The purpose of this project is to celebrate Samuel L. Clemens' life in Redding, Connecticut by documenting and showcasing his time here in multiple formats both online and offline. Your donations & site sponsorships will help me dedicate more time to these projects and allow me to get them online sooner.

Thursday, August 23

Highlights from Our 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference at Redding

My Top Ten Reasons Twain's 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.

2. Clara's Wedding and Nina's Birthday
Clara Clemens was the only of Twain's daughter to wed and give birth. Both of these events took place at Stormfield in Redding. Clara wed on October 6th, 1909 and Nina was born on August 19th, 1910.

3. Albert Bigelow Paine and Twain's Biography
Paine was the one who let Twain know of a 75 acre farm for sale just over the hill from his own home in Redding in the Winter of 1906. Twain's secretary, Isabel Lyon, voiced her approval of the "country home" idea and in March of 1906 the purchase was made. Additional properties were purchased and under the watchful eyes of both Paine and Lyon, Stormfield was completed in June of 1908. Twain arrived soon after and would remain in Redding until his passing in April of 1910. In 1912 Bigelow Paine published Twain's biography (which was written in Redding) and in essence from 1906 until Paine's passing in 1937, he (along with Clara Clemens) pretty much controlled how the World viewed Twain as the literary executors of his pages and manuscripts.

4. Twain put Redding on the Map

" I am keeping a hotel, and no train comes or goes without bringing me a guest or robbing me of one."
-Twain's own entry in Stormfield's Guestbook

During his time in Redding many of his closest friends and associates visited his Redding estate and the press Worldwide reported on him and his visitors just about every day. William D. Howells, Laura Hawkins Frazer, Billy Burke and Helen Keller are a few of the individuals that visited.

5. The Open Space his estate 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. 

6. Jean's Return
Jean L. Clemens had suffered with Epilepsy since she was 15 years of age. Following her mother's 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.

7. The Lyon-Ashcroft Scandal
One of the most intriguing mysteries from Twain's time in Redding involves Isabel Lyon and Ralph Ashcroft. Were they plotting to steal Twain's fortune or did Clara hold a grudge against them? This continues to be debated.

8. Twain's passing at Stormfield
Because Twain's 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. He died in Redding at 6:22pm on April 21, 1910.

9. Little Known Redding Tie-ins to Redding
Did you know Mark Twain's Estate was annually settled here in Redding until 1964? Or that his last will and testament begins... "I, Samuel L. Clemens, of Redding, Connecticut..." Or that the "scottish mantel" at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford was found in Redding in the mid 1950's and returned? There's a lot of neat connections to his life via Redding.

10. Redding was Twain's Final Residence and he loved it here.

New York Times: "Do you like it here at Stormfield?"

Samuel L. Clemens: "Yes, it is the most out of the world and peaceful and tranquil and in every way satisfactory home I have had experience of in my life."

"Give me a breath of Redding air once more and this will pass."
-Twain on his final trip home to Redding in mid-April 1910

To see the full slideshow (84 slides) with photos and additional information on the list above, download my Powerpoint "Mark Twain's Redding"

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