Mark Twain

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Mark Twain

Birthplace Hannibal



1835 Born prematurely at Florida, Missouri, November 30. Halley’s Comet was in the skies above.


birthplace marker

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1839 Family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, Mr. Clemens began to operate general store.

1843-44 Family moved into house known as Mark Twain Boyhood Home.


boyhood Home

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1847 March 24 - Mr. Clemens died.

1848 Sam Clemens apprenticed to Joseph Ament of Missouri Courier newspaper.

1850 Brother Orion returned to Hannibal in September, purchased Western Union newspaper, Sam began working for his brother. Joined Cadets of Temperance.

1852 Sam edited Orion’s newspaper while Orion was on trip. Sam submitted two sketches to Saturday Evening Post, no pay. His sketch, “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter” was published in the May issue of Carpet-Bag of Boston, Massachusetts.

1853 Sam left Hannibal in June to become a journeyman printer in St. Louis, New York and Philadelphia. Brother Orion took their mother, Jane Clemens, and Henry Clemens to Iowa, ending Clemens family residence in Hannibal.

1854 Sam visited Washington, DC in February. Summer in Muscatine, Iowa, with brother Orion on Muscatine Journal.

1855 Winter and spring in St. Louis. To Keokuk, Iowa, worked for brother Orion in Orion’s Daily Post until fall of 1856.

1856 In Cincinnati, Ohio, as assistant in job printing shop.

1857 April became apprentice river pilot under Captain Horace Bixby of the Paul Jones.

1859 April 9 - became fully licensed pilot.

1861 River days ended with start of Civil War. Brief stop in Hannibal and soldiering days recalled as “A Private History of a Campaign that Failed.” Traveled by stage coach to Carson City, Nevada, with brother Orion who had been appointed Secretary to the Territorial Governor of Nevada.

1862 After brief stint as miner, Sam Clemens settled in as reporter on the Virginia City, Nevada, Territorial Enterprise in August.

1863 First used pen name “Mark Twain” on Enterprise.

1864 Left for California in December and job with San Francisco Call newspaper.

1865 Visited Jackass Hill in California where he heard the jumping Frog story and tried gold mining. “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” in 18 November New York Saturday Press.

1866 Working for Sacramento Union, sent as correspondent to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). Upon return to California gave his first lecture on trip experiences.

1867 Went to New York via Nicaragua. Made Midwest lecture tour that included stops in St. Louis, Hannibal, Quincy and Keokuk. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County published. Excursion trip on board steamer Quaker City to Europe and the Holy Lands (recalled in his first book The Innocents Abroad). Brief period as secretary to Senator Stewart of Nevada in Washington, DC.

1868 Contracted for first book, The Innocents Abroad which came out in 1869. Traveled to California to obtain the release of some of his letters published in newspapers there. Midwest lecture tour in November and December.


his writing room in Elmira, New York

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1869 Engaged to Olivia Langdon of Elmira, New York on February 4. In August bought part interest in Buffalo Express newspaper and started work as editor. First book, The Innocents Abroad, published. Lecture tour November to January, 1870.

1870 Married Olivia Langdon in Elmira on February 2, 1870. Son, Langdon, born November 7, died in infancy.

1871 Trip to London, England. Moved to Hartford, Connecticut in October. Received patent for adjustable garment strap.

1872 Daughter, Susy, born March 19. Built large house preserved today as Mark Twain House in Hartford, 351 Farmington Avenue.

Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut

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1873 Received patent for self-pasting scrapbook, one invention that made money for Mark Twain.

1874 Daughter Clara born June 8.

1876 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer published.

1877 Was speaker at John Greenleaf Whittier’s 70th birthday celebration.

1878-79 With family to Europe: Heidelberg, Alps, Italy, Munich.

1880 Daughter Jean born July 26.

1882 Made trip up the Mississippi from New Orleans to Minnesota to refresh memory and gather information for Life on the Mississippi. Visited Hannibal.

1883 Life on the Mississippi published.

1884 National lecture tour with George Washington Cable, November to February 1885.

1885 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published. Mark Twain’s publishing firm releases a best-seller, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, an autobiography that returned more than $350,000 to the Grant family.

1888 Master of Arts degree from Yale University.

1889 Met Rudyard Kipling in Elmira, New York.

1890 Visited ailing mother in Keokuk, Iowa. Later her funeral in Hannibal.

1891 Mark Twain’s Memory Builder Game put on the market, his third patent.

1891-95 Clemens family to Europe: Germany, France, Italy.

1893 Speaking successes earned Twain title “Belle of New York.”

1894 Clemens in bankruptcy following failure of printing firm and investments.

1895-96 Clemens bankrupt. Made round-the-world lecture tour to pay off debts. Daughter Susy died of meningitis August 18.

1898  Paid last of debts from bankruptcy, in full.

1900 To England to argue copyright law before House of Lords.

1901  Honorary doctorate degree at Yale University.

1902 Last visit to Hannibal. Handed our graduation diplomas to Hannibal High School graduating class. On to Columbia, Missouri, to receive honorary Doctorate Degree from University of Missouri. Helped dedicate Eugene Field House in St. Louis

1903 Sailed for Florence, Italy with Olivia, who was very ill. Olivia died in Florence in 1904 on June 5.

1904 Returned to New York, living in brownstone at 21 Fifth Avenue.

1905 70th birthday dinner at Delmonico’s in New York. Biographer Albert Bigelow Paine joins family at their house.

1907 Traveled to Oxford University in England to receive honorary degree.

1908 Moved into his last house, Stormfield, at Redding, Connecticut on 18 June. Visitors included Helen Keller and Laura Hawkins Frazer (model for Becky Thatcher).

1909 Daughter Clara married Ossip Gabrilowitsch at Stormfield, October 6. Daughter Jean died December 24.

1910 In Bermuda for health. Heart complications set in, Returned to home Stormfield, died April 21. Buried in wife’s family’s plot, Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira, New York.

Birthplace Hannibal

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