He was born in the small Missouri community of Florida, and later wrote, The village contained a hundred people and I increased the population by one percent. It is more than many of the best men in history could have done for a town….There is no record of a person doing as much – not even Shakespeare. But I did it for Florida and it shows that I could have done it any place – even London, I suppose. Mention the names John Briggs, Tom Blankenship, and Laura Hawkins, and no one will be familiar with them. They were the originals on which Samuel Clemens based his stories of Joe Harper(one of Tom Sawyer’s gang), Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher. The roots of Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain extend deep into Missouri. He was four when his family moved from Florida to Hannibal. He spent fourteen years there and carried those years into his writing the rest of his life.

AOWM – November 30