From page 76 The Life of Mark Twain - The Middle Years 1871-1891:
On a happier note, Sam and Livy's plans for their new house began to assume tangible form. Livy notified her husband in early December 1871, while he was still on his speaking tour, that she had “been drawing a plan of our house” to be built within their budget. “We will put if it is necessary the 29000 into house, grounds, and what new furniture we may need,” she wrote. But “if after a time we find that the estate is not worth a living to us, we will change entirely our mode of living—That probably will not be discovered for three or four or perhaps the eight years—we shall involve nobody and discomfort nobody, we will not be in debt for our house.” ‘They purchased a building lot near the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe for thirty-one thousand dollars from Hartford attorney Franklin Chamberlin on January 16, 1872. The lot was bounded on the north by Farmington Avenue, on the east by Forest Street, and on the west by Park River, formerly known as Hog River for the effluence dumped into it by the slaughterhouses along its shores. The stream no doubt reminded Sam of Bear Creek in the Hannibal of his boyhood. “Have just bought the loveliest building lot in Hartford,” Sam bragged in mid-January, with measurements of “544 feet front on the Avenue & 300 feet deep,” and "paid for it with first six months” of royalties on the sale of Roughing It. He reveled from the start in the prestige of his purchase. “Mr. Clemens seems to glory in his sense of possession,” Livy wrote her family, because “he goes daily onto the lot, has had several falls trying the lay of the land by sliding around on his feet.”
From Page 145-6:
The Clemenses left Elmira on September 10, spent a week shopping for carpeting and other home furnishings in New York, where they again registered at Hoffman House, and arrived in Hartford on September 19. Their house was finished save for interior detailing on the ground floor.
The house served as their official residence until Sam took his family to Europe in March of 1878, not to return until September 3, 1879, when they arrived in New York City. They returned to the Hartford residence October 24, 1879.
During this first period of residency, Sam did not sit still but made several trips, primarily to New York City and Boston. The family took summer vacations away from Hartford: 1875, Newport, Rhode Island; 1876 & 1877 at Quarry Farm.
October 24, 1874 - Hartford, A Letter to W.D. Howells:
My Dear Howells:
I shall not stop the letter I wrote 2 hours ago, because it has the suggestion about the play — but I take back the remark that I can’t write for the Jan. number, For Twichell & I have had a long walk in the woods & I got to telling him about old Mississippi days of steamboating glory & grandeur as I saw them (during 5, years) from the pilot house. He said ‘‘What a virgin subject to hurl into a magazine!’ I hadn’t thought of that before. Would you like a series of papers to run through 3 months or 6 or 9? — or about 4 months, say? * Yrs Ever
“Old Times on the Mississippi,” serialized in the Atlantic in 1875, was expanded into Life on the Mississippi (1883).
November 1 to 3, 1874 Sunday – On this day or the day before, Sam went to New York and took rooms at the New York Hotel.
November 12 to 16, 1874 - "Walking" Trip to Boston with Twichell
December 15, 1874 – Sam traveled to Boston to attend the dinner at the Parker House
December 22 or 23 – Sam went to New York for the 100th performance of the Gilded Age play. He registered at the Hoffman House. Livy was probably along on the trip. Also in New York, and staying at the Windsor Hotel, were Olivia Lewis Langdon, and Theodore and Susan Crane. Twain returned to Hartford December 24.
April 13, 1875 Tuesday – Sam and Joe Twichell went to Brooklyn to stay at the home of Dean Sage. Returned to Hartford on the 15th.
New York City on the 16th. and Cambridge April 17, 1875, returned home April 20th.
Clemens had accepted the invitation conveyed in Howells’s letter of 14 April. Howells included a long reminiscence of the adventure in MMT (pp- 39-41). Clemens described it thus to Dean Sage: “Howells and I fooled around all day, never got to the Centennial at all, though we made forty idiotic attempts to accomplish it. As our failures multiplied... I kept observing to myself that he was a ‘dam fool.’ I learned afterwards that he was clandestinely making the same remark about me all the time —and if you could have heard his wife ridicule us when we got home, you would have judged each of us ‘in his rude untutored way’ had approximated the truth” (Hartford, 22 April, Mrs. Meredith Hare, TS in MTP). Although they had special invitations, with passage provided from Boston, they decided to take a train from Cambridge instead. But the train proved to be so crowded they could not get on. No other means of transportation could be found, even though Clemens ran down the street in pursuit of a tallyho with cheering students on top. The raw April weather finally drove the two friends back to Howells’s house and a warm hearth-fire. They had agreed they would pretend to Mrs. Howells they had actually been to Lexington and back, but to Clemens’s delight she instantly saw through the deception. Clemens recalled this incident with pleasure not long before his death, thirty-five years later (MMT, p. 41).
Mark Twain-Howells Letters, V1 page 75
Sam was possibly in Elmira May 25, 1875
July 31 to September 8, 1875: Summering in Newport, RI
Undated Visit with Howells in Cambridge, see letter to Howells October 4
October 11, 1875, Sam and Livy left the children with nursemaids and went to “Waldemere,” P.T. Barnum’s estate in Bridgeport, Conn.. They stayed one night, then they went to New York returning to Hartford on the 16th.
October 29, 1875, Sam and Livy went to Cambridge to visit with the Howells and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, then to New York City to breakfast with Lord Houghton at the Brevoort House, returning to Hartford November 2nd of 3rd.
March 22, 1876, Sam gave the “Roughing It in the Silver Regions” lecture in the Yale University Law School lecture room.
Mark Twain lectured at the Chickering Hall in New York March 28, 29 and 31, and at the Academy of Music in Brooklyn on the 30th of March 1876.
May 7, 1876: Sam travels to Boston. Returns home on the 10th.
June 15, 1876: Depart Hartford for a summer at Quarry Farm. They departed Quarry Farm September 5, registered at the St. James Hotel in New York City and arrived back in Hartford September 11, 1876. Sam hired a sleeping car for the ten hour journey from New York City to Hartford. Sam, apparently, took a quick trip back to New York City but returned to Hartford by the 14th.
November 13, 1876: Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York
November 14, 1876: Academy of Music, Philadelphia
November 21, 1876: Sam gave a reading at the Music Hall in Boston
November 22, 1876: Sam gave a reading at the Academy of Music in Chelsea, Mass
November 24 , 1876: Sam gave a reading in Providence, R. I
December 1 or 2, 1876: New York City. Back in Hartford by the 5th.
December 21, 1876: New York City until the 24th.
February 6, 1877: Sam gave a reading of sketches at Steinway Hall, New York.
February 27–March 9 , 1877 – Sometime between these dates, probably closer to Mar. 9, Sam traveled to Boston and stayed with the Howellses and also at the Parker House [MTLE 2: 36].
April 23, 1877: Sam goes to New York.
April 24, 1877: Baltimore, Guy's Hotel. Returned to Hartford May 1st.
Second Trip to Bermuda May 20 to 24, 1877
June 6, 1877: Clemens family departs Hartford for New York then Elmira, to spend the summer at Quarry Farm. The family returns to the Hartford House September 4th.
December 17, 1877: Sam gave his infamous dinner speech at John Greenleaf Whittier’s birthday dinner, Hotel Brunswick, Boston, Mass.
January 12, 1878: Fears reports Sam as being in Elmira,
January 26, 1878: Sam gave a speech at the Geselischaft Harmonic in New York City.
February 25, 1878: Sam gave a speech at the New York Press Club
March 12 to 15, 1878: Sam spent two days in New York
March 29, 1878: Ten hour train ride to Elmira
Between March 29 and April 4, 1878: Fredonia and Buffalo.