|Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass?|
What a minute, Todd? Have you been drinking? Samuel Clemens is the "Father of American Literature."
That's right--we're talking about the same guy. Prior to 1863, Samuel Clemens used a number of pen names, including Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass. After 1863, he used only one pen name--the one we all know. Mark Twain.
Samuel Clemens had one early goal in life, and it wasn't writing. He wanted to be a river boat pilot. He worked on a river boat, and trained to become a river boat pilot. It may sound as if he'd set his goal a bit low, but being a river boat pilot at that time was the third highest paying job in America--they could earn $250 a month. He loved the river, and encouraged his brother Henry to join him. But it was a dangerous job navigating a river--especially at night when lanterns weren't allowed. Henry was killed in 1858 in a river boat explosion, and Samuel felt responsible, but he continued to work on the river until the Civil War broke out. He did a lot of things after that, eventually becoming a great writer.