Section 3: Across the Prairie

Submitted by Scott Holmes on Mon, 11/11/2019 - 10:40
Departing the Great Lakes region, July 22, 1895, Twain's party heads for the Great Plains. First though, into an area of tourist attraction, no small part due to to the fantasy world created by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his Song of Hiawatha, Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Falls. Twain gave lectures in Minneapolis July 23rd and 24th, rested on the 25th then headed to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Returning from Winnipeg, July 28, they traveled through "that wonderful wheat ocean" and stopped in Crookston, Minnestoa. Twain's name is the first in the register of the Crookston Hotel. Heading west across North Dakota they leave the wheat fields and enter "the arid plains, the prairie dog towns, cactus, buffalo grass, jack rabbits, wild life and the Missouri River." Once home to the Plains Indians, now the realm of the Great Northern Railway, the only privately funded transcontinental railroad ever built. No federal grants were used. The caveat lies in just how much influence J.J. Hill exerted in passing federal legislation, such as the Dawes Act of 1887. The Great Northern Railroad is known as "one of the most Indian subsidized railroads in America". July 31, after some 700 miles Twain's party arrives in Great Falls, Montana.

Monday, July 22, 1895 Sam Clemens and party departed Duluth, Minnesota immediately after his show there. They boarded the St. Paul and Duluth Railway, also known as the Skally Line, at 11:20 pm and arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota the next morning after a 160 mile ride. The land of Hiawatha, Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Falls.

July 26th, Friday. The train trip from St. Paul to Winnipeg was about 600 miles. The party boarded what was the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Line. It became part of the Great Northern Railway. Departing St. Paul, the route passed through St. Cloud, Sauk Center, Osakes, Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Barnesville, Glenden, Crookston, Grand Forks, and crossed the border at Neche. It continued on from Gretna to Winnipeg aboard the Canadian Pacific railway. [01:02]

July 28. Left Winnipeg at 1.20 came down again through that wonderful wheat ocean — by gracious it is bewitching; there is the peace of the ocean about it, a deep contentment, a heaven-wide sense of ampleness, spaciousness, where pettiness all small thoughts tempers must be out of place, not suited to it, so not intruding. The scattering far-off homesteads, with trees about them were so homelike remote from the warring world, so reposeful enticing. [00:55]

The Clemens party took rooms at the Crookston Hotel. [01:05]

Section 6: The Pacific Northwest

Submitted by scott on Tue, 08/16/2016 - 17:12
Twain's party crossed the Cascades, on the switchbacks, in about two hours. It took six more hours to reach Seattle.

Native Americans were pretty much gone from the area, the Treaty of Point Elliott was one of the major instruments in their removal and confinement in reservations. Some did, however, retain fishing rights.

Seattle had become the western terminus of the Great Western railway, reaching the city in 1893. Four transcontinental railways jostled for position along the waterfront. Japan's Nippon Yusen Kaisha shipping line contracted with the Great Northern in 1896 to begin regular steamship service between Seattle and Japan. J.J. Hill soon had his own ocean liners, the Minnesota and the Dakota, carrying passengers and goods from Smith Cove to China, Japan and the Philippines.

Twain's party transferred to the "Little greyhound of Puget Sound", the Flyer. Twain was not impressed with the baggage handlers. They arrived in Tacoma at five o'clock. The ladies remain there while Major Pond and Twain travel to Portland, Oregon.

The Northern Pacific ran from Seattle to Kalama, where a steam ferry crossed the Columbia River, to Goble.

They reached Portland at 8:22 to find the Marquam Grand packed with a waiting audience and Standing Room Only signs. They depart Portland at 11 am the next day and travel to Olympia. They are both back in Tacoma on the 12th and the entire party in Seattle on the 13th. By the 14th they are in Whatcom, an area that will become Bellingham.

Twain had a bad cold and his throat was in poor condition, but he lectured at the Lighthouse Theater, the fourth floor of a building with no fire escapes.

