History Blog 

Dr. McCreary made quite a display of style

Dr. S.E. McCreary, as pictured in his advertisement in the Marion County Herald, Palmyra, on Dec. 6, 1900. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY The year was 1911. A decade prior Dr. Samuel Elliot McCreary had put his medical practice on the back burner while he pursued his interests in raising, breeding and racing some of the Midwest’s best horses. It was the Fourth of July, and McCreary’s focus was on the matinee at the old Fair Grounds near Keokuk, Iowa. There was smoke in the distance, which became more obvious as the afternoon progressed. There were rumors circulating that McCreary’s stock farm was ablaze, the fire threatening his outbuildings and barn. Finally, a telephone message came through to the fa

Mr. Widby was absentminded, but a solid community citizen of Hannibal, Mo., and Pike County, Ill.

John M. Widby walked four blocks in the snow in 1894, in order to have lunch with his wife. He jiggled the door only to find it locked. It was then that he remembered that she had gone home to Barry, Ill., for a visit with her family. The remodeled or rebuilt house, at 613-615 Center, is now the home of Steve and Lynne Ayers. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Mr. Widby. John M. Widby, to be precise. The son of Mathias and Elizabeth Yancey Widby, who were among the most prominent of folks in Pike County, Ill., John M. Widby earned a respected standing on his own during his lifetime, which spanned from 1850 to 1897. An early educator and later a key business manager and salesman, no stat

Evan Smith’s legacy: Manufactured stone structures in Monroe City

Evan Smith, Monroe City contractor, got the masonry bid for the re-construction of the Maddox House hotel in Monroe City, Mo., in 1906. The frame hotel located on the same site had burned, and the owners, Mr. and Mrs. T.M. Maddox, had the structure replaced with one made of manufactured stone. The 18-room building later housed the Wilson Funeral Home, and today facilitates assisted living residential housing under the name of Enochs Care Center, 207 W. Summer St. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY A front-page story in the Monroe City Democrat dated June 30, 1904, described a construction material new to the area, called artificial stone. Touted as better than its counterpart – natura

Prominent Hannibal woman’s death - Mary Ann Helm -overshadowed by gruesome murder

Mary Ann Helm and her family lived at 513 Broadway, Hannibal, until her death in 1889. This photo was taken during a later era. STEVE CHOU COLLECTION MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Mary Ann Helm, 40, of Kentucky, came to Hannibal in 1852 as the wife of the new judge of the Hannibal Court of Common Pleas, the mother of three young girls and stepmother to a handful of her husband’s children from his first marriage. She left Hannibal 37 years later - when called home by her maker - on the first day of January 1889. A woman of independent means, among the assets she left at the time of her death were the house, barn and 10 acres of land on Palmyra Rock Road that she had purchased after her husband’s death

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