Category: Virginia

Making of a Journalist

Henry H. Ashton, a Virginia City capitalist, has in his library richly bound in crushed Levant, those early volumes of the Virginia City Enterprise, to which Mark Twain contributed.

The faded pages contain innumerable specimens of the famous writer’s quaint humor. Mr. Ashton often points out the first paragraph that Mark Twain wrote on his arrival in Virginia City. The paragraph runs:

“A thunderstorm made Beranger a poet, a mother’s kiss made Benjamin West a painter and a salary of $15 a week makes us a journalist.”
Dallas Morning News, November 17, 1907, p. 4.

Sam Clemens in Virginia City, Nevada Territory September 1862.


Sam Clemens, reporter for the Enterprise and as the Local Editor he was ti report on rhe silver mines.  .

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF A MINE.— On the Ashland claim,situated immediately west of town, a shaft has been sunk to the depth of 150 feet; from the bottom of the shaft a drift has been cut westward about 150 feet; in the end of this drift a second shaft has been sink a depth of 60 feet, and from the bottom a drift has been run westward 40 feet, is now being driven in still further. It is enough to make one’s head swim to think of all these “ups and downs and crooks and turns.” The whole of the dirt excavated is brought to the surface through the main shaft. It is winched from the back part of the lower drift to the second shaft, up which it is hauled by means of a windless up to the end of the first drift where the tub containing the dirt is wheeled to the main shift, when it is hooked to a second windless and hoisted to the surface. They are now drifting in a mixture of quartz and granite, which has the appearance of being the casing to the lead.

Territorial Enterprise
18 or 19 of September 1862
From the San Francisco Bulletin, September 23, 1862,