Jumping A Graveyard

   After reporting on the Territorial Legislature in Carson City, for the Enterprise, Clemens returned to Virginia City. He again took up his duties as local editor for that paper. The following events occurred during the last days of the legislature and only were now being reported, in the Territorial Enterprise, of Thursday, Christmas Day, December 25, 1862.
Jumping A Graveyard — On Saturday persons in this city took possession of the Catholic cemetery, located in the southeast part of this town, and commenced the work of fencing it in and building thereon a house. When this became known throughout the city, there came near a bloody row over the notice. Many armed themselves and were for proceeding indecently to the burying ground, to drive the jumpers away by force of arms, but better council prevailed and they were induced to await the actions of the authorities in the affair. A meeting was held on Sunday evening last at the Catholics church, and resolutions adopted winch strongly censured those attempted to decorate consecrated ground. However, as the difficulty in regard to the ownership of the ground is likely to be settled without a resort to arms, the aforesaid resolutions are suppressed.

San Francisco Bulletin, December 29, 1862.


“Josh’s Letters” to the Territorial Entrtprise, July 1862, Part 2.

This item is no doubt by Sam Clemens,  the letter is the only source found that mentions Sol Carter, who was in  the Blind Lead Episode in Roughing It, Clemens owned feet in an extension of  the Pride of Utah, the Annapolitan claim.

We extract the following intelligence from the Territorial Enterprise of July 20th. A correspondent, writing from Esmeralda, July 13tb, says :

    The new rich lode popularly known as Johnson’s Ledge, is a cross ledge running through the Pride of Utah and the Wide West, and is the one from which these two companies have been taking their wonderful rock. Johnson is sinking a shaft on it. During the week the Wide West Company have sprung an injunction upon the Pride of Utah, and stopped that company from working—which was the severest blow the prosperity of the district has yet received—for, otherwise, by this time, fifty men and a dozen teams would be constantly at work for the Pride of Utah. But on the 8th, the Pride of Utah boys returned the injunction compliment upon the Wide West in a rather novel manner. The excavations of the two companies have run together and early on the morning of the 8th, some disinterested members of the Pride of Utah Company built a fire of such aromatic fuel as old boots, Vans, etc., in the bottom of their shaft, and closed up the top, thus converting the Wide West shaft into a chimney. As there was scarcely room enough for the smoke, of course there was no room at all for workmen—and labor was suspended in both ledges, for that day at least. This injunction business has, as one might have guessed, led to a lawsuit. It will be commenced tomorrow; and I observe that McConnell has come down to take a hand in it. After the Wide West had served the injunction, they proceeded, of course, to seize upon all Pride of Utah bullion, amalgam and quartz lying at that time in the mills, Pine, the officer who attached that portion of the property which was at Clayton’s mill, informed me that be took charge of one hundred and twenty one pounds of good solid bullion (more than half gold), the yield of twenty nine tons of Pride of Utah rock.
Sol. Carter purchased sixteen hundred pounds of decomposed Pride of Utah rock from the company, in the beginning of the week, for which he paid one dollar a pound in cash, and shipped said rock to San Francisco by his pack train. The Wide West Company sent a constable after the train, but I have not heard that his errand was successful. I was informed that a pound and a half of this rock was prospected and yielded about an ounce of gold.

July 22, 1862, Sacramento Daily Union,



From the Territorial Enterprise, September 23d. 

  Yesterday afternoon at two o’clock was the time appointed for the prize fight between Tom Daly and Billy McGrath, at the Washoe race track. By two o’clock there were about one thousand persons collected on the ground. The price of admission at the gate was $2 50; no free list. At a quarter past two o’clock Tom Daly shied his castor Into the ring and made the best time after it that was possible; followed in the same style by the “Dry Dock Novice,” Billy McGrath. Daly weighs 164 pounds in fighting trim; McGrath 160. When stripped, Billy McGrath made a better appearance than his antagonist, showing either better training or more natural solidity. Some little time was lost before a referee was chosen, but finally the umpires selected Reub. Smith. Enoch Davies and Jacob Montis acted as seconds to McGrath, and Tom Belcher and Frank Martin as Daly seconds. Daly won the choice of corners, and the other necessary arrangements having been made, the referee gave the word and the men advanced from their corners.


  Round First — men came up smiling. After a few innocent passes, Tom let fly a mischievous one for Bill’s dial, which was well stopped, and Bill sent in a slinger on Tom’s jowl, which sent him gently to grass and gave the “first knock down” to r McGrath. 

  Round Second  — Daly came up looking slightly indignant at the rough treatment he had received in the first round, and landed a delicate shot on Bill’s ivories, without any perceptible result; lively sparring followed, Mac Investing largely on Daly’s cranium and bread basket, getting a nasty mash on the smeller in return, which started the claret, and raised the cry of “first blood for Daly!” Some hot exchanges followed, when the men closed, and after a little heavy fibbing McGrath was thrown.

