Vol 1 Section 0010

A Drunk Burned – Sam Again in Charge – Grumbler vs. Rambler – Assistant’s Column Sam Left Hannibal for St. Louis –New York City Typesetter

Philadelphia’s Better Than New York


January 23 Sunday – Sam gave a drunk some matches for his pipe. Later that night the drunk was arrested and jailed in a brick house by the river. At 2 AM the jail caught fire from the drunk’s pipe and people could only watch as the man burned to death. It was an episode that loaded more guilt on Sam, and in 1870 he recalled the death in a letter to his boyhood pal, Will Bowen: “we accidentally burned up that poor fellow in the calaboose” [MTL 4: 51]. Just how the fire started, no one could tell, yet Sam carried guilt from that episode his entire life. (Date calculated from Orion’s Jan. 27 account in the Journal) [Wecter 254].

March, early – An accident at the Journal ruined several columns of type, as reported by the Messenger on Mar. 5. Orion announced the paper would now be a daily as well, to make up for lost editions, under the name the Hannibal Daily Journal [Benson 7].

Text Box: March 4, 1853 – Franklin Pierce
 was sworn in as the
14th President of the United States






April 16 Saturday The Journal printed an unsigned comic verse, “On Miss Anna Bread,” attributed to Sam [Camfield, bibliog.].


April 29 Friday – Two humorous pieces appeared in the Journal over the name “Rambler,” one a report of a stagecoach that crashed through a cellar, and the other a report that “some French gentleman or gentlemen” stole “two hams only” from Brittingham’s pork house [Wecter 257].


May 5 Thursday – Orion once again left the Journal in Sam’s hands. Sam printed three stanzas of vernacular humor in verse “The Heart’s Lament,” dated May 4, under the pen name, “Rambler,” one he would use again in 1858 for the St. Louis Missouri Democrat. The rival Messenger paper was outselling the Journal, now a daily, and Sam was overburdened with getting the paper out. Brother Henry Clemens was a slow and careless typesetter, who probably didn’t like the work; Sam had to keep long hours to correct Henry’s errors [Wecter 257; ET&S 1: 88-90].

May 6 Friday An unsigned article printed in the Daily Journal: “The Editor left yesterday for St. Louis,” is attributed to Sam [Camfield, bibliog.]. “This must be our excuse if the paper is lacking in interest.” Sam made up a controversy about a love poem to “Katie of H——L,” confusing on purpose Hannibal and Hell and again signed “Rambler.” He then proceeded to write objections back and forth. Another unsigned article and headline hoax, “Terrible Accident!” was printed in the Journal and is attributed to Sam. Lastly, an unsigned item, “Two paragraphs ridiculing Abner Gilstrap,” is also attributed to Sam. On his return, Orion finally gave Sam his own column, which ran only three issues. [Wecter 257-8; Camfield bibliog.].


May 7 Saturday Two items ran in the Hannibal Journal, one signed “Grumbler” and one unsigned and attributed to Sam—“Letter to ‘Mr. Editor’,” and “Married in Podunk” [Camfield, bibliog.]. Sam introduced “Grumbler” to continue a dialogue protesting, “Rambler’s” verses to “Katie in Hell.”


May 9 Monday Two items ran in the Journal, one signed “Rambler” and one unsigned and attributed to Sam—“For the Daily Journal,” and “Nonsense Riddle. Making a Bid for Subscription Remittances” [Camfield, bibliog.].


May 10 Tuesday A signed “GrumblerJournal item titled, “To Rambler,” continued the back and forth faux controversy. “Sunday Amusements,” an article written for the Journal, and signed only “J” is attributed to Sam [ET&S 1: 376]. This verbal sparing anticipated the exercises with “The Unreliable,” a rival Virginia City journalist.


May 12 Thursday Four items appeared in the Journal using Sam’s various pen names or unsigned and attributed to him: “Drunken Spree on the Ferry Boat,” (unsigned); “For the Daily Journal,”(signed by “Peter Pencilcase’s Son, John Snooks”); “Increase in the Population of England for 1853,” (unsigned); and a poem, “Separation,” (“Rambler”) [Camfield, bibliog.].


