Monday September 11, 2023 Hannibal, Missouri

Tom Sawyer’s Home
Becky Thatcher’s Home
Hannibal’s Main Street
Trinity Episcopal Church
Trinity Episcopal Church
Trinity Episcopal Stained Glass Window
One of Hannibal’s Homes
Mark Twain Statue
Jeff Hutson our Cruise Director Singing Candyman in a Candy Covered Jacket

Hannibal, with a population of about 18,000 inhabitants, is located about 100 miles northwest of St. Louis and 100 miles west of Springfield, Illinois. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, early European settlements were established in the area by ethnic French colonists, some from Illinois, who largely spoke French and were Roman Catholics. Molly Brown, the survivor of the Titanic, was a distant relative of Mark Twain’s and was a widow of a rich mine owner. Hannibal was home to this river community and is best known as the boyhood home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, (1835-1910). Twain drew from his childhood settings for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The weather on this day was cooler although a bit drizzly in the morning and much more humid than it had been previously. We visited Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home and Museum where we learned about the Hannibal of Samuel Clemens’s childhood and explored the stories created through the powerful imagination of American icon, Mark Twain. There was an Interpretive Center where we explored interactive exhibits highlighting the stories and life of Samuel Clemens. We then visited Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home to see the home where Clemens was raised between 1844 and 1853, and where the adventures of Tom Sawyer took place. Next, was the original museum built in 1937 and now houses a gift shop offering Twain’s books. Another building was the Huckleberry Finn House – The childhood home of Tom Blankenship, the model for Huck Finn along with the Becky Thatcher House – The home of Laura Hawkins, the inspiration for Becky. The next stop was J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office – The location where Sam’s father held court. Lastly there is The Mark Twain Museum Gallery, a lovely two-story building featuring interactive exhibits, the Norman Rockwell Gallery and treasured Clemens family artifacts.
Our next stop was at the Trinity Episcopal Church where for more than 150 years, the Sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church, designed by architect Joseph A. Miller, has stood the test of time. With an interior consisting of a deeply arched heavy wooden beamed ceiling, beautiful bronze lanterns and side wall lamps, an impressive pipe organ and 18 illustriously conceived stained-glass windows, Trinity Church is truly a historic marvel. As you step into the church, you are immediately transported back in time. Early church members commissioned well-known artists to design the Sanctuary’s beautiful stained-glass windows. With signature designs by Charles Booth, Emil Frei, Jr. and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Glass Company, these windows are truly remarkable in their diverse artistic style, thematic construction and conceptual execution.
We visited the Hannibal History Museum with its wide variety of artifacts, photos and memorabilia from times gone by. Exhibits included items on the Civil War, the Steamboat Era, the local lumber barons, the Industrial Revolution, local architecture, historical figures and more.
Early in the afternoon we set sail for our next stop in St. Louis, Missouri. Kent rested in the cabin while Mark worked on a 2,000-piece puzzle in the card room with several other guests.
The evening’s entertainment was a one man show by our cruise director, Jeff Hutson. He changed his jacket with every song and all of the jackets were sequined and ready for Vegas. Jeff has a wonderful voice from his 50-year career of performing in television shows to Broadway and Las Vegas as a headliner at the Stardust Hotel in “Enter the Night.”