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Reporter’s subjects ranged from Twain to Jesse James



Robertus D.Love, posted on Find A Grave by Mark Lee Gardner. Reprinted with permission.



MARY LOU MONTGOMERY


Robertus Love, born Jan. 6, 1867, near Irondale, Mo., launched his newspaper career at the Louisiana (Mo.) Press in 1883, under the supervision of Judge W.O. Gray, the newspaper’s owner.

Love’s career led him from the midwest to the east coast and back to the new west, and various posts in between.

Visit with Twain

Notably, Robertus Love accompanied Samuel Clemens to Hannibal, Missouri, on May 30, 1902, recording the details of the author’s last visit to his boyhood home, and taking photos of the famed author, one of which was published in the Allentown (Pa.) Leader, April 23, 1910. He also penned an in-depth account of that visit, as published in the same day’s evening edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Versatile reporter

Throughout his career, Robertus Love covered the 1908 Democratic National Convention, Denver, Colo., his story published in the De Kalb, Ill., Chronicle.

He also previewed the Republican National Convention that same year in Chicago, his story published in the Joliet Herald News.

He penned a story for the Dixon Evening Telegraph on Oct. 25, 1906, introducing Anthony Comstock as “a relentless veteran in the war against the indecent and obscene.”

He wrote a feature story about the first International Aviation Meet in America, which took place at Los Angeles, Calif., January 1910.


Career highlights

From Pike County, Missouri, he went to Kansas, serving as city editor of The Wichita Daily Journal for five years. He moved to Asbury Park, N.J. in 1892, working as editor for The Asbury Park Daily Press. Circa 1895, he established and edited Seashore Life and the Asbury Park Daily Star. During that time he also served as coast correspondent for The Sun in New York.

On to Connecticut in 1896, he became managing editor of The Day, located in New London. At the start of the new century, he joined the staff of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While working for this newspaper, he had the aforementioned association with Sam Clemens aka Mark Twain, who was quoted as identifying Robertus Love as “my son.”

As St. Louis was gearing up to host the 1904 world’s fair, Robertus Love became editor of the general press bureau of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and also of The Valley Magazine.

He later worked for The Portland Oregonian, and then for The Post-Dispatch until 1913, when he moved to Tulsa, working as Sunday editor of The Tulsa Democrat. A year later, he was an editorial writer for The Kansas City Post.

His final editorial assignment was with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, where he worked from 1925 until his death in 1930.


Sister in Hannibal

At the time of Robertus Love’s 1902 visit to Hannibal, his sister, Carrie Ella Love Richmond, was living at 414 Chestnut. Her husband, Frank D. Love, was in partnership with W.M. Richmond and Robert Elgin, making bricks at their business lot, the corner of Hope and Hawkins.

Frank and Carrie Love had four children, Mary E., Robertus, William W. and Martha M. Richmond. A decade later, they had added a fifth child to the family, Francis L., and they were living in the Richmond family’s homestead, 1733 Broadway Extension, on the southeast corner of Broadway and Richmond.

They would remain in this house (later renumbered 2147 Broadway) for the remainder of their natural lives. Carrie E. Love Richmond died in 1938, eight years after the death of her brother, Robertus Love. Her husband, Frank D. Richmond, died in 1949.


Education

In the early 1880s, Robertus Love attended McCune College, located at the corner of Seventh and South Carolina in Louisiana, Mo., while working for the Louisiana Press. In 1886 he graduated from Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois.


Poet

From the early days of his career, Robertus Love penned poems about his observations of life, and circa 1904 he published a book of his poems, which he titled: “Poems All the Way From Pike.” The book is available for viewing via the Library of Congress.

The following poem was published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on May 31, 1900, accessed via newspapers.com.


Dropped Out of Line

(An episode Decoration Day.)

Written for the Post-Dispatch.

Cheer!

They are here!

Who?

The old boys in blue!


They are marching up the street.

Don’t you hear the drums beat?

Don’t you feel the fifes fill

The whole air with a thrill?


Don’t you hear them - you?

Let us cheer!

They are here -

The old boys in blue!


You’re not very old.

Then why be so cold?

Have you never thought

How these old fellas fought

In the battle’s mad din?

come now, boy, go in!

Let her out!

Heave a shout!

Let us know you are true

To the old boys in blue!


Not a cheer?

Look here.

Does the patriotic fire

In your blood beat no higher

At the sight

Of these men who used to fight

For the Stripes

And the Stars?

Are you one of these snipes

Who sneer

Instead of cheer

At the G.A.R.’s?


You ought to be shot

On the spot!

What?

You’re an S.V. - you!

And your father wears the blue?

Yet you stand here

And never cheer.

But only sigh,

While the vets march by!


Doff your hat! . . . .

How’s that?

“He’s dropped out of line

Since last year.”

Then no wonder you don’t cheer,

And all the fault is mine

That I didn’t see why.

I’m a chump, I’m a guy,

But I didn’t understand.

Here, boy, here’s my hand!

Robertus Love.


Jesse James book

In 1926, he published a book, “The Rise and Fall of Jesse James,” which was first printed in the Post-Dispatch. This book was republished in paperback in June 1990 by Bison Books, with an introduction by Michael Fellman:

“The Rise and Fall of Jesse James, by Robertus Love, a newspaperman who knew Frank James, is a pioneering work that plumbs the personalities of the outlaws, looks at their domestic lives, cites many stories about them, and attempts to separate fact from legend in tracking their violent operations.”

Mark Lee Gardner, who posted Love’s photo and biography on “Find A Grave,” writes: “Love wrote one of the first factual books about Jesse James, The Rise and Fall of Jesse James (1926). It's quite dated now, of course, but still an excellent read.”

Death calls

Robertus Love was married to Catherine Heck. She died March 30, 1926, at the age of 46. Robertus died May 7, 1930, at the age of 63. They are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Louis County. They were childless.


Notes: The Sedalia Democrat published, on May 7, 1930, “The humorist (Twain) showed a great liking for Love and facetiously introduced him at various places as ‘my son.’”

In 1903, Robertus Love was elected secretary-treasurer of the American Press Humorists during their meeting in Baltimore, Md. The following year, the association met in St. Louis, visiting the World’s Fair.

Details of Robertus Love’s life were partially culled from various obituaries published following his death in 1930.


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,’ the newest book, Oakwood: West of Hannibal.” Montgomery can be reached at Montgomery.editor@yahoo.com Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com





A digital copy of “Poems all the way from Pike” is contained within the archives of the Library of Congress.




Photo of Sam Clemens aka Mark Twain, as he posed in front of his boyhood home on Hill Street in Hannibal, Mo.. The photo was taken by Robertus Love in 1902. Love accompanied the famed author to Hannibal for this visit. This photo was published in the Allentown (Pa.) Leader, April 23, 1910. newspapers.com


Willie Richmond of Hannibal shares a family keepsake photo of Sam Clemens, aka Mark Twain, standing in front of his boyhood home during the author's last visit to Hannibal. The photo was taken by Robertus Love, brother of Willie's ancestor, Carrie Ella Love Richmond.



Mark Twain, by Robertus Love, published in the Mount Vernon Argus Jan. 24, 1911.



Advertisement for “Poems from Pike,” by Robertus Love, published in the Chicago Tribune Dec. 3, 1904. newspapers.com



The Joliet (Ill.) Daily Herald published a preview article, written by Robertus Love, regarding the upcoming St. Louis World’s Fair. The article date was Feb. 19, 1904. newspapers.com



Robertus Love, photo from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat Dec. 15, 1916. newspapers.com



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,’ the newest book, Oakwood: West of Hannibal.” Montgomery can be reached at Montgomery.editor@yahoo.com Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com



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