On the 15th, they are in Vancouver. Because of bad health and other delays, they remain in Vancouver until August 20th, arriving in Victoria around midnight. There he gives two lectures and a speech at a supper club.
August 23, Friday, Sam, Olivia and Clara depart Victoria B.C. on board the R.M.S. Warrimoo, bound for Australia and a journey around the world.

Well, we had arrived at the base of the switchbacks at about 7 am, in the morning. It took about 2 hours to cross over the switchbacks and about 6 more hours to travel from Skykomish to Seattle. They served trout along the way, fresh caught trout. [00:32]

Friday, August 9th At Tacoma early this morning Mr. S. E. Moffett, of the San Francisco Examiner, appeared. He is 'Mark's' nephew and resembles his uncle very much. On his arrival 'Mark' took occasion to blaspheme for a few minutes, that his relative might realize that men are not all alike. He cursed the journey, the fatigues and annoyances, winding up by acknowledging that if everything had been made and arranged by the Almighty for the occasion, it could not have been better or more comfortable, but he 'was not travelling for pleasure,' etc. [00:56]

Saturday, August 10th, smoke, smoke, smoke. It was not easy to tear ourselves away from Portland so early. The Oregonian contains one of the best notices that 'Mark' has had. He is pleased with it, and is very jolly to-day. We left for Olympia at eleven o'clock, via Northern Pacific Railroad. Somehow 'Mark' seems to grow greater from day to day. Each time it seemed as though his entertainment had reached perfection, but last night surpassed all.

Saturday, August 17th, Vancouver. We are all waiting for the news as to when the Warrimoo will be off the dry dock and ready to sail. Mark' is getting better. I have booked Victoria for Tuesday, the 20th.'Mark' has lain in bed all day, as usual, spending much time writing. Reporters have been anxious to meet and interview him, and I urged it. He finally said: 'If they'll excuse my bed, show them up.' A quartet of bright young English journalists came up. They all had a good time, and made much of the last interview with 'Mark Twain ' in America, as it was.' Mark' was in excellent spirits.

Section 5: From the Rockies and Over the Cascades

Submitted by scott on Tue, 08/16/2016 - 16:50
August 6th, Twain's party departs Missoula on the Northern Pacific railway. This particular train had two special cars attached carrying the newly appointed receiver for the bankrupt railroad and the Supreme Court judge who had appointed him. Twain did not join them. They traveled through the Bitterroot Valley, ancestral home of the Salish people. They passed the site of the "starvation winter" of 1883-1884, and on through the Flathead Indian Reservation. Although they did not realize the significance of the area, the route traversed where the massive ice dam of Lake Missoula was, on the Clark Fork River 15 to 17,000 years previous. The dam was a lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet that came down Purcell Valley. The lake is believed to have covered 500 square miles and the dam possibly 2000 feet high. Twain's party arrived in Spokane that night, at 11:30, and put up at the Spokane House. He gave a lecture on the 7th and spent the 8th touring the economic disaster zone that Spokane had become. Clara treated the hotel guests to a Chopin nocturne and they departed that night at 11:30. They boarded the Great Northern railroad again and headed west. Though they were unaware of the significance of the region they traveled through the Channel Scablands, the results of the massive and repeated floods from Lake Missoula. The morning of the 9th found them in Leavenworth, Washington. The train, with an additional engine, drove up through Tumwater Canyon to a point where the eastern portal of the first Cascade tunnel would be located. An additional engine was added to the rear of the train and Twain was allowed to ride with the engineer along the switch backs over Stevens Pass and down to the site of Wellington. Wellington was the western portal of the original Cascade tunnel and the site of one of the most disastrous avalanches in railroad history. The train continued down the slope to Martin Creek and through the horseshoe tunnel. then down along the Tye Creek, through Skykomish and on to Tacoma, Washington.

