Barnum In Jail?
Do you know
anything about the rumor that P.T. Barnum once owned his own
newspaper and was sent to jail for what he wrote?
M. Mello, New Britain
to P.T. Barnum being jailed for his writings is in fact not a
rumor. When a local Newspaper in Danbury, CT continually
refused to publish his writings Barnum then decided to start
his own newspaper.
In 1831, at the
age of 21 Barnum bought his own press and began his newspaper
called The Herald Of Freedom. Having the ability to control
the content within his own newspaper Barnum took advantage of
the opportunity and began publishing his thoughts on the local
government and church practices. He soon came under fire for
publishing stories that many people considered to be libelous.
landed him in court three times. The first case resulted in
several hundreds of dollars in fines, the second was withdrawn
and the third landed him in jail for sixty days.
appearance before the court found Barnum charged with
publishing libelous information after accusing a local
minister of usury, which is specifically condemned within the
bible. These accusations were not taken lightly in a time
where many people were still considered God-fearing
churchgoers. After his trial where he was found guilty Barnum
was ordered to pay a one hundred dollar fine and spend sixty
days in the Danbury jail.
Being P.T. Barnum
though, his stay was certainly out of the ordinary. Barnum had
the walls of his cell adorned with beautiful wallpaper and
carpeting laid down to ensure his sixty day sentence would be
a comfortable one.
The day of his
release also reflected the flamboyant P.T. Barnum style.
Barnum had scheduled a grand celebration which included a
brass band, men on horseback and carriages full of his
supporters to accompany him in his horse drawn coach from the
Danbury jail to his home in Bethel.
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