Mark Twain

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I chose to do Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) because I believe Twain is the greatest American author of all time.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens may have been one of the greatest American authors of all time. Samuel, Son of John and James Clemens, was born on November 30, 1835 in the town of Florida, Missouri. Samuel was born two months premature and it seemed unlikely that Samuel would survive the harsh winter but indeed he did. Death would take other children in the family instead: Margaret in 1836, Benjamin in 1842, and Henry in 1858(Miller, 2&3).
According to Miller, Samuel remembered his father as:
"A proud, a silent austere man who considered himself to be a member of the professional class both by virtue of his birth and by the fact that he studied law. He was Justice of the Peace in Florida and he owned 3 slaves, inherited by the death of his father."
Samuel’s father was the owner of a 75,000 acre estate in Tennessee--land he had purchased for 500 dollars convinced that he was securing his family’s eventual fortune. Despite owning an estate in Tennessee, in 1839 James Clemens moved his family to Hannibal, Missouri where he hoped to find prosperity. 8 years later, Samuel’s father died of pneumonia leaving behind a family of five. Samuel was 11 and was devastated.(Miller, 4&5)
Samuel Clemens was a difficult child. He almost drowned on nine separate occasions. Within a year of his fathers death, Samuel was apprenticed to a local printer, Joseph Ament. He worked for nearly two years for Ament, leaving him in October, 1850 in order to join the Hannibal Western Union, a small weekly newspaper that had been bought by his brother Orion Clemens. Orion promised Samuel good wages but was seldom able to pay it(Miller, 5).
By 1853, Samuel was ready to try to make his own way. In May of that year, at the age of 17, he left Hannibal for St. Louis, New York, and Philadelphia. For the next two years, he supported himself--often only just barely-- as a typesetter for a variety of newspapers, while enjoying what would prove to be the first of many travels. By the spring of 1855, he was once again working for Orion, now a printer in Keokuk, Iowa.(Sanborn, 89-93)
By this time, Samuel Clemens had discovered the joy of seeing his words in print. He wrote simply because he found it easy to write, he had no idea of what he wanted to do in life.

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