Mark Twain Life Style, Biography, Wiki, Height, Affairs & Net Worth

Mark Twain, the writer, adventurer and wily social critic born Samuel Clemens, wrote the novels ‘Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.’

Who Was Mark Twain?

Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was the celebrated author of several novels, including two major classics of American literature: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He was also a riverboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, entrepreneur and inventor.

Early Life

Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835, the sixth child of John and Jane Clemens. When he was 4 years old, his family moved to nearby Hannibal, a bustling river town of 1,000 people.

John Clemens worked as a storekeeper, lawyer, judge and land speculator, dreaming of wealth but never achieving it, sometimes finding it hard to feed his family. He was an unsmiling fellow; according to one legend, young Sam never saw his father laugh.

His mother, by contrast, was a fun-loving, tenderhearted homemaker who whiled away many a winter’s night for her family by telling stories. She became head of the household in 1847 when John died unexpectedly.

The Clemens family “now became almost destitute,” wrote biographer Everett Emerson, and was forced into years of economic struggle — a fact that would shape the career of Twain.

Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens
November 30, 1835
Florida, Missouri, U.S.
Died April 21, 1910 (aged 74)
Redding, Connecticut, U.S.
Pen name Mark Twain
Occupation Writer, lecturer
Nationality American
Notable works Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Spouse Olivia Langdon Clemens(m. 1870; wid. 1904)
Children Langdon, Susy, Clara, Jean

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Twain in Hannibal

Twain stayed in Hannibal until age 17. The town, situated on the Mississippi River, was in many ways a splendid place to grow up.

Steamboats arrived there three times a day, tooting their whistles; circuses, minstrel shows and revivalists paid visits; a decent library was available; and tradesmen such as blacksmiths and tanners practiced their entertaining crafts for all to see.

However, violence was commonplace, and young Twain witnessed much death: When he was nine years old, he saw a local man murder a cattle rancher, and at 10 he watched an enslaved person die after a white overseer struck him with a piece of iron.

Hannibal inspired several of Twain’s fictional locales, including “St. Petersburg” in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. These imaginary river towns are complex places: sunlit and exuberant on the one hand, but also vipers’ nests of cruelty, poverty, drunkenness, loneliness and soul-crushing boredom — all parts of Twain’s boyhood experience.

Sam kept up his schooling until he was about 12 years old, when — with his father dead and the family needing a source of income — he found employment as an apprentice printer at the Hannibal Courier, which paid him with a meager ration of food. In 1851, at 15, he got a job as a printer and occasional writer and editor at the Hannibal Western Union, a little newspaper owned by his brother, Orion.

Steamboat Pilot

Then, in 1857, 21-year-old Twain fulfilled a dream: He began learning the art of piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi. A licensed steamboat pilot by 1859, he soon found regular employment plying the shoals and channels of the great river.

Twain loved his career — it was exciting, well-paying and high-status, roughly akin to flying a jetliner today. However, his service was cut short in 1861 by the outbreak of the Civil War, which halted most civilian traffic on the river.

As the Civil War began, the people of Missouri angrily split between support for the Union and the Confederate States. Twain opted for the latter, joining the Confederate Army in June 1861 but serving for only a couple of weeks until his volunteer unit disbanded.

Where, he wondered then, would he find his future? What venue would bring him both excitement and cash? His answer: the great American West.

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