Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quincy, IL to Louisiana, MO - 54 miles

We are off to our 10th State [Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and now Missouri] as we again cross the mighty Mississippi River heading for Louisiana, MO via Hannibal, MO.

'Unsinkable' Molly Brown House
Built in the early 1860's, the Molly Brown birthplace is a simple structure built on a hill above what was then Palmyra Road. The little structure, 16-foot by 30-foot was but a step above a pioneer's log cabin. Built into the side of the hill so that the east side of the brick basement was at ground level, the upper level was simple board and batten construction. White-washed, it was similar to the majority of wooden structures in Hannibal, described later by Mark Twain as a "white town drowsing in the sun."

 Molly Brown

In the early months of 1912, Molly and her daughter Helen, who had been attending the Sorbonne in Paris, were taking a grand tour with John Jacob Astor and his second wife, 19 year old Madeline (after a rather scandalous divorce.) Molly had been writing her sister Katie back in Hannibal, that she intended to come for a few weeks' visit that spring. But then she received a telegram from her son Larry that her five-month-old first grandchild was ill. She decided to book passage at the last minute on board Titanic. Daughter Helen decided to stay in Paris for a few more parties. So Molly was traveling without family, but she was joining her friends the Astors.

Molly was in bed reading a book, when at 11:40 p.m., April 14, 1912, the lookout, Frederick Fleet, in Titanic's crow's nest phoned the bridge, "Iceberg right ahead!" The impact threw Molly to the floor. Most passengers were unaware of the collision until they noticed the hum of engines had stopped. By 12:15 a.m., the ship was preparing the lifeboats. Molly wisely put on six pairs of wool stockings, a wool suit, fur coat, hat and muff. She put $500 cash in one pocket, and a good luck amulet she had purchased recently on her Egyptian tour in her other pocket.

After helping other women, Molly found herself thrown into Lifeboat No. 6 by two American merchants who said, "You are going, too." The boat with capacity for 65 held fewer than 30 when it was lowered to the water, including lookout Fleet and Quartermaster Hichens who had been at the pilot wheel upon impact.

Frightened Hichens warned the lifeboat would be sucked down when Titanic sank. Molly took charge and grabbed the oars and ordered the women to row toward the light on the horizon, which they hoped was a rescue ship. Adrift on the cold Atlantic, Molly shared her extra pairs of stockings, and kept the women warm by having them take turns rowing. They watched in horror as the steamer sank at 2:20 a.m., April 15th. She was appalled that Hichens refused to turn the lifeboat back to pick up more survivors.

After almost 6 hours of terror, the ship Carpathia answered the distress call. Once on board, Molly helped organize relief efforts. Her knowledge of foreign languages enabled her to aid the frightened immigrants who had lost everything, including their husbands. Molly voiced her opinion that the "women and children first" policy was tragically immoral. "Women demand equal rights on land--why not on sea?" she asked.

A visit to Hannibal, MO would not be complete without some interesting facts about Mark Twain.

Birth name: Samuel Longhorne Clemens
Nickname (name change): Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass
Occupation: Novelist
Birth date: November 30, 1835
Birth place: Florida, Mo.
Death date: April 21, 1910
Death place: Redding, Conn.
Burial location: Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira, N.Y.
Spouse: Olivia Langdon
Children: Langdon Clemens, Susy Clemens, Clara Clemens, Jean Clemens

Hannibal, Mo. served as the inspiration for the fictional town of St. Petersberg in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
Haley's Comet was visible in the sky both on the night that Mark Twain was born and on the night he passed away.
Mark Twain published more than 30 books throughout his career.
As a teenager, Twain worked as an apprentice printer.
As a riverboat pilot, Twain earned from $150 to $250 a month.
During the Civil War, Twain formed a Confederate militia known as the "Marion Rangers." The militia disbanded after approximately two weeks.
Twain left Missouri after his militia disbanded and moved to Nevada. There he worked as a miner.
"Roughing It" describes Twain's journey out West with his brother Orion.
From 1901 until his death in 1910, Twain was vice president of the American Anti-Imperialist League.
"Huckleberry Finn" was ranked as the fifth most frequently challenged book in the United States by the American Library Association.
Prior to adopting Mark Twain as his pen name, Clemens wrote under the pen name Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass for a number of humorous pieces that he contributed to the Keokuk Post.

After Hannibal, MO it was onto Louisiana, MO.

Louisiana, MO is located on the banks of the Mississippi River about 70 miles north of St. Louis and about 30 miles south of Hannibal, Missouri.

Welcome to Louisiana, MO sign.
Louisiana is one of three communities forming the 50 Miles of Art corridor, linked by history, heritage & Route 79 --  Louisiana, Clarksville and Hannibal, MO are home to many artists, craftsmen and artisans who use their skills to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
While traveling Route 79 from Hannibal to Louisiana there were breathtaking views of the Mississippi River, soaring rock cliffs, rolling hills and a beautiful landscape.
Louisiana's streets are lined with numerous beautiful antebellum homes showcasing the architectural charm of years past, many of which are listed on the National Historical Register of Historic Places. The State Department of Natural Resources has noted that Louisiana Missouri has "the most intact Victorian Streetscape in the state of Missouri". Downtown Louisiana commonly known as the Georgia Street Historical District is also listed on the National Historical Register of Historic Places.

 The Pewter House, Louisiana, MO.
 The view of the bridge and the  Mississippi River from the Louisiana, MO cemetery.
 Louisiana, MO City Hall.
 Historic Louisiana, MO.
 Louisiana, MO mural.
 Louisiana, MO riverfront.

Tomorrow we are off to St. Peters, MO.

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