History Blog 

Spectacular Ralls rolling hills transform into key highway link

W.A. Haydon, left, and Clarence Shinn are filling a silo on the C.K. Gillum dairy farm in this 1927 photo. Photo was originally contributed to the Hannibal Courier-Post by Ruby Haydon Sheehan, and was contributed for this article by Rich Gillum of Hannibal MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In 1911, Charles K. Gillum and his family were contentedly settled on their farm to the south of Oakwood, in Ralls County, which was “conceded to be one of the most beautiful spots in this section,” according to a mention in the Palmyra Spectator ten years later. The landscape today is vastly different from what it was when Gillum - a Pike County, Mo., native - first purchased his farm – pre 1911 - in Sections 11 and 12

History a series of connections: Tilden Russell Selmes and his Hannibal link

This 1969 photo, from the Steve Chou collection, shows the building that housed the Tilden R. Selmes' mercantile store, beginning circa 1850. The building was torn down in the 1970s. The building was at Main and Hill streets, directly to the east of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home garden. Mary Lou Montgomery Tilden Russell Selmes was a tall, energetic and athletic man of about 40 when he left New York with his wife and young daughter in order to pursue business interests in the West. Back in 1842, the “West” referred in part to the Mississippi River Valley, where Selmes would settle a mercantile business into an existing log building on the northeast corner of Main and Hill streets in Hannibal,

Runaway horse mars scheduled steamer excursion to Hannibal

This photo of the Park Bluff is from the collection of the Putnam Museum, Davenport, Iowa. Park Bluff Iowa History, an IAGenWeb special project. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY The building on the southwest corner of Main and Bird Streets in Hannibal, Mo., now houses Lydia’s Cabinet of Curiosities, operated by Gordon Harrison. But 128 years ago – in August 1890 – a billiards parlor was in business in that old, historic building. The downtown was particularly populated on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 4, 1890, as the Steamer Park Bluff had docked at noon on Hannibal’s wharf, the terminus for a scheduled excursion trip from Canton. The trip was planned as an outing for “coloreds” from Lewis County. Three

Quick-thinking young Hannibal boy saved Kunkle from frightening fate

Edgar Bennett Kunkle. Ancestry.com submitted by peg38dcg Mary Lou Montgomery It is well known in local history circles that J.B. Brown operated one of Hannibal’s earliest drug stores, and that he is believed to have purchased his first store with $1,000 that he brought back from his participation in the California Gold Rush. A lesser-known fact is that J.B. Brown purchased the drug store from N.P. Kunkle, one of Hannibal’s earlier businessmen. Mr. Kunkle, born in Pennsylvania, was already living in Marion County, Mo., in 1845, when he served as town marshal. On Jan. 29, 1847, he took for his bride Martha Collins, born in Maryland. Two years into this marriage (March 20, 1849) was born a son,

Decoration Day celebration lead to tragedy on the river

This photo, copied from a 1912 scrapbook compiled by Neva Estella Smith, contains this parade photo of members of the Hannibal High School Class of 1912. The photo was taken in front of the new high school on Broadway, across from the First Christian Church. Crandall King, a class member, drowned just a week after graduation. (Steve Chou Collection) MARY LOU MONTGOMERY It had rained earlier in the week, but the sky was clear on Thursday morning, May 30, 1912, the day set aside on the calendar for the celebration of Decoration Day. Many people scheduled excursions that morning, and a popular draw was the Mississippi River. One popular outing consisted of motoring to Keokuk, Iowa, to get an ey

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