Monday, May 10, 2010

Did You Know? #23

Although raised in the great state of Illinois, since the mid-1980's we have resided in the border state of Missouri, beside the legendary muddy Mississippi, and in the city Mark Twain described as "situated on a hillside, and makes a handsome appearance." In those days Cape Girardeau was frequently visited by the many steamboats that fought their way up and were carried down the great river.

About 30 miles south of Cape the Mississippi welcomes the Ohio River as it runs past the southernmost town of Cairo. About 200 miles north of Cape is Twain's hometown of Hannibal (actually he was born just a bit south in Florida, MO and moved to Hannibal when he was 4 years old).

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in November 1835 just a few weeks after Halley's Comet started appearing. Twain was noted for commenting that he came in with Halley's Comet and that he would go out with it as well. Twain passed away on April 21, 1910, the day after Halley's Comet made its closest pass during its 1910 reappearance.[1]

In addition to his illustrious career as a writer, Clemons was also a printer's apprentice, typesetter, a riverboat pilot, a governmental secretary for the state of Nevada, a miner, a reporter and newspaper editor. In addition to all this he had a brief stint of military service with the Confederate army during the Civil War, although that does not seem to have lasted more than a couple of weeks.[2]

Yet, despite this brief association with the Confederates, Mark Twain became a close personal friend of U. S. Grant and was instrumental in getting Grant to write and publish his personal memoirs.

Clemons married Olivia Langdon on February 2, 1870 and the couple's children included Langdon, Olivia Susan, Clara, and Jean Lampton Clemens.[3] Following Olivia's death in 1904, Clemens, in a letter to his brother-in-law; declared, I am a man without a country. Wherever Livy was, that was my country."[4]

This year the state of Missouri is commemorating Mark Twain's life. 2010 is the 175th year after Twain's birth and the centinnial of the celebrated author's death. The "Father of American Literature" also has ties through his marriage to our Bragg family (Great-grandfather Frank
Martin Bragg and Olivia Langdon Clemons were 8th cousins). As the chart below with detail, descending from common ancestors George Hull and Thamzen Mitchel, Mark Twain's children and our Grandfather Bragg were 9th cousins (making our generation 9th cousins 2 times removed).

George Hull and Thamzen Mitchel
Mary Hull
Cornelius Hull b.1628
Nathaniel Pinney b.1640Cornelius Hull b.1655
Nathaniel Pinney ,Jr. b.1671Nathaniel Hull b.1694
Nathaniel Pinney III b.1695Nathaniel Hull b.1726
Lucretia Pinney b.1721Ezekiel Hull b.1765
Moses Barnard b.1750Platt Hull b.1787
Olive Barnard b.1785
Ezekiel Hull b.1813
Olivia Lewis b.1805
Rebecca L. Hull b.1841
Olivia Langdon b.1835Frank Martin Bragg b.1867
Langdon ClemensOrval Bishop Bragg b.1895

Don Cicero Bragg b.1920

[1] Gayle Harper, Missouri's Shining Star, Midwest Traveler, May/June
2010, 28-31.

[2] Mark Twain House and Museum

[3] Samuel Langhorne CLEMENS

[4] Consolatio

[5] Source for picture of Mark Twain's family