• November 13 Wednesday 1839

    Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:52

    John Marshall Clemens sold properties around Florida for $3,000 to speculator Ira Stout. At the same time, John purchased a quarter of a city block in Hannibal on the Mississippi, about forty miles east of Florida, for what Wecter calls “the thumping price of $7000 paid in full” [Wecter 51-2; Powers, MT A Life 21]. Note: “Hannibal” was also a family name with no connection to the town. It may be argued that John paid too much for the quarter block in Hannibal.

  • November, mid-late 1839

    Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:52

    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” [56]. 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].

  • Spring 1840

    Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:53

    Spring – Sam started school  at Mrs. Horr’s school in  Hannibal, a small log cabin at the  southern end of Main Street, near Bear Creek. Elizabeth Horr (ca.1790-1873) and  daughter Miss Lizziewere the only teachers. On Sam’s first day of  school he broke a rule twice and was told to go find a switch for his punishment. He kept looking for smaller and smaller switches until he came back  with a cooper’s shaving (a cooper is a barrel maker). Later, Miss Mary Ann  Newcomb(1809-1894) would help at the school [Wecter 54].

  • July  28 and 29 Wednesday 1840

    Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 17:46

    – The Log Cabin Campaign rally on Market Street in Hannibal would surely have included John Marshall,  a devout Whig. Jane Lampton Clemens loved parades and funerals. Four  and a half year old Sam no doubt witnessed the celebration [Wecter 58]. Note: For more about Jane Clemens  as recalled by her granddaughter Annie Moffett Webster in Fredonia, see May  22, 1870 entry.
     

  • July  28 and 29 Wednesday 1840

    Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:53

    – The Log Cabin Campaign rally on Market Street in Hannibal would surely have included John Marshall,  a devout Whig. Jane Lampton Clemens loved parades and funerals. Four  and a half year old Sam no doubt witnessed the celebration [Wecter 58]. Note: For more about Jane Clemens  as recalled by her granddaughter Annie Moffett Webster in Fredonia, see May  22, 1870 entry.
     

  • October 1840

    Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:53

    October   – John Marshall sold on credit about $1,000 for merchandise  bought wholesale to one Ira Stout, who then used the new  bankruptcy laws to avoid payment. Ultimately this led to the loss of the  Clemens home [Wecter 56].
     

  • 1841

    Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:53

    Sam’s  father traveled to Tennessee hoping to collect old debts and raise money  on the infamous Tennessee Land, some 75,000 acres, which  became a millstone to the family; the land was ultimately sold in the 1880s for  not much more than John Marshall paid for it. John took a slave, Charlie, to sell, but did not get what he expected. In fact the trip was a total failure, costing Sam’s father  about $200 [Powers, Dangerous 124-5]. Together, John Marshall and son Orion had a remarkable string of business failures.

  • September 1841

    Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:53

    September   – John Marshall Clemens sat on a jury at Palmyra which condemned and sent to the penitentiary  three abolitionists for a term of twelve years [Dempsey  42; Wecter 72]. Note:  See Dempsey, chapters 5 & 6, for a full account of the “crime” and trial of  James Burr, George Thompson, and Alanson Work, “the  biggest criminal case in Marion County.”
     

  • October  13 Wednesday 1841

    Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:53

    October  13 Wednesday – The Clemenses were forced to transfer the title  of their home property to James Kerr, a St. Louis dry-goods  merchant to whom they were most indebted [Wecter  70]. Note: The indebtedness may have  stemmed from funds John Marshall borrowed to buy the Tennessee Land,  incurred before the family moved to Hannibal.
     

  • January 5, 1842

    Submitted by scott on Sun, 10/31/2021 - 17:24

    January 5 or 7 Friday – Sam’s father wrote on his failed trip of being unable to collect debts or even to sell Charlie for $40 in Vicksburg [MTB 43]. Powers suggests he sold Charlie for ten barrels of tar [Powers, Dangerous 124]. Wecter cites the letter date as Jan. 5 and the sale for tar as Jan. 24 [74].

  • May 12, 1842

    Submitted by scott on Sun, 10/31/2021 - 17:24

    May 12 Thursday – Ten-year-old Benjamin L. Clemens died after a weeklong, unexplained illness. “Bilious fever” they sometimes called such illnesses. Sam was six. He remembered his parents’ grief; Orion recalled that his parents kissed—the only time the Clemens children had seen them do this [MTB 44]; Powers writes that it was Sam who remembered; it’s likely both recalled the event. In her grief, Sam’s mother made all the children approach the bedside of Benjamin and touch his dead cheek.

  • July 17, 1842

    Submitted by scott on Sun, 10/31/2021 - 17:24

    July 17 Sunday ca. – (After this day) – Sam’s brother, Orion, now seventeen and a “very good journeyman printer,” obtained a position in St. Louis, and was able to send support home for the family, three dollars out of ten per week [MTB 44]. (Powers characterizes it as Orion being “sent off.”) Orion wrote home that he was trying to imitate the life of Benjamin Franklin, even to the extent of living on bread and water. While in St. Louis until 1849, Orion made friends with attorney Edward Bates (1793-1869) and began studying law in his office.

  • August 12, 1842

    Submitted by scott on Sun, 10/31/2021 - 17:24

    August 12 Friday – Though a boy of nearly seven, Sam probably was witness to the sinking of the side wheel steamboat Glaucus at Hannibal. Such an event would have brought the whole town out to gawk. Sam noted the sinking in his notebook in 1883 [MTNJ 3: 30n52]. https://daybyday.marktwainstudies.com/category/volume-1/26/68

  • October 13, 1842

    Submitted by scott on Sun, 10/31/2021 - 17:24

    October 13 Thursday – Exactly one year before, John Marshall and Jane Clemens lost their real estate in Hannibal, interest being transferred to James Kerr, St. Louis merchant and debt holder. On this day the property was auctioned but failed to meet the amount of the debt [Dempsey 49].

  • Summer of 1843

    Submitted by scott on Sun, 10/31/2021 - 17:24

    Summer – This was the first year of long summer visits to the Quarles Farm, about three and a half miles northwest of the old Clemens home in Florida, Mo.. These visits would continue until Sam was eleven or twelve (1847-8). Sam was seven on this first visit. He loved his uncle John Quarles, a warm, affable, hospitable, country man who told jolly jokes and played with the children. Quarles made hunting trips through the woods. His wife Aunt Patsy set a marvelous table; they had eight children and about thirty slaves (some sources say far fewer).