of you soon:
In the worlds great field of battle,
In the bivuac of life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle
Be a hero in the strife.
Sam. L. Clemens [MTL 1: 103-6].
River Traffic Closed Marion Ranger Fun St. Jo Westward; Roughing It to Carson Mine Feet Speculation Aurora Conflagration on Lake Tahoe
Humboldt and Mining Fever a small rude cabin at Unionville
January 7 Monday Brother Orion wrote Sam from Memphis. His letter of introduction to Samuel Taylor Glover (1813-1884) was intended to obtain a letter of introduction to Edward Bates (1793-1869), Lincolns attorney general. Orion hoped to get a government position to provide his family with a stable income and to pay debts
We had a had a hearty laugh, as well as some of our acquaintances of the feminine gender (in my absence) heads of families, over your last letter. I am greatly obliged to you for the Tri-weekly Republican till 1st next April. You could hardly have made me a more acceptable present. Jennie is equally delighted with her books. I have read them all through [MTL 1: 114n9].
February 6 Wednesday Sam was in Cairo, Illinois. He wrote his brother Orion and sister-in-law, Mary (Mollie) Clemens:
My Dear Brother:
After promising Mrs. Holliday a dozen times(without anything further than a very remote intention of fulfilling the same,) to visit the fortune tellerMad. CaprellI have at last done so. We lay in New Orleans a week; and towards the last, novelties begun to grow alarmingly scarce; I did not know what to do nextWill Bowen had given the matter up, and gone to bed for the balance of the trip; the Captain was on [ page 76 ] the Sugar Levee, and the clerks were out on business. I was revolving in my mind another foray among the shipping, in search of beautiful figure-heads or paragons of nautical architecture, when I happened to think of Mrs. Holliday; and as the Devil never comes unattended, I naturally thought of Mad. Caprell immediately after, and then I started toward the St. Charles Hotel for the express purpose of picking up one of the enchantresss bills, with a view to ascertaining her whereaboutsor, in simpler language, where she was supposed to hang out. The bill said 37 Conti, above Tchoupitoulasterms, $2 for gentlemen in my situation, i.e. unaccompanied by a lady.
Arrived at the place, the bell was answered by a middle-aged lady (who certainly pitied meI saw it in her eye,) who kindly informed me that I was at the wrong doorturn to the left. Which I did. And stood in the Awful Presence. She is a very pleasant little ladyrather prettyabout 28say 5 feet 2¼would weigh 116has black eyes and hairis polite and intelligentuses good language, and talks much faster than I do.
She invited me into the little back parlor, closed the door; and we werealone. We sat down facing each other. Then she asked my age. And then she put her hand before her eyes a moment, and commenced talking as if she had a good deal to say, and not much time to say it in. Something after this style:
Yours is a watery planet; you gain your livelihood on the water; but you should have been a lawyerthere is where your talents lie; you might have distinguished yourself as an orator; or as an editor; you have written a great deal; you write wellbut you are rather out of practice; no matteryou will be in practice some day; you have a superb constitution; and as excellent health as any man in the world; you have great powers of endurance; in your profession, your strength holds out against the longest sieges without flagging; still, the upper part of your lungsthe top of them, is slightly affectedand you must take more care of yourself; you do not drink, but you use entirely too much tobacco; and you must stop it; mind, not moderate, but stop the use of it, totally; then, I can almost promise you 86, when you will surely die; otherwise, look out for 28, 31, 34, 47 and 65; be carefulfor you are not of a long-lived race, that is, on your fathers side; you are the only healthy member of your family, and the only one in it who has any thing like the certainty of attaining to a great ageso, stop using tobacco, and be careful of yourself; in nearly all respects, you are the best sheep in your flock; your brother has an excellent mind, but it is not as well balanced as yours; I should call yours the best mind, altogether; there is more unswerving strength of will, & set purpose, and determination and energy in you than in all the balance of your family put together; in some respects you take after your father, but you are much more like your mother, who belongs to the long-lived, energetic side of the house. (But Madam, you are too fastyou have given me too much of these qualities.) No, I have not. Dont interrupt me. I am telling the truth. And Ill prove it. Thus: you never brought all your energies to bear upon an object, but what you accomplished itfor instance, you are self-made, self-educated. (Which proves nothing.) Dont interrupt. When you sought your present occupation, you found a thousand obstacles in your wayobstacles which would have deterred nineteen out of any twenty menobstacles unknown,not even suspected by any save you and I, since you keep such matters to yourself,but you fought your way through them, during a weary, weary length of time, and never flinched, or quailed, or never once wished to give over the battleand hid the long struggle under a mask of cheerfullness, which saved your friends anxiety on your account. To do all this requires the qualities which I have named. (You flatter well, Madam.) Dont interrupt. Up to within a short time, you had always lived from hand to mouthnow, you are in easy circumstancesfor which you need give credit to no one but yourself. The turning-point in your life occurred in 18478 (Which was?)a death, perhaps; and this threw you upon the world and made you what you are; it was always intended that you should make yourself; therefore, it was well that this calamity occurred as early as it did; you will never die of water, although your career upon it in the future seems well sprinkled with misfortune; but I intreat you to remember this: no matter what your circumstances are, in September, of the year in which you are 28, dont go near the waterI will not tell you why, but by all that is true and good, I charge you, while that month lasts, keep away from the water (which she repeated several times, with much show of earnestnessmake a note ont, & lets see how much the woman knows.) Your life will be menaced in the years I have before-mentionedwill be in imminent peril when you are 31if you escape, then when you are 34neither 47 or 65 look so badly; you will continue upon the water for some time yet; you will not retire finally until ten years from now; two years from now, or a little more, a child will be born to you! (Permit me to hope, Madam, in view of this prospective good luck, that I may also have the jolly good-fortune to be married before that time.) Well, you are a free-spoken young man. Of course you will. (Make another note, OrionI think Ive caught her up a played-out chute in a falling river this timebut who knows?) And mindyour whole future welfare depends upon your getting married as soon as you can; dont smiledont laughfor it is just as true as truth itself; if you fail to marry within two years from now, [ page 77 ] you will regret that you paid so little attention to what I am saying now; dont be foolish, but go and marryyour future depends upon it; you can get the girl you have in your eye, if you are a better man than her mothershe (the girl) is; the old gentleman is not in the way, but the mother is decidedly cranky, and much in the way; she caused the trouble and produced the coolness which has existed between yourself and the young lady for so many months pastand you ought to break through this ice; you wont commence, and the girl wontyou are both entirely too prouda well-matched pair, truly; the young lady is(but I didnt ask after the young lady, Madam, and I dont want to hear about her.) There, just as I saidshe would have spoken to me just as you have done. For shame! I must go on. She is 17not remarkably pretty, but very intelligentis educated, and accomplishedand has property5 feet 3 inchesis slenderdark-brown hair and eyesyou dont want to see her? Oh, nobut you will, nevertheless, before this year is outhere in New Orleans (mark that,) tooand thenlook out! The fact of her being so far away nowwhich is the case, is it not?doesnt affect the matter. You will marry twiceyour first wife will live (I have forgotten the number of years,)your second choice will be a widowyou[r] family, finally, all told, will number ten children (slowMadamslowand stand by to ship upfor I know you are out of the channel,) some of them will live, and some will not at(theres consolation in the latter, at least.) Yes, ten is the number. (You must think I am fond of children.) And you are, although you pretend the contrarywhich is an ugly habit; quit it; I grant you that you do not like to handle them, though. What is your brothers age? 33?and a lawyer?and in pursuit of an office? Well, he stands a better chance than the other two, and, he may get ithe must do his bestand not trust too much to others, eitherwhich is the very reason why he is so far behind, now; he never does do anything, if he can get anybody else to do it for him; which is bad; he never goes steadily on till he attains an object, but nearly always drops it when the battle is half won; he is too visionaryis always flying off on a new hobby; this will never dotell him I said so. He is a good lawyera very good lawyerand a fine speakeris very popular, and much respected, and makes many friends; but although he retains their friendship, he loses their confidence, by displaying his instability of character; he wants to speculate in lands, and will, some day, with very good success; the land he has now will be very valuable after a while (say 250 years hence, or thereabouts, Madam,)noless timebut never mind the land, that is a secondary considerationlet him drop that for the present, and devote himself to his business and politics, with all his might, for he must hold offices under government, and 6 or 8 years from this time, he will run for Congress. You will marry, and will finally live in the Southdo not live in the north-west; you will not succeed well; you will live in the South, and after a while you will possess a good deal of propertyretire at the end of ten yearsafter which your pursuits will be literarytry the lawyou will certainly succeed. I am done, now. If you have any questions to askask them freelyand if it be in my power, I will answer without reservewithout reserve.
I asked a few questions of minor importancepaid her $2 and leftunder the decided impression that going to the fortune-tellers was just as good as going to the Opera, and cost scarcely a trifle moreergo, I would disguise myself and go again, one of these days, when other amusements failed.
Now isnt she the devil? That is to say, isnt she a right smart little woman? I have given you almost her very language to me, and nothing extenuated, nor set down aught in malice. Whenever she said anything pointed about you, she would ask me to tell you of it, so that you might profit by itand confound me if I dont think she read you a good deal better than she did me. That Congress business amused me a little, for she wasnt far wide of the mark you set yourself, as to time. And Pas death in 478, and the turning-point in my life, was very good. I wonder if there is a Past and future chronological table of events in a mans life written in his forehead for the special convenience of these clairvoyants? She said Pas side of the house was not long-lived, but that he doctored himself to death. I do not know about that, though. She said that up to 7 years, I had no health, and then mentioned several dates after that when my health had been very bad. But that about that girls mother being cranky, and playing the devil with me, was about the neatest thing she performedfor although I have never spoken of the matter, I happen to know that she spoke truth. The young lady has been beaten by the old one, though, through the romantic agency of intercepted letters, and the girl still thinks I was in faultand always will, I reckon, for I dont see how shell ever find out the contrary. And the woman had the impudence to say that although I was eternally falling in love, still, when I went to bed at night, I somehow always happened to think of Miss Laura before I thought of my last new flameand it always would be the case (which will be devilish comfortable, wont it, when both she and I (like one of Dickens characters,) are Anothers?) But drat the woman, she did tell the truth, and I wont deny it. But she said I would speak to Miss Laura firstand Ill stake my last shirt on it, she missed it there. [ page 78 ]
So much for Madame Caprell. Although of course, I have no faith in her pretended powers, I listened to her in silence for half an hour, without the greatest interest, and I am willing to acknowledge that she said some very startling things, and made some wonderful guesses. Upon leaving, she said I must take care of myself; that it had cost me several years to build up my constitution to its present state of perfection, and now I must watch it. And she would give me this motto: Louvrage de lannée est détruit dans un jour,which means, if you dont know it, The work of a year is destroyed in a day.
We shall not go to St. Louis. Turn back from here, to-morrow or next day. When you want money, let Ma know, and she will send it. She and Pamela are always fussing about small change, so I sent them a hundred and twenty quarters yesterdayfiddlers change enough to last till I get back, I reckon.
You owe me one. (over
(To be continued.)
Sam Clemens [MTP drop in letters].
Note: Madame Caprell told him his career would be made in literary efforts; that he must quit smoking immediately, and that a turning point occurred in his life in 1847-8 (Sams father died Mar. 24, 1847, when Sam was eleven). Sam quit smoking a couple of times but always took it back up [MTL 1: 107-112]. See source notes.
March 6 Wednesday The Alonzo Child arrived in New Orleans with Sams pleasure cruise contingent [MTL 1: 118n4].
March 18 Monday Sam was in St. Louis with his mother, Jane Clemens, and sister, Pamela. He wrote Orion on this date about visiting a museum and seeing Frederic E. Churchs oil painting, Heart of the Andes. He also wrote of his mothers disapproval of a dance, the Schottische (like the Polka) that he, his sister, and Miss Castle took part of [MTL 1: 116]. Note: The source for this letter in the printed volume was Paines text; Here are transcribed parts of the letter that have surfaced since, from MTPs drop-in letter file, as follows:
You have paid the preacher! Well, that is good, also. What a man wants with religion in these breadless times, surpasses my comprehension.
Pamela and I have just returned from a visit to the most wonderfully beautiful painting .When you first see the tame, ordinary-looking picture, your first impulse is to turn your back upon it, and say Humbugbut your third visit will find your brain gasping and straining with futile efforts to take all the wonder in
Ma was delighted with her trip, but she was disgusted with the girls for allowing me to embrace and kiss themand she was horrified at the Schottische as performed by Miss Castle and myself .But then she is an old fogy, you know.
I took Ma and the girls in a carriage, round that portion of New Orleans where the finest gardens and residences are to be seen, and although it was a blazing hot, dusty day, they seemed highly delighted. To use an expression which is commonly ignored in polite society, they were hell-bent on stealing some of the luscious-looking oranges from branches which overhung the fences, but I restrained them .We went out to Lake Pontchartrain in the cars [MTP, drop-in letters]. Note: Paine made several changes to this letter, notably cutting out Sam calling his mother an old fogy.
March 27Wednesday Orion received news of his commission as Secretary of Nevada Territory [ET&S 1: 12].
April 20 Saturday Orion Clemens received his commission as Secretary of Nevada Territory [MTL 1: 121n3].
April 26 Friday Sam boarded the Hannibal City to Hannibal. Sam wrote Orion of his intention to travel to Hannibal to collect a debt (probably the $200 Will Bowen had borrowed). He asked Orion to bring or buy the book, Armageddon by Samuel D. Baldwin.
My Dear Brother: / I am on the wing for Hannibal, to collect money due me. I shall return to St. Louis to-morrow.
Orion bring down Armageddon with you if you have it. If not, buy it. [MTL 1: 120]. Note: Armageddon, by Samuel D. Baldwin (1845); see source notes on this book.
April 27 Saturday Orion arrived in Keokuk with his wife and daughter. That night he left alone for St. Louis to see his mother, brother, and sister [MTL 1: 121n3].
April 28 Sunday Sam boarded the Die Vernon as a passenger for the return trip to St. Louis, where he spent a few days with his family [MTL 1: 120n2].
May 2Thursday The Alonzo Child left for New Orleans.
May 14 Tuesday Sam departed New Orleans as a passenger on the Nebraska. Commercial traffic was halted. This was the last boat allowed through the Union blockade at Memphis. Sams days as a river pilot were over, though he did not know it at the time. He would later wax nostalgic and eloquent about his idyllic career on the river. Just as his idyllic days of boyhood in Hannibal had abruptly ended, so too did his time on the best job in the world.
Paine gives the name of the boat as the Uncle Sam:
Ill think about it, he said. Im not very anxious to get up into a glass perch and be shot at by either side. Ill go home and reflect on the matter [MTB 161].
May 21 Tuesday Sam arrived in St. Louis. Sam hid out in the Moffett residence, fearful of being arrested by Union agents and forced to pilot a gunboat. He stayed there for a few weeks [MTL 1: 121]. During his stay he was invited to visit his cousin James Lampton, also in St. Louis. James was Jane Lampton Clemens first cousin, and the model for Colonel Mulberry Sellers in The Gilded Age. Sam stayed at James house for a few days. It was during this stay when the famous turnips and water dinner was served.
When Sam came home one day he was given the key to the neighbors house, owned by George Schroter (or Schroeter) (1813?-1896?), Will Moffetts business partner. The Schroter family was in Hannibal and it was thought Sam would be safer in their St. Louis house. One day a man who gave the name Smith came looking for Sam and his mother recognized him as a friend of Sams. The man came with the project of forming a Confederate company in the Hannibal area to join General Sterling Old Pap Price (1809-1867). Sam accepted and began the Marion Rangers fiasco [MTBus 60].
June 12 Wednesday Sam was probably no longer hiding out at his sisters, for on this date he was raised to Master Mason (second degree) in the Polar Star Masonic Lodge Number Seventy-nine of St. Louis [Jones 364].
June 15 Saturday ca. The Missouri state government had fled from Jefferson City by this date. Absalom Grimes wrote in his memoirs that he, Sam Bowen and Clemens were in Hannibal and were ordered to report to General Grey in St. Louis. (This may have been General Henry Gray, Jr. (1816-1892) spelled Grey by Grimes.) They made the trip on the Hannibal City and were instructed to be pilots carrying soldiers up the Missouri River, in pursuit of Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson (1806-1862). The three escaped and returned to Hannibal [Dempsey 266-7].
June, mid Back in Hannibal, Sam joined his merry band of play soldiers, the Marion Rangers, a ragtag bunch of friends who took up the Southern cause. In 1885 Sam wrote a humorous account of these two weeks in The Private History of a Campaign that Failed, where all names except Ed Stevens were fictitious [Rasmussen 370-1]. The group of old Hannibal schoolmates included William Ely, Asa Glasscock, Absalom Grimes, John D. Meredith, Sam Bowen, John L. RoBards, Perry Smith, and Ed Stevens [Budd, Collected 955-6; MTB 166]. The article below adds Tom Lyon and Charley Mills.
From the special Mark Twain Centennial edition of the Hannibal Courier-Post, Mar. 6, 1935 p.9b:
The ranger episode ended with Sam suffering a painful boil, a sprained ankle and several burns when he fell from a hayloft which caught fire from a smokers pipe. He convalesced at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Nuck Matson, near New London. By then the company has disbanded. (See Confederate Mail Runner by Absalom Grimes, 1926 for more.)
June 20 Thursday Sams article, Report on the Hannibal Home Guard was printed in the Missouri State Journal [Camfield, bibliog.].
July, early Sam returned to St. Louis. Sometime in the first half of the year (Budd says probably written in early 1861) [Collected 1000] before leaving for the West, Sam wrote an untitled tale (Ghost Life [ page 82 ] on the Mississippi) not published until 1948, but which was a milestone in Clemens early development as a writer. Despite certain inconsistencies and weaknesses in the narrative handling, the tale revealed a growing literary maturity and a distinct ability to construct serious fiction of some length [ET&S 1: 146]. Sam used a pen name, WILLIAM JONESPRESENTED BY HIS FATHER.
July 2 Tuesday Orion Clemens received final instructions for his appointment as secretary of Nevada Territory [RI UC 1993 explanatory notes 574].
July 4 Thursday Orion left his family in Keokuk and joined Sam, ready to travel to Nevada to take his new position as territorial secretary. He persuaded Sam to go with him, since Sam had the wherewithal to pay passage, and Orion did not. Sam did not request a demit (an official termination) from the Masons, which means he allowed himself to be suspended, and eventually not be a member [Jones 364].
July 10 Wednesday The Polar Star Masonic Lodge Number Seventy-nine of St. Louis awarded Sam his third degree [Strong 88].
July 11 Thursday Orion took an oath of office before a Supreme Court Justice in St. Louis. It was the one prestigious position of Orions life, owed to his persistent campaigning for Lincoln in 1860 and his connection with Edward Bates, who had been appointed Attorney General [Powers, MT A Life 102].
July 18 Thursday Orion and Sam left St. Louis on the Sioux City for St. Joseph, Missouri [MTL 1: 122 citing Mollie Clemens Journal]. In Roughing It, Sam wrote:
a trip that was so dull, and sleepy, and eventless, that it has left no more impression on my memory than if its duration had been six minutes
A. Hoffman gives this date as July 10, 1861 . July 18 seems more likely.
July 25 Thursday Orion issued receipt for $300 down and $100 balance in 30 days, for a coach trip to leave from St. Joseph, Missouri.
July 26, 1861 to Aug. 14, 1861
Information added from Orions journal of the trip and other materials is found in the 1993 UC edition of RI, Supplement A, p.769-81. Orions Journal has been lost, but on Sept. 8, 1861, a few days after arriving in Carson City, Orion copied the journal, probably in its entirety, into a letter for his wife Mollie. Some of Orions entries correct entries in the first printing of MTDBD Vol. I.; several add important information Sam did not include in RI itself. The entire section is redone here from both RI and Orions journal. Instead of using 1 days out, 2 days out .19 days out, changes are made to 2nd day out, 3rd day out, etc., to be more in keeping with the language and chronology of RI and Orions journal. The reader should understand that RI was written with Orions journal entries in hand, requested by Sam to Orion in a letter of Mar. 10, 1871. Orion’s contemporary journal seems more accurate than Sam’s recollections some decade later. Print run One used Sam’s RI entries.
July 26 Friday Sam and Orion leave St. Joseph for Nevada on the Overland Stage.
By eight oclock [a.m.] everything was ready, and we were on the other side of the river. We jumped into the stage, the driver cracked his whip, and we bowled away and left the States behind us. It was a superb summer morning, and all the landscape was brilliant with sunshine [Ch 2, RI].
Left St. Joseph. Started on the plains about ten miles out. The plains here are simply prairie [Orion 769].
July 27 Saturday 2nd day out The coach broke down and was repaired.
By and by we passed through Marysville [KS], and over the Big Blue and Little Sandy [creeks]; thence about a mile, and entered Nebraska. About a mile further on, we came to the Big Sandyone hundred and eighty miles from St. Joseph .As the sun was going down, we saw the first specimen of an animal known familiarly as the jackass rabbit. He is well named. and has the most preposterous ears that ever were mounted on any creature but a jackass [Ch 3, Roughing It].
Crossed the Nebraska line about 180 miles from St. Joseph. Here we saw the first Jack Rabbit. They have larger bodies, longer legs and longer ears than our rabbits [Orion RI 1993, 769].
July 28 Sunday 3rd day out
So we flew along all day. At 2 PM the belt of timber that fringes the North Platte and marks its windings through the vast level floor of the Plains came in sight. At 4 PM we crossed a branch of the river, and at 5 PM we crossed the Platte itself, and landed at Ft. Kearney, fifty-six hours out from St. Joe THREE HUNDRED MILES! [Ch 4, Roughing It].
we arrived at the Crossing of the South Platte, alias Julesburg, alias Overland City, four hundred and seventy miles from St. Josephthe strangest, quaintest, funniest frontier town that out untraveled eyes had ever stared at and been astonished with (Ch 6, Roughing It) .
August 3 Saturday 9th day out This is the date for the breakfast at Rocky Ridge station with the desperado Joseph Alfred (Jack) Slade, in RI ch. X 80-9 (1996 Oxford facsimile of first ed.) [MTL 4: 196n2]. Orions journal:
August 5 Monday 11th day out Orions journal:
4 P.M., arrived on the summit of Big Mountain, 15 miles from Salt Lake City, when the most gorgeous view of mountain peakes yet encountered, burst on our sight.
Arrived at Salt Lake City at dark, and put up at the Salt Lake House. There are about 15,000 inhabitants. The houses are scattering, mostly small frame, with large yards and plenty of trees. High mountains surround the city. On some of these perpetual snow is visible. Salt Lake City is 240 miles from the South Pass, or 1148 miles from St. Joseph [Orion RI 1993, 771-2].
August 6 Tuesday 12th day out The brothers rested in Salt Lake City. Sam and Orions layover at Salt Lake allowed them to bathe and stock up for the remainder of the trip. After donning white shirts, the pair was introduced to Brigham Young (1801-1877). Sam described Young as a quiet, kindly, easy-mannered, dignified, self-possessed old gentleman [Roughing It, Ch. 13]. Note: no entry in Orions journal for this day.
August 7 Wednesday From Orions journal:
Bathed in the warm spring. Mountains in the morning, Southwest and East enveloped in clouds [Orion RI 1993, 772].
Frank Fuller (1827-1915) was in Utah, and was even acting governor for one day. Sam would be greatly aided by Fuller later in New York, and often called him governor. In 1906 Sam mistakenly recalled meeting Fuller in Salt Lake, but Fuller did not arrive there until Sept. 10, 1861. The Frank who showed the Clemens brothers around was Francis H. Wootten, then secretary of Utah [MTPO].
[Wootten] gave us a very good time during those two or three days that we rested in Great Salt Lake City. He was an alert and energetic man; a pushing man; a man who was able to take an interest in anything that was goingand not only that, but take five times as much interest in it as it was worth, and ten times as much as anybody else could take in ita very live man [MTA 2: 350].
August 8 Thursday Orions journal shows the Clemens brothers moved on early from Salt Lake City.
