Category Archives: In the News

Clemens contribution


HANNIBAL, MO (Hannibal Courier-Post)

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Sleeping in Twain’s Room


HANNIBAL, MO (Hannibal Courier-Post)

via AOL VIDEO (UK) — Now on Youtube…

To visit Danny’s written piece from the Hannibal Courier-Post CLICK HERE

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Twilight with Twain


Couldn’t believe and still cannot believe the chance I was given to sleep over in the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. Many thanks to the Town of Hannibal — ‘America’s Hometown’ — along with all of the wonderful people I was able to meet. Here’s the full report of my rather magical Twilight with Twain.


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Modern day Huck Finn staying in Mark Twain Boyhood Home

HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) — A national journalist is being called a modern day Huck Finn as he canoes the Mississippi River and blogs about the experience.

But it’s not just Neal Moore’s mode of travel that tie him to Mark Twain — Monday night the citizen journalist will sleep in the Mark Twain Boyhood Home.

Moore will be just the second person to stay the night in the boyhood home in nearly 100 years.

He says it’s a huge honor and he’s looking forward to the unique experience.

“To actually be there in the spot where the story was, the inspiration for stories of ‘Tom Swayer’ and ‘Huckaberry Finn’ with this trip down the river via canoe, it just all comes together and I couldn’t be happier,” says Moore.

Moore’s blog is frequently linked on CNN’s website, and he’s written numerous stories about America’s Hometown.


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Modern day ‘Huck’ sleeps in Twain’s bedroom


HANNIBAL, MO (Hannibal Courier-Post)

Neal CourierThere are countless reasons for not getting a good night’s sleep. In Neal Moore’s case, excitement over where he was allowed to spend Monday night likely kept him from getting much shut eye. Moore, a citizen journalist with CNN, was given the rare opportunity to spend the night in Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home in downtown Hannibal.
“I’ll be shocked if he sleeps one wink. I’d be too excited,” said Dr. Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, noting that Moore was going to bed down in the same room that a young Samuel Clemens had once called his own. “I don’t know if I could fall asleep in that room.”
Asked Monday afternoon if he thought he’d get much sleep, Moore wasn’t making any predictions.
“I’m not sure about that. I might actually try to sneak out and see what sites I can see around town, but we’ll see,” he said with a smile.
Since George Mahan purchased and saved the house from being demolished in 1912, only one other person has been allowed to spend the night in the boyhood home. According to museum curator Henry Sweets, George Seybolt, then-CEO of the William Underwood Company and a Mark Twain fan, slept there on a mattress filled with cornhusks in the late 1960s.
“It’s the dream of every boy and tomboy I guess you could say for the last 100 years. To have the chance to be the second person in 97 years is just a very humbling experience,” said Moore of spending the night in the boyhood home. “It’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me I think by far in my life.”
Allowing Moore, who will be making his way down the Mississippi River via canoe over the next few months, to spend the night in the historic site was not a difficult decision.
“Where are we going to get a modern day Huckleberry Finn like this, doing what he’s doing, taking the citizen journalist approach?” asked Lovell. “You think of how Mark Twain started out as nobody famous. He was a regular reporter like everybody else, so the tie-ins are there with him (Moore) being a reporter and with him being on the river. It just felt right. He (Moore) is a really nice guy, really sincere and looking for positive which is so unusual in today’s world.”
One of the positive stories that Moore has been following during his brief stay in Hannibal is the museum’s “10 by 10” endowment fund-raiser campaign, which has as its goal raising $10 million by the end of 2010. To achieve that goal, one million Twain fans around the world are being asked to donate $10 each.
“He’s out there telling our story,” said Lovell. “It just kind of went together with what we’re trying to do involving grassroots people. He’s definitely a grassroots kind of person.”
The museum will officially launch the “10 by 10” campaign on Saturday, Oct. 10, when all $10 donors are invited to sign their name on the famous whitewashed fence. Moore will make a $10 donation and be among the first to sign the fence, according to Lovell.

Photo by Danny Henley.  Go to the Hannibal Courier Post HERE


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Modern Day “Huck” to Sleep in Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home Tonight!

Release:            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Date:                   September 21, 2009

Time:                  7:00 pm

Location:          Mark Twain Boyhood Home, 208 Hill St., Hannibal, MO

Contact:            Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

Ryan J. Murray, Marketing and Community Relations Manager

120 North Main St.

Hannibal, MO 63401


Phone:            (573) 221-9010, ext. 404; Cell: 573-228-1222

Fax:                (573) 221-5109

Modern Day “Huck” to Sleep in Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home Tonight

Mark Twain died in 1910.  His boyhood home was to be demolished in 1911.  Benefactor George Mahan purchased and saved the house in 1912.  And only one person has slept inside the home since that time.  Until now.

Citizen journalist Neal Moore is traversing the Mississippi River by canoe searching for stories of communities that are coming together for a greater good.  He recently came ashore in Sam Clemens’s Hannibal, also known as “America’s Hometown” where he learned of several community endeavors that were exactly what he was searching for.  And tonight, his last in Hannibal, will be spent in Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home sleeping in the very room where young Sam Clemens famously slept.

