When Mark Twain Came To Michigan, 1895
That's right - the one and only Mark Twain, who wrote "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", "The Prince and the Pauper", "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and many other stories came to Michigan.
Have any of you ever seen the 1944 movie “The Adventures Of Mark Twain”? You really should, because it is excellent. If you've seen it, you're familiar with Twain's financial problems that led him to bankruptcy; therefore, he set out upon a world lecture tour to raise enough money to pay off his debts.
It was in the summer of 1895 when Mark Twain arrived in Michigan as part of his lecture tour. This was not his first time in Michigan, as he had visited twice before: in 1868 and 1871, both for lectures.
On July 17, Mark, his wife & daughter, and business manager boarded the S.S. Northland out of Cleveland. The next day, they arrived at Sault Ste. Marie, where they spent the night at the Hotel Iroquois (burned down on March 12, 1907).
His first lecture was at the Soo Hotel in St. Ignace. Then Mark & his entourage boarded one of the Arnold Line boats – the T.S. Faxton – headed for Mackinac Island. He spoke at the Grand Hotel on the night of July 19.
The next day, Mark and his manager took another ship, this time to Petoskey. He spoke at the Grand Opera House and spent the night at the Arlington Hotel. According to the local paper, The Petoskey Daily Reporter, "Every seat was sold and over a hundred folding chairs were set up. It was the largest, most cultured and best audience ever seen in Petoskey".
The next morning (Sunday), the two boated back to Mackinac Island, picked up their families, and were then on their way through Lake Superior, on their way to Duluth, Minnesota.
The part of this that you rarely hear about is the awful pain Twain was experiencing through his tour. He had a malignant, infected boil (also known as a 'carbuncle') that was causing him constant pain and misery. But he didn't let it show to his audiences, and the crowds loved him. They mobbed him and took any opportunity they could just to meet him, whether he was having dinner or traveling - and he was gracious throughout it all. His manager, Major Pond even made the comment, "The pain is severe on the poor man, but he was heroic and silent all the way".
Mark Twain passed away in April 1910 after suffering a heart attack.
MARK TWAIN PHOTOS
The Lakeshore Guardian