   Round Third — Both men came promptly to the scratch, Billy perspiring freely, owing to the heat, but showing no signs of fatigue; Daly let out heavily with his left on Mac’s breast, and was handsomely countered on the neck; at this point McGrath rushed in and got Daly in.chancery, but before he could properly “state his case” Daly entered a demurrer and threw him over his hip on to the ropes.

   Round Fourth — Both came up lively at the call of time; after a little cautious sparring Daly sent In a terrific “digester” on Mac’s stomach; the men closed, and McGrath was again thrown.

   Round Fifth — Short and sweet; Mac let out heavy and Daly dropped.

  Round Sixth — Daly came up looking slightly fatigued; a little cautious sparring ensued, followed by a little confused and promiscuous punching, during which Daly’s second grabbed him and carried him to his corner, Mac’s second following suit. In this round the men did not clinch at all.

   Round Seventh— Heavy blows exchanged on the start, without any perceptible damage on either side; men closed and Daly was thrown heavily, Mac falling on him.

  Round Eighth — Closed Immediately ; heavy fibbing, and Daly thrown as before, with Mac on him.

   Round Ninth — Mac let fly his left mauley on Daly’s smeller with terrible vim, and got away from an ugly counter; men closed, and Mac was heavily thrown.

  Round Tenth — Up to this time the betting had been in favor of Daly, but now even bets were offered on McGrath, who was rapidly gaining favor; Daly got in heavily on the smeller, starting Mac’s claret very freely; closed with Mac down.

   Round Eleventh — On nearing each other, Daly struck out rather viciously two or time times, but fell short of his mark, Bill stepping back out of reach; after a little lively sparring they closed, and Mac was thrown.

   Round Twelfth — When time was called both came up puffing, caused partly by their lively fighting and partly by the heat of the day; a close followed, together with some lively fighting, when they broke away, and after some heavy exchanges they closed again, and Mac was thrown.

   Round Thirteenth — Daly looked extremely vicious, and squared himself as though he meant mischief; Mac met him boldly, and after a few dingdong exchanges on the head and body, they closed, and Daly was thrown.

  Round Fourteenth, and Last — No time was lost in sparring; Mac let out with his left, which was stopped, but succeeded in getting in a swinging blow on Daly’s right ear which sent him tottering to his knees; as he was falling, McGrath tried an uppercut with his left, which grazed Daly’s face. [Here the cry of “foul” was raised by Daly’s seconds and friends, and a scene of great confusion ensued, after which some degree of quiet was restored, and the referee decided the blow foul, thus giving the fight to Daly.


  At the start Daly was the favorite with disinterested outsides — five to four being offered on him; but after the first or second round, even bets were freely offered on McGrath. Both men were as plucky as gamecocks, and showed considerable science in sparring. Considerable dissatisfaction was manifested when Reub. Smith, the referee, decided McGrath’s last blow “foul.” The fact is, Daly was standing square before McGrath when the last blow was struck, and the blow which was ruled “foul” never reached its mark, but just grazed Daly’s face. Great excitement and angry words followed between parties who had been betting on the fight which finally resulted in


  Harry Lazarus had been betting freely on McGrath, and was loud in his denunciation of the referee, and everybody who agreed with him in his decision. A Mexican by the name of Epitacis A. Maldanado, alias “Muchach,” had been betting on Daly, and kept crying out that the blow was foul. Lazarus called him a liar, and pistols were immediately drawn. As soon as Lazarus and “Much” commenced firing, two or three other parties joined in (so we are told), but we wire unable to learn their names. About the ring at this time were a thousand or twelve hundred men, a large number of horses, in vehicles and otherwise, and the excitement and confusion that ensued beggars all description. The firing and the deafening shouts and yells of the combatants and surging crowd frightened many horses, whose rearing and plunging served to add to the danger and consternation of all In the vicinity. Two horses were shot in the melee, and the only wonder is that more men were not struck by the random pistol balls that flew singing through the air In every direction. One of the horses shot received a pistol ball In the fleshy part of the hip, which passed through and lodged in his tail; the other, a fine American mare, was shot in the back, the ball lodging in the backbone. All this we noted during our delightful little ramble. Returning to the ring we found it almost deserted, the wounded men, ” Muchach” and Lazarus, having been carried to the saloon near the gate of the enclosure. Thither we repaired and found “Muchach” lying on a table, stripped to the waist, with a ball hole in his right breast, close to the nipple, another near the pit of his stomach, and we were told that another ball had entered his side and another struck one of his arms. On another table, stripped likewise to the waist, lay Harry Lazarus, who had escaped without any apparent serious injuries; one ball struck him in the breast, pretty high up, about two inches above the right nipple; another ball had so shattered the fingers of his right hand that it was found necessary to amputate two of them, after his removal to Washoe City. His hand was struck while he was in the act of leveling his pistol, and it is thought, the ball which entered his breast was the same that shattered his fingers. At the time we left Washoe, about four o’clock in the afternoon, ” Muchach” was still alive, but was not expected to survive long.

