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Death claims life of city clerk during 1929 Hannibal city council meet

The interior of the Wilhelm and Strode grocery store, 1300 Market St., is shown circa 1914. Steve Chou collection.


While he was reading the proceedings in the council chambers at Hannibal’s City Hall on Monday, June 3, 1929, 51-year-old Charles E. Strode’s head fell forward onto his desk.

The city clerk, who just 10 minutes prior had been appointed to a new term by the assembled council members, died before a doctor could reach his side.

Naturally, the shock rippled though the community, as it always does when a person dies while in his or her prime. Since first coming to live in Hannibal in 1903, Strode had built a reputation as one of the town’s business leaders. Now the town, as well as his family, would be forced to find their way without this leadership.

A story in this author’s historical series, published in 2021, tells of the another unexpected death of a businessman, which occurred a generation prior. P.W. Hawes operated the Athens coal and wood company at 112 Broadway. Soon after Hawes’ death, Strode took over operation of a wood and coal business in the same location, a business that would be resumed in later years by Strode’s own son.

But in between the operation of the coal business and his role as city clerk, Charlie Strode wore various Hannibal-area business hats.

Charles E. Strode was pictured in a Hannibal newspaper while he was serving on the council in the mid 1920s. (Montgomery digital database collection)

Formative years

Born near Salt River Switch in Ralls County, Mo., in April 1878, Charlie Strode was the son of James Dee and Annie Dodd Strode.

His mother died in 1884, when she was just 28, and the children, including Charlie and his three sisters, moved to the farm owned by their maternal grandparents, James William and Jane Paradise Crawford Dodd.

In 1900, Charlie was united in marriage with Miss Alberta Glascock, daughter of Jacob M. and Susan A. Hickman Glascock. In 1903, the Strode family moved to Hannibal, and Charlie took over operation of the aforementioned coal and wood business at 112 Broadway.


Charlie Strode left Hannibal’s business climate for a time, moving out to a farm near New London. He sold that 220-acre farm to William Waykoff, of Barry, Ill., in 1912, and moved his growing family to back to Hannibal.

Market Street grocery

Circa 1914, Charlie Strode and Louis Garrett Wilhelm, both men in their mid 30s, were partners in the Wilhelm-Strode grocery store, located at 1300 Market Street, directly north of the German American Trust Co.

Market Street was a bustling mid-town business center, serving the predominately blue collar residents of West Hannibal. In the next block to the east were Joseph C. Raible’s grocery and and bakery, 1240-42 Market, James C. Bowles’ saloon at 1244 Market, and Joseph O. Wilson’s cleaning shop at 1241 Market. To the west at 1306 Market was a millinery shop operated by Lulu B. Nolin and Caroline E. McRae.

Prior to the opening of the grocery store at 1300 Market, Bert T. Suddath managed a dry goods store named The Enterprise in the building, which was then numbered 136 Market. At the turn of the 20th Century, that same building housed Hutchinson and Son carriage builders.

In 1929, Bocksermans dry goods, shoes and furnishings, managed by H.J. Stone, filled that retail space.

In 2021, the only remaining brick building in this neighborhood is occupied by Ray Delaporte, Carpetbaggers Antiques, 1408 Market.

By 1916, L.G. Wilhelm had left the grocery store partnership, replaced for a short time by Ollie Caryle Glascock, Charlie Strode’s young brother- in-law.

In 1918, L.G. Wilhelm and Charlie Strode were once again in partnership as automobile distributors at 806-810 Broadway. In 1926, suffering from health issues, Strode went to Oklahoma in hopes of recovering his vigor. Later that year, he returned to Hannibal and accepted the office of city clerk, which was left vacant by the resignation of Morris K. Byrum. Prior to that, he served as a Hannibal city councilman for four years.


Less than a year after his father’s death, (April 1930) Hannibal had a smallpox outbreak. Charles Edward Strode Jr., who was a junior at Hannibal High School, was sent home from school and quarantined, after attending classes during the morning.

The Quincy Herald Whig reported on April 26, 1930:

“Dr. E.M. Lucke, Hannibal-Marion county health head, announced that there were about seventy five students in high school who had not been vaccinated, and that they would have to show certificates of vaccination by Monday or be barred from school.”

Note: Salt River Switch was a railroad switch located in southeastern Clay Township, on the Hannibal and St. Louis Railroad route, about two miles east of New London, adjoining the bridge over Salt River. Source: Leech, Esther. "Place Names Of Six East Central Counties Of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1933.

Note: Jay McAfee, a Glascock family descendant, has considerable research on his family and has provided digital links for others to follow. His vast research contributions are appreciated by this author.

Read the story of the Hawes coal and wood company at:

Pete Johann Jr., Is holding the reins of a two-horse wagon, delivering goods to the short-lived Wilhelm and Strode grocery store located at 1300 Market St., Hannibal. The year is estimated to be 1914. The wagon is identified as belonging to the Goddard Grocery Company, a wholesale business located at the foot of Church Street. Painted on the side of the wagon is “Phone 3.” Photo contributed by Karen Pinkham of Galesburg, Ill.

An advertisement for the Wilhelm Strode grocery store, from the 1914 Hannibal city directory, assessed via the Hannibal Free Public Library’s web site.

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. Books available on by this author: "The Notorious Madam Shaw," "Pioneers in Medicine from Northeast Missouri," and "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870." She can be reached at Her collective works can be found at


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