Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin (1913-1995) was dubbed the Poet Laureate of the River at the 1976 Mid-South Festival. This was a fitting title for a man who not only produced a large quantity of poetry, but who also invented a new style of verse. Beaudoin's creations, called Eye-Poems, were a combination of words and pictures and represented a whole new style of poetic verse with imagery.
Blanche Hamilton Karsch was grocery shopping in Memphis when she learned that she had received a 3.5 million dollar inheritance. Mrs. Karsch responded with “Really. That’s nice,” before selecting a 5¢ head of lettuce.
But things weren’t that easy. Blanche had been adopted from a New York orphanage by Hugh and Kate Magevney Hamilton, a prominent Memphis couple. When Mrs. Hamilton died, many Magevney relatives challenged the distribution of the inheritance to Karsch.
Six ships in the United States Navy have had the name USS Memphis. In 1858 and 1859 the first ship to be named the Memphis was used in river expedition to Paraguay to demand an apology for an unprovoked attack on another US ship.
The second USS Memphis, built in 1861, was a seven gun steamer used by the Confederate navy to run Union blockades. In 1862, the Union captured the ship and brought it into the service of the US navy. It was decommissioned in 1867.
Samuel Clemens, better known to readers worldwide as Mark Twain, had an intimate connection with Memphis.
Before he achieved fame as a writer, Clemens worked on the Mississippi River and made frequent stops in the Bluff City. At one time, he even had all of his mail forwarded to a box in Memphis, attesting to his connection with the city.
It is tragedy, however, which is most often remembered as the link between Clemens and Memphis. Clemens' love for the river led him to convince his younger brother Henry to also seek work on the Mississippi.