The Clemens family moved to Hannibal: John, Jane, Orion, Pamela, Benjamin, Sammy (nearly age four), the baby Henry, and a slave girl Jennie. Paine, in Boy’s Life of Mark Twain says the family lived first at Pavey’s Hotel(later Planter’s Hotel). The Paveys later moved to St. Louis. Wecter gives the time of the move as “about mid-November” . The first home for the Clemens was the Virginia House, a rickety two-story hotel close to the river at the northwest corner of Main and Hill Streets [Varble 129].
John Marshall traveled to St. Louis soon after the family’s arrival. There he stayed with his half-sister Ann “Polly” Hancock(d.1893), and her English husband William Saunders(d.1885). John Marshall sought a loan from a distant relative James Clemens, Jr. (1791-1878) in order to make token payments on stock he needed to open a store in Hannibal. The two men had not met but had corresponded as youths. The loan was given; John Marshall returned to Hannibal and opened a store on the main floor; the family lived on the second floor. [Varble 131-2; Powers, MT A Life 21].
Sam grew up on the river, in that “sleepy white washed town” which was to be his theatre of boyhood. Here he knew dreams, adventure, terror and sorrow. Sam Clemens would immortalize Hannibal in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn [Powers, Dangerous 50].