The tents were up, I had
food for the horses, and back of the side show I was
cooking breakfast for the side show people, when I
was approached by a gentleman who informed me that
he was Mr. Cooper. I introduced myself, stating that
I had bought Mr. Norman out. He in return said that
Mr. Norman had no right to sell to us. We discussed
the matter and left each other with the
understanding that we would settle it another time.
On leaving he said: "I do not want you to keep your
horses on the show lot; they don't look well and you
might get the habit of giving them our feed."
I could appreciate the remark fully, as to the show
our horses would make, but I would hardly have
slipped them his hay. So here in Paris, Kentucky,
(Paris is in Bourbon County, Kentucky, where the
Bourbon whiskey gets its name. The excuse I once
heard made why the town remained small was that the
ground was too valuable to build on), was my first
introduction to the show business, as well as my
first dollar in this business. We were routed
through Kentucky in every county, showing each day,
usually at the county seats.
I found this business congenial and the
opportunities for making money looked good to me in
my new field.
My army life had a great deal to do with my being
able to adapt myself so readily to the
inconveniences and emergencies to overcome in this
life. I took to it like a young duck to a pond.
I was so well contented for the forty-two years that
I followed this business that I did not look for
another. This is surprising, considering that up to
the time I bought into this side show I had never
visited one. Some of my friends had misgivings as to
my venture remarking that I would not find the
people in it to my liking. On the contrary, I found
them honorable men in all transactions, their word
being as good as a bond, and first class, reliable
Leaving Kentucky we crossed the Ohio river, and our
route took us through Indiana, Illinois and into
Missouri, showing in St. Louis the first week of
July. I remember this very well, as the great race
of the steamboats Robert E. Lee and Natchez was
finished at St. Louis at this time, the Robert E.
Lee winning. The crowd was so great at the levee to
see the finish that our tents were deserted that
day. We moved on up into Iowa and Minnesota, then
down through Arkansas and Louisiana. Unfortunately,
while at Rayville, Louisiana, Mr. Whitby, while
taking tickets at the door, was shot, getting into a
dispute with a desperado, who insisted on passing
without a ticket. It was a most wilful murder. This
was a very sad affair and cast a gloom over the
party, or circus family.
The show moved on, crossing the Mississippi river to
Vicksburg, Mississippi. We made a few more stands,
closing at Okalona, Mississippi, for the season,
shipping the outfit to Louisville, Kentucky, where
it wintered. Madame Lake, of Cincinnati, was
starting a show and I made arrangements to take the
concert and side show with her. We put in the winter
showing in the South, getting as far as Florida,
closing a fairly successful season.
With arrangements for the next season, we routed
through the West, around Denver, Colorado, taking in
the gold and silver mining towns; then into Utah,
where we were the first circus to show, the price
being one dollar, with side show and concert fifty
cents. While here Brigham Young attended the circus.
We had a very pleasant chat together and I found him
a highly intelligent old gentleman who had come into
this desert and accomplished wonders.
We left our railroad cars at Salt Lake City, putting
the outfit on hired wagons, and toured the small
towns around to a very satisfactory business.
Working back toward home we closed the season at