In 1922, Agnes Treat was Twain pageant’s “Queen of Hannibal’
Agnes Treat portrayed the “Queen of Hannibal” at the Mark Twain Pageant, June 12-14, 1922, at the Park Theater, 119 N. Fifth. Frazer Studio photo, contributed by Robert Spaun.
MARY LOU MONTGOMERY
Hannibal paid tribute to its most famous author June 12, 13 and 14, 1922, when the Mark Twain Pageant was presented at the Park Theater.
There were an estimated 500 participants in this three-day event, including actors who portrayed Mark Twain during various stages of his life, and aged friends of the great writer, portraying themselves.
During the pageant, the Queen of Hannibal was represented by Hannibal native, Miss Matilda Agnes Treat, a 1908 graduate of Hannibal High School and a social worker by trade.
It is to her that this story is dedicated.
Abbie Corbett and Agnes Treat were among the 28 young teen girls who gathered at 1119 Lyon St., on Monday, Aug. 17, 1903, to celebrate Miss Treat’s 13th birthday.
The vast lawn of the Treat home, which encompassed nearly all of Out Lot 53 on the southeast corner of S. Maple and Lyon, would have provided plenty of room for outdoor games of the day, which might have included tag, marbles, board games, and hide and go seek.
Abbie Corbett lived with her aunt and uncle, Walter R. and Libbie Corbett Chinn, at 208 N. Fifth, in a small frame house (still standing) known historically as the Richards-Chinn house.
Agnes, the daughter of Will E. and Charlotte B. Parker (Lotta) Treat, lived with her extended family, including her brother, C. Parker Treat, and their grandmother, Lucinda Treat (1825-1910), at 1119 Lyon. Cornelius A. Treat, (1828-1900) the family patriarch, first lived in this house (no longer standing) with his family as early as 1885.
C.A. Treat established the C.A. Treat Car Wheel Manufacturing company, which was one of the largest plants of its kind in this section for many years.
After his death, his three sons, George G., William E. and James Treat managed the business, until they sold it in 1913.
High school class
M. Agnes Treat was one of 29 students who graduated from Hannibal High School in 1908, when the school was located at 11th and Broadway. Among her classmates are people who have previously been mentioned in this history story series:
Norman W. Raible, who went on to operate a grocery business on Market Street.
Charles Yancey Clayton, who graduated from the Missouri School of Mines.
William Helm Logan, employed in the shoe industry in St. Louis, working for the Brown Shoe Company, St. Louis, until he retired. He died on June 3, 1962, at the age of 74. His wife, Louise Cruikshank Logan, died in 1990. They are buried at Hannibal’s Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Walter Bertheau Weisenburger was named executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a position which took him to New York, and which he would hold for 13 years until his death in June 1947.
College and beyond
Miss Treat enrolled in the University of Missouri, and in 1911, according to the school’s yearbook, The Savitar, she was a member of the Home Economics Club.
The following year, back in Hannibal, Miss Treat served on a committee to plan a banquet for alumni and former university students who were living in Hannibal. Committee members included W.A. Cable, Bertha Schmidt and J.B. Powell, who worked for the Hannibal Courier-Post; W.W. Green, Sinclair Mainland, Macrina Bell, Frieda Kilian, O.W. Chandler, and Margaret Drescher.
Miss Treat moved to LaGrange, Ga., where she worked with young girls. In May 1922, she returned to Hannibal, where she took over supervision of the Home of the Friendless.
Mrs. Laura Frazier, who in her childhood was friends with young Sam Clemens, had served as superintendent of the Home of the Friendless for many years. She announced her retirement in May 1922, and Miss Treat was her replacement. During Mrs. Frazer’s tenure at the Home, in 1917, the facility moved from 501 N. Sixth to a new location, at the intersection of Levering and Ratcliffe. The facility was donated by Mr. and Mrs. George Mahan and son, Dulany, as a memorial to Daniel and Mary Dulany.
In February 1923, the Quincy Whig Journal put its spotlight on the new building serving the Home of the Friendless.
“Miss Agnes Treat is in charge of the institution, which houses 34 children. The youngest is 18 months and the oldest 16 years, all of whom are more or less victims of unfortunate circumstances, and their young lives are being rounded into shape and molded by the capable woman in charge.”
On Dec. 18, 1924, Miss Treat’s plans to leave Hannibal were announced in the Quincy Daily Herald. She would go on to serve as the head of the Appleton school for girls, Macon, Ga. The school was under the auspices of the Episcopal Church, of which Miss Treat was a life-long member.
The Macon, Ga., News reported on April 26, 1927: “The maintenance of a cultured and home like spirit engendered by Miss M. Agnes Treat and her assistants has made possible for the girls not only care for their material wants but for their material natures as well.”
By August 1930, Miss Treat had moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a social worker for St. Barnabas Episcopal Convalescent Home.
In the spring of 1938, she returned to Hannibal, serving as chairman of the Marion County Committee for Crippled Children, which was conducting its fourth annual Seal Sale.
The Palmyra Spectator, on April 6, 1938, reported “the Missouri society estimates nearly 700 cases of infantile paralysis and birth deformities reported during 1937.”
Miss Treat lived out her final years in Hannibal, where she died May 5, 1957, at the age of 67.
She was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Note: Abbie Beatrice Corbett was united in marriage to Schuyler A. Alward on March 3, 1915, at Sedalia, Mo. She died in September 1955, and her husband died March 21, 1952. They are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Louis County.
The Corbett family was in Hannibal as early as 1860.
Anna Schnitzlein was the photographer of this early image of the Treat family home, located at 1119 Lyon St. Daughter, Agnes Treat, was honored with a party at this home on the occasion of there 13th birthday. Photo from Steve Chou’s collection.
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 Amazon.com 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 Montgomery.email@example.com Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com