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Southwestern cattlemen boarded at Stockyards Hotel in Oakwood

This undated newspaper clipping shows the old Stockyards Hotel, which served southwestern cattlemen in the 1870s, 1880s and beyond. Stock was unloaded at the stockyards, watered and fed, while en route to the Chicago market. This hotel was widely known through the west. Photo from the Steve Chou collection.



48-year-old, Scotland-born John Oliver Hogg, an architect and contractor who made Hannibal his home as early as 1859, was the low bidder on a contract to construct a hotel at the stockyards in the area known as Oakwood, several miles west of Hannibal, in the spring of 1875. Work began at the end of April, and by June 4, the stonework was complete. The hotel was expected to be open the following August, in order to serve the needs of cattlemen traveling with their stock from Texas to markets in Chicago.

The stockyards consisted of up to 18 acres of land adjacent to the railroad tracks south of Market Street. Cattle were transported from Texas, and the stockyards at Hannibal served as a half-way point, where the livestock could be unloaded, fed and watered in preparation for the remainder of the journey to market. The nearby hotel would serve as a convenient rest stop for men accompanying the cattle.

The hotel was roughly where the Moose Lodge is now located.

Nelson Henry Partlow

Henry Partlow, a native of Michigan and a Civil War veteran who served with Company A., Illinois infantry, located in Hannibal the same year that Hogg’s firm was constructing the stockyards hotel.

Partlow opened a saloon and restaurant in a building, which had entrances both in the 100 block of Bird and in the 300 block of North Main. He brought to Hannibal his new wife, Margaret Huckert Partlow, and their daughter, infant Harriet Rosalia Partlow.

Partlow’s restaurant offered warm meals at all hours, the best brands of liquor and cigars, and his specialty was “buck beer.”

While business was good on Main Street, Partlow had his eye on what was going on west of town. His interest was piqued by the hotel Oliver Hogg was building near the stockyards, and the business possibilities associated with such a venture.

He tended to business on Main Street for the next few years, working to support a growing family, which included the addition of daughter Henrietta Louise Partlow in 1876. The next year, the Hannibal Clipper reported that Partlow had made extensive improvements to his restaurant and saloon, and in 1879, he listed his business for sale.

“The restaurant and saloon owned by Henry Partlow, situated one block from the levee, in Hannibal, Mo., is offered for sale very cheap,” the Quincy Daily Herald reported on April 18, 1879. “The restaurant is doing a good business, and is desirably located, opening on Bird Street, and the saloon opening on Main, both connecting. The object of the proprietor is wishing to sell, in his desire to engage in other business.”

By 1879, the Hannibal city directory listed Henry Partlow as proprietor of the Stringtown (an early nickname for Oakwood) saloon and hotel. He had made his move to the Stockyards Hotel, which he and his wife would continue to manage until his death in 1891. With the aid of Margaret and Henry’s sons, the family’s connection with the hotel would continue, even after her husband’s death.

In 1880, the Partlows welcomed their first son, Henry David. Their second son, William Edward Partlow, was born 1884. Both would grow up at the hotel, and later help manage the operation.


In 1881, the Partlows hosted some special guests at the hotel. Henry’s father, David, was reported to be 99 years old, and his wife – Henry’s mother – was 90. They traveled to Hannibal to visit their son, who was one of their 16 children. The Quincy Daily Whig of June 9, 1881, made note of these visitors: “Both are remarkably well preserved mentally and physically.” The elder Partlows had recently relocated to Eagle, Clinton Co., Ill.

Texas fever

A hardship occurred at the Oakwood stockyards in 1896, when a carload of cattle shipped from Texas was diagnosed with Texas fever. As a result, the stockyards were abandoned, and native cattle were subsequently allowed to graze the land. This, of course, lead to the spread of the disease, and lawsuits were threatened. Oliver Duck of Schell City was the owner of the stockyards at the time, and his negligence in the matter was blamed for the loss of native cattle.

Seven years later, Oliver Duck sold the 18 acres of property to W.Z. Link of Hannibal, for $1,500.

W.Z. Link died March 7, 1950, and his wife, Mrs. Maude A. Link, died Feb. 11, 1951. They are buried at Holy Family Cemetery in Hannibal.

Henry Partlow died in 1891, followed in death by his widow, Margaret, in 1919. They are buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery near their sons.

J. Oliver Hogg died in 1917, and his wife died in 1922. They are buried at Riverside Cemetery.

Photomechanical wood engraving on paper of a cow, by Henry Wolf, born Eckwersheim, Alsace 1852-1916. Graphic Arts, Mechanical reproduction. Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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