CONTACT:  John or Julie Rolsen

          (573) 221-2789 or



I spent my nights with John and Helen Garth in their spacious, beautiful home…”   - Mark  Twain, 1882

Hannibal, MO -  Mark Twain was a child of the Midwest.  Recognized by many as Samuel Clemens, he grew to be a literary hero and philosopher, embodying Americana with his famous tales of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.  Throughout his life, two of Samuel Clemens' grade school  friends remained close to him: John Garth and Helen Kercheval.  After John and Helen married, Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, would often visit them in their Hannibal, MO home.

As history tells, sometime after the Civil War began – probably in 1862 or 1863 -  John Garth moved his family to New York City. There he was engaged in banking, brokerage, and manufacturing. The Garths returned to Hannibal, MO in 1871 where Garth continued a very successful business career. Garth purchased a farm just southwest of Hannibal and constructed a large summer home, which he named "Woodside". It originally sat on one square mile, or 640 acres. The Garths entertained their good friend Sam Clemens on visits to Hannibal and corresponded with him many times throughout the 1870s and 1880s.  It remained a family home for the Garth ancestors, and then other families through the early and mid 1900s.

The mansion now sits on just a little over 36 acres. It was a family home until the 1970’s, then open for daily home tours and finally turned into a bed and breakfast in the late 1980’s.  John and Julie purchased the mansion to continue its splendor as a bed and breakfast in 1999, shortly before John retired as a Colonial from the army.

The entire first floor has been restored, not renovated, back to its 1870’s splendor. The wallpapers were custom made for the home and several of the original pieces of furniture, art, and artifacts that belonged to the Garth’s are still there for guests’ enjoyment.  The room in which Mark Twain slept has been preserved, and many of the panes of glass on the windows through which he gazed onto the front lawn are still in tact.

Garth Woodside Mansion is less than two hours from St. Louis, in Hannibal, MO.  A fortress for Victorian romance, the Garth Woodside Mansion offers a respite from life’s pressures.  It was recently selected by inngoers as one of the top five inns in the world in the Best of Awards. insists Mark Twain slept at Garth Woodside Mansion; you should too. For more information on Garth Woodside Mansion, visit or call 888-427-8409 for reservations.

#   #   #