John Clemens (Mark Twain's Father) Dies
When Twain was four, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a port town on the Mississippi River that served as the inspiration for the fictional town of St. Petersburg in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
At that time, Missouri was a slave state, and young Twain became familiar with the institution of slavery, a theme he would later explore in his writing.
In March 1847, when Twain was 11, his father died of pneumonia
Death of Twain's Father
Samuel's father John Clemens dies, forcing the family into financial hardship.
While walking along the streets of Hannibal one day in 1845, Samuel watched in horror as a man dies after being shot by a Hannibal merchant named William Owsley, who was arrested and later acquitted of all charges. Having financial problems, the Clemens family takes in paying guests for meals, then is forced to sell off their furniture to pay their bills, and finally moves in with a pharmacist named Orville Grant who exchanges meals for rent. On March 24, 1847, Samuel’s father John died of pneumonia and by sneaking around, Samuel watched through a keyhole as Dr. Meredith performed a postmortem examination.