Mark Twain Essay

Submitted By dagreendumbsail
Words: 363
Pages: 2

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835, in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri, the sixth child of John and Jane Clemens. When he was 4 years old, the Clemens clan moved. 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. According to one legend, young Sam never saw him laugh. His mother was the complete opposite. She was a fun-loving, kind housewife who spent winter night's telling stories to her family. She became head of the household in 1847 when John died unexpectedly.

Sam Clemens lived in Hannibal from age 4 to age 17. The town, on the Mississippi River, was in many ways a great 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 common, young Sam witnessed much death. When he was 9 years old he saw a local man murder a cattle rancher, and at 10 he watched a slave die after a white overseer struck him with a piece of iron.

In July 1861, Twain climbed onboard a stagecoach and headed for Nevada and California, where he would live for the next five years. At first, he prospected for silver and gold, convinced that he would become the savior of his