August 6th, 1895: Attached to our train from Missoula station were two special cars bearing an excursion party consisting of the new receiver of the Northern Pacific Railroad and his friends, one of whom we were told was the United States Supreme Court Judge who had appointed this receiver. An invitation was sent in to Mark to ride in their car but as it came for him alone and did not include the ladies he declined. [00:51]

While resting in the Spokane hotel room, Mark greeted newspaper reporters, old friends and people claiming to be old friends. One such person was an old miner that had read Mark's article in the North American Review, “Fennimore Cooper's Literary Offenses”. “Clements”, he said, putting a “t” on the end of Sam's name, “I didn't think it was in you. Did you really write it? Now honest, did you do it yourself?” “Well” was the solemn reply, “I got the money for it”. [00:52]

Back in Leavenworth a second engine was attached to the front of the train. This engine helped pull the train up through Tumwater Canyon along Neeson Creek, past Berne and up to the Cascade Tunnel Station, at the foot of the eastside switchbacks. [00:25]

Section 4: The Rocky Mountains

Submitted by scott on Tue, 08/16/2016 - 16:26
Twain's party departed Great Falls at 7:35 am, Thursday, August 1st, 1895. They rode the Montana Central Railway, part of the Great Northern Railroad owned by J.J. Hill. Hill needed to connect his interests in Great Falls with the mining operations in Helena, Butte and the smelter in Anaconda. The railroad followed part of the old Mullan Military Road. Along the way we examine the fate of Egbert Malcolm Clarke and one of the most egregious actions taken by the U.S. Army against Native American peoples, the Marias massacre. Twain gave a lecture that evening in Butte. The next day, August 2nd, he and Major Pond traveled to Anaconda. The audience there was so small that Twain reimbursed the local manager one hundred dollars. He was a man Twain had known in the 60's. They returned to Butte and from there to Helena. Monday, August 5th, Twain's party, along with Senator Sanders and Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher rode to Missoula, Montana. They traveled on the Northern Pacific Railroad. Twain entertained and was entertained by the troops at Fort Missoula. From Missoula they continued on to Spokane, Washington.

Thursday, August 1st, 1895, they departed Great Falls, at 7:35 am. Everyone was tired out from the long ride of the day before and the high altitude. They traveled on the Montana Central Railway, a part of the Great Northern Railway owned by J J Hill.

Friday, August 2nd 1895. Today, Mark and I went from Butte to Anaconda without the ladies. We left the hotel at 4:30 by trolley car in order to have plenty of time to reach the train, but we had gone only three blocks when the power gave out and we could not move It was twelve minutes to five and there was no carriage in sight We tried to get a grocery wagon, but the mean owner refused to take us a quarter of a mile to the depot for less than ten dollars. I told him to go to. I saw another grocery wagon near by and told its owner I would pay any price to reach that train.

Mark Twain disliked interviews, yet he seemed to enjoy talking to reporters, he never rebuffed them. Neatly he confounded one inexperienced journalist of Anaconda, who confronted him while he was waiting for a train. Without giving the reporter a chance to open up, Mark Twain began asking questions about Montana and so leading this novice on that by train time the young man discovered that he had been doing all the talking, having got from Mark Twain nothing but questions, a farewell handshake, and a cigar. [00:53]

Monday August 5th, 1895:

Senator Sanders walked with Mark to the station in Helena this morning while I accompanied the ladies in a carriage. Whom should we meet walking the platform of the station but Mrs Henry Ward Beecher on her way to visit her son Herbert in Port Townsend. It was a delightful surprise. Senator Sanders at once recognized her.

