Territorial Enterprise

The Territorial Enterprise, founded by William Jernegan and Alfred James on December 18, 1858, was a newspaper published in Virginia City, Nevada. The paper was published for its first two years in Genoa in what was then Utah Territory. New owners Jonathan Williams and J. B. Woolard moved the paper to Carson City, the capital of the territory, in 1859.[1] The paper changed hands again the next year; Joseph T. Goodman and Dennis E. McCarthy moved it again, this time to Virginia City, in 1860.[1][2]

The Territorial Enterprise
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Territorial Enterprise Historical and Educational Foundation
Founder(s)William Jernegan and Alfred James
FoundedDecember 18, 1858
Ceased publicationJanuary 16, 1893
HeadquartersVirginia City, Nevada
CountryUnited States

Noted author Mark Twain worked for the paper during the 1860s along with writer Dan DeQuille. The young Sam Clemens was hired to cover for DeQuille, who took time off to visit his family in Iowa. Later, Mark Twain and Dan DeQuille, lifelong friends, shared a room at 25 North B St. in Virginia City, steps from the Enterprise offices.

The paper was owned and operated by the Blake family in the 1890s through the 1920s.

The paper went out of publication for a while and was revived by Helen Crawford Dorst in 1946 and was later purchased and revived by author, journalist, and railroad historian Lucius Beebe and his long-time companion and co-author Charles Clegg on May 2, 1952.[3] Clegg and Beebe sold the Territorial Enterprise in 1961.[4]


Joseph T. Goodman was owner and editor of the Territorial Enterprise in the 1860s. He was succeeded by William Sharon who hired Rollin Daggett as managing editor in 1874.[5] Charles Carroll Goodwin joined the staff in 1873, and was chief editor from 1875–80, before moving on to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Film history

In 1959 the NBC western television series Bonanza, set in Nevada, aired the episode "Enter Mark Twain", with Howard Duff in the role of the young author who comes to work at the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.[6] The Territorial Enterprise also was prominently mentioned in the series State Trooper, in a 1959 episode named "Silver Spiral".[7]


Thomas Muzzio is president of the Territorial Enterprise Historical and Educational Foundation, which maintains a Web site dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Territorial Enterprise and the history of journalism in the West.[8]

Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise

The Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise, a separate entity from the above, operates a museum in the original Territorial Enterprise building in Virginia City, NV. The museum features the original desk used by Mark Twain when he was editor of the paper. Other exhibits include antique printing presses, an early Linotype machine, a proof press, stone composing tables (one of which Mark Twain and other employees of the paper used to sleep on), and various other antiques.[9][10]

On April 16, 2019, an edition of the Territorial Enterprise was found in a time capsule from 1872 in the cornerstone of a demolished Masonic lodge in Reno.[11][12]


  1. Lee, James Melvin (1917). "Chapter 14" . History of American Journalism.
  2. Territorial Enterprise On-Line Nevada Web site (http://onlinenevada.org/territorial_enterprise), Retrieved 9-24-2011.
  3. Territorial Enterprise and Virginia City News, Volume 98, No. 18 (Friday, May 2, 1952). It was priced at 15 cents a copy. The front page stories included the successful Virginia City Art Week, an article on the notables who would be writing for the paper, and a piece about Virginia City in the 1870s.
  4. "Territorial Enterprise Building," National Park Service Web site (http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/nevada/ter.htm), Retrieved 9-24-2011.
  5. Ronald James (2009-03-20). "Territorial Enterprise". The Online Nevada Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
  6. "Bonanza episode guide: Season 1". Bonanza: Scenery of the Ponderosa. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  7. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0709727/
  8. "Mission Statement," Territorial Enterprise Historical and Educational Foundation Web site (http://www.territorial-enterprise.com/foundation/mission.html), Retrieved 9-23-2011.
  9. "Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise," VisitVirginiaCityNV Web site (http://www.visitvirginiacitynv.com/attractions_marktwain.aspx), Retrieved 9-24-2011.
  10. "Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise," Nevada Museums, Travel Nevada Web (http://museums.travelnevada.com/destination/mark-twain-museum-at-the-territorial-enterprise.aspx), Retrieved 9-24-2011.
  11. https://www.apnews.com/a9b3b378e45d4479a63c633f764a9c7c
  12. https://www.kolotv.com/content/news/Masonic_Lodge_time_capsule_opening-508499281.html


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