The misadventures of Commander Merlin and the crew of RV-103
Saturday June 1st 2013

Elmira New York’s Most Famous Resident

Mark Twain picture taken in 1871 by famous Civil War photographer Matthew Brady

Recently, Gypsy and I traveled over to Elmira NY.  Elmira has two people who have a claim to fame, first female shuttle Commander Eileen Collins and a gentlemen named Samuel Clemmons or better known as Mark Twain.

Samuel Clemmons was born in 1835 two weeks after Halley’s Comet had made its closest approach to Earth.   During his lifetime he traveled all over the world and was a printer’s apprentice, a typesetter, river boat pilot, silver miner, author, newspaper reporter, and lecturer.
Samuel Clemmons came to Elmira after viewing the picture of a friend’s sister.  He said he fell in love at first sight.  After a year engaged, Samuel Clemmons and Olivia Langdon married in 1870.  The Langdon family was a wealthy family in Elmira and Samuel Clemmons spent many summers there in a small little study writing some of his most famous works.

The study looks like a gazebo with windows and a fireplace.  Quite smaller than I had expected, but I could understand why he liked to write there.  It had a small desk for writing and chairs for visitors.  When Clemmons used the study, it was situated on a hilltop, but since then has been moved to the grounds of Elmira College.

List of books written by Mark Twain at this study.

Afterwards, we went to his gravesite at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira.  Samuel Clemmons was buried in his wife’s family plot.  He said of his impending death as he got older, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.” He got his wish and died the next year in 1910 one day after Halley’s Comet’s closest approach.

There is a simple headstone marking his grave beside his wife and a 12 foot monument is nearby with his name and likeness on it.  Someone had left a pumpkin with a penny on it for some unknown reason at his headstone.

Overall, it was a nice and educational day.

More from category

11-22 to 11-24-2010 Re-entry Back to Florida and the End of Mission #3

Day One Early Monday morning we packed up and started the long trip back home.  With the tank already filled and the [Read More]

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November.

No, we are not celebrating Guy Fawkes day or watching a rerun of the movie Vendetta.  We are instead celebrating the [Read More]

STS 133 Discovery’s Final Rollout

Monday evening I turned on NASA TV and watched Discovery (OV-103) do her very last rollout to Launch Complex 39 A.  As [Read More]

Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center

On September 18th, the RV-103 Lecture Series appeared for the open house at the Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center [Read More]