Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Cortland Standard, Semi-Weekly Edition, Friday, September 22, 1893.

The Greatest Show on Earth Draws the Usual Crowd.
   Sept. 19—Barnum is here. For weeks the important subject of discussion in the out-lying districts of the county has been the coming of the great show. The small boy has gazed open-mouthed at the wonders portrayed upon the bill boards, and the landing of Columbus and its attendant events have become more real to him through all these days.
   When light came this morning and the rain was heard falling many hearts went down with a thump, but when at last the sun put in appearance it was hailed with delight. Long before daybreak the small boy with his older chaperone was on hand at the D. L. & W. station to see the great circus unload. And what a sight it is! Everything moves off as though part of some mighty machine. It was about 6 o’clock when the first of the three trains arrived. The other two followed in short order, sixty-eight cars in all. And then horses, elephants, camels and men stepped down into the mud, and began their line of march to the show grounds.
   At 6 o’clock the field on Owego-st. was an open meadow. At 6:30 it looked as though an army was at work. And in rapid succession the teams drove onto the field, leaving the great wagons. There was an army of workers, and there was soon an army of spectators. By 7 o’clock every road leading into town was thronged, and by 9 o’clock it seemed as though all Cortland county had settled down on Main and Tompkins-sts.
   It was about 11 o’clock when the head of the great procession for which everyone was waiting appeared on Tompkins-st. The parade was if possible finer than ever. The horses grow more and more fat and more and more sleek from year to year. There were 241 of these in line this morning besides 30 ponies, 12 elephants, 14 camels, 2 zebras and several mules. There were more open cages this year than usual, but no one would envy the keepers their fine seats in those dens of lions, leopards and other wild animals.
   At the close of the parade the crowd surged in one great mass to the circus grounds to take in the side shows. The streets were lined with the usual popcorn, peanut, lunch and soft drink stands, and these were liberally patronized.
   At 2 o’clock this afternoon the great tents were filled pretty full by the eager crowd of spectators. All of those who had come down “to bring the children to see the animals” had seen them and had gone on into the big tent to see the rest. The circus is in progress as we go to press. The entire program will be repeated to-night at 8 o’clock.
   Sept. 20—Nothing in the world will draw a crowd like a circus, and nothing sends every one home so well pleased as a circus. And among circuses there is but one “Greatest show on earth.” From the smallest side show to the concert which winds up the great exhibition, Barnum & Bailey fully sustain the reputation which they have long held. And it seems as though the circus this year was finer than ever before. No other company carries such a collection of animals. Chiko, the gorilla, was the center of attraction in the animal tent, and his cage was all the time so surrounded by a wondering crowd that it was almost impossible to get near it. Great were the frolics which he had with his Portuguese keeper. The only thing of which he is afraid is an elephant, and occasionally for fun an elephant would be led up in sight, when Chiko would leap to the farthest corner of his cage and stand trembling. Last night for some reason the lions and hyenas got excited, and their roars and calls made the blood of the listeners run cold, and caused them to congratulate themselves that they never meet these ferocious beasts loose in their native jungles.
   Perhaps the most wonderful and thrilling events of the exhibition in the circus tent was the trapeze work of the Silboas, with their wonderful leaps from bar to hand, concluding with the double and triple somersaults at lofty lengths. The races were good, the dog races were funny, with the clown dog which was bound to win even if he had to cut across lots to get there. The riding was unsurpassed, both in the rings and in the large track. One of the bareback riders was particularly skillful. The riding of two men upon two horses fastened together and the men doing tricks meanwhile was a novelty and excited the deepest interest. But it was impossible for any one to keep track of all that was to be seen in the bewildering events simultaneously going on in the three rings and upon two stages.
   Imre Kiralfy’s grand historical spectacular masterpiece of Columbus and the discovery of America was one of the principal attractions of the circus. It was in five scenes and required nearly an hour to present it. The play abounds in captivating marching and dancing movements. The costumes are brilliant and altogether it is very enjoyable.
   It would be impossible to speak of Barnum & Bailey’s circus and omit mention of the splendid music which forms such an important part of it all. The street bands were fine, but when these were all united in the tent into a single band of nearly fifty pieces with a competent musical director, the effect was magnificent. Some of their selections were classical and all were popular. Their accompaniments were fine, especially in the Columbus part. Taken altogether the person who failed to see the great show can but truly voice the sentiment expressed in the following parody upon the popular song   “After the ball was over:”
   After the circus was over;
   After the break of morn;
   After the tent was folded;
   After the cars had gone;
   Many a heart was aching
   If you could see them, so
   Why on earth did not I
   See Barnum & Bailey’s show?

One House Entered and an Attempt Made to Enter Another.
   Sept. 19—During the parade this morning the house of Mrs. Parsons, a widow, at 12 Woodruff-st. was broken into by an as yet unknown person, who gained entrance by breaking one of the windows in the back door, raising the latch and entering the kitchen. The burglar turned all the bedding in the house upside down, opened all the bureau drawers and after apparently taking his time at the work, he left after securing only five or six dollars belonging to a church society. It was at first thought that the thief carried off some silverware, but it was found.
   An attempt was made to enter the house of William Gray, next door, but for some reason, the thief did not get in or if he did, did not carry off anything.

