Biography of Mark Twain: Riverboats to Writing

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his main pen name Mark Twain, is arguably the most famous American author of all time.
Samuel L. Clemens was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. He was the sixth of seven children of Jane Lampton Clemens and John Marshall Clemens. When Samuel was four years old, in 1839, he and his family moved 35 miles east to the growing port city of Hannibal, Missouri. Sam’s father was a judge who built a two-story house in Hannibal in 1844 (Official Website of Mark Twain Biography,1).
As a boy, Samuel was confined to this house much of the time due to poor health. Thankfully, however; by age nine Sam was rid of his ailments and able to attend private school, swim, fish, and play with the other children. The boys often played outside along the Mississippi River where they pretended to be pirates for fun, which is reflected in Clemens’s writings (Official Website of Mark Twain Biography,1).
The Clemens family never had much money and usually struggled financially. When John Clemens, Samuel’s father, died of pneumonia in 1847, the family’s situation got even worse (University of Missouri, 2). Having completed the fifth grade, Samuel left school to work as a printer’s apprentice for a local newspaper. Sam worked as a typesetter for his older brother, Orion, who owned a newspaper company in Hannibal (The West, 1).
At 18, Samuel headed east, where he worked on several different newspapers and found some success as a writer. While in St. Louis, Clemens found work as a riverboat pilot’s apprentice. By 1858, Samuel was a licensed riverboat pilot. It was while Sam worked on the river that he found his new, and more famous name. In the river navigating

business, the term, “Mark twain,” means tw...

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...ere he lived until he moved to Redding, Connecticut in 1908. in 1909, Samuel’s middle daughter was married. Later the same year, his youngest daughter died of an epileptic seizure. Four months later, on April 21, 1910, Samuel Langhorne Clemens died at the age of 74. The night he died, Samuel fulfilled his prophecy of dying on a night when Halley's Comet was visible, as it was the night he was born (The West, 2).

Works Cited

"A Life Lived in a Rapidly Changing World: Samuel L. Clemens‚ 1835-1910."
Welcome to the Mark Twain House & Museum. 6 May 2014.
“Official Website of Mark Twain Biography.” 5 May 2014.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “Mark Twain Timeline of Important Dates.” 6 May 2014
"The West." New Perspectives on The West, Samuel Clemens. PBS. 6 May 2014.
University of Missouri "Samuel L. Clemens (1835 - 1910)." Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark
Twain). 6 May 2014.
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