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Mark Twain Returns in Spirit July 1 2011

After his time as President, Ulysses S Grant eventually came to Grants Cottage on Mt McGregor to try to write his memoirs while coping with advancing cancer. In those days, Mark Twain was a frequent visitor and staunch supporter who also worked on the General's behalf to ensure the memoirs would be published.

On July First John Pogson put on the suit and persona of Mark Twain to the delight of guests at the Military Museum, who had come to support the Museum, Grants Cottage, and the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

The Military Museum is in the armory opposite the fire station on Lake Avenue, and hosts a fascinating collection. Grant's Cottage sits at the foot of Mt McGregor in Wilton and is a significant historical site celebrating the general who oversaw the ending of the Civil War.

And you'll probably hear lots more about the sesquicentenial celebration in the future, since while 2011 marks the hundred fiftieth aniversary of the start of the Civil War, the war didn't end until 1865.

Mark Twain himself was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835. He took his name after the method Mississippi riverboats used to check the depth of the river using marks on a weighted length of twine. John Pogson explained in Samuel's stead that in the pre Civil War days, captaining a riverboat was an incredibly prestigious job, and thus he had claimed an apprenticeship learning to pilot a riverboat the entire length of the Mississippi, both ways, and in the dark.

Just as he finished his training and took his long sought job captaining a riverboat, the Civil War started and all traffic on the Mississippi came to a grinding halt, leading him to go west where he became a miner, then a journalist, and eventually one of America's greatest writers.