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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Civil War programs at Mark Twain Museum

  • Anyone who likes to be entertained while also learning about the Civil War is being given an opportunity, with free Civil War programs scheduled five days a week through the end of October at the Mark Twain Museum Gallery.
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  • Anyone who likes to be entertained while also learning about the Civil War is being given an opportunity, with free Civil War programs scheduled five days a week through the end of October at the Mark Twain Museum Gallery.
    Mark Twain’s brief experiences in the war are shared by Twain impersonator Jim Waddell of Hannibal, who includes the history of the Civil War at the beginning of his program. His Mark Twain programs are presented at 4 p.m. from Thursday through Sunday.
    On Wednesday through Saturday, local award-winning storyteller Gladys Coggswell portrays a slave named Mary Ann Cord, sharing a true story. Her programs are at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
    Cord was called Aunt Rachel by Twain in his book, “The Complete Stories of Mark Twain.” Her story is titled “A True Story,” which is the name Coggswell uses as well.
    This story begins sadly, with Cord, her husband and their seven children being sold and separated.
    Later, during the war, Union soldiers occupied her home, and she recognized one of them as her youngest son, who had scars on his forehead and wrist.
    Coggswell also sings during her program, then tells another story, one she heard from her grandmother at about age 7.
    Hannibal’s visitors are enjoying these storytellers, according to Melissa Cummins of the museum staff.
    On Friday, Aug. 29, Cummins reported, “Gladys is not only a well-known and well-received storyteller, but she also sings. Quite a few people from the American Queen (riverboat) attended today and commented on how much they enjoyed it.”
    Waddell as Twain
    informs, entertains
    Waddell’s Mark Twain program is titled, "Personal Recollection of the Civil War."
    Waddell begins his story with some background of the war. "Slavery caused that conflict. ... Although cotton was involved, southern landowners availed themselves of human bondage (to produce the cotton)."
    He adds that "two-thirds of the white population of the south did not own slaves."  
    Waddell, as Twain, said his life changed in 1847. "Upon the death of my father, John Marshall Clemens, in 1847 I was taken from school and placed in an apprenticeship with Joseph Ament. He was a printer in my boyhood days, and he was a prominent state legislator at the outset of the war.”
    Later in the program, Waddell tells how Twain helped organize the Marion County Rangers, a Confederate group of about 15. After marching for a few days in rainy weather, they decided to disband.
    "I had enough of foul weather,” Twain said. “Four four days later my brother and I lit out for Nevada territory." This ended his Civil War experiences.
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