Arrived at Fort Crittenden(Camp Floyd) 8 A.M., 45 miles from Salt Lake City. Arrived at the edge of the desert, 95 miles from Salt Lake City, at 4 P.M. [Orion RI 1993, 772].
August 9 Friday 15th day out Orions journal [Orion RI 1993, 772].:
Sunrise. Across the desert, 45 miles, and at the commencement of the little Desert. 2 oclock, across the little desert, 23 miles, and 163 miles from Salt Lake, being 68 miles across the two deserts, with only a spring at Fish Creek Station to separate them. They are called deserts because there is no water in them. They are barren, but so is the balance of the route.
August 10 Saturday 16th day out Sam encountered the Goshute Indians, at the entrance of Rocky Canyon, two hundred and fifty miles from Salt Lake. Sam never cared much for Indians (Roughing It Ch.19). Orions journal reported that this night was very cold.
August 11 Sunday 17th day out Orion wrote that the driver informed them that the mountain peaks they passed this day were the highest theyd yet seen. The night was very cold though the days were very warm.
we passed the highest mountain peaks we had yet seen, and although the day was very warm the night that followed upon its heels was wintry cold and blankets were next to useless [RI ch. 20].
August 12 Monday 18th day out
we encountered the eastward-bound telegraph constructors at Reese River station and sent a message to His Excellency Governor Nye at Carson City (distant one hundred and fifty-six miles) [RI ch. 20].
August 13 Tuesday 19th day out we crossed the Great American Desert forty memorable miles of bottomless sand, into which the coach wheels sunk from six inches to a foot. We worked our passage most of the way across. That is to say, we got out and walked [RI ch. 20].
August 14 Wednesday the pair arrived in Carson City, Nevada. The 20-day trip is recounted in Roughing It. The Clemens brothers boarded with Mrs. Margret Murphy, a genial Irish-woman a New York retainer of Governor Nye [MTB 176]. Note: Murphy was Bridget OFlannagan in RI [RI 1993, 613]. In 1860 the population of Carson City was a mere 701 souls and Virginia City 2,437; in 1861 Carson had doubled to 1,466; Virginia City had exploded to 12,704 [Macks Nevada: a History of the State, 1936].
In the dormitory at Ormsby House and around Mrs. Murphys dining table, Sam heard a world of talk about the wonders of Lake Tahoe, called Lake Bigler in 1861. Members of the Irish Brigade had been there and established a timber claim in anticipation of a lumbering boom. Sams curiosity and newly kindled desire to make a similar claim motivated him to visit the lake. The Irish Brigade offered the use of their rowboat beached at the northeast corner of the lake and access to their food and supplies cache on the North Shore . Note: editorial emphasis. See Sept. 14-17.
Stewart names members of the Irish Brigade in his MTJ article, Sam Clemenss Friends at Lake Tahoe:
The brigades formal name was John Nye & Co. Listed in the partnership agreement are P.G. Childs, John Nye, John Ives, James E. Coulter, Johannes C. Slott, I.M. Luther, J.H. Kinkead, W.H. Wagner, James Neary, Thomas Smithson and John C. Burche [100-101]. Editorial emphasis.
Sam once visited the Chinese Free Mason Hall in Carson, probably shortly after arriving [Jones 364].
August 24 Saturday Horatio G. Phillips (Raish) and Robert M. Howland (1838-1890), nephew of governor Nye, came down from Aurora to Carson City. They had several working mines and claims in the Esmeralda district. Sam met them shortly after their arrival, as they ate at Mrs. Murphys boarding house [Mack 132-3]. Sam later became partners in Aurora claims; Howland was to be that citys marshal [MTB 176].
September, early Sam traveled to Aurora, Nevada, in the Esmeralda mining district. In the late summer of 1861, both the Esmeralda and the Humboldt mining districts were the focus of gold fever. Sam would quickly acquire interests in both regions [Mack 126].
September 8 Sunday Jane Lampton Clemens and Pamela A. Moffett wrote to Sam, letter not extant but mentioned in Twains Oct. 25 to Pamela [MTL 1: 129-136].
Horatio G. Phillips sold Sam fifty feet (shares) worth $10 each in claims of the Black Warrior Gold & Silver Mining Co. in Aurora, Esmeralda district [MTL 1: 134n4].
September 10 Tuesday Sam left Aurora. John D. Kinney (1840?-1878) arrived in Carson City from Cincinnati on this day or the next [MTL 1:126n2].
September 12? Thursday Sam arrived back in Carson City and wrote to Orions wife, Mary E. (Mollie) Clemens. Fragment survives:
well, although I believe I never had the pleasure of her acquaintance,) and left for California the same day; and I told him plainly that I did not believe it, and wouldnt, if he swore itfor I didnt, Mollie, and did[nt] think Billy could be as stupid as that. On the contrary, I thought he was the most talented boy that Keokuk had ever produced. But when I got back, Orion confirmed Billys statementso, you see, I am forced to believe that(that they are both liars.) If I ever were to marry, I should would certainly stay at home a week, even if the Devil were in town with a writ for my arrest.
Why dont Ma and Pamela write? Please kiss Jennie for me
(P. S.And tell her when she is fifteen years old, I will kiss her myself)
(P. S.If she is good-looking.)
P. S.Dont get huffy.
Sam. L. Clemens [MTL 1: 123].
September 13 Friday ca. Sam met John D. Kinney of Cincinnati (or day before) [MTL 1: 126n3].
September 1417 Tuesday Sometime between these dates, Sam and John D. Kinney traveled to Lake Bigler (Tahoe), where they spent four days building a shack for a timber claim, then allowed their campfire to get away from them and were forced to flee from a wildland fire (not burning larger trees) [MTL 1: 126n3].
Antonucci writes of Lake Bigler at this time:
In Mark Twains time, Lake Tahoe was a place of astounding beauty, pristine scenery, and rich untapped resources. Far from the uninhabited wilderness that Mark Twain portrayed in Roughing It, the South and East shores were teeming with travelers and freight wagons headed east to opportunity waiting in the burgeoning mining industry in the Nevada Territory. Strung along this road to opportunity were crowded way stations and ranches that served the massive movement of humanity, animals and goods. Camped in its scenic meadows and still pristine forest were Washoe families living out their final days of aboriginal innocence. The forests, meadows and marshes hosted a dense and diverse population of wildlife. Spawning fish filled its streams bank to bank and immense schools of fish swam in its depths. Nevertheless, Tahoe was on the brink of sweeping change. Mark Twain saw it in its final pristine form and wrote eloquently about its virtue without ever acknowledging it eventual fate at the hands of timber barons, water seekers, ranchers and landowners [77-78]. Note: Antonucci gives Sept. 14-19 as this first trip, though the MTP shows Sept. 14-17. Antonucci gives the distance at 11.7 miles; and that Twain and Kinney walked it, taking a wagon road to the northeast shore of the Lake . See Antonucci for details on each of the four days. Map courtesy of Antonucci.
September 18 to 21 Saturday In Carson City, Sam wrote his mother, Jane Clemens, of the events at Lake Bigler:
When we got up in the morning, we found that the fire had made its way to within 4 or 5 steps of us on the [ page 88 ] South side. We looked like lava men, covered as we were with ashes, and begrimed with smoke. We were very black in the face, but we soon washed ourselves white again [MTL 1: 124].
Sams letter also reflected homesickness:
Remember me to all my St. Louis and Keokuk friends, and tell Challie and Hallie Benson that I heard a military band play What are the Wild Waves Saying? the other night, and it reminded me very forcibly of them. It brought Ella Creel and Belle across the Desert too in an instant, for they sang the song in Orions yard the first time I ever heard it. It was like meeting an old friend. I tell you I could have swallowed that whole band, trombone and all, if such a compliment would have been any gratification to them . Note: the Benson girls, daughters of James L. Benson of St. Louis; Haille Benson (b. 1847) sometimes spelled Hallie; Chaille Benson, sometimes Challie.
September 2228 Saturday This is the date range the MTP offers for possible second trip to Lake Bigler [MTL 1: 127n7]. See RI, Ch. 22 for details. Antonucci gives no earlier than September 21 and ending no later than September 30 for such a trip . Both sources give the purpose of the trip as completing work on their timber claim. See Oct. 25 to his sister. Both sources claim Twain made later trips to Bigler, but give no dates. The former source cites MTB 1: 180. Antonucci writes:
The conclusion of the Lake Tahoe chapters in Roughing It, has Twain making many trips to the lake after the initial timber claim adventure and enduring many a hair-breadth escape and blood-curdling adventure. Twain did make two or three more destination trips to Lake Tahoe and about 12 through trips along the South Shore on his way to San Francisco but never incurred the many a hair-breath escape and blood-curdling adventure he supposes . Note: Antonucci credits many of Twains accounts to exaggeration.
September 1830 Monday (After Sams return from Lake Bigler and before the legislature convened on Oct. 1) In Carson City, Sam and George B. Turner (1829-1885) wrote per William M. Gillespie (1838-1885) to Orion, sending a form for message about a book of handwritten model forms. Sam explained, From Hon. Chief Justice TurnerI sent your book by Dorsey, Orionwhy the devil didnt Turner send it to you himself while he was in the States? [MTL 1: 128]. Note: Dorsey unidentified. During the first sessions Gillespie coached Sam in parliamentary procedures, and won the nickname, Young Jeffersons Manual [MTB 219].
October 1 Tuesday The legislative session opened at Carson City. Orion presided over the House of Representatives until the election of officers was made. Sam was an $8 per day clerk for Orion [MTL 1: 129n3].
October 25 Friday Sam replied to his sister, Pamela A. Moffetts Sept. 8 (not extant) concerning timber and mining claims he filed on Lake Bigler. In part:
My Dear Sister: / I have just finished reading your letter and Mas, of Sept. 8th. How in the world could they have been so long in coming? You ask if I have forgotten my promise to lay a claim for Mr. Moffett? By no means. I have already laid a timber claim on the borders of a Lake (Bigler) which throws Como in the shadeand if we succeed in getting one Mr. Jones to move his saw-mill up there, Mr. Moffett can just consider that claim better than bank stock. [Charles] Jones says he will move his mill up next Spring. In that claim I took up about two miles in length by one in widthand the names in it are as follows: Sam. L. Clemens, Wm. A. Moffett, Thos. Nye and three others. It is situated on Sam Clemens Bayso named by Capt. Nyeand it goes by that name among the inhabitants of that region. I had better stop about the Lake, thoughfor whenever I think of it I want to go there and die, the place is so beautiful. Ill build a country seat there one of these days that will make the Devils mouth water if he ever visits the earth. Jim Lampton will never know whether I laid a claim there for him or not until he comes here himself [MTL 1: 129-130]. Note: Charles Jones, owner of Clear Creek Mill, did not relocate. Captain John Nye was the Governors brother; see n. 2 in source. Jim Lampton was Sams uncle, James A.H. Lampton; see n. 3. Sam [ page 89 ] also encouraged uncle James A.H. Lampton to come out. On Oct. 26 he also wrote his mother a long description of the territory [MTL 1: 129; 134n3].
What became of Sams timber claim?
Antonucci speculates that Twain never completed the timber claim due to unreliable maps and the discovery that the intended land claim was actually in California, not Nevada: Government agents would have held in abeyance the approval of Clemens claim until General Land Office surveys underway at the time could provide plats showing the details of government land ownership and more importantly, the state-territorial boundary between California and Nevada. When these approved plats became available, they showed the location of Clemens claim was about 2-3 miles inside the state of California and therefore, ineligible for the land preemption program in the Nevada Territory. Twain never spoke on record or wrote about the timber claim after October 1861. No other information or public records on the timber claim have been located, so we may never know for sure the reason for the failed enterprise [138-9].
October 26 Saturday Sam wrote a long letter to his mother that was printed in the Keokuk Gate City, describing mining, weather, local flora, houses and society. In part:
October 29 Tuesday Sam wrote to Horatio G. Philips, Raish from Carson City on mining matters. He noted the first rainfall since his arrival in Carson City. It was about this time that Sam got what Paine calls the real mining infection, and became active in speculation
Bob [Robert Muir Howland]showed me your letter yesterday, in which you say that the Averill Mill is crushing our Black Warrior rock for its contents. All success to the Black Warrior and Horatio G. Phillips! Amen. This looks like businessand hath an encouraging sound to it. I wish they would strike it rich shortly, for I want to send a fine Black Warrior specimen to the London Worlds Fair by the Nevada commissioner, when he is appointed. From a despatch received by Tom Nye to-day from his father, the Captain, we are led to hope that that noisy old youth will arrive here about next Saturday. I have no doubt the Cap. would be very much pleased to received a slice of the Black Warrior.
My brother is very particularly delighted with the Black Warriorand I have told him that some day Ill give him a foot! He is looking for money every day, now, from Washington. And when it comes, I shall expect to take you by the hand again in Aurora.
Bob has got such a jolly long tongue, and keeps it wagging so comfortably, that I have not been able to ask him yet, whether he succeeded in selling your Fresno or not. Did he?and have you saved your mothers place?because I would like to know these things, as I have a mother at home myself, and naturally feel interested. I was sorry, though, that you were obliged to sacrifice feet in that claim, for I am told that it is very fine. Since it had to go, though, I was sorry I was not able to buy it myself.
I told Bob that you ought to come up here and see about getting the county clerkship down there, and I explained to him why you ought to come up. I was talking to my brother, though, a while ago, and he says the Governor will make no appointments down there until the California Legislature adjourns, so that he may have the sense of that body upon the boundary question. One thing I have thought of often, but have not spoken ofand that is, that the Governor may be absent when those appointments are made, and then my brother will have to make them himself. (Burn this letter, Ratio.) [ page 90 ]
Verily, it is rainingthe first specimen of that kind that has fallen under my notice since I have been in Carson. It is pleasant to the sight, and refreshing to the sensesyea, even as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
The wings of Death overshadow us to-dayfor this clouded sun is the last that one of our boys will ever look upon in life. Wagner, the civil engineer. I believe you do not know him. He surveyed with Landers party for two years. He is one of the few at whom the shafts of Slander were never aimed, and against whom the hand of Malice was never lifted. The fact of his dying here among comparative strangers, with no relative within thousands of miles of him and no woman to lay the blessing of her hand upon his aching head; and soothe his weary heart to its last sleep with the music of her womans voice, will shed a gloom over us all, when the sad event is consummated. May you die at home, Ratio, is the aspiration of
Sam. L. Clemens
Write me oftenand I will reply promptly [MTL 1: 140].
Notes: Robert Muir Howland (1838-1890); Will H. Wagner, member of John Nye & Co.; Frederick West Lander (18211862), engineer, explorer, and soldier. See source notes.
November 17 Sunday Jane Clemens wrote a paragraph to Sam and Orion (To the boys), enclosed in a letter to Orion and Mollie Clemens: We are all delighted to receive your letters saying you have such good prospects [MTP].
November 20 Wednesday Sams Oct. 26 letter to his mother ran in the Keokuk Gate City [Camfield, bibliog.].
November 30 Saturday Sams 26th birthday. See insert of Clemens, age 26, from Players Club Milestones (1930)
December 1 Sunday Sam sold a black horse with white face to William H. Clagett (Billy) for $45 [MTL 1: 169n18]. Note: Thought to be the original Genuine Mexican Plug of ch. 24, RI.
December 4 Wednesday Sam acknowledged payment for completion of his term as clerk [ET&S 1: 12].
December 8 Sunday Horatio G. Phillips Raish wrote to Sam, surprised his last letter had not been recd. He wanted to go with Sam to Humboldt to examine Sams claims there but had to superintend the work in the Tunnel & have not got the means to take the trip with. He follows with mining misc. [MTP].
December 11 Wednesday ca. With a bad case of mining fever, Sam set out for the newly opened Humboldt region with three other men: Keokuk friend William H. Clagett (Billy) (1838-1901), Augustus W. Oliver (Gus; b. 1835) recently appointed probate judge of Humboldt County, and Cornbury S. Tillou, Carson City blacksmith and jack-of-all-trades. It was a 200-mile trip that took eleven days [MTL 1: 149-50 & n4]. Mack writes that the party did not leave until after Dec. 10, delayed by a fight in the legislature over the county-capital bill .
Hurry was the word! We wasted no time. Our party consisted of four personsa blacksmith sixty years of age, two young lawyers, and myself [Clagett, Oliver, and Tillou]. We bought a wagon and two miserable old horses. We put 1,800 pounds of provisions and mining tools in the wagon and drove out of Carson on a chilly December afternoon [MTB 183].
Once back in Carson City Sam would write his mother a long account of this trip on Jan. 30. In Roughing It, Sam wrote of a small, rude cabin that he and his three traveling companions built in Unionville in Dec. 1861 [Roughing It, Ch. 28].
December 16 Monday ca. On the fifth day out, the party of Clemens-Clagett-Oliver-Tillou, two horses, dogs Curney & Tom came to Ragtown, the last settlement on the Carson River. Beyond: the 40-mile Desert.
December 16 to 17 Tuesday ca. The men crossed the desert in what Mack calls one terrifying drive of twenty-three hours without stopping for so much as a bite to eat, a drink of water, or a minutes rest . In the desert they saw all manner of:
skeletons and carcasses of dead beasts of burden, and charred remains of wagons; and chains, and bolts and screws, and gun-barrels, and such things of a like heavy nature as weary, thirsty emigrants, grown desperate, have thrown away, in the grand hope of being able, when less encumbered, to reach water [MTL 1: 148].
December 22 Sunday ca. In a blinding snowstorm, Sams party finally reached Unionville, Humboldt Mining District. Captain Hugo Pfersdorff laid out the town earlier in the year [Mack 129]. Sams letter to his mother of Jan. 30, 1862 claims this trip took eleven days [MTL 1: 149].
December 2231 Tuesday From Sams Jan. 30, 1862 letter to his mother, we read that Billy [Clagett] put up his shingle as Notary Public, and Gus [Oliver] put up his as Probate Judge [MTL 1: 150]. Sam would not stay long.
Josh Letters Yielded Offer Territorial Enterprise Reporter Goodman, McCarthy, De Quille & the Boys Petrified Man Hoax Covering the Territorial Legislature January, first half Sams excursion to Unionville, in Buena Vista Mining District, and back to Carson City by way of Honey Lake Smiths (a trading post on the road to Carson City) and Virginia City, took all of seven weeks [MTL 1: 150n3]. Sam described this trip in chapters 27-33 of Roughing It and in chapter 27 of Innocents Abroad. Travel to the northern regions of the territory was hazardous in January due to heavy rains.
January, second half Sam quit the backbreaking labor after one week. Disillusioned by the exaggerated claims of easy wealth, Sam set out to return to Carson City. He made the return trip from Unionville with Captain Hugo Pfersdorff and Colonel John B. Onstine [MTL 1: 152n13]. Mack includes Cornbury S. Tillou (but calls him Mr. Ballou, the same name Sam gave him in RI) in this group, and says they left Unionville in a blinding snowstorm [126, 133]. Stuck at the trading post for eight days, due to high water, and at Virginia City for another week for the same reason, they got lost in a snowstorm and feared death, but found their way the next day (Roughing It, Ch. 27-33).
January 28 Tuesday Sam paid Hugo Pfersdorff $100 for feet in the Alba Nueva ledge [MTL 1: 152n10].
January 29 Wednesday Sam and party arrived back in Carson City. The journey was arduous. Sam began a letter to his sister-in-law Mollie about his reaction to the news that his old mule Paint-Brush was in Union hands. Sam had ridden the animal during his brief play as a Confederate volunteer in June 1861.
Paint-Brush in the hands of the enemy! God forgive me! this is the first time I have felt melancholy since I left the United States. And he is doing service for the enemy. But against his will. Ah, me, Molliethere would be consolationpriceless consolation in the fact which I have italicised, were it not that that is a natural failing with the poor devileverything he ever did do, he did against his will. His most insignificant services, even for me, were done under protest. Of course I mean that whenever he did condescend to do anything in accordance with my wishes, and that was not an everyday occurrence, at all, he showed his unwillingness in a marked mannerbut he was a willing soul to do things after his own fashion. And of course he generally consulted his own judgmentbecause: You remember, (as I perceive by your language,) that between me and the pillow on the saddle, there was a very Mine of troubleand between the saddle and the ground there was another Mine of trouble, viz; the Mule. And the saddle was always loose,therefore, I was afraid it might turn; and I could not cinch it tighter, as the cinch was old, and I feared it might break. So, you see, when in the saddle, I lived as one astraddle of a magazinefor, had I combatted the mules wishes to any great extent, he would have retaliated by jumping gullies, or rolling on the ground, or running awayand the consequences, to me, of such conduct, would have been a matter of small concern to him.
But if I had the Paint Brush here, Mollie, I would feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. I would board him on sage-brush, and cinch him till he couldnt breathe, and ride him sixty miles a day. He would be a wonderfully useful animal to me. However, if he has gone over to the enemy, let him go. He cant be depended on anyhowhell desert at the first opportunity; if he dont fall in a camp-kettle and get drowned.
Well, Mollie, I think July will be soon enough, because I think that by that time some of our claims will be paying handsomely, and you can come in high-tone style, as Tom Nye, says. And we could have a house fit to live inand servants to do your work. You know it is all very well for a mans wife to talk about how much work she can dobut actually doing it is a thing that dont suit my notions. That part of the business belongs to the servants. I am not married yet, and I never will marry until I can afford to have servants enough to leave my wife in the position for which I designed her, viz:as a companion. I dont want to sleep [ page 93 ] with a three-fold Being who is cook, chambermaid and washerwoman all in one. I dont mind sleeping with female servants as long as I am a bachelorby no meansbut after I marry, that sort of thing will be played out, you know. (But Lord bless you, Mollie, dont hint this depravity to the girls.) No, Madam, I am anxious for you to stay just where you are until you can live here in a handsome house and boss your own servantseven if it should be until the first July after the Millenium! If you come here before you ought to come, Mollie, and I hear people say the Secretarys wife does her own cookingIll tell every such person that the Secretarys wife is subject to fits of derangement! Mind, now, Im not going to have any one-horse business here after you arrive. D-o-n-t get in a hurry, Madam. The world wasnt made in a day [MTL 1: 143-6].
January 30 Thursday In Carson City, Sam wrote an account of the trip to Humboldt to his mother [MTL 1: 146-152]. The letter was printed in the Keokuk Gate City on Mar. 6.
My Dear Mother:
How sleep the brave who sink to rest,
Far, far from the battle-fields dreadful array,
With cheerful ease and succulent repast,
Nor ask the sun to lend his streaming ray.
Bully, isnt it? I mean the poetry, madam, of course. Doesnt it make you feel just a little stuck up to think that your son is aBard? And I have attained to this proud eminence without an effort, almost. You see, madam, my method is very simple and easythus: When I wish to write a great poem, I just take a few lines from Tom, Dick and Harry, Shakspeare, and other poets, and by patching them together so as to make them rhyme occasionally, I have accomplished my object. Never mind the sensesense, madam, has but little to do with poetry. By this wonderful method, any body can be a poetor a bardwhich sounds better, you know.
But I have other things to talk about, nowso, if you please, we will drop the subject of poetry. You wish to know where I am, and where I have been? And, verily, you shall be satisfied. Behold, I am in the middle of the universeat the centre of gravitationeven Carson City. And I have been to the land that floweth with gold and silverHumboldt. (Now, do not make any ridiculous attempt, ma, to pronounce the d, because you cant do it, you know.) I went to the Humboldt with Billy C., and Gus., and old Mr. Tillou. With a two-horse wagon, loaded with eighteen hundred pounds of provisions and blanketsnecessaries of lifeto which the following luxuries were added, viz: Ten pounds of Killikinick, two dogs, Watts Hymns, fourteen decks of cards, Dombey and Son, a cribbage board, one small keg of lager beer and the carminia sacrae.