Section 2: The Great Lakes Region

Submitted by scott on Tue, 08/16/2016 - 13:11
Mark Twain left Cleveland, Ohio July 17 on board the SS Northland. They sailed across Lake Erie to the Detroit River, across Lake St Clair and along the St. Clair River. July 18th they crossed Lake Huron and landed in Sault Ste. Marie. Here he gave his third lecture of the tour. On July 19th, they took the sreamboat F.S. Faxton to Mackinac Island for a lecture in the Grand Hotel. On July 20th, Twain and Major Pond traveled to Petoskey, Michigan by boat and train, the Northern Arrow. Petoskey is the site of the extermination of the last major breeding colony of passenger pigeons, in 1878. The last passenger pigeon seen in the state was in 1889. Departing Petoskey July 21, they returned to Mackinac Island where they all boarded the SS Northwest, sailed across Lake Superior, through the Keweenaw Peninsula to Duluth, Minnesota.

Monday July 15, 1895: Mark Twain's first lecture in this around the world tour, Cleveland, Ohio. He writes of it in a letter:

Friday, July 19th, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island.

We came by steamer F. S. Faxton, of the Arnold Line.

It was an ideal excursion among the islands. Although it was cold, none of our party would leave the deck until the dinner bell rang. 'Mark' said: 'That sounds like an old-fashioned summons to dinner. It means a good, old-fashioned, unpretentious dinner, too. I'm going to try it.'

We all sat down to a table the whole length of the cabin. We naturally fell in with the rush, and all got seats. It was a good dinner, too ; the best ever I heard of for 25 cents.

Saturday, July 20th, Mackinac Island to Petoskey, Michigan.

We hear from Major Pond: Mark is feeling better. He and I left the ladies at the Grand, in Mackinac, and went to Petoskey on the two o'clock boat and train.

Sunday, July 21, 1895: Mark and Major Pond left Petoskey for Mackinac at 5:30am aboard the ferry boat “Islander”.

A 7 1⁄2 mile course to the Island. Neat, nice, comfortable, convenient — none of those words can be applied to any channel boat, those damned offal-scows. They joined the ladies and waited five hours on the dock for the S.S. Northwest to take them to Duluth.

North American Tour of 1895

Submitted by scott on Mon, 08/15/2016 - 16:29

Samuel L. Clemens, aka “Mark Twain”, was a traveler, a man of the world. His best selling book was a travelogue of sorts, “The Innocents Abroad”. He was good at illuminating the problems of society. He coined the phrase “The Gilded Age”, using it for the title of his first novel. The Gilded Age was a time of great disparity in wealth in these United States, as well as the rest of the world. But Twain, too, had a taste for the “good life” and strove to acquire wealth. He married into wealth. He married for love as well, to be fair to all parties. His desire for wealth was not aimed at merely accumulating. No, he spent lavishly and perhaps unwisely in some cases. The lessons in this collection attempt to examine some bits and pieces of that world at the time he made his final speaking tour. A journey taken to relieve himself of debts incurred because of some of the unwise choices he made as well as his sense of personal responsibility for his business interests.

Sam had a taste for the good life. As a riverboat pilot he had a well paid occupation and he could afford most anything he wanted. But the Civil War interfered and he headed west making a series of choices both good and bad. At one point, penniless, he found himself hiding out in the abandoned gold fields of the western Sierra Nevada mountains. It's rather ironic that a deadpan tale of a jumping frog in Calaveras County should be the springboard to money, fame and long lived critical acclaim. Much of this deriving from his travels, first to the Sandwich Islands aka Hawaii, then to Europe and the Holy Land. Followed by more stories, sketches, tales, assorted stretchers and a couple of novels.

Sam's journey from Elmira begins in territory long “liberated” from native Americans, the territory of the Holland Purchase. The Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, were party to the Treaty of Big Tree, essentially giving native land to “whites”, By 1840 all the land of the Holland Purchase had been sold off to private investors and other settlers.

Traveling west, Sam entered territory once controlled by the Ojibwe or Chippewa people. The U.S. Government attempted to move these people to land west of the Mississippi but ended up by confining them to reservations around Lake Superior. The “White Man” retains a romanticized image of these people through Longfellow's “The Song of Hiawatha”, a tangled mixture from the Finnish Kalevala, stories of the Iroquois trickster Manabozho, capped by the name of an Iroquois chief who had nothing to do with anything in the poem but who was one of the founders of the Iroquois league. Walt Disney did not invent the process with Pocohontas.

