Day by Day entries are from Mark Twain, Day By Day, four volumes of books compiled by David Fears and made available on-line by the Center for Mark Twain Studies.  The entries presented here are from conversions of the PDFs provided by the Center for Mark Twain Studies and are subject to the vagaries of that process.    The PDFs, themselves, have problems with formatting and some difficulties with indexing for searching.  These are the inevitable problems resulting from converting a printed book into PDFs.  Consequently, what is provided here are copies of copies.  

I have made attempts at providing a time-line for Twain's Geography and have been dissatisfied with the results.  Fears' work provides a comprehensive solution to that problem.  Each entry from the books is titled with the full date of the entry, solving a major problem I have with the On-line site - what year is the entry for.  The entries are certainly not perfect reproductions from Fears' books, however.  Converting PDFs to text frequently results in characters, and sometimes entire sections of text,  relocating.  In the later case I have tried to amend the problem where it occurs but more often than not the relocated characters are simply omitted.  Also, I cannot vouch for the paragraph structure.  Correcting these problems would require access to the printed copies of Fears' books.  Alas, but this is beyond my reach.

This page allows the reader to search for entries based on a range of dates.  The entries are also accessible from each of the primary sections (Epochs, Episodes and Chapters) of Twain's Geography.  

Entry Date (field_entry_date)

May 3, 1848

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May 3 Wednesday – 24-year-old Joseph Ament purchased the Hannibal Gazette and moved his Missouri Courier to Hannibal. He established his newspaper in the second-floor Gazette offices on Main Street, over Brittingham’s Drugstore [Dempsey 155]. The merged papers went under the name of the Hannibal Gazette [Benson 2].

June 1848

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June – The family now in worse financial straits than ever, Sam landed his first full-time job as a printer’s devil for the Missouri Courier, owned by Joseph P. Ament. He worked only a half block from the family home. The journalism field has prepared many a great writer, and typesetting words is where Sam Clemens got his start. A printer’s devil made up pages one letter at a time. Sam was paid meals only and two suits of clothes a year, but got only one, a suit way too big for him.

Summer of 1848

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Summer – Either this summer or the prior was the last year of annual visits to Quarles Farm near Florida, Mo These visits to the farm where hunting was allowed (the Clemens boys were never allowed guns), food was bountiful, and Sam thought the slaves (who were never sold or split up from families) were the most joyous people in his boyhood [Wecter 91].

December 1848

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December – The California gold rush was on. Hannibal felt the impact. Emigrants rushed to Hannibal and St. Joseph, eager to travel west. Some 300 Hannibal residents would head west. Sam later ran into a few of his townspeople in California. By the last week in December, Hannibal newspapers reported that the “gold dust of California” is “carrying away crowds of our citizens” [Wecter 216].


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Sometime this year, Sam found a page in the street about Joan of Arc, which began his fascination with the figure. Younger brother Henry told Sam about the young maid’s life and fiery end (Wecter cites Isabel Van Kleek Lyon (1868-1958), Mark Twain’s secretary in his later years, as claiming Sam consulted his mother about Joan of Arc). Nevertheless, the chance find of a loose page sparked a desire to read and learn everything he could about medieval history [Wecter 211]. Note: It’s possible this find ultimately sparked Prince and the Pauper as well as Connecticut Yankee.

Fall of 1849

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Fall –Sam remembered in his Autobiography the scene of practicing for his part as a bear in his sister’s autumn party. He’d chosen a vacant house to try out moves for his part, and went there with a “little black boy, Sandy….” Not noticing a screen in the corner and costumes on a hook, Sam pranced about in his birthday suit until “a smothered burst of feminine snickers” came from the other side of the screen, which had enough holes to make it interesting for the voyeurs. After a clamorous escape, Sam avoided girls for several weeks.

September 1849

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September, first week – The telegraph came to Hannibal. Dempsey calls the event Hannibal’s
“technological coming of age.” Before the telegraph, news came from boats from St. Louis or
across the river in Quincy, Illinois. The intersection of Main and Hill Streets became known as
“Telegraph Corner” [Dempsey 125]. At the Courier, Sam was well regarded, and was put in
charge of gathering telegraph information on the Mexican War and other news that came over
the wire [Benson 6-7].

October 26, 1849

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October 26 Friday – The U.S. Senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858) was an “occasional visitor to town,” and on this day gave a “large rally of Hannibalians in fiery vein.” Wecter notes that “Sam Clemens shared Tom Sawyer’s emotions when the ‘greatest man in the world…Mr. Benton, an actual United States Senator, proved an overwhelming disappointment—for he was not twenty-five feet high’ ” [Wecter 195].

October 30, 1849

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October 30 Tuesday – The date of the horrendous attack by a slave named Ben, owned by Thomas Glasscock (Glascock), a Marion County farmer, upon twelve-year-old Susan Bright, and her ten-year-old brother Thomas Bright, who were looking for walnuts in the woods. See Dempsey, chapter 13 for a full account [Dempsey 126].

November 8, 1849

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November 8 Thursday – “Glasscock’s Ben” was accused of killing Thomas Bright with a rock, then raping his twelve-year-old sister, Susan Bright, and mutilating her. He was hanged early the next year.

Yellow fever hit Hannibal in early winter, as well as another siege of cholera [Wecter 214].

December 6, 1849

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December 6 Thursday – Joseph P. Ament’s newspaper printed a long account of the Glasscock’s Ben trial. The Negro was found guilty and sentenced to death. Sam was a printer devil at Ament’s Missouri Courier. Two comic verses (“Amalgamation here we view,…” and “Abigail Brown, with a span new gown….”) ran with marriage announcements and a note that the printer was “duly remembered.” Branch attributes these to Sam [“Chronological” 113].


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School Days – A Proper Hanging – Cadets Cannot Smoke
Aunt Patsy Passes – Orion the Newspaperman

January 11, 1850

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January 11 Friday – Glasscock’s Ben Negro was hanged before a huge crowd—the first legal execution in the history of Marion County. In Villagers of 1840-3 Sam wrote in 1897:

“The Hanged Nigger. He raped and murdered a girl of 13 in the woods. He confessed to forcing three young women in Virginia, and was brought away in a feather bed to save his life —which was a valuable property” [Wecter 215].

January 29, 1850

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January 29 Tuesday – Yellow fever still raged in Hannibal. Sam’s sister Pamela wrote Orion in St. Louis:

“I suppose you have not been attacked with the yellow fever, that by the way is raging so her that it is feared it will carry off nearly half the inhabitants, if it does [not] indeed depopulate the town. In consequence of it many of our best citizens intend starting for California so soon as they can make preparations” [Wecter 214].

January 30, 1850

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January 30 Wednesday – Jane Clemens wrote Orion about the availability of the Hannibal Journal, a paper her late husband had always wanted to buy [Wecter 224].


April 1850

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April – Sam joined the “Cadets of Temperance” in order to wear the regalia and march in parades. The organization began about May 1847, with a cadet branch opening three years after. During the late 1840s, temperance crusades were common in the country. A requirement of cadets was to abstain from drinking, swearing, and smoking. Sam joined to wear the uniforms and march in the May Day and Fourth of July parades.

April 6, 1850

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April 6 Saturday – Arnold Buffum wrote Pamela Clemens that the price of the Tennessee Land had gone down to ten cents per acre. Pamela forwarded the letter to Orion in St. Louis, saying “Ma thinks you had better accept Buffum’s proposal and let him sell a portion of the land in that way, say half or more, limiting him to the quantity.” Pamela was suspicious that Buffum simply wanted the land for himself [MTBus 17].