Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Samuel Clemens, who wrote under the well-known pseudonym of Mark Twain, was born in Missouri to parents John and Jane Clemens. He was the second to last child born to them, the sixth out of a total of seven, but only he, his brothers Orion and Henry, and his sister Pamela survived childhood. As a young man he worked on steamboats on the Mississippi - the setting for many of his novels - and later he joined his older brother Orion on trips to the West. It was during this time that he began writing, and his wit and satire quickly made him popular, pioneering the trail of American literature. He married Olivia Langdon, the sister of his friend Charles Langdon, in 1870; they had four children, but their only son died at nineteen months of age. The marriage lasted for thirty-four years, until Olivia's death in 1904.