Died at Elmira.
   Sept. 20—James A. Dowd died at the Arnot & Ogden hospital, Elmira, at 5:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon of pneumonia, aged 29 years. The remains were brought to Cortland via the D., L. & W. railroad at 6 o'clock this morning and have been placed at the home of his father, Mr. John Dowd, at the St. Charles hotel on Railroad-st.
   The deceased went to Elmira in February, where he commenced a course in Warner’s business college, He would have finished his course in about two weeks, but was taken ill a week ago Saturday. He was a young man well-liked by his schoolmasters and was spoken of by the processors in the very highest terms. He was president of the debating society of the school and, had he lived, would have undoubtedly had a brilliant career. He was an active member of the Emerald Hose Co. and the Catholic Mutual Benefit association, and these organizations, together with the Fire Department hold special meetings to-night to pass resolutions on his death.
   Besides his father, Mr. John Dowd, he leaves to mourn his loss two brothers, John F. and P. H. Dowd and three sisters, Miss Mary A ., Mrs. A. Lucy and Mrs. John Lundergan. He also had a large circle of acquaintances, with whom he was a general favorite.
   The funeral will be held Friday, but the time and place will be announced later.

A Bad Runaway.
   Sept. 21—There was a serious runaway on Main-st. yesterday afternoon. Mr. and Mrs. Abram Letts, who live about four miles west of the village, drove into town. Mr. Letts had a few errands to do on North Main-st. and left his wife sitting in the platform wagon, but, as the flies were very troublesome, he took the precaution to tie his horse to the post in front of the residence of Dr. J. W. Hughes. The animal, which was quite young, seemed half frantic at the hard biting of the flies and moved backwards and forwards as far as the halter would permit. At length he gave a sudden jump which broke the bridle and freed him from the post, and started down the street at a furious pace.
   At the corner of Clinton-ave. and Main-st. the animal took a sudden turn around the watering trough, upsetting the wagon and throwing Mrs. Letts violently out upon the ground. The wagon was turned bottom side up and was badly smashed. Several men seized the horse there before she could start off again.
   Mrs. Letts was picked up by willing hands and taken first to Glassford’s barber shop, which was close by, and afterward to the store of Sager & Jennings. Her face was badly bruised and cut and was bleeding profusely, and she complained of a pain in her left shoulder and arm. Dr. F. P. Howland was called and made a hasty examination of her injuries and then she was taken home in John Harvey’s cab by her husband, who had arrived upon the scene just after the smash. Dr. Howland followed at once. He found no bones broken but her right arm, shoulder and side are very badly bruised. Her left knee was also bruised.
   This morning she is feeling very sore, but seems to be getting along well. Inasmuch as she is 73 years of age, the shock to her system is quite severe.

Dr. McBride Proposes to Ride to the Fair Behind His Ganders.
   A unique if not formidable competitor to the great railway and other transportation systems of the United States has arisen at Orange, Va., in the person of Dr. R. C. McBride, who sends this curious communication to the Louisville Courier-Journal:
   If you will allow me space in your columns, I will give for the interest of your readers my experiments with a team of five wild geese raised on my farm in Virginia. I was given by a friend living on Chesapeake bay a pair of wild geese and from them raised 11 the first year, five of which were ganders. I commenced training them as soon as hatched by driving them about the yard tied together and soon got them so I could guide them with perfect ease.
   I then made for them a harness consisting of a piece of leather to fit over the breast and top of the neck. The traces were fastened to that on either side and held in place by a thin strap that encircled the entire body just in front of the wings. The traces then joined each other 18 inches behind the goose and were fastened to the end of a crossbar made fast in the center to a strap, which represented the pole or tongue of the weight to be drawn, they being hitched like a five-horse team and held together by a little strap joining the two collars of the geese opposite each other. I then constructed a little wagon and began teaching them to draw it, which they did with but little trouble, pulling easily after they were one year old, 30 pounds apiece, or 150 pounds.
   There is a lake near my place over a mile in circumference, and I had made for them a little skiff of tin, weighing only 28 pounds, and began boat riding by letting them draw me over the water by swimming. Then I commenced teaching them to fly, and in a few days I could skim over the water at the rate of one mile a minute. It is an experience never to be forgotten and something to be truly enjoyed. I can guide them with perfect ease and have them as much under my control as a pair of gentle horses.
   Last winter I made of light well-seasoned wood a little frame with steel runners—a tricycle sleigh—and made a mile and a quarter per minute on the ice, riding in a circle. The feeling of going at that rate through the open air is something grand and wonderful. The wind whistling in my ears like a tornado, causing the tears to flow thick and fast, made it necessary for me to use a glass over my face to keep from freezing.
   I am now completing a balloon, oblong in shape, that will just bear my weight and intend visiting the World’s fair, making an aerial trip, and will there exhibit my team by flying in a circle over the fair grounds. I think I can make 30 miles an hour against a wind blowing 25 miles and keep up that rate for 10 consecutive hours. I shall offer the use of my team to Captain Symmes to make his arctic trip with. After he has gone as far north as he can by water he could then in 10 hours, the wind being favorable, with my aerial team leave his steamer and go 300 or 400 miles north, make observations and return to his vessel to supper. 

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