Memories of an old house at the wedge of West Ely and Centerville

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY

During the course of my research of the Civil War-era house tucked in next to the Pioneer Village subdivision in Hannibal, I chatted with Sue Hart, who – as a life-long resident - has remarkable memories of the West Ely Road area.

She told me about the old Goodrich house, which was wedged into the triangular lot on the southwest corner of West Ely Road and Centerville Road.

Before the Civil War, that land and house were owned by William Robbins, farmer, riverboat pilot and Mrs. Goodrich’s father.

In a court transcript recorded in the fall of 1894 in Hannibal, Mr. Robbins described the location of his house: “ I have lived thirty-five years (since 1859) where I am now, in Miller township at the fork of the road between here and West Ely.”

It was a proud house in its day, but was allowed to deteriorate during the first half of the 20th Century. It was ultimately used as rental property.

Sue Hart remembers one family in particular who rented the house, which offered a cistern as the only source of drinking water.

“He was skinny and she was big. They had billy goats. One goat fell into the cistern. After they got it out, they kept drinking that cistern water.

“Some of the windows in the house were broken out, and the goats would jump through the windows into the house.”

The house was torn down a number of years ago, and was replaced in recent years by a modern duplex that faces Centerville Road.

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