Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Ralph Spotts Set His Sights on Winning Gold

Shown here on a passport photo, Ralph Lewis Spotts overcame a less than illustrious beginning in Canton, Ohio, to win gold twice in his life, once at the end of a shotgun at the 1912 Olympic Games and later by inheriting through marriage one of New York City’s best known and most affluent liquor houses.  

Spotts was born in June 1875, the eldest son of Daniel and Emma Spotts.  His father was recorded in the 1870 census living in Lenawee, Michigan, and working in a factory there making barrel staves.  At some point Daniel moved to Canton and an 1891 business directory records him as manager of the “Lippy Cash & Package Co.”  Meanwhile Ralph, 16, was going to school.  Two years later Daniel had left Lippy and now owned of a Canton enterprise called “The Big Bargain Store.”  Ralph, having just finished secondary school, was working there. 

By 1898, The Big Bargain Store was defunct, but another opportunity was presented to Ralph by the Spanish-American War.  Already recognized widely for his ability with a gun, Spott’s enlisted in the 8th Regiment of the Ohio Voluntary Army, known as “McKinley’s Own,” for the Ohio-born President. The 23-year-old was eagerly accepted in Company I and accorded the rank of first sergeant.   After brief basic training at Camp Alger, Virginia, the Ohio 8th, shown here, embarked on the U.S.S. Yale, below, for Cuba. 


The regiment saw hot combat around the Cuban cities of Siboney and Santiago but most casualties and deaths were as the result of disease.  One Ohio newspaper extolled the regiment as having “established itself forever in the hearts of its townsmen and citizens of Ohio, who will recite its deeds and bravery for years to come.”  Certainly Spotts had distinguished himself.  In August 1898 he was promoted to captain and made adjutant to a general.

The next several years of Spott’s life have gone largely unrecorded.  Discharged from the Army, over the next several months he met and wooed Josepha Kirk.  She was the daughter of one of New York City’s true “whiskey barons,” Harford Kirk, the man who had promoted “Old Crow” to a top whiskey seller.  The record is blank, however, on how Ralph met Josepha.  Canton is a long way from New York City and the social classes of the two were distinctly different.

Nonetheless, marry they did in 1900.  The federal census that year found the couple living in Canton where Spotts was recorded working in a hardware store.  Their first of three children, Ralph Lewis Spotts Jr., was born in Canton.  Not long after, however, all three Spotts moved to New York City.   My assumption is that Josepha’s parents wanted the family closer at hand and Harford Kirk had ideas for Ralph’s future that did not include selling paint and hardware.  

Likely with a strong boost from Harford Kirk financially, Spotts entered the highly competitive New York City whiskey and wine trade.  Business directories of the time record him working at Kirk headquarters at 146 Franklin Street.  In a 1906 corporate reorganization of the H. B. Kirk Company, his father-in-law made him a director.  

The 1910 census found the Spotts living in an upscale New York neighborhood.  Their household now included two more children, Dorothy 4 and Robert 2, along with five live-in servants, four women and a man.  By now they were living in a mansion. Purchased by Spotts for the equivalent today of $2.5 million, he then spent more thousands adding a two story addition to the rear roof.

Spott’s newly found prestige and wealth gained him entrance into two of the Big Apple’s most prestigious venues, the New York Athletic Club and the Larchmont Yacht Club, the latter shown left.  There he began to attract wide notice as a crack shot.  On November 21, 1910, for instance, The New York Times reported on shooting matches at the Yacht Club:  "Ralph L. Spotts carried off the honors of the day, for he not only won the first prize of the season as high gun with a score of 119, but he also won the ten and five bird scratch events, and the leg for the Sauer gun.  He also won the 200 target match.”

Spott’s reputation won him a place on the 1912 Summer Olympics trap shooting team representing the United States.  For years this competition had been dominated by the British, Germans and French.  The American team seemingly was not accounted a major competitor.  Before embarking for Europe, the team posed for a  group photo at the New York Athletic Club.  I believe that Spotts is the man standing second from the right.

At the site of the games in Stockholm, Sweden, pundits were increasingly skeptical of the American chances.  Olympic rules demanded that the shotgun be held below the armpit. The Yanks were accustomed to raising it higher.  Moreover, in Stockholm competitors would be allowed to fire both barrels at the moving targets, something not allowed in U.S. competitions.  Several days of practice in these modes, however, gave the American team renewed confidence they could shoot with the same ease as with their accustomed style.

When the competition ended on July 2, 1912, the Americans had captured the world team trapshooting title.  With their captain shooting 94 of the 100 clay pigeons presented and no member hitting fewer than 80, the team shattered 532 of 600 targets.  The British trailed at 511 and the Germans at 510.  Spotts had distinguished himself by scoring 90 of 100.  New York sports writers were quick to hail the win as “accomplish with American guns, shells, and powder” and of “arousing great enthusiasm” among both foreign and American spectators.  The win also inspired a political cartoonist to fervent heights of nationalism. 

Not only did Spotts come back to wife and family bearing a gold medal, he and the team were honored in a parade of U.S. Olympic medal winners down Fifth Avenue as fans packed the streets.  For years afterward Spotts’ name appeared in sporting magazines like Field & Stream as he continued to add silver cups and trophies for his prowess as a marksman.