 Sacramento Daily Union, September 25, 1863.

“in lieu of pocket change”

Sam Clemens first met Robert Muir Howland in late August 1861, when Howland arrived in Carson City  from Aurora in the Esmeralda mining region as a delegate to the Union convention for the territory.  After the convention, Clemens accompanied Howland back to Aurora to visit the mines.  In Aurora he met Hollands mining partner Horatio Gates Phillips, these two had come from Nevada County, California.  They had built a wood and canvas dugout into the side of Last Chance Hill  on Willow Springs Gulch,  just North of Green;s Quartz Mill or the Pioneer Mill as it was the first erected in the camp. A month or so after  Clemens had returned to Carsom City, Bob Howland again arrived in town, when the following newspaper item soon appeared in the Silver Age.

“Our friend R. M. Howland, Esq., of Aurora, dropped into this office yesterday, having a boulder from the Fresno Lode in his possession.  Fortunately, Bob owns in that lode, and brings this specimen for Dr. Muncton 1: if it had  been otherwise we might have suspicioned that he had picked it up accidentally
, and brought it along in lieu of pocket change.”


“Aurora from Last Chance Hill”

Based on a 1861 sketch by Pascal Loomis.

         Both Last Chance Hill a
nd Martinez Hill are long spurs emanating from a more elevated protrusion. During the flush times this knob was known by some as “Fresno Hill.”  Located on the lower slopes of the protrusion, near the area  where Last Chance Hill emanates outward,` was the mining claim that gave the Fresno Hill its name.  It was located some distance South of the Pioneer Mill.  In August the owners of the Fresno and the nearby Ellsworth claim made a contract with A. A. DeKay to run a tunnel into the hill to strike the ledges of the two companies. The tunnel was to be “Six feet in height and four feet six inches in width” and to “reconed at five feet in the face and to run through the Ellsworth Quartz Lode and continued to the Fresno Quartz Lode for the distance of one hundred and ten feet.”  For running this tunnel DeKay was to receive the sum of two hundred dollars in cash as well as one hundred feet in both claims.  The owners were to pay the cash in installments after every twenty feet run, and to give deeds to the ground when the contract was completed.2 
        Earlier in June, Bob Howland had obtained feet in both of these claims. The mining deed records that Howland paid one hundred dollars for twenty feet in both claims.  A few days later Howland purchased twenty feet more in the Fresno for two hundred dollars.  On the mining frontier three hundred dollars in hard cash was a commodity that few adventurers possessed.3       

1. Dr. Muncton was a Carson City druggists who also owned property in Aurora.
2.  H. D. Bequett to Edwin Williams, Mining Deeds  Book D (Mono) p. 380, in this deed the Fresno location is described as being on “Fresno Hill” other deeds place it “on hill opposite and east” of several claims on Middle Hill  most deeds locate it on Last Chance Hill the location of some valuable claims in the hope of increasing its value. Under this contract after digging in five feet the contractor was to also search for and report other hidden veins or blind leads so as to not claim later as his own.  Fresno Gold and Silver Mining Co. to A. A. DeKay, Book of Contracts (Mono) p. 18.
 3.  John T. Creed to R. M. Howland, Mining Deeds Book C (Mono) p. 389; W. T. Watkins to R. M. Howland, Mining Deeds Book C (Mono) p.383.

Mark Twain’s Wish.


When Clemens first arrived in the California gold region, he mentioned in his notebook that he was in Vallecito, which is near Murphy’s in Calaveras Country on the road to the Big Trees.  As it was winter the two travelers probably encountered snow and returned to Angles Camp and back to Jackass Hill in Tuolumne County, if the following account had occurred.

