It’s a well-known tale.
Thus was born one of America’s greatest and most celebrated authors, Mark Twain.
But is the story true? Did the crew of the steamboats plying the river really cry out, — as the story is told — “by the mark twain”?
Turns out, they did. When Sam Clemens/Mark Twain was a mere lad (just about Huckleberry Finn’s age), other authors were using the phrase to draw a picture of life on a steamboat (though not necessarily on the Mississippi).
The FirstMention of the phrase mark twain dates back to this 1843 passage in a story called Life in Mexico by the rather mysterious author, Madame C____ de la B______
Still, it’s a very cool name.
Wikipedia’s entry on Mark Twain with, again, an excellent photo of an unexpectedly dashing Samuel Clemens.
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