John W. Mounce of this city, the junior of Mark Twain by six months and born in the same town as the famous man of letters, has a store of anecdotes regarding him. None is more interesting than the story of how, when a youngster, the humorist was overlooked by his parents when they moved to Hannibal and left alone in the deserted house. Said Mr. Mounce:
"Mark Twain and myself were born in the same town. He first saw the light of day six months before my birth.
"We were born in Florida, Mo., in 1835 and 1836 respectively. John M. Clemens, Mark's father, came from Tennessee to Florida in 1830 and my father, Samuel Mounce, from Kentucky in the same year.
"Mark was a youngster three years old when the family moved to Hannibal. The Clemens family was a large one and in the bustle and excitement of moving, Mark was overlooked and left contentedly making mud pies beside the chimney corner of the deserted house.
"Charles Yeakey, a neighbor after the wagons had disappeared in the dust, chanced to ride by the house and dismounting to see if anything had been left, was astonished to find a diminutive individual industriously dabbling with some sticky pies.
"Yeakey picked up the baby, set him upon the saddle in front of him and galloped ahead to the moving wagons where he returned the youngster to the unconcerned parents.
"This story was told me by Yeakey in our store at Paris shortly after Mark wrote 'Innocents Abroad.' Yeakey said at the time that he never dreamed the baby he picked up would (text missing) such fame in the field of letters.
"An inscription upon the stone slab read: 'Benjamin Lampton, soldier of the Revolutionary war.' In addition to the dates of birth and death there is a verse which runs:
'Soldier rest, thy warfare (text missing)
Sleep the sleep that knows no waking.
"I memorized this verse from the tombstone when I was a lad.
"Mark has a first cousin at Palmyra, Mrs. Tabitha (Quaries) Greening."