Mark Twain’s Ancestors

I made a trip to New England in the fall of 1998, and visited the Mark Twain home and museum in Hartford, Connecticut while I was there. I’ve always liked his writing, having read and re-read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn many times as a boy, and some of his more biting works later in my life. Seeing his home, and hearing more about him as a man, and as a husband and father, inspired me to find out more about his life and his ancestry.

What follows is not a complete ancestry report on Samuel Clemens, but a beginning. I got much of the material from his biographies, but also found a lot about his ancestors in Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. Some of Twain’s ancestors were Quakers, thank goodness -- they kept such good genealogical records.

I’ve concentrated on Twain’s paternal ancestors so far, but will add more about the Lampton family as I do further research. Here is what I’ve found:

Ancestors of Mark Twain

1. Samuel Langhorne Clemens b. 30-Nov-1835, Florida, Monroe County, Missouri, m. 2-Feb-1870, in Elmira, Chemung County, New York, Olivia Louise Langdon, b. 27- Nov-1845, d. 5-Jun-1904, Florence, Italy, buried: Elmira, Chemung County, New York. Samuel died 21-Apr-1910, Redding, Fairfield County, Connecticut, buried: 24- Apr-1910, Elmira, Chemung County, New York.

Parents

2. John Marshall Clemens b. 11-Aug-1798, Campbell County, Virginia, m. 06-May- 1823, in Kentucky, Jane Lampton, b. Abt 1803, Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky, d. 27-Oct-1890, Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, buried: Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri. John died 14-Mar-1847, Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri, buried: Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri.

3. Jane Lampton b. Abt 1803, Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky, d. 27-Oct-1890, Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, buried: Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri.

Grand Parents

4. Samuel B. Clemens b. Bedford County, Virginia, m. 29-Oct-1797, in Bedford County, Virginia, Parmela Goggin, b. ??-Oct-1775, Bedford County, Virginia. Samuel died ??-___-1805, Mason County, Kentucky.

5. Parmela Goggin b. ??-Oct-1775, Bedford County, Virginia, m. (1) 29-Oct-1797, in Bedford County, Virginia, Samuel B. Clemens, b. Bedford County, Virginia, d. ??- ___-1805, Mason County, Kentucky, m. (2) 25-Mar-1809, in Adair County, Kentucky, Simon Hancock.

6. Benjamin Lampton b. ??-___-1770, Virginia, m. Abt 1800, in Clark County, Kentucky, Margaret Casey, b. Virginia.

7. Margaret Casey b. Virginia.

Great Grand Parents

10. Stephen Goggin m. 21-Dec-1773, in Bedford County, Virginia, Rachel Moorman, b. Bedford County, Virginia. Stephen died Abt ??-Oct-1801, Bedford County, Virginia.

11. Rachel Moorman b. Bedford County, Virginia.

12. William Lampton

14. William Casey

Great Great Grand Parents

20. Stephen Goggin b. Ireland, m. ---- ----. Stephen died Aft 1773.

21. ---- ----

22. Thomas Moorman b. ??-___-1708, m. Abt 1730, Rachel Clark, d. ??-___-1792. Thomas died Abt 25-Nov-1766, Bedford County, Virginia.

23. Rachel Clark d. ??-___-1792.

3rd Great Grand Parents

44. Charles Moorman b. ??-___-1690, m. Elizabeth Reynolds.

45. Elizabeth Reynolds

46. Christopher Clark d. Aft 1762.

4th Great Grand Parents

88. Thomas Moorman m. Elizabeth ----.

89. Elizabeth ----

5th Great Grand Parents

176. Zachariah Moorman


The Moormans were a prominent Quaker family in early-day Virginia, members of the South River, Cedar Creek, and Camp Creek Monthly Meetings. Stephen Goggin was said by one of the Twain biographers (Sanborn: Mark Twain, The Bachelor Years) to have been a member of the Established Church when he came to Virginia from Ireland. The Samuel B. Clemens family were said to be members of the Established Church by Rachel Varble, a biographer of Jane Lampton.

Two articles about the Clemens and Moorman families were especially helpful. They were both written by Charles O. Paullin, who is himself a relative of Mark Twain. These articles were:

I found some good information about the Clemens and Clement families in the book Cambell Chronicles and Family Sketches, Embracing the History of Campbell County, Virginia, 1782-1926 by Rugh Hairston Early (1927).

I also found a manuscript in the Seattle Public Library called Mark Twain’s Relatives, by P. O. Shelby (1969), which consists of descendant charts for some of Twain’s ancestors.

None of the sources above have any definite ancestors for Samuel B. Clemens, partly due to the loss of records in Virginia during the Civil War.


Clemens in the 1790 Virginia Census

I’ve searched the 1790 Virginia Census index, and found the following Clemens names:

STATE           COUNTY          SURNAME      NAME          COMMENTS
--------------  --------------  -----------  ------------  -----------------------------------------
Virginia        Amelia          Clement      Jno.          Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Amelia          Clement      Stephen       Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Amelia          Clements     Edmd.         Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Amelia          Clements     Isham         Heads of Families--Virginia, 1785
Virginia        Amelia          Clements     John          Heads of Families--Virginia, 1785
Virginia        Amelia          Clements     Mrs.          Heads of Families--Virginia, 1785
Virginia        Amelia          Clements     Sarah         Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Amherst         Clements     James         Heads of Families--Virginia, 1783
Virginia        Amherst         Clements     Stephen       Heads of Families--Virginia, 1785
Virginia        Amherst         Clements     William W.    Heads of Families--Virginia, 1785
Virginia        Amherst         Clements     William, Jr.  Heads of Families--Virginia, 1785
Virginia        Charlotte       Clements     Benjamin      Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Cumberland      Clements     Edward        Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Cumberland      Clements     Edward        Heads of Families--Virginia, 1784
Virginia        Fairfax         Clements     Jacob         Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Mecklenburg     Clemmonds    Edmund        Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Pittsylvania    Clements     Isaac         Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782
Virginia        Pittsylvania    Clements     Isaac         Heads of Families--Virginia, 1785
Virginia        Pittsylvania    Clements     Susannah      Heads of Families--Virginia, 1785
Virginia        Sussex          Clemons      Thomas        Heads of Families--Virginia, 1782

Note: There were no records in this index for Bedford or Campbell counties.


I've recently found an excellent source for additional information about Mark Twain's ancestry, especially for his Clemens ancestors. Here is the link to the site, maintained by the Mark Twain Museum in Hanibal, MO: http://www.marktwainmuseum.org/Genealogy.html.

This file was last updated on 3/2/2005.

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