Ask someone to name a famous American writer and odds are the answer will be "Mark Twain." Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, was boron November 30, 1835 to John Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton in Florida, Missouri and spent much of his boyhood in Hannibal.
Sam's heavily chronicled early career included time as a river boat pilot on the Mississippi and as journalist for a variety of Western papers. In 1867 he published his first story "Jim Smiley and the Jumping Frog" later known as "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." With the publication of his first Tom Sawyer book in 1876 and Huckleberry Finn in 1884, Mark Twain's career as a writer, humorist, and lecturer was firmly fixed.
On February 2, 1870, Mark Twain wed Olivia Langdon (known as "Livy"). That marriage, considered by many to be one of the literary world's most famous love matches, lasted until Livy's death in June, 1904. The couple were blessed with four children but only daughter Clara lived to marry and have a child. Son Langdon Clemens, a child born prematurely in 1870, died at age two. Sam blamed himself all his life for taking the child out with what he later saw as an inadequate amount of clothing. Daughter Olivia Susan ("Susy") Clemens (1872-1896), deemed by many to be Mark Twain's favorite child, died of spinal meningitis. Daughter Jean Clemens (1880-1909) drowned in a bathtub on Christmas Eve, almost certainly during a seizure caused by the epilepsy from which she suffered. Daughter Clara Clemens married first pianist and conductor Ossip Gabrilowitsch (by whom she had daughter Nina) and then Jacques Samossoud. Samuel Langhorne Clemens died April 21, 1910 in Redding, Connecticut.
“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” ― Mark Twain
Sam and Olivia Clemens possibly on their Wedding Day in Elmira, New York
Olivia, Clara, Jean, Sam, Susy, and family dog on porch of Hartford, Connecticut home