“The only other person to sleep in the Boyhood Home was George Seybolt,” said curator Henry Sweets.  In the late 1960s Seybolt was the CEO for the William Underwood Company and selected Hannibal as the location for a new plant, which we know today as General Mills.  “Seybolt had a lifelong fondness for Mark Twain,” Sweets explained.    “He inquired if it would be possible to spend a night sleeping in the Mark Twain Boyhood Home.  The arrangements were made, and Seybolt slept on a mattress filled with cornhusks.  The next morning he left a check in the amount of $500 on the pillow as a thank you to the Museum.”

Moore’s story within a story intrigued the staff of the museum properties.  They invited him to spend a night in the home.  “We see him as a modern day Huck Finn – camping on islands, paddling down the river, making friends along the way,” said executive director Dr. Cindy Lovell.  “Neal represents ‘everyman’ to us, and we’ve asked him to help tell our story to the millions of Twain fans around the world.”

That story is an unusual endowment fundraiser, the “10 by 10” campaign to raise ten million dollars by the end of 2010.  The Museum is seeking one million Twain fans from around the world to donate just $10 each.  Lovell explained that in the present economic downturn, large donations are unlikely, so this grass roots fundraiser for readers of Twain was created.  “Donors will be invited to sign their names on the famous whitewashed fence – sort of a symbolic whitewashing,” she said.

“Sam Clemens began his career as something of a citizen journalist contributing pieces when and where he could,” Lovell said.  “Neal’s adventure resonated with us.  Like Twain, he is a reporter.  Like Huck, he is an adventurer.  He symbolizes the spirit we are trying to preserve.”  Moore will be the first person to sign the famous fence, representing readers from around the world that continue to make Twain one of the most revered writers of all time.

The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Twain’s death, so the Museum is using the date to sound the alarm to Twain’s fans worldwide.  “The Museum must establish this endowment to ensure operations and the preservation of the eight buildings that tell the story of Twain’s boyhood,” said Lovell.  “We want to be sure these properties are around for future ‘Toms’ and ‘Hucks’ who come exploring.”  Museum properties include the Becky Thatcher House and the Huck Finn House.

The Museum will officially launch the “10 by 10” on Saturday, October 10th, when all $10 donors are invited to sign their name on the famous whitewashed fence.  Online donors can designate a proxy to sign for them.  “We’re getting a headstart on 2010 through Neal’s visit,” Lovell explained.  “And yes, he’ll be donating ten dollars.”

Further information is available at


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Hannibal Courier-Post: CNN Reporter: Hannibal is most certainly America’s Hometown


HANNIBAL, MO (Hannibal Courier-Post)

NealHannibalIt is not uncommon for visitors to Hannibal to leave with tales to share. Neal Moore will be no different, only his stories may reach an international audience.

Moore, who describes himself as an unpaid “citizen journalist” for the Cable News Network (CNN), is wrapping up a brief visit after arriving via canoe earlier this week. Moore’s stop in Hannibal is part of a five-month trek down the Mississippi River, which he anticipates will end in early December when he reaches New Orleans. Moore admits that Hannibal is a destination he’s been looking forward to reaching for years.

“I’ve read about and dreamed about the Mississippi River, and of course Hannibal, Mo., my entire life,” he said.

Wherever Moore paddles ashore it’s with the objective of finding “straight, positive, American” stories.

“With these stories coming down the river, really the backdrop is the economy. But instead of going straight for that I’m highlighting different ways that communities are rallying together. Whether they’re rallying around fighting cancer or a living legacy of somebody like Mark Twain or like Charles Lindbergh in Little Falls, Minn., folks rally around a cause in these trying times. You find people stand up and help each other out and it’s inspiring, not only for the town itself, but for everyone who can actually see that story.”

In Hannibal, Moore has had no trouble coming up with stories to tell.
“There’s too many stories here. It’s the kind of town you could spend a lifetime in and you would never run out of stories. It’s obvious, you take one look at the town and citizenry and you can see these are real people. They have ups, they have downs and it’s very positive right now,” he said.

Moore’s impressions of Hannibal are varied.

“It’s a very eclectic community, rough and tumble. I’ve heard that expression a few times. You have to be rough and tumble in a port city like this going back to Sam Clemens’ time,” he said. “You have that aspect. You also have the artists and sort of the melting pot right here downtown with the reconstruction of downtown Hannibal with the excitement in the air, folks coming together and putting their best foot forward.”

Although a world traveler, Moore confesses that he was anxious to begin his trip down the middle of America.

“The biggest surprise is just really how wonderful a trip like this is,” he said. “I’ve been around the world several times, but really I’m more excited about this trip … this adventure than I have been about anything in my life. Part of it is the nature. Part of it is these small towns, these big cities and the challenge of the story as well and to chase these stories and find new stories, and really highlight America for myself and my own life, but also for an American audience and potential international audience via CNN.”

As much as Moore looked forward to the trip, he acknowledges it also represents a personal challenge.

“The whole idea for my trip is to take myself out of my comfort zone. By doing that you open yourself up to incredible things – good, bad, ugly and the positive as well, and that’s when you grow and you learn,” he said. “To actually come down for the very first time and touch it in this way via canoe, it’s a perfect mode of transport. It’s America at her finest and this town is most certainly America’s Hometown.”

Photo by Danny Henley. Visit the Hannibal Courier-Post HERE.

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