Traveling farther west through the Dakotas and Montana, the homeland of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, concessions to Hill through his lobbying efforts played a large role in their dislocation. The Great Northern did not receive land grants but bought its lands from the Federal government and sold lots to farmers and other investors along its route through North Dakota and Montana. Hill operated recruiting agencies in Germany and Scandinavia.

The last Native American buffalo hunt was held in 1885. In 1887 they'd signed a treaty surrendering 17,500,000 acres of land and moved into the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The Dawes Act, also called the General Allotment Act authorized the President of the United States to survey American Indian tribal land and divide it into allotments for individual Indians. Those who accepted allotments and lived separately from the tribe would be granted United States citizenship. The act also provided what the government would classify as "excess" those Indian reservation lands remaining after allotments, and sell those lands on the open market, allowing purchase and settlement by non-Native Americans.

Natives were forced from their homes and their lands parceled out. They had been cheated out of their lands, forced onto reservations and suffered attempts at “Americanization”. Most did not survive. By 1890 there were fewer than 250,000 Native Americans.

Sam Clemens and his party next traveled into what was the territory of the Blackfeet Indians, the Niitsítapi. As with all the other plains tribes, these people often had hostile relationships with the encroaching white settlers. Nevertheless they remained largely out of the Great Plains Indian Wars. They rejected request made by the Lakotas, Cheyenne and Arapaho to join in the fight against the U.S. Army. Despite this they suffered what has been described as the “greatest slaughter of Indians ever made by U.S. Troops”, the Marias massacre, January 23, 1870. If there is anything that can be described as positive to come from this it is that President Ulysses S. Grant ended any discussion of returning control of Indians affairs to the army.  The corruption of the civilian Indian agents had become common knowledge. Consequently, Grant appointed Quakers and persons of other religious affiliation to Indian Agent posts.

So, there were few if any Native Americans for Sam to meet. He and his party traveled on into the Rockies to another part of J.J. Hill's empire, the mining towns of Helena and Anaconda.

By 1888, about 50 millionaires lived in Helena, more per capita than in any city in the world. They had made their fortunes from gold. About $3.6 billion (in today's dollars) of gold was taken from Last Chance Gulch over a 20-year period, most of it before 1868. This large concentration of wealth was the basis of developing fine residences and ambitious architecture in the city and its Victorian neighborhoods. It also attracted a thriving red light district. Among the well-known local madams was Josephine "Chicago Joe" Airey, who built a thriving business empire between 1874 and 1893, becoming one of the largest and most influential landowners in Helena.

In 1888, a large lead smelter was built on the banks of Prickly Pear Creek in the Helena Valley by the Helena and Livingston Lead Smelting Company. In 1898, three years after Sam's visit, the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) purchased the 160 acre site and operated the smelter until 2001. East Helena grew up around that enterprise. For over a century, the smelter processed 70,000 tons of lead bullion a year, and provided a livelihood for thousands of families. It also produced untold tons of toxic contaminants.

August 5th, 1895, Sam Clemens and party departed Helena for Missoula, Montana aboard the Northern Pacific Railroad accompanied by Senator Sanders. August 6th, they traveled from Missoula to Spokane, Washington. Attached to the train were two special cars bearing an excursion party consisting of the new receiver of the Northern Pacific Railroad and his friends, one of whom was the United States Supreme Court Judge who had appointed this receiver. An invitation was sent in to Mark to ride in their car but as it came for him alone and did not include the ladies he declined.

In Spokane, Sam sees squaws prowling about back doors & windows begging & foraging — “a nuisance once familiar to me”.

