Jane Lampton House

Historical Marker #128 in Columbia notes the location of the girlhood home of Jane Lampton Clemens, the mother of Samuel Clemens, popularly known as the writer Mark Twain.

Jane Lampton was born in Adair County in 1803 to Benjamin and Margaret Casey Lampton. Her maternal grandfather was William Casey, an early Kentucky pioneer and the namesake of neighboring Casey County. Jane married John Clemens in 1823, allegedly to spite a former suitor. After moving to Tennessee, where the couple had five children, the family eventually moved to Missouri, where, in 1839, they settled in Hannibal. Jane was widowed eight years later.

In the years after John’s death, Jane moved around, living with her surviving children. After her son Samuel married, Jane lived with her daughter, Pamela, who resided near Samuel in northern New York. She later moved to Iowa to live with her son, Orion. There, in 1890, she passed away. She was buried in Hannibal, Missouri.

Although separated from his mother for many years during his adult life, Samuel continued to correspond with his mother. He also fondly recalled childhood memories of her. Samuel said that his mother figured into several of the characters, including "Aunt Polly" in his famous "Tom Sawyer." Jane often commented that her famous son was her most difficult child to raise. According to his mother's descriptions, Samuel must have modeled both Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn after his own personality; for she said he was always adventurous and resisted any type of confinement.

Today, Jane Lampton’s legacy continues as the namesake of the Columbia chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the highway marker that notes the location of her girlhood home.