1883: Elzea farmland divided to create unique subdivision
This section of the 1913 Sanborn map for Hannibal, Mo., shows the details of the layout of Elzea’s addition (circled in red). The block to the left of Robinson Street is in the flat valley, and the two blocks to the right of Robinson Street are “up the hill.” Lally Street was later renamed Vermont.
Lynda Kennedy Pack recently shared this photo of 1505 Vermont St., Hannibal, Mo., on the Growing Up In Hannibal Facebook page. Her great-grandparents, Tony and Nona White, formerly owned and occupied this property, and Lynda lived there when a young girl.
MARY LOU MONTGOMERY
Located south of the railroad tracks, to the east of Mills Creek, to the west of Robinson Cemetery and south of Bear Creek, the 136-year-old Elzea neighborhood in Mason Township, Marion County, Mo., stands alone as far as geography is concerned. That said, the subdivision remains a tight-knit residential neighborhood connected by custom as well as culture.
Established back in 1883 by the heirs of pioneer settlers Samuel and Frances Elzea, the area known as Elzea’s Addition was carved out of farmland owned by the matriarch and patriarch of the family whose many offspring are now scattered like the wind.
Samuel Elzea – a resident of the Hannibal area pre-1840 - died in 1851, leaving his widow, Frances, to finish rearing their dozen children. She would live to be 85 years old, passing on Aug. 11, 1882. The following year, her son Henry S. Elzea served as attorney in fact for his siblings and their descendants, thus platting the Elzea Addition from a quadrant of the family’s farmland, located just to the east of Lindell Avenue.
Those with financial interest in this subdivision at the time were Henry S. Elzea and his siblings, Amanda C. Clark, Mary J. Elzea, Frances A. Johnson, James A. Elzea and Martha K. Foster, in addition to Martha Foster’s husband, Nathan A. Foster.
Henry S. Elzea set the prices for the lots, and sold them himself. He kept a record of the sales, and yearly he settled up with his financial partners. They, in turn, signed a receipt book, accepting their fair share of the proceeds.
One unique trait to this subdivision is the fact that roughly one third of the lots – those north of Robinson street – are in the valley. The other two thirds – south of Robinson – are on a plateau “up the hill.”
Another item to note is that Vermont Street was previously named Lally, and before that, it was “A” street.
Early settlers in this subdivision included J. Edward Withers, a caller for the M.P. Railroad, who resided in Elzea’s addition as early as 1888.
John and Elizabeth Withers moved into a new home at 1500 Montana St., Elzea’s addition, in 1910. They had lived in the neighborhood since at least 1901. John lived in this house until his death in 1916. His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1907. They are buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. (Note: It is unclear to this writer if J. Edward Withers and John Withers are the same person.)
James Edward Rhodes, and his wife Minnie, purchased lots 1 and 2 in Block 1 of Elzea’s addition in 1898. Mr. Rhodes worked for the Burlington Railroad, and their house was located on the northwest corner of Robinson Street and “A Street,” which was later renamed Lally, and eventually Vermont.
Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes later moved to Ralls County, Mo., where Mr. Rhodes died in 1960. He retired from the Universal Atlas cement plant.
Lynda Kennedy Pack recently posted a photo on Facebook that shows the house where she lived for a time as a child. Owned by her great-grandparents, Tony and Nona White, the house was located at 1505 Vermont. Tony White died at the age of 80 on Dec. 2, 1961. Nona White continued to live at 1505 Vermont until her death in 1972 at the age of 85.
In 1937, the house was owned by Miss Alice Hoseman, daughter of Francis and George Hosman, long-time residents of Elzea’s Addition. Alice Hoseman continued living in the house following the deaths of her parents. She passed in July 1949 at the age of 88. In 1940, her sister and brother-in-law, Lois Emma and Thomas Wilson, also made their home at 1505 Vermont.
Bertha A. Stobernack purchased lot 3, block 2, of Elzea’s addition to Hannibal for $400 in May 1909. She lived at 1601 Vermont Street for the remainder of her life.
At the time of the purchase, Stobernack had worked as principal and teacher just a block away at Elzea school, (1701 Vermont) since 1897. Prior to that she taught at West School and South School in Hannibal.
Miss Stobernack was a graduate of Kirksville normal school, and was a classmate of John J. Pershing, who went on to become commander of the American army in France during World War I. When she knew Pershing, he was a “farmer lad from Linn county, studying to become a teacher,” she told the Quincy Daily Whig in February 1918.
In 1925, Miss Stobernack taught first and second grades at Elzea, in addition to her principal duties. Mildred Walker taught second and third grades; Mary L. Burton taught fourth and fifth grades; Virginia Latham taught fifth grade; and Bessie North was the sixth grade teacher.
In 1937, presumably after Miss Stobernack’s retirement, Miss Mary L. Burton was principal at Elzea School.
Miss Stobernack died April 12, 1946, at the age of 86. She is buried at Riverside Cemetery.
In 1897, Mrs. Jennie Markle, widow of Thomas F. Markle, was janitor for Elzea School, and lived within the neighborhood. She made her home with her daughter and son-in-law, Mattie Catherine and John C. Bogart. In 1911, they lived on “C” street, later renamed Montana. The family’s address in 1922 was 1709 Montana.
Jennie Smith Markle was born Feb. 9, 1845, at Fulton, Mo. She died Dec. 23, 1927, at the age of 82.
Her daughter, Mattie, died Oct. 28, 1934, and her son-in-law, James Edward Bogart, died Dec. 12, 1948. They are all buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
Next week: More details on Henry S. Elzea and the neighborhood.
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