Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Florida, MO

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was born in Florida, a northeastern Missouri village, on November 30, 1835. Florida had a population of 100, according to Twain’s Autobiography. “I increased the population by 1 per cent,” Twain wrote. “It is more than many of the best men in history could have done for a town. “ The 2010 census listed Florida’s population as 0. The museum at the nearby Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site displays the rented two-room cabin in which Twain was born. A 1949 mural by Fred Green Carpenter, titled “The Arrival of the Clemens Family in Florida,” graces the Paris, Missouri, post office. Twain’s family departed Florida for Hannibal, Missouri, following the death in 1839 of Twain’s sister Margaret. But during the next eight years Twain returned to land that adjoined Florida to summer on the farm of his uncle John Adams Quarles. Twain later wrote that UncleDan’l, a slave on the farm, inspired characters “in books under his own name and as ‘Jim’….It was on the farm that I got my liking for his race and my appreciation of certain of its fine qualities.”

September 19

Posts from Florida, MO

Zagat’s Missed This Restaurant in Paris—Paris, MO

We visited Paris, Mo., to see a recently restored wall mural in the town’s post office titled “The Arrival of the Clemens Family in Florida.” The mural, completed by Fred Green Carpenter in 1940, shows the … Read more >>

Mark Twain birthplace museum acknowledges family’s slave holding past

Smiles and laughter come easily to Connie Ritter, 61, the second of 10 children born and raised in Monroe City, Missouri. But her face turns stern when she recalls the playground beside the Mark Twain birthplace … Read more >>

An archaeological dig at the Quarles farmstead

Finding archaeologist Karen Hunt is kind of a hassle. She’s hidden, sort of like the artifacts she and volunteers dig for during September weekends at the Mark Twain Archaeology Dig. It’s home to the former farmstead … Read more >>