Civil War-era house served as an eye-witness to history

August 17, 2019

 

 

 

The Mitchell/Anderson house, 1008 Broadway, Hannibal, Mo., is believed to have been constructed at the end of the Civil War. It was torn down to make way for the Schwartz Manor apartments. The apartments were constructed prior to 1998. Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator. Mitchell-Anderson House, Broadway, Hannibal, Marion County, MO. Retrieved from the Library of Congress.

 

 

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY

 

On the first day of May 1889, Margaret M.A. Thompson, 80, drifted into eternal slumber at the stately home of her daughter, Cornelia F. (Mrs. Rufus E.) Anderson at 1006 Broadway in Hannibal, Mo.

Mrs. Anderson did what family members did during the era in which she lived; she took her aging mother into her home, and with the help of family members and domestic help, cared for her until death called. The actions were not heroic or unusual; but rather expected. Family members cared for each other.

Mrs. Anderson’s father and Margaret’s husband, Mr. Thomas E. Thompson, who long served as circuit clerk for Marion County, had passed in 1873.

Following Mrs. Thompson’s death, Mrs. Anderson sent a telegram to her brother, E.J. Thompson, who was serving a term as mayor of Quincy, Ill., apprising him of the news.

At the time, citizens of the United States were in the midst of a celebration marking the centennial of the inauguration of President Washington. In Quincy, a grand parade featured Nolan and Oiker’s band. After the parade, in which Mayor Thompson participated, the city’s fire engines stopped at Fifth and Maine and conducted a water-throwing exhibition.

In Hannibal, construction was underway on the still-standing Disciple of Christ church across the street from the Anderson’s home, thanks in part to the generosity of Mary Dulany, Mrs. Anderson’s next-door neighbor.

On Saturday, May 4, 1889, the family gathered at the Methodist Church in Palmyra, for services, followed by burial at Greenwood Cemetery.

Mrs. Thompson’s death may have been the first family death at the Anderson home on Broadway, but as fate would have it, it wouldn’t be the last.

 

Large family

Cornelia F. Thompson married Rufus E. Anderson on Jan. 11, 1854. Mr. Anderson was the son of Thomas L. Anderson, a noted attorney in Marion County. He read the law under his father’s supervision, and was admitted to the Missouri bar in 1852.

By 1860, two children had been born to the marriage, Edwin L., circa 1855; and Margaret T., circa 1858. Four more children joined the family during the 1860s: Juliet M., circa 1860; Rufie (Rufus) circa 1865; Cornelia F., circa 1867; and Russella, circa 1869.

Two more children, twin girls, were born circa 1871, Fannie and Annie.

Birth information was not located for another son, Russell Easton Anderson, who died in 1877.

 

Large house

Cornelia Anderson and her family moved to Hannibal in 1877. Juliet Mitchell, the wife of Hannibal pioneer Joshua Mitchell, bequeathed her “mansion” on Broadway to her niece, Cornelia, leaving a provision in her will that Juliet’s husband could remain in the house until his death, which occurred on April 6, 1880.

The Anderson family moved into the house early in the decade of the 1880s, while Rufus Anderson was serving as executor for Joshua Mitchell’s vast estate.

The house was located in Block 71 of the city of Hannibal, on the north side of Broadway. It is believed to have been built circa 1866.

There were four houses on the north side of Broadway between Tenth Street and what would become 11th Street circa 1880:

NW Corner of Tenth and Broadway (later renumbered 1000): Daniel M. Dulany and his wife Mary.

904 Broadway (later renumbered 1008): Mitchell/Anderson

912 Broadway (later renumbered 1014): Robert F. Lakenan, attorney and State Senator, and his wife, Mary J. Moss Lakenan.

918 Broadway (later renumbered 1018): Dr. and Mrs. John Chamberlain. Dr. Chamberlain’s wife was a music instructor, piano and organ.

Note: 912 and 918 were torn down to make way for the new Hannibal High School, circa 1904.

 

Touching story

A touching death notice in the Nov. 26, 1880 edition of the Palmyra Spectator describes the loss of one of the Anderson family’s twin daughters.

“A babe in her tenth year, a twin of a living sister, children of Mr. Rufus F. Anderson. Little Fannie Currel was a child of many beautiful traits of character, and the idol of many loving hearts. She died at her father’s house in Hannibal, after much suffering, on Monday last, and the remains arrived on Wednesday’s noonday train, attended by youths as pall bearers. The day was intensely cold, but a large attendance patiently awaited the approach of the snow white casket with its sacred treasure, the procession, in slow and solemn order moved toward the cemetery, where the generous earth had opened her bosom to receive and keep beside two others (siblings) sleeping there.”

Her brother, Rufie, had preceded her in death on Feb. 7, 1867. Russell Easton Anderson passed in 1877.

 

More deaths

A married daughter, Juliette Mitchell Anderson Rightmire, died at the Anderson’s home on Broadway in 1890, at the age of about 29.

In 1894, Annie Yeatman Anderson, twin sister of Fannie, died at the age of 22-23 at the Anderson home, of typhoid fever.

 

Family moves

Around 1902, the Anderson family exchanged houses with the family of Robert A. Curts, moving to 108 N. Sixth Street. Ultimately, as they got older, the Andersons would move back to Palmyra, where they made their home with their daughter and son-in-law, Henry and Margaret Markell.

In 1908, daughter Cornelia (Nellie) Anderson Betts died in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 42.

Her father, Rufas E. Anderson, died on July 27, 1909, at the Markell residence in Palmyra.

Out of a family of nine children, his survivors included his wife and three children, Mrs. Markell, Russella (Russie) Anderson, who never married and lived with her parents, and Edwin Anderson, of San Francisco.

Just nine months after his father’s death, Edwin Anderson died at the age of 54.

 

An invalid

Mrs. Cornelia Anderson was by now an invalid, and almost blind. Her daughter, Russella, was her constant attendant, the two sharing a bed at night. Early in the morning of Sunday, Oct. 9, 1910, family members awoke to find Russella deceased. She was 42 years old.

Feb. 12, 1911, Mrs. Anderson passed at the Markell home.

Margaret Anderson Markell would live on as the only living child of Cornelia and Rufus Anderson until her death in 1944.

 

The ‘mansion’

The stately home at 1006 Broadway was demolished to make way for the Schwartz Manor housing complex. The Dulany house, next door to the east, was destroyed by fire in 1983. It has been in use for a number of years as Schwartz Funeral Home. Hannibal’s high school, to the west of the Mitchell/Anderson house, was torn down to make way for the Laura Hawkins Hi-Rise apartment complex.

 

Digital newspapers of Palmyra, Mo., (newspapers.com) and Quincy, Ill., and the Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress, served as resource material for this story.

 

Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) 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 www.maryloumontgomery.com

 

 

 

In 1967 Bill Partee took this photo of the old Hannibal High School building, in the 1020 block of Broadway, prior to its demolition to make way for the Laura Hawkins Hi-Rise. At left is the building which housed the First Pentecostal Church, at 1100 Broadway. Steve Chou Collection

 

 

The Schwartz Funeral Home is pictured in 1967, and to its left is the Civil War-era Mitchell/Anderson home. These two buildings were demolished to make way for the Schwartz Manor apartment complex. Bill Partee photo/Steve Chou Collection.

 

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