Thursday, April 21, 2011

Uncle Jim

I had the privilege to attend a funeral recently, the burial held in the same cemetery where many of my kin are buried. It felt odd. I hadn't been there in over 40 years then twice in a month.

Last time I was there I liberated a brochure which included a map of where local notables were buried and highlights of the grounds. Amongst the finery is an art glass door on a mausoleum. The glass is from the private chapel of James Clemens Jr, of Saint Louis.

The chapel today

Clemens' door

Clemens was uncle to a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. Those who recognize the name, may recall that the pilot served on the steamship Pennsylvania, and had set his younger brother Henry up as a mud clerk (apprentice) on the same boat. An altercation with the captain led the older brother to leave the boat while in New Orleans. The younger stayed on, with the two brothers planning to meet at their uncle Jim's house (ostensibly to worship in his private chapel).
Uncle Jim's house, chapel is on the right

While on its return to St. Louis, the Pennsylvania exploded, killing Henry. An event his brother blamed himself and for which he never forgave himself.

On this date in 1910 James Clemens Jr. of St. Louis would have received news his nephew, former river boat pilot, Samuel L. Clemens of Redding, Connecticut had died.

Of course we know him better as Mark Twain, the original Man in White.



Lou said...

Ratfinks! I was happily reading and laughing like a drain... (or some such phrase - do drain's laugh?) Anyhoo I digress... I was reading the post about an English Lord, a self described 'shallow man.' The Carmen Opera description was hilarious but then my 'puter had a hissy fit and I lost the post. Please could you send me the linky. 'Fanks.

Toad said...

My first thought is to wonder if Lou has the right place, then I thought I'd ask. I can't remember that post at all. Anyone have any context? I'd be happy to look.

Karena said...

Fascinating account and the images are wonderful Toad Thank you !

Art by Karena

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Toad said...

Lou: perhaps here

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