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. 
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