During this time when we can't get at the Mark Twain Project materials,
it's impossible to be sure why or by what means Clemens went to Muskegon;
but I'd add that the Muskegon letter, which is known only from reprints in
books, is dateline "December," without date; that the MTP editors haven't
gotten to the 1884 letters yet; and that the date Dec. 14, while it may be
a preliminary guess or have some other basis, is plausible since Clemens
and Cable were in Grand Rapids on Dec. 13.
Mark Twain Project
On Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 11:04 AM scott <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I am having a difficult time dealing with reports of Mark Twain in
> Muskegon. References to it seem to be all linked back to a letter sent
> to Andrew Chatto. Caldwell had it dated as December 4, 1884. It is
> listed in the Mark Twain project as December 14, 1884. A December 4
> date would be absurd. Caldwell has Twain and Cable travel from Ithaca,
> NY to Muskegon, then back again to Rochester, New York. Any tour
> manager that would set a schedule like that would be immediately fired.
> I suspect he made of notation error in his notes while researching his
> book and he merely perpetuated this error, and expanded it, while
> writing his book.
> Fears has the date corrected to December 14, the date reported in The
> Mark Twain Projects list of letters, a Sunday, and reports that they
> gave a reading in Muskegon on this date. This is also very unlikely as
> it would have required Cable to both travel on a train and "work" on a
> There was no train route from Grand Rapids to Muskegon (at least none
> built by 1870, which is the extent of railroad routes I have
> available). There is a route that terminates close to Muskegon,
> however, at Grand Haven. This is a 23.6 km line.
> So, why would Sam travel to Muskegon, on a Sunday, just to post a short
> letter to his publisher in England? It appears that Muskegon does feel
> some affinity to Mark Twain, though. Their Chamber of Commerce
> recently sponsored a multimedia event, "When Mark Twain Came To
> Michigan: Multi-media presentation with Al and David Eicher".
> Most references I find for Twain in Michigan deal with his 1895 run
> through the state on his way to the Pacific Ocean. Twainquotes.com has
> no mention of a December 14, 1884 speaking engagement.