June 18, 1908 April 21, 1910
My Top Ten Reasons Twain’s time in Redding is of Importance… 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.
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 Queen’s 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.”-Twain’s recap of the event
Stormfield A personal favorite as it shows Stormfield and the Library
Hannibal Public Library Twain’s father was one of the founders of this library and that may have played in a role in Twain’s wishes to found a public library for Redding. Note the fireplace framed by the windows with the portrait in the center.
Twain’s 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 Twain’s time in Redding is of Importance… Clara’s Wedding & Nina’s Birth Clara was the only of Twain’s 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.
Sam Bride and groom leave in style
My Top Ten Reasons Twain’s time in Redding is of Importance… Albert Bigelow Paine and Twain’s 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 Twain’s pages & manuscripts.
My Top Ten Reasons Twain’s time in Redding is of Importance… Twain put Redding on the Map Many of Twain’s 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.)”
Dan Beard Beard had illustrated a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court for Twain and lived just down the hill from Twain on Great Pasture Rd.
There were unwelcome “Guests” as well…
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." 12 midnight Burglary, 7:30am Captured, 9:00am Arraigned, 12 noon Off-to-Jail That’s swift justice…moral of the story? Don’t mess with Twain!
My Top Ten Reasons Twain’s time in Redding is of Importance… 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.
160+/- Acres of Open Space
My Top Ten Reasons Twain’s time in Redding is of Importance… 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.
Jean Comes Home On April 26th 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 library’s 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 Twain’s time in Redding is of Importance… 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 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. R.A. I.L.
Hubris…the root of all downfalls Ralph Ashcroft made three mistakes. He challenged Clara. Before he left for England, Clara suggested to him that an objective person review her father’s books. He replied: “Are you sure you want to, since it will reveal your expenditures?” He bragged about his power of attorney.“I can sell his house, over his head, for a thousand dollars, whenever I want to!” 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 Clara’s 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 Father’s face was pitiful to behold” Clara wrote.