May 13 Friday Wecter says that Sam gave “his most polished effort just as Orion returned” [260]. This Journal article was titled, “Oh, She has a Red Head,” signed by “Son of Adam,” a defense of all who had red hair, claiming that Jefferson and Adam and even Jesus Christ had red hair [ET&S 1: 102]. This time, however, Orion allowed Sam’s humor to continue in the paper [Wecter 260].

Also appearing in the Journal this day was an unsigned piece, “About Rambler and his Enemies,” attributed to Sam; an unsigned/attributed editorial note praising the Red Head piece; another “For the Daily Journal,” signed by “Rambler,” and “Two Short Editorials on Abner Gilstrap,” unsigned and attributed [Camfield, bibliog.].

May 14 Saturday – Sam wrote “News Item About Steamboat Arrivals,” in the Journal as “Rambler,” praising the “charming” steamboat Kate Kearney, which “came walking the water like a thing of life” [Branch, “Steersman” 206n10]. Orion, upon his return he printed an editorial “commanding the peace [as]. in the manner of Judge Clemens” [Wecter 259]. “It is a great bore to us,” wrote Orion in the Journal, “and doubtless to the public generally.” Sam’s fun was somewhat dampened [Wecter 259].

May 18 Wednesday – Westward emigrant parties were making their way through Hannibal—Mormons headed to Salt Lake and gold seekers to California. The Hannibal Daily Journal of this date ran a typical notice:

Several California teams passed through here this morning. Messrs. T.W. Bunberry, A.J. Price, and Sam’l Fry started this morning with a good, light wagon and four yoke of fine oxen [Benson 22].

Even a few of Sam’s companions went with their families. Sam would recall:

“I remember the departure of the cavalcade when it spurred Westward. We were all there to see and to envy. And I can still see that proud little chap sailing by on a great horse….We were all on hand to gaze and envy when he returned, two years later, in unimaginable glory—for he had traveled” [MTA 2: 183]


May 20 Friday An unsigned/attributed “Editorial Comment on Abner Gilstrap” appeared in the Journal [Camfield, bibliog.].


May 23 Monday – Sam wrote in “Our Assistant’s Column” of the Journal that the steamboat Jennie Deans had put ashore two children stricken with cholera [Branch, “Steersman” 206n10]. More importantly, Sam poked fun at the rival town of Quincy, Illinois (“one horse town with stern wheel prospects”), and insulted the Bloomington (Missouri) Republican [Wecter 261]. Sam was an instigator, forever trying to stir up fun and controversy in an otherwise boring newspaper. Also in the column was a satire of “The Burial of Sir John Moore” titled, “The Burial of Sir Abner Gilstrap, Editor of the Bloomington ‘Republican’”[ET&S 1: 106; MTL 1: 2].

May 25 Wednesday Sam wrote another “Assistant’s Column” in the Journal [MTL 1:2].

A notice first ran in the Journal: “WANTED! AN APPRENTICE OF THE PRINTING BUSINESS. APPLY SOON.” The ad ran for two weeks.

Wecter concludes this date marked Sam’s departure from Hannibal [Wecter 263]. Sam had promised his mother that he would abstain from cards and liquor [Wecter 262].

May 26 Thursday – Sam wrote his last “Assistant’s Column” inserting a paragraph about the Crystal Palace in New York City. He wrote that the fifteen to twenty thousand persons who were “continually congregated” there engaged in “drunkenness and debauching…carried on to their fullest extent.” Sam was thinking about leaving Hannibal by this time, and New York may have already been his desired destination, but he spoke only of St. Louis to his mother [Wecter 262; MTL 1:2].


May 27Friday June, early By this time Sam was in St. Louis to find his way in the world. Paine writes he took a night boat to St. Louis [MTB 94]. Sam likely stayed with his sister Pamela and found work as a typesetter. He vowed never to let a place trap him again. Orion was so depressed that he did not publish another edition of the Journal for a month [Powers, Dangerous 217].

