Mark Twain's deep ties to Elmira came through love and matrimony. On an 1867 sea voyage during which he gathered experiences that would shape his first best-seller, The Innocents Abroad, Twain befriended Charles Langdon of Elmira. When Langdon showed him a photograph of his elder sister Olivia, Twain fell in love at first sight. Charles and Olivia were children of Jervis Langdon, a prosperous Elmira coal merchant and Underground Railroad conductor who once sheltered a fugitive Frederick Douglass. (Douglass and the elder Langdon became life-long friends.)
Twain died on April 21, 1910, as he had been born, in a year when Halley's Comet made its closest approach to Earth. He is buried in Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery alongside his mother, wife, son, and daughter.