At first, Billy drove, and we pushed behind the wagon. Not because we were fond of it, maOh, nobut on Bunkers account. Bunker was the near horse, on the larboard side. Named after the Attorney General of this Territory. My horseyou are acquainted with him, by reputation, alreadyand I am sorry you do not know him personally, ma, for I feel towards him, sometimes, as if he were a blood relation of our familyhe is so infernally lazy, you knowmy horse, I was going to saywas the off horse on the starboard side. But it was on Bunkers account, principally, that we pushed behind the wagon. For whenever we came to a hard piece of road, that poor, lean, infatuated cuss would fall into a deep reverie about something or other, and stop perfectly still, and it would generally take a vast amount of black-snaking and shoving and profanity to get him started again; and as soon as he was fairly under way, he would take up the thread of his reflections where he left off, and go on thinking, and pondering, and getting himself more and more mixed up and tangled in his subject, until he would get regularly stuck again, and stop to review the question.
And always in the meanest piece of road he could find.
In fact, Ma, that horse had something on his mind, all the way from here to Humboldt; and he had not got rid of it when I left therefor when I departed, I saw him standing, solitary and alone, away up on the highest peak of a mountain, where no horse ever ventured before, with his pensive figure darkly defined against the skystill thinking about it.
Our dog, Tom, which we borrowed at Chinatown without asking the owners permission, was a beautiful hound pup, eight months old. He was a love of a dog, and much addicted to fleas. He always slept with Billy and me. Whenever we selected our camp, and began to cook supper, Tom, aided and abetted by us three boys, immediately commenced laying his plans to steal a portion of the latter; and with our assistance, he generally succeeded in inserting his long, handsome nose into every dish before anybody else. This was [ page 94 ] wrong, Ma, and we know itso, to atone for it, we made Mr. Tillous dog stand around whenever he attempted any such liberties. And when our jolly supper was swallowed, and the night was on the wane, and we had finished smoking our pipes, and singing songs, and spinning yarns, and telling lies, and quoting scripture, and all that sort of thing, and had begun to look for a soft place on the ground to spread our blankets on, Tom, with immense sagacity, always assisted in the search, and then with becoming modesty, rewarded himself by taking first choice between the blankets. No wonder we loved the dog.
But, Mr. Tillous dog, Curney, we utterly despised. He was not a long, slender, graceful dog like Tom, but a little mean, white, curly, grinning whelp, no bigger than a catwith a wretched, envious, snappish, selfish disposition, and a tail like an all-wool capital O, curled immodestly over his back, and apparently wrenched and twisted to its place so tightly that it seemed to lift his hind legs off the ground sometimes. And we made Tom pester him; and bite his tail; and his ears; and stumble over him; and we heaped trouble and humiliation upon the brute to that degree that his life became a burden to him. And Billy, hating the dog, and thirsting for his blood, prophesied that Curney would come to grief. And Gus and I said Amen. And it came to pass according to the words of the prophet. Thus.
On the fifth day out, we left the village of Ragtown, and entered upon the Forty-five mile Desert, where the sand is of unknown depth, and locomotion of every kind is very difficult; where the road is strewn thickly with the skeletons and carcasses of dead beasts of burden, and charred remains of wagons; and chains, and bolts and screws, and gun-barrels, and such things of a like heavy nature as weary, thirsty emigrants, grown desperate, have thrown away, in the grand hope of being able, when less encumbered, to reach water.8 We left Ragtown, Ma, at nine oclock in the morning, and the moment we began to plow through that horrible sand, Bunker, true to his instincts, fell into a reverie so dense, so profound, that it required all the black-snaking and shoving and profanity at our disposal to keep him on the move five minutes at a time. But we did shove, and whip and blaspheme all day and all night, without stopping to rest or eat, scarcely, (and alas! we had nothing to drink, then.) And long before day-light we struck the Big Alkali Flatand Curney came to grief; for the poor devil got alkaliedin the seat of honor. You see he got tired, traveling all day and all night, nearlyimmensely tiredand sat himself down by the way-side to rest. And lo! the iron entered his soul (poetical figure, Ma.) And when he rose from that fiery seat, he began to turn somersets, and roll over and over and kick up his heels in the most frantic manner, and shriek, and yelp and bark, and make desperate grabs at his tail, which he could not reach on account of his excitement and a tendency to roll over; and he would drag himself over the ground in a sitting posture, (which afforded him small relief, you know,) and then jump up and yelp, and scour away like the wind, and make a circuit of three hundred yards, for all the world as if he were on the Pony Express. And we three weary and worn and thirsty wretches forgot our troubles, and fell upon the ground and laughed until all life and sense passed out of us, and the colic came to our relief and brought us to again, while old Mr. Tillou wiped his spectacles, and put them on, and looked over them, and under them, and around them, in a bewildered way, and wondered, every now and then, what in the hll was the matter with Curney.
We thought,yea, we fondly hoped, ma,that Curneys time had come. But it was otherwise ordained. Mr. Tillou was much exercised on account of his dogs misery, and, sharing his misery, we recommended a bullet as a speedy remedy, but the old gentleman put his trust in tallow, and Curney became himself again, except that he walked behind the wagon for many hours with humble mien, and tail transformed from a brave all-wool capital O to a limp and all-wool capital J, and gave no sign when Tom bit his ears or stumbled over him.
We took up our abode at Unionville, in Buena Vista Mining District, Humboldt county, after pushing that wagon nearly 200 miles, and taking eleven days to do it in. And we found that the National lead there was selling at $50 per foot, and assayed $2,496 per ton at the Mint in San Francisco. And the Alba Nueva, Peru, Delirio, Congress, Independence, and others, were immensely rich leads. And moreover, having winning ways with us, we could get feet enough to make us all rich one of these days. And again that mills would be in operation there by the 1st of June. And in the Star District, O. B. OBannon, of Keokuk, was flourishing, and had plenty of feet, and in the Santa Clara District, Harroun and Jo. Byers of Memphis, Mo., likewise and ditto. And Billy put up his shingle as Notary Public, and Gus put up his as Probate Judge, and I mounted my horse (in company with the Captain and the Colonel) and journeyed back to Carson, leaving them making preparations for a prospecting tour; and before I can go to Esmeralda and get back to Humboldt, they will have laid, with the certainty of fate, the foundation of their fortunes. Its a great country, ma. [ page 95 ]
Now, ma, I could tell you how, on our way back here, the Colonel and the Captain and I got fearfully and desperately lousy; and how I got used to it and didnt mind it, and slept with the Attorney General, who wasnt used to it, and did mind it; but I fear my letter is already too long. Thereforesic transit gloria mundi, e pluribus unum forever! Amen. (Latin, madamwhich you dont understand, you know).
S. L. C. [MTL 1: 146-152; MTPO drop in letters].
February 1 Saturday In Carson City, Sam wrote and sent ore specimens to his brother-in-law, William A. Moffett [MTL 1: 153].
March 1 Saturday Sam acquired another 25 feet in the Horatio mine. He and his brother Orion then held 100 feet [MTL 1: 162n8].
As a good opportunity offers, I have embraced it to send you some legal and letter paper, and a copy of the laws. I send the pencils, pens, &c., because I dont know whether you have run out of such things or not. If you have got plenty of stationery, maybe Sam [Montgomery] and Tom [Smith] have not. I also send you some more envelops. The Colonel proposes to start to-morrow or next day.
I hunted up Fall, but he would not sell me his ground for Sam. Then I told him he had better go to Unionville and nurse a good thing while he had it. He said he would.
John Kinney has gone to the States, via San Francisco.
Your Father has purchased the Keokuk Journal,so he will hardly come out here this yearhey?
I have heard from several reliable sources that Sewall will be here shortly, and has sworn to whip me on sight. Now what would you advise a fellow to do?take a thrashing from the son-of-a-bitch, or bind him over to keep the peace? I dont see why he should dislike me. He is a yankee,and I naturaly love a yankee.
I stole a bully dog the other daybut he escaped again. Look out for one. That other dog, over whose fate a dark mystery hangs, has not revisited the glimpses of the moon yet, in this vicinity, although he has [ page 96 ] been seen in a certain localitywhereof it would be Treason to speak. Dn the beastdoes he intend to haunt us like a nightmare for the balance of his days?
The Governors Cavalcade left for California the other day. Some of the retainers I will name: the Governor and Gov. Roop, Boundary-line Commissioners; accompanied by Mr. [George] Gillson, Mr. [John] Kinkead and othersand followed by Bob Howland, Chief Valet de Chambre to His Excellency, and Bob Haslan, Principal Second Assistant ditto ditto. What do you make of that, for instance? There were quite a number in the Cavalcade, and Haslan brought up the rear on a mule. Bob Howland expects to sell some ground in San Francisco.
You say the Annie Moffett Companyisnt that the name of the ledge, too? I hope so.
I would like to write you some news, Billy, but unfortunately, I havent got any to write. I couldnt write it, though, if I had, for I am in a bad humor, and am only writing anyhow, because I hate to lose the opportunity. You see I have been playing cards with Bunker, and the dd old Puritan wouldnt play fairlyand I made injurious remarks and jumped the game.
I send a St. Louis Republican for Tom. There is something in it from Ethan Spike.
Enclosed please find Mr. Coxs Speech.
If you and Dad intend coming down, Billy, with the wagon, dont fail to write and say about what time you will be here. I leave for Esmeralda next week some time, with Major General BBBunker, L.L.D., Esqprovided nothing happens. But this do happen in this country, constantly. In fact, it is about the dest country in the world for things to happen in. My calculations never come out right. However, as I said before, We May be Happy Yet.
Remember me kindly to the boysnot forgetting the old man, of course. I have labored hard to get a copy of Fannie Hill for him to read, but I have failed sadly.
Sunday.I intended to finish this letter to-day, but I went to churchand busted! For a man who can listen for an hour to Mr. White, the whining, nasal, Whangdoodle preacher, and then sit down and write, without shedding melancholy from his pen as a ducks water slides from a ducks back, is more than mortal. Or less. I fear I shall not feel cheerful again until the beans I had for dinner begin to operate.
Which reminds me of that afternoon in Sacramento cañon, when I gained such a brilliant victory over Oliver and Mr. Tillou, and drove them in confusion and dismay from behind my batteries.
We have not heard from home for some time, and I have only written two letters to St Louis since I arrived here.
John D. Winters has sold out his interest in the Ophir for a hundred thousand dollars.
J. L. G. and his father are still flourishing in Chinatown. Mr. Bunker saw them there the other day.
Tom Nye is down at Fort Churchill. Write, at your earlies[t] convenience.
Your sincere friend
Sam L. Clemens [MTL 1: 169; also drop-in].
MY DEAR MOTHER:
Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutored mind,
Impels him, in order to raise the wind,
To double the pot and go it blind,
Until hes busted, you know.
I wrote the three last lines of that poem, Ma, and Daniel Webster wrote the other onewhich was really very good for Daniel, considering that he wasnt a natural poet. He used to say himself, that unabridged dictionaries was his strong suit. Now if you should happen to get aground on those two mysterious expressions in the third line, let me caution you, Madam, before you reach after that inevitable Whole Duty of Man, that youll not be likely to find any explanation of them in that useful and highly entertaining [ page 97 ] volume, because Ive got that learned author cornered at lastgot the dead-wood on him, Maand youll get no consolation out of him, you know; for those are Poker expressionstechnical terms made use of in the noble game of Poker. And Poker not being a duty of man at all, is probably not even mentioned in that book; therefore, I have got him, Madam, where he can neither trump nor follow suit.
Bully for me.
But you said in your last, Do tell me all about the lordly sons of the forest, and the graceful and beautiful sq-squaws, (what an unpleasant word,) sweeping over the prairies on their fiery steeds, or chasing the timid deer, or reposing in the shade of some grand old tree, lulled by the soft music of murmuring brooks and warbling birdsdo.
Gently, now,gent-ly, Madam. You cant mean the Pi-Utes, or the Washoes, or the Shoshones, do you? Because if you do, you are barking up the wrong tree, you know; or in other words, youve got the wrong sow by the ear, Madam. For among those tribes there are no lordly sons of the forest, for the ferocious reason that there are no forests of any consequence here. At any rate, I am confident that those fellows are never designated by that name in this Territory. Generally speaking, we call them sons of the devil, when we cant think of anything worse. And they dont sweep over the prairies on their fiery steeds,these Washoes, and Pi-Utes and Shoshones, dont,because they havent got any, you know. And there are no prairies, Ma, because sage-brush deserts dont come under that head, in this portion of Paradise Lost. Nor they dont chase the timid deer; nor they dont repose in the shade of some grand old tree; nor they dont get lulled by the soft music of murmuring brooks and warbling birds. None of them. Because, when the timid deer come prospecting around here, and find that hay is worth one hundred and fifty dollars a ton, and sage-brush isnt good to eat, they just turn their bob-tails toward the rising sun and skedaddle, my dear. And all that about these Pi-Utes sunning themselves in the shade of the grand old trees, is a grand old humbug, you knowon account of the scarcity of the raw material. Also the item about the warbling birds. Because there are no warbling birds here, except magpies and turkey-buzzards. And they dont warble any to signify, because, if they fooled their time away with that sort of nonsense they would starve to death, suddenly. I tell you, Madam, that when a buzzard moves his family into Nevada Territory, he soon discovers that he has got to shin around and earn his living by the sweat of his brow, and that singing is played out with him. Moreover, Ma, you know as well as any one what a great puffed-up, stupid buzzard looks like, so you can picture the bird to yourself as I invariably see him herestanding solemnly on a decomposed ox, (and looking for the world as if he had his hands under his coat-tails,) with his head canted to one side, his left leg advanced to steady himself, and chewing a fragrant thing of entrails with their ends dangling about his portly bosom. I ask you in all candor, Madam, if the best disposed buzzard in the world could warble under such circumstances? Scasely. But wouldnt it make a bully coat-of-arms for the Territory?neat and appropriate, and all that? And wouldnt it look gay on the great seal, and the military commissions, and so forth, and so on, and cetera? I proposed it, but the Secretary of the Territory said it was disgusting. So he got one put through the Legislature with star-spangled banners and quartz mills and things in it. And nary buzzard. It is all right, perhapsbut I know there are more buzzards than quartz-mills in Nevada Territory. I understand it thoughhe wanted the glory of discovering and inventing and designing the coat-of-arms of this great Territorysavvy?with a lot of barbarous latin about Volens and Potens;(able and willing, you know,[)] which would have done just as well for my buzzard as it does for his quartz-mills.
But if you want a full and correct account of these lovely Indiansnot gleaned from Coopers novels, Madam, but the result of personal observationa strictly reliable account, which you could bet on with as much confidence as you could on four aces, you will find that on that subject I am a Fund of useful information to which the whole duty of man isnt a circumstance. For instance: imagine this warrior Hoop-de-doodle-do, head chief of the Washoes. He is five feet seven inches high; has a very broad face, whose coat of red paint is getting spotty and dim in consequence of accumulating dirt and grease; his hair is black and straight, and dangles about his shoulders; his battered stove-pipe hat is trimmed all over with bits of gaudy ribbon and tarnished artificial flowers, and he wears it sometimes over his eyes, with an exceedingly gallus air, and sometimes on the back of his head; on his feet he wears one boot and one shoevery ancient; his imperial robe, which almost drags the ground, is composed of a vast number of light-gray rabbit-skins sewed together; but the crowning glory of his costume, (which he sports on great occasions in corduroy pants, and dispensing with the robe,) is a set of ladies patent extension steel-spring hoops, presented to him by Gov. Nyeand when he gets that arrangement on, he looks like a very long and very bob-tailed bird in a cage that isnt big enough for him. Now, Ma, you know what the warrior Hoop-de-doodle-doo looks likeand if you desire to know what he smells like, let him stand by the stove a moment, but have your hartshorn handy, for I [ page 98 ] tell you he could give the stink-pots of Sebastopol four in the game and skunk them. Follow him, too, when he goes out, and burn gun powder in his footsteps; because wherever he walks he sheds vermin of such prodigious size that the smallest specimen could swallow a grain of wheat without straining at it, and still feel hungry. You must not suppose that the warrior drops these vermin from choice, though. By no means, Madamfor he knows something about them which you dont; viz, that they are good to eat. There now. Can you find anything like that in Cooper? Perhaps not. Yet I could go before a magistrate and testify that the portrait is correct in every particular. Old Hoop himself would say it was heap good.
This morning I had a visit from three of the head-chief Hoop-de-doodle-doos wivesgraceful, beautiful creatures, called respectively, Timid-Rat, Soaring Lark and Gentle Wild-Cat. (You see, like all Indians, they glory in high-sounding names.) They had broad, flat faces, which were dirty to the extreme of fashion, they wore the royal rabbit skin robe, their stringy matted hair hung nearly to their waists, they had forgotten their shoes, and left their bonnets at home, only one of them wore jewelry, the Timid Rat around whose leathery throat was suspended a regal necklace composed of scraps of tin. Their shapelessness caused them to resemble three great muffs. The young chief Bottled Thunder was with the party, bottled up in a sort of long basket and strapped to the back of the Soaring Lark.
Also a juvenile muff, in the person of the Princess Invisible Rainbow, with a cigar box strapped to her back, containing a bogus infant made of ragswhich leads me to suspect that a weakness for doll-babies is not a result of education, but an instinct, which comes as natural to any species of girl as keeping clothing store does to a jew.
You see, ma, I was taking breakfast with a friend, this morning, and the Princesses came and rested their elbows on the window sill and thrust their heads in, like three very ancient and smoky portraits trying to get out of their frame. They examined the breakfast leisurely, and criticised it in their own tongue; they pointed at each article of food, with their long, skinny fingers, and asked each others opinion about it; and they kept an accurate record of each mouthful we took, and figured up the total, occasionally. After awhile the Gentle Wild Cat remarked: May be whity man no heap eat um grass-hopper? (their principal article of diet, ma,) and John replied, May be whity man no heap like um grass-hoppersavvy! And thus the Lark: May be bimeby Injun heap ketch um sage-hen. Sage-hen heap goodbully! said John. You see, these savages speak broken English, madam, and youve got to answer accordingly, because they cant understand the unfractured article, you know. We held further conversation with them, of the same interesting character, after which we closed the talk by giving them a bar of soap and a cup of coffee for breakfast, and requesting them to leave, which they did, after they had begged a few old shirts, boots, hats, etc., and a deck of cards. They adjourned to the wood pile, and resolved to poker a littlefor these Indians are inveterate gamblers, ma. First they dealt and antied, threw up their hands, and doubled the pot, and dealt again. This time the Gentle Wild Cat went blind, to the extent of a pair of boots; the Timid Rat saw the blind, although it took a check shirt and a Peruvian hat to come in; the Soaring Lark straddled the blind, which created a sensation, you know, and seemed to cause the other ladies great anxiety of mind, as to whether the Lark held an ace full, or was only bluffing. However, when an Indian gets to gambling he doesnt care a cent for expenses, so they rallied and came in handsomely. And the way old clothes were piled up there, when the betting had fairly commenced, was interesting. As soon as one Princess would bet a hat, another would see that hat and go a pair of socks better; until the Timid Rat had staked her darling necklace, and the Gentle Wild Cats last shirt was on the pile. At this stage of the game, great excitement prevailed, and the Soaring Lark was in despair, for she couldnt come in. Presently, aware that she was the centre of an absorbing interest, and appreciating the grandeur of her position, she grew desperate and gallantly called her opponents, for she unstrapped the Bottled Thunder, and bet that mighty Prince against the game, and all hands said bully for the Lark. The denouement was thrilling. The Gentle Wild Cat showed four aces, and thereby busted the party, madam, because four aces cant be beaten, you know. Make a note of that on the fly-leaf of your Whole Duty of Man, for future reference. You will find it useful, if you ever turn Injun, for then your dusky compatriots will not think much of you if you dont gamble.
Now, if you are acquainted with any romantic young ladies or gentlemen who dote on these loves of Indians, send them out here before the disease strikes in.
S. L. C.
My Dear Mother:
Yours of March 2d, has just been received. I see I am in for it againwith Annie. But she ought to know that I was always stupid. She used to try to teach me lessons from the Bible, but I never could understand them. Dont she remember telling me the story of Moses, one Sunday, last Spring, and how hard she tried to explain it and simplify it so that I could understand itbut I couldnt? And how she said it was strange that while her ma and her grandma and her uncle Orion could understand anything in the world, I was so dull that I couldnt understand the ea-siest thing? And dont she remember that finally a light broke in upon me and I said it was all rightthat I knew old Moses himselfand that he kept a clothing store in Market street? And then she went to her ma and said she didnt know what would become of her uncle Samhe was too dull to learn anythingever! And Im just as dull yet. Now I have no doubt her letter was spelled right, and was correct in all particularsbut then I had to read it according to my lights; and they being inferior, she ought to overlook the mistakes I makeespecially, as it is not my fault that I wasnt born with good sense. I am sure she will detect an encouraging ray of intelligence in that last argument.
Lord bless me, who can write where Orion is. I wish he had been endowed with some conception of musicfor, with his diabolical notions of time and tune he is worse than the itch when he begins to whistle. And for some wise but not apparent reason, Providence has ordained that he shall whistle when he feels pleasantnotwithstanding the fact that the barbarous sounds he produces are bound to drive comfort away from every one else within ear-shot of them. I have got to sit still and be tortured with his infernal discords, and fag-ends of tunes which were worn out and discarded before Roll onSil-ver Moo-oon became popular, strung together without regard to taste, time, melody, or the eternal fitness of things, because, if I should boil over and say I wish his music would bust him, thered be a row, you know. For I discovered, by accident, that he looks upon his Variations as something of an accomplishment, and when he does warble, he warbles very complacently. I told him once, on the plains, that I couldnt stand his cursed dinthat he was worse than a rusty wheel-barrowand if he did not stop it I would get out of the coach. Now he didnt say get out and be dd, but I know he thought it, Ma, and if I were you I would just touch him up a little, and give him some advice about profane swearingnot so as to hurt his feelings, you know, but just to give him to understand, in a general way, that you dont lend your countenance to that sort of thing. Youre his mother, you know, and consequently, it is your right, and your business and comes within the line of your duties, as laid down in the Articles of War. Now I could do itI could stir him up in such a wayI could read him a lecture that would make him grit his teeth and dn all creation for a week, bless you. But then I am not his mother, you know, consequently it is not in my lineit must come from youdont you see?
Now to my thinking, Miss Louisa Conrad and Miss Chipman are young ladies of remarkably fine tasteand an honor to St. Louis. Did Miss Conrad live opposite when I was at home? If she did, and you had described her, I would know who you mean. When I was in St. Louis, no young ladies lived opposite except those handsome Texas girls who dressed in blackand they lived opposite Mr. Schroters.
I am waiting here, trying to rent a better office for Orion. I have got the refusal after next week of a room 16 × 50 on first floor of a fire-proof brickrent, eighteen hundred dollars a year. Dont know yet whether we can get it or not. If it is not rented before the week is up, we can.
I was sorry to hear that Dick was killed. I gave him his first lesson in the musket drill. We had half a dozen muskets in our office when it was over Isbells Music Rooms. I asked Isbell to invite me and the other boys to come every Friday evening and hear his Choral Society, composed of ladies and gentlemen, rehearsebut he refused, and I told him I would spoil their fun. And I did, Madam. I enrolled Dick and Henry and the two Dutch boys into a military Company, took command of it, and ordered them to meet at the office every Friday evening for drill. I made them order arms oftener than necessary, perhaps, and they always did it with a will. And when those muskets would come down on the floor, it was of no use, you knowsomebody had to have a headacheand nobody could sing. Isbell said he would give in, (Civil authorities, you know, are bound to knuckle to the military.) But he begged so hard that I relented, and compromised with him. And for and in consideration of certain things expressed between us, I agreed not to drill on a certain special occasion, when he was to have a number of invited guests. And we didnt drill. But I was too many for him, anyhow, Madam. We got some round stones and some bottles, and we opened a ten-pin alley over his head, simultaneously with the opening of his concert. He said the ten-pin alley was worse than the drillso we compromised again. But I wrote a burlesque on his principal anthem, and taught it to [ page 100 ] the boys. And the next Friday, when our Choral Society opened its lungs, the other one had to dry up. So we compromised again. And went back to the drilland drilled, and drilled, until Isbell went into a declinewhich culminated in his death at Pikes Peak. And served him right. Dick enjoyed the sport amazingly, and never missed a drill, no matter how the weather was, although he lived more than a mile from the office. He was a lubberly cuss, like me, and couldnt march gracefully, but he could order arms with any body. I couldnt very easily forget Dick, for besides these things, he assisted in many a villainous conspiracy against Isbells peace of mind, wherein his Choral Class were not concerned.