June 2 Thursday Four unsigned news articles appeared in the Journal attributed to Sam days after he left town: “Friday Evening, May 27, 1853,” “Saturday Evening, May 28, 1853,” “Monday Evening, May 30, 1853. Small Pox Gone,” and “Tuesday Evening, May 31, 1853” [Camfield, bibliog.]. It is likely that Sam had left these, either complete or for Orion to finish and use as he saw fit. Sam’s only other items in the Journal were two letters home that ran in September.


June 11 SaturdayOrion failed to get out the Hannibal Daily Journal for a whole month, beginning on this date. In one sense, Sam never truly left Hannibal—he carried it in his heart and memory and poured it out into The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Hannibal in those pages would become a universal boyhood home, an icon like the man himself. Sam would visit again in 1882 to gather material for Life on the Mississippi, and the last time in 1902. In many ways Sam Clemens would always be the boy of Hannibal—his wife Livy would call him “youth.”

“White town drowsing in the sunshine of a summers morning…the great Mississippi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun…” [LM ch.4].

SummerSt. Louis in the summer of 1853 was a burgeoning city of 100,000 souls, the largest city of the West. The city offered Western freedom together with many of the luxuries and affectations of the East. For a young man from Hannibal, such a city must have been dazzling. Sam had kept plans secret from his family, to work in St. Louis long enough to make fare to New York City. Sam had read stories about the World’s Fair there, The Crystal Palace Fair, and he’d included them in his Journal column. He probably stayed with the Moffetts and set type for the St. Louis Evening News.

In 1903 Sam remembered “the time in St. Louis in ’53, aged 17 ½, that I took the shy pretty girl from up country to Ben DeBar’s theatre” to see The Toodles, A Domestic Drama in Two Acts (1832 by Richard John Raymond) and then couldn’t get his too-tight shoes on after the performance [Gribben 570]. This was a play he would see again Jan. 12, 1864 in Carson City and report on. The girl he took is unidentified.

August 19 Friday – At 8 AM Sam boarded a boat and started a journey by train and boat to New York. He did not tell his mother about the trip, which took about five days. From St. Louis to Alton, Ill by the sidewheeler steamer Cornelia, 11:00 AM, from Alton to Springfield on the partly completed Chicago and Mississippi Railroad; by Frink’s stage to Bloomington, Ind. [MTL 1: 5n2]. Dempsey notes that the train station was “just a few blocks” from the law office of Abraham Lincoln [232].

August 20 Saturday – Sam took the Illinois Central line to LaSalle, then the Chicago and Rock Island into Chicago, arriving at 7 PM [MTL 1: 5n2; Dempsey 232]. He “laid over all day Sunday” [MTL 1: 3].

August 21 Sunday – Sam took the 9 PM Michigan Central to Toledo, Ohio, then to Monroe, Michigan on the Northern Indiana and Michigan Southern railroads [Dempsey 232]. In his letter he wrote he traveled from Chicago to Monroe, Michigan “by railroad, another day” [MTL 1: 3].

August 22 Monday – 8 AM “from Monroe, across Lake Erie, in the fine Lake palace, ‘Southern Michigan,’ to Buffalo, another day. Sam would revisit Buffalo and Niagara Falls in 1869 [MTL 1: 3; Reigstad 59]. Dempsey: “He traveled to Buffalo, New York, aboard the steamer Southern Michigan [Dempsey 232].

August 23 Tuesday – 7 AM “from Buffalo to Albany, on the “Lightning Express” railroad, another day” [MTL 1: 3; Powers, MT A Life 64]. Dempsey gives this train trip as beginning at 8 A.M. [232].

August 24 Wednesday“…and from Albany to New York, by Hudson river steamboat [Isaac Newton], another day—an awful trip, taking five days, where it should have been only three” [MTL 1: 3]. Sam arrived in New York City at 5 AM with “two or three dollars in his pocket and a ten-dollar bill concealed in the lining of his coat” [MTB 95; MTL 1: 5n2; Powers, MT A Life 64]. (See letter of this date for a more exacting suggested itinerary.)

Sam wrote his mother Jane Clemens  with a somewhat backhanded apology for shocking her at his destination. He then described an exhibit of what would later become “the wild men of Borneo,” and a brief mention of the Crystal Palace and the Marble Palace. Sam found lodging in a mechanics’ boarding house on Duane Street [MTL 1: 3-5; MTB 96].


My Dear Mother: you will doubtless be a little surprised, and somewhat angry when you receive this, and find me so far from home; but you must bear a little with me, for you know I was always the best boy you had, and perhaps you remember the people used to say to their children—“Now don’t do like Orion and Henry Clemens but take Sam for your guide!”

Well, I was out of work in St. Louis, and didn’t fancy loafing in such a dry place, where there is no pleasure to be seen without paying well for it, and so I thought I might as well go to New York. I packed up my “duds” and left for this village, where I arrived, all right, this morning.

It took a day, by steamboat and cars, to go from St. Louis to Bloomington, Ill; another day by railroad, from there to Chicago, where I laid over all day Sunday; from Chicago to Monroe, in Michigan, by railroad, another day; from Monroe, across Lake Erie, in the fine Lake palace, “Southern Michigan,” to Buffalo, another day; from Buffalo to Albany, by railroad, another day; and from Albany to New York, by Hudson river steamboat, another day—an awful trip, taking five days, where it should have been only three. I shall wait a day or so for my insides to get settled, after the jolting they received, when I shall look out for a sit; for they say there is plenty of work to be had for sober compositors.

The trip, however, was a very pleasant one. Rochester, famous on account of the “Spirit Rappings” was of course interesting; and when I saw the Court House in Syracuse, it called to mind the time when it was surrounded with chains and companies of soldiers, to prevent the rescue of McReynolds’ nigger, by the infernal abolitionists. I reckon I had better black my face, for in these Eastern States niggers are considerably better than white people.

I saw a curiosity to-day, but I don’t know what to call it. Two beings, about like common people, with the exception of their faces, which are more like the “phiz” of an orang-outang, than human. They are white, though, like other people. lmagine a person about the size of Harvel Jordan’s oldest boy, with small lips and full breast, with a constant uneasy, fidgety motion, bright, intelligent eyes, that seems as if they would look through you, and you have these things. They were found in the island of Borneo (the only ones of the species ever discovered,) about twenty years ago. One of them is twenty three, and the other twenty five years of age. They possess amazing strength; the smallest one would shoulder three hundred pounds as easily as I would a plug of tobacco; they are supposed to be a cross between man and orang-outang; one is the best natured being in the world, while the other would tear a stranger to pieces, if he did but touch him; they wear their hair “Samson” fashion, down to their waists. They have no apple in their throats, whatever, and can therefore scarcely make a sound; no memory either; what transpires to-day, they have forgotten before to-morrow; they look like one mass of muscle, and can walk either on all fours or upright; when let alone, they will walk to and fro across the room, thirteen hours out of the twenty-four; not a day passes but they walk twenty-five or thirty miles, without resting thirty minutes; I watched them about an hour and they were “tramping” the whole time. The little one bent his arm with the elbow in front, and the hand pointing upward, and no two strapping six footers in the room could pull it out straight. Their faces and eyes are those of the beast, and when they fix their glittering orbs on you with a steady, unflinching gaze, you instinctively draw back a step, and a very unpleasant sensation steals through your veins. They are both males and brothers, and very small, though I do not know their exact hight. I have given you a very lengthy description of the animals, but I have nothing else to write about, and nothing from here would be interesting anyhow. The Crystal Palace is a beautiful building—so is the Marble Palace.11 If I can find nothing better to write about, I will say something about these in my next.

em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem space[ closing and signature missing] [MTPO].

August 29 Monday – Sam got “a permanent situation…in a book and job office and went to work.” He was paid 23 cents per 1000 ems, the lowest rate. He worked in the fifth floor office of John A. Gray, 95-97 Cliff Street [MTL 1: 9; Powers, MT A Life 65]. His earnings were four dollars a week; he managed to save as much as fifty cents a week [MTB 96].

August 31 Wednesday – In New York, Sam wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens, of his new position, his rooming house, a derogatory description of “brats” in the city, and food.


My dear Mother:

New York is at present overstocked with printers; and I suppose they are from the South, driven North by the yellow fever. I got a permanent situation on Monday morning, in a book and job office, and went to work. The printers here are badly organized, and therefore have to work for various prices. These prices are 23, 25, 28, 30, 32, and 35 cents per 1,000 ems. The price I get is 23 cents; but I did very well to get a place at all, for there are thirty or forty—yes, fifty good printers in the city with no work at all; besides, my situation is permanent, and I shall keep it till I can get a better one. The office I work in is John A. Gray’s, 97 Cliff street, and, next to Harper’s, is the most extensive in the city. In the room in which I work I have forty compositors for company. Taking compositors, pressmen, stereotypers, and all, there are about two hundred persons employed in the concern. The “Knickerbocker,” “New York Recorder,” “Choral Advocate,” “Jewish Chronicle,” “Littell’s Living Age,” “Irish ——,” and half a dozen other papers and periodicals are printed here, besides an immense number of books. They are very particular about spacing, justification, proofs, etc., and even if I do not make much money, I will learn a great deal. I thought [Thomas] Ustick was particular enough, but acknowledge now that he was not old-maidish. Why, you must put exactly the same space between every two words, and every line must be spaced alike. They think it dreadful to space one line with three em spaces, and the next one with five ems. However, I expected this, and worked accordingly from the beginning; and out of all the proofs I saw, without boasting, I can say mine was by far the cleanest. In St. Louis, Mr. Baird said my proofs were the cleanest that were ever set in his office. The foreman of the Anzeiger told me the same—foreman of the Watchman the same; and with all this evidence, I believe I do set a clean proof.

My boarding house is more than a mile from the office; and I can hear the signal calling the hands to work before I start down; they use a steam whistle for that purpose. I work in the fifth story; and from one window I have a pretty good view of the city, while another commands a view of the shipping beyond the Battery; and the “forest of masts,” with all sorts of flags flying, is no mean sight. You have everything in the shape of water craft, from a fishing smack to the steamships and men-of-war; but packed so closely together for miles, that when close to them you can scarcely distinguish one from another.

Of all the commodities, manufactures—or whatever you please to call it—in New York, trundle-bed trash—children I mean—take the lead. Why, from Cliff street, up Frankfort to Nassau street, six or seven squares—my road to dinner—I think I could count two hundred brats. Niggers, mulattoes, quadroons, Chinese, and some the Lord no doubt originally intended to be white, but the dirt on whose faces leaves one uncertain as to that fact, block up the little, narrow street; and to wade through this mass of human vermin, would raise the ire of the most patient person that ever lived. In going to and from my meals, I go by the way of Broadway—and to cross Broadway is the rub—but once across, it is the rub for two or three squares. My plan—and how could I choose another, when there is no other—is to get into the crowd; and when I get in, I am borne, and rubbed, and crowded along, and need scarcely trouble myself about using my own legs; and when I get out, it seems like I had been pulled to pieces and very badly put together again.

Last night I was in what is known as one of the finest fruit saloons in the world. The whole length of the huge, glittering hall is filled with beautiful ornamented marble slab tables, covered with the finest fruit I ever saw in my life. I suppose the fruit could not be mentioned with which they could not supply you. It is a perfect palace. The gas lamps hang in clusters of half a dozen together—representing grapes, I suppose—all over the hall.

em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem space[closing and signature missing]

P.S. The printers have two libraries in town, entirely free to the craft; and in these I can spend my evenings most pleasantly. If books are not good company, where will I find it? [MTL 1: 9-12]. Note: for more on the publications Sam listed in the first paragraph, see p.11n4 in source; for more on the Printers’ Free Library and Reading Room see n.10. Thomas Watt Ustick (b. 1800/01) prominent St. Louis printer.


