Reaching a daily circulation of more than 15,000 copies at its peak in the 1860s, the Territorial Enterprise (TE) was once the largest newspaper west of the Mississippi. Even as the mining boom died down and the local population dwindled, the Enterprise trudged on, changing hands several times. The original ceased publication in 1893, with the brief epitaph, “For sufficient reasons we stop.”
The Enterprise filled its weekly pages with sensational stories – some true, some less so – of shootings and stabbings, assaults and assays, perfidies and poisonings. Celebrated for its wit and wisdom, loved for its irreverence, and passed from hand to hand where subscriptions were lacking, most original copies and many details of its production were lost in the Great Fire of 1875.
While it lasted, TE readers brightened or bristled at the prose and twisting tales of journalist and author Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. A little-known-now but much-loved-then TE reporter by the name of William Wright, writing under the pen name Dan DeQuille, was also widely admired for his remarkable vocabulary and irrepressible imagination. Together they penned some of the most famous stories to ever come out of the Wild West.
A longer history of TE, along with a tall tale in the original “sagebrush style,” a story on a legislative bill seeking to raise the price of citizen access to public records, an interview with Governor Sandoval, an opinion column on the state of the state budget, a feature on the Legislature’s freshman lawmakers, and assorted other items of interest are included herein for your enjoyment and, I hope, edification.
It is with joy, gratitude, and great humility that I endeavor to honor my predecessors and literary betters in these pages. Nevada has become as dear to me as any home I’ve known. I hope she – and you – will smile warmly upon this endeavor.
Elizabeth Thompson, Editor