Friday, April 3, 2015

AtoZ Challenge: C-Samuel Clemens



William Faulkner referred to Samuel Clemens as "The Father of American  Literature." Sam's pen name "Mark Twain" was derived from his love for the Big River and his dream of becoming a steamship captain. Mark Twain literally means "two-fathoms" deep or twelve feet deep or "two marks." 

Sam's dad Judge John Clemens had a law office a few blocks from their home on Hill Street. It has since been moved to sit across the street from his boyhood home. His father bailed young Sam out on many occasions. I have boys. I can relate.

My favorite boyhood story happened to Sam when he was probably around ten or eleven. He stayed out past curfew, sneaked into his dad's office and spent the night. With the hopes of slipping back into his house undetected, he woke up early and woke up face to face with a dead man in his dad's office. He shot out of the opened window and swore to never break curfew again.

Tragedy struck the family when his dad came down with pneumonia in 1847 and died when Sam was only eleven years old.  

At the age of eighteen, Sam's dream came true. He became an apprentice to steamship Captain Horace E. Bixby. For the next two years of his life, he navigated the waters between St. Louis and New Orleans.

Sam's boyhood home and the infamous white-washed fence still stand as they did more than a century ago. Our town has enough festivals and parades to fill an entire calendar year, including a 4th of July celebration, which hosts a white-washing fence contest.

Sam's boyhood home. Notice the white picket fence. It does exist!

Have you fulfilled your childhood dream? Did you ever con anyone in to helping you do chores? My dream job was a toss up between an archaeologist, a detective or a writer.


  1. That was interesting to read some of the details of Samuel Clemens young life. I have to honestly say I don't think I have read a Mark Twain book from cover to cover. I need to remedy that this year I think. I had to laugh about your comment with Samuel's dad bailing him out and how you can relate as you have boys. That's true, isn't it? Been known to help my son out of a thing or two!

    Have fun with the rest of the challenge!


  2. You can see some of my boys shenanigans when my other books are published:-) Glad you stopped by!

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  4. I am loving your theme more and more every day! Thank you for writing.

  5. His father died young.
    Funny story about waking up to a dead man.

  6. He woke up to find a dead man? Creepy! How did the dead man get there?

    This was an interesting read, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing!

    1. His dad was the justice of the peace. The guy died and was laid out in his office until they could sort things out the next day:)

  7. This was a lovely read. Great theme! You left me hanging though on him waking up to a dead man:) Guess it's time to do my own digging.

  8. Some great tidbits about Clemens. Loved the curfew story.

  9. Have read his stories. It was good to know about his childhood :-)

  10. Of course he had a whitewashed fence...

  11. My childhood dream was actually to be a movie star. I tried acting in high school and learned I don't have ANY talent for it. I'm sure the world is fine without yet another aspiring actress!

  12. Looks like young Sam enjoyed getting into scrapes. A dead body is pretty sobering though. Funny about the whitewashing contest!

  13. What a nice looking home!
    I love those buildings!



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