Qualls-Quarles-L ArchivesArchiver > Qualls-Quarles > 1998-11 > 0910002730
From: "The Milam's" <>
Subject: More on John Quarles, Samuel Clements' (Clemens') Uncle
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 02:32:10 -0800
"Summers were spent on the farm of his uncle John Quarles, who was
married to his mother's youngest sister. The farm , which was four
miles from Florida was a fascinating place of woods and prairie that
offered a welcome respite for both mother and child. 'It was a heavenly
place for a boy,' Samuel would remember.
For three months, he could enjoy himself, and his mother could rest
while other people worried about what he was up to.
John Quarles also owned about a dozen slaves, all but one or two of them
members of the same family, and Sam spent much of his time with them.
'All the negroes were friends of ours', he said, 'and with those of our
own age we were ... comrades. and yet not comrades; color and condition
interposed a subtle line which both parties were conscious of and which
rendered fusion impossible.'
It was on his Uncle John's farm that Sam learned of the African-American
stories and folklore that would become such an important part of
Huckleberry Finn and other stories.
One of his more powerful memories of those summers was of "Uncle
Daniel," the head of the slave family.
It was from this middle-aged black man that Sam first heard 'The Golden
Arm,' a ghost story he later made famous by telling it to audiences
around the world.
'I can see the black and white children grouped on the hearth...,' he
recalled. 'We would huddle close about the old man, & begin to shudder
... & under the spell of his impressive delivery we always fell prey to
that climax at the end when the rigid black shape in the twilight sprang
at us with a shout.'
Daniel who also possessed the patience, friendliness, and loyalty Twain
would attribute over forty years later to the escaping slave, Jim, in
Huckleberry Finn. "Mark Twain (A biography I bought for my kids last
month through the Scholastic book orders that come from school) by
This children's book references Mark Twain's Notebooks, Journal and
letters compiled in several volumes by different groups of scholars.
The first author noted in each of the three different publications are
Frederick Anderson, Robert Pack Browning and Edgar Marques Branch, all
are published by Berkeley, University of California Press, published at
various dates in the 1970 and 1980s. Another of the many references
listed include an autobiography published in 1912 compiled by Albert
Bigelow Paine and an autobiography compiled in 1959 by Charles Neider.
These may list more direct sources of information. What I have sent to
the list is just from a couple of books I found around the house.
All the best
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