History Blog 

Siedler the cigar maker known as a jolly fellow

This photo, taken from the east side of South Main Street, circa 1903, reveals a thriving business district, despite the flood-swollen street. The street at the time was known as Third Street, South Side. Siedler & Vollmar’s Bar was housed in the building with the large Anheuser Busch sign, 116 Third, South Side. Note the wooden sidewalks prominent on the east side of the street. PHOTO FROM THE HULL, ILL., HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In 1917, automobiles were such a rarity in Marion County, that the Palmyra Spectator published a list of registered car owners, and included what brand of car they owned. Gus A. Siedler, a cigar maker, active in the Democratic party of the coun

From the archives: Lu Jaworsky's memories of Mark Twain Avenue

By MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Photo by Mary Lou Montgomery First published in the Hannibal Courier-Post January 2012. Lu Jaworsky died in January 2015. Lu Jaworsky was born in 1945, and his family came to Hannibal in 1955 or 1956, with Western Printing. They lived for several years on Mark Twain Avenue, and when readers started sharing their memories and photos of "the avenue" in February 2012, he came forth with a verbal scrapbook of names and locations that made "the avenue" uniquely Hannibal. A Mexican restaurant on Mark Twain Avenue, that's where Linda Riepe lived. I lived just to the west of her, at the corner. Our house, there's a little gas station there now. Two houses away, Mr. Bier sold

A.A. Masterson: A long career behind the bar

This photo shows finishing touches put into place on the Hannibal Trust Co., building, on the northeast corner of Third and Broadway, 1909-1910. At far left is the saloon located at 106 N. Third St., operated by A.A. Masterson from 1905 until his death in 1919. HANNIBAL ARTS COUNCIL PHOTO/STEVE CHOU COLLECTION MARY LOU MONTGOMERY A.A. Masterson was a newcomer to Hannibal when, in the mid 1880s, he assumed proprietorship of the Masterson saloon and hotel at 310 South Main Street in downtown Hannibal. Already a widower at the age of 35, with two young children in his charge, A.A. – sometimes referred to as Andy, and other times Ambrose – made a living leaning against a bar counter, selling his

The Notorious Madam Shaw: Family slave tells of 1839 scandal inside Catherine Casey's Lexington

Five-year-old slave Andrew Jackson lived in Catherine Casey's household on High Street, between Upper and Mulberry, in 1839. A few years later, John A. Hampton, Evaline Horton, Dorcas Hampton and child slave Jim Powers moved to the northwest corner of Maxwell and Mulberry streets, where they set up home as a family. The two-room house they shared was previously the historic "African Church." Dorcas (aka The Notorious Madam Shaw) Hampton's conception was a gossip topic in Lexington, Ky., in 1839. The story of her life's beginning is retold by family slave Andrew Jackson in the historical biography of Dorcas Hampton's life, written by Mary Lou Montgomery. Andrew Jackson was about five years ol

19-year-old New England bride made Hannibal home, circa 1860

In 1885, the Loomis & Snively Coal and Wood Yard encompassed an area along Bear Creek to the south, Collier Street to the north and Main Street to the east. The compound stretched from Main Street west to South Third Street. According to Sanborn maps, by 1890, the company had disbanded and the coal and wood yards were owned by Pierson (an inlaw of Loomis) and Dubach. Hannibal city directories show that Andrew G. Brown owned the property between 1892 and 1895. By 1899, the property was identified on the Sanborn map as the Cruikshank Lumber and Coal Co. The Hannibal city directory of 1892 shows that Gustav A. Siedler had a cigar and tobacco shop on the northwest corner of Bear Creek and South

A tribute to those who help preserve stories from the past

Jack Wasson , left, and his wife, Geneva, right, pose with collectibles from the Quality Dairy, which was once located at 1248 Lyon Street, Hannibal. It was Jack's grandparents, John W. and Clarissa Smith, who operated the dairy from the mid 1920s until 1949. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY/COURIER-POST Note: This story was published in the Hannibal Courier-Post three years ago, on Jan. 11, 2014. Mary Margaret Smith shared memories of her parents' Hannibal business, the Quality Dairy located on Lyon Street in Hannibal, Mo. Geneva Wasson, Mary Margaret's daughter-in-law, facilitated the interview for me, a year prior to my retirement as editor of the Courier-Post. I am re-posting this story in honor of G

Peculiar-looking floating circus docked on town’s riverfront: 1852

Cutline: Artwork From Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, Feb. 19, 1853. Reprinted in Circus Scrap Book, No. 13 (Jan), 1932, pp. 19-20. Source: Gleason and Maturin; Internet Archive Mary Lou Montgomery The circus is a comin! Those words can still stir up a thrill in children of all ages, but modern-day entertainers simply cannot compete with the performances of yesteryear. The “sterling peals” of the chimes of 20 bells announced the arrival of the Spalding and Rogers’s “Floating Palace” upon the banks of the Mississippi River at Hannibal on Aug. 21, 1852. The Missouri Courier of August 19, 1852, contained this notice: “The Floating Palace.” This unique “show,” it will be seen per adv

Drum and fife corps helped keep Civil War memories alive

T emporary Arch of the Grand Army of the Republic, constructed at Twelfth and Olive Streets in St. Louis for a grand encampment, attended by representatives of the O.H. Wood GAR chapter of Brookfield, Mo. ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, AUG. 27, 1887 MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Kidney disease plagued Civil War veteran Charlie Lowary for much of his adult life. After trying many doctor-prescribed remedies, he found relief from Doan’s Kidney Pills. Or so he said in a testimonial for the product, which was published in the King City Times, King City, Mo., on May 11, 1917. “I was a wreck from kidney trouble. My back was so bad, I could hardly walk and sharp pains darted through me,” he said. “The kidney secret

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