Learn the captivating story behind one of the most celebrated characters in American literary history, Jim from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Gilded Age. Larry McCarty, a direct descendant of Uncle Daniel (Dan’l) and the man who inspired Mark Twain to create the unforgettable Jim, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Allen Public Library.

Mark Twain spent summers on his Uncles John A. Quarles’ farmstead in northeast Missouri. A slave there, Dan’l Quarles, was identified by Twain in his autobiography: “I have not seen him for more than a half a century, and yet spiritually I have had his welcome company a good part of that time, and have staged him in books under his own name and as ‘Jim’ and carted him all around Hannibal, down the Mississippi on a raft, and even across the Desert of the Sahara in a balloon.”

McCarty traced his family line by intersecting the legacy of Mark Twain with his own family roots in Northeast Missouri. “The Quarles family and part of the Clemens family, even after emancipation, were together in California and Keokuk, Iowa,” he notes. McCarty, who lives in Grand Prairie, is the great-great-great-great-grandson of Dan’l.

McCarty’s genealogical quest began with Dan’l’s son, Harve Quarles, who was sold to one brother of John A. Quarles as a teenager, then to another, and eventually migrated with his owner to Texas, where the family put down roots. This proved to be an exhaustive, in-depth research on the slave family that was intertwined with Twain’s family in his Missouri childhood. “Everyone knows of John A., they know of Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain, but there had not been an academic study of the black Quarles (family) on the farm until I started this study,” McCarty points out. “Quarles (were) separated by the bonds of slavery (and) reconnected after 150 years. Harve was sold and migrated to Texas, never knew of his family again. I have made the direct connection to Daniel, and now that family is whole.
McCarty’s book Mark Twain’s Jim (Daniel Quarles), From the Shadows to a Monument, will be published in 2016.

During his presentation, McCarty will share important navigational tools for African-Americans to locate their ancestors.

A native Texan, Larry W. McCarty served our country in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Army and retired from IBM after 30 years.

The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214.509.4911 for more information.