Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Twain’s Evolution

Born in pro-slavery Missouri, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) absorbed the racist, nativist views of his community and slave-owning parents. Though he completed his formal education by age twelve he shed his backcountry biases and became more egalitarian as, at age seventeen, he began traveling the breadth of the United States, a world inhabited by Jews, Catholics, free blacks and newly arrived immigrants.

Posts in Twain’s Evolution

A story of hope, not hopelessness, in Julesburg, Colorado

With hours to drive before reaching the night’s Not-So-Super-8 Motel, we stopped in Julesburg, Colorado, for only one hour, the time Mark Twain spent there on his 1,700-mile stagecoach ride west in 1861 to Carson City, … Read more >>

Family history abounds in Kansas

After our visit to St. Joseph’s Pony Express Museum, we head west on the Pony Express Highway (Rte. 36) for northeastern Kansas to learn about my mother’s Methodist, farm-family parents, Loren Haskin (I was named for … Read more >>

We begin our westward trip at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri

We begin our trip west by van across the Kansas plains from St. Joseph, Missouri, just as Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and his brother Orion did 150 years ago. They had paid $200 each in 1861 … Read more >>

Small river towns of Keokuk, IA, and Cape Girardeau, MO, showcase Twain’s writings and letters

On the drive to Keokuk, Iowa, where a young Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) worked as a printer in the mid-1850s, we stop in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for lunch. We have Twain as an appetizer. A building … Read more >>

Cooking a Five-Star Twain Dream Meal at an 1831 Mansion

We spend another day driving south, today through three Mississippi river towns famous in part for their connection to the life of Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) as a steamboat pilot—what he called “the only unfettered and … Read more >>