History Blog 

Blacksmith's way of life during a bygone era

Thomas Jefferson Mowen retired from blacksmithing in 1976, sold the tools of his trade and moved with his wife from Santa Fe, in Monroe County, to Hannibal, Mo., in order to be close to family. His grandson, Nick Long, said that Tom Mowen named all of his dogs (including those pictured) “Buster.” Roger Steinman, another grandson, said this truck in this picture was a 1958 Chevy, six cylinder with a four-speed transmission, two wheel drive. “Probably not the same brand of tire on any two wheels. I doubt if he drove over 45 miles an hour anywhere,” Steinman said. Photo contributed by Courtney Courter, granddaughter of Vienna Mowen and great-granddaughter of Thomas and Leta Mowen. Tom and Leta

Antioch Cemetery gravestones, Ralls County, Missouri, tell of Smith family loves and losses

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In the Autumn of 1906, while Abner S. Smith was serving as Justice of the Peace in Marion, County, Mo., Hannibal enacted a cigarette law. Michael Chios, operating a fruit stand at 212 (later numbered 1714) Market St., was the first merchant to face charges of violating that law. He was charged with selling cigarettes to boys under the age of 18. The Chios store was located directly opposite of the West School, and it was a convenience for school boys to purchase their smokes at the Chios store. Communication could have been a variable in Chios’ arrest; he was an Italian by birth, and didn’t speak English. None the less, Silas T. Gregory of 2118 St. Mary’s Avenue filed a c

Hoag Tavern served up camaraderie, good food

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In 1937, Peter L. Korschgen was working as a pipe fitter for Citizens Gas Company. Fred Hoag was bartending for H.J. Schweitzer at 127 N. Main. Also, there was a vacant building at 203 N. Main, previously occupied by the Anthony Caruso family on the second floor, and their produce business on the first floor. In 1938, Fred Hoag, then 57, and Peter L. Korschgen, 54, formed a partnership. It had only been a handful of years since Prohibition had been lifted, and the town seemed eager for another Main Street eaterie/tavern. So Korschgen and his wife, Myrtle, purchased the former Caruso building along with Fred and Jessie Hoag. The Korschgens moved into the apartment upstairs

Hannibal factory led market in floor-cleaning equipment

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In 1903, Walter Scott Finnell launched a manufacturing entity in Baltimore, Md., based upon a commercial and household cleaning concept, and funded by $200,000 in capital stock. Among others, investors included his father, Judge Reuben Ashford Finnell, and Walter’s older brother, John Stinson Finnell. During the remainder of the first decade of the 20th Century, the company’s commercial product - Finola - became a common household cleaning product, (perhaps similar to today’s Comet Cleanser.) Sold in both 5 and 10-cent packages, it was readily available at grocery stores throughout the country. By 1911, the Finola Manufacturing Company had moved its headquarters from Balt

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