Hannibal, Missouri is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River.  A creek named Bear Creek flows down a wide gorge or ravine probably one-fourth mile wide into the Mississippi River.  The banks of the river and the creek are rocky.  This Made an ideal place to build a wharf.  The Mississippi River here is deep and runs quietly.  A forest consisting of black walnut, sycamore, hackberry, oak, hickory, cottonwood, ash, maple, ‘Wild cherry, pecan, persimmon, mulberry, pawpaw, sassafras, crabapple, and linden trees furnish logs for cabins and later lumber for magnificent homes and a thriving lumber business when the growth of industry in the growing town demanded it all made the ideal place to begin.

The first white man to come to this area was a French monk named Louis Hennepin.  He came down the Illinois River, then up the Mississippi River.  He explored the area and named the creek Bear Creek because there were so many bears all around.  The Indians captured him, but later freed him.

Soulard, a Spanish surveyor, came probably one hundred years later and named the creek Hannibal.  The name Bear Creek is now used, but the name Hannibal became the name of the area now the city’s name.

In 1764 Pierre Laclede sent men to explore the river and the area around it. They went up to Salt River.  They named it Salt because the water tasted salty. They went up the river to a place where Florida, Missouri is now located.

Twenty-eight years later Maturin Bouvet, another Frenchman, came down the Illinois River to the area.  He felt that the Salt River should furnish a good salt industry.  He established a location for the salt industry and built a few buildings and then went to St. Louis to get interested workers.  While he was gone the Indians burned all that he had built.  He built the salt mine again, and the Indians burned it again.  Later Bouvet was killed.  His land near St. Louis was sold to Charles Groviot who sold it to Clayton.  Later Clayton gave 100 acres for a county seat.  Thus, the city of Clayton was developed.

In 1818 Marion County was laid out.  In 1822 the settlements Of Palmyra and Hannibal were planned.  Palmyra became the County Seat.  The name Marion County was in memory of the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion, of the Revolutionary War.  The town of Hannibal was laid out in 1836.  There were only thirty people in the town.  The Indiana caused so much trouble that people would not stay in the town.  So a plan was made to donate lots to families who would stay and keep up the home site.  By 1840 there were 450 people in Hannibal.  In 1847 2, 000 people lived in Hannibal. and the town continued to grow.  It was incorporated in 1838.  The town covered about four square acres.

Hannibal Industries

The town had two newspapers.  Orion Clemens owned one of them.  Samuel Clemens learned the newspaper trade here.  The town of Hannibal had two hardware stores, fourteen drygoods stores, two druggists, eight tailors, two sawmills, four slaughter houses.  The slaughter houses furnished both pork and beef to St. Louis.

Stage coaches came three times a week with mail and passengers.  The steam boats brought mail every day.  There was a ferry boat which took passengers to the Illinois side of the river.

Moses Bates built the first store in Hannibal.  He ran a keelboat from St. Louis to Hannibal.  This keelboat brought new settlers as well as merchandise.  He also ran the keelboat as far north as St. Paul, Minnesota.  He had fourteen children.  When he died in 1857 he left each of his children a farm and a home.

The railroad construction began in 1852 on the Hannibal/St.  Joe Railroad.  Work began at Hannibal on the east and St. Joe on the west.  They met at Cream Ridge, Missouri on February 13, 1859.  The first railroad mail car in the U. S. was built in Hannibal and the first locomotive built west of the Mississippi River was built in Hannibal in 1860.  The Mississippi Valley Railroad was built in 1901.  It ran from St. Louis to Keokuk.  Later it became a part of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy line.

in Hannibal the Courier-Post Hannibal, Mo. (newspaper) on Saturday evening, October 1, 1904 was this article: “Women raise money for the parsonage fund for the Park Methodist Church–Mrs- R. A. Curia, Mrs. Mary Colon, Mrs. James R. Bogarth, Mrs. J. Blackwood, Mrs. C. W. Barksdale, Miss Wright, Mrs. W. H. Tucker, Mrs. Rowland, Mrs. Waelder, Mrs. Mary E. Dent, Mrs. R. A. Spencer, Miss Habemeyer, Mrs. Talliferro, and Mrs. Fred Buckanan.  The program was: Instrumental Solo-Master Clyde Bundis; Recitation: Master J. E. Williamson; Reading: Miss Olive Orr; Recitation–Master Louis O’Brien; Cornet Solo–Professor Nick Smith, Mrs. J. F. Williamson, accompanist; Mrs. C. W. Barnsdale, official doorkeeper.”

Other articles in the paper follow: ‘Fort of Hannibal with Steam Boats and the Building of Hannibal, St. Joseph Railroad, Cigar Making, Tobacco Factory, were all operating by 1859.  Garth Tobacco Co. on Palmyra Ave. Another article: “Carrie Nation and Associates pray behind grated doors.  Wichita, Kansas, on September 30, Carrie Nation, Mrs. Lucy Wilhoite, Mrs. Lydia Mounts and Mrs. Mary McHenry broke two large plate glass windows in the Mahan Wholesale Co. Is warehouse today.  They were arrested and are now in jail.  The women have been in prayer most of the time since their arrest.0 Still another article: “The Steamer, Sidney, passed North yesterday at 2 p.m. The Dubuque bound for DuBuque, Iowa will arrive at this port at 9:30 o’clock.  The Col.  McKenzie passed
down yesterday.  The Uncle Sam made two round trips between Hannibal and Quincy
yesterday with a fair list of excursion passengers each time.  Claude Pennoyer, Diamond Joe, Line Agent at Hannibal, went to Quincy yesterday on good steamer Sidney and returned on the Wabash Railway train this morning.”

The first white child born in Hannibal was a daughter born to Mr. and Mrs. John Miller.  They were the first family to come to Hannibal after Moses Bates.  The Miller family came in 1819.  The first blacksmith in the city was Abraham Huntsberry.  A hatmaker came to Hannibal.  He married a daughter of Richard Walker. Men who could afford a hat only had one hat.  Therefore business was not good.  He moved to Tennessee, but came back to Missouri and settled in Palmyra.

An Iron Foundry was owned by the Messrs. Quealy.  A company with a capital of $100,000 manufactured railroad cars.  There were three flouring mills in Hannibal.  The quality was excellent–in fact, better than flour produced in St. Louis or Chicago.

Hannibal Banks

Joseph Easton & Co. had a private bank.  It was an honest bank–well-liked by its patrons.

The First National Bank of Hannibal, whose President was A. J. Stilwell and Cashier, W. T. Jackson, had a capital of $100,000.

The Farmers and Merchants Bank had a capital of $200,000.  The President was A. J. Hawks, and the Cashier, A. R. Levering.

Hannibal Schools

Hannibal had one grade school and one public high school, both of which were operated in a democratic manner.

Hannibal College

During the first six years of the college’s instruction 750 students attended. The college was well equipped in all of its departments. LodgesOddfellows: Hannibal encampment No. 25, I.O.O.F. met every second and fourth Friday at their hall northwest corner of Main and Broadway.

Hannibal Organizations

Mystic Lodge: No- 17 I.0.0.F- met every Thursday Night each week, in their Hail at the Northwest corner of Main and Broadway.

Constellation Lodge, No. 26, I.O.O.F. met every Thursday night of each week in the same hall as the other lodges.

Ruth, Rebecca  Lodge, met every first and third Friday evening of each month.

Knights of Pythias

Coeur de Leon Lodge No. 11, Knights of Pythias met every Friday evening at Pythian Hall, Northwest corner of Main and Church.

Hannibal Lodge met at the Pythian Hall, as did Apollo Lodge, No. 25 Knights Pythian, every Thursday Evening.

Hannibal Societies

German Beneficial Society of Hannibal, Hannibal Chess Club, Hannibal Shooting Club, Hannibal Gymnasium, Hannibal Turnverein, Hannibal Typographical Union No. 58, The Hebrew Association, Bnai Sholem (sons of Peace), Machinist and Blacksmith Union.

Hannibal Cemeteries

Baptist Cemetery on Palmyra Road, Hebrew Cemetery, Mount Olive Cemetery, Riverside Cemetery, and St. Mary’s Cemetery on Palmyra Road.

Hannibal Churches

The Presbyterian Church was organized August 19, 1832 by the Rev. David Nelson, D. D. It was under the church of St. Charles until 1841.  Early members were George C. Woods, Dr. William P. Cochran, James J. Marks; Rev.  Joshua F. Tucker was the first pastor, from 1840 to 1846.  Rev.  L. Grosvenor was a supply minister.  He was followed by Rev.  Joseph L. Bennett, He was pastor from 1848 to 1853. Ray John Leighton was minister from 1859 to 1873.  The first church building was erected at 6th and Center Streets.

Hannibal Trinity Church – Rev.  Jackson Kemper, the first Bishop of Missouri, visited Hannibal in 1835. In June, 1845, the Trinity Church was organized.  The services were held in Melpontian Hall until the church was built in 1859–1860.  Mr. Dunn was the pastor.  He was succeeded by Rev.  W. H. Hopkins.  Then Dr. Armstrong, Dr. Ringgold, and finally Rev. Abial Leonard.

Methodist Church South – This Church was organized in 1835.  The church was built on the northwest corner of 5th and Central, in 1847- Joshua Mitchell and Robert Buchanan and others were Trustees.

The Park Methodist Church was organized in 1872.  The Arch Methodist Church was organized in 1880.  The minister was Rev.  Dr. Howard Henderson.  Some of the members were Jon B. Helm, Joshua Mitchell, Juliet Mitchell, William Eddy, George W. Bewley, John Lynn, George Light, Bishop Enoch M. Marvin, William G. Coples, C. I. Vandeventer, and William M. Rush.

Hannibal Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was founded in 1859 by Rev.  O’Reilly. He was pastor of the church until 1862.  Calvary Baptist Church was organized Oct. 4, 1887.  It was located on Locust Street.  Charter members were Thomas F. Pollard, Molly F. Pollard, Mrs. J. C. Pollard, George W. Simmons, Jenny Simmons, Mrs. F. M. Wood, H. A. Utterback, Lizzy Utterback, Vallie Utterback, S. M. Walling, B. F. Lapham, Hattie Lapham, Hope Lapham, Mollie Lapham, George H. Hall, and Mrs. George H. Hall, Jessie Dennis, Susan C. Hawkins, Andrew Patterson, Mrs. W. M. Hall, J. R. Helms, Mrs. E. F. Helms, Mrs. Mary L. Smith, J. M. Cramer, Mrs. J. M. Cramer, Mattie C. Cramer, Eunice E. Hall,.William J. Boulware, Mariah J. Boulware, Mrs. Nancy Breeding.

Methodist Church on Arch Street was organized by Rev.  H. Pritchett.  The church building was erected then dedicated in 1872 by J. D. Vincil.  It was organized with 63 members.

Hope Street Methodist Church was organized in 1872.  Rev.  R. J. Shumate was appointed pastor.  J. H. Hopkins was the presiding elder.  Later pastors were J. Wood, J. M. Green, T. J. Bryant; during the pastorate of Rev.  Bryant the Church on Hope Street was built.  This Church was dedicated in 1874.  Charter members were: I. Mattison, R. E. Graham, A. McClanning.  The pastors have been Rev.  Carter, Hyde, Hoffman, Bishop, Ketron, Stevenson, Anderson, Butler, Brumbaugh, Taylor, Simes, Piggott, Porter, Dermond, Reno, LeVake, Dayhoff, Giddens, Howard, and Goodman.

Pilgram Congregational Church was dedicated May 6, 1891.  The building cost $13,775.

Catalog of City Officers

1845 to 1901 inclusive

Year Mayor Recorder Marshall Attorney
1845 James Brady Samuel Rice N. P. Kunkle
1846 Archy Robards R.T. Holliday N. P. Kunkle
1847 Sam J. Harrison R.T. Holliday Abram Curts
1849 George W. Shields L.L. Hawkins E.H. Townsend
1850 G.W. Shields J.S Buchanan Wm Allison
1581 W.P. Harrison Isaac L. Holt Joseph Dudding
1852 P.H. Seims Isaac L. Holt E.M. Hawkins
1853 P.H. Seims Isaac L. Holt E.M. Hawkins
1854 Archy S. Robards J.L. Lacy O.G. Strong Moses P. Green
1855 Brison Stillwell J.L. Lacy E.M. Hawkins Moses P. Green
1856 H.C. Collins J.L. Lacy Richard Lamar Moses P. Green
1857 H.C. Collins E.C. McDonald J.J. Kirkland T.A. Harris
1858 G.W. Shields J.L. Lacy Richard Lamar T.A. Harris
1859 G.W. Shields H.H. Wordlaw Richard Lamar T.A. Harris
1860 James Brady James Armstrong Richard Lamar T.A. Harris
1861 B.F. Hixon Jonathan Gore Richard Lamar Royal Cobb
1862 Moses P. Green John B. Lewis WG. Dalton S. S. Allen
1863 Brison Stillwell John B. Lewis J.H. Munson S. S. Allen
1864 Moses P. Green John B. Lewis J.H. Munson S. S. Allen
1865 W.S. Ingham W.E. Holt J.H. Munson John B. Lewis
1866 N.O. Archer John B. Dawis J.H. Munson John B. Lewis
1867 N.O. Archer John B. Dawis John E. Catlett G.W. Shields
1868 Josiah Hunt Adam Thesis John E. Catlett G.W. Shields
1869 Josiah Hunt Adam Thesis L.A. Hoffbaur A.H. Wilson
1870 Josiah Hunt Adam Thesis J. H. Catlett A.H. Wilson

In all parts of your study of Hannibal you realize that the nationally renowned favorite son of Hannibal is Samuel Clemens, son of John Marshall Clemens.  No doubt Samuel was a worry to his aunt, but that has long been forgotten.  The town’s landmarks shout the names found in Mark Twain’s books every way your eyes turn.  All Missouri’s children loved Mark Twain’s books.  Hannibal has thousands of visitors taking the town’s tours every year.  It is a gorgeous area to visit during the fall’s blazing colors on the trees regardless of history or story books.  Plan to visit it some day.