Tell Carrie Schroter I will give her a lump of gold out of any mine or claim I have gotbut she must send Dan Haines after it. I want to see Dan, anyhow.
Of course we can excuse Pamela from writing, while her eyes are sore. It is a pity her eyes distress her so much. She will have to try what Lake Bigler can do for them one of these days. I feel certain that it would cure any-bodys sore eyes, just to look at that Lake.
Ma, I perceive that you have a passion for funerals and processions yetand I suppose Annie has, too. The paper Pamela sent has not arrived yet, containing an account of the celebration on the 22d, and I am afraid it will not come before I leave here. I would like much to see it.
Orion has heard of Mr. Mayor, but I have not, and I dont know where the devil to go to look for him. Why dont he come and see us? He knows we are here. Yes, I remember Miss Adda King. She was very good-looking, too, God forever bless her everlasting soul, but I dont know her from John the Baptistor any other man. However, I like to have them mentioned, you know. I must keep the run of every body.
I hope I am wearing the last white shirt that will embellish my person for many a dayfor I do hope that I shall be out of Carson long before this reaches you. Love to all.
[MTL 1: 180-3]. Notes: Annie Moffett, Sams niece. Source gives Brook Sisters as possibly the handsome Texas girls, and Miss Chipman unidentified. George Schroter (b. 1813 or 1814), Wm. Moffetts business partner since 1855 or 6. Dick was Richard Higham, a printer under Orion at Keokuk in 1856; he was killed at Ft. Donelson; Clemens included an account of Richard in his Auto. Dictation of Mar. 26, 1906. See entry Vol IV. Caroline (Carrie) Schroter (b. 1833 or 1834), wife of Wm. Moffetts partner. Daniel Haines (b. 1836 or 1837) was Carries brother. Mr. Mayor and Miss Adda King are unidentified.
All during March and April it snowed and rained with winds in the high Sierras [Mack 155].
April 213 Sunday Sam went south 120 miles to the Esmeralda mining district with Thomas C. Nye, the governors brother, arriving sometime between these dates [MTL 1: 184-5n1]. There he joined Robert M. Howland and Horatio (Raish) Phillips. This is where Sam shared the tiny cabin that was restored and moved to a Reno park in 1924 only to be destroyed by vandals in 1944 [The Twainian, Nov.-Dec. 1948 p 4].
P.S. Remember me Send me some stamps3 and 10 cent.
to Tom & Lockhart
Esmeralda, 13th April, 1862
My Dear Brother:
Wasson got here night before last, from the wars. Tell Lockhart he is not wounded and not killedis altogether unhurt. He says the whites left their stone fort before he and Lieut. Noble got there. A large amount of provisions and ammunition which they left behind them fell into the hands of the Indians. They had a pitched battle with the savages, some fifty miles from the fort, in which Scott, (sheriff,) and another man were killed. This was the day before the soldiers came up with them. I mean Nobles men and those under Cols. Evans and Mayfield, from Los Angeles. Evans assumed the chief commandand next morning the forces were divided into three parties, and marched against the enemy. Col. Mayfield was killed, [ page 101 ] and Sargeant Gillespie also. Nobles Corporal was wounded. The California troops went back home, and Noble remained, to help drive the stock over here. And, as Cousin Sally Dillard says this is all that I know about the fight.
Work not yet begun on the H. & Derbyhavent seen it yet. It is still in the snow. Shall begin on it within 3 or 4 weeksstrike the ledge in July. Guess it is goodworth from $30 to $50 a foot in California.
Why didnt you send the Live Yankee deedthe very one I wanted? Have made no inquiries about it, much. Dont intend to until I get the deed. Send it alongby maildn the Expresshave to pay 3 times for all express matter; once in Carson and twice here. I dont expect to take the saddle-bags out of the Express office. I paid 25 cts for the Express deeds.
Man named Gebhart [Gephart] shot here yesterday while trying to defend a claim on Last Chance Hill. Expect he will die.
Tell Mr. Upton that Green hasnt paid me yethell have no money for several days. Tell him the two men would not acknowledge the deed. All I can do is to get the witness, (Miller,) to acknowledge it. He will be in town in a day or two. I gave the deed to Mr. DeKay.
These mills here are not worth a dnexcept Claytonsand it is not in full working trim yet.
Send me $20 $40 or $50by mailimmediately.
Write to Billy not to be in a hurry, for I cant get things fixed to suit me here for some timecant say how long.
The Red Bird is probably goodcant work on the tunnel on account of snow. The Pugh I have thrown awayshant re-locate it. It is nothing but bed-rock croppingstoo much work to find the ledge, if there is one. Shant record the Farnum until I know more about itperhaps not at all.
Governor under the snow.
Douglas & Red Bird are both recorded.
I have had opportunities to get into several ledges, but refused all but threeexpect to back out of two of them.
Stint yourself as much as possible, and lay up $100 or $150, subject to my call. I go to work to-morrow, with pick and shovel. Somethings got to come, by G, before I let go, here.
Col. Youngs says you must rent Kinkeads room by all meansGovernment would rather pay $150 a month for your office than $75 for Gen. Norths. Says you are playing your hand very badly, for either the Governments good opinion or anybodys else, in keeping your office in a shanty. Says put Gov. Nye in your place and he would have a stylish office, and no objections would ever be made, either. When old Col. Youngs talks this way, I think it time to get a fine office. And I wish you would take that office, and fit it up handsomely, so that I can quit telling people that by this time you are handsomely located, when I know it is no such thing.
I am living with Ratio Phillips. Send him one of those black portfoliosby the stage, and put a couple of penholders and a dozen steel pens in it.
If you should have occasion to dispose of the long desk before I return, dont forget to break open the middle drawer and take out my things. Envelop my black cloth coat in a newspaper and hang it in the back room.
Dont buy anything while I am herebut save up some money for me. Dont send any money home. I shall have your next quarters salary spent before you get it, I think. I mean to make or break here within the next 2 or 3 months.
[MTL 1: 185]. Notes: Sam worked briefly in Claytons quartz mill in late June [AMT 2: 566] The Clemens brothers eventually owned about $5,000 worth of claims in the Esmeralda but didnt gain back even the face value. The P.S. was to Thomas C. Nye, the governors nephew, and Jacob T. Lockhart, US Indian agent, both residing in Carson. Cousin Sally Dilliard is a reference to a lady talked about in Hamilton C. Jones burlesque sketch. M. Upton, Carson dry-goods dealer; William De Kay, deputy county clerk of the Esmeralda district. Gephart was shot in a gun fight with John Copeland and others over ownership of a mining claim. Joshua Elliot Clayton, well-known S.F. mining engineer, owned a mill east of Aurora. Write to Billy refers to William Dixon of Keokuk. Colonel Samuel Youngs (1803-1890); John W. North (1815-1890), at this time assoc. justice of the territorial supreme court. See notes in source for more details.
My Dear Bro:
Yours of 17th, per express, just received. Part of it pleased me exceedingly, and part of it didnt. Concerning the latter, for instance: You have promised me that you would leave all mining matters, and everything involving an outlay of money, in my hands. Now it may be a matter of no consequence at all to you, to keep your word with me, but I assure you I look upon it in a very different light. Indeed I fully expect you to deal as conscientiously with me as you would with any other man. Moreover, you know as well as I do, that the very best course that you and I can pursue will be, to keep on good terms with each othernotwithstanding which fact, we shall certainly split inside of six months if you go on in this way. You see I talk plainly. Because I know what is due me, and I would not put up with such treatment from any body but you. We discussed that Harroun business once before, and it was decided, then, that he was not to receive a cent of money. But you have paid him $50. And you agreed to pay a portion of Perrys expenses, &c., although, as I gather from the tone of your letter, you knew, at that very moment, that you were breaking your word with me, and also, that all the money you might expend in that project would go to the devil without ever benefitting you a penny. As soon as Perry left your presence, you cursed yourself for being so easily persuaded, and resolved that he might pay his own prospecting expenses, without hope of assistance from you. Now wouldnt it have been better to have saved yourself all this by simply pronouncing the talismanic No, which always sticks in your throat? And would it not be as well, even at this late day, to say to him that by a solemn promise made to me, you are debarred from expending money on prospecting tours, &c., in search of Mill Sites, (which is probably the ddest strangest phantom that ever did flit before the dazed eyes of a prospector since that genus came into existence,) without first getting me to agree to it. That you have tried me, but it wouldnt work. That I have already backed down from paying Pfersdorffs expenses, and will never consent again, while the world stands, to help pay another mans expenses. I dont know where the Mountain House is, but I do know that if there is a mill site near the Mountain House worth having, Mr. Perry will arrive there a long time after it was taken up. But as for all the ledges he can find between now and next Christmas, I would not supply his trip with lucifer matches for a half interest in them. Sending a man fooling around the country after ledges, for Gods sake!when there are hundreds of feet of them under my nose here, begging for owners, free of charge. Gd dn it, I dont want any more feet, and I wont touch another footso you see, Orion, as far as any ledges of Perrys are concerned, (or any other, except what I examine first with my own eyes), I freely yield my right to share ownership with you.
Now, Orion, I have given you a piece of my mindyou have it in full, and you deserved itfor you would be ashamed to acknowledge that you ever broke faith with another man as you have with me. I shall never look upon Mas face again, or Pamelas, or get married, or revisit the Banner State, until I am a rich manso you can easily see that when you stand between me and my fortune (the one which I shall make, as surely as Fate itself,) you stand between me and home, friends, and all that I care forand by the Lord God! you must clear the track, you know!
The balance of your letter, I say, pleases me exceedingly. Especially that about the H. & D. being worth from $30 to $50 in Cal. It pleases me because, if the ledges prove to be worthless, it will be a pleasant reflection to know that others were beaten worse than ourselves. Raish sold a man 30 feet, yesterday, at $20 a foot, although I was present at the sale, and told the man the ground wasnt worth a dn. He said he had been hankering after a few feet in the H. & D. for a long time, and he had got them at last, and he couldnt help thinking he had secured a good thing. We went and looked at the ledges, and both of them acknowledged that there was nothing in them but good indications. Yet the owners in the H. & D. will part with anything else sooner than with feet in those ledges. Well, the work goes slowlyvery slowly on, in the tunnel, and well strike it some day. Butif we strike it rich,Ive lost my guess, thats all. I expect that the [ page 103 ] way it got so high in Cal. was, that Raishs brother, over there was offered $75000 for 20 feet of it, and he refused.
Yes, the saddlebags were all right. I had nothing to pay on them. With letters, though, the case is different. Have to pay for them at both ends of the route. Raish says money cant be sent by mail. Its a dd curious mail, isnt it?
The next excellent news is the $50, although I suppose I could have worried along with something less for a week or two.
But the best news of all is, your resolution to take Kinkeads office; and when you come to furnish it, look at what the Country paid in that way for Turners office, and see if you cant go a few dollars better. But the carpetlet that eclipse everything in town. I feel very much relieved, to think you will be out of that dd coop shortly.
Lieut. Noble and his men are here. Three deserted yesterday. One was caught to-day and put in irons.4
Couldnt go on the hill to-day. It snowed. It always snows here, I expect.
Dont you suppose they have pretty much quit writing, at home?
When you receive your next ¼rs salary, dont send any of it here until after you have told me you have got it. Remember this. I am afraid of that H. & D.
They have struck the ledge in the Live Yankee tunnel, and I told the President, Mr. Allen, that it wasnt as good as the croppings. He said that was true enough, but they would hang to until it did prove rich. He is much of a gentleman, that man Allen.
Remember me to Tom Nye and Lockhart.
And ask Gasherie why the devil he dont send along my commission as Deputy Sheriff. The fact of my being in California, and out of his county, would amount to a dn with me, in the performance of my official duties.
I have nothing to report, at present, except that I shall find out all I want to know about this locality before I leave it.
Did you tell Upton what I told you in my last?
How do the Records pay?
P. S.Friday Morning.I am in a better humor this morning, but as you deserved a blowing-up, why, I will not deprive you of it. I am on my way now, with picks, &c., to work on my pet claim. If it proves good, you will know all about it some dayif it dont, you will never even learn its name. So, wait, and banish hopefor I have Resolved, that it is like most Esmeralda ledges, viz: worthless. I went down with Lieut. Noble, awhile ago, to get Wassons order conveying the guns of the Esmeralda Rifles to his (N.s) custody. The people here regret being deprived of these arms, as the Secessionists have declared that in case Cal. accedes to the new boundaries, Gov. Nye shall not assume jurisdiction here. Noble will perhaps remain here a fortnight, and hopes are entertained that Gen. Wright may be prevailed upon to allow the arms to remain here. All this has been told the Governor in a letter sent from here by mail. If that letter is still in Carson (or the P.O.,) express it to Frisco. Its in a white mail envelop thus directed: His Excellency Gov. Nye, Carson City, Nevada Territory. (true copy: teste.)
[in ink, crosswise over the previous paragraph:]
Ratio, wishes you to ask Gen. Bunker, if he is still in Carson, to see Cradlebaugh, when he gets to Washington, and get him to use his best endeavors toward securing his brothers appointment to the Naval School. Ratio will make the Gen. a handsome present of a good mining claim for his trouble [MTL 1: 197]. Note: John Cradlebaugh, elected as Nevadas territorial delegate to the 37th Congress. See source notes for more, now online MTPO.
a most kindly, engaging, frank, unpretentious, unlettered, and utterly honest, truthful, and honorable giant; practical, unimaginative, destitute of humor, well endowed with good plain common sense, and as simple-hearted as a child [AMT 2: 168].
I thought it was a blank deed which Sam Montgomery sent me.
Send those Spanish spurs that hang in the office, out to Thomas Messersmith, care of Billy Clagett, by some safe person. I wore them in from Humboldt.
That is well. Let Mollie stay where she is, for the present.
Perhaps you had better send me your note to Teall.
Never send anything by that d—-d stage again, that can come by MAIL, as I have said before. The pkg envelops cost me 50 cents.
I hope Barstow will leave the S.L.C. off my Gate City letters, in case he publishes them. Put my Enterprise letters in the scrap bookbut send no extracts from them East.
You perceive that I am not in a high good humor. For several reasons. OneRaish came home from the mill this morning, after working the whole night, and found a letter from Bob [Howland?], in which he learned that no sale had been effected. This reduced his spirits to the lowest possible notch, for he is out of money, or nearly so .Another thing is, two or three of the old Salina company entered our hold on the Monitor yesterday morning, before our men got there, and took possession, armed with revolvers. And according to the dd laws of the forever dd country, nothing but District Court (and there aint any) can touch the matter .We went up and demanded possession, and they refused. Said they were in the hole, armed, and meant to die in it, if necessary .Now you understand the shooting scrape in which Gephart was killed the other day.
Ask Tom to give my dear love to Miss P.she with the long curls, out there under the hill.
Yr. Bro. Sam.
P.S.Crooker is strapped, and is anxious for you to get his scrip and sell it at as good price as you can, and send him the money.
Charge the feenobody remits fees for me here, by a dd sight. Charge everybody fees. Col. Youngs wants you to see Kidder or Gen. North and ask when the California boundary will be run and finished .We enter suit to-morrow to get possession of the Monitor.
Note: Colonel Samuel Youngs (1803-1890). MTL annotations reveal that Miss P. was Carrie Pixley. William E. Teall sold Orion 25 mining feet in 1861. D.C. Crooker was a clerk at the district recorders office who had mining claims with Robert Howland; Sam mentioned Crooker in earlier letters, on Apr. 17 and May 4. This P.S. was not in the printed volume, but in drop-in letters.
Those Enterprise fellows make perfect nonsense of my letterslike all dd fool printers, they cant follow the punctuation as it is in the manuscript. They have, by this means made a mass of senseless, dd stupidity out of my last letter.
I received $25 from you nearly a week ago, I believe. I am sorry it has to come from the school fund,for I am afraid it might be called for, you know. Did you get my letter about the business of Barstowand his letter? Do not hint to Gillesp anything about it.
Put all of Joshs letters in my scrap book. I may have use for them some day.
If you should ever remove the long desk from your office, dont forget to take out my letters and traps from the middle drawer.
You have heard nothing from your last quarters salary, I suppose.
It is time now to begin your arrangements for a supply of stationery for the Legislature, I should think.
I have quit writing for the Gate. I havent got time to write. I half intended writing east to-night, but I hardly think I will. Tell Mollie I will not offend again. I see by a Boston paper that Colorado Territory expects to export $40,000,000 (bullion, I believe,) this year. Nevada had better look to her laurels.
[MTL 1: 220]. Note: William Martin Gillespie (1838-1885) was planning to start a newspaper. See source notes.
June 25 Wednesday Sam wrote a short note from Aurora to Orion about mines and money:
My Dear Bro:
The mail will close in a few moments. Dn Johnson [Lode] and the whole tribe. I am sick of that old crib you are in. I received $25 per Express day before yesterday. If Gillespie gets up a large paper, it will suit me exactly to correspond for it. I shall not refuse pay, either, although $4 or $5 a week could hardly be called extensive when you write by the column, you know. I am his man, though. Let me know further about his paperand let it not fail as utterly as the Laws did.
Nohavent struck anything in the Annipolitan. Nodown 12 feetam not afraid of it. It will come out well I think. It dont cost Flyaway $50 per ton for crushingonly $20. Clayton wanted to help the boys. We shant touch the Monitor until the 1st July, at least. Havent got an Enterprise of the 8th. Raish sent it to the Bay. I gave [D.C.] Crooker the bill. He looked at the law and found 30 cents a mile allowedwhich makes his claim worth 30 or $35 anyhow. Thank you for writing home for me. Theyve struck good pay rock in another shaft within 50 yards of Annipolitan hole. Assays $75.
[MTL 1: 223]. Note: Sam worked briefly in Claytons quartz mill in late June [AMT 2: 566].
Sams letter of Mar. 20 to his mother about Indians out West was printed in the Keokuk Gate City [MTL 1: 174].
Summer, mid After this time Horatio Phillips probably left the group, as he was no longer mentioned in Sams letters. Sam took on a new partner, Calvin Higbie, the only experienced miner in the bunch. Mack describes him (see also MTA 2: 257-62):
a man of great stature, who was muscled like a giant. He could handle a long-handled shovel like an emperor, and he could work patiently and contentedly twelve hours on a stretch without ever hastening his pulse or his breath. Cal, who was a hard-rock practical miner, gave Sam the benefit of his mining experience, as Ballou had done on the Humboldt trip .
July, 1 Tuesday ca. In Chapter 41 of Roughing It, Sam wrote that he nursed John Nye, the Governors brother, for nine days at Gardiners Nine Mile Ranch. The Esmeralda Star reported on July 12 that Nye was an invalid, lying upon his back, all stiffened and swollen up by that excruciating diseaseinflammatory rheumatism [MTL 1: 226n1]. Sams letter of July 9 puts his servitude at approximately this date. While Sam was nursing Nye, he assumed Higbie was doing the mandatory claim work on the blind [ page 107 ] lead. Cal had followed another path (looking into a cement mine); Higbie assumed Sam was doing the claim work. The required ten days passed. Sam and Cal had been millionaires for ten days. Note: Sams dedication of RI was to Higbie and the ten days theyd been millionaires together.
July 9 Wednesday Sam wrote from Aurora to Orion. In part:
I am here again. Capt. Nye, as his disease grew worse, grew so peevish and abusive, that I quarreled with him and left. He required almost constant attention, day and night, but he made no effort to hire anyone to assist me. He said he nursed the Governor three weeks, day and nightwhich is a dd lie, I suspect. He told Mrs. Gardiner he would take up the quarrel with me again when he gets well. He shall not find me unwilling. Mr. and Mrs. G. dislike him, and are very anxious to get rid of him [MTL 1: 224].
Sam also instructed his brother on how to handle money, and warned him not to tell anyone that his salary had arrived, especially Horatio Phillips; he advised on debts to pay off.
I caught a violent cold at Claytons, which lasted two weeks, and I came near getting salivated, working in the quicksilver and chemicals. I hardly think I shall try the experiment again. It is a confining business, and [I] will not be confined, for love nor money .
Sam also wrote about his new partner and steadfast friend Calvin H. Higbie, a large, strong man with the perseverance of the devil.
July 13 Sunday An Aurora correspondent, probably Sam, reported that the Wide West mine and the Pride of Utah mine had run together. The Pride men built a fire of such aromatic fuel as old boots, rags, etc., in the bottom of their shaft, and closed up the top, thus converting the Wide West shaft into a chimney, which temporarily stopped work [RI 1993, explanatory notes 643].
July 21 Monday Sam wrote from Aurora to Orion:
This is to introduce to you my obliging friend H.G. Phillips, whom you have often heard of but never seen, I believe. Whatever assistance you can be to him during his stay in Carson will be properly appreciated. If you wish to know more of my concerns here than I have told you, Raish can give you the information. Yr Bro, Sam [MTP]. Note Compare this sentiment with Sams July 9 warning letter. Horatio G. Phillips (Raish).
July 23 Wednesday Sam wrote from Aurora to Orion about losing out on the blind lead and not owning a foot in the Johnson ledge of that claim. After that opening paragraph, he wrote:
Well, I am willing Mollie should come, provided she brings John with her. John would do well here. Are you in the new office yet?
I have written Judge Turnerbut I didnt tell him Johnny had written medont you. I have offered to sell all my half the ground to him except the Fresno for $700or $400, if he will give me his Fresno. I dont want the dd ground. If Judge Turner is not there, and will not be there soon, take his letter out of the office and send it to him.
I have not your letter by me now, and I do not remember all that was in it. At any rate, with regard to Phillips, dont depart from my instructions in my last. He is a dd rascal, and I can get the signatures of 25 men to this sentiment whenever I want them. He shall not be paid out of the Record fund. Tell him if he cant wait for the money, he can have his ground back, and welcomethat is, 12½ feet of itor 25, for that matter, for it isnt worth a dn, except that the work on it will hold it until the next great convulsion of nature injects gold and silver into it.
My debts are greater than I thought for. I bought $25 worth of clothing, and sent $25 to Higbie, in the cement diggings. I owe about 45 or $50, and have got about $45 in my pocket. But how in the h1 I am going to live on something over $100 until October or November, is singular. The fact is, I must have something to do, and that shortly, too. I want that money to pay assessments with. And if Turner dont [ page 108 ] accept my offer right away, Ill make a sale of that ground dd soon. I dont want to sell any of it, though until the Fresno tunnel is in. Then Ill sell the extension.
Now write to the Sacramento Union folks, or to Marsh, and tell them Ill write as many letters a week as they want, for $10 a weekmy board must be paid. Tell them I have corresponded with the N. Orleans Crescent, and other papersand the Enterprise. California is full of people who have interests here, and its dd seldom they hear from this country. I cant write a specimen letternow, at any rateId rather undertake to write a Greek poem. Tell em the mail & express leave here three times a week, and it costs from 25 to 50 cents to send letters by that blasted express. If they want letters from here, wholl run from morning till nights collecting materials cheaper. Ill write a short letter twice a week for the present for the Age, for $5 per week. Now it has been a long time since I couldnt make my own living, and it shall be a long time before I loaf another year.
No, you neednt pay Upton. I took all sorts of pains, and run after men every day for two weeks trying to fix up that business of his here, about his house, and dn him, he has never even answered my letters on the subject. If I sell any of Johnnys ground, he shall be paid.
I want to have a shaft sunk 100 feet on the Monitor, but I am afraid to try it, for want of money. Dont send any money home.
If I can think of it I will enclose that scrap about the old scissors, and you can paste it in my scrap book. Who the devil was that James Clemens, I wonder? Pamela enters into no explanations.
We cant decide what is to be done with the Fresno until DeKay gets back from Mono.
If I get the other 25 feet in the Johnson ex., I shant care a dn. Ill be willing to curse awhile and wait. And if I cant move the bowels of these hills this fall, I will come up and clerk for you until I get money enough to go over the mountains for the winter.
