R. D. Brewington Journals

Hannibal Free Public Library is the recipient of three volumes of the Journals & Business Records of R. D. Brewington, a 19th-century businessman in Hannibal, Missouri.  He was a tanner and merchant, moving to Hannibal in the 1850’s.  The physical volumes were donated by Robert J. Coontz, Jr., Mr. Brewington’s descendent.  R.D. Brewington’s Big Journal 1 covers the years 1882 through part of 1886 and includes a list of notable deaths in the region.  R.D. Brewington’s Big Journal 2  begins shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, runs until 1872, and then resumes for a few months in 1886. R.D. Brewington’s Small Journal covers the years 1897 and 1898. 

“These are important research materials for local historians and genealogists,” Library Director Hallie Yundt Silver said.  “Hannibal’s newspapers are not extant for a good part of the 19th century from the Civil War until 1905 or so.   These journals provide a glimpse into Mr. Brewington’s world at that time, which was Hannibal.  They are fascinating to read, and his handwriting is quite legible.” 


Robert Dashill Brewington was born in Maryland in 1808, and lived until December 30, 1900.  He and his wife, Elizabeth Bacon Brewington, are buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.  They were the parents of Mary Bacon Brewington Coontz, who was the mother of Admiral Robert E. Coontz (1864-1935) and the great-great-grandmother of the donor, Robert J. Coontz, Jr.  More about Mr. Brewington and a number of photos may be found at Mary Lou Montgomery’s article in the Hannibal Courier Post at https://www.hannibal.net/news/history/robert-d-brewington-1894-oldest-odd-fellow/article_6d084666-212b-5af6-a2dd-24b6b199730f.html or on her website at www.marylou_montgomery.com.    


Digital images of the three Brewington journals may be found on the Library’s ResCartaWeb page:   https://rc.hannibal.lib.mo.us/jsp/RcWebBrowse.jsp  “The Library very much appreciated it that Mr. Coontz took the time to photograph each page of the journals before he donated them.  The ResCarta Foundation was able to convert his images and mount them on the Library’s website.  Now we need to  make these journals and business records accessible by transcribing them.  Library staff and volunteers have quite a project to undertake,” Hallie Yundt Silver added.   “Transcriptions will be mounted along side the photographs of each page, and then the journals and business records will be searchable.  Right now, you have to know the date you want and keep looking.” 



Hallie Yundt Silver, Director

Hannibal Free Public Library