Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn grew up in Missouri. They were boys who enjoyed having fun. They knew the Mississippi River as well as they knew their own homes. Neither boy liked having someone tell him what to do. They got into plenty of trouble because of that. Tom and Huck were not real people. They were characters in books written by Samuel Clemens. Both boys were a lot like the author who wrote about them.
Samuel Clemens was born on November 30, 1835. He was born in Florida, Missouri, but he grew up a few miles away in Hannibal, Missouri, a small town on the Mississippi River. Samuel's father died when he was only twelve years old. Young Sam had to leave school and get a job. His family needed the money. He apprenticed himself to a printer. In time, he went to work for his older brother, Orion, who was the newspaper publisher in Hannibal.
As Samuel grew, he became interested in putting his thoughts down on paper. He had a keen sense of humor that showed itself often in his writing. By 1856, he had developed his talent to the point that newspapers were willing to pay him for his articles. Samuel planned a trip to South America. He was to write articles about his travels and send them back to a paper in Iowa. The first leg of his trip down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico changed all that.