History Blog 

Hannibal vs Quincy: A ‘flour war’ 165 years ago

This photo, taken from the southeast corner of Main and Bird streets in downtown Hannibal, shows two buildings that were primaries in a flour competition pitting Hannibal vs Quincy in the early 1850s. At left is a building where Thomas Jackson operated the “Eagle Mills Flour Depot,” selling Quincy flour. On the left side of the photo (the old stone building) there was the Arrena steam mill, where A.S. Robards produced and sold Hannibal flour. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY MARY LOU MONTGOMERY There was a bit of a flour war going on in downtown Hannibal in the years 1852-54. Those who have a basic familiarity with Hannibal history already know that A.S. Robards and his son operated a steam flour mill o

‘The birth of the Joe’ as told by Thomas Jobson, who once worked the rails

Archie Hayden of Hannibal shares a picture of a Hannibal and St. Joe Railroad steam engine, Number 30. The rail line between Hannibal and St. Joseph, Mo., was completed just prior to the start of the Civil War. The line played a key role in getting mail destined for the Pacific Coast to St. Joe, where it was picked up by the Pony Express. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In March 1857, Thomas Jobson left Ontario, Canada, leading a group of laborers to Hannibal, Missouri, the eastern terminus of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. During the same decade, H.J. (Jack) Tisdale came to Hannibal, and once Jobson and his fellow laborers were finished with the construction, Tisdale went to work moving passenge

Goodrich learned you can run from a debt, but you can’t hide

This bungalow at 1639 Broadway served as home to the Chauncey Goodrich family for 30 years or more. Goodrich, as a teen, traveled via wagon train to California with W.H. Dulany in 1850. The Marion County Assessor's office lists the owner in 2017 at David Withem. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY MARY LOU MONTGOMERY The Gold Rush years beginning in 1849 were exciting ones for Americans; people believing that they could travel across the Great Plains by wagon, and collect enough gold nuggets upon their arrival in California to set them up for life. A number of people from Hannibal set out on this great trek westward, and lived to tell tales about their adventures. Many others fell to hardships along the way

That slippery old ‘Sykes’ played trickery on downtown merchants

This 1875 photo of Hannibal is representative of the time when a man named ‘Sykes’ came to Hannibal and identified himself as a wealthy farmer from Illinois. Before he fled town, he took advantage of the good will of a number of Hannibal’s downtown businessmen. STEVE CHOU’S PHOTO FROM BLUFF CITY MEMORIES. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In the autumn of 1875, a ‘man of means’ arrived in Hannibal, boasting of his large farming operation in mid Illinois. The excitement of his presence rippled throughout the community, but had a particularly profound impact in downtown Hannibal, where merchants were anxious to do business with this ‘big spender.’ The man – described in the newspaper simply as “Sykes” – put

Haley a hit performer during radio’s heyday

Ambrose Haley poses with his backup musicians in this December 1950 publicity photo, taken at the KHMO radio studio in Hannibal, Mo. OTIS HOWELL PHOTO/STEVE CHOU COLLECTION MARY LOU MONTGOMERY One of my early and cherished childhood memories is Ambrose Haley singing in our dining room. My brothers tell me that our father was recording the performance on a reel-to-reel tape player, and that somewhere, that tape still exists. From time to time, my memory replays “Take Our Troubles to Church (Next Sunday)” in Haley’s high tenor, hillbilly-style voice. One recent Sunday during church, a hymn caught my attention. “Ambrose sang that,” I whispered to my brother. Luckily (thanks to the internet) I d

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