My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 1.The Mark Twain Library To the best of my knowledge- The Mark Twain Library is the only library in the World that Mark Twain personally founded, funded and filled with books.
The Chapel that was used as the first Mark Twain Library
Angelfish attend Mark Twain Library dedication in style
525 Guests at MTL Benefit Concert On September 21, 1909- Detachments and squads and groups came from everywhere; some in motor car, some in buggies and carriages, and a swarm of farmer- young-folk on foot from miles around. The artists were received with great welcome and it woke them up, and I tell you they performed to the Queens taste! The program was an hour and three- quarters long and the encores added a half-hour to it. The enthusiasm in the house was hair-lifting. -Twains recap of the event
Stormfield A personal favorite as it shows Stormfield and the Library
Early view of the Jean L. Clemens Memorial Buildings interior.
Hannibal Public Library Twains father was one of the founders of this library and that may have played in a role in Twains wishes to found a public library for Redding. Note the fireplace framed by the windows with the portrait in the center.
Twains legacy is alive and well here in Redding, where we do our best to promote his final years and the only library he founded, funded and filled with books.
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 2.Claras Wedding & Ninas Birth Clara was the only of Twains daughters to wed and give birth. Both of these events took place at Stormfield in Redding.
October 6, 1909 Clara & Ossip exchange vows at Stormfield Joe Twichell officiated, Jean was the bridesmaid and Jervis Langdon was the groomsman.
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 3.Albert Bigelow Paine and Twains Biography Paine brought Twain to Redding, wrote his biography and from 1910 until his own passing in 1937, was (along w/Clara) the literary executor of Twains pages & manuscripts.
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 4.Twain put Redding on the Map Many of Twains closest friends visited his Redding estate and the press Worldwide reported on him just about every day. William D. Howells, Rev. Joe Twichell, Laura Hawkins Frazer, Billy Burke and Helen Keller to name a few visitors.
Clemens Redding house was reported on (almost daily) by newspapers and magazines Worldwide.
October 13-15, 1908 Becky Thatcher visits Stormfield. In his Guestbook he wrote: My first sweetheart (65 years ago, when She was 5 and I was 7 years old.)
12 midnight Burglary, 7:30am Captured, 9:00am Arraigned, 12 noon Off-to-Jail Thats swift justice…moral of the story? Dont mess with Twain! Danbury Evening News, Friday, September 18th, 1908: "Crooks carry off Humorist's Silverware. Caught while fleeing by train. One jumps from car while other uses revolver."
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 5.The Open Space Preserved From 1906 to 1909, Twain purchased roughly 320 acres in Redding which eventually whittled down to 268.21 acres. Of those 268+ acres, 160 acres were preserved as Open Space and hiking trails.
The Lobster Pot- Twains initial Redding property 1906
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 6.Jeans Return Jean L. Clemens had suffered with Epilepsy since she was 15 years of age. Following her mothers death in 1904, her condition worsened and in 1906 she left the family for remote treatment. In April of 1909 she returned to live in Redding.
Jean Comes Home On April 26 th Jean wrote her name in the Stormfield guestbook. Her Doctor had finally agreed, full of apprehension, to allow Jean to make a one-week trial visit to Redding. She would never leave again. An adjoining 125 acre farm became hers complete with barns and livestock. After her passing- the farm would be sold to fund this building and later (via the Hermes) benefit the librarys endowment.
Jean Dies at Christmas Clemens wrote in The Death of Jean: Possibly I know now what the soldier feels when a bullet crashes through his heart. … How poor I am, who was once so rich! Seven months ago Mr. Roger died--one of the best friends I ever had.. Jean lies yonder… She lies there, and I sit here--writing, busying myself, to keep my heart from breaking. How dazzlingly the sunshine is flooding the hills around! It is like a mockery.
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 7.The Lyon-Ashcroft Scandal One of the most intriguing mysteries from Twains time in Redding involves Isabel Lyon and Ralph Ashcroft. Were they plotting to steal Twains fortune or did Clara have a grudge against them? This continues to be debated.
