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      Hannibal historian celebrates 103rd birthday

      Saturday was a very special day in the life of a woman who has spent many years of her life telling the stories of Hannibal.

      Roberta Hagood turned 103-years-old and the staff at the Willow Care retirement home threw her a special birthday party to celebrate the milestone.

      At 103, Roberta Hagood has plenty of stories to tell about her life.

      For years she and late her husband J. Hurley Hagood were well known as the writers of the book ... The Story of Hannibal.

      Roberta says that she and her late husband spent years doing other writing before tackling the challenge of telling the history of America's Hometown.

      "Hurley had written a lot in Boys Life magazine and he had written boys books and so forth," Roberta recalled. "And I had written primary reading material for the lower schools."

      Long before computers, Roberta still remembers the unique way that she and her husband organized all the information in the Story of Hannibal.

      "When we decided to write the story of Hannibal, we sat down and made ... we got big cornflakes, big boxes and we put all those across the basement of our house, says Roberta. "And each one was 1850, 1860, what happened in Hannibal. The Story of Hannibal."

      Roberta's granddaughter Polly Messer says that both of her grandparents have left a lasting legacy on the history of Hannibal.

      "For a lot of years they were called Hannibal's historians," Messer said. "And I think they were the first that had actually researched and compiled a lot of information about Hannibal. So I think that's their legacy really."

      As I was leaving, I turned and around and noticed that Roberta the storyteller was still at it, sharing more of the stories from her 103 years of living with somebody new.

      Roberta says it took about a year for she and her husband to complete their first book, the Story of Hannibal.

      Published in 1976 it sold out very quickly and led to more books about Hannibal and the surrounding area.