top of page

1901 progressive dinner: ‘a novelty in the line of entertainment’


Imagine this scene from Monday, January 21, 1901:

Six friends from Hannibal’s high school, now in their early 40s, strolling together during the crispness of a winter afternoon, kicking their skirts and cloaks with each step along the frozen streets of midtown Hannibal, Mo.

Each of their respective homes and its accompanying interior warmth would serve on this day as a respite for the women, in their quest to enjoy an elaborate six-course meal, one course served at each home.

Giddy with girlhood excitement and anticipation, the women were accompanied by, but not tethered to, their husbands, each a leader in his own chosen field.

Atop the hill, Mr. Cruikshank’s new mansion was under construction, the grandness of which offered a significant boost to the local economy, which in turn served to suppress the titillating church and family gossip of the decade just past.

On the national front, there was bravado surrounding President William McKinley’s role in the United States’ victory in the recent Spanish American War, which in turn translated into his election victory. At the upcoming inauguration, scheduled for Monday, March 4, Teddy Roosevelt would stand at McKinley’s side as vice president.

So, who were these women, mentioned in the society column of the St. Louis Republic on Jan. 27, 1901, which described this outing as “a novelty in the line of entertainment”?

Brewington, 309 N. Sixth (Photo by Jean Meyer)

Lucy B. Turpin, daughter of Baltimore, Md., boarding house operators Thomas S. and Esther Gray Turpin, was born Oct. 27, 1856. It is not clear when Lucy came to Hannibal, or who she lived with during her school years, but in 1877, she was a student at Hannibal College, taking classes in trigonometry and the study of Caesar. On March 25, 1880, she was married to William Henry Brewington, a leather merchant in Hannibal. They made their home at 309 N. Sixth. By 1920, they had left Hannibal and moved to Virginia, to live with their daughter, Esther B. Causey. Mr. Brewington died in 1924 at Southhampton, Va. Mrs. Brewington died in March 1945, in Boonville, Mo., at the age of 88.

Knighton, 306 N. Sixth (Photo by Jean Meyer)

Annie Tucker was the daughter of a Main Street merchant tailor, Phillip Tucker. She was married to Phillip H. Knighton in 1883. A Palmyra native, he would go on to affiliate with the Great American Insurance Company, a union lasting for 50 years. Mr. and Mrs. Knighton were long-time members of the First Presbyterian Church in Hannibal. Together, they had one son, Milton, who would later serve as president of White Star Laundry. He was married to Helen Cruikshank in 1925. Annie and Phillip Knighton made their home at 306 N. Sixth in Hannibal.

Mr. Knighton died in 1936, shortly after the couple’s 53rd wedding anniversary. Annie Tucker Knighton died in May 1951. They are buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery south of Hannibal.

Curd, 307 N. Seventh (Photo by Jean Meyer)

Celeste Herriman, who was born April 28, 1855, to John (a noted Hannibal lumberman) and Harriet Rowland Herriman, was married to William B. Curd, a community supporter and for a time Hannibal’s city collector. They were married in December 1873, and later made their home at 307 N. Seventh. Mr. Curd died in 1916 and Mrs. Curd died in 1935. The couple had no children. Upon her death, her long-time friend, the aforementioned Annie Tucker Knighton, served as informant for death certificate information. Her burial was in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Hinton, 330 (1634) Grace (Google photo)

Martha (Mattie) Hawkins was the daughter of Dr. Edwin J. Hawkins (who died in 1880) and Martha E. Bates Hawkins. She was married to James P. Hinton, long-time cashier of the Hannibal National Bank, and civic leader. They made their home at 330 Grace, which was later renumbered 1634 Grace, on the northeast corner of Grace and Arch. She died March 14, 1912, of heart disease, at the age of 53. He died in 1926.

Perkins, 419 Bird (Photo by Jean Meyer)

Jane S. Brown, daughter of Dr. Marrion F. Brown Sr., and Eleanor V. Brown, was married to William T. Perkins Dec. 12, 1878. In 1880, Mr. and Mrs. Perkins were living with her mother, Eleanor V. Brown, on Sixth Street. Mr. Perkins would go on to become head miller for Eagle Mills in Hannibal. They made their home at 419 Bird St. Mrs. Perkins died in 1902, at the age of 43-44, and is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Mr. Perkins died in 1927, at the age of 73. They had three children, Jennie, Fanny and Edwin.

Sixth friend

The sixth member of the party was listed in the 1901 St. Louis Republic newspaper as Mrs. J.F. Williams. Efforts to identify Mrs. Williams were unsuccessful.

William Henry Brewington, as posted on by mcg0771. W.H. Brewington was the husband of Lucy B. Turpin, one of six friends who hosted a progressive dinner on the afternoon of Monday, Jan. 21, 1901.

Lucy Turpin Brewington, as posted on by mcg0771.

W.B. Curd, husband of Celeste Herriman Curd, died in 1916. Photo from The Mirror of Hannibal by Thomas H. Bacon.

This advertisement was found in the Oct. 31, 1906 edition of the Palmyra Spectator. It represents the closing of the long-time Brewington saddle shop on Main Street in downtown Hannibal. W.C. Brewington was married to the former Lucy Turpin, a participant in the progressive dinner.

Mary Lou Montgomery, retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Books available on by this author: "The Notorious Madam Shaw," "Pioneers in Medicine from Northeast Missouri," and "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870." She can be reached at Her collective works can be found at


 Recent Posts 
bottom of page