Tuesday, October 27, 2015

10/26 Hannibal & Mark Twain/Sam Clemens

I am staying for a few days in a very nice Corps of Engineering (COE) campground on Mark Twain Lake.  It is only about 25 miles from Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twains boyhood home town, so I had to go there today.  First stop was the museum to buy tickets for the rest of the attractions. 

The museum did not look like much on the outside, but it was well done and had a lot of the author's belongings inside. Here is a dresser from his Connecticut home.  

And what was described as his favorite desk.

This was interesting. It is a ship's whistle similar to the ones used on riverboats during Mark Twains time as a pilot.  It operated with a bellows, so you pulled on the rope and got a satisfying sound! 

In 1907, Twain was given a Doctor of Letters degree from Oxford University, so here is his academic regalia.  One of the others who received a similar degree that day, as noted on the copy of the program, was Rudyard Kipling!  Neat.

Hannibal's school no longer exists, but here is a photo of the one Twain attended until age 11, when his father died and his mother could no longer afford the 25 cents per week fee.

This is a real beaver top hat owned by Twain.

Down the street a couple of blocks to where the other attractions are all clustered on a side street.

The white house on the right was the Twain home for the first several years the family lived in Hannibal.

Across the street was his father's law office.  Unfortunately, he never did well in business and his family got poorer and poorer, so he lost his office and then  died when Twain was 11.  

This is the side yard of the Twain home, looking across the street at the law office building and the drugstore to the left.

The drug store is important because the family had to move to the upstairs where they lived with another family as the family got poorer.  His father worked behind the counter to supplement his income and Twains mother cooked for the other family.  It must have been very cramped on this second floor. 

Behind the Twain home was a small cabin where a boy lived upon whom the Huck Finn character was based.  The original is long gone, and this is a reconstruction.

"Huck's" family was poor, so the home had only two rooms upstairs and few furnishings.

While Twain's boyhood home looks like a lot of other 19th Century homes, the statures and poignant Twain quotations made it special. I like this one especially.

This is the home that supposedly the girl upon the Becky Thatcher character was based.  It is a duplex, and no one knows for sure which side her family lived in, but it was directly across the street from the Twain home.

There was a very pleasant park down by the river where I had parked my motorhome (on the level this time) so I enjoyed walking down there just before leaving. 

I had read Mark Twain's autobiography a few years ago, and I guess I need to get it out and read it again. It was not a pleasant book to read because the author had gone through so much sadness and death in his life.  He outlived his wife and most of his children, and unfortunately, died an unhappy man.  Very depressing.  Maybe this time I will just read the first part about his childhood.

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