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Rivalry between Settles, Pettibone carried weight in 1880 Hannibal

This photo, taken from the southeast corner of Main and Broadway circa 1866, shows the Settles & Helms dry good store, located on the northwest corner of the intersection. A.J. Settles partnered with Levy Wolfstein for a time - and later in succession Cyrus T. Helm, James B. Bowles and James Plowman - in the operation of a dry goods store at this location from circa 1866-1885. At left, on the southwest corner of the intersection, is the R.E. Lackner building, which was replaced in 1905 by the Farrell building, which still stands today. Note that on the northeast corner of the intersection, the building which now houses HNB Bank had yet to be constructed. (PHOTO: STEVE CHOU COLLECTION)


Forrester Tatlow, the son of one of Marion County’s earliest settlers, followed in his father’s footsteps, operating and engineering new systems for steam grain mills.

But there was much more to Tatlow than innovation and engineering.

He was an astute observer of human nature.

When he took a wife in 1866, he moved from Palmyra to Hannibal, where he and the former Belle Donah would live out their years. He acquired a wealth of knowledge about mill operation, expanding upon his father’s foundation and building a milling empire of his own. His wife gained notice as a master at the art of homemaking, living with her husband and young son at 830 Broadway, and later at 919 Church.

Wherever his work would take him, Forrester Tatlow remained an astute observer.

During the early 1880s and beyond, Forrester Tatlow – under the penname of “Tat” or “Fos” - was writing stories for newspaper publication utilizing his keen sense of observation. These stories can still be found sprinkled amidst the archives of newspapers in Hannibal, Palmyra and Quincy, Ill. By the 1890s, he was focusing his career away from milling and to the field of his passion – journalism.

One such story, first published in the Hannibal Journal where Forrester Tatlow was working as a journalist, and later reprinted in the July 27, 1893 edition of the Palmyra Spectator, brings to mind the people who worked near Main and Broadway circa 1880, when Tatlow was a younger man working at the Hannibal Milling Co., located at the foot of Broadway.

The story, in its entirety, follows. The timeline that accompanies this story will help today’s readers follow in the footsteps of these notable Hannibal citizens who built the foundation for today’s Hannibal business climate.

Fos Tatlows Reminsences.

July 27, 1893

Palmyra Spectator, page 1,

“Once on a time, as the old school book poetry used to put it, Jack Settles’ clothing store, at the intersection of Broadway and Main Streets, was called ‘Democratic Headquarters.’ Yet, notwithstanding the name, such good Republicans as Col. Evan Jones, David Dubach Esq., and Capt. Chamberlain, et. al, regularly assembled there to talk over the issues of the day. About that time there was a good deal of friendly rivalry between Col. A.W. Pettibone and Hon. A.J. Settles as to which was the heaviest man from a standpoint of avoirdupois. Now, really, the Honorable ‘Jack’ had the ‘edge’ on Col. Pet by about five pounds, and he was as proud of it as a colored citizen is when carrying a brass horn on Emancipation day, and he never lost an opportunity to ‘gig’ him about it.

“Well, one evening after supper, when it was about time for the sages to meet at headquarters, Col. ‘Pet’ peeped in and was hailed with the familiar expression: ‘Come in; it’s about time to call the roll.’ The Col. knew that if he entered the Hon. Jack would banter him to weigh. So he said ‘I’ll be in presently, and then went off to fix himself by going up to John Farmer’s hardware store and putting ten pounds of bar led in his boot tops. Then he returned to headquarters, and, sure enough, soon after he entered the Hon. Jack bantered him to weigh. To this, of course, the Colonel demurred until the Hon. Jack proposed that they go up to Al. Thompson’s on Broadway and test the scales, and the lightest one set ‘em up five dollars worth.

“Finally the Colonel consented and to the scales the crowd went. The Honorable Jack stepped on the platform and ‘kicked the beam’ at one hundred and ninety. Then Col. Pet quietly took his place on the platform and the beam-weight had to be pushed five points further to the right to hold him in a balance.

“ ‘Dog-on-it,’ said Judge Settles, ‘Pet, you’ve been fattening up right smart.’ And they went off and took their lemonade and such. All told the treat didn’t cost a ‘fiver, and when the Colonel handed back the change to the Hon. Jack and drew the lead from the boots, it created a laugh that cracked the ice on the Mississippi river.” – Hannibal Journal.

Settles story timeline


A.W. Pettibone born in Vermont.


Andrew J. Settles born in Marion County, Mo.


A.J. Settles represented the Hannibal dry goods firm, Marienthal & Block


Forrester Tatlow’s father opened a new steam mill near Palmyra.


Settles & Wolfstein dry good store, corner Main and Hill streets


A.J. Settles, first ward councilman


A.W. Pettibone moved to Hannibal, associated with the Hixon & Co., lumber dealers.


(A.J.) Settles & (Cyrus T.) Helm dry goods store, NW corner of Broadway and Main


Forrester Tatlow married Belle Donah.


A.J. Settles, second ward councilman


Settles & Bowles dry goods store, NW corner Main and Broadway


Settles and (James) Plowman dry goods store, NW corner Main and Broadway


J. Al. Thompson hardware, 218 Broadway


J.O. Farmer hardware store 208 N. Main


A.J. Settles, member of the state legislature


Story told about Pettibone, Settles, memories of Fos Tatlow (Published in 1893)


A.W. Pettibone lived at 307 North Fifth Street


J. Al. Thompson had a hardware store at Third and Broadway


Foss Tatlow, miller, Hannibal Milling Co. foot of Broadway


A.W. Pettibone and wife moved back to Wisconsin. Their son, Wilson, remained in Hannibal to look after family milling operations.


Forrester Tatlow invented and patented an automatic feed roller for flouring mills.

1885: Drescher store had moved to the Settles location; A.J. Settles store closed.


A.J. Settles, County Court judge


Forrester Tatlow was an editor/journalist


A.J. Settles lived at 221 N. Maple


Mrs. A.J. (Helen M. Doyle) Settles died in Pasadena, Calif., where she had gone for her health.


See photo of Drescher store; replaced old Settles store building.


Tatlow voted Democratic for Adlai Stevenson for president.


Humrich & (Andrew J.) Settles (drug store 211 Broadway)


Forrester Tatlow was baptized at the Hannibal Christian Church.


Drescher dry goods, 101-103 N. Main (NW Corner Main and Broadway)

1895: Settles Hall, NW corner Main and Broadway (upstairs)


Milton Strong, prominent Hannibal businessman and brother-in-law of Forrester Tatlow’s wife, died at Hannibal.


Judge A.J. Settles died Jan. 8 at his home.


Bell Tatlow, wife of Forrester Tatlow, dies at her home.


A.W. Pettibone dies, Wisconsin


Forrester Tatlow died at the Marion County Infirmary.

Republicans mentioned in Fos Tatlow’s story, circa 1880:

Col. Evan Jones, a plasterer living at the SW corner of Grace and Summit.

David Dubach Esq., lumber dealer, living on the SW corner of Fifth and Bird.

Capt. Chamberlain (Wilbur F., postmaster) living at 205 S. Sixth

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