February – John Quarles had married Martha Ann “Patsy” Lampton (1807-1850), Jane’s younger sister, and opened a store at Florida, Missouri the year before the Clemens family arrived. In this month he closed his successful store at Florida and bought 70 acres of good farmland. A few months later he added 160 acres more [Wecter 50]. The farm was three and a half miles northwest of town. Quarles kept slaves (Some claim as many as 30 slaves, some eleven, and some as few as six) [Powers, Dangerous 41; Powers MT A Life 11; Dempsey 4].
Frequent visits to the Quarles Farm allowed Sam to hunt and fish, and gave him intimate contact with blacks. Stories told by his uncle John and also by older blacks fed Sam with grist for his later tales. (See The Twainian, Mar. 1942 for an insightful article on Quarles.)
A family story about three-year-old Sam, retold years later by his niece, Annie Moffett Webster(1852- 1950). “When Sam was about three he was distressed because he had ‘no tail bebind.’ He said, ‘The dog has a tail bebind, the cat has a tail bebind, and I haven’t any tail bebind at all at all.’ His uncle (I think it was his Uncle Hannibal) made a tail of paper and pinned it on his little dress, and he went around very proud and happy” [MTBus 44].