Submitted by scott on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 14:44

"The engagements in December numbered only about eight and were geographically spotty, ..."   The first leg Twain traveled was to Rondout aboard the Hudson River railroad - 85 miles.  The train would pass two unnamed junctions.  At Beacon, a line that would become the Newburg, Dutchess and Connecticut, and at Kingston/Rondout, the Ulster and Delaware.

December 2 - 31, 1868:  Rondout, New York; Newark, New Jersey; Norwich, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Fort Plain, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Lansing, Michigan;  Tecumseh, Michigan; Akron, Ohio; 

December 2 - Clemens presumably caught the Hudson River Railroad’s 11:30  a.m. from New York, express to Albany and Troy, leaving the train en route to cross the Hudson River to Rondout.   Lectured at Washington Hall, Rondout, New York

December 3-7 New York
December 8 Hartford.  About 104 miles aboard the New York and New Haven and the New Haven, Hartford and Springfield.

December 9:  Depart Hartford 1:20 am for New York,   From New York to Newark, he would probably have taken the ferry from the Liberty Street Terminal, across the Hudson to the Communipaw Terminal then on the Central Railroad of New Jersey to Newark.  He lectured that the Opera House, Newark, New Jersey then   returned to the Everett House in New York City at midnight.   ...had to stand around the ferry house twenty minutes before I could get a carriage, & so got chilled through
SLC to Jane Lampton Clemens and Family, 10 Dec 1868, New York, N.Y. (UCCL 02728), n. 1.

December 10 - Departed New York, spending that night at the Delavan House in Albany.  This journey would have been about 140 miles aboard the Hudson River railroad.  The line has a junction at Hudson for the Hudson and Boston RR.

December 11 - From Albany to Norwich was approximately 124 miles.  The 1870 lines from the University of Nebraska do not indicate names for the lines but later USGS quads provide a possible identification as the Delaware and Hudson Canal Co and the New York, Ontario and Western lines.  Twain lectured in Norwich, New York.  He  departed Norwich December 14 for New York City.  The return trip was probably along the same route he took to get to Norwich, back to Albany then to New York City, 264 miles.

December 16 - Scranton, Pennsylvania.  The librarian at Scranton Public Library has informed me that Twain's lecture took place at Washington Hall, a site noted for oratory in the 1860's.  The University of Nebraska railroad files do not indicate a direct line from New York to Scranton for the DL&W.  If this is the case Twain would have need to take the New Jersey Central by the southern route, approximately 132 miles.  Later USGS maps plot the DL&W railroad without interruption.

December 17-18 in Elmira.  The route from Scranton to Elmira was approximately 115 miles and included the Chemung Railroad, the New York and Erie, and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western.  Twain departed the Langdon house at 7 pm on the 18th en route to Fort Plain, a 258 mile journey.  The trip involved the Chemung railroad, the Elmira, Jefferson and Canandaigua, the Auburn Road and the New York Central.

December 19. Fort Plain, New York – Sam was the guest of his poet-friend, George W. Elliott (1830-1898) and wife until December 21. One week after Clemens’s visit Elliott wrote this account of his arrival:

As the eastward bound express train halted at this station, in that glorious flood of sunlight of last Saturday afternoon, there stepped from the drawing-room car a little merry-eyed, curly-headed, intelligent-looking gentleman, whose age is hardly thirty-five. From one of his overcoat pockets peeped out a copy of Dickens’ “Old Curiosity Shop;” and from the other, as he walked along chatting with a friend, he drew and leisurely shelled and ate a handful of peanuts. This was Mr. Samuel  L. Clemens, familiarly known to the reading public as “Mark Twain,” and acknowledged, wherever the English language is spoken, as  par excellence  the “Humorist of America.” With his calm self-possession and winning geniality of manner, added to a slight “Down East” accent, he is the impersonation of the shrewd, fun-loving, genuine “live Yankee.” .  .  .
We have an unwavering faith in “Mark Twain.” We count upon his success as confidently as upon the coming of an expected comet.
(Elliott, 3)
  SLC to Olivia L. Langdon, 19 and 20 Dec 1868, Fort Plain, N.Y. (UCCL 00206), n. 12. 

There is no documentation that I've found but it seems very likely that Mark Twain spoke at the Diefendorf Hall in Fort Plain.

December 21:  Arrive in Detroit just before midnight.  It was a 583 mile journey from Fort Plain that included riding on:  the Lake Shore and Michigan; Buffalo, New York and Erie; Cleveland and Toledo; Dayton and Michigan; Detroit, Monroe and Toledo; Lake Shore railway; and the New York Central

December 22 - Young Men's Hall, Detroit, Michigan

December 23 - Twain rode the Michigan Central  Railroad approximately 110 miles to Lansing, Michigan,  College Hall, on what is now Michigan State University seems a likely site for Twain's lecture.

December 25:  To Olivia L. Langdon 25 December 1868 • Lansing, Mich.
And now is the time to love—for on this day the Savior was born, whose measureless love unbarred the gates of Heaven to perishing men….I must to bed. I ride 20 miles in a cutter to-day, & lecture tonight at Charlotte.”   The railroad was apparently the Canadian railroad, The Grand Trunk Western.

Clemens arrived and lectured in Charlotte on Christmas, leaving for Tecumseh, Michigan, the next day.   It is possible he lectured at Sampson Hall, the location of which is unknown.

December 26 - Twain departed Charlotte for Tecumseh, Michigan, a 67 mile journey.  The 1870 plotted lines have no name but the later USGS maps indicate the line from Charlotte to Jackson as the Michigan Central , the line from Jackson to Tecumseh as the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad.  The location of Twain's lecture has not been determined but is likely to have been within what is now Tecumseh's Downlown Historic District.

December 28 - Twain traveled from Tecumseh to Cleveland, 150 miles.  The 1870 maps indicate the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad and the Dayton and Michigan, with several having no names.  The later USGS maps indicate the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton; New York Central; Lake Shore and Michigan Southern; and the Wheeling and Lake Erie.

December 30 - Methodist Church, Akron, Ohio then returned to the Fairbanks home in Cleveland.  The identity of this Methodist Church has not been determined but it is possible the he spoke at The Old Stone Church.  The journey was only about 36 miles.  From Cleveland to Hudson, the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad; and from Hudson to Akron, the Cleveland, Zanesville and Cincinnati Railroad.



Lorch, Fred W. 1968. The Trouble Begins At Eight. Ames, Iowa: The Iowa State University Press.
“Railroads And The Making Of Modern America”. 2017.