Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) is born in Florida, Missouri.
At age 4, the Clemens family moves to Hannibal. Hannibal is a town on the Mississippi River very similar to the towns described in Twain's later works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The family is well off and at this time owns a number of household slaves.
John Clemens (Twain's father) dies. Financial hardship for the family follows
Twain drops out of school to become an apprentice to a printer. In 1851, his apprenticeship is finished and he sets type for his brother's (Orion) newspaper (The Hannibal Journal).
Twain becomes a licensed river pilot. His pen name, Mark Twain, originates from his time working on riverboats. The name comes from the phrase, "By the mark, twain," which means that the water is deep enough for safe passage.
The raft scenes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are inspired from this period of his life.
Henry (Twain's youngest brother) dies in an explosion the the steamboat Pennsylvania, at the age of 20. Twain forever feels responsible.
Civil War prevents travel and shipping on the Mississippi
After the Civil War prevents his steamboat career from continuing, Twain trains in a volunteer Confederate group for two weeks until the group is disbanded.
Twain travels with his brother (Orion) to Nevada. Orion has been named the secretary to the territorial governor. Twain investigates mining but he has little success.
Twain begins to use his pen name instead of his given name.
Twain visits Calavaras County in northern California. This inspires his short story, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog"
The New York Saturday Press raises Twain's writing profile by publishing his short story, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" (later renamed "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County")
Gives his first public lecture. It is widely liked.
He is also a reporter for a San Francisco newspaper (the Alta California) during this time.
The Innocents Abroad (Twain's first book) is a bestseller!
Olivia Langdon becomes Twain's wife and later in the year their son, Langdon, is born.
The Gilded Age is published. It is a satiric novel. The name of the novel is a term that Twain coined himself for the post-civil war era.
Twain and family move to Hartford, Connecticut. He publishes Roughing It (a memoir of his years in Nevada).
The couple gives birth to their daughter, Susy.
Their son, Langdon dies of diphtheria (he is 19 months old).
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is published!
Clara Clemens is born. Sadly she will be the only child that Twain has that will outlive him.
The fourth and final child, a daughter named Jean, is born
Life on the Mississippi, a memoir of Twain's life as a steamboat pilot, is published.
In partnership with co-owner Charles L. Webster, Twain founds Charles L. Webster & Co., his own publishing company. It will eventually lead the family into financial ruin.
Twain publishes his most successful fiction work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Twain publishes his greatest non-fiction work, the Biography of President Ulysses S. Grant.
Critics hate Twain's newly published book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
Due to poor financial decisions, Twain moves his family to Europe where they can live for less money.
Twain publishes his last novel, Pudd'nhead Wilson.
Twain's publishing company (along with Twain himself) goes bankrupt after 10 years.
In an attempt to payback his creditors, Twain hits the road for a worldwide lecture tour.
Susy Clemens (the oldest daughter to whom Twain was very close) dies at the age of 24 from meningitis. Twain is still on tour when she dies and he never recovers from her death. This event ends the successful part of Twain's writing career.
Twain's wife dies after battling an illness for two years.
Twain moves to NYC & begins to write his autobiography.
Jean, Twain's youngest daughter, is institutionalized due to severe epilepsy.
Jean Clemens, Twain's youngest daughter, dies.
At the age of 74, Mark Twain dies in his home in Redding, Connecticut.
Civil War is initiated when South Carolina batteries fire on Fort Sumter. The Confederate States of America is formed as the southern states secede from the union.
Civil War ends
The Thirteenth Amendment is ratified, prohibiting slavery in the United States
Alaska is purchased from Russia by the United States
The Fourteenth Amendment is passed.
8 hour work days for federal employees begins.
First transcontinental railroad completed by construction crews with heavy numbers of immigrants (many from China)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton elected president of National Women's Suffrage Association.
Susan B. Anthony elected president of American Equal Rights Association.
The 15th Amendment is ratified, which gives African American men the right to vote.
Yellowstone National Park is established. It is the first national park in the United States.
The Indian Appropriation Act ends the practice of negotiating treaties with the Native American tribes as sovereign nations.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union is founded in Cleveland, Ohio.
The open range becomes extinct by the invention of barbed wire.
Custer is defeated by the Cheyenne and Sioux at Little Big Horn River, Montana.
The telephone is invented by Alexander Graham Bell.
Segregation laws (Jim Crow laws) begin
The Supreme Court allows female lawyers to argue before them.
The electric lightbulb is invented by Thomas Edison.
National attention is brought to sweatshops when tailors strike in NYC.
The "frontier" is declared "to be closed" by the U.S. Bureau of the Census because there was no more "unoccupied" or "free" land.
Upholds segregated transportation
The United States annexes Hawaii.
First successful airplane flight- Go Wright Brothers!
aka The Wobblies