The Light in Small Places

A Memoir of Early Rural Missouri Life

Step into the lost world of northeast Missouri, circa 1902…


One woman’s journal records first-hand story seen through different eyes. Each entry the great granddaughter of Hannibal, Missouri’s founder tells opens a window into early rural Midwest life. As Mary Estella Eagon McCoy grows up, she becomes busy with the seasonal tasks of rural life, times of plenty and times of want. Through each moment Mary strives to weave time for hobbies and her love of music with keeping up the expected social life of a bygone age.


The everyday life she records is experienced as an adventure beckoning to be lived. As she writes, her pen captures the personalities and talents of people in her life from a time now vanished. The land she describes is one of great untamed rivers where the spirit and knowledge of Native Americans, voyagers, and early settlers is not too far distant.


Three generations of family and friends have long enjoyed her style of storytelling. Now, over a century later, they would like to share her stories with you.