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

The Town of Florida

Birthplace of Mark Twain

 
 
The Town of Florida Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
1. The Town of Florida Marker
Inscription. Florida, Mo., a settlement of about 60 families and several businesses, “...had two streets, each a couple of hundred yards long; the rest of the avenues mere lanes, with rail fences and cornfields on either side. Both the streets and lanes were paved with the same material - tough black mud in wet times, deep dust in dry.”

Florida reached its zenith before the Civil War. During this period, one of the general stores was briefly owned by John Marshall Clemens, Mark Twain's father. Florida was destined to remain small. The Salt River was never navigable for steamboats. Railroad companies were not interested in building a line to the tiny village. The community was relatively isolated from large towns.

The Clemens family, consisting of John Marshall and his wife Jane, their children Orion, Pamela, Margaret, Benjamin, and a slave girl named Jenny, arrived in the small village of Florida, Mo., late in June 1835. They had made the long trip by riverboat and wagon all the way from Pall Mall, Tenn., at the urging of Jane's brother-in-law, John Charles Quarles. After arriving in Florida, John Clemens rented the two-room frame house where Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born (two months premature) in November.

Buried in the Florida Cemetery are Mark Twain’s sister, Margaret, his uncle, John Quarles, his aunt,
Marker detail: Mark Twain Birthplace house image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Mark Twain Birthplace house
Mark Twain noted in his Autobiography, “Recently someone in Missouri has sent me a picture of the house I was born in. Heretofore I have always stated that it was a palace, but I shall be more guarded now.”
Patsy as well as Dr. Thomas Chowning, the man that delivered young Sam. His grandfather, Benjamin Lampton, is buried behind the one-room schoolhouse in town.

This memorial with bust of Mark Twain was erected in 1914 with Legislative authority to commemorate Florida, Mo. as the birth town of one of America's most famous authors. Originally located at the intersection of Main and Mill Streets, Florida's main thoroughfares, the marker consisted of a concrete platform (visible ½ block north), the granite monument and a bronze bust of Mark Twain.

The memorial adorned Florida's main streets for 50 years. In 1964, concern for its preservation resulted in the removal of the bust to the safety of the nearby museum, which also displays the Clemens' house. Two years later, the granite monument, without the bust, was relocated to the actual site of Mark Twain's birthplace.

The cabin in which Samuel Clemens was born can be seen at the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site

 
Erected by Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
 
Location. 39° 29.557′ N, 91° 47.206′ W. Marker is in Florida, Missouri, in Monroe County. Marker is on Main Street (County Road 543) north of County Road 526, on the right when
Marker detail: Mark Twain through the years image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Mark Twain through the years
traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located beside the road, directly in front of the granite Mark Twain Memorial marking the the actual site of Mark Twain's birthplace. Marker is in this post office area: Stoutsville MO 65283, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within walking distance of this marker. Mark Twain (approx. 0.3 miles away).
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally on waist-high posts.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Mark Twain Birthplace
 
Also see . . .  Florida, Missouri. At the time of Twain's birth, the village of Florida was hardly much older than he, having been laid out in the winter of 1831. The founders were Robert Donaldson, Joseph Grigsby, Hugh A. Hickman, a Doctor Keenan, John Witt, and Major W.N. Penn. Hickman owned and operated a mill approximately one half-mile south of Florida, while Penn had a dry goods store near there as well. Located at the confluence of the North, South, and Middle forks of the Salt River, 48 miles upstream from its mouth emptying into the Mississippi River at Louisiana, Missouri, this strategic location of Florida was felt to be a potential "growth center" in the settlement of northeast Missouri. However, fickle river levels on the Salt
The Town of Florida Marker (<i>wide view; Mark Twain Birthplace Monument in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
4. The Town of Florida Marker (wide view; Mark Twain Birthplace Monument in background)
made consistent shipping via barge or riverboat impractical. The Clemens family, seeking better opportunities, left Florida for Hannibal, Missouri, when young Samuel was around five years old. (Submitted on September 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil
 
Mark Twain Birthplace Monument (<i>located behind marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
5. Mark Twain Birthplace Monument (located behind marker)
This granite monument marks the actual site of Mark Twain's birthplace.
Mark Twain Birthplace Monument Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 14, 2015
6. Mark Twain Birthplace Monument Plaque
In this village was born
November Thirtieth
1835
Samuel Langhorne Clemens
Mark Twain
He cheered and comforted
a tired world
Erected by the
State of Missouri
1913
Mark Twain Monument image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the State Historical Archive of Missouri, circa 1915
7. Mark Twain Monument
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   7. submitted on September 28, 2018. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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