Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 18 Saturday September 14 2013

Yahoo! Howdy partners, put on your boots and saddle up old Nellie we’re headin’ for Virginia City. It sprang up as a boomtown on top of the Comctock Lode--the first major silver deposit discovered in the United States in 1859. Though at its peak in the late 19th century it had over 15,000 residents, the mines' output declined after 1874

Folklore indicates that the town got its name from a man named James Finney who was nicknamed "Old Virginy". Finney was credited with discovering the Comstock Lode. His real name was James Fennimore, and he had fled his home state of Virginia after killing a man. During the 20 years following the Comstock success about $400 million was taken out of the ground.

Virginia City could be considered the "birthplace" of Mark Twain, as it was here in February 1863 that writer Samuel Clemens, then a reporter on the local newspaper, first used his famous pen name. Virginia City historical documents state that Clemens was mugged on November 10, 1863, as he walked over the hill from the south while returning to Virginia City. The muggers relieved Clemens of his watch and his money. The robbery turns out to have been a practical joke played on Clemens by his friends, to give him material to write about. He did not appreciate the joke, but he did retrieve his belongings—particularly his gold watch (worth $300), which had great sentimental value. Clemens mentions the incident in his book Roughing It (published Feb. 1872), apparently still sore about it.

We had the good fortune to witness a parade focusing on an assortment of local folks having fun. The drive up the canyons to Virginia City made me wish we were on the Harley.

Take a look.


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