Hannibal does final honor to great son and former citizen
4-26-10

Mark Twain Memorial Services Bring Interesting Tributes From Old Friends and Students of His Work



Hannibal's simple tribute to Mark Twain, a tribute of song and of loving words from old friends and honor from school children, was rendered yesterday afternoon at the Presbyterian church. There were no formal ceremonies. It was an outpouring of sincere love and appreciation such as Sam Clemens would have liked best had he chanced, like Tom Sawyer and his pirate gang to walk down the aisles of the church. The church was crowded, but there were no idly curious. The audience was composed of gray haired men and women and their grown children, many of whom had known Sam Clemens in the olden days, and of school children who will long treasure their impressions and programs from the services when the city honored its illustrious citizen.

The programs themselves were unique and, in a measure, characteristic as intended. The front bore the announcement and a small picture of Mark Twain and on the inner fold, by way of preface, was a quotation from his writings, "Let us endeavor to so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." Then followed the program and on the back page the list of the Commercial club Memorial committee.

The church was filled with palms which were banked at the front but there were no flowers. In front of the pulpit stood a large picture of the great, humorist draped in white. School children met at the Federal building after school had been dismissed at an early hour, and Superintendent McCartney himself led the column of young people that filed in the south door of the church, down past the pulpit and out on the Center street side. For a quarter of an hour the school children passed and (text missing) gazed upon the portrait of the writer who had pictured the Missouri school child so admirably that their trials and joys can never be forgotten.

The services were opened with song by the (text missing) consisting of J. Glenn Lee, Mrs. Willard Gibbs, Miss Glady's Keeper and Joe Lake, who sang "Lead Kindly Light," a song Sam Clemens loved as long ago as the Hannibal days. The invocation was by Rev. W. C. busby who referred to the infinite goodness and mercy of the almighty, of the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death and gave thanks for the hope of Heaven. He offered thanks for the gifts with which Mark Twain had been endowed and for the fame that had come to him, fame so great that men and women (text missing) world around were grieved to know of his death. He have thanks for the high character of the humorist's writings and prayed that the services might do honor to his memory and lift up the thought and emotions of the audience.



Dr. C. B. Boving.


Place In Fame Assured.

Dr. C. B. Boving who presided over the meeting was the first speaker. After reading the quotation on the program he said:

"To have touched the life of a whole town even to the undertaker, who is somewhat comforted by the reward of his undertaking, will grieve at his death, is an achievement. To have so lived that ten cities will contend for the honor of having produced or developed a man is a worthy distinction. To have mad a state-wide or nation-wide reputation, in which every citizen takes a delight, is more than a gratification to vanity: it is a satisfaction to noble ambitions. But to have brought the whole round world under obligation and to live to have that debt not only recognized, but partly paid in appreciation and universal public applause, is one of the greatest attainments that this earthly life can afford. There is no quicker and surer way to fame than by literary success. (text missing) any that takes longer lease of a (text missing) in the Hall of Fame. Perhaps this is accounted for by the almost earthly omnipresence of the printed page. A literary man thus touches not only his fellow citizens, his compatriots, his contemporaries of all nations, but those of many generations yet unborn.

He compared the humorist's character with that of napoleon and said the former had much to his credit with no such debit of blood as Napoleon had caused. "To those whose horizon is not the limited on of death," said the speaker, "and who have gained God's viewpoint and can judge in the light of eternal interests, happiness is after all, the 'highest good.' Any man, then, who had added to the happiness of the world, as did Dr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who will always be 'Mark Twain' to us and to most of the world, deserves all the grateful things that are being said of him now, as well as the numerous floral tributes of fragrance in life and which waited not to waste their sweetness over the tired and coffined form of the world's chief funmaker."

He termed him a reformer as well as humorist and found in his writings respect for God's word, God's house, and god's people and, at least, the indirect influence of Jesus Christ, and concluded with, "We believe we have ample grounds today as we mourn the departure of Hannibal's most distinguished citizen in all the near-a-century of its history, to be confident that for him to be 'absent from the body' is to be eternally 'at home with his Lord,' there to meet the loved ones whose bodies lie on the hilltop south of town in Mount Olive, our beautiful city of the dead, and to walk with them in the 'whit' that he so much loved. In this confidence we rest and having consigned on yesterday all that is mortal of Mark Twain to the dust whence it cam, we commit his great soul to the keeping and judgment of a God whom he served not flawlessly but so well."



Col. J. l. RoBards.


"Smiles and Tears"

Following another number by the choir, "Hear O Father," came the address of Col. John L. RoBards, the old life-long friend of Mr. Clemens and one of the three men from whom the character of Tom Sawyer was drawn. He deemed the occasion one for both smiles and tears, smiles that the dead humorist had left such a memory and such legacy of good deeds.

"Smiles to one who scattered sunshine of life, the wine of life, not here alone, not alone in imperial Missouri, his birth state, not alone in the United State, but throughout the world. Perhaps no one lives now or has ever lived who is better known to the people, the common people whose chief joy is in having something that in the heart may bless them. So we come today to do homage to his memory. I am glad of this ovation, for it shows that man's nature is responsive to good. That where a man is entitled by virtue, not alone of his works, because they may be empty, but because of his deeds, that fellow citizens appreciate the character of the man who has so blessed them, and in holding this great ovation to his memory it recalls that on a similar occasion he was here himself, in person, whom the remains of his beloved mother were brought here into this auditorium and her old friends assembled here in the church of her choice, where she used to worship, not in this very building, but in the church of her faith."

(rest of text missing)








All contents © Copyright The Hannibal Courier-Post and GateHouse Media, Inc.
Contact us. | Privacy Policy.