“... Mark and I walked about this remarkable city with its asphalt streets, electric lights, nine story telegraph poles and commercial blocks that would do credit to any Eastern city. There were buildings ten stories high with the nine top stories empty and there were many fine stores with great plate glass fronts marked 'To Rent'. In the afternoon our entire party drove about the city in an open carriage. Our driver pointed out some beautiful suburban residences and told us who occupied them. 'That house', he said as we drove by a palatial establishment, 'is where Mr Brown lives. He is receiver for the Spokane Bank, which failed last year for over $2,000,000'. You all know about that big failure, of course. 'The receiver lives there.' Pointing out another house he said 'That man living up in that big house is receiver for the Great Falls Company. It failed for nearly a million. The president and directors of that company are most all in the State prison. And this here house, that we are coming to now, is where the receiver of the Washington Gas and Water Company lives, etc.'”

Mark said to the ladies, “If I had a son to send West, I would educate him for a receiver. It seems to be about the only thriving industry”.

In Spokane, the Clemens party again boarded the Great Northern Railroad and headed for the Pacific Ocean. They traveled through what would later be recognized as “The Channeled Scablands”, a heavily eroded landscape caused by multiple flooding on a massive scale. They crossed the Cascade mountain range using the original switchbacks over Stevens Pass. Leavenworth was a thriving town because of the railroad. This would change following the opening of the second Cascade tunnel, still in use today.

The Native Americans were pretty much all gone from along the railroad route. The towns along the way were all enjoying a degree of economic prosperity, primarily because the Great Northern Railroad was still in the process of construction. Sam Clemens' party did suffer one difficulty in this region. From Canada to Portland, Oregon, the landscape was enveloped in smoke from forest fires. Mark Twain did not escape this until he was on the Pacific heading for the Equator. But he was not without smoke for Major Pond wrote that he bought three thousand Manilla cheroots and four pounds of Durham smoking tobacco. He hoped he could make the three thousand cheroots last four weeks. In truth it seems he bought only 500.


1992. Overland With Mark Twain. Alan Gribben, Karanovich, Nick, and Baskin, Darryl. A Quarry Farm Volume. Elmira, New York: Center for Mark Twain Studies at Quarry Farm.
Rasmussen, Kent. 1995. Mark Twain A To Z. New York: Facts on File, Inc.
Zacks, Richard. 2016. Chasing The Last Laugh. New York: Doubleday.
Cooper, Robert. 2000. Around The World With Mark Twain. New York: Arcade Publishing.
Fears, David. 2014. “Mark Twain Day By Day”.
Pond, James. 1900. “Mark Twain”. In Eccentricities Of Genius. New York: G. W. Dillingham Company.

Section 1: Elmira, NY to Cleveland, OH

Submitted by scott on Fri, 08/12/2016 - 13:12
Sunday July 14th 1895, Samuel L Clemens and party departed Elmira, New York on board the Delaware Lackawanna & Western bound for Buffalo and then on to Cleveland. From Quarry Farm, moments before departing, he wrote his sister "I have not been able to write I've been in bed ever since we arrived here May 25th until 4 days ago when I put on my clothes for the first time in 45 days to go to New York, barely capable of the exertion. To undergo the shame borne of the mistake I made in establishing a publishing house. I can't make any more financial mistakes, I've nothing left to make them with. If Webster had paid me my dividend on the Grant book when he paid himself and Mrs. Grant I should have been spared the humilation of these days. However, I am still clean of dishonesty toward any man and... but nevermind, it would profit nothing to say it. Livy and Clara have gone down in the valley to take the train toward the Pacific Coast and I follow in five minutes. We leave Suzie and Jean here at the farm. They will join us in London next year."
Unfortunately this was the last time any of them saw Suzie alive.

Sunday July 14th 1895, Samuel L Clemens and party departed Elmira New York on board the Delaware Lackawanna & Western bound for Buffalo and then on to Cleveland. From Quarry Farm, moments before departing he wrote his sister: