Mark Twain National Forest in southern and central Missouri is named in honor of author, newspaperman, and humorist Mark Twain. 39,177 acres of MTNF are located in Pulaski County in the Houston-Rolla-Cedar Creek Ranger District.
1. Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri. He grew up alongside the Mississippi River in Hannibal. His pen name, Mark Twain, was a riverboat term that he would have heard frequently as a child and used often during his career as a steamboat pilot.
2. Twain was also an inventor. In 1871 he received the patent for an adjustable garment strap. In 1873 he invented and patented a self-pasting scrapbook. In 1891 he marketed his patented “Mark Twain’s Memory Builder Game.”
3. The Panic of 1893 pushed Twain’s publishing firm into bankruptcy in 1894. This led to potential personal bankruptcy. To stave off his own bankruptcy Twain made a year-long around-the-world lecture tour to pay off his debts.
4. In 1900 Twain traveled to England to argue copyright law before the House of Lords.
5. In 1998 the Kennedy Center established the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Recipients include Lily Tomlin, George Carlin, and Ellen DeGeneres.
History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts is an occasional series of interesting facts regarding namesakes and historical figures in Pulaski County, Missouri.