Hidden Landmarks: Mark Twain Grave

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – It’s no secret that Mark Twain had a major cultural impact in the Twin Tiers.

Better known as Samuel Clemens, the sheer amount of history at the gravesite is huge, covering generations of people from two families. Those respective families are the Clemen’s as well as the Langdon’s.

These famed families are buried at Woodlawn National Cemetery.

Langdon Clemens died of diphtheria on June 2‚ 1872‚ at the age of only 19 months and Olivia Susan Clemens died August 18‚ 1896.

Jane Lampton Clemens died of an apparent heart attack‚ the result of a seizure‚ on Christmas Eve‚ 1909.

Clara Langdon Clemens passed away November 19‚ 1962‚ at the age of 88.

Samuel Clemens born November 30 1835 – died April 21st 1910.

The monument placed here by Samuel Clemens daughter Clara in 1937. The monument was created to honor her father (Samuel Clemens) and her husband, classical musician Ossip Gabrilowitsch who died from stomach cancer on September 14, 1936.

The monument was designed by Ernfred Anderson – this, by the way, was the second proposed design. You can see a model of the first at the Chemung County Historical Society museum.

Erfred Anderson, born in Sweden, was an Elmira local – but The monument was actually built by a monument company in Quincy Mass by Emanuel Settimelli & S

Finally, it was installed by Edward J. Northrup – who originally owned the monument company on 1110 Walnut Street in Elmira.

Traditionally, when anyone talks about the monument, they are quick to talk about the fact that it is exactly twelve feet high. This measurement being important and fitting as twelve feet is a measurement used as the minimum safe depth to pilot a steamboat through shallow water on the Mississippi River. This measurement would have been taken with a rope with a heavy lead sinker on it, and the line had a series of knots to reveal depth.

Samuel Clemens’ heart lies here, the place on earth that had the largest influence on who he ultimately became as a writer, a husband, a father and a man. It is here in Elmira he met the love of his life, where he married into a family so strongly ensconced in the abolitionist movement, and it was here that he wrote his greatest works of literature.

But only Elmira New York has a monument that will call out Mark Twain for years to come.

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