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“No new fangle at all,” said I; “I'm going to be a drover. I'm going to buy up cattle for the prin city market. And I need the hundred dollars to
habere high start me off. I'm young. But that's the time to start in. Early sow, early mow.”
“But are you sure, Danny,” said she (for the idea began to take hold of her); "are you sure that
; you won't lose your money ?” I told her I'd planned the thing all out; it was going to be a money-maker. She handed the hundred dollars over to me, and I became a drover.
Not exactly a drover, either, in the full sense of the word. I became a buyer of bob calves. The laws against bob-veal weren't very strict in those days that is, they weren't enforced. could get anybody to buy the stuff, the law didn't poke its nose in and stop you. And so, I would around among the farmers and buy a calf very soon after it had been dropped. I had my troubles. Bob-calves are shaky on their legs. Then, too, there's its mother to bother you. I found it easier to get around the law objection against bob-veal than the mother objection - so to speak — that pair of wicked horns, when you go to take the calf away from its dam! But the right kind of handling would do it. And then, by hurrying the calf to market, I would get the critter off my hands before it sickened and died. I dare say that the flesh now and then was pretty soft for real good eating. Peo
ple used to say,
Dan Drew can be sucked through a quill.” But then, folks who said these things were jealous of me, because I worked hard and managed to get along.
Besides, with me it was a case of calves or nothing. Because I didn't have the money to go into the grown-up cattle business. You can buy calves on a small capital — yes, sometimes without capital at all. Because, a farmer who has a bull calf on his hands and doesn't want to feed it, will often let you have it on credit. Sometimes the farmer thinks that a calf is so misshapen and puny that it is
that it is going to die; and then he will be glad to get it off of his hands on any terms.
But when it comes to parting with his grown-up critters, a farmer is almighty particular about whom he trusts.
of mine as a calf-drover were broken in upon a little later. I went into
the circus business. Some time after the War of 1812, the travelling circus came into fashion. The people in those days lived in little settlements. They were lonely. They didn't have much amusement. So, when times became settled once more and the farmers had recovered from the war, the Rolling Show came in and did lots of business. Only we didn't call it a show in those days, nor a circus — no siree! The people wouldn't have come near us. Because the preachers thundered against circuses and all such worldliness. To get the trade of the church people, we called it a “Menagerie” and “The Great Moral and Educational Exhibition.”
Putnam and Westchester counties were headquarters for the circus business in early days, particularly Star's Ridge, in the town of South-east, and Purdy's Station, just below Croton Falls. I guess the reason for this was, because those two counties are just north of New York City. Being a beautiful farming region, with Bridgeport, Conn., and Dan
bury just across the State line, this region became naturally the winter quarters for the New York shows. The circuses would start out from our section each spring, and come back to us in the fall, for winter quarters. In this way all our part of the State got to talking circus. There was old Hakaliah Bailey, of Somers — Somerstown Plains it was, back in my day - five miles below Carmel. He brought over the first elephant ever seen in the county. “Old Bett,” he called her. In front of the tavern there in Somers the Old Elephant Hotel they called it — you can see even yet a ped with an elephant carved on top of it. And Seth Howe, down at Turk’s Hill, near Brewsters', when he came to make his fine summer home there, had stone animals carved and stuck around the grounds here and there. Besides, there was Gerard Crane, of Somers -- everybody has heard of “Howe and Crane's Great London Circus.” Then there was Turner, of Bailey and Turner, of Danbury; and later on, Phineas Barnum, from Bridgeport. Isaac Van Amberg also started his menagerie from our section. The Weekses, also well-known in the circus business, came from Carmel. The town was full of circus, back in those early days.
So when Nate Howe, from down Brewsters' way he was Seth Howe's brother
rounded me up one day as I was on one of my calf-buying trips, and said he was looking for a smart and handy young
man like me, to be a driver and an all-round man with his show, I got the fever and started in. They put me at all sorts of work. In those days the circus was a one-horse affair compared to what it has grown to now, and one man would have to help out in a dozen different kinds of work. He would be a mule-driver, canvas-man, gate-keeper and feeder of the animals, sometimes all in one day. And most like as not, now and then he would have to turn in and help out with the clown's part. The clowns in those days had speaking parts. They cracked jokes on the politicians and local celebrities in the village where the show was exhibiting, sang the ballad, “Betsy Baker," and did flipflaps. Then, too, since there wasn't much advertising in those days, when we landed in a town and while the workmen were getting the canvas up, the one of us who was acting the clown for the day would go along the street, togged out in his tom-fooleries, and with a bugler parading in front. After he had got a crowd around him he would mount a barrelhead in front of the village tavern-about the time the stage arrived, if possible - and from that stump would announce the show, tell where it was to be found, and read off the list of the animals that would be shown. I used to like the part of clown. It
. was fun to crack jokes and set the boys and girls to laughing. I always did like a good joke, anyhow.
Inside the canvas we used to have the animals