As a boy, Samuel Clemens loved it when a steamboat traveled up or down the Mississippi River to his town of Hannibal, Missouri. He'd run to the riverbank and stare longingly at the boats, wishing he could be one of the lucky passengers or crew. As a young man, Clemens made his dream come true by working his way up to steamboat pilot. When the Civil War temporarily stopped the steamboats, Sam traveled west, where he began writing funny stories for newspapers. He signed one story "Mark Twain," a river term meaning two fathoms deep. It was a name he would eventually make famous through his books, the most popular of which were based on his boyhood days on the banks of the Mississippi.
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