September 3? Saturday – In New York, Sam wrote at 2 AM to his sister, Pamela Moffett in St. Louis. After describing Crystal Palace of the World’s Fair, he wrote that the daily visitors average 6,000, double Hannibal’s population, and that the city’s water was supplied by the Croton Aqueduct from a reservoir in Westchester County, some thirty eight miles away. Such figures impressed Sam. After descriptions he wrote of family:

I am very sorry to learn that Henry has been sick. [in margin: Write, and let me know how Henry is] He ought to go to the country and take exercise; for he is not half so healthy as Ma thinks he is. If he had my walking to do, he would be another boy entirely. Four times every day I walk a little over one mile; and working hard all day, and walking four miles, is exercise—I am used to it now, though, and it is no trouble. Where is it Orion’s going to? Tell Ma my promises are faithfully kept; and if I have my health I will take her to Ky. in the spring—I shall save money for this. Tell Jim and all the rest of them to write, and give me all the news. I am sorry to hear such bad news from Will and Captain Bowen. I shall write to Will soon. The Chatham-square Post Office and the Broadway office too, are out of my way, and I always go to the General Post Office; so you must write the direction of my letters plain, “New York City, N. Y.,” without giving the street or anything of the kind, or they may go to some of the other offices. (It has just struck 2 A.M. and I always get up at 6, and am at work at 7.) You ask where I spend my evenings. Where would you suppose, with a free printers’ library containing more than 4,000 volumes within a quarter of a mile of me, and nobody at home to talk to? I shall write to Ella soon. Write soon.

Truly your Brother


P.S I have written this by a light so dim that you nor Ma could not read by it [MTL 1: 13]. Note: Ella Evelina Hunter married James A.H. Lampton, Jane’s younger (by 21 years) half-brother, in Nov. 1849. Paine misidentified Ella as Ella Creel who lived in Keokuk; Twain didn’t visit Keokuk until 1855.

September 5 Monday Orion printed Sam’s Aug. 24 letter to his mother as an unsigned article in the Hannibal Journal [Camfield, bibliog.].


September 10 Saturday Orion printed Sam’s Aug. 31 letter to his mother as an unsigned article in the Hannibal Journal [Camfield, bibliog.].


September 22 Thursday Orion sold the Hannibal Journal and moved the family to Muscatine, Iowa, where he soon started another paper, the Muscatine Journal with a partner, John Mahin [MTL 1: 18n3; Powers, Dangerous 229-30].

September 30 Friday – The Muscatine Journal published its first edition. Orion sent a copy to Sam, who later submitted letters for Orion to use in the paper [Powers, Dangerous 230].

October 8 Saturday – In New York, Sam wrote to Pamela, saying he hadn’t written to any of the family for some time and gave the reason that he had “been fooling myself with the idea that I was going to leave New York, every day for the last two weeks. I have taken a liking to the abominable place…” He confessed he didn’t know where the family was, due to his receipt some days before of the final issue of the Journal. He supposed they were in St. Louis. Sam told of seeing Edwin Forrest in the role of Spartacus in the play Gladiator at the Broadway Theater. He told her not to worry about him, that he would be as “independent as a woodsawyer’s clerk” [MTL 1: 16-18].

October 1921 Friday – Sam left New York for Philadelphia. The trip lasted four and a half hours, by steamboat from New York to South Amboy, New Jersey and from there by train to Camden, ferry across the Delaware River. In several letters, Sam decided he liked Philadelphia much more than New York [MTL 1: 28n20]. Paine briefly mentions a boarding-house roommate, an Englishman named Sumner who now and then grilled herring, which was “regarded as a feast” [MTB 98].


October 26? 28 Friday – In Philadelphia, Sam wrote to Orion and Henry. He received the last edition of the Journal, which carried a notice that the paper had been sold,

“…and I very naturally supposed from that, that the family had disbanded, and taken up winter quarters in St. Louis. Therefore, I have been writing to Pamela, till I’m tired of it, and have received no answer.”

Most of the letter was description of Philadelphia, local customs and Sam’s reactions to the city. He continued the “Katie in H——l” joke by ending Orion’s section with “Tell me all that is going on in H——l” [MTL 1: 19].

