History Blog 

1860 excursion to Hannibal's McDowell’s cave a summer highlight for Quincy High students

Known simply as “Hannibal Cave” when this photo was taken about 1880, Mark Twain Cave hardly resembles the major tourist attraction it is today. Pictured here is the original cave entrance. The present entrance was opened up in the 1890’s. From Steve Chou’s book, Bluff City Memories. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY It is a commonly recognized belief that the cave now known as Mark Twain was originally discovered back around 1820 by a man named Sims. By the time Sam Clemens was old enough to go exploring with his friends, a man named Dr. McDowell had purchased the land, and the cave subsequently carried his name. It was Sam Clemen’s writings, some years later, that eventually resulted in the cave’s re

Prominent physician’s son charged, but never tried, for murder in the second degree

This Herring photo from Steve Chou’s collection is dated Jan. 19, 1934, and was taken prior to the demolition of the house at left, at 211 North Sixth Street, to make way for an addition to Hannibal’s Federal Building. In the mid 1880s, Hannibal physician and surgeon, Dr. Charles Lamb, lived in this house with his wife and three children. His oldest son, Charley Lamb, was charged with murder in the second degree in connection with a Hannibal death in 1882, but he was released from custody a year later after witnesses failed to come forward to testify. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Charles and Mary Dennison Caverly Lamb were early settlers to Ralls County, Mo., living close enough to the Foreman farm n

‘Ghouls at work’ in Hannibal following unspeakable tragedy

Somewhere on the north end of Hannibal’s Riverside Cemetery were buried Eugenia Irwin and her young daughter Charlotte (Lottie.) The death was attributed to a suicide of the mother, who also took the life of the child. A few days after their burial in April 1875, grave robbers were thought to have dug up and stolen Mrs. Irwin’s body. The body was later found and reburied, and then dug up again to satisfy an investigation. Their names are not listed on the cemetery’s list of burials. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Just how much can Willie Irwin be expected to bear? During the first dozen years of his life, he had already lost his father (Byron Irwin) to an early death, and now he’s s

Horse takes prominent Hannibal woman on a frightening ride

This early photo shows the state of the intersection at Market Street and Broadway Extension. Mrs. Dr. D.H. Shields was driving a one-horse carriage down the Broadway Extension hill toward Hannibal when her horse got spooked, and took off galloping. She was lucky to escape with her life. STEVE CHOU COLLECTION MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In 1889, Hannibal’s dominant corridor - Broadway - was paved with rock and dirt; and the automobile was but a fantasy in the future. City dwellers often turned to horses-for-rent from the nearby livery stable in order to facilitate social, business and shopping outings. And that’s exactly what happened in Hannibal on the 157th anniversary of George Washington’s birth

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