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Hehmeyers left imprints on local business climate

The Hehmeyer family is pictured in front of their house, which is located on what was once known as Lot 45 of the Hehmeyer Subdivision. It faces Palmyra Road, and directly across Palmyra Road is Central Avenue. The Hehmeyers sold the house and adjoining 10 acres of land in 1917 for $2,000. According to the notation on this picture, it is believed that Walter Hehmeyer is pictured on the fence post, at left. Photo contributed by Linda Hehmeyer Shields.


Prussia-born Clamor Frederick Hehmeyer, 28, a skilled craftsman in the art of wagon making, moved his young family from LaGrange, in Lewis County, Mo., to Hannibal circa 1887, where he went to work for John Hollyman & Son. The shop specialized in wagon making, horse shoeing and general blacksmithing, and was located on the present site of the Mark Twain hotel. Hehmeyer later worked for the Hutchinson Carriage company.

The family, consisting of Jennie Hehmeyer, Clamor’s wife, and their children, Frederick, Bertha and Ernest, settled in at 446 Rock Street. Left behind in Lewis County were a number of Clamor Hehmeyer’s relatives, including his parents, Frederick, who was a farmer, and Mary.

Two more children joined the family, Walter, in 1888 and Ruth in 1893. Clamor continued supporting his growing family primarily as a wood worker, and by 1894 they had moved to larger quarters at 212 Grace St.

Prior to the turn of the 20th Century, (the family believes it was in November 1893) the family took a leap of faith. Clamor and his wife purchased a 10-acre parcel of land known as Lot 45, Murphy’s Addition, situated to the west of Hannibal, located in the Northwest corner of the East half of Section 19, Township 57, Range 4, Mason Township, Marion County, Mo. The acreage was too small to produce cash crops, so Clamor Hehmeyer took up a new profession: Truck farming. They grew and sold produce grown on the property, selling it – as the name implies – from the back of a truck.

Hehmeyer addition

Family believes that Claymor Hehmeyer purchased remaining land in Murphy’s Addition from V.H. Whaley on Oct. 5, 1906.

The land had been previously owned, and subsequently subdivided in 1871, by Michael Murphy and his wife, Catharine Quealy Murphy. The Murphys named the plot Sunny Side, or Murphy’s Addition. The Murphys lost the ground, including their home on lot 45, to foreclosure circa 1872 after Michael Murphy’s death.

The Hehmeyers subdivided that portion of land to the west of Bay Road and to the north of Palmyra Road, and named it Hehmeyer’s Subdivision. A street, which is platted but not constructed, lies parallel to and sandwiched between Luther Lane to the west and Bay Avenue to the east, still carries the name of Clamor, in recognition of Mr. Hehmeyer.

Hehmeyer house

The Hehmeyer family lived in the house standing on Lot 45, and occupied in the early 1870s by the Murphy family. To confirm this data, at the time of the 1900 census, and again in 1910, the Hehmeyer family information was taken in order following the information offered by the C.M. Fette family, who lived next door, to the east.

The Hehmeyer family is also associated during this time period with a brick house located on lots 24 and 25 of Hehmeyer Addition, the current address being 2320 Palmyra Road.

In 1912, the Hannibal City Directory listed the following members of the Hehmeyer family living in or near Hannibal:

Miss Bertha Hehmeyer, seamstress, resident 1006 Palmyra Road

Earnest H. (Ida Schnitzer Hehmeyer ) gardener, resides Palmyra Road west of city limits

Fred (Clamor) (Jennie) Hehmeyer, farmer, resides 1006 Palmyra Avenue

Fred E. (Emma M.) Clerk Schultz’s Furniture Co., resides 1616 Grace

Miss Ruth Hehmeyer, milliner, resides Palmyra road west limits

Walter H. Hehmeyer (Flora Schnitzer) clerk for the Burlington Railroad, resides Palmyra Road west of limits.

Sale of property

In the fall of 1917, Clamor F. Hehmeyer and wife sold all of Lot 45 in the Sunny Side addition, to Roy Hamlin and wife for the sum of $2,000. Lot 45 consisted of nearly 10 acres, plus a house and barn, which are still standing. In the 1960s, the land was subdivided and sold into lots. The subdivision is called Hamlin Heights. The Hamlin house was owned by Dwaine and Betty Pfaff, and is now owned and occupied by Paul and (the Pfaff’s daughter), Mary Lynn Richards.

Walter H. and Earnest H. Hehmeyer went into business together around 1920, providing express, local and long distance hauling, in addition to sales of coal and coke. By 1937 the business was located at 309 S. Third, and was known as Hehmeyer Coal, Ice and Transfer Co.

After the sale

Clamor and his wife, Jennie, took up housekeeping and gardening at 910 Lyon. Their daughter, Ruth, continued to live with them.

Ernest and his wife Ida moved to 914 Lyon, and Walter Hehmeyer and his wife, Flora, moved next door.

In 1916, Bertha Hehmeyer moved in with her brother, Fred E. Hehmeyer, 1616 Grace St., whose wife had died unexpectedly, leaving him to care for three young children.

House fire

Tragedy struck the family in early January 1924. The morning temperature was 16 degrees below zero when the fire gong sounded at 8 a.m. The fire was at the Ernest Hehmeyer house at 914 Lyon St.

The Quincy Daily Journal reported: “The engines and men were at the scene of the fire in almost record time and when they arrived it seemed that the whole roof was a mass of flames. The fire had evidently started in the attic from a defective flue. When it was discovered the entire house was in danger. The crews of Nos. 2 and 3 were called to assist No. 1. At 9:30 the fire was extinguished and only one half of the roof was destroyed. The total damage of the fire was not estimated.”

The firemen resembled chunks of walking ice, the newspaper reported. Back at the engine house, the buckles on one fireman’s coat had to be forced open with a pair of pliers.

By 1925, Clamor Hehmeyer and his wife were living at 211 Division St.

Clamor’s wife dies

Jennie Hehmeyer died April 16, 1929, and was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Clamor Hehmeyer went to live with his son’s family (Ernest Hehmeyer) at 914 Lyon St., which had been repaired following the fire.

Clamor’s youngest daughter, Ruth, also lived with her brother Ernest’s family, and was a bookkeeper for her brother’s transfer company.

Ernest Hehmeyer eventually relocated to 1614 Fulton Avenue, and his father moved with him.

It is there that Clamor Fredrick Hehmeyer died in 1940, at the age of 88. He was reunited with his wife at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Note: Walter Hehmeyer’s son, John F. Hehmeyer, died June 22, 2017 in Jefferson City. John and his wife, Mary Frances Carter Hehmeyer, were former residents of Hannibal. John worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for more than 40 years.

Thanks to Hehmeyer family members, Judie Hehmeyer Johnson and Linda Hehmeyer Shields, for their contributions of memories, research and photos for this story.

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