Ed & Marilyn 'The Happy Wanderers' travel blog


Today, I will continue to write more of the history of the Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal, Missouri.

1876 was a fascinating year in the history of our nation.

Several important events took place that year, which played a part in the history of the cave.

Our nation was celebrating it’s 100 year anniversary with a huge Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, PA, around the 4th of July.

Many folks heard the news of the Battle at the Little Big Horn around that same time. They were shocked that General George Armstrong Custer and so many men of the 7th U.S. Cavalry had died at what they called “The Custer Massacre”.

Of course General Custer attacked a large village of Indians, camped along the Little Big Horn River in Montana, on June 25th. The Indians, defending themselves, fought fiercely to protect their families and themselves. The soldiers were outnumbered and outfought on that day, and the news of that disaster was just reaching the people back east.

That same year, on August 2nd, James Butler Hickok, known as “Wild Bill” was shot and killed in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory (Now South Dakota).

Later that year, in September, Frank and Jesse James and their gang tried to rob a bank in Northfield, MN. The three Younger brothers were all shot, wounded, captured and sent to Prison, All the other members of the gang were killed, except for Frank and Jesse James, who escaped.

They made their way to Nashville, TN, where they lived under assumed names. Jesse, however returned to his hometown area near Kearney, Missouri, in September, 1879. He, along with members of the new gang he had put together, robbed a train on October 8th.

I should mention that he visited the Mark Twain Cave on September 22, 1879, but I am getting ahead of myself.

You can learn more about Jesse James and his visit to the cave when you join us for a tour.

Several new inventions were displayed at the exposition in 1876, including the telephone and the typewriter.

Some people say that the first book written using a typewriter was Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Tom Sawyer“, which was published that year.

Because of the popularity of that book, more and more people began coming to Hannibal to see the places where “Tom”, “Becky”, “Huck Finn” and “Injun Joe” lived, and the cave where Tom and Becky became lost.

Finally, in 1886, a gentleman named John East, began leading tours of the cave. He dug another entrance into the hillside and discovered two passage ways. You may see this entrance from the parking lot today, although neither it nor the “Discovery” entrance are used to enter or exit the cave.

There is much more of interest in the cave, and I do hope you will take your family to see this fascinating place sometime.

Because I write this journal primarily for RV folks, you should know that there is a campground on the same property as the cave.

You can walk from your RV to the gift shop, take a tour of the cave and return to your RV.

They now have a wine shop, rock shop, candle shop, and several other attractions on the premises.

The trolley makes a stop right in front of the gift shop, so you can simply walk from your RV to the gift shop and board the trolley for a tour of the Historic District in downtown Hannibal, and then be dropped off back at the campground.

I have posted many pictures of the campground and the cave in this journal, over the past years.

I hope you enjoyed reading some of the history associated with the cave.

I enjoy leading tours when we are back there and I hope to meet some of you while I am “earning my keep”.

Have a great day, folks.

Remember……Life is Good!



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