Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on November 30, 1835. The world had no idea that this ordinary baby would one day become a legendary writer that would use the pen name of Mark Twain. The Clemens family lived at a busy port in Mississippi during Samuel’s growing years and he undoubtedly saw steam boats come and go along the river every day. In his mind, the stories were already forming as he watched the boats dock and unload their treasures from New Orleans or St. Louis.
As a young boy, Samuel was often sick and his mother made him stay indoors for many years. When he was around nine years old, he seemed to improve and his parents allowed him to venture outside to play and attend classes at a local private school. When he was 12 years old, Samuel’s father caught pneumonia and died. Just one year later, Samuel quit school and became an apprentice at a local printer’s shop where he learned the skills he used later to work for his brother’s newspaper. He discovered his love of writing while penning editorials for this small town news source.
When he turned 17, Samuel changed paths again and moved to St. Louis to apprentice a river pilot. At 23, he received his pilot license and created his pen name. The term “Mark Twain” was a frequently used phrase among river pilots that indicated the boat had reached 12 feet which is the depth safe to navigate.
As river trade slowed in 1861, Samuel took up his writing again and worked as a reporter for various newspapers around the country. Nine years later, he married Olivia Langdon. Together they had four children and endured heartache as one child died as a baby and two others died in their 20’s. Their remaining daughter Clara lived to the ripe old age of 88, giving birth to one daughter along the way. This granddaughter of Samuel never had children so there were no descendents left to carry on his legacy.
Samuel enjoyed a successful writing career and died in 1910 after writing 28 books and dozens of stories. His books are still popular today.