November 11 Friday – Sam’s letter from Philadelphia of Oct. 26 to Orion and Henry was printed in the Muscatine Journal [MTL 1: 19].

November 23 Wednesday – Sam went to the third anniversary ball and banquet of Philadelphia Typographical Union No. 2. Publishing people met to discuss how to raise money for a monument to Benjamin Franklin [MTL 1: 28].

November 28 Monday – In Philadelphia, Sam wrote brother Orion after receiving his letter, not extant.

My Dear Brother:

I received your letter to-day. I think Ma ought to spend the winter in St Louis. I don’t believe in that climate—it’s too cold for her. [in Muscatine]

The printers annual ball and supper came off the other night. The proceeds amounted to about $1.000. The printers, as well as other people are endeavoring to raise money to erect a monument to Franklin, but there are so many abominable foreigners here (and among printers, too,) who hate everything American, that I am very certain as much money for such a purpose could be raised in St Louis, as in Philadelphia[.] I was in Franklin’s old office this morning,—the “North American” (formerly “Philadelphia Gazette”), and there were at least one foreighner for every American at work there.

How many subscribers has the Journal got? What does the job-work pay? and what does the whole concern pay? I have not seen a copy of the paper yet.

I intend to take Ma to Ky., anyhow, and if I possibly have the money, I will attend to the deeds too.

I will try to write for the paper occasionally, but I fear my letters will be very uninteresting, for this incessant night work dulls one[’s] ideas amazingly.

From some cause, I cannot set type near so fast as when I was at home. Sunday is a long day, and while others set 12 and 15,000, yesterday, I only set 10,000. However, I will shake this laziness off, soon, I reckon.

I always thought the eastern people were patterns of uprightness; but I never before saw so many whisky-swilling, God-despising heathens as I find in this part of the country. I believe I am the only person in the Inquirer office that does not drink. One young fellow makes $18 for a few weeks, and gets on a grand “bender” and spends every cent of it.

How do you like “free-soil?[”] I would like amazingly to see a good, old-fashioned negro. My love to all

Truly your brother

Sam [MTL 1: 28-9].

November 30 WednesdaySam’s eighteenth birthday.

December 4 Sunday – In Philadelphia, Sam wrote a letter to Orion’s newspaper, the Muscatine Journal, describing the layout of the city, the “unaccountable feeling of awe” one feels when entering the Old State House in Chestnut Street where the Declaration of Independence was passed by Congress on July 4, 1776. He also told of a local practice of “free-and-easy” at saloons, which was a sort of karaoke laugh-fest. Sam noted the attraction of “two fat women, one weighing 764, and the other 769 pounds, to ‘astonish the natives’ ” [MTL 1: 30-1].

December 5 Monday – In Philadelphia, Sam wrote a short note to sister Pamela: 

My Dear Sister:

I have already written two letters within the last two hours, and you will excuse me if this is not lengthy. If I had the money, I would come to St. Louis now, while the river is open; [i.e., not frozen] but in the last two or three weeks I have spent about thirty dollars for clothing, so I suppose I shall remain where I am. I only want to return to avoid night work, which is injuring my eyes. I have received one or two letters from home, but they are not written as they should be; and know no more about what is going on there, than the man in the moon. One only has to leave home to learn how to write an interesting [letter] to an absent friend when he gets back. I suppose you board at Mrs. Hunter’s yet—and that, I think, is somewhere in Olive street above Fifth. Phila is one of the healthiest places in the Union. I wanted to spend this winter in a warm climate; but it is too late now. I don’t like our present prospect for cold weather at all.

Truly your brother

Sam [MTL 1: 33]. Paine says Sam was “clearly homesick” [MTB 101].


December 16 Friday Sam’s letter of Dec. 4 was printed in the Muscatine Journal [MTL 1: 30].


December 24 Saturday – In Philadelphia, Sam wrote to the Muscatine Journal, describing the weather, a recent fire, the price of turkeys at $7 [MTL 1: 34-5].