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 Richard Spottiswoode Blennerhassett

Photo added by Connie Nisinger

Richard Spottiswoode Blennerhassett

  • Birth 1810 County Kerry, Ireland
  • Death 28 Dec 1857 Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
  • Burial Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
  • Plot Block 124/125, Lot 705
  • Memorial ID 7247188

Literary Figure. He was a distinguished criminal lawyer. He married a possible great-granddaughter of Jean Jacques Rousseau, and came to St. Louis in 1841. In 1849 he prosecuted a murder case in which John Wise shot, pistol-whipped and stabbed Thomas Hart in full view of more than a dozen witnesses. Hart and Wise's wife were having an affair and it was an uncomplicated case, but much interest was generated because Blennerhassett had the lovers' passionate and explicit letters read into the court record. Samuel Clemens was serving his printer apprenticeship at the Missouri Courier which reported on the trial. The letters must have had a deep impact on Clemens because years later he would use the name "Blennerhassett" as an emotional indicator for sexuality and violence. In "Villagers" Twain states that Hannibal has one professed "unbeliever," whom he called by the name of Blennerhassett; "a young Kentucky lawyer and a fascinating cuss." When the Clemons family lived in Elmira, New York at Quarry Farm, one of his daughters said that her father even named all the pet red squirrels "Blennerhassett."

Bio by: Connie Nisinger

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Connie Nisinger
  • Added: 9 Mar 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7247188
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Richard Spottiswoode Blennerhassett (1810–28 Dec 1857), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7247188, citing Bellefontaine Cemetery, Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .