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John Marshall Clemens (1798 - 1847)

John Marshall Clemens
Born in Campbell County, Virginia, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 6 May 1823 in Columbia, Adair County, Kentuckymap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 48 in Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 6 Jan 2009
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Judge John Marshall Clemens, father of Mark Twain, was born in Virginia and trained as a lawyer by 1822. He was married to Jane Lampton and they had seven children.

John worked as the city clerk in Jamestown, Tennessee after marriage to Jane Lampton in 1823. By 1835, he and the family moved to Florida, Missouri.

He ran a dry good store and was a property owner in Missouri.

Physically, John was a tall man, he had become thin and unusually pale; he looked older than his years. Every spring he suffered with what was called "sunpain," an acute form of headache, nerve-racking and painful experience.

In 1839, the family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, John thought being along the river would improve his dry goods store business. The store was on Main Street. He served as justice of the peace in Hannibal and served on a circuit court jury. The family’s home was on 206 Hill Street.

John tried to establish a library and an educational institute in Hannibal. He was part of the supporters for a railroad line from Hannibal to St. Joseph. John was thought of as “conscientious magistrate and a man of unusually good sense”. “He was quick to act and generally was in the right.”

With poor economic conditions in 1846, John moved the family to an upstairs place above Orville Grant’s Drug Store in Hannibal. During a re-election campaign for justice of the peace, in the winter of 1847, John rode his horse during a storm and came down with pneumonia. John M. Clemens died of pneumonia on March 24, 1847, his son Samuel (Mark Twain) was age 11. John was age 49. John's early death may have caused great emotional trauma to the boy.

He is interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hannibal, Missouri. [1]


"John [and his wife] lived in Gainesboro, Jackson County, TN for a time, ....and resided in a house that stood on the vacant lot on the southwest corner of the public square.... Honorable George H. Morgan, who once lived in Gainesboro, ...addressed a note of inquiry to [John's son Samuel (aka Mark Twain) - to ask if Samuel had been born in Gainesboro] to which he received the... facetious reply: "'According to the best information I can get, I suppose I first saw light of day at Fayetteville, MO. It was before my recollections. I might as well been born in Fentress County, or Gainesboro, Tennessee, my parents having resided there a short time before I became an American Citizen. I had no choice in the matter, however, and know nothing about it, except from family traditions.' "John Clemons... kept the first open Hotel in Gainesboro. It stood near the jail, on the North side of lots that Dixon and Stafford's law office stands on, and where Eaton's feed stable once stood.... The tavern, as public houses were then called, was built of logs.... The situation of the town when located was in an unbroken forest." [2]


  1. Find A Grave, database and images (accessed 9 September 2019), memorial page for John Marshall Clemens (11 Aug 1798–24 Mar 1847), Find A Grave: Memorial #21749, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8).
  2. History of Jackson County Volume I Sketches From Yesterday Gainesboro, Tennessee, by Kimberly Lee Young, appears to be self-published circa 1936, page 10.

See also:

  • John_Marshall_Clemens Wikipedia entry
  • From Pennsylvania to Waterloo - A Geographical History of Waterloo County.

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Clemens-1212 and Clemens-2 appear to represent the same person because: same dates, wife attached to Clemens-2 is named in the biography on Clemens-1212
posted by Robin Lee
He married Jane Lampton on May 6, 1823, in Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky.[3] He moved to Fentress County, Tennessee, where he practiced law, operated a general store, and served as a county commissioner, county clerk, and acting attorney general. From 1832 to 1835 he was postmaster in Pall Mall.[2] He speculated unsuccessfully in land and opened four stores which were unsuccessful.

2. Oliver and Goldena Howard (1993), The Mark Twain encyclopedia, pp. 153–4

3."Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images,

posted by Cheryl (Stone) Caudill
Clemens-2 and Clemens-1391 appear to represent the same person because: appear to be the same
posted by Sandy Culver
Clemens-1323 and Clemens-2 appear to represent the same person because: Appear to be the same person.
posted by Deena (Smith) Cross
Clemens-1323 and Clemens-2 appear to represent the same person because: Appear to be the same person.
posted by Deena (Smith) Cross
Clemens-1323 and Clemens-2 appear to represent the same person because: Appear to be the same person.
posted by Deena (Smith) Cross
Clemens-1323 and Clemens-2 appear to represent the same person because: Appear to be the same person.
posted by Deena (Smith) Cross
Clemens-1323 and Clemens-2 appear to represent the same person because: Appear to be the same person.
posted by Deena (Smith) Cross
Clemens-195 and Clemens-2 appear to represent the same person because: These appear to be aligned and recent proposed merges will move these duplicates along.
posted by Sandy Culver
Clemens-2 and Clemens-147 appear to represent the same person because: It appears that Clemens-2 is the LNAB.
posted by Sandy Culver

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