Home History ‘Good Samaritan City of the Mississippi’

‘Good Samaritan City of the Mississippi’

by Michael Polzella

A tragedy once brought Mississippi River boat pilot Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) to Memphis. In June of 1858, Twain learned that his younger brother Henry Clemens had been injured in a steamboat explosion.

He rushed to the bedside of his brother, who later died from his wounds at a Memphis hospital. But Memphians were so moved by the emotional encounter between the brothers that they sent an envoy to accompany Twain as he transported Henry’s body to St. Louis.

From tragedy, a nickname was born. In Twain’s recollections, he dubbed Memphis “the Good Samaritan City of the Mississippi.”

– Sam Bojarski, The 100 Companies

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