The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by: Christy Kienast, The Quill
Twenty five years ago, some local folks organized the La Harpe Historical and Genealogical Society in order to preserve the community's past and present history
As well as preserving the town's history, they also wanted to preserve the individual's and family's stories that created this history.
The society began with seventy-two charter members and today have 161 members from across the states and Canada, 46 which are Life Members.
The oldest members are Myrtle Fife, 95 and Elsie Magin, 91. Both ladies remain very active in the organization. Ninety-one year old Lois Bradshaw passed away a couple of years ago.
The society organized at the Senior Citizen Center and members received a quarterly newsletter. Membership today consists of Active, Non-active, Life and Institutional.
The building for the first museum was the old Main Cleaners, which is now part of the bank. There was much painting and decorating done to the building.
The bank eventually expanded and the society moved into the old Fair Store adjoining to the west.
In 1997, the bank expanded again and the group moved across the street in to the disbanded Ladies' Restroom building. Again, much painting, cleaning, hanging of peg board and moving of shelving from their previous home was done in preparation for the move, and in hopes that it would be their last. The move across the street was accomplished with the help of the local Lion's Club.
From the beginning of the museum, a couple of members attended the meetings in preparation to process
and care for the articles that would be received. Articles had to be numbered and entered on each
To date there are 3835 plus pieces, which would not be possible without the generosity of the community to loan or donate their articles.
Areas of display include the three original small alcoves at the back, used for a Parlour, Kitchen and Military/Hospital room. Across the hall from these rooms is a farm display and up front there is an area of artifacts from many of the old businesses.
Many of the visitors like to look at the school pictures displayed on the wall or in notebooks. There is also a shelf of family histories.
President Lincoln has his own display area, since he was a guest in La Harpe on October 23, 1858.
Other notables on display are Charles Duryea, automobile inventor, and the Oatmans, the family that was ravaged by the Indians, four of whom were massacred.
Areas upstairs were made into a farm area, clothing room, and the north room for the 1860 town model made by Mike McKinnon. An entire corner downstairs is devoted to resources for family research.
To supplement their membership dues, the group decided to make miniature La Harpe buildings, designed by Bev Anderson, to sell to help with expenses.
Projects by the group have included putting the remainder of the Quills and La Harpers on microfilm, which may be viewed at the city library. Annually the latest Quill is bound and may be seen at the museum.
Also at the museum, one may search for an obituary or marriage account, which has been cut and pasted in notebooks and indexed. There is also a shelf of Dallas City obits and marriages.
Local newspapers from 1875 to 1930 have been read for births, marriages, and deaths which have been printed and bound for sale.
The society appreciates all of those who have visited the museum, placed their membership and contributed artifacts. The small group desires your continued support and invites everyone to visit and or become a part of the society.
Hours of the Museum at 111 East Main Street are Monday and Saturday 9-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.
People in museum picture are Myrtle Fife, Elsie Magin, Darlene Bennett, Ada Hubbard, Monica Carpenter, Dan Gillett, Janet McKee, Jim Owsley and Bev Anderson.