Elmira (pop. approx. 30,000) is the seat of Chemung County. Settled after 1788, in 1808 it was renamed Elmira after someone’s daughter: some accounts say a tavern keeper’s daughter, and some say a major general’s. Elmira prospered as a canal town and later as a rail transport hub.
Novelist/satirist Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) married Olivia Langdon, a woman from a prominent Elmira family, in 1870. Thereafter he often summered in Elmira, writing prolifically in an octagonal outdoor study overlooking the Chemung Valley. Clemens is buried on the Langdon family plot in Elmira. Today the octagonal study, a Twain statue, and a Twain exhibit adorn the campus of Elmira College.