Monday, May 18, 2009

Mark Twain's Gilded Age in Jamestown, TN

This blog entry contains some background information about Mark Twain's book, The Gilded Age. A copy of The Gilded Age can be found at the Gutenberg Project here.

Upon a visit to the Sergeant Alvin York historic site in Pall Mall, Fentress County, Tennessee, we discovered that Samuel Clemens' (Mark Twain's) family had lived in the area just prior to Samuel's birth (Nov. 1835). Conrad Pile, an ancestor of Sergeant York, was friends with both John Clemens and Davy Crockett.

Obedstown in The Gilded Age was modeled after Jamestown, TN, and the character Squire "Si" Hawkins was based upon John Marshall Clemens, Samuel Clemens' father. In real life, John M. Clemens was the Circuit Court clerk in Jamestown and also conducted a law practice there. [Jamestown was also where Sgt. York's grandfather Brooks was killed.]

John Clemens bought a farm in Pall Mall where he was owned a store and was the postmaster. He also bought lots of land in the area; some of the land deeds pertaining to Mr. Clemens can be found indexed here. The Clemens family was enumerated in the 1830 Census taken in TN here.
A blogger has an article about John M. Clemens' property at Boatland, Tennessee. Was this the home in Tennessee that John Clemens left behind?

According to this source, "Clemens was an utterly fanciful genealogist." A time line of Samuel Clemens' life can be found here. A guide to Samuel Clemens' papers can be found here.

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