The Father of American Literature
Samuel Clemens lived in Hannibal from the age four to seventeen. This river town inspired many of Twain's fictional locations in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. These locales were very particular, all having been part of his childhood experience.
Samuel's schooling ended when he was twelve because of his father's death. He found employment as an apprentice printer at the Hannibal Courier. In 1851, at the age of 15, he got a job as a printer and occasional writer at the Hannibal Western Union. A newspaper owned by his brother.
In 1857, Samuel Clemens aged twenty-one, learned the art of piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi. He loved his career and had finally fulfilled a dream. However, his career ended when the Civil War began, which stopped all travelling on the Mississippi.
The American West
Mark Twain became one of the renowned storyteller in the west. In 1865, on of his stories, Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog was published in various newspapers across the country. And in 1869, The Innocents Abroad was published and it became a best-seller. Aged thirty-four, Mark Twain had become one of the most popular writers in America.
In 1870, Mark Twain married Olivia Langdon, the daughter of a rich coal merchant in New-York. Twain hoped that Olivia, often called Livy, would ameliorate his ways of life. They settled in Buffalo and had four children, Susy, Clara, Jean and, Langdon Clemens.
After Mark Twain's death, Ernest Hemingway, an American author and journalist, stated that "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn".
Mark Twain set himself a task of earning large amounts of money. He thought that he would achieve this by publishing the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, who had just passed away. He was sure that he would be rewarded with wealth and success. However, his publishing business went bankrupt.
Twain's Last Years
On the other hand, his favourite daughter, Susy, died of spinal meningitis at the age of twenty-four. His beloved wife, Olivia, died while he was travelling after a long illness in 1904. Five years later, Jean, his youngest daughter, died of a heart attack. Mark Twain now found himself lonely and he became depressed. His relationaship with the public faded away and he passed his time smoking cigars and playing billiards or cards.
Samuel L. Clemens died at the age of seventy-four on April 21st 1910, at his house in redding, Connecticut.