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Florida in Monroe County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Mark Twain

 
 
Mark Twain Marker (<i>side 1</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
1. Mark Twain Marker (side 1)
Inscription.  
Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) was born in the nearby village of Florida, Nov. 30, 1835. His birthplace was given to the Mark Twain Memorial Park Association by M.A. Violette, 1924, and is maintained as a museum. The two-room clapboard house was rented by Twain's parents, John M. and Jane Lampton Clemens, upon their arrival here from Tennessee, 1835. Before it was moved to the park, 1930, it had been moved once before and had seen use as a printing office, grain storage shed, and cow shelter.

Twain spent many summers on his Uncle John Quarles' farm near Florida after his parents moved, in 1839, to Hannibal, Mo. It was from his boyhood in Hannibal and here that he drew material for "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn."

In 1853, Twain left a job on his brother Orion's Hannibal newspaper to become a printer, Mississippi River pilot, and a miner, writer, and lecturer in the West, where he adopted the pen name, Mark Twain (two fathoms - a river measure). In 1870 he married Olivia Langdon. He died April 21, 1910, and is buried in Elmira, N.Y.

Mark Twain State Park, beautiful tract of woodland along the South
Mark Twain Marker (<i>side 2</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
2. Mark Twain Marker (side 2)
Fork of Salt River, was given the State, 1924, by the Mark Twain Memorial Park Association formed by the country editors of northeast Missouri, 1923. The State has added to the original gift.

The Bringhurst bust of Twain in Florida was erected by the State, 1913. In Hannibal are the State statue of Twain by Hibbard; his statue of Tom and Huck; the Mark Twain Museum and Home; Becky Thatcher House; Mark Twain Cave; and other sites. In Florida's cemetery are buried Twain's sister and other relatives.

Located at Perry, to the southeast, is the Mark Twain Research Foundation and its collections. The State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, has a noted collection of Twain's writings and a file of Hannibal newspapers on which he worked.

It is of interest that General Ulysses S. Grant's first assignment of the Civil War brought him to Florida, July 1861. He was looking for Col. T.A. Harris, who had withdrawn.
 
Erected 1953 by State Historical Society of Missouri and State Highway Commission.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicParks & Recreational Areas. In addition, it is included in the Missouri, The State Historical Society of series list.
 
Location. 39° 29.267′ 
Mark Twain Marker (<i>side 1; wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
3. Mark Twain Marker (side 1; wide view)
N, 91° 47.169′ W. Marker is in Florida, Missouri, in Monroe County. Marker is on Shrine Road half a mile south of County Road 526, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located at the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site, near the west side of the main parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 37352 Shrine Road, Stoutsville MO 65283, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Town of Florida (approx. 0.3 miles away); James Monroe (approx. 11.8 miles away).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Mark Twain Birthplace
 
Also see . . .
1. Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site Video. This link presents a short professional interpretive video about the Mark Twain birthplace site. (Submitted on September 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site. With Halley’s Comet clearly visible in the heavens, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) was born Nov. 30, 1835, in Florida, Mo., in a very small, two-room cabin that is today preserved inside a modern museum. This cabin sheltered eight people after Samuel was born: John and Jane Clemens, along with their five children -- Orion, Pamela, Margaret, Benjamin, and the infant Samuel -- and a teenage slave. Mark Twain once wrote, "Recently someone in Missouri sent me a picture of the house I was born in. Heretofore
Mark Twain Marker (<i>side 2; wide view; Mark Twain Memorial Shrine building in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
4. Mark Twain Marker (side 2; wide view; Mark Twain Memorial Shrine building in background)
I have always stated it was a palace, but I shall be more guarded now." The building, reputed to be among the first frame structures in the community, served the household briefly until a larger residence was completed in 1836. (Submitted on September 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Wikipedia entry for Mark Twain. Excerpt:
Twain describes his boyhood in Life on the Mississippi, stating that “there was but one permanent ambition” among his comrades: to be a steamboatman. “Pilot was the grandest position of all. The pilot, even in those days of trivial wages, had a princely salary – from a hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty dollars a month, and no board to pay.” As Twain described it, the pilot’s prestige exceeded that of the captain. The pilot had to “get up a warm personal acquaintanceship with every old snag and one-limbed cottonwood and every obscure wood pile that ornaments the banks of this river for twelve hundred miles; and more than that, must... actually know where these things are in the dark.” Steamboat pilot Horace E. Bixby took Twain on as a cub pilot to teach him the river between New Orleans and St. Louis for $500 (equivalent to $15,000 today), payable out of Twain’s first wages after graduating. Twain
Mark Twain Birthplace Cabin (<i>Located inside the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine;</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
5. Mark Twain Birthplace Cabin (Located inside the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine;)
November 30, 1835
"Into the narrow limits of this cabin was born Samuel Clemens, who, as Mark Twain, lived to cheer and comfort a tired world."
(from plaque near cabin)
studied the Mississippi, learning its landmarks, how to navigate its currents effectively, and how to read the river and its constantly shifting channels, reefs, submerged snags, and rocks that would “tear the life out of the strongest vessel that ever floated.” It was more than two years before he received his pilot’s license. Piloting also gave him his pen name from “mark twain,” the leadsman’s cry for a measured river depth of two fathoms (12 feet), which was safe water for a steamboat.
(Submitted on November 28, 2020.) 
 
Mark Twain Birthplace Cabin Interior (<i>Located inside the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
6. Mark Twain Birthplace Cabin Interior (Located inside the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine)
"The baby, a boy, was born on the last day of November, in this year of 1835, a seven-months child who seemed too frail to face the world. His clothes were not assembled. His cradle was not ready. Nothing agreed with him, nothing pleased him. He was a fury of a baby with red hair and wrinkled skin, and he seemed to be filling the little clapboard house and pushing them out of it. John Clemens was in no way drawn to him, but when called upon to furnish a name he dipped into early memories and bestowed generously: Samuel, for his father; Langhorne, for [a] distant relative who had befriended him in his youth in Virginia. `I'll try to raise him,' Jane said fervently, 'and it may be I can.' But there was a determination about this one that seemed to defy the hardships of the winter ahead in a drafty cottage full of children. 'Let's not stop up all the cracks,' Jane implored. 'We'll keep him warm, but let him breathe like people.' And so she brought him through that winter to the wonder of all."
Jane Clemens, the Story of Mark Twain's Mother by Rachel M. Varhle
Mark Twain Bronze Bust (<i>located inside the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
7. Mark Twain Bronze Bust (located inside the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine)
Mark Twain Memorial Shrine Dedication Plaque (<i>located inside the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
8. Mark Twain Memorial Shrine Dedication Plaque (located inside the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine)

Mark Twain Memorial Shrine
Commemorating the Birthplace of
Samuel L. Clemens

Erected 1959
James T. Blair, Jr. Governor

Administered by
Missouri State Park Board
Members
Robert M. Wolpers * Harry Wooldridge * Rex Allaman
Charles W. Boutin * R. I. Colborn * J. Lem Stokes
Joseph Jaeger, Jr. Director of Parks
Swanson-Terney-Bray Architects
Martin Construction Co. Contractor
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 257 times since then and 63 times this year. Last updated on November 29, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   7, 8. submitted on October 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
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