Upon returning to New York Spotts assumed a heavy work load.  After a period of declining health, Harford Kirk died in July 1907 leaving the day-to-day management of the liquor house to Spotts, now moved to vice-president.  In addition, the son-in-law was the executor of Kirk’s estate.  Spotts also was recorded as the president of the Walton Hotel, a New York apartment hotel, and as a partner in the Cantono Electric Tractor Company.

Advanced to president of H. R. Kirk Company, Spotts purchased the 156 Franklin Street headquarters building outright and continued to grow the business.  As before, the aggressive marketing of Old Crow Whiskey was a principal activity.  He also continued Kirk’s strategy of copious advertising, including a patriotic message during World War One.

With the coming of National Prohibition, Spotts was forced to shut the doors on the H. B.  Kirk Company.  He continued, however, to be embroiled in the liquor trade.  In February 1920, a month after the national ban on alcohol took effect, Spotts agreed to sell 480 barrels of Old Crow to a Constantinople, Turkey, dealer named Kyrialddes.   Later Spotts discovered that he would not be able to make the shipment and reneged on the oral contract.  Kyrialddes sued in a New York court for $51,600 in damages.   The case lingered on for months until decided in favor of the Kirk company.

By that time Ralph Spotts, only 48 years old, had died in April 1924, the cause not recorded in obituaries.  The location of his burial site similarly does not show up.  Josepha would live on another 40 years as his widow, dying and buried in Los Angeles in August 1964 at the age of 90.   The gold metal will serve as an epitaph.

Notes:  This post was drawn from a wide range of sources.  Of particular help were census and business directory references.  My prior post on Harford Kirk may be found on this website at March 17, 2022.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

How the Kammerers Created a Pennsylvania Town

 Beginning in 1831, John Kammerer and his son Joseph through their enterprise founded multiple industries, including a distillery, that resulted in the rapid settlement of their section of Washington County in western Pennsylvania.  They called the village at the center of this activity “Kammerer.”

Born in Germany about 1790 and educated in the public schools there, John Kammerer was by all accounts a man of multiple talents.  Although biographies differ on details, John would seem to have been a master mechanic, millwright and carpenter.  As an expert workman he came to America about 1831 to work on a German government financed project, expecting to return home after completing a two-year assignment.

John already had a wife and children in Germany, the result of two marriages.  In 1820, according to one account, he married Margaret Dunker, who gave him five children over the next decade and died in February 1830.  Needing a mother for his young children, John married again six months later.  She was Elizabeth Etta Bender.  “Then bidding goodbye to his Fatherland, wife and children, he sailed for America.”

John’s initial destination was Baltimore, Maryland.  From there his assignment took him to Pittsburgh, then to Wheeling, West Virginia, and finally to Washington County in Pennsylvania.  He is said to have spent some time working on the National Turnpike Road that ran between Cumberland, Maryland, through Wheeling, and west through Ohio.  Having found Washington County to his liking, John decided to stay in America.  After finding a suitable place for a home, John  called for his family to join him.  In 1833 after a 66 day sea voyage, they arrived and found their way to Washington County.  Now they were six;  the youngest was Elizabeth’s new baby. 

With seven mouths to feed, John Kammerer got busy.  He found work as a mechanic and later as a carpenter, earning enough money to build and open a general merchandise store.  He subsequently built a tavern with sleeping rooms, a few yards east of the store building. He called it the Kammerer Hotel.  In 1846 John built a mill for making flour from locally grown wheat and rye.  When it burned three years later, he had sufficient resources to build back a bigger and more modern stone structure.  The settlement straddled a portion of the National Turnpike that was the boundary line between Somerset and Nottingham Townships. The place initially was known as “Dutch John’s.”

As the community John created grew and prospered, it officially became Kammerer, Pennsylvania, a town with its own post office.  As Joseph matured he initially was put to work as a clerk in the general store.  When he quickly showed a talent for the trade, while still in his teens, the establishment was put under his management.  By 1852 Joseph was traveling to Philadelphia regularly to purchase stocks of goods that included farm implements, boots and shoes, produce, groceries and grain.

Joseph also married.  In 1860, he wed a Pennsylvania woman named Lucinda Howden.  They would have five children.  The 1880 census found the family together in Washington County.  The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, 19, was working in the general store while Margaret, 17; Joseph, 14; Albert, 12; and Annie, 8 were all in school.  The household had one female servant and a male boarder who was clerking in the store.

As he aged, John’s heath faltered and he died in 1856 at the age of 65. Says one biographer:  “In the course of years he became a man of large consequence in this section and through his enterprise started industries which resulted in the rapid settlement of the section in which the larger part of his life was spent.”  As a well known and respected resident of Washington County, John Kammerer was given a well attended funeral and buried in the German Lutheran Cemetery in Somerset Township.  Elizabeth would join him there three years later.  Their joint grave monument is shown here. 

Joseph took over running the Kammerer enterprises and expanded on the work his father had begun.  Turning his attention to the milling business he installed new machinery.  A local publication reported:  “It is now strictly a modern plant…with rolls for ten breaks and six reductions, Nordyke & Marmon machinery, George T.Smith purifiers, low grade reel, redresser and three-high Monitor feed mill.”  The mill could turn out 75 barrels of flour a day.  Advertised as  “The best winter wheat flour made in Western Pennsylvania,” Joseph’s “Ocean Spray” brand found