Bell Anthology - Mark Twain

The Raymond M. Bell Anthology



Mark Twain and Washington County
It has been long known that Mark Twain was related to the Clemens family of Buffalo Township, Washington County. Only recently has the exact relationship been determined. A letter found in Missouri, written in 1811, indicates that Mark Twain's great-grandfather, Jeremiah Clemens, was a brother of James Clemens, who settled in Buffalo Township in 1774. James and Jeremiah were sons of Ezekiel Clemens who was born at Salisbury, Massachussetts in 1696, moved to Pennsylvania 1701, to New Jersey about 1725, likely to Virginia in 1765, where he died about 1778. James was in Loudon County, Virginia in 1757. He died in Washington County in 1795. Jeremiah died in Amherst County, Virginia November 17- 1811. The chart below shows some of the connections. It does not list all the branches.

     				   |Ezekiel living S C 1809
     				   |Gershom d 1839 Ky
     		  |Jeremiah	  |James living 1811	
     		  |  b NJ d VA |Samuel d 1805 W Va 	  	  | John M  father of
     		  |		   |Mahlon living Va 1811	   |   Mark Twain
     Ezekiel	 |							   | (Samuel L Clemens)
      b Mass d Va  |
     		  |		   | Jeremiah d 1826 Ky
     		  |		   |William d 1849 Pa		  | John C buried
     		  |		   |Abraham d 1841		   |  Wash. cemetery
     		  |James	  |John d 1814 Pa
     		  | b NJ d Pa  | James d 1861 Ala
     		  		   | Ezekiel living 1812
     

Ezekiel's great-grandfather was Robert Clements, a founder of Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1642. Robert's great-grandfather died in Crofts, Leicestershire, England in 1571. A number of interesting events are related to Ezekiel: his father as a child was captured by Spaniards on a trip to England; his mother's father was imprisoned in the tower of London in 1687; his greataunt was imprisoned for witchcraft in Salem, Massachussetts; his second cousin's son was First Earl of Leitrim in Ireland; his father's Fawne inheretance was lost in the 1666 London fire.

Another Clemens family (German in origin) lived in Donegal Township. Adam, who died 1824, had sons: John, Nicholas, David, George, Abraham and Adam.

This article was transcribed by Cherie Atkinson Clark of Kirkwood, MO in May 1998.


Raymond M. Bell Anthology     Genealogy in Washington Co., PA

Published with permission of Raymond M. Bell.