Mark Twain

From 1861 to 1864, writer Mark Twain (real name: Samuel Clemens) lived in Virginia City and Carson City, where his brother, Orion Clemens, resided. Orion Clemens served as the secretary to Territorial Governor William Nye.

Twain and his brother arrived in Carson City in August 1861. After brief but unsuccessful attempts at mining in Aurora and Unionville, Twain was hired by the Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City. In fact, it was while working there that he adopted his nom de plume, Mark Twain.

Among his assignments for the paper was reporting on the Territorial Legislature in Carson City in November and December 1862 and November 1863 through February 1864. In May 1864, Twain, who had tired of Virginia City, wrote an article that incensed a rival newspaperman and was challenged to a duel. To avoid conflict, he departed for San Francisco, where he was hired by the Morning Call newspaper and later worked for several magazines.

In 1866, Twain returned to Carson City and Virginia City for a series of lectures. He made his final visit to Nevada in April 1868 for another lecture at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City. In 1872, Twain published “Roughing It,” a book about his Nevada experiences. He died in 1910.

The Orion Clemens home where Mark Twain stayed can be seen and enjoyed from the KCT (Kit Carson Trail). Carson City’s self guided walking tour of the historical west side neighborhood.