top of page

Hannibal woman launched annual Sophomore Pilgrimage

The historic Hinton house is located at 1634 Grace Street. It was constructed during the first decade of the 20th Century for the J.P. Hinton family. Photo by Meryle Martin Dexheimer.

Mary Richmond Hinton Morris is pictured with her family, in the early 1900s. Francis Richmond, 42; Carrie E. Love Richmond, 38; Mary E. Richmond, 10; Robertus Richmond, 7; William W. Richmond, 5; and Martha M. Richmond, 3. Photo contributed by Nancy Richmond DeLaPorte’s daughter, Dianne DeLaPorte Campbell.


All of the Missouri students chosen to attend the annual GFWC Sophomore Pilgrimage since its inception in 1935 have a Hannibal woman to thank for that privilege.

Mary Richmond Hinton Morris, born in 1891 and raised in Hannibal, came up with the concept of the pilgrimage in 1934, and a year later, the annual tradition was a part of the state’s culture.

Each spring, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Missouri sponsor students from throughout the state who exemplify high standards of honor, courage, citizenship, scholarship, leadership and service.

In 1934, Mrs. Morris said, “The crying need of today is for more discreet, considerate, intelligent and loyal citizenship… the future of our state and nation lies in the hands of our children.”

The first pilgrimage began on March 5, 1935.

In 1937, Mrs. Lloyd C. Stark, wife of the governor, hosted 200 high school students for tea at the Executive Mansion, on the occasion of the third annual Sophomore Pilgrimage.

In April 1938, the number of participants was expected to rise to 275 high school students and adults. The program was arranged by Mrs. Morris, of Hannibal, who was then president of the Missouri Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Hannibal’s ‘good citizen’ chosen to attend the Sophomore Pilgrimage in 1947 was Shirley J. Schwan, daughter of Gilbert E. and Donna J. Schwan. By the time of her marriage to Kenneth LeRoy Harris in 1956, the Schwan family had moved to Miami Shores, Fla. For 28 years before his retirement in 1952, Gilbert Schwan managed Hannibal’s J.C. Penney Store, located at 116-118 S. Main. In 1950, they made their home at 460 Country Club Drive.

Raised in Hannibal

Born in 1891, Mary Richmond was the daughter of Frank (1857-1949) and Carrie Ella Love Richmond (1861-1938). She grew up at 2147 Broadway, a house that was recently featured in this column.

She is pictured in the 1911 yearbook for the Missouri State Normal School at Springfield, Mo., and likely earned a teaching certificate while there.

She returned to Hannibal, where she taught the 1912-13 school year at Hannibal’s West School. A.H. Foreman was the principal.

In October 1913, she was united in marriage to James P. Hinton, some 30 years her senior. He was a recent widower, and had two children roughly his new wife’s age, a daughter, about two years older, and a son, a year younger than the new Mrs. Hinton.

About two years after their marriage - in 1915 - Mary Richmond Hinton gave birth to a son, James P. Hinton Jr.

Mary Richmond Hinton was left a young widow when her husband died in June 1926. The Macon Republican newspaper reported that Mr. and Mrs. Hinton had dinner at a Quincy restaurant, accompanied by Dr. and Mrs. J. Paul (Martha) Price. As they arrived back in Hannibal, Mr. Hinton had a fatal seizure.

Services were conducted at the Hinton Home, 1634 Grace, led by Rev. J.B. Trotter, pastor of the Fifth Street Baptist Church. Burial followed in Riverside Cemetery.

Dr. and Mrs. Price (he was an Osteopath) and their two children subsequently became Mrs. Hinton’s borders at 1634 Grace.


Pre-1935, Mary Richmond Hinton was married to William Mason Morris, (born 1880) a widower and a native of Kentucky. Morris and his son, Wm. M. Morris, were living in Hannibal in 1930, lodging with J.R. Blackwood at 914 Center St. The elder Mr. Morris and his son were selling stocks and bonds.

When James Peyton Hinton Jr., registered for the draft prior to the onset of World War II, he was living with his mother and step-father at 1634 Grace, and was working at Durosteele, on Lindell Avenue in Hannibal.

War casualties

On Jan. 27, 1943, the Jefferson City Post-Tribune made the announcement that 20 Missourians were among the 459 United States soldiers listed by the War Department as Japanese prisoners of war.

Among the soldiers was 2nd Lt. James P. Hinton, of Hannibal, son of Mary Hinton Morris.

On July 25, 1945, the Columbia Daily Tribune announced that two Marion County men, who had been prisoners since the fall of Corregidor, lost their lives when the ship they were on was bombed Dec. 15, 1944, while they were being removed by the Japanese from the Philippines.

Killed were Lt. James P. Hinton, 31, Hannibal, and Lt. William F;. Lovegreen, 27, of Palmyra.

Friendly neighbor

When she was growing up on Grace street in the 1950s, Linda Browning Rice of Owatonna, Minn., remembers visiting with Mrs. Morris. One time in particular, Linda was invited over for a snack. Mrs. Morris used a button on the floor, operated by her foot, to summon the maid, who brought in a whole plate of watermelon.

Passing days

Mr. and Mrs. Morris continued to live on the Grace Street hill throughout their marriage. W. Mason Morris died in January 1965. He was born Dec. 4, 1880, in Woodford, County, Ky., the son of George Morris and Rebecca Curry Morris.

Mrs. Morris outlived her step children, dying in 1969, and is buried beside her husband, W. Mason Morris, in Hannibal’s Riverside Cemetery. She died at Beth Haven Nursing Home, when it was located at 1500 Harrison Hill, Hannibal.

William Storrs Hinton, son of J.P. Hinton, died in 1967 in Denver, Colo., at the age of 75.

Martha Hinton Powell, daughter of J.P. Hinton, died Nov. 17, 1967, at the age of 78.

Mary Richmond Hinton Morris was aunt to four Hannibal sisters, Nancy DeLaPorte, Betty Stolte, Margaret Given and Mary Brummer.

Mary Richmond is pictured in the 1911 yearbook for the Missouri State Normal School at Springfield, Mo., Ozarko. Missouri State Digital Collections.

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 include but are not limited to: "The Notorious Madam Shaw," "Pioneers in Medicine from Northeast Missouri," "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870,” “Hannibal’s ‘West End,’ and the newest book, “Oakwood: West of Hannibal.” Montgomery can be reached at Her collective works can be found at


 Recent Posts 
bottom of page