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The New York Times, July 26, 1923

Stormfield, at Redding, Conn., Burns - Present Owners Flee for Lives

REDDING, Conn., July 25. - Stormfield - the home of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), in the closing years of his life - was burned early today. The picturesque villa on the ridge of this town was unoccupied for many years after Mr. Clemens's death, but was bought in December by Mrs. Margaret E. Givens of New York, as a Summer home. The home was built to carry out the ideas and wished of Mr. Clemens and with the other buildings comprised a country estate.

In this home Mark Twain spent his last years, and as he had expressed it, experienced some of the deepest sorrows of his life, as well as some of his happiest days. Here his younger daughter, Janet [sic], met a tragic death and here there was a burglary which aroused widespread interest.

In Stormfield, Mr. Clemens lay ill for a long time and from it his body was borne to its last resting place. After a visit to Stormfield William Dean Howells wrote of Mark Twain in his home:

"He showed his absolute content with his home. Truly he loved the place."

Mrs. Givens, her daughter Thelma, and her son Eben, were in the house when the latter discovered the fire in the laundry. They were obliged to flee in their night garments. The flames could be seen for a long distance and farmers hastened tot he place to assist the Redding fire department and neighbors. The property was originally offered at $175,000 and the house was valued at a considerable part of that figure. It was insured. The fire is believed to have started from spontaneous combustion among some painting materials which were in the laundry.

Neighbors saved a few things including articles which had been thought much of by Mr. Clemens. Among them was a carved mantel brought by him from Scotland.

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