[MTL 1: 228; MTPO]. Notes: John = John E. K. Stotts (b.1828), Mollie Clemenss older brother, wholesale dry-goods salesman and Keokuk merchant. Johnny = John D. Kinney of Cincinnati. Marsh = Andrew J. Marsh, Nevada legislative correspondent of the Sacramento Union. Pamelas letter referred to is not extant, nor is the James Clemens identified.
July 28 Monday Sam wrote from Aurora to Orion, who had been sending some of Sams letters to various editors. Sam also had trouble with Horatio G. Phillips, calling him a liar and listing five lies told about mines and claims, including the Annipolitan, the Derby and the Monitor:
Well you keep the dd son of a tinker out of his money as long as you can, and I shall be satisfied. He is a New York man. And if you can find me 4 white men among your Northern-born acquaintances, Ill eat them if they wish it. There are good men in the North, but they are dd scarce.
I am much obliged to Reardon, Murphy, Lockhart and Gallaher for the favor they show my letters. Barstow has written me offering pay, and I have answered him. And while I think of it, dont commit yourself to GillespieI want a finger in that printing, with Barstow, if G. dont start his paper. The Enterprise is making ready, with new type, &c.
Do you still receive the Gate?
I will think over the Harper proposition [MTP, drop-in letters].
Note: significantly, this letter shows Sams early preference for working on the EnterpriseWilliam H. Barstows offer of pay, new type, etc., though Sam wanted to see if William Gillespies plan of starting a newspaper came off. It did not. Gillespie was the legislative reporter who had showed Sam the ropes in Carson. Sam no doubt felt loyalty toward him.
July 30 Wednesday In Aurora, Sam wrote to Orion about William H. Barstows offer and mining information
My Dear Bro:
Your letter to the Union was entirely satisfactory. I hope you will receive an answer right away, because Barstow has offered me the post of local reporter for the Enterprise at $25 a week, and I have [ page 109 ] written him that I will let him know next mail if possible, whether I can take it or not. If G. is not sure of starting his paper within a month, I think I had better close with Barstows offer.
Old Snyder, who owns in the H & D says its a big thing on account of the water and mill-site, even if it does have to lie still a while. Possibly he may be right.
Yes, the 50 feet in the Monitor, is worth what we paid for the H & D. I acknowledge that much.
Of course I dont want to correspond with the Age until I know whether I shall remain here or not. So it makes no difference.
YesI wish John [Stotts] would come. These claims of ours would soon sing a different song.
Oh, no, Johnny wasnt expert at drawing deeds, by a dd sight. I think Turner will discover that he managed to worry along, though, at it. Hes a dd liar, too. He knows right well that his deed dont convey him all the ground. CertainlycertainlyI have no doubt we shall understand each other. He shall understand me, at least. He cant scare me with his legal threats either, such as he insinuated in his letter to me. He wants to know what I gave? Tell him that ranks as a leading question. As to the balance, I told him my deed conveys all of the ground to meand that Johnny told me to deed half of it to him if he had not returned by the 1st July. I should think my words were explicit enough. I wrote the Judge as soon as I heard he was in Carson. I dont care a dn whose money bought the ground. Now I shant answer the Judges letter until I am in a good humor. I think my deed bears date March 1st, but I cant go up to the Co. Rec.s to see to-night, and I have not thought of it sooner. I have had a sort of general offer of $25 for my 25 feet of Mountain Flower, & have accepted. I told my agent (I dont sell ground myself,) to sell the Judges at the same price, according to the Judges instructions to me, and he did so. The bargain will probably be closed within 3 or 4 days, and if the Judge dont like the price he must speak before it is too late. The price suits me, since I can do no better. The balance of the ground wont sell now, but the Fresno will be either valuable or worthless in a few weeks. I have started a man out to sell fifty feet in that for Judge Turner.
Oh, I dont blame the Captain [John Nye] for being ill-natured when he was sick. The confinement made me so. I was what the yankees call ugly, you know.
I suppose Billy will know what to do with the National ground. If he thinks it best to sell, I will send him J.s letter as authority.
Whats the matter with the mill out there? Whats the matter with Tillou? Why work the case-rock, if the ledge is 4 feet wide. I would not think it impossible to work a 4-foot shaft.
[MTL 1: 231]. Note: Old Snyder was J.L. Snyder, partner with Horatio G. Phillips, Robert M. Howland and Clemens in the Horatio & Derby tunnel project in Aurora.
July, end Sams mining fever waned. To make ends meet, he began sending letters to various papers. His Josh letters to the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise had created some interest, and brother Orions finances were strained from increasing mining expenses. Sams legislative friend, William Barstow, worked in the Enterprise business office and convinced the papers owner, Joseph T. Goodman (1838-1917), that Sam was just the sort of writer the paper needed. Barstow wrote Sam, offering him a job as a reporter at $25 a week [MTL 1: 231].
August, early Sams letter of July 30 to Orion stated that Sam wrote to Barstow asking when he might be needed [MTL 1: 231]. Note: Clearly, Sam was stalling for time to decide or perhaps time to see if any of the promising claims would present him with wealth, or perhaps if William Gillespie would start a newspaper (he did not). Sam may have felt that returning to a newspaper job was a step backward.
August 7 Thursday Sam vacillated, hating to admit failure as a miner. He wrote from Aurora to Orion, telling him of Barstows offer of $25 week as a reporter on the Territorial Enterprise. Sam decided to think on the matter. His decision shaped the course of his life.
My Dear Bro:
Now I shall leave at midnight to-night, alone and on foot for a walk of 60 or 70 miles through a totally uninhabited country, and it is barely possible that mail facilities may prove infernally slow during the few weeks I expect to spend out there. But do you write Barstow that I have left here for a week or so, and in case he should want me he must write me here, or let me know through you. You see I want to know something about that country out yonder.
The Contractors say they will strike the Fresno next week. After fooling with those assayers a week, they concluded not to buy M. Flower at $50, although they would have given five times the sum for it four months ago. So I have made out a deed for one-half of all Johnnys ground and acknowledged and left it in Judge F. K. Bechtels hands, and if Judge Turner wants it he must write to Bechtel and pay him his Notary fee of $1.50. I would have paid that fee myself, but I want money now as I leave town to-night. However, if you think it isnt right, you can pay the fee to Judge Turner yourself.
Hang to your money now. I may want some when I get back.
Col. Youngs sends his regards, & says he will have our census completed & send up to you to-morrow, & we ought to have a larger representationalthough the law said census must be taken in Maybut he couldnt help it, dnem they wouldnt run the line.
Yes, I will scrape up some specimenshave got a lotbut theyre a dd nuisance about a cabin. I picked up some splendid agates & such things, but I expect they are all lost by this time.
NoI shant pay Uptonjust yet.
See that you keep out of debtto anybody[.]Bully for Bunker. Write him that I would write him myself, but I am to take a walk to-night & havent time. Tell him to bring his family out with him. He can rely upon what I sayand I say the land has lost its ancient desolate appearance; the rose and the oleander have taken the place of the departed sage-brush; a rich black loam, garnished with moss, and flowers, and the greenest of grass, smiles to Heaven from the vanished sand-plains; the endless snows have all disappeared, and in their steador to repay us for their loss, the mountains rear their billowy heads aloft, crowned with a fadeless and eternal verdure; birds, and fountains, and treestropical treeseverywhere!and the poet dreampt of Nevada when he wrote:
and Sharon waves, in solemn praise,
Her silent groves of palm.
and to-day the royal Raven stands on a fragrant carcass and listens in a dreamy stupor to the songs of the thrush and the nightingale and the canaryand shudders when the gaudy-plumaged birds of the distant South sweep by him to the orange groves of Carson. Tell him he wouldnt recognise the dd country. He should bring his family by all means.
I intended to write home, but I havent done it.
Yr. Bro. Sam.
P. S. Put the enclosed slips in my scrap book. [MTL 1: 233]. Note: the two lines of poem from Calm on the listening ear of night (1834) by Edmund Hamilton Sears. The scrapbook mentioned is lost. Frederick K. Bechtel (b.1823) commissioner of deeds for Nevada Terr. Benjamin B. Bunker, attorney general of Nevada Terr.
Arthur B. Perkins, (1891-1977) the first historian of the Santa Clarita Valley, puts forth a theory about Sams wanderings during this week. Perkins claims to have seen a stagecoach entry made at Lyons Station, the nearest stage stop to Soledad Canyon, some fifty miles north of Los Angeles, where a gold discovery had just been made. This would have Sam traveling 600 miles round trip, which is possible, but less likely. The stagecoach entries have not survived, but such theories about Sams Long Walk have [Lennon 17].
Sam sold his mining interests to Judge George Turner. From a Christies sale (Lot 59 Sale 8444; May 17, 1996; avail. Online) a document written and signed by Samuel Clemens:
By this indenture Samuel L. Clemens of Mono Co., Cal., agrees to sell to George Turner, of Carson City, Nevada Territory for $1,000 his interests in certain veins or lodes of rock containing precious metals…gold and silver bearing quartz, rock and earth therein. In the blank space provided Clemens has carefully listed the shares (measured by feet) in 15 different claims (the names of which reflect the geographic origin of the prospectors): Fifty (50) feet in the Sciola; 62 ½ in Ottawa; Fifty (50) in the Allamoocha; 6 ¼ in 1st Ex. S. Winnomucca; 25 feet in the Tom Thumb; 50 in the Fresno; 12 ½ feet in the Horatio; 100 feet in [ page 111 ] the 1st N.E.Ex. Fresno; 50 feet in the Rosetta; 100 in the Potomac; 12 ½ in the Daniel Boone; 12 ½ feet in the Boston; 12 ½ in the Great Mogul; 12 ½ in the Long Island; 25 feet in the Mountain Flower. [See also MTL 1: 233n4 and 235n2.]
August 15 Friday Sam returned from his hike, but still had not decided whether to take William Barstows offer. His entire future would hang on his decision. This same day he wrote from Aurora to his sister Pamela but didnt mention newspaper prospects, which suggests Sam was still undecided.
My Dear Sister:
I mailed a letter to you and Ma this morning, but since then I have received yours to Orion and me. Therefore, I must answer right away, else I may leave town without doing it at all. What in thunder are pilots wages to me? which question, I beg humbly to observe, is of a general nature, and not discharged particularly at you. But it is singular, isnt it, that such a matter should interest Orion, when it is of no earthly consequence to me? I never have once thought of returning home to go on the river again, and I never expect to do any more piloting at any price. My livelihood must be made in this countryand if I have to wait longer than I expected, let it be soI have no fear of failure. You know I have extravagant hopes, for Orion tells you everything which he ought to keep to himselfbut its his nature to do that sort of thing, and I let him alone. I did think for awhile of going home this fallbut when I found that that was and had been the cherished intention and the darling aspiration every year, of these old care-worn Californians for twelve weary yearsI felt a little uncomfortable, but I stole a march on Disappointment and said I would not go home this fall. I will spend the winter in San Francisco, if possible. Do not tell any one that I had any idea of piloting again at presentfor it is all a mistake. This country suits me, andit shall suit me, whether or no. . . .
Dan Twing and I and Dans dog, cabin togetherand will continue to do so for awhileuntil I leave for
The mansion is 10 × 12, with a domestic roof. Yesterday it rainedthe first shower for five months. Domestic, it appears to me, is not water-proof. We went outside to keep from getting wet. Dan makes the bed when it is his turn to do itand when it is my turn, I dont, you know. The dog is not a good hunter, and he isnt worth shucks to watchbut he scratches up the dirt floor of the cabin, and catches flies, and makes himself generally useful in the way of washing dishes. Dan gets up first in the morning and makes a fireand I get up last and sit by it, while he cooks breakfast. We have a cold lunch at noon, and I cook suppervery much against my will. However, one must have one good meal a day, and if I were to live on Dans abominable cookery, I should lose my appetite, you know. Dan attended Dr. Chorpennings funeral yesterday, and he felt as though he ought to wear a white shirtand we had a jolly good time finding such an article. We turned over all our traps, and he found one at lastbut I shall always think it was suffering from yellow fever. He also found an old black coat, greasy, and wrinkled to that degree that it appeared to have been quilted at some time or other. In this gorgeous costume he attended the funeral. And when he returned, his own dog drove him away from the cabin, not recognizing him. This is true.
You would not like to live in a country where flour was $40 a barrel? Very well, then, I suppose you would not like to live here, where flour was $100 a barrel when I first came here. And shortly afterwards, it couldnt be had at any priceand for one month the people lived on barley, beans and beefand nothing beside. Oh, nowe didnt luxuriate then! Perhaps not. But we said wise and severe things about the vanity and wickedness of high living. We preached our doctrine and practised it. Which course I respectfully recommend to the clergymen of St. Louis.
Where is Beck Jolly? and Bixby?
[MTL 1: 235-6]. Notes: Daniel H. Twing, one of Sams mining partner. On Feb. 18, 1863, Clemens gave Twing a special power of attorney over his mining interests. Clemens and Twing, were partners in the Clemens Gold and Silver Mining Co. Dr. F. Chorpenning was shot by William Pooler on July 28 for being too attentive to Poolers estranged wife [n.4].
August, late Sam arrived at the Virginia City Enterprise, a small rickety frame building at the corner of A Street and Sutton Avenue, [Fatout, MT in VC 11] (later a large brick building on C Street) to take the [ page 112 ] job. According to Paine, Sam claimed he walked the 130 miles from Aurora and arrived in the afternoon of a hot, dusty August day and drawled to Denis E. McCarthy (1840-1885) one of the owners:
My starboard leg seems to be unshipped. Id like about one hundred yards of line; I think I am falling to pieces. I want to see Mr. Barstow, or Mr. Goodman. My name is Clemens, and Ive come to write for the paper [MTB 205].
Powers claims Sams first words at the Enterprise were, Dang my buttons, if I dont believe Im lousy [MT A Life 110].
William R. Gillis (Billy) (1840-1929) remembered a third, quite long, and different exchange in his 1930, Gold Rush Days with Mark Twain.
Whatever Sam uttered, William Wright (1829-1898), no middle initial, according to Joe Goodman to Paine, Apr. 5, 1912, (The Twainian July-Aug 1956 p4), a celebrity known in ink as Dan De Quille (sometimes written as Dan De Quille) was appointed the task of getting Sam settled in town. Dan and Sam became fast friends and later roommates.
Note: As for Sams Long Walk, Such an effort seems out of character. The route would have taken Sam through Carson City; some traffic was on the road; its probable Sam got a lift for at least part of the journey. Fatout agrees:
He always maintained that he was too hard up to afford stage fare, hence walked the whole way. But he was generally averse to walking when he could ride, and the road was well traveled by many ore wagons plying between Aurora and Carson City. It is hard to believe that sociable drivers did not offer him a lift [MT in VC 7].
Fatout also lists the Enterprise reporters: Dan De Quille, Captain Joe Plunkett, Rollin M. Daggett (1831-1901), Charles A.V. Putnam (b.1823?), Howard P. Taylor and others. Joe Goodman, a versatile writer with a reputation as a poet, handled his temperamental employees with a loose rein that was good for both staff and paper. The efficient business management of Dennis (Jerry) Driscoll (1823-1876) made profits roll in. Organization was more big-city than that of any other Western paper outside of San Francisco, and pungent writers gave the Enterprise a virility and humor that made it popular, prosperous, and influential . Note: Putnams reminiscence of the Enterprise days ran in the Salt Lake City Tribune, April 25, 1898.
September 9 Tuesday Sam wrote from Aurora, California/Nevada Territory to Billy Clagett, congratulating him on being elected to represent Humboldt County in the Territorial Legislature. Most of his letter deals with the disgusting subject of the Civil War and its losses. In part:
For more than two weeks I have been slashing around in the White Mountain District, partly for pleasure and partly for other reasons. And old Van Horn was in the party. He knows your daddy and the whole family, and every old citizen of Keokuk. He left there in 53. He built parson Hummers Pavilionand parson Williams house, and a dozen others. He says he used to go with your father when he stumped the district, and sing campaign songs. He is a comical old cuss, and can keep a camp alive with fun when he chooses. We had rare good times out there fishing for trout and hunting. I mean to go out there again before long.
I saw a man last June who swore that he knew of rich placer diggings within 100 miles of Humboldt City. What became of our placers, that we intended to visit last May?
Have you still a good opinion of those claims in Santa Clara?
Remember me to Dad [Cornbury S. Tillou] and the boys.
Enclosed please find that power of Attorney.
Times have never grown brisk here until this week. I dont think much of the campnot as much as I did. Old fashioned winter & snow lasted until the middle of June.
Your old friend
Sam L C
[MTL 1: 238]. Note: William Van Horn, age about 42 at this time.
September 16 Tuesday Sams article, ANOTHER INNOCENT MAN KILLED, appeared in the Territorial Enterprise. Since the shooting was on Sunday and the paper did not print on Mondays, Marleau thinks this Tuesday was likely the first day Samuel L. Clemens reported for the Territorial Enterprise [Some Early 12].
October 1 Wednesday The Indian Troubles on the Overland Route, attributed to Sam, ran in the Local Column of the Enterprise. The article was about an Indian attack on emigrants [Fatout, MT in VC 12]. Sam later mentioned such an exaggerated approach to the news in his first days on the paper. Nearly all copies of the Enterprise for the period Sam worked there have been lost, but many papers in the West borrowed and reprinted from other newspapers. This article was reprinted on Oct. 5 by the Marysville, California, Daily Appeal. [Fatout, MT Speaks 1-4]. Also, attributed, in the LOCAL COLUMN:
October 26 Monday From the Enterprise:
October 4 Saturday The hoax known as The Petrified Man ran in the Enterprise, and was re-printed by many newspapers in the Westsome swallowed it whole, and some, after a few days, saw the joke [Fatout, MT Speaks 4; Mack 213].
In other words, the petrified man was thumbing his nose at Sams readers. Its a wonder anyone took this find seriously, but many did! Note: Budd lists four newspaper reprintings from Oct. 9 to 18, which appear to be derived independently from the Territorial Enterprise printing [Collected 1001].
October 12 Sunday Orions wife Mollie arrived in Carson City with their seven-year-old daughter, Jennie Clemens, after a steamer trip to San Francisco a week before. Sam was still in Virginia City [MTL 1: 242n1].
October 1316 Thursday An article of Sams, title missing, appeared in the Enterprise:
October 20 Monday Mollie Clemens and daughter and Jennie arrived in San Francisco and were met by Orion. They left immediately for Carson [MTP card file quotes Mack]. Sam was aware of their arrival, as he wrote to them the next day.
October 21 Tuesday Sam wrote from Virginia City to Orion & Mollie about how he made up the story Petrified Man? which several newspapers took as an actual scientific discovery. I got it up to worry Sewall, he wrote. G.T. Sewall was a judge of Humboldt County who was antagonistic toward Sam, probably over some governmental duties of Orion, and had withheld information from reporters in an officious and irritating way [MTL 1: 241].
October, late Sam wrote up his visit to the Spanish Mine and it was published in the Enterprise as The Spanish Mine. No copies of the Enterprise for that time are extant, but estimates from reprints make this time probable. An excerpt:
November to December Sam neglected his letter writing for this period and continued to work as a reporter for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.
November 17 Friday Local Column, Enterprise, two items from Sam: Silver Bricks and Building Lots (Text recovered by Michael Marleau from reprinting in The Mining and Scientific Press of Nov. 8, 1862) [Marleau, Some Early 12].
November 110 Monday Sam follows up: LOCAL COLUMN
November 11 to December 20 Saturday The second Territorial Legislature of Nevada was in session. Sam covered the session. According to Henry Nash Smith, It is not clear how often he mailed dispatches back to Virginia City, but by bringing together two passages from his reminiscences one may infer that he sent a daily factual report and a weekly letter of a more personal and humorous cast .
November 14 Friday On the fourth day of the Legislative proceedings, The Speaker of the House announced as reporters entitled to seats, Clement T. Rice, of the Virginia City Daily Union; Samuel L. Clemens, Territorial Enterprise; and Andrew J. Marsh of the Sacramento Union [Marsh 451].
November 30 Sunday Sams 27th birthday.
December 5 Friday One of Sams weekly letters, Letter from Carson City was dated this day and printed sometime in December in the Enterprise [Smith 35]. The letter included: Alford vs. Dewing, Internal Improvements, and Williams Map. Sam was the Committee in the first extant weekly letter:
REPORT ON WILLIAMS MAP
Your committee, consisting of a solitary but very competent individual, to whom was referred Col. Williams road from a certain point to another place, would beg most respectfully to report:
Your committee has had under consideration said map.
The word map is derived from the Spanish word mapa, or the Portuguese word mappa. Says the learned lexicographer Webster, in geography a map is a representation of the surface of the earth, or any part of it, drawn on paper or other material, exhibiting the lines of latitude and longitude, and the positions of countries, kingdoms, states, mountains, rivers, etc.
Your committee, with due respect to the projector of the road in question, would designate what is styled in the report a map, an unnatural and diabolical scrawl, devoid of form, regularity or meaning.
Your committee has in times past witnessed the wild irregularity of the footprints of birds of prey upon a moist sea shore. Your committee was struck with the strong resemblance of the map under discussion to some one of said footprints. [ page 116 ]
Your committee, during his juvenile days, has watched a frantic and indiscreet fly emerge from a pot or vase containing molasses; your committee has seen said fly alight upon a scrap of virgin paper, and leave thereon a wild medley of wretched and discordant tracks; your committee was struck with the wonderful resemblance of said fly-tracks to the map now before your committee.
Yet your committee believes that the map in question has some merit as an abstract hieroglyphic.
Your committee, therefore, recommends, the Council concurring, that the aforesaid map be photographed, and that one copy thereof, framed in sage brush, be hung over the Speakers chair, and that another copy be donated to the Council, to be suspended over the chair of the President of that body, as a memento of the artistic skill and graphic genius of one of our most distinguished members a guide to all future Pi-Utes. All of which is respectfully submitted [Smith 37].
December 12 Friday Another of Sams Weekly, Letter from Carson City was dated this day and printed sometime in December in the Enterprise [Smith 38].
December 1319 Friday Sams article The Pah-Utes is published sometime between these dates in the Enterprise, and reprinted in the Marysville, California Appeal for Dec. 21.
December 16 Tuesday ca. An article attributed to Sam that was reprinted Dec. 18 in the Sacramento Daily Bee ran in the Enterprise. Sam was in Carson City and reported on the excitement of the hotly debated corporation bill which prohibited that the majority of stock in all Nevada mining companies be owned by residents of the Territory, that company offices be established there, and that corporations formed under the laws of other states and territories be prohibited from doing business in Nevada [Fatout, MT in VC 24]. Nevada miners were tired of seeing Montgomery street speculators play with their assets. Sam wrote:
December 19 Friday By legislative act, Sam was made recording secretary of the Washoe Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Society. The position paid $300 per year. He served until the completion of the societys fair in Oct. 1863 [MTL 1: 266].
December 23 Tuesday Sams article dated Dec. 23 ran in the Enterprise sometime later in the month. It was republished in the Placer Weekly Courier of Forest Hill, Placer County on Jan. 17, 1863.
A BIG THING IN WASHOE CITY OR THE GRAND BULL DRIVERS CONVENTION
Carson, Midnight December 23d.
