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If trees and houses could talk: New life for old Oakwood home

Colin Welch, Hannibal’s Fifth Ward councilman, is restoring an historic house in Oakwood, a neighborhood of Hannibal, Mo. The house is located on the southwest corner of Lot 2, Darr’s Addition, 3520 Hamilton Street. Photo contributed by Robert Spaun.


Four historic oaks surround a two-story frame house at 3520 Hamilton Street, in the Oakwood neighborhood of Hannibal, Mo. If those trees could somehow talk, they could share insight into the development of this area, which boasts of the rich history of Texas cattle trains, destructive fires, street car lines, fall festivals, plank roads, limestone mining, general stores, church construction and residential development.

The wrap-around front porch, perched six feet above the surrounding land, would offer an additional perspective regarding the people - both young and old - who once gathered there, enjoying the summer breezes and talking until dark, while children played underfoot.

Now owned by Colin Welch (Hannibal’s Fifth Ward councilman) the structure itself offers hints as to its own heritage, including an interior stairwell culled from native timber; a foundation built from native stone; the original and now restored front door, the hint of two additions to the structure during its long history, and wood flooring, recently sanded and stained, original to the house. A cistern, now filled in, serves as a reminder that the house remained outside of the city limits and its available water supply long after neighboring subdivisions were annexed.

Welch predicts that this house, which he is slowly bringing back to life, will be his forever home, one that he will pass on to his children and in turn to their children. But for now, work progresses with the availability of his free time.

Until Welch purchased the property, the front lawn was overgrown with shrubs and trees, virtually hiding the house from street view. He removed the brush, revealing to the neighborhood the stately house, which he believes was constructed in the 1870s. Now he is adding street curbing to the property’s link to Hamilton Street, as an upgrade to the property.

The land upon which the house stands is the southwestern corner of Lot 2, in the historic Darr’s Addition. William Darr was a very early settler to the area, and after his death, the land was divided into 24 lots in 1855. The Darr land consisted of property in both Marion and Ralls counties, separated by the Hannibal to Paris plank road.

Lot 2 is framed by Hamilton Street to the south, in between the parallel streets of what is now known as 36th (formerly Holmes) and Singleton streets. Lot 2 as a whole consists of 19.65 acres.

During the Civil War era, Lots 2, 3, 4 and 5 (70 acres m/l) were owned by Jackson Riley. John B. Price (1822-1895) purchased the same land at a sheriff’s sale in 1878. John J. Henderson, an attorney, subsequently purchased an acre of Lot 2, (the southwest corner) on April 23, 1889, for $300, and presumably lived there with his young family.

Henderson sold that same acre to 27-year-old Albert Link on Oct. 7, 1903, for $1,500.

Albert Link and his bride, Tena V. Rendlen Link, lived in this house for at least the next decade, welcoming children along the way. By 1923, the Albert Link family was living at 3236 St. Mary’s Ave., another rapidly growing neighborhood of the city.

Albert Link

James W. Link (1833-1909) settled with his family in Oakwood in 1883. His children who lived to adulthood included: Charles T., Leon L., Albert L., Eugene A., Mattie and Alice Link, and William Z. Link.

It was Albert, born at St. Charles, Mo., in 1876, who purchased the one-acre property from John J. Henderson in 1903.

Albert Link (1876-1962) wore a number of hats during his bread-winning years, including collaboration with his brothers and father in the retail grocery and produce business and in real estate investments.

In 1926, he opened “Tarry Long Camp* ” just south of the Salt River on the Hannibal and New London gravel road north of New London.

At the camp he sold groceries, lunches and soft drinks, and also offered a gasoline station.

The facility boasted free picnic grounds, swings, boats and more.

An announcement in the May 21, 1926 edition of the Ralls County Record stated: “Ladies and children especially are invited to come and patronize my place. When you want to spend an hour from the busy cares of time come to ‘Tarry Long Camp.’ I’m sure you will enjoy yourselves.”


Albert L. Link died in 1962

Albertina Victoria Rendlen Link died in 1952.

Albert Rendlen’s children:

Kathryn Link, 1903-1904

Joseph Rendlen Link, 1905-1978

Leslie B. Link, 1908-1924

Iva May Link, 1910-1920

James William Link, 1913-1983

Charles R. Link, 1915-2004

Albert Leslie Link 1920-2000

Note: The phrase “tarry long” has a biblical reference:

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

1 Timothy 3:15

King James Version (KJV)

Real estate links were culled from the files of the Marion County Recorder’s office, Palmyra, Mo.

Read about Jackson Riley, who owned this property from the Civil War era to 1878:

Read about John J. Henderson, who owned this property from 1889 to 1903:

Albert L. Link, during World War II. Hannibal Courier-Post clipping.

Albert L. Link (1876-1962) lived in the house now numbered 3520 Hamilton St., Hannibal, Mo., as a newlywed in 1903. Photo from, reproduced with the permission of T.K. Schlueter.

Albertina Victoria Rendlen Link, during World War II. Hannibal Courier-Post clipping.

This illustration shows the Darr tract, as subdivided in 1822. The house now owned by Colin Welch, located at 3520 Hamilton Street, is part of Lot 2 of the original Darr tract. Illustration by Mary Lou Montgomery

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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