History Blog 

Syrian refugee, Solomon Joseph, operated a wholesale dry goods business in Java Jive building

This photo, from the Maddox family collection, is identified on the back as: S.G. Butler, Han Merc Co 1-22-13. Presumably, Solomon Joseph, owner of the Hannibal Mercantile Company, is seated at the roll top desk. One of the two men standing is probably Seeley G. Butler. Originally from Shelbina, Mr. Butler spent much of his career working for the Star Shoe factory in Hannibal, but for a brief time in Mr. Joseph’s employ. Jennie Foster may be the woman seated at the left of the photo. In 1909 she was employed as stenographer and bookkeeper at Mr. Joseph’s business, and a decade later, the two were married. This photo was taken at 209 North Main Street, near the front window. The building’s wi

9th grade class project provided snapshot of 1960 Hannibal

Tom Maddox, left, and his sister Becky David look through over their family scrapbooks at Java Jive on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 16, 2016. One of the scrapbooks, compiled by Tom in 1960, chronicles Hannibal in that moment in time. He made the scrapbook for a nine-grade civic's project. Tom Maddox had a homecoming of sorts last weekend, returning to Hannibal from Kansas City to visit family and take part in the 40th annual Folklife Festival. He has made many similar trips to Hannibal since he first left in 1968 at the invitation of the draft board for service in Viet Nam. But this trip was a little different. He brought with him a snapshot of Hannibal – photos taken during the autumn of 1960 – c

Walk the walk that Dorcas Hampton walked during the last half of the 19th Century

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 and 16, during the Folklife Festival, I will post events that took place in Hannibal, Mo., during the second half of the 19th Century, as related to the life of Dorcas Hampton aka The Notorious Madam Shaw. The historical biography, The Notorious Madam Shaw, published in August 2016, is available for sale at the Mark Twain Museum, located on the southeast corner of Main and Center streets, by the South Stage. Cost: $14.95. It is also available through Amazon, in print or Kindle edition, Click Here Follow the Hannibal Arts Council map, published in the Oct. 15 edition of the Hannibal Courier-Post, to pinpoint real-life events experienced by Hannibal citi

Doctor contemplates dangers of walking alone at night after 1906 close encounter

This photo from Steve Chou’s collection shows the building at the northwest corner of Hill and Main Street in Hannibal, where Dr. J.J. Farrell’s father, Pat, operated a saloon. Dr. Farrell was reportedly born at this location. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In the darkness of the early morning hours of April 30, 1906, Dr. John J. Farrell, 26, a native of the same town where he was now practicing medicine, was walking home alone following a late night medical call. Reaching the 500 block of Church Street, the old Catholic chapel in midblock at his right, and the home on South Sixth Street that the bachelor doctor shared with his parents and sister was easily within eyesight. Out of the darkness, to the

Journalism recognition

Eric Dundon, right, managing editor of the Hannibal Courier-Post, presents a Missouri Press Association first-place plaque to Mary Lou Montgomery. Montgomery won first place in the 2016 Missouri Press Foundation’s Better Newspaper Contest in the category of Best Story About History, Dailies, Class 1. Montgomery is a regular history story contributor to the newspaper’s Saturday edition. Dundon, who was named managing editor in early 2015 by Publisher Mike Murphy following Montgomery’s retirement as editor, is the 2016 winner of the Missouri Press Association’s 2016 William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist award.

Huegel name synonymous with promotion of Hannibal

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Hannibal police raided the ever-popular gathering spot on South Main Street in downtown Hannibal – the Mark Twain Hotel – on Saturday evening, Dec. 7, 1935, and confiscated two slot machines. The hotel’s proprietor, Louis J. Huegel, received a citation, and was fined $10 and costs, for a total of $12.85. Police Judge M.J. Reagon ordered the chief of police to destroy the machines. But the matter wasn’t completely settled until early February 1936. The lingering question revolved over whom was the rightful owner of the coins taken from the slot machines. Prosecuting attorney, Walter G. Stillwell, asked the Missouri Attorney General’s office to render an opinion. The final

An engineering mind kept Flem Ellis’ life interesting

In 1895, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad tracks cut a diagonal line across the Charles F. Ellis’ farm, located near Barkley Station in northwestern Miller Township. Some three miles to the north was Palmyra. And 10 miles to the southeast was Hannibal. A curious and industrious son of the pioneer farmer, Flem S. Ellis, had lived his entire life in Marion County, Missouri. He looked at those railroad tracks and pondered the possibilities. Born in Marion County in 1867, by 1895 Flem Ellis was 28 years old. His father had died in 1888, and he and his brother Stanley had taken over the family farming interests. Flem looked at the tracks cutting across the land and observed a direct ro

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