The iconic characters of the Motherlode, Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain, and Harry Gorham, legendary miner, returned to the scene of their great escapades to bring a benefit to the people of the Comstock in an evening of storytelling and mirth, with a Miner’s Supper and of course, spirits.
McAvoy Layne as Sam Clemens and David Toll as Harry Gorham held forth with eye-witness accounts on the topic of “Real Mining on the Comstock” on Saturday, September 15, 2012. They illuminated us with the time when mining was done by men using shovels, picks, crowbars, drills and blasting powder instead of air conditioned Excavators and 50-ton Haul Packs.
“Theirs was a different world in a different time. Sam Clemens came early, in 1862 and was gone by 1864, on his way to world-wide fame,” Toll said. “Harry Gorham came to Gold Hill in 1877 and became a highly respected miner and a lively participant in the life of the Comstock. Their stories and recollections of life in those days are the source documents of Comstock history.”
“It was great fun to bring Sam back to Gold Hill again,” Layne said. “He was last here in person in 1868. He delivered his Sandwich Islands lecture at the Miners Union Hall and the next day he watched John Millain get hanged for the murder of Julia Bulette. I can’t assure you that we had all that much fun, but we did our best.”
The supper was a Cornish miner’s traditional beef pastie and a beer or glass of wine, along with an open bar. The event was sponsored by the Comstock Residents Association, and proceeds went to protect and preserve the Virginia City National Historic Landmark.