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Benjamin Griffin <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 7 Apr 2020 11:13:02 -0700
text/plain (47 lines)
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.

Ben Griffin
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
> Sunday.
> 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. has
> no mention of a December 14, 1884 speaking engagement.