Sam Clemens while a resident of Jackass Hill in this county, became imbibed with the idea that his future existence depended upon a sight of the Big Trees; so one day he started, accompanied by his, mining partner. After passing Murphy’s the “lay of the country” became unfamiliar to the travelers, and as night closed upon them they came to the conclusion that they were not only lost but that the prospects of food and shelter for the night were as slim as they well could be. They had followed a wood road to the summit of a chaparral crowned hill and did not know which way to turn to reach the road again. After floundering around in the chemical and tar weed for an hour or more they reached a road near an apparently deserted house. Their halloos soon brought around them as vicious a pack of dogs as ever haunted the canine infested streets of Constantinople. They numbered toward, fifty and not one of them was dumb. They dashed at Sam and his companion with murderous fury compelling them both to seek a trembling resting place on the fence. The howls of the dogs finally brought about twenty of their masters from the house, and these men must have smiled in the twilight when their eyes fell upon Clemens and his friend clinging with heel and hand to the top rail of the fence surrounded by the hungry snapping dogs. They proved to be Italians who did not understand a word of English. Then and not till then did Clemens lose his temper. He swore at himself for getting into the scrape. He cursed his companion for not knowing the road. He anathematized the Italians for coming to the country before they had mastered the .English language. He profanely alluded to the gap in his early education that had not been filled in with the soft, melodious tongue of Italy, winding up his remarks with a glance of concentrated hate atthe pack of yelping dogs beneath him, as he turned to his companion and in that inimitably lazy drawl so peculiar to him said: “Do you know, Jim, it I might at this moment ask a favor of Providence, after my familiarity with his name, if it was to be the last yearning desire of my heart, I would ask that I might be converted into a ton of prime beef, loaded with strychnine, and dumped among that gang of curs. I’d die contented after that.”

Daily Alta California, , 15 September 1875, From the Sonora Democrat, nd.

Mark Twain As An Indian Fighter.


The native population and the miners had a history of conflict and death in this region of the southern mines. In the area between the two rivers the Stanislaus on the north and the Tuolumne on the south lived a tribe known as the Wallas. In 1851 when the Yosemite Indians were forced onto a reservation, they did not want to be in the land of the Wallas, which in their language was “being down” meaning they were not from the mountains.

Story Of One Of His Experiences In Tuolumne.

Of the many stories now floating about in regard to the past experiences of Sam Clemens, none are more droller than the following one, (at this time in the diggings passed as the) frozen truth. We would remark in that the story need not be taken as evidence of faintheartedness or lack of “sand” on the part of Clemens, nut his action attributed simply to his inordinate love of humor, and an overweening desire to shoot his little joke while on the wing. The incident we refer to occurred during the Innocent’s sojourn at Jackass Hill, near Tuttletown, where he was prospecting with Jim Gillis. For some time there had been rumor’s discontent among the Indians, a farce band of Wallas, having gathered near Pendola Ferry, on the Stanislaus River, and, after announcing their intension of annihilating the miners shortest order possible, decamped for f the higher Sierras to obtain, it was generally supposed, a sufficient force to carry out their bloodthirsty threats. One bright afternoon late in the autumn, Sam and Jim were sitting in front of their cabin  on Jackass Hill. The former engaged in rubbing Mustang Liniment on a slight bruise that discolored his left leg, sustained by a fall which he had received that day during one of his prospecting expeditions, the latter watching the operation while he lazily smoked a corncob full of kinnikinnick. Suddenly a man rushed in breathless haste up the Hill and stammered, as he wildly gesticulated; “They’re comin’,” “Let’ em come, we’re ready for most anything from fortune to famine,” answered the imperturbable Mark, as he continued to plaster the liniment on his injured limb. “But they’re injuns,” was the excited remark of the messenger, “an’ everybody’s turning out, Tuttletown’s in arms, and they want Sam, to take command.” “What’s my rank.” asked Sam, looking quizzically at the man, “Quartermaster or solder, which?” The Aid-de-camp waited to hear no more, but rushed away to alarm others, and Mark and Jim made their way to Tuttletown, where they found a great crowd of miners assembled and ready to march on the foe. Mark was appointed to the command of a company, and in due course the army was on the march. The Stanislaus River having been reached just at dusk, it was though advisable with more caution, as the enemy was supposed to be encamped in that vicinity The different companies separated, and spreading out in a semi-circle, marched up the river. Mark’s company, consisting of ten men, were plodding along in the gathering gloom, when shoots were heard at no great distance on the hillside.
“Halt;” commanded Mark. The company halted.
“Gentlemen, this is no time for fooling, Tuttletown, expects every man to do his duty. The enemy is before us. You will form into a hollow square. To the rear open order, and as the rear happens to be open, it is in order for every man to proceed in that direction as orderly a manner as possible. As I am lame myself, I think I will commence the retrograde movement first. March1”
As the rumor of the approach of the bloodthirsty red ma was afterward proved to be a false alarm, this movement on the part of Mark’s division was not noticed at the time, although, freely discussed afterward in Tuttletown, and the explanation given that Mark was frightened by the explosion of a belated hunters shot-gun.

 Cincinnati Daily Times May 05, 1876, p. 3, from the Sonora Democrat, nd.

Of course there in little truth in this tale it never was in Roughing It but then Jim Gillis didn’t write the book.