Archive for September, 2019

Mark Twain

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (Elmira) with tags , on September 9, 2019 by Cade

twain1November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was arguably the most famous riverboat pilot in history.

He also – apparently – liked to write a little.

Young Sam Clemens grew up on the banks of the Mississippi river. His sole ambition as a boy was to pilot a riverboat…which he eventually did. After some time spent on the river, he found his way west to work with his brother in the Nevada territory. It was in Nevada where Clemens first began his work as a professional writer when his mining career floundered. In 1863, he wrote his first humorous piece for the Territorial Enterprise newspaper. He signed it as “Mark Twain” – boatman slang for water that was 12 feet deep, or safe to travel for the riverboats. Continue reading

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Rick James

Posted in Forest Lawn Cemetery (NY) with tags , , , on September 2, 2019 by Cade

February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004

James Ambrose Johnson Jr. was born in Buffalo, NY. His mother worked as a dancer and numbers runner to make ends meet. Young James would often accompany her on her rounds and he was exposed to bars that featured musicians like Miles Davis and Etta James. Needless to say, he liked what he saw and it was music from there out. Well, music and drugs, but I digress. He got in trouble quite a bit as a young man, so he joined the Navy, as one does. Not finding military life to be for him, and finding himself under orders to go to Vietnam, he fled to Toronto and started performing music under the name Ricky James Matthews. Long story short, he met Neil Young, moved to Detroit, met Stevie Wonder (who encouraged him to shorten his stage name to “Ricky James”) and signed with Motown. Continue reading