Hannibal, Missouri

Day 188

     We travelled across the State of Missouri from St. Joseph to Hannibal, a distance of 200 miles which took us just over 4 hours.  

     St. Joseph is on the Missouri river while Hannibal is on the Mississippi. Some of the early pioneers would come down the Mississippi and take the train to St. Joseph, which at that time was as far west as the train went. The train back then took the same amount of time it took us to drive today.

     The obvious attraction today of Hannibal is that it is best known as the home of Samuel Clemens. However, he was not born here. He was born in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835. In fact he only lived here for 10 years from age 4 to 14.


     His father, a lawyer, was not that good at it. Eventually he was appointed a Judge, but even then could barely support his family. He kept moving his family around looking for a better life which he never found.

     Little Sammy, actually he was called Sam, held various jobs growing up, including working in a newspaper printing shop, and piloting a riverboat on the lower Mississippi. During the Civil War he was a confederate soldier for 2 weeks. He did not become famous until he started writing stories in his 40’s about his 10 years in Hannibal. His story of Tom Sawyer under the name Mark Twain eventually brought him fame and fortune.

In his house, they had this door.


Really, you have a door with a knob, and this sign?

     Sammy wasn’t the only now famous person to come from Hannibal. The two you might remember most are Margaret Tobin and Cliff Edwards. Margaret Tobin was born July 18, 1867 in Hannibal growing up in a modest family. At age 18 her family moved to Leadville, Colorado. There she met and married James Joseph Brown. He worked in the mines as an engineer. As luck would have it, he came up with an idea that allowed the mining company to quadruple their gold output. As a reward the company gave him a share of the company which made he and Margaret instant millionaires.

     Margaret became famous when she help save numerous people on the Titanic. She was never called Molly in her lifetime. That was a name given her by Hollywood when they first made the movies about her, calling her the Unsinkable Molly Brown.

     If you are a movie buff, you will recognize the name of Cliff Edwards. He was a character actor in over a 100 films. Before that he played the Ukulele and was nicknamed “Ukulele Ike” by a club owner who could never remember his name. He was also the voice of Walt Disney’s Jimmy the Cricket (he taught you how to spell encyclopedia – see, you just sang it in your head).


Wanted to take my chevy to the levy, but I only had a RAM.


Technical Stuff:

St. Joseph, MO to Hannibal, MO 208.1 miles

4 hours 19 minutes

10.1 MPG

Diesel: $2:39

2 thoughts on “Hannibal, Missouri

  1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying some of the history of MO. It’s been too many years since we toured Hannibal, even though we drove through last month when going from central IL to NW MO.
    Last year I was in downtown Denver and toured Molly Brown’s house. The story was told that she left her family in Hannibal to seek her fortune, etc. The house was quite interesting, too.
    Safe travels!

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