February- Isabel falls ill, Ashcroft is in England, Paine is in the Mediterranean, Clara arrives & applies some pressure on Sam to review the finances. I.L. R.A.
Hubris…the root of all downfalls Ralph Ashcroft made three mistakes. 1.He challenged Clara. Before he left for England, Clara suggested to him that an objective person review her fathers books. He replied: Are you sure you want to, since it will reveal your expenditures? 2.He bragged about his power of attorney. I can sell his house, over his head, for a thousand dollars, whenever I want to! 3.He lied to Sam. In a move to make Clara look unreliable he lies about the butler being fired.
The Ashcroft-Lyon Scandal Ashcroft agreed to turn over the ledgers in April, 1909. Sam turned to Henry Rogers hoping he might find something less damning than Claras suspicions, a discovery that would relieve Sam of having to hate two people he had loved only six weeks before. In mid-May, Sam went to NYC to meet with Rogers and discuss his ledgers. At Grand Central Clara met him with horrible news: Roger was dead. The expression of grief in Fathers face was pitiful to behold Clara wrote.
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 8.Twains passing at Stormfield Because Twains funeral was held in New York City and Twain had lived in New York City prior to moving to Redding, many presumed he had lived in NYC the entire time.
On April 21, 1910, Samuel L. Clemens died in Redding, Connecticut at the age Of 74. The New York Times, April 22, 1910 Samuel Langhorne Clemens, "Mark Twain," died at 22 minutes after 6 tonight. Too weak to speak clearly, "Give me my glasses," he had written on a piece of paper. He had received them, put them down, and sunk into unconsciousness from which he glided almost imperceptibly into death. Mark Twain born, Nov. 30, 1835. Last perihelion of Halley's comet, Nov. 10, 1835. Mark Twain died, April 21, 1910. Perihelion of Halley's comet, April 20, 1910.
Bouton & Son Funeral Home West Church Street, Georgetown, CT April 23, 1910 Mahogany Casket $450.00 Mahogany Box $100.00 Professional Services $50.00 Embalming $50.00 Hearse at Redding $8.00 Hearse at New York GCD to 37th Street $6.00 Hearse from 37th Street to D,L,W $7.00 Transferring Box to Hoboken $3.50 Four Porters at $3.50 each $14.00 Coach from 37th Street to 22nd Street $4.00 Conveyor for Flowers $3.50 Corpse Ticket Redding to New York City $1.20 Corpse Ticket New York City to Elmira, NY $6.10 Total: $703.30
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 9.Little Known Tie-ins to Redding Did you know Mark Twains Estate was annually settled here in Redding until 1964? Or that his last will & testament states… I, Samuel L. Clemens, of Redding, Connecticut… I didnt think so…
The New York Times, February 22, 1964 Humorist's $867,565 Is Put Into New Trust Fund 54 Years After His Death REDDING, Conn., Feb. 21 - The 54-year-old estate of Mark Twain received its final accounting today before a probate judge who was a small boy here when the famous author was the town's leading citizen. Judge Hjalmar Anderson approved the termination of a trust fund created by Twain before his death here in 1910. The estate of Samuel L. Clemens, as it is termed legally, was closed out as the result of he death on Nov. 19, 1962, of Twain's daughter, Mrs. Clara Clemens Samossoud of San Diego, Calif. The new trust was established by Mrs. Samossoud's will.
My Top Ten Reasons Twains time in Redding is of Importance… 10. Redding was Twains Final Residence and he loved it here. Give me a breath of Redding air once more and this will pass. - Twain on his final trip home to Redding No further explanation needed.
Platform where he arrived West Redding Station & General Store circa 1920 (I used this photo because it included a view of the platform)
Park across the street from the station, likely where people lined up to view the arrival of Clemens.
How Sam would have seen the house upon his arrival
I was never in this beautiful region until yesterday evening. It is charmingly quiet here. The house stands alone, with nothing in sight but woodsy hills and rolling country. Samuel L. Clemens letter to Dorothy Quick dated June 19, 1908