Submitted by scott on Sun, 09/18/2016 - 10:04

And so, the morning of July 15, 1895, Twain slouched into Buffalo for a two-hour layover. This was the last time he ever visited Buffalo, where he once lived as a newlywed, a first-time father and a newspaper owner and managing editor. His old Buffalo friend Charles M. Underhill collected Twain, his wife, Olivia, and daughter Clara by carriage at the Exchange Street station.
Underhill whisked the women off for a quick visit with his wife, Emma. Twain had read about the spectacular marble and granite Blocher Memorial in Forest Lawn, and wanted to see it, hoping to write an article about it. According to Underhill, “the monument did not stir him,” and Twain dismissed it as a possible subject for a story. On the carriage ride from the cemetery back to Underhill’s house, a dejected Twain confided that “he hadn’t anything more to write about, that he had got to the end.” An hour or so later, Twain and family returned to Buffalo’s train station and proceeded to Cleveland.

Mark Twain lived in Buffalo for only 18 months, from August of 1869 to March of 1871. Twain’s life in Buffalo ended with illness, loss and anxiety, but it began on a high note. He moved to Buffalo as a bachelor and the new editor of the Buffalo Express. His wealthy future father-in-law, coal magnate Jervis Langdon, put up $25,000 to make him part owner.

Twain threw himself into his work at the Express with enthusiasm approaching glee, transforming the newspaper with wit and elan. He had a wide social circle. He had just published “The Innocents Abroad.” Everybody loved him and wanted to get close to him. He was like a rock star,”

Six months after arriving in Buffalo, Twain married Olivia Langdon and they moved into a e mansion purchased as a surprise wedding gift by her father. Twain and his new wife hosted visitors and socialized. It was also a productive period for Twain personally, who not only wrote for, edited and made changes at the Express for the first six weeks, but began work on “Roughing It.”

Soon, Olivia became pregnant, but was devastated when her father was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died on Aug. 6, 1870.

Then Emma Nye, a dear friend of Olivia’s who was visiting, was stricken with typhoid fever and died in their home Sept. 29.

Finally, their son, Langdon, was born prematurely Nov. 7, frail and sickly, and Olivia fell ill with typhoid herself.

They had had enough. Olivia was carried out of their home on a mattress to the train station for the trip to Elmira. Both the home and Twain’s stake in the Express were sold at a loss.


Reigstad, Thomas J. (September 9, 2016) 2016. “A Depleted Mark Twain Stops In Buffal”. The Buffalo News.
Neville, Anne. (March 16, 2013) 2013. “Mark Twain Book Disproves Long-Held Beliefs About His Life In Buffalo”. The Buffalo News.