On the last night of the session, Hon. Thomas Hannah announced that a Grand Bull Drivers Convention would assemble in Washoe City, on the 22d, to receive Hon. Jim Sturtevant and the other members of the Washoe delegation. I journeyed to the place yesterday to see that the ovation was properly conducted. I traveled per stage. The Unreliable of the Union went also for the purpose of distorting the facts. The weather was delightful. It snowed the entire day. The wind blew such a hurricane that the coach drifted sideways from one toll road to another, and sometimes utterly refused to mind her helm. It is a fearful thing to be at sea in a stagecoach. We were anxious to get to Washoe by four oclock, but luck was against us: we were delayed by stress of weather; we were hindered by the bad condition of the various toll roads; we finally broke the after spring of the wagon, and had to lay up for repairs. Therefore we only reached Washoe at dusk. Messrs. Lovejoy, Howard, Winters, Sturtevant, and Speaker Mills had left Carson ahead of us, and we found them in the city. They had not beaten us much, however, as I could perceive by their upright walk and untangled conversation. At 6 P.M., the Carson City Brass Band, followed by the Committee of Arrangements, and the Chairman of the Convention, and the delegation, and the invited guests, and the citizens generally, and the hurricane, marched up one of the most principal streets, and filed in imposing procession into Foulkes Hall. The delegation, and the guests, and the band, were provided with comfortable seats near the Chairmans desk, and the constituency occupied the body-pews. The delegation and the guests stood up and formed a semicircle, and Mr. Gregory introduced them one at a time to the constituency. Mr. Gregory did this with much grace and dignity, albeit he affected to stammer and gasp, and hesitate, and look colicky, and miscall the names, and miscall them again by way of correcting himself, and grab desperately at invisible things in the air all with a charming pretense of being scared.
The supper and the champagne were excellent and abundant, and I offer no word of blame against anybody for eating and drinking pretty freely. If I were to blame anybody, I would commence with the Unreliable for he drank until he lost all sense of etiquette. I actually found myself in bed with him with my boots on. However, as I said before, I cannot blame the cuss; it was a convivial occasion, and his little shortcomings ought to be overlooked. When I went to bed this morning, Mr. Lovejoy, arrayed in fiery red night clothes, was dancing the war dance of his tribe (he is President of the Paiute Association) around a spittoon and Colonel Howard, dressed in a similar manner, was trying to convince him that he was a humbug. A suspicion crossed my mind that they were partially intoxicated, but I could not be sure about it on account of everything appearing to turn around so. I left Washoe City this morning at nine oclock, fully persuaded that I would like to go back there again when the next convention meets. [Mack. 224-27]. Note: John K. Lovejoy; Theodore Winters; others not identified.
December 27 Saturday A. J. Simmons, later speaker of the house in the Nevada legislature, sold Sam ten feet in the Butte ledge, Tehema Mining Company for $1,000, and ten feet in the Kentucky ledge, Union Tunnel Company, both in Santa Clara district of Humboldt County [MTL 1: 278 n8]. Dan De Quille left Virginia City by overland stagecoach as planned for a nine-month visit to his home in Iowa. Benson writes that the expected absence of De Quille was one reason Barstow offered Sam a position . It was feared by some that Dan would not return (see May 1, 1863 entry and the following Dec. 28).
December 28 Sunday Sams article, The Illustrious Departed, ran in the Enterprise:
December 30 Tuesday Sams Local Column was published in the Enterprise: Board of Education, Blown Down, At Home, The School, Sad Accident, Thrilling Romance, Fire Almost, Private Party, and Our Stock Remarks:
1862 or 1863 16th of unidentified month Enterprise item by Sam. No title.
[Text recovered by Michael Marleau from reprinting in unidentified newspaper clipping. Reprinted in Mark Twain Journal, Fall 2004, 12]
Bohemian of the Sagebrush Lingering in S.F. Burned out Sam Mineral Baths
Bloody Massacre Constitutional Convention Third House Artemus
1863 or 1864 An article (title lost) describing the clergymen in Virginia City appeared in the Enterprise [Schmidt].
January 1 Thursday More Ghosts ran in the Local Column of the Enterprise. The item spoofs through objection an article that appeared in the paper in the last week of Dec., 1862 about a haunted house on E Street in Virginia City: Are we to be scared to death every time we venture into the street? May we be allowed to quietly go about our business, or are we to be assailed at every corner by fearful apparitions? [ET&S 1: 177-8]. Also published:
January 19 Friday Sams article SULPHUR DEPOSIT appeared sometime between these dates in the Enterprise.
[Text recovered by Michael Marleau from reprintings in Sacramento Daily Union of January 10, 1863 and The Mining and Scientific Press of January 19, 1863.]
January 4 Sunday one item about the Storey Ball, Election, Public School, New Years Extension, Supreme Court, Ball in Carson, Mass, Firemans Meeting, and Recorders Court.
January 6 Tuesday Sams Enterprise Local Column: Free Fight, Humbolt Stocks, Jno. D. Kinney, Milstead, Board of Education [ET&S 1: 399].
January 7 Wednesday Sam attended the Odd Fellows Ball in Gold Hill. His hat was stolen [ET&S 1: 181]. In his Apr. 6, 1906 Autobiographical Dictation, Clemens likely recalled the ball for this day. Relating being in Washington Square, NYC and running into a woman on the street who recognized him:
I had known only one Etta Booth in my lifetime, and that one rose before me in an instant, and vividly. It was almost as if she stood alongside of this fat little antiquated dame in the bloom and diffidence and sweetness of her thirteen years, her hair in plaited braids down her back and her fire-red frock stopping short at her knees. Indeed I remembered Etta very well. And immediately another vision rose before me, with that child in the centre of it and accenting its sober tint like a torch with her red frock. The scene was a great ball-room in some ramshackle building in Gold Hill or Virginia City, Nevada. There were two or three hundred stalwart men present and dancing with cordial energy. And in the midst of the turmoil Ettas crimson frock was swirling and flashing; and she was the only dancer of her sex on the floor. Her mother, large, fleshy, pleasant and smiling, sat on a bench against the wall in lonely and honored state and watched the festivities in placid contentment. She and Etta were the only persons of their sex in the ball-room. Half of the men represented ladies, and they had a handkerchief tied around the left arm so that they could be told from the men. I did not dance with Etta, for I was a lady myself. I wore a revolver in my belt, and so did all the other ladieslikewise the gentlemen. It was a dismal old barn of a place, and was lighted from end to end by tallow-candle chandeliers made of barrel-hoops suspended from the ceiling, and the grease dripped all over us [AMT 2: 24]. Note: see Sept. 10, 1877 to Etta.
January 8 Thursday The Enterprise printed Sams article, Unfortunate Thief, excoriating the man who stole his hat at the Gold Hill Ball.
The Sanitary Commission also held a ball in Virginia City that Sam attended [ET&S 1: 183].
January 10 Saturday Sams Enterprise Local Column: Due Notice, New Court House, Music, and The Sanitary Ball:
Due Notice was a pun about the Czar of Russia [ET&S 1: 185-9].
January 1121 Wednesday Sams Enterprise Local Column: The High Price of Pork [ET&S 1: 401]. Two litigants spent six or seven hundred dollars litigating ownership of two pigs worth perhaps twenty dollars.
January 15 Thursday Sams article A Big Thing in Washoe City ran about this day in the Enterprise, and two days later in the Placer Weekly Courier [Camfield, bibliog.].
January 23? Friday Sams article A Sunday in Carson about a murder ran on this date in the Enterprise [Camfield, bibliog.].
January 28 Wednesday Sam sat up all night to take the stage to Carson City where he spent the first week of February. Between Jan. 22 and Jan. 28 he wrote Territorial Sweets which appeared in the Enterprise [ET&S 1: 190].
January 31 Saturday Sam was in Carson City to send news back to the Territorial Enterprise. He sent at least three letters back, including the first article known to be signed Mark Twain [MTL 1: 245-6]. Throughout his life, Sam stuck to the story that hed taken the name from Captain Isaiah Sellers, but researchers have never found any use of that name by Sellers. Another story ascribes the name to a barroom handle given to Sam when he ordered two drinks on credit. Of course, the term was a steamboat designation for twelve feet of water, barely enough for passage of a large steamboat. It was a call often heard on the river, and one Sam would have heard many times as a boy.
Sam probably finished this third known Letter from Carson City, on this date, first using Mark Twain [ET&S 1: 192]. Painting a hilarious scene of a party at the Governors house, Sam thwacked the Unreliable mercilessly:
he eluded me and planted himself at the piano; when he opened his cavernous mouth and displayed his slanting and scattered teeth, the effect upon that convivial audience was as if the gates of a graveyard, with its crumbling tombstones, had been thrown open in their midst [Smith 52].
February 3 Tuesday The article Letter from Carson City, signed, Yours, dreamily, Mark Twain ran in the Enterprise. This is the first article so signed. In this piece Sam pokes fun at his rival, Clement T. Rice, the Unreliable [MTL 1: 246].
Sam wrote another, Letter from Carson, which was printed on Feb. 5.
February 5 Thursday Sams Letter from Carson ran in the Enterprise and included: Sturtevant & Curry wedding, a murder case, and mining companies, and The Unreliable:
I even felt like doing the Unreliable a kindness, and showing him, too, how my feelings toward him had changed. So I went and bought him a beautiful coffin, and carried it up and set it down on his bed, and told him to climb in when his time was up. Well, sir, you never saw a man so affected by a little act of kindness as he was by that. He let off a sort of war-whoop, and went to kicking things about like a crazy man, and he foamed at the mouth, and went out of one fit and into another faster than I could take them down in my note-book. I have got thirteen down, though, and I know he must have had two or three before I could find my pencil [ET&S 1: 202].
February 6 Friday – Another Letter from Carson [Camfield, bibliog.].
February 8 Sunday Another Letter from Carson, headed Thursday Morning, (Feb. 5) was published in the Enterprise.
The ways of the Unreliable are past finding out I never saw such an awkward, ungainly lout in my life. He had on a pair of Jack Wildes pantaloons, and a swallow-tail coat and they fitted him as neatly as an elephants hide would fit a poodle [ET&S 1: 207-8].
February 9 Monday Isreal Putnam (likely a pseudonym) wrote to Sam, referring to his new pen name.
Mark Twain: I received so good a compliment for you this morning that I am bound to communicate it to you. John Nugent inquired of me who Mark Twain was, and added that he had not seen so amusing a thing in newspaper literature in a long while as your letter in the Enterprise this morning. I gave him an account of you so far as I knew. I suppose you know that Nugent was John Phoenixs most intimate friend. While we were talking about you, Mr. Nugent showed me an unpublished letter of the great humorist who is now in heaven.
I didnt suppose it was necessary for me to write this to you but I thought I would, because praise from Nugent is praise from Sir Hubert Stanley, as it were. (Oh! the last three words are original with me, you know.) But considering the critique of the Union on you the other day, I thought I would administer to you a strengthening plaster, if you felt like weakening, you know. / Yours, hoping you will not weaken, / Isreal Putnam [MTP].
Notes: likely a reaction to Sams Feb. 8 to the Enterprise. Charles A.V. Putnam was a colleague on the paper, and this may be from him. The Enterprise was not published on Mondays, so the reference may refer to Feb. 8 letter, in which Twain wrote of the Unreliable, Clement T. Rice of the Union making an ass of himself at a wedding (so its possible Rice sent this letter). John Nugent (1821-1880), former owner-editor of the S.F. Herald; John Phoenix was the pen name of George Derby (1823-1861); the Stanley phrase came from a play by Thomas Morton (1764-1838) and was commonly used during the late 1800s. Twain used the phrase himself in his May 3, 1907 note to Whitelaw Reid, upon replying to Reids cable announcing Twains honorary doctor of letters degree. See entry Vol IV.
February 12 or 22 Sunday Sams second visit to the Spanish Mine was written up and published in the Enterprise as The Spanish [ET&S 1: 160-1]. Sam threw in a verbal poke at his Union rival:
and by way of driving the proposition into heads like the Unreliables, which is filled with oysters instead of brains [ET&S 1: 167].
February 16 Monday Sam wrote from Virginia City to his mother, Jane Clemens, and sister Pamela Moffett.
My Dr Mother & Sister:
I suppose I ought to write, but I hardly know what to write about. I am not in a very good humor, to-night. I wanted to rush down and take some comfort for a few days, in San Francisco, but there is no one here now, to take my place. They let me go, about the first of the month, to stay twenty-four hours in Carson, and I staid a week. Perhaps they havent much confidence in me now. If they have, I am proud to say it is misplaced. I am very well satisfied here. They pay me six dollars a day, and I make 50 per cent. profit by only doing three dollars worth of work.
Well, I have no news to report, unless it will interest you to know that they struck it rich in the Burnside ledge last night. The stock was worth ten dollars a foot this morning. It sells at a hundred to-night. I dont own it, Madam, though I might have owned several hundred feet of it yesterday, you know, & I assure [you] I would, if I had known they were going to strike it. None of us are prophets, though. However, I take an absorbing delight in the stock market. I love to watch the prices go up. My time will come after a while, & then Ill rob somebody. I pick up a foot or two occasionally for lying about somebodys mine. I shall sell out one of these days, when I catch a susceptible emigrant. If Orion writes you a crazy letter about the Emma Gold & Silver Mining Company, pay no attention to it. It is rich, but he owns very little stock in it. If he gets an eighth share in the adjoining company, though let him blow. It will be all right. He may never get it, however.
What do you show my letters for? Cant you let me tell a lie occasionally to keep my hand in for the public, without exposing me?
I advertised for Mrs. Hubbards brother & David Andersons son. Mr. Dreschler called on me two days afterward. He was in robust health; lives in Steamboat Valley, near here; I promised to visit him. He owns ranch & city property, & is well off. Mr. Ellison called on me the same day. He said John Anderson was on his ranch at the Sink of the Carson, 60 miles from here. Anderson will return to St. Louis in the Spring to go to the wars. I sent him some late St. Louis, Louisville and New Orleans papers, & promised to visit him some day. Remember me kindly to Mrs. Hubbard & Fannie.
Pamela, you do not say whether you are getting well or not? I think you will have to spend next Summer at the Fountain of Youththe fabled spring which the weary Spaniards sought with such a hopeful yearning, and never found. But I have found it, and it is Lake Bigler. No foul disease may hope to live in the presence of such beauty as that. I send the paper to Moffett & Scroter every day; you will find in it all that you do not find in my letters.
I inclose a picture for Margaret Sexton. Had your letter arrived a little sooner, I could have sent it to her myself, as a Valentine.
Sam. L. Clemens
Remember me to all [MTL 1: 244-5].
Note from source notes #4: William H. C. Nash of Hannibal (b. 1829) was a childhood friend of Clemenss and brother of Mary Nash Hubbard. Nash emigrated to the West in 1849 and remained twenty years, after which he returned to Hannibal and became a merchant; in later years he was city assessor and president of the board of education (Greene, 281; Hannibal Courier-Post, 6 Mar 1935, 7B). None of the other people mentioned in this paragraph has been identified.
February 1722 Sunday Silver BarsHow Assayed, ran in the Enterprise. Branch calls this sketch a good example of Clemens capacity to assimilate technical information to his humorous vision, transforming it yet also presenting the facts in a reasonably intelligent way [ET&S 1: 210].
February 1726 Thursday Sams item in the Enterprise Local Column:
February 18 Wednesday Sam assigned a special power of attorney over his mining interests to Daniel H. Twing [MTL 1: 237n2].
February 19 Thursday Ye Sentimental Law Student, dated Feb. 14 ran in the Enterprise. Joe Goodman claimed this was the first use of the signature Mark Twain, so he may not have known about the Feb. 3 letter. The article is a parody of poetic excess in description of what was not viewable even from the top of the mountains around Virginia Cityall laid at the feet of the Unreliable [ET&S 1: 215-9]. Sams Local Column included: LaPlata Ore Company, Concert, and:
February 22 Sunday Sam left Carson City [ET&S 1: 221].
February 23 Monday Sam attended the Firemens Ball at Topliffes Theater on North C Street in Virginia City [ET&S 1: 223]. The next day, Clement T. Rice (The Unreliable) of the Virginia Daily Union wrote:
February 25 Wednesday Sams Local Column in the Enterprise included: The Unreliable, a continuing mock attack on his rival at the Virginia Union, Clement T. Rice, in answer to his article of Feb. 24 on Sams dress:
Also in the column: Many Citizens, Small Pox, School-House, Trial To-Day, District Court, Suicide, and Telegraphic [ET&S 1: 404-7].
February 26 Thursday Sam printed a mock obituary, which Fatout calls round one in the trumped-up feud between Sam and his rival, Clement T. Rice, named by Sam The Unreliable. (Earlier jabs at Rice had been made, however). It was reprinted in the Marysville Daily Appeal on Feb. 28.
Also, Sams article From the Humboldt River Region ran in the Enterprise about this date [Camfield, bibliog.].
February 27 Friday Dennis Driscoll (1823-1876), bookkeeper for the Enterprise, wrote Dan De Quille about the paper being shorthanded and needing him to return from Iowa, where hed gone to see family. Driscoll wrote that Barstow had left our employ, Joe Goodman had gone to San Francisco to meet his mother; Denis McCarthy had gone off to San Francisco to get married and might not return for a month.
You see this leaves me alone. I am attending to business, with Charley Parker on the outside collecting. Biggs in Joes place editing and Sam Clemens localizing. Howard Taylor has returned and is foreman on the paper [From the Collection of The James S. Copley Library, La Jolla, Calif.].
March or April The Enterprise printed Sams humorous Examination of Teachers:
March 112 Thursday Sams Local Column in the Enterprise:
March 4 Wednesday The Enterprise printed City Marshal Perry a Clemens spoof biography of John Van Buren (Jack) Perry, a Virginia City notable re-elected city marshal on Mar. 2 [ET&S 1: 233-8].
March 6 Friday The Washoe Stock and Exchange Board was organized in Virginia City and Sam covered the dinner event for the Enterprise [ET&S 1: 239].
March 7 Saturday Sams Enterprise article about the stock board dinner, Champagne with the Board of Brokers was another jab at The Unreliable [ET&S 1: 240].
March 20 Friday partial Enterprise article attributed to Sam, title of this column remains unidentified:
After remaining for a long time in a partially developed state of agriculturalityso to speakHoney Lake has shown the features of the Nevada family at lastthe earmarks of the Washoe litterand suddenly cropped out as a mining district. Several promising ledges have been discovered round about Susanville, and the people [ page 127 ] are already beginning to use the language of feet. Specimens from two new locationsthe Union and the Bridges leadslook exceedingly well. They seem to contain no silver, but are sprinkled with free gold, easily seen with the naked eye.
[Schmidt: reprinted in Mark Twain in Virginia City, Paul Fatout, Indiana University Press (1964) 42. Subsequent attempts to locate this item as cited have been unsuccessful. It is possible the date is in error and the item appears in a reprint elsewhere].
March 31 Tuesday The Enterprise item, Captain Alpheus Smith, is attributed to Sam [Fatout, MT in VC 137]. Fatout presents this article to reflect the furor made about the Reese River mining district, and as an object lesson that Sam did not rush off to the diggings, because hed had enough of that.
April or May 1863 Sometime during these two months an article titled, For Lager appeared in the Enterprise and is attributed to Sam [Schmidt].
April 3 Friday Sams Local Column in the Enterprise: A Distinguished Visitor, Clara Kopka, The Lois Ann mine, Island Mill, Gould & Curry, and Minstrels.
GOULD & CURRY. They struck it marvelously rich in a new shaft in the Gould & Curry mine last Saturday night. We saw half a ton of native silver at the mouth of the tunnel, on Tuesday, with a particle of quartz in it here and there, which could be readily distinguished without the aid of a glass. That particular half ton will yield some where in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars. We have long waited patiently for the Gould & Curry to flicker out, but we cannot discover much encouragement about this last flicker. However, it is of no consequence it was a mere matter of curiosity anyhow; we only wanted to see if she would, you know.
THE MINSTRELS. We were present at La Plata Hall about two minutes last night, and heard Sam. Prides banjo make a very excellent speech in English to the audience. The house was crowded to suffocation [ET&S 1: 410-12].
April 1112 Sunday Sam wrote from Virginia City to his mother, and sister Pamela Moffett.
My Dear Mother & Sister
It is very late at night, & I am writing in my room, which is not quite as large or as nice as the one I had at home. My board, washing & lodging cost me seventy-five dollars a month.
I have just received your letter, Ma, from Carsonthe one in which you doubt my veracity about the tape worm, and also about statements I made in a letter to you. Thats right. I dont recollect what the statements were, but I suppose they were mining statistics. [in margin: Ma, write on whole letter sheetsis paper scarce in St Louis?] I have just finished writing up my report for the morning paper, and giving the Unreliable a column of advice about how to conduct himself in church, and now I will tell you a few more lies, while my hand is in. For instance, some of the boys made me a present of fifty feet in the East India G & S. M. Company, ten days ago. I was offered ninety-five dollars a foot for it, yesterday, in gold. I refused itnot because I think the claim is worth a cent, for I dont, but because I had a curiosity to see how high it would go, before people find out how worthless it is. Besides, what if one mining claim does fool me?I have got plenty more. I am not in a particular hurry to get rich. I suppose I couldnt well help getting rich here some time or other, whether I wanted to or not. You folks do not believe in Nevada, and I am glad you dont. Just keep on thinking so.
Note: A double murder occurred while Sam was writing and he added this P.S.: I have just heard five pistol shots down streetas such things are in my line, I will go and see about it.
John Campbell had murdered two policemen in the early hours of Apr. 12. Sam wrote about the incident in the Enterprise, as a horrible affair sometime between Apr. 16 and 18. Sam, also wrote of his hatred for [ page 128 ] Californians, as they hate Missourians. His remarks are probably the result of a bitter border dispute between Nevada and California, which put the disposition of Aurora in doubt. In less than a month Sam and Clement T. Rice would spend two months in San Francisco. Sam referred to Rice, a rival but friendly reporter of the Virginia City Union, as the Unreliable in their mock feud.
He also asked to be remembered to folks back home:
O, say, Ma, who was that girlthat sweetheart of mine you say got married, and her father gave her husband $100 (so you said, but I suppose you meant $100,000,)? It was Emma Roe, wasnt it? What in thunder did I want with her? I mean, since she wouldnt have had me if I had asked her to? Let her slideI dont suppose her life has ever been, is now, or ever will be, any happier than mine.
Remember me to Zeb, and Uncle Jim, and Aunt Ella, and Cousin Bettie, and tell the whole party to stay in St. Louisit is such a slow, old fogy, easy-going humbug of a town. And dont forget to remember [me] to Mrs. Sexton and Margarethas Margaret recovered from her illness? And be sure to remember me kindly to our Margaret at home.
Sam [MTL 1: 246-50].
Notes: Zeb Leavenworth, James and Ella Lampton, the Moffett Servant Margaret, and Elizabeth Ann Lampton (1823-1906) may be Cousin Bettie, Janes first cousin. Parts of this letter are missing. Emma Comfort Roe (1844-1904) daughter of John J. Roe (1809-1870), wealthy St. Louis merchant for whom the steamboat John J. Roe was named.
On Apr. 11 in the Enterprise, another powerful jab at Unreliable:
April 16 Thursday Sam wrote a letter from Virginia City to his mother, of which a fragment survives.
ladies at the other end, who, when they had finished their meal, came by & asked me to come into the parlor after dinner. I accepted, gladly, thinking I had my new friend in the door thenas the faro players saybut I was mistaken, you know. He proceeded with me to the parlor doorbut for the sake of his friends & [ page 129 ] his innocence, I said nothing uncivil to him, but turned away & went up town, he still following. He staid with me bravely, until I had gone all my usual rounds & a few unusual ones, too, although a fearful snowstorm was raging at the timeand came back to the office with me, where he staid until 8 or 9 oclock & then went out to feed his oxensince which time I am happy to inform you, Madam, I have neither seen or heard of him. Remember me kindly to his folks, & especially to Mrs. Dr Douglas.
Bully for Mrs Hollidayshe owes me five or ten dollars. Tell Uncle Jim I dont write, simply because I am too lazy. Nothing but that deep & abiding sense of duty which is a second nature with me, prompts me to write even to my gay & sprightly mother. It is misery to me to write letters. But I say, Ma, dont let your kind heart be exercised about Poor John Anderson, because in that case I shall get the benefit of it in your next, you know. This country will take the soft solder out of himjust let him alone.
Why, certainly, if Mr. Moffett will advance you money on my account Ma, draw liberallyIll foot the bill some day.
But I cant write any more. They have struck it rich in the front ledge in Gold Hill the other day, & I must go out and find out something more about it. [MTL 1: 251]. Note: Sam wrote up the strike. See Apr. 17 entry. Uncle Jim was James A.H. Lampton; Mrs. Douglas unidentified.
