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Shinn Lane: Busy road’s roots trace back to early fruit farmer

Just to the north of Bear Creek Cemetery in Miller Township, Marion County, Mo., Shinn Lane takes a deep dip. This section of the road was not passable in 1929, when Brice M. Moore and Frank Minor approached the Marion County Court about improvements. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY


Mid year in 1929, two Marion County farmers went to the county court and asked that maintenance be performed on a 1.25-mile stretch of county road known as Shinn Lane.

Brice M. Moore, a Hannibal contractor, had a small farm along U.S. 36 west of Hannibal (now Route MM), and needed access to this roadway.

Frank Minor, married with two young daughters, operated a dairy farm in the same vicinity.

The county judges agreed that if the residents of the area would clear out the underbrush from the roadway, that the county would grade the road and repair the culverts.

Today, Shinn Lane stretches south to north, beginning at the intersection of Centerville Road (near the Old Baptist Cemetery) and extending north past the Moberly Area Community College campus and the Hannibal medical campus.

The road segment to be repaired in 1929 was located “same beginning on the north line of Sec. 27, Twp. 57, Range 5, and extending in a southerly direction for a distance of approximately 1 ¼ miles to a point near the Bear Creek cemetery.” (June 12, 1929, Palmyra Spectator)

Shinn Road’s namesake

As early as 1875, Capt. Asa Shinn owned 40 acres of land along what is known as Shinn Lane. He was born in 1824 in Virginia, and died June 9, 1900, in Marion County. His remains are buried at Bear Creek Cemetery, southwest of his farm.

During his lifetime he was a fruit grower, operating an orchard on his 40-acre plot of land.

In 1890 his crop amounted to 1,500 barrels of apples, which he sold to a Quincy firm.

The following January, Asa Shinn’s wife died of pneumonia at the age of 63.

In 1892, Mr. Shinn reported to a representative of the Hannibal Courier-Post that he believed his entire crop was lost to excessive spring rains.

“He says the young apples are falling off and he thinks the crop will be an entire failure. The trees were laden with young fruit, but the incessant rains have blighted them and they are falling to the ground. Said he: ‘I have not only examined my orchard, but a number of others and I find the same results. There will not be any apples in this vicinity this year and but a light crop of peaches. The budded fruit seems to be doing very well, but the seedlings are killed.’” (Hannibal Post June 4, 1892)

Two years later, on Oct. 20, 1894, Asa Shinn reported on the apple harvest to the Quincy Daily Journal.

“Apples are being gathered here at this time. There are a good many, but not a full crop. Some orchards are tolerably full, while others have but few apples. Buyers are scarce. Mr. John Mack Turner sold his to a man from the North.

“Mr. Asa Shinn has several acres in his orchard, and has a fine lot of apples, but does not consider it a full crop. He is an experienced man in this business.”

Shinn family

Asa Shinn’s will left his home farm and all the stock, farming implements and household furniture to his daughter, Lillian A. Eggleston for her natural life; with the property reverting to surviving children upon her demise. The will was signed in New York on Feb. 10, 1900.

His children:

John M. Shinn 1849-1936

George Shinn 1851-1924

Lillian Angeline Shinn Eggleston 1855-1920

Asa Erastus Shinn 1856-1930

Thanks to Charlie Larner who has been researching the Asa Shinn family for nearly a decade.

Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Her collective works can be found at

This map segment, reproduced from the 1875 Marion County Atlas, shows where Asa Shinn operated a fruit farm for some 25 years prior to his death in 1900.

Asa Shinn’s remains rest in Bear Creek Cemetery, not farm from the fruit farm he operated for a quarter of a century. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY

Asa Shinn. Reprinted from Mr. Shinn's Findagrave site, courtesy of Charlie Larner

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