He has no equal. On this date in 1835, Samuel Clemens, later known as Mark Twain, was born in Missouri. Clemens apprenticed for a printer at age 13 and later worked for his older brother, who established the Hannibal Journal. In 1857, the Keokuk Daily Post commissioned him to write a series of comic travel letters. After writing just five, Clemens decided to become a steamboat captain instead.
He signed on as a pilot’s apprentice later that year, and he received his pilot’s license in 1859, when he was 23 years of age. Clemens piloted boats for two years, until the Civil War halted steamboat traffic. During his time as a pilot, he picked up the name “Mark Twain,” a boatman’s call noting that the river was only two fathoms deep, the minimum depth for safe navigation. When Clemens returned to writing in 1861, working for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, he wrote a humorous travel letter signed by “Mark Twain,” and continued to use the pseudonym for nearly 50 years.
In 1875, Mark Twain penned what would become his most famous novel: Tom Sawyer. He followed that with Life on the Mississippi and his masterpiece, Huckleberry Finn.
So who was this one-of-a-kind man – Samuel Clemens or Mark Twain? The answer – both.
Most people haven’t heard the name “Samuel Clemens.” They know “Mark Twain,” the person Clemens became. The same can be said of you. You can be known for your past or your future, what you were or what you are becoming.
The Bible says we are new creations in Christ, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The “old” you doesn’t need to define the “new” you. The choice is yours.