Mr. Bailey, Mr. Cooper
and Mr. Hemmings were anxious to have me with them
again, so I arranged to go with them. I was very
glad to return, as it seemed more like home to me.
Mr. Bailey took an interest with me in the concert
side show and candy stands. We started from
Hillsboro, Ohio, by wagon. It rained incessantly for
weeks. We were discouraged and in financial
difficulties. The roads were so muddy and heavy that
we lost a great many stands, which meant paying out
money without taking in a cent.
A funny incident occurred here. I always kept my
wagons ahead of me, driving in the rear alone.
Arriving at a toll gate in charge of a German who
could speak a very little English, he informed me
that he had a "ledder bolise". We could not make
this out, but after a while he showed us that he had
a leather valise that one of the men had left in
pawn for the toll. I hustled for some small change
to pay the toll, taking the "ledder bolise" out of
It looked as if the rainy season would never be
over, it lasting about six weeks. We traveled
through the West and got through Indiana into
Illinois, when business began picking up. We had
good business through Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska,
when we decided to go south again. Everything was
going on very nicely when the epizootic broke out
among our horses, as it did among the stock all over
the country. We crossed the Mississippi at Natchez
and closed the season. I went to New Orleans and
arranged with Captain Neil to take us on his
steamboat, the Indiana, up to Louisville, where we
We started the next season, opening in the
Exposition building in Louisville, where the post
office now stands. This season, besides running the
side show and concert and candy stands, I contracted
with the company to feed their men in camp and got
along pretty well. Sometimes it was quite a wait
between meals, but it was a case of the whole outfit
being late and no one to blame.
Mr. Cooper said to me one day, "Middleton, it looks
as if you would run out of soup for the men." I
replied, "There is no danger of that." He said,
"What will you do?" I answered, "We will put a
little more salt in it, then they won't eat so much
as they won't like it so well."
We took the Kentucky country first, as the tobacco
crop selling at about this time of the year always
made money quite plentiful in the tobacco country.
One of the features with the show this year was the
Cardiff Giant, the discovery of whom about this time
caused great excitement. While there was only one
genuine Cardiff Giant, three or four different
circuses claimed to have one, which will give you an
idea of how enterprising the managements were. We
also had a whale stuffed and mounted, which gave us
much trouble, as it required a long, coupled wagon,
and the roads being poor, it was a pretty hard
proposition to get over them.
I had a long, covered passenger wagon in which I
carried curiosities that belonged to the side show.
As the horses went trotting along one morning, one
of the front wheels struck a root and over the wagon
went, the bows of the top splintered and the hair on
the fat woman's head tangled in the splintered bows.
We also had a basket of eggs which we intended to
cook when we reached town, but by the time we got
the fat woman untangled and out there was quite a
mess of eggs, splinters and hair.
We also had a snake case, in which we carried
several large boa constrictors, which we used also
for a seat. That toppled over, the glass was broken
and the snakes were in a mix-up.