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Sam Clemens departs his childhood home of Hannibal, Missouri and attempts to support himself as a type setter.  His travels take him to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. then back to Hannibal, Keokuk and Muscatine.  He eventually finds his way to Cincinnati, Ohio  where a new phase in his life is to begin on the Mississippi River

This may not be Sam's first departure from home. David Fears reports that in the summer of 1845 Sam stowed away on a steamboat headed south. He was found by a crew member and put ashore thirty miles down river, at the town of Louisiana, Mo. There he spent the night with Lampton relatives. The next day they returned him home.

May 26, 1853 Thursday– Sam was thinking about leaving Hannibal by this time, and New York may have already been his desired destination, but he spoke only of St. Louis to his mother.

Sometime in the first two weeks of June 1853, Samuel L. Clemens (aged seventeen) left his home and family in Hannibal, Missouri, for the first time, stopping initially in St. Louis and then going on to New York City, supporting himself as a journeyman printer in both places. Precisely when Clemens boarded the regular evening packet for St. Louis is not known: in his autobiography he said simply that he “disappeared one night and fled to St. Louis” . On 26 October 1853, however, he mentioned that he had first departed Hannibal “more than four months ago” . Since it would have been exactly four months on that day if he had left Hannibal on 26 June, Clemens himself seems to place his departure in the early weeks of that month.

"Editorial narrative preceding 24 August 1853 to Jane Lampton Clemens".

August 19 to 24, 1853– At 8 AM, Friday Sam boarded a boat and started a journey by train and boat to New York. He did not tell his mother about the trip, which took about five days. From St. Louis to Alton, Ill, Springfield, Bloomington, Ind., LaSalle, Chicago, Monroe, Michigan on the Northern Indiana and Michigan Southern railroads. In his letter he wrote he traveled from Chicago to Monroe, Michigan, across Lake Erie to Buffalo, then to Albany and New York. Sam arrived in New York City at 5 AM with “two or three dollars in his pocket and a ten-dollar bill concealed in the lining of his coat”.

Sometime in May or June of 1853 seventeen year old Sam Clemens left home for the first time. He departed the small Mississippi River town of Hannibal, Missouri. Sam likely stayed with his sister Pamela and found work as a typesetter for the St. Louis Evening News. St. Louis in the summer of 1853 was a burgeoning city of 100,000 souls, the largest city of the West. The city offered Western freedom together with many of the luxuries and affectations of the East. For a young man from Hannibal, such a city must have been dazzling.
It took a day, by steamboat and cars, to go from St. Louis to Bloomington, Ill; another day by railroad, from there to Chicago. From Chicago to Monroe, in Michigan, by railroad, another day; from Monroe, across Lake Erie, in the fine Lake palace, “Southern Michigan,” to Buffalo, another day; from Buffalo to Albany, by railroad, another day; and from Albany to New York, by Hudson river steamboat, another day.
I found board in a sufficiently villainous mechanics’ boarding-house in Duane Street,” Clemens said in 1906. There were, in fact, numerous boardinghouses on Duane Street. Paine reported that Clemens “did not like the board. He had been accustomed to the Southern mode of cooking, and wrote home complaining that New-Yorkers did not have ‘hot-bread’ or biscuits, but ate ‘light-bread,’ which they allowed to get stale, seeming to prefer it in that way”. If Clemens made his complaint in a letter, as Paine asserts, it is not known to survive. From John A. Gray’s establishment on the East River side of lower Manhattan, it was about a ten-block walk across town to Duane Street near Broadway on the West Side, where Clemens lived and boarded. Broadway was notably wider than the typical “little, narrow street” of lower Manhattan; it was also packed with carts, hacks, coaches, and omnibuses, not to mention pedestrians.
Philadelphia is one of the healthiest places in the Union. The air is pure and fresh—almost like the country. The city now extends from Southwark to Richmond—about five miles—and from the Delaware to the Schuylkill—something over two miles. The streets are wide and straight, and cross each other at right angles, running north and south and east and west. What is now the crooked Dock street was once a beautiful brook, running through the heart of the city. In old times vessels came up this creek as high as third [street.]
His visit to Washington, D.C., probably lasted only a long weekend, from 16 through 20 February (or possibly through Washington’s birthday) 1854. He himself called his stay a “flying trip,” and Paine said that it “was comparatively brief, and he did not work there” . He boarded a night train in Philadelphia and arrived at the Baltimore and Ohio station in Washington on the morning of Thursday, February 16, 1854. Having heard enough Senate oratory, Sam trudged through the mud over to the House. Fourteen years later, Mark Twain remembered “perfectly well” the House debate on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, recalling that the members “seemed to be a mob of empty headed whipper snappers that had only come to Congress to make incessant motions, propose eternal amendments, and rise to everlasting points of order.” He wrote, “They glanced at the galleries oftener than they looked at the Speaker, they put their feet on their desks as if they were in a beer mill; they made more racket than a rookery, and let on to know more than any body of men ever did know or ever could know by any possibility whatsoever.”

March 1854 - April 1857:  Sam Clemens is back in Hannibal and Keokuk.

In 1906 Clemens described this return trip: “I went back to the Mississippi Valley, sitting upright in the smoking-car two or three days and nights. When I reached St. Louis I was exhausted. I went to bed on board a steamboat that was bound for Muscatine. I fell asleep at once, with my clothes on, and didnt’ wake again for thirty-six hours” .