Hannibal’s hills traditionally allow for merriment when the snow falls.
The following snippets from the “Hannibal Clipper” demonstrate how previous generations dealt with winter’s gift of cold and white.
• Feb. 21, 1875: Delightful sleigh riding last night. The merry jingle of sleigh bells is still heard up on the streets. The ice bridge across the river for a few days past has been stronger than at any other time during the winter. Coasting down the hill on Fifth Street was lively last night. Two boys and a man riding in the sleigh belonging to Greathouse and Watson were suddenly dumped out on the street last night in front of the St. James restaurant. Last night a party of 10 or 12 young men loaded in Murphy’s four-horse sleigh and went out to a ball in Ralls County and returned this morning about daylight. These are the nights when the melodious music of the Thomas cat is heard on boarding house woodsheds. It forms the accompaniment to the merry jingle of the sleigh bells.
• Feb. 27, 1875: The fifth Ward fire bell sounded an alarm last night which was taken up by other alarm bells in the city and in less than a moment’s time the streets were filled with half frightened people, all of them were eager to know the precise location of the fire. Looking away to the southwest, flames were seen leaving from Earth to sky and it was evident from appearances that a conflagration was playing sad havoc with property at or near the MK and T Roundhouse. And this conjecture was well founded for upon repairing to the scene the building enclosing the water tank was found to be in flames. Owing to the great distance from the fire engine house together with the bad condition of the roads the engine did not arrive until after the greatest danger was passed. The engine was upon the grounds sometime previous to the arrival of the hose carriage, the horses attached to the latter having refused to travel out of a slow walk despite the constant beating they were subjected to. The weather being quite cold, but few of the thousand spectators seemed willing to lend a helping hand. The loss to the company by this fire will loot up about $2000.
• Feb. 27, 1875: At 11 o’clock last night the fire bells in south Hannibal were rung, occasioned by the burning of the house on the Lime Kiln Road, the property of Mr. F. W. A. Bastian. The house was a one-story frame worth about $500, the fire evidently the work of incendiary as the house was unoccupied.
• March 1, 1875: Some scaly thief stole the blanket and whip belonging to the hose company of the fire department at a fire yesterday morning
• March 6, 1875: John Somers a young man about 18 years of age, and a young lady, while coasting down Fifth Street last night collided with the lamp post which resulted in knocking both of them insensible. the lady soon recovered. The young man was taken to EV Brown and Company’s drugstore whereupon the first examination it was supposed he received a fracture of the skull. It was afterwards ascertained that he had received no other injury then the cutting of a gash about 3 inches long in his scalp.
• March 6, 1875: Last night while the attention of the family of Charles Rowe on Hill Street was attracted by a large party of people coasting down Fifth street, a burglar entered the house from the rear and stole all of Mrs. Rowe’s jewelry amounting in value to about $150. No clue has yet been obtained as to who is the guilty party.
• March 6, 1875: One of the mustangs of the fire department has gone to that home from whence no traveler returns the exertion consequent upon attending the two fires the other night was too much for him.
• March 18, 1875: About 7 inches of snow has fallen so far and still it comes. We fail to find language to express an honest opinion of this weather. The river is now about 7 feet above low water mark and is still rising.
• March 22, 1875: A farmer came to the city Saturday with the sled load of produce. Before he got ready to return the snow in the streets melted and he was compelled to hire a wagon in which to return home. His sled will remain in the city until the next snowfall.