History Blog 

Marion County man served as witness to shocking scene

The Marion County Courthouse in Palmyra, Mo., as illustrated in the 1875 Marion County Atlas. Just after the beginning of the 20th Century, the building was replaced with the structure that serves the county today. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Palmyra, Missouri, has been the site of two Marion County courthouses. The first, on the same lot as the current courthouse, was where Michael Conlon worked for a dozen years, as deputy county clerk, from roughly 1879 until 1891. Conlon served in the office of James W. Proctor, who was county clerk during those same years. It was in that courthouse, specifically the circuit court room, where Conlon made a startling discovery early in the morning hours of Friday

Pioneer orchardist, preacher left behind tales of his work

Charles Kuhns posted this photo of his great-grandfather, the Rev. G.A. McKee, on Facebook a few years ago. Rev. McKee, a Methodist minister, was an expert when it came to growing fruit. Rev. McKee started his preaching career in Kinderhook, Ill., and after living in five or six different states, retired to Hannibal, Mo., where he died in 1923. This portrait of Rev. and Mrs. G.A. McKee was found in the Portal to Texas History A History of Lipscomb County, Submitted by Clara McKee. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In February 1906, The Rev. George A. McKee of Arlington, Kansas, visited Hannibal, Mo., climbing up to Lovers Leap in order to view the vast Illinois hills to the east of the Mississippi River.

Ira Westfall and his colleagues kept Hannibalians on the move

One element in Steve Chou’s vast historic photo collection is this early photo of one of Hannibal’s electric street cars, a conductor and a motorman. Ira Westfall, presumably on the right, is identified as the motorman. Speculation offers the notion that this photo might be looking north on St. Mary’s Avenue, near the intersection with Hill or Hubbard. The house at the far right resembles a house that is on that corner. Also, the tracks appear to end just before the intersection, as they did circa 1913. Note the street car has a sign denoting its destination: Union Depot. There are people seated on the street car, and a man looking from the back end. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In his position as mo

South Side drug/ confectionery store’s lineage stretches across nine decades: Walker, Kramer

The brick two-story building, pictured at left, served as a drug store/confectionery for 86 years, operated in succession by two Hannibal families. Located on the southeast corner of Jefferson and South Main streets, the building has long since been demolished. Photo, taken in 1984, is from the Steve Chou collection. Henry Walker advertised his drug store in the 1877-78 Hannibal City Directory. Accessed via the Hannibal Free Public Library’s web site. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In my mind, I can still see this row of buildings on the east side of South Main Street on Hannibal’s South Side. I never knew of their contents or historic significance, but they were there, regardless, a part of Hannibal’s

City’s early steam fire engines were no match for 1878 blaze

This newspaper photo, from the Hannibal Courier-Post circa 1941, shows the Hannibal volunteer fire department with a hose cart circa 1879. At the time of the photo, Henry Walker was fire chief. He is seated on the engine, to the far right. This photo represents the fire department the year following the explosion and subsequent fire at the Hannibal Meat Co. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY As early as 1854, a pork packing plant existed on Hannibal’s riverfront, beginning at North Street and proceeding a block north to Rock Street. At the beginning of July 1878, the operating firm doing business in this large complex was known as the Hannibal Meat Company, and J.T.K. Hayward – a long-time Hannibal wholesa

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