History's Famous Faces


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Hannibal , Independence , Florida , Lamar , Kearney , Jesse James , Mark Twain , Harry S Truman , Diamond
Famous Missourians
Author: Stephen Foutes

There literally are hundreds of places in Missouri with ties to famous folks. For now, let’s take a look at some of the state’s most well-known figures, the cities they once called home and the some attractions devoted to people such as Mark Twain, Harry S. Truman, Jesse James, George Washington Carver, and Walt Disney, among others.

Twain is perhaps Missouri’s most famous son. He was born in the city of Florida, Missouri, now the home of the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site. Twain grew up in Hannibal and used the area and the Mississippi River as the basis for many of his famous works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Today, Twain’s presence looms large over Hannibal, where the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is just one of many attractions where the author’s legacy lives. You’ll find a statue of Twain in the city’s Riverview Park and see him depicted as a young riverboat captain at Glascock’s Landing on the riverfront You can go underground to Mark Twain Cave, which was detailed in five of his books.

On the western side of the state, several sites are devoted to the life and times of President Harry S. Truman – the only Missourian ever elected president. For more on Truman, visit  the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site (which includes his home), both in Independence, and t
he Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site, in Lamar.

North of Independence, in Kearney, is where you’ll find the Jesse James Farm and Museum, which features a large collection of James family artifacts and Jesse’s original grave site. More on James can be seen in St. Joseph, where attractions include the Jesse James Home (where Jesse was shot and killed on April 3, 1882), and the Heaton-Bowman-Smith Funeral Home, where you’ll find the wicker basket used to transport his remains.

In southwest Missouri, visit the farm where scientist George Washington Carver’s interest in agriculture began. The George Washington Carver National Monument fills the property just outside of Diamond it pays tribute to one of this country’s greatest scientists. Spanning 240 acres – the entirety of which is actually considered the monument to Carver – the site contains the mile-long Carver Trail, the Carver Family Cemetery and the 1881 Carver House. The Carver National Monument has a visitor center and museum.

In north central town of Marceline, spend some time at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum (open April-October), located in the restored 1913 Santa Fe Depot. It holds more than 3,000 artifacts received directly from Disney family members, affording visitors a chance to view Disney items never displayed anywhere else.

 Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site
Located in Mark Twain State Park, off Route 107, this museum encloses the two-room cabin in which Samuel ...

 Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum
Discover how a young boy growing up in the small village of Hannibal became one of the world's most ...

 Mark Twain Cave Complex
This is the cave author Mark Twain described in five of his books. The cave was first shown in 1886. ...

 Harry S Truman Birthplace State Historic Site
Harry S Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, was born here in 1884. Furnishings from the ...

 Jesse James Home
Jesse James was murdered in this house on April 3, 1882, by fellow gang member Bob Ford. The home includes ...

 George Washington Carver National Monument
This 240-acre national park is the birthplace and childhood home of the famous agronomist, educator ...

 Walt Disney Hometown Museum
Housing 3,000 artifacts received directly from Disney family members, the museum affords visitors a ...