Mark Twain Spring, Jamestown, Tennessee
Mark Twain Spring, Jamestown, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Right in the heart of Jamestown, Tennessee lies a small freshwater spring that was once the water source for a very notable family. John and Jane Clemens, who would go on to be the parents of one of America’s most famous authors, lived in present-day Jamestown for several years. During their time in the area, the family operated several businesses, served in political positions and raised their children.

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Before Jamestown, Tennessee had been officially incorporated, the area was actually called Sandy Springs. It was granted this name due to the freshwater springs that were natural to the area.

Portrait of Jane Lampton Clemens
Portrait of Jane Lampton Clemens c. 1850 | Photo Credit: University of Virginia Library – Public Domain

In 1827, John Marshall Clemens and his wife Jane Lampton Clemens moved to the area. It was here that they built a homestead and raised several of their children that were born in Jamestown.

John Clemens was very involved in the community. During his time here, he served as a Fentress County Commissioner, County Clerk, and Acting Attorney General. He also operated his own law practice, and ran a general store. The family moved from the Jamestown area in 1832 to nearby Pall Mall where John was the Postmaster for three years.

Many of John’s businesses did not prove to be successful, which ultimately led to the family moving in the spring of 1835 to Missouri, where their son Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, would be born on November 30, 1835.

Plan Your Visit

While the cabin that the Clemens’ lived in during their time in present-day Jamestown has been moved to the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee, the natural spring where they would have gathered water for their family is located right in downtown. The land today is called Mark Twain Park and there is a small fence around the natural spring. A plaque marks the site and tells a short overview of why the spring was so significant.

Mark Twain Park is located at 112 S Main Street in downtown Jamestown, Tennessee.

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