Submitted by scott on Fri, 10/29/2021 - 11:40
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Scraps from My Autobiography. From Chapter IX," in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1. 2010   A long reminiscence of childhood.

Hannibal by 1844 took pride in four general stores, three sawmills, two planing mills, three blacksmith shops, two hotels, three saloons, two churches, two schools, a tobacco factory, a hemp factory, and a tan yard, as well as a flourishing distillery up at the still house branch. West of the village lay “Stringtown,” so called because its cabins and stock pens were strung out along the road. Small industry was the lifeblood of the town [Wecter 60].

The Clemenses had moved into Sam’s boyhood home, built by his father on Hill Street in Hannibal. Across the street lived the Hawkins family. Laura Hawkins (Frazer) (1837-1928), a blonde daughter, was a romantic interest of young Sam’s. She later became the model for Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Tom Blankenship was a friend of Sam’s who lived up Hill Street. The Blankenships were infamous drunks and ne’er-do-wells; Sam based Huck on Tom Blankenship, a model for rebelliousness in the face of all authority  [Powers, MT A life 34].

From San Francisco Alta California, May 26, 1867:

Hannibal has had a hard time of it ever since I can recollect, and I was "raised" there. First, it had me for a citizen, but I was too young then to really hurt the place. Next, Jimmy Finn, the town drunkard, reformed, and that broke up the only saloon in the village. But the temperance people liked it; they were willing enough to sacrifice public prosperity to public morality.

A letter to Sam's best friend from Hannibal possibly provides the best portrayal of his life there:

Sunday Afternoon,
At Home, 472 Delaware Avenue,
Buffalo Feb. 6, 1870.

My First, & Oldest & Dearest Friend,

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