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Clemens – Mark Twain's (1835-1910) real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He decided on his pseudonym when he worked as a Mississippi riverboat pilot. Workers on the boats would need to call out depths after lowering a rope with spaced knots on it into the water. The call of “mark twain” meant, “The mark indicates the river is two fathoms deep” in riverboat jargon. A fathom is equal to six feet.