Submitted by scott on Sat, 10/08/2016 - 09:36

"Originally, Nevada was a part of Utah and was called Carson county; and a pretty large county it was, too. Certain of its valleys produced no end of hay, and this attracted small colonies of Mormon stock-raisers and farmers to them. A few orthodox Americans straggled in from California, but no love was lost between the two classes of colonists. There was little or no friendly intercourse; each party staid to itself. The Mormons were largely in the majority, and had the additional advantage of being peculiarly under the protection of the Mormon government of the Territory. Therefore they could afford to be distant, and even peremptory toward their neighbors. One of the traditions of Carson Valley illustrates the condition of things that prevailed at the time I speak of. The hired girl of one of the American families was Irish, and a Catholic; yet it was noted with surprise that she was the only person outside of the Mormon ring who could get favors from the Mormons. She asked kindnesses of them often, and always got them. It was a mystery to everybody. But one day as she was passing out at the door, a large bowie knife dropped from under her apron, and when her mistress asked for an explanation she observed that she was going out to “borry a wash-tub from the Mormons!”"

"In 1858 silver lodes were discovered in “Carson County,” and then the aspect of things changed. Californians began to flock in, and the American element was soon in the majority. Allegiance to Brigham Young and Utah was renounced, and a temporary territorial government for “Washoe” was instituted by the citizens. Governor Roop was the first and only chief magistrate of it. In due course of time Congress passed a bill to organize “Nevada Territory,” and President Lincoln sent out Governor Nye to supplant Roop."
"At this time the population of the Territory was about twelve or fifteen thousand, and rapidly increasing. Silver mines were being vigorously developed and silver mills erected. Business of all kinds was active and prosperous and growing more so day by day."
"The people were glad to have a legitimately constituted government, but did not particularly enjoy having strangers from distant States put in authority over them—a sentiment that was natural enough. They thought the officials should have been chosen from among themselves from among prominent citizens who had earned a right to such promotion, and who would be in sympathy with the populace and likewise thoroughly acquainted with the needs of the Territory. They were right in viewing the matter thus, without doubt. The new officers were “emigrants,” and that was no title to anybody’s affection or admiration either."
"The new government was received with considerable coolness. It was not only a foreign intruder, but a poor one. It was not even worth plucking—except by the smallest of small fry office-seekers and such. Everybody knew that Congress had appropriated only twenty thousand dollars a year in greenbacks for its support—about money enough to run a quartz mill a month. And everybody knew, also, that the first year’s money was still in Washington, and that the getting hold of it would be a tedious and difficult process. Carson City was too wary and too wise to open up a credit account with the imported bantling with anything like indecent haste." (Roughing It

Citations

Papers, Mark Twain. 2015. “Mark Twain In The West: Mining In Nevada Territory”. Berkeley: Mark Twain Papers. https://bancroft.berkeley.edu/Exhibits/mtwest/mining_overlandwest.html.

Comment

Allegiance to Brigham Young and Utah was renounced . . . “Nevada Territory,”] In July 1859 delegates from Carson County (western Utah Territory) and the Honey Lake Valley region of northern California (east of the summit of the Sierra Nevada), impatient with Congress’s failure to set up a territorial government, drafted a “Declaration” of “entire and unconditional separation” from Mormon government, citing “a long train of abuses and usurpations on the part of the Mormons of Eastern Utah towards the people of Western Utah” (Carson Valley Territorial Enterprise, 30 July 59, facsimile in Angel, 70). At an election held in September 1859, a large majority of voters approved the constitution and elected Isaac Roop governor (see the next note). The provisional territory, however, failed to obtain the recognition of Congress, and its government, in the absence of a mandate, never functioned effectively. The Territory of Nevada was not officially established until 2 March 1861, when the Organic Act was signed into law by President Buchanan, two days before the inauguration of President Lincoln (Angel, 61–66, 69–72; Kelly 1862, 25–36).

 

Chapter 25: note for 166.24–29," in Roughing It : an electronic text. 2016