Submitted by scott on

Sam Clemens was born in Florida, MO in November of 1835 when the population of the village was exactly 100.  His family had moved there the previous May or June with the hope that a railway line would be extended from St. Joseph and that the Salt River would be made navigable to the Mississippi.  Neither happened.  The family moved to Hannibal, 35 miles to the northeast, in 1839.

Florida is a currently uninhabited village in Monroe County, Missouri, United States. It is located at the intersection of Missouri Route 107 and State Route U on the shores of Mark Twain Lake. The population was 200, per the census data in the 1911 Cram's World Atlas. The population was however down to nine residents according to the 2000 United States Census, and following the 2010 Census, the village was reported as uninhabited. The Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site is located in Florida, with Mark Twain State Park nearby.,_Missouri

November 30 Monday – Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) was born two months premature in the hamlet of Florida, Missouri to John Marshall Clemens (1798-1847) and Jane Lampton Clemens (1803-1890). The baby was named Samuel, for John’s father; Langhorne, for the friend of John Marshall’s who had helped him in his youth in Virginia.

Halley’s Comet had reached its perihelion on Nov. 17. It would return again in 1910, reaching its greatest visibility on Apr. 19 of that year, two days before Sam’s death.

Sam received a letter from Joseph G. Hickman of Florida, MO, January 20th, 1878:

Florida boasts greatly of being your birth-place & there has been of late quite a little discussion in the Co papers as to what part had that honor. Your letter to Mr Holliday of St Louis of course settled the question—It was published in the papers.

      Florida jogs along after the same old style & sits like Rome on her hills,—always the same. The picture of your old house is true to nature & it is to this day the same as you see in the picture to the minutest particular. It is now occupied by the village shoe maker—there is no telling what other great man may go forth from beneath its eaves—The man in the street is intended to represent you off on your pilgrimage after style of your speech at meeting in honor of poet Whittier. The little girls say don’t forget those pretty Chromos for they will wait with patience to hear from you. I live at & own the mill owned by Boyle Goodwin on the north fork of Salt River. / Yours truly / Joseph G. Hickman.

Joseph G. Hickman to SLC, 20 January 1878 · Florida, Mo., (UCLC 32637).

Gary Scharnhorst writes:  By 1837 the village was growing rapidly, with three mills and four distilleries. ...annually produced some ten thousand gallons of whisky and three thousand gallons of brandy and gin.  Then all went to smash in the credit crunch that followed the Panic of 1837.  The Life of Mark Twain: The Early Years, 1835-1871

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