Mark Twain in the West: An Exhibition
Writing for the Enterprise

A Reminiscence

Joseph T. Goodman, editor and publisher of the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, 1860s (halftone print from Effie Mona Mack’s 1947 Mark Twain in Nevada):

Let me see—it was in 1862 that Sam Clemens came to work for us on the “Territor[ial] Enterprise.” He was prospecting in Esmeralda County and had sent us some voluntary contributions. They struck us so funny that we sent him word to come to Virginia City and take a job on the paper.

He came and we put him to work reporting local affairs. Later on we sent him to Carson to report a session of the legislature, and it was from Carson that he sent his first article signed “Mark Twain.” He had asked me if he might sign a name to some stories apart from the regular reports of the daily proceedings in the legislature, and I had told him he might. So he wrote a humorous series of letters on what he called “The Third House,” which described amusingly the carryings-on of a number of congenial legislators that were in the habit of gathering for a jolly social time after both houses of the legislature had adjourned over night.

(“Jos. Goodman’s Memories of Humorist’s Early Days,” San Francisco Examiner, 22 April 1910, 3)

University of California, Berkeley Mark Twain Papers and Project Pocket map: Washoe and Storey counties William Wright (Dan De Quille), 1864 1863 mining stock certificate Three 1863 mining deeds Western scrapbooks 'Letter from Carson City' Sam Clemens in Virginia City, 1863 Territorial Enterprise advertisement Joseph T. Goodman's reminiscence Maps Roughing It and Comments on Bret Harte Retracing Clemens's Steps A 'Call' to Literature California Gold Country San Francisco Correspondent Writing for the Enterprise Mining in Nevada Territory Exhibit Home Introduction and Chronology