Ask someone to name a famous American writer and odds are the answer will be "Mark Twain." Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, was born November 30, 1835 to John Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton in Florida, Missouri and spent much of his boyhood in Hannibal.

Sam's heavily chronicled early career included time as a river boat pilot on the Mississippi and as journalist for a variety of Western papers. In 1867 he published his first story "Jim Smiley and the Jumping Frog" later known as "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." With the publication of his first Tom Sawyer book in 1876 and Huckleberry Finn in 1884, Mark Twain's career as a writer, humorist, and lecturer was firmly fixed.

On February 2, 1870, Mark Twain wed Olivia Langdon (known as "Livy"). That marriage, considered by many to be one of the literary world's most famous love matches, lasted until Livy's death in June, 1904. The couple were blessed with four children but only daughter Clara lived to marry and have a child. Son Langdon Clemens, a child born prematurely in 1870, died at age two. Sam blamed himself all his life for taking the child out with what he later saw as an inadequate amount of cothing. Daughter Olivia Susan ("Suzy") Clemens (1872-1896), deemed by many to be Mark Twain's favorite child, died of spinal meningitis. Daughter Jean Clemens (1880-1909)drowned in a bathtub, almost certainly during a seizure caused by the epilepsy from which she suffered. Daughter Clara Clemens married first pianist and conductor Ossip Gabrilowitsch (by whom she had daughter Nina) and then Jacques Samossoud. Samuel Langhorne Clemens died April 21, 1910 in Redding, Connecticut.

Despite the fame of Mark Twain, remarkably little other than bare factual information seems to be known about the ancestors of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His grandfather, Samuel B Clemens was born about 1770 in Virginia and married Pamelia Goggin on October 23, 1797 in Bedford County, Virginia. Samuel was killed August 7, 1805 while helping at a house raising, leaving wife Pamelia a widow with five children (including Mark Twain's father John Marshall Clemens). Pamelia remained a widow for nearly four years until she married second husband Simon Hancock with whom she had five more children.

Is it possible that Pamelia might have had a daughter Cynthia out of wedlock in that period between marriages? See the story handed down to Deb Gosselin that claims that Sam's father John Marshall Clemens had a sister Cynthia who married Ira Clemens Lucia's father.

As an alternative explanation for the tie between the Lucias and Clemens, it seems conceivable that the story of the tie was garbled just enough in being handed down to simply be off a generation. Looking to information on the children of Mark Twain's great grandfather Jeremiah Clemens and his wife Elizabeth Moore, no comprehensive list of their children seems to exist. The most complete list we have seen includes Ezekial (1764), James (1768), Gershom (1769), Samuel B (1770), Christina (1775), Deborah (1779), Mahlon (1782) and Phoebe (1785). Does anyone know of any additional children of Jeremiah and Elizabeth who might fit in any of the gaps above or know of any source material for research on Jeremiah? Is there anyone out there who is descended from one of the other children of Jeremiah? If so, please email us privately.

 
Death Notice in New York Times


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