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Territory & Statehood

Mark Twain on Nevada

Samuel Clemens, famous as the writer Mark Twain, spent several years in Nevada Territory. His brother Orion Clemens was Secretary of the Territory under Governor Nye. Samuel Clemens wrote about his impressions of the Nevada Territory in letters to his mother.


"And now, for your other questions, which shall be answered tersely, promptly, and to the point:  First -- "Do I go to church every Sunday?"  Answer -- "Scarcely."  Second -- "Have you a church in Carson?"  We have -- a Catholic one -- but, to use a fireman's expression, I believe "they don't run her now."  We have also Protestant service nearly every Sabbath in the school house. Third -- "Are there many ladies in Carson?"  Multitudes -- probably the handsomest in the world. Fourth -- "Are the citizens generally moral and religious?"  Prodigiously so. Fifth -- "When my old friends ask me how you like Nevada, what reply shall I make?" Tell them I am delighted with it. It is the dustiest country on the face of the earth -- but I rather like dust. And the days are very hot -- but you know I am fond of hot days. And the nights are cold -- but one always sleeps well under blankets. And it never rains here -- but I despise a country where rain and mud are fashionable. And there are no mosquitoes here -- but I can get along without them. And there are scorpions here -- and tarantulas, or spiders as big as a mouse -- but I am passionately fond of spiders. Tell them I never liked any country so well before -- and my word for it, you will tell them the truth."

Reader: Assemblyman Bernie Anderson

Photo Credit:
Nevada Historical Society