April 1618 Saturday Horrible Affair was published in the Enterprise. Sam wrote that five Indians had been smothered to death in a tunnel back of Gold Hill. He included this account in a list of hoaxes some five years after [ET&S 1: 244-7].
April 17 Friday The Enterprise ran Sams article Latest from Washoe about the Gold Hill discovery [MTL 1: 251-2n3]:
April 1930 Thursday Sams Local Column in the Enterprise contained Electric Mill Machinery, a short squib reporting a new infernal invention to turn quartz mills [ET&S 1: 413].
April 24 Friday Sam was up to his old journalism tricks again as he recalled in the Enterprise the excitement of the past week and included a spoof of mining strikes:
May 1 Friday ca. Sam and Clement Rice (The Unreliable) arrived in San Francisco by stagecoach, by way of Henness Pass [Sanborn 195]. This approximate date is confirmed by Joe Goodmans letter of May 5 to Dan De Quille in Iowa. After pleading with Dan to return to the Enterprise by raising his pay to $40 per week plus a promise to get the public to hold a donation party twice a year, and even offering to send travel funds, Joe wrote:
I am doing the local now. Wash Wright is on the editorial. Sam went to San Francisco about a week ago, to remain for an indefinite time and it is doubtful whether he will be connected with the paper again or not [From the Collection of The James S. Copley Library, La Jolla, Calif.]
May 3 Sunday A column signed by Mark Twain but probably written by Joe Goodman ran in the Enterprise toasting Sams departure from Virginia City to San Francisco, his first visit there. He has gone to display his ugly person and disgusting manners and wildcat on Montgomery Street. In all of which he will be assisted by his protégée, the Unreliable [MTL 1: 253]. A. Hoffman claims these were Goodmans words, and that Sam took off for San Francisco about the first of May . (See May 1 entry.)
May 5 to August 10 Monday ca. A photo of Sam with muttonchops is given this date range at MTP.
May 15 Friday Sams sketch Stories for Good Little Boys and Girls ran in the Golden Era [Camfield, bibliog.].
May 16 Saturday Sam wrote to the Territorial Enterprise, Letter from Mark Twain. The sketch anticipated the fictional Mr. Brown and Mr. Twain of his 1866 Sandwich Islands Letters to the Sacramento Union [MTL 1: 256n1; ET&S 1: 248-9].
May, mid The first two weeks Sam ran around with an old Hannibal friend he bumped into shortly after arriving in the City, Neil Moss, the son of a rich pork-packer. He also met Bill Briggs (b.1831?), Johns older brother, and one of Sams Hannibal gang. He took a horse-drawn omnibus from Portsmouth Square to Ocean House, where he walked along the beach barefoot in the surf. It reminded him of a decade before in New York, when hed done likewise in the Atlantic: & then I had a proper appreciation of the vastness of this countryfor I had traveled from ocean to ocean
One night, Clement T. Rice and Sam went to the Bella Union Melodeon on Washington Street to see a variety show. The show featured lovely and blooming damsels with the largest ankles you ever saw [dressed] like so many parasols [Sanborn 197].
May 18? Monday Sam wrote from San Francisco to his mother, and sister Pamela. Two MS pages are missing with about 400 words. The remaining:
When I first came down here, I was with Neil Moss every day for about two weeks, but he has gone down to Coso now. He says he is about to realize something from those mines there, after roughing it & working hard for three years. He says he has had a very hard time ever since he has been in Californiahas done pretty much all kinds of work to make a livingkeeping school in the country among other things. He looks just like his father did eight or ten years agothough a little rougher & more weather-beaten perhaps. The man whom I have heard people call the handsomest & finest-looking man in California, is Bill Briggs. I meet him on Montgomery street every day. He keeps a somewhat extensive gambling hell opposite the Russ House. I went up with him once to see it.
I shall remain here ten days or two weeks longer, & then return to Virginia, & go to work again. They want me to correspond with one of these dailies here, & if they will pay me enough, [about nine words torn away] Ill do it. (The pay is only a blindIll correspond anyhow. If I dont know how to make such a thing pay meif I dont know how to levy black-mail on the mining companies,who does, I should like to know?)
Ma, I have got five twenty-dollar greenbacksthe first of that kind of money I ever had. Ill send them to youone at a time, so that if one or two get lost, it will not amount to anything. I have been mighty neglectful about remittances heretofore, Ma, but when I return to Virginia, Ill do better. Ill sell some wildcat every now & then, & send you some money. Enclosed you will find one of the rags I spoke ofits a ratty-looking animal, anyway. Love to all.
[MTL 1: 253]. Notes: Neil Moss (b. 1835 or 6) the son of Russell Moss, Hannibal pork-packing firm owner. Bill Briggs (b. 1830 or 31) eldest son of Hannibals William Briggs and brother of Sams childhood pal John Briggs. Bill became a professional gambler. Between May and August, Sam sent at least twelve enclosures of these greenbacks, noted on each letter; only five letters have been discovered. [ page 131 ]
Sam contracted with the San Francisco Morning Call and the Golden Era (a literary weekly) to write a series of letters on Nevada news. These letters appeared in the Call from Aug. through Dec. 1863 [MT Encyclopedia, McFatter 652].
May 19 Tuesday The Fresno Mining Co. issued ten shares of stock to Samuel L. Clemmens [sic] in Aurora, Esmeralda mining district. The company was incorporated on Jan. 22, 1863 [Spink Shreves Galleries Sale 121 Lot 487, 2010]. Note: see insert.
May 1921 Thursday The Letter from Mark Twain written on May 16 was printed in the Enterprise sometime during this period. This is the first letter extant from San Francisco to the paper.
JuneJuly Bullion, and Decidedly Rich, items attributed to Sam, ran in the Enterprise [Schmidt].
June 1 Monday Sam was still in San Francisco, but now stayed at the Lick House at Montgomery and Sutter. The Lick House was more opulent than their first stay at the Occidental Hotel at Bush and Montgomery ($2.50 per day) [MTL 1: 256n1, MT Encyclopedia, Zall 651].
Sam wrote his mother, and sister Pamela, enclosing another $20 greenback.
The Unreliable & myself are still here, & still enjoying ourselves. I suppose I know at least a thousand people herea great many of them citizens of San Francisco, but the majority belonging in Washoe& when I go down Montgomery street, shaking hands with Tom, Dick & Harry, it is just like being in Main street in Hannibal & meeting the old familiar faces. I do hate to go back to Washoe [MTL 1: 255].
June 4 Thursday Sam wrote from San Francisco to his mother, and sister Pamela, sending another $20 greenback. it seems like going back to prison to go back to the snows & the deserts of Washoe, after living in this Paradise. But then I shall soon get used to itall places are alike to me [MTL 1: 256].
June 19 Friday Sam wrote All About Fashions, (Mark Twain More of Him,) a piece that was published in revised version in the San Francisco Golden Era on Sept. 27. It was probably published in the Enterprise sometime between June 20 and 24 [ET&S 1: 304]. Note: Budd says between June 21 and June 24, 1863 [Collected 1001]. [ page 132 ]
June 20 Saturday Sam wrote from San Francisco to Orion and Mollieall in a dither about Echo stock, of which he had a small share. Sam had speculated on the stock and helped to raise the price later by writing glowing accounts of the mine to the San Francisco Morning Call [MTL 1: 258].
June 2124 Wednesday Sams LETTER FROM MARK TWAIN ALL ABOUT FASHIONS was printed in the Enterprise. It was the main body of Mark TwainMore of Him written on June 19; see also Sept. 27 entry for reprint in Golden Era [ET&S 1: 304]. An excerpt:
EDS. ENTERPRISE: I have just received, per Wells-Fargo, the following sweet scented little note, written in a microscopic hand in the center of a delicate sheet of paper like a wedding invitation or a funeral notice and I feel it my duty to answer it:
VIRGINIA, June 16.
MR. MARK TWAIN: Do tell us something about the fashions. I am dying to know what the ladies of San Francisco are wearing. Do, now, tell us all you know about it, won’t you? Pray excuse brevity, for I am in such a hurry. BETTIE.
P. S. Please burn this as soon as you have read it.
Do tell us and she is in such a hurry. Well, I never knew a girl in my life who could write three consecutive sentences without italicising a word. They can’t do it, you know. Now, if I had a wife, and she however, I don’t think I shall have one this week, and it is hardly worth while to borrow trouble.
Bettie, my love, you do me proud. In thus requesting me to fix up the fashions for you in an intelligent manner, you pay a compliment to my critical and observant eye and my varied and extensive information, which a mind less perfectly balanced than mine could scarcely contemplate without excess of vanity. Will I tell you something about the fashions? I will, Bettie you better bet you bet, Betsey, my darling. I learned those expressions from the Unreliable; like all the phrases which fall from his lips, they are frightfully vulgar but then they sound rather musical than otherwise.
A happy circumstance has put it in my power to furnish you the fashions from headquarters as it were, Bettie: I refer to the assemblage of fashion, elegance and loveliness called together in the parlor of the Lick House last night (a party given by the proprietors on the occasion of my paying up that little balance due on my board bill) I will give a brief and lucid description of the dresses worn by several of the ladies of my acquaintance who were present. Mrs. B. was arrayed in a superb speckled foulard, with the stripes running fore and aft, and with collets and camails to match; also, a rotonde of Chantilly lace, embroidered with blue and yellow dogs, and birds and things, done in cruel, and edged with a Solferino fringe four inches deep lovely. Mrs. B. is tall, and graceful and beautiful, and the general effect of her costume was to render her appearance extremely lively [ET&S 1: 309-12].
July Gymnasium, and article attributed to Sam, ran in the Enterprise [Camfield, bibliog.].
JulyAugust Report on Bullion Production, attributed to Sam, ran in the Enterprise [Schmidt].
July 2 Thursday Sam arrived back in Virginia City [MTL 1: 254n6]. Sams article The Comstock Mines ran about this day in the Enterprise [Camfield, bibliog.].
July 5 Sunday Sams first in a series of Mark Twains Letters was dated this day. See July 9 entry for publication [ET&S 1: 254-258].
July 8 Wednesday Sam spoke at the dedication of the new Collins House hotel, a great success. Sam had made an equally pleasing speech back in 1856 for the Keokuk printers [MTL 1: 263].
July 9 Thursday The Evening Bulletin reported on Sams speech dedicating Virginia Citys newest hotel, the Collins House:
Sams first of a series of ten Mark Twains Letters, written from Virginia City, dated July 5, ran in the San Francisco Morning Call. This letter discussed his return by Henness Pass, the bustle and violence of Virginia City, MaGuires new Opera House, and miscellany [ET&S 1: 254-258].
July 1417 Friday Sams unsigned Extracts ran between these dates in the Enterprise and were reprinted July 27 in Mining and Scientific Press [Camfield, bibliog.].
July 14 Tuesday The Virginia City Bulletin ran a headline LOOK OUT MARK! After the drama East Lynne was incorrectly announced by Sam in the Enterprise for July 15 instead of July 14 and 16. [The Twainian, Nov.-Dec. 1948 p.3].
July 15 Wednesday Another Mark Twains Letter (dated July 12) ran in the San Francisco Morning Call. Sam wrote that the dollar value of Echos first class ore goes clear out of sight into the thousands [MTL 1: 259; Camfield, bibliog.].
July 16 Thursday Sams article Particulars of the Recent Cave of the Mexican and Ophir Mines ran in the Enterprise, and was reprinted in the Evening Bulletin July 21 [Camfield, bibliog.].
July 17 Friday Sams article An Hour in the Caved Mine ran in the Enterprise [Camfield, bibliog.].
July 18 Saturday In Virginia City, Sam wrote his mother, and sister Pamela and sent another $20 greenback. Sam now roomed in the White House on B Street. The letter was a defense of his money and its source: selling wildcat mining ground that was given to him. He wrote that he:
never gamble[s], in any shape or manner, and never drink anything stronger than claret or lager beer, which conduct is regarded as miraculously temperate in this country [MTL 1: 260].
Another of Sams Mark Twains Letter (dated July 16) ran in the San Francisco Morning Call. Sam wrote of the Ophir mine and a minor cave in there [The Twainian, Jan-Feb 1952, p3].
July 23 Thursday Another Mark Twain Letter (dated July 19) ran in the Morning Call. Subheadings: Judicial Broil; Theatricals; General Benevolence; The Caved Mines; About Other Mines: Immigration; Billiard Match [Camfield, bibliog.].
July 24 Friday Orions term as acting governor of Nevada Territory ended [ET&S 1: 465].
July 25 Saturday The Virginia City Bulletin ran an item about Mark Twain seen coming from the Chinatown section of town with a feather in his cap we supposed you had turned Pah-Ute. This could have been an indirect reference to Sam frequenting the red light district [The Twainian, Nov.-Dec. 1948, p.4].
July 26 Sunday Sam and Clement T. Rice were forced out of their White House Hotel rooms by a fire at 11 AM. Sam went solo to a room in an A street mansion [MTL 1: 262]. Accounts of the fire appeared the next day in the Virginia City Evening Bulletin, and on July 28 in the Union. Note: a larger fire burned 70 buildings in late August. In some accounts this fire is confused with the larger conflagration.
July 30 Thursday Sams account of his Virginia City fire experience (dated July 26) ran in the San Francisco Morning Call:
July 31 Friday The new Enterprise building and its new steam press were completed on North C street [Mack 233]. With all the celebrating of the event Sams chronic bronchitis forced him to bed. He asked Clement T. Rice to fill in for him, and Rice did so, taking the opportunity to run a fake apology in the Enterprise (see Aug. 1 entry).
August 1 Saturday The Virginia City Bulletin ran a short article, Gymnasium
To which Sam answered in the Enterprise soon after:
Clement T. Rice, the Unreliable, filling in for a sick Mark Twain, took this opportunity to run APOLOGETIC in the Enterprise, represented as being from Sam:
The Sonora Silver Mining Co. issued five shares of stock to S. Clements on this date. The company was incorporated on July 13, 1863, only two weeks prior [Meltzer 59].
August 2 Sunday Sams A Duel Prevented, was published in the Enterprise. He also telegraphed the Call of the conflict between Joe Goodman of the Enterprise and the fiery Thomas Fitch (1838-1923) of the Virginia Union, and the dispatch ran under the headline Tom Fitch in a DuelOfficer Interposes [Branch, C of Call 286]. The article is what Branch calls a personal account of much ado about nothing, a tale of comic frustration [ET&S 1: 262-6].
August 4 Tuesday While Sam had been laid up with a cold he invited Clement T. Rice to write local items for the Enterprise, even though he was a Union reporter. Rice played a trick and published an apology from Sam to Rice. An Apology Repudiated appeared in the Enterprise by Sam:
August 5 Wednesday Sam wrote from Virginia City to his mother, and sister Pamela, sending another $20 greenback. Sam wrote: I got burned out about ten days agosaved nothing but the clothes I had on [MTL 1: 261].
The Virginia City Bulletin cried quitstheyd had enough jousting with Sam, sort of:
August 6 Thursday Another Mark Twains Letter (dated Aug. 2) ran in the Morning Call. Subheadings: Fire Matters; Agricultural Fair; A Duel Ruined; Theatricals; Territorial Politics; Military Arrest; Washoe Cavalry; Phelan Coming; Steam-Printing in Washoe; Judge Jones Resigned; Carson Races; Mines, Etc.; Building; Foot Race [Camfield, bibliog.; The Twainian, Mar-Apr 1952 p1-2].
August 10 Monday ca. About this time Sam came down with a bad cold. (See letter Aug. 19) [MTL 1: 264]. Note: Sam had suffered on and off with colds, and on Aug. 1, Clement T. Rice filled in for him due to a cold.
August 11 Tuesday According to an article in the Virginia City Bulletin, Sam and Adair Wilson (1841-1912) left in the morning for Lake Bigler (Tahoe):
August 1216 Sunday ca. Sam spent time at Lake Bigler (Tahoe) with Adair Wilson, the junior local editor of the Virginia City Union. Sam loved the Lake and had praised its clean air to his family, so he likely went to recover from his cold [MTL 1: 265n2]. Andrew Hoffman claims he fell in with a fast crowd there, staying up late drinking too much champagne .
August 13 Thursday Another of Sams Mark Twains Letters (dated Aug. 8) ran in the Morning Call. Sam wrote again about high yields from the Echo mine. From a high price per share of $140 asked in mid-July, the Echo stock fell to $27 within six months. Subheadings: The City of Virginia; More Fire Companies; Visiting Brethren; Carson Races; Theatricals; Legal Battle; Railroad Meeting; No Democratic Convention; Mining Affairs [MTL 1: 259; Camfield bibliog.].
August 17Monday Sam left Lake Bigler and went to Steamboat Springs, a mineral bath about nine miles northwest of Virginia City. He paid for his stay by writing up the resort for both the Territorial Enterprise and the San Francisco Morning Call [A. Hoffman 82].
August 18 Tuesday The Enterprise ran Letter from Mark Twain [Camfield bibliog.].
August 19 Wednesday Sam wrote from Steamboat Springs, Nevada Territory, to his mother, and sister Pamela, sending another $20 greenback [MTL 1: 263]. Letter from Mark Twain dated Aug.18 ran in the Enterprise [Smith 66].
I must have led a gay life at Lake Bigler, for it seems a month since I flew up there on the Pioneer coach, alongside of Hank Monk, the king of stage drivers. But I couldnt cure my cold. I was too careless. I went to the lake (Lake Bigler I must beg leave to call it still, notwithstanding, if I recollect rightly, it is known among sentimental people as either Tahoe Lake or Yahoo Lake however, one of the last will do as well as the other, since there is neither sense nor music in either of them), with a voice like a bull frog, and by indulging industriously in reckless imprudence, I succeeded in toning it down to an impalpable whisper in the course of seven days. I left there in the Pioneer coach at half-past one on Monday morning, in company with Mayor Arick, Mr. Boruck and young Wilson (a nice party for a Christian to travel with, I admit), and arrived in Carson at five oclock three hours and a half out. As nearly as I can estimate it, we came down the grade at the rate of a hundred miles an hour; and if you do not know how frightfully deep those mountain gorges look, let me recommend that you go, also, and skim along their edges at the dead of night [Smith 68-70].
The Enterprise ran another Letter from Mark Twain datelined Steamboat Springs, Nevada Territory, August 18, 1863 [Camfield bibliog.].
August 23 Sunday Sam, still not over his cold, returned to Virginia City from Steamboat Springs [The Twainian, Nov.-Dec. 1948 p 4]. Before returning, he wrote a letter to the Call, published there on Aug. 30 [MTL 1: 265; ET&S 1: 272]. The Enterprise ran another Letter from Mark Twain written from Steamboat Springs [Camfield bibliog.].
August 25 Tuesday Sam wrote the Territorial Enterprise, describing his visit to Steamboat Springs. His letter was published this date under the title, Letter from Mark Twain [MTL 1: 265; Budd, Collected 1002]. Sections include: The Springs; The Hotel; The Hospital; The Baths; Good-bye; and:
A few days ago I fell a victim to my natural curiosity and my solicitude for the public weal. Everybody had something to say about wake-up-Jake. If a man was low-spirited; if his appetite failed him; if he did not sleep well at night; if he were costive; if he were bilious; or in love; or in any other kind of trouble; or if he doubted the fidelity of his friends or the efficacy of his religion, there was always some one at his elbow to whisper, Take a wake-up, my boy. I sought to fathom the mystery, but all I could make out of it was that the Wake-up Jake was a medicine as powerful as the servants of the lamp, the secret of whose decoction was hidden away in Dr. Ellis breast. I was not aware that I had any use for the wonderful wake-up, but then I felt it to be my duty to try it, in order that a suffering public might profit by my experience and I would cheerfully see that public suffer perdition before I would try it again. I called upon Dr. Ellis with the air of a man who would create the impression that he is not so much of an ass as he looks, and demanded a Wake up-Jake as unostentatiously as if that species of refreshment were not at all new to me. The Doctor hesitated a moment, and then fixed up as repulsive a mixture as ever was stirred together in a table-spoon. I swallowed the nauseous mess, and that one meal sufficed me for the space of forty-eight hours. And during all that time, I could not have enjoyed a viler taste in my mouth if I had swallowed a slaughter-house. I lay down with all my clothes on, and with an utter indifference to my fate here or hereafter, and slept like a statue from six oclock until noon. I got up, then, the sickest man that ever yearned to vomit and couldnt. All the dead and decaying matter in nature seemed buried in my stomach, and I heaved, and retched, and heaved again, but I could not compass a resurrection my dead would not come forth. Finally, after rumbling, and growling, and producing agony and chaos within me for many hours, the dreadful dose began its work, and for the space of twelve hours it vomited me, and purged me, and likewise caused me to bleed at the nose.
I came out of that siege as weak as an infant, and went to the bath with Palmer, of Wells, Fargo & Co., and it was well I had company, for it was about all he could do to keep me from boiling the remnant of my life out in the hot steam. I had reached that stage wherein a man experiences a solemn indifference as to whether school keeps or not. Since then, I have gradually regained my strength and my appetite, and am now animated by a higher degree of vigor than I have felt for many a day. Tis well. This result seduces many a man into taking a second, and even a third wake-up-Jake, but I think I can worry along without any more of them. I am about as thoroughly waked up now as I care to be. My stomach never had such a scouring out since I was born. I feel like a jug. If I could get young Wilson or the Unreliable to take a wake-up Jake, I would do it, of course, but I shall never swallow another myself I would sooner have a locomotive travel through me. And besides, I never intend to experiment in physic any more, just out of idle curiosity. A wake-up-Jake will furbish a mans machinery up and give him a fresh start in the world but I feel I shall never need anything of that sort any more. It would put robust health, and life and vim into young Wilson and the Unreliable but then they always look with suspicion upon any suggestion that I make [ET&S 1: 272-6].
August 27 Thursday Sams article in the Local Column of the Enterprise was titled, YE BULLETIN CYPHERETH, and disputed bullion production statistics printed the previous day by the Virginia City Evening Bulletin [ET&S 1: 415-7].
August 28 Friday 1:40 PM and 10 PM: Sam covered a large fire in Virginia City for the Enterprise. The fire and subsequent riot covered four blocks. Sam sent two dispatches by telegraph to the San Francisco Morning Call in addition to writing up the events for the Enterprise [Branch, C of Call 286-7]. Fatout writes the fire ravaged most of Virginia west of A Street and south of Pat Lynchs Saloon, and might have destroyed the whole town if the wind had been in another quarter [MT in VC 81].
After the big August fire these firemen collided at the corner of Taylor and C Streets, and at once a wild melee broke out. Fists pounded, faucets and wagon stakes cracked heads, and blood flowed: fifteen men injured, the foreman of the engine company laid out with a trumpet, the city marshal knocked down with a club, one man fatally shot [MT in VC 81-2]. Note: Sam incorporated this battle in RI, making it an election riot quelled by the peace-loving Buck Fanshaw.
August 29 Saturday Sams dispatch Disastrous Fire at Virginia CitySeventy Buildings Burned ran in the Morning Call [Branch, C of Call 286].
August 30 Sunday Sams Mark Twains Letter(dated Aug. 20 from Steamboat Springs Hotel) ran in the Morning Call, describing his visit to Steamboat Springs [MTL 1: 265; ET&S 1: 277]. Sam also finished a letter on this date that would be published by the Call on Sept. 3 called Unfortunate Blunder.
September 3 Thursday The San Francisco Morning Call published another of Sams Mark Twains Letters (dated Aug. 30). Subheadings: Mass Meetings; The Fire; and, Unfortunate Blunder. This last a sketch of Sams about a drunk Irishman in Virginia City who mistook a Presbyterian church service for a Union League meeting [ET&S 1: 284-7].
Also in the Call was a dispatch from Sam headlined: THE ELECTION IN VIRGINIA CITY, GOLD HILL, CARSON AND DAYTON, Nev., YESTERDAYSPLENDID UNION TRIUMPHSUICIDE OF A PIONEERJACK MCNABB SHOOTING POLICEMENTALK OF A VIGILANCE COMMITTEE, ETC., ETC. [Branch, C of Call 287].
September 45 Saturday In the Enterprise: BIGLER VS. TAHOE
I hope some bird will catch this Grub the next time he calls Lake Bigler by so disgustingly sick and silly a name as Lake Tahoe. I have removed the offensive word from his letter and substituted the old one, which at least has a Christian English twang about it whether it is pretty or not. Of course Indian names are more fitting than any others for our beautiful lakes and rivers, which knew their race ages ago, perhaps, in the morning of creation, but let us have none so repulsive to the ear as Tahoe for the beautiful relic of fairy-land forgotten and left asleep in the snowy Sierras when the little elves fled from their ancient haunts and quitted the earth. They say it means Fallen Leaf well suppose it meant fallen devil or fallen angel, would that render its hideous, discordant syllables more endurable? Not if I know myself. I yearn for the scalp of the soft-shell crab be he injun or white man who conceived of that spoony, slobbering, summer-complaint of a name. Why, if I had a grudge against a half-price nigger, I wouldnt be mean enough to call him by such an epithet as that; then, how am I to hear it applied to the enchanted mirror that the viewless spirits of the air make their toilets by, and hold my peace? Tahoe it sounds as weak as soup for a sick infant. Tahoe be forgotten! I just saved my reputation that time. In conclusion, Grub, I mean to start to Lake Bigler myself, Monday morning, or somebody shall come to grief. MARK TWAIN [ ET&S 1: 290].
September 5 Saturday With the return of Dan De Quille, Sam was freed from his duties as the local editor for the Enterprise. He left the same day for San Francisco on the Carpenter & Hoog stage, to Carson City, where he stayed a day with Orion and Mollie [MTL 1: 265; ET&S 1: 291-5].
Years later, De Quille wrote of the conditions in Virginia City upon his return. Sam would return in a few weeks to toil by De Quilles side. The big fire of 1863 had almost wiped out the town and created a great deal of violence in its aftermath:
Thus I resumed business at the old stand in the thick of red-hot timesin the midst of flames and war. It was also in the midst of cutting and shooting daysthe days of stage robberies, of mining fights, wonderful finds of ore, and all manner of excitements. As may be imagined Mark and I had our hands full, and no grass grew under our feet. There was a constant rush of startling events; they came tumbling over one another as [ page 139 ] though playing at leap-frog. While a stage robbery was being written up, a shooting affray started; and perhaps before the pistol shots had ceased to echo among the surrounding hills, the firebells were banging out an alarm.
The crowding of the whole population into that part of town which had escaped the fire led to many bloody battles. Fighters, sports and adventurers, burned out of their old haunts, thronged the saloons and gaming houses remaining, where many of them were by no means welcome visitors [Benson 72].
September 6 Sunday Sam left Carson City on the Pioneer Stage for Sacramento with R.W. Billet [ET&S 1: 291-5]. (See Sept. 17 entry.)
September 6 Sunday ca. (De Quilles return to Va. City) [Camfield bibliog.]. In the Enterprise: Literary Manifesto of Mark Twain & De Quille:
September 7 Monday Sam arrived in Sacramento at 8 A.M [ET&S 1: 295].
September 8 Tuesday Sam arrived in San Francisco. He would spend four weeks relaxing and recuperating. He moved in high society, attending the theater, attending balls, and playing billiards at the Lick House [MTL 1: 265]. In his Autobiographical dictation of Jan. 23, 1907 he related first playing his first games of bowling in San Francisco. It may have well been during or shortly after this four-week period; the source, however, gives 1865. See MTA 2: 380-81 for the tale.
September 9 Wednesday Sam attended the Anniversary Ball of the Society of California Pioneers at Union Hall [ET&S 1: 291].
September 13 Sunday The San Francisco Golden Era reprinted Sams sketch, Bigler vs. Tahoe, which appeared some unknown time before in the Enterprise. Sam favored Bigler as a name over Tahoe, which he ridiculed [ET&S 1: 288-290].
September 17 Thursday Sam wrote another Letter from Mark Twain (dated Sept. 13.) from San Francisco to the Enterprise about the trip over, first to Carson City on the Carpenter & Hoog stagecoach, then by the Pioneer Stage to San Francisco. The letter included a humorous account of Sams traveling companion, R.W. Billet, being gawked at by pioneers who thought him black because he had so much dust on him from the stage trip over. [ET&S 1: 291-5].
Sam reviewed performances by Adah Isaacs Menken (1835?-1868), actress and poettwo plays, Mazeppa and The French Spy. Sam wrote that her acting in the former play resembled the contortions of a violent lunatic:
She bends herself back like a bow; she pitches headforemost at the atmosphere like a battering-ram; she works her arms, and her legs, and her whole body like a dancing-jack she whallops herself down on the stage, and rolls over as does the sportive pack-mule after his burden is removed.
In his review of The French Spy, Sam wrote she acted like:
a frisky Frenchman as dumb as an oyster, [her] extravagant gesticulations do not seem so overdone She dont talk well, and as she goes on her shape and her acting, the character of a fidgety dummy is peculiarly suited to her line of business [MTL 1: 276n3; Smith 75; Krause 33]. Note: the first source gives Sept. 17; second source gives no date; Krause gives Sept. 13.
September 20 Sunday The first of three articles Sam wrote for the San Francisco Golden Era appeared: How to Cure a Cold. The article was a hit with readers. The Enterprise and the Era were connected by the past work of Goodman, McCarthy and De Quille. Sam recognized the value the Era might have to his career. This piece was revised several times, and appeared later in his Jumping Frog book and was included in Sketches, New and Old (1875) as Curing a Cold [ET&S 1: 296-303; Camfield bibliog.].
September 23 Wednesday Joseph E. Lawrence, editor of The Golden Era, wrote Dan De Quille and commented on Sams popularity:
They say the Lick House Ladies give Mark Twain a Ball tomorrow evening Thursday Hes an immense favorite with them ever since his description of their June last reunion, which I copy in the GE this week [From the Collection of The James S. Copley Library, La Jolla, Calif.].
September 24 Thursday In San Francisco, Sam attended the Lick House Ball, held at the popular hotel of the same name [ET&S 1: 313].
September 27 Sunday The Golden Era reprinted Mark TwainMore of Him. Sam added a preface to the older article, All About the Fashions, that ran in the Enterprise sometime between June 21 and 24. Another article by Sam appeared in the same edition of the Era, The Lick House Ball [ET&S 1: 313-319].
Tom Fitch of the Virginia City Union printed a challenge in that paper to Joe Goodman for a duel, to be held at Ingrahams Ranch in Stampede Valley at 9 A.M. the next morning [Mack 271]. The conflict began over political in-fighting within the Union party, the only political party of any consequence in Nevada . Ugly words had passed in editorials, and so this day the challenge came. Fatout writes that the dueling weapons were Colts five-shooters, one chamber loaded [MT in VC 85].
September 28 Monday The location of the duel between Goodman and Fitch was kept a secret until the last so as to avoid the law preventing the contest. Sam and Young Wilson rode horseback out to Ingrahams Ranch. Major George Ferrand and Cyrus Brown were seconds for Goodman; Captain Roe and Captain Fleeson served that capacity for Fitch. After shooting Fitch in the leg (rumor had it hed announced he would not shoot above the waist), Goodman rode off at the appearance of a stagecoach. Fitch would limp for the rest of his life, but they became good friends after the duel [Mack 271-2]. Fatout claims police arrested both principals, who were put under bond to keep the peace [MT in VC 85].
Fall Benson writes:
Ingomar, the Barbarian, was presented in the opera house in the autumn of 1863. Mark Twains connection with this play proved of more than usual significance, because his critique was copied in the East, and we have the first instance of Eastern periodicals printing the Western writings of Mark Twain . In this Ingomar review, Mark Twain shows a breaking away from the cruder humor that was in evidence in earlier burlesque writings. Gradually he came to depend more and more on cleverness rather [ page 141 ] than coarseness. The critique, besides being reprinted in the West, found its way into the columns of a monthly magazine in the East, Yankee Notions [96-7]. Note: the latter publication was Apr. 1864
October Time for Her to Come Home, an article in the Enterprise, is attributed to Sam [Schmidt]. Sam alluded to a periodical Bells Life in London and Sporting Chronicle as his source for euphemistic boxing terminology [Gribben 58].
October 9 Friday ca. Sam left San Francisco for Carson City.
October 11 Sunday Sams The Great Prize Fight was published in the Golden Era [Walker 24].
October 12 through 17 Saturday Sam covered the First Annual Fair of the Washoe Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Society [MTL 1: 266].
October 19 Monday Sam wrote up the Fair for the Territorial Enterprise. His article, FIRST ANNUAL FAIR OF WASHOE AGRICULTURAL, MINING AND MECHANICAL SOCIETY, was printed sometime later in October (Camfields bibliog. lists the print date as Oct. 20). Sections included: Triumphal Parade; Great Pantomime Speech; Races Saturday Afternoon; A Hint to Carson; and, The Fair a Success and a Valuable Lesson [Smith 80-6].
October 20 Tuesday ca. Sam returned to Virginia City. He and Dan De Quille rented rooms together [MTL 1: 266]. (See Oct. 28 entry.)
October 26 Monday The Virginia City Bulletin reported:
October 28 Wednesday Sams hoax, A Bloody Massacre near Carson, for which he received a tempest of indignation and protest, ran uncensored in the Enterprise. (Most everything local reporters wrote was uncensored.) This piece was a fiction-hoax of one Pete Hopkins, whod gone insane and chopped up his wife and seven of his nine children with an axe and club, afterwards riding into Carson City with his throat cut from ear to ear. The story was widely reprinted [Fatout, MT Speaks 15; ET&S 1: 324-6]. The story behind the piece, including Sams motivation, is well told by Effie Mona Mack [Ch. 17]. Note: Joe Goodman, in a Dec. 25, 1910 letter to Paine, claimed that Sam named the hoax-man after Pete Hopkins, one of three celebrated saloon keepers in Carson City at the time and a great humorist [The Twainian, May-June 1956 p.3].
Sam and Dan De Quille, (William Wright) rented rooms in the new brick Daggett and Myers Building at 25 North B Street, Virginia City. Their rent began this day at $30 per month [Mack 246]. Their parlor-bedroom suite of rooms was across the hall from Tom Fitch and family on the third floor [Fatout, MT in VC 113].
Shortly after this time, but perhaps as late as Feb. 1864, Sam wrote Letter from Dayton which ran in the Enterprise [ET&S 1: 418].
The local reporter of the Gold Hill Daily News reported that Sam had proposed marriage to an unidentified young woman. Sam supposedly said he couldnt find nary a [girl] to keep house with. Mark says he popped it to one the other day, but she couldnt see it [Fanning 86]. Note: This sounds more like ribbing than an accurate account of events. [ page 142 ]
October 29 Thursday Sam revealed in the Enterprise that the Bloody Massacre story was a hoax:
[Schmidt: the text of this article is from C.A V. Putnams Dan De Quille and Mark Twain, published in the Salt Lake City Tribune on April 25, 1898. It may be based upon memory and incomplete].
October 30 Friday The Enterprise ran Clemenss Reply to the Gold Hill (Nev.) News [Camfield bibliog.].
October 31 Saturday The Stock Brokers Prayer, a burlesque Lords prayer, attributed to Sam, ran in the Amador Weekly Ledger, probably reprinted from an earlier lost Enterprise item:
November One night in November several Virginia City friends gave Sam a fake meerschaum pipe. He made an eloquent speech of thanks before discovering the trick. Dan De Quille later said Sam began with the introduction of tobacco into England by Sir Walter Raleigh, and wound up with George Washington [Fatout, MT Speaking 648].
Other Enterprise items by Sam were Still Harping and Lives of the Liars or Joking Justified. Review of Ingomar the Barbarian, and Artemus Ward Wild Humorist of the Plains (summary only exists of the first two) [Schmidt].
November 2 Monday Once again, Sam traveled to Carson City, this time to report on Nevada Territorys First Constitutional Convention, which ran from Nov. 2 through Dec. 11 [MTL 1: 266].
November 7 Saturday Letter from Mark Twain, Carson City, this date, political convention, was published later in the month in the Enterprise [Smith 86]. (Camfield places the print date as Nov. 10 [biblio.]).
November 15 Sunday Sam dated a letter from Carson City to the Enterprise that was as casual sequel to the Bloody Massacre hoax. The letter was published on Nov. 17.
November 17 Tuesday The Enterprise printed Sams Another Bloody Massacre written on Nov. 15 from Letter from Mark Twain.
November 19 Thursday Another Mark Twains Letter (dated Nov. 14) ran in the Morning Call. Subheadings: Nevada Constitutional Convention; Boundary of the State; Right of Suffrage; Corporations; Nevada; Officers; Miscellaneous [Camfield bibliog.].
November 21 Saturday Lives of the Liars or Joking Justified ran sometime in mid-Nov. in the Enterprise and on this day in the Gold Hill News [Camfield bibliog.]. Still Harping also ran on or about this day in the Enterprise.
November 22 Sunday Sams article On Murders was published in the Golden Era [Walker 57].
November 29 Sunday Sams articles Ingomar Over the Mountains, and Greetings to Artemus Ward were re-printed in the Golden Era [Walker 57-8]. These pieces were first in the Enterprise sometime earlier in the month, date unknown. The other article, Play Acting over the Mountains. The Play of Barbarian, by Maguires Dramatic Troupe at Virginia City! [Camfield bibliog.]. Note: Camfield conjectures Announcing Artemus Wards Coming as an Enterprise article for Nov. 20
November 30 Monday Sams 28th birthday. He attended the ball and supper at Sutliffes Hall by the Virginia City Eagle Engine Company, where he gave a speech [ET&S 1: 331].
December 13 Thursday A Tide of Eloquence was printed in the Enterprise, and was reprinted in the Golden Era on Dec. 6.
A teamster was murdered and robbed on the public highway between Carson and Virginia, to-day. Our sprightly and efficient officers are on the alert. They calculate to inquire into this thing next week. They are tired of these daily outrages in sight of town, you know [Fatout, MT in VC 114-5].
December 6 Sunday Sams article A Tide of Eloquence was reprinted in the Golden Era [Walker 66]. It was printed in the Enterprise sometime in November [Camfield bibliog.].
December 8 Tuesday Another Letter from Mark Twain, from Carson City, dated (Dec. 5) ran in the Enterprise. Sections: Church in Carson, Questions of Privilege, Mr. Sterns Speech [Smith 92-5]. Krause gives all of Mr. Sterns Speech parody  and discusses allusions [59-60].
December 11 Friday Sam was voted president of the Third House of the legislature, a mock body that met in saloons and burlesqued lawmakers and the process of the legislature. The Third House met at 11 PM. Sam made a speech, the text of which was not recorded [Sanborn 213; Fatout, MT Speaking 648].
Sams article Assassination in Carson (datelined Dec. 10) ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].
December 12 Saturday Another Letter From Mark Twain, dated this date from Carson City ran on Dec. 15 in the Enterprise.
December 15 Tuesday Letter from Mark Twain (dated Dec. 12) ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.]. Sections: Logan Hotel; No More Mines; State Printer; School Fund; Hank Monk; The Old Pah-Utah; Carson City; and, Final Report. Sam continued to poke fun at the Pi-Utes, a pioneer association of early Nevada settlers.
December 18 Friday Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) visited Virginia City, and looked up kindred bohemian spirits at the office of the Territorial Enterprise. His visit lasted until Dec. 29. Sam returned to Virginia City sometime before this period [MTL 1: 266].
December 19 Saturday The Enterprise ran Sams Dec. 13 dispatch from Carson City reporting the burlesque proceedings of the Third House on the Constitutional Convention [Camfield biblio.; Smith 102-110].
December 22 Tuesday The nationally acclaimed Artemus Ward gave the Babes in the Woods lecture at Maguires Opera House in Virginia City. Most likely, Sam was in attendance and was greatly influenced by Wards acclaim and style. Wards lecture was a great success [Powers, MT A Life 132].
December 24 and 25 Friday Christmas Artemus Ward hung around the Enterprise office during his stay in town. Sam and Dan De Quille showed Ward around during his visit. Joe Goodman described [ page 145 ] the raucous evening that unfolded at Chaumonds after Wards lecture at Silver City, where Ward proposed his well-known toast, I give you Upper Canada. Why? Because I dont want it myself [Fatout, MT in VC 128]:
About midnight, as usual, he [Ward] turned up in the Enterprise office and commanded the editorial slaves to have done with their work, as his royal highness proposed to treat them to an oyster supper Artemus Ward, Mark Twain, Dan de Quille, Denis McCarthy, [Edward P.] Hingston [Wards manager]. and myself sat about the table .Then begun a flow and reflow of humor it would be presumptuous in me to attempt to even outline. It was on that occasion that Mark Twain fully demonstrated his right to rank above the worlds acknowledged foremost humorist Course succeeded course and wine followed wine, until day began to break. The first streaks of dawn were brightening the east when we went into the streets.
I cant walk on the earth, said Artemus. I feel like walking on the skies, but as I cant Ill walk on the roofs.
And he clambered up a shed to the tops of the one-story houses, with Mark Twain after him, and commenced a wild scramble from roof to roof.
The piece ends with Ward spooning mustard to Sam, astride a barrel on the porch of Fred Getzlers saloon. It was Christmas day, Dec. 25 Friday [MTL 1: 269-270n5]. Ward then gave a second lecture in the evening [Powers, MT A Life 132].
December 2527 Sunday Sams Local Column in the Enterprise: A Christmas Gift. Someone sent Sam a naked, porcelain doll baby [ET&S 1: 420]. Note: Did Ward send the doll?
December 28 Monday The Virginia City Evening Bulletin quoted Sams article in the Enterprise: Report of Artemus Wards Lecture in Virginia City. The Enterprise article probably ran a day or two before Dec. 28:
December 29 Tuesday Artemus Ward and his manager left Virginia in a mud wagon for Austin, 180 miles away. Fatout reports on the farewell:
Faithful companions gathered to see them off and to bestow going-away presents: a demijohn of whiskey, feet in a mine somewhere behind Mount Davidson, a pouch of tobacco, a bowie knife guaranteed to have killed two men. Mark Twain presented a copy of the Enterprise, Dan De Quille a sackful of hardboiled eggs [MT in VC 134].
Fatout also comments on Wards influence on Sam, something that has been widely written of:
In his development as a figure transcending local limits the visit of Ward to Virginia was of major importance. The likenesses between the two are marked and frequent [MT in VC 130].
Sam reported a Virginia City political meeting for the Enterprise. A short article, Christmas Presents of Sams also ran in the Enterprise [Smith 110; ET&S 1: 421].
December 30 Wednesday Sam went to Carson City. His brother Orion was hopeful of a candidacy for secretary of state. Sams article, The Bolters in Convention was published in the Enterprise [Smith [ page 146 ] 112-18] and an unsigned article, A Gorgeous Swindle, the style of which points decidedly to Sam, and includes a parody of Sir Walter Scott [Smith 118-21; Gribben 617].
December 31 Thursday Sam reported on the Union party convention to select candidates for Nevadas first state election, scheduled for Jan.19, 1864. Joe Goodman, Sams editor, failed to win the nomination for state printer. Orion did win the nomination for secretary of state [MTL 1: 266].
Late 1863Early 1864 Sams article Chinatown was written from San Francisco and ran in the Enterprise:
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 Years Day, Sam wrote in the Territorial Enterprise:
Charles F. Browne (Artemus Ward) wrote from Austin, Nev. to Sam
My Dearest Love,I arrived here yesterday a.m. at 2 oclock. 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, sirdo not flatter yourself that you are the only chastely-humorous writer onto the Pacific slopes.
Good-bye, old boyand God bless you! The matter of which I spoke to you so earnestly shall be just as earnestly attended toand 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 Wards 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 dont 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 Sams joking letter about threats to move the capital of Nevada [Smith 126]. [ page 148 ]
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. Marshs 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) ONeil in the farce, The Limerick Boy; or Paddys Mischief. Sam wrote that ONeil, 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 Sams 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 Sams Autobiography:
Orion was soon very popular with the members of the legislature, because they found that whereas they couldnt usually trust each other, nor anybody else, they could trust him. He easily held the belt for honesty in [ page 149 ] that country, but it didnt 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 hed attended.
They sing in school, now-a-days, which is an improvement upon the ancient regime; and they dont catch flies and throw spit-balls at the teacher, as they used to do in my timewhich 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 babys nose is exactly like all other babies noses [Smith 136].
January 15 Friday From Legislative Proceedings: HOUSEFOURTH 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 Nevadas 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 Browns 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 anywhereNiggers cant. At night a huge transparency opposite Stewarts law office depicted the burial of the constitution [MT in VC 147].
Sams 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 Clapps 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: HOUSENINTH 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 officers work. (These two officers are strictly ornamentalhave been under wages since the first day of the sessionhavent had anything to do, and wont for two weeks yetand 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:
January 21 Thursday From Legislative Proceedings: HOUSETENTH DAY
QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. Stewart rose to a question of privilege, and said the ENTERPRISE and Union reporters had been moving Ellen Redmans toll-bridge from its proper position on the Carson Slough to an illegal one on the Humboldt Slough. (I did that. If Ellen Redman dont like it, I can move her little bridge back againbut 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 homeGod bless them!
I am still exceedingly weakcant write any more. Love to Jo and Dan, and all the rest. Write me at St. Louis. / Always yours [MTLP]. Note: Sams 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 Sams 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 Sams speech . Note: Fanning claims Jennie was stricken on Jan. 29 .
January 27 Wednesday Sams 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 didnt talk loud enoughpeople in the far end of the hall could not hear me. They said Louderlouder, occasionally, but I thought that was a way they hada 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, thoughthere 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, isnt it? I dont 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 Sams speech (now lost) to the burlesque assembly known as the Third House.
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 Sams, Jennie, died of cerebrospinal meningitis (spotted fever.) [MTL 1: 383].
Sams article Satirical Account of Bill Stewarts 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 Winters 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 Governors 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 Sams 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 9 Tuesday Sams Letter from Carson, with Concerning Notaries ran in the Enterprise [Walker 67-70].
February 12 Friday Sams article, dated Feb. 5, Winters 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 Sams 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]. Sams made-up letter to Mark Twain from Zeb. Leavenworth contained a sovereign remedy for stammering childrensawing off the childs underjaw. Zeb and Beck Jolly had been Sams 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 wasnt 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). Menkens 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 actresss numerous dogs, accidentally hit the Menkens 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 Sams 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 Yorkpolitician, 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 [ page 153 ] 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 Maguires New Opera House. Sam had written a series of reviews including some severe criticism of other companies who performed in Maguires Opera House. No doubt he was on hand for Adah Menkens 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 Adahs 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 its 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.
Sams 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 recd your letter post-marked Feb 6st two or three days after Orions 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 hed received at the meeting of the Third House of the legislature on Jan. 25 [MTL 1: 275].
March 27 Sunday Sams 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 Orions 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:
April 1724 Sunday Sams item in the Enterprise Local Column was Missionaries Wanted. This humorous drubbing of two locals in a fictional scene was typical of Sams barbs for those he wanted to deflate. Such reports won him the title of wild and unpredictable humorist.
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.
April 19 Tuesday Ruel Colt Gridley (1829-1870), an old schoolfellow of Mark Twains 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 quarters 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 Twains best veina 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 Shakespeares birthdayand 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 couldnt have been better prepared for instruction about Shakespeare than if they had been prepared by art. There wasnt enough of what Shakespeare had done to make an editorial of the necessary length, but I filled it out with what he hadnt donewhich 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 worlds 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: Its 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 Chauvels 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 Sams 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 2830 Saturday Letter from Mark Twain from Carson City, was published in the Enterprise.
April 30 Saturday A fragment of Sams Enterprise piece about De Quille survives:
The Enterprise item about Gashwiler and Funck was reprinted in the Amador, California, Weekly Ledger [Fatout, MT Speaks 16-7].
May Sometime during May, Sams article Burlesque Life of Shakespeare ran in the Enterprise [Camfield bibliog.].
May 1 Sunday Sams 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 115 Sunday WashoeInformation 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].
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).