Mark Twain Historic Birthplace – Florida, Missouri

Birth Announcement – November 30, 1835

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born today to John Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton Clemens. Note from the author: He was born two-months early, and despite life threatening events, he’ll survive to become world famous.

 

 

Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site

“My parents had the first crop of us kids in Tennessee, that was for practice…then they moved to Missouri; Missouri was a small state at the time and needed attractions…so they had me.”

Sam said, “The population of the town was 99, I made it an even 100. I had increased the size of the town by 1%. There are few men in the world who have accomplished so much.”

“I can’t remember my first lie, I was too young at the time, but I remember my second one vividly, I asked someone for a match.”

“There were seven of us children, half boys…and half girls.” The house was 420-square feet. There were 8 of living in that house.”

Located in Monroe County, about 34 miles west of Hannibal, Sam would live here until he was about 4 ½ and then the family would move to Hannibal. He said, his father loaded the family belongings into the horse-drawn wagon and I was walking behind the wagon as it made the journey to Hannibal. When my parents arrived in Hannibal, my father realized I wasn’t there and had to return to Florida to fetch me.

My father and I were always on the most distant terms when I was a boy—a sort of armed neutrality, so to speak. At irregular intervals this neutrality was broken, and suffering ensued; but I will be candid enough to say that the breaking and suffering were always divided with strict impartiality between us—which is to say, my father did the breaking and I did the suffering.

- The Galaxy Magazine, Aug.1870, “Memoranda”

Sam would return during the summers to stay with his aunt and uncle, Patsy and John Quarles. It was during these summers, Sam would listen to the Quarles slave, Uncle Daniel, tell stories by the evening campfire. Kent Rasmussen writes in the Critical Companion to Mark Twain, it’s Uncle Daniel ”who helped instill in him a lifelong affection and respect for African Americans.” Mark Twain partly used Uncle Daniel as the role model for Jim in Huckleberry Finn. Many readers miss the fact that Jim was Huck’s father figure and mentor.

Sam’s grandfather Benjamin Lampton is buried in Florida, MO, but not in the main cemetery. John and Patsy Quarles and Sam’s sister Margaret are buried in the pictured Florida Cemetery.

 

I’ve been to the Mark Twain Historic Birthplace many times and highly recommend visiting. Besides the spectacular museum, they have camping, fishing, boating, swimming, and more. People from around the world come to the Historic Birthplace. The employees are knowledgeable, friendly, and genuinely glad to meet you. A wonderful destination location for all ages!

Link to Mark Twain Historic Birthplace

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