In and Around Hannibal: June 15, 2013

by Rita Hooper 

Now continuing on in Miss Grace Hawkins hand-written book on Hannibal…with additions from Hannibal Histroy in Pictures and Prose compiled by Lowell Newvine and available through the Hannibal Historical Society.  With some additions by RH!

The Post Office was established at Hannibal Nov. 4, 1816 with Asa Dunton, postmaster. At that time Hannibal was known as Hannibalville. Back then postmasters had a rapid turnover and Asa was replaced in 1818 by William Henry.

It’s interesting to note that in 1815, three members of the Hawks family married. Asa Dunton married Lois Hawks and Eliza Dunton married William Hawks.  Wonder if Asa and Eliza were brother and sister.

Within the corporation of Hannibal on Nine Mile Creek were two mills, one grist mill and two sawmills, a tannery, a stave factory, a cheese factory, and a cheesebox factory.

Gristmills were required to grind the grain of the farmers.  Sawmills were essential for the construction of homes and barns.  Tanneries were built to satisfy the need for leather.

All the early mills were operated by water power. Typically a mill dam would be constructed on Nine Mile Creek or some other stream in the Township and water would be directed, by means of a spillway, over a water wheel which in turn would drive the moving machinery.

The first gristmill to be constructed in the Township was located in Hannibal Center. It was erected in 1806, on Nine Mile Creek and was owned jointly by Watson Earl and Orren Cotton.

Also at an early date, the Bullen family ran a gristmill on Mill Street in the Village, the Chamberlains eventually acquired the Mill Street gristmill,and at one time there was a sawmill connected with it.

In 1820, John Brill constructed the first tannery in the Town.  Two years later, Thomas Skelton erected a second tannery in the Village of Hannibal. This tannery was located on Church Street.

As settlers continued to locate in the Hannibal Township during the 1820s and 1830s, the number of mills increased dramatically.  Different types of mills were also introduced.

In  1820, Towsley and Dunton built the first fulling mill (process that increases the thickness and compactness of woven or knitted wool by subjecting it to moisture, heat, friction, and pressure until shrinkage of 10–25 percent is achieved, producing a smooth, tightly finished fabric that is light, warm, and relatively weather proof.) Wonder if that was Asa Dunton!

There was also a Fanning Mill to separate grain from chaff and sort grain size. and a cheese box mill or manufacturer both owned by Walker Dada.

Hilon Young owned a Flax Mill.   Flax mills are mills concerned with the manufacture of flax. The earliest mills were ones for spinning yarn for the linen industry.

C. Amos Reed and Jeremiah J. Reed owned a shingle mill. Shingles were used for roofing and siding.

William R. Cox owned the planing mill. A planing mill is a facility that takes cut and seasoned boards from a sawmill and turns them into finished dimensional lumber.

In 1866, Andrew Beecher and William R. Cox constructed a barrel and stave factory close to the west bank of Nine Mile Creek behind the present Hannibal firehouse. The barrels were used for storing flour and packing apples. It is said that during the peak of barrel manufacturing in the area, a man stood at each window (seven on each side) and worked continuously.

The local coopers were Jehial Blodgett, Rensselaer Matteson, Myron Ormsby, Albert Gurnsey, Green Parsons, Nelson Eber and Norman Simmons. A cooper is someone who makes wooden stave vessels, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads. Examples of a cooper’s work include but are not limited to casks, barrels, tubs, butter churns.

Well that does it for this week – as they say “A brain is a terrible thing to waste” – like everything else, it needs to be exercised – just because school is out (and has been for many of us for a long time) doesn’t mean we can stop learning.

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Hannibal Senior Citizens will be meeting at noon for dinner. This week’s menu features barbecue turkey, au gratin potatoes, vegetable, tropical fruit Monday; Hoffman hotdog on roll, baked beans, seasonal salad, juice, cookie Wednesday; and

Healthy choice platter, cook’s choice dessert Friday.

The Jammers will meet at the American Legion at 7 p.m. Monday night.

The Hannibal Library Friends will hold an organic goat milk soap class Saturday, June 22 at 10 a.m. Learn how to make soap and take home several bars. There is a fee and spaces are limited. Register at the library or call Linda at 564-6643.

“Kids Just Want to Have Fun” summer raffle basket includes a $25 Michael’s gift card, sidewalk chalk marker, and lots of backyard and/or beach fun items.

By the way, Summer Reading at the Library for children begins Tuesday, July 9. The sessions are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. for six weeks. This years theme is “Dig into Reading.”

Plans are underway for the 21st Concert in the Park to be held at the Hannibal Firemen’s Field located on Rochester Street in the Village of Hannibal July 7. Featured bands will be Anybody’s Guess, Fulton Community Dixieland Band and the Fulton Community Band.

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