CIRCUS MEMOIRS
 On the Road -
1

 

I remember one afternoon down at Texarkana when the circus let out, two darkeys passing along the billboard looking at the circus posters, one remarked "I did not see that", naming several pictures he did not see, when his companion said how could he expect to see it all in one afternoon. That he would have to go along a week to see it all.
Getting out of Louisville one spring we were very short of funds and considerably worried how to meet our bills, hotel accounts, also for feed, tents and lots of odds and ends. I told my partner we would have to appoint ourselves a Committee of Ways and Means. So we started around. The first we got to was the stable man and we began making excuses, paying out money all winter, none coming in, and would he be kind enough to wait for his money until we were out a couple of weeks? He said, yes, etc. Then on to the next creditor and it was all right. From this on we got brave and went to others and told them we would not pay them for two weeks, never asking them if it was agreeable. So in a few weeks we were all paid up and out of debt.


While traveling through Kentucky about my second season, I found it was considered good business to have a bank roll in case of emergency, as I had quite a number of people on my hands, and the horses and outfit to take care of, so I decided to put away four hundred dollars. I had small money changed for four one hundred dollar bills, put them in a manilla envelope, sealed it and decided to carry it between my under shirt and my person. I did not think there would be any danger of losing it because in those days nearly every one wore high top boots. Going about I would feel to see if the money was still there and secure. One night when we were on our way to Carrollton, Kentucky, we had to ferry over to the town, which kept us so late it was not worth while to go to a hotel, so I put the stock in the livery stable, shook down a little clean straw, pulled my boots off and slept for about two hours until daylight. After getting up I missed the envelope, and from that day until this I have no idea whether it was stolen or if it worked out of my boots. I know I didn't get over the loss for quite a long while, as it was the most money I ever had possessed and the greatest loss I had ever sustained.


That same season, out in Kansas, some men came to me one night and told me they had a great curiosity. Some well known desperate character, who had lived in that neighborhood, had been killed, and they offered me his head, which they had cut off and put in a jar of alcohol. I took a look at it, but that was as much as I wanted to do with it.

 

We would often see some very strange sights and occurrences. Going down through Arkansas we reached the county where there was great excitement and contention over moving the county seat from Dover to Russellville. United States troops were still stationed down in that country in those days, and the feeling was so intense that serious trouble was liable to break out in the circus. Troops were stationed at the entrance and they searched every man that attended the circus for pistols and knives, making a stack of them out in front of the show as large as a hogshead. On coming out each one was handed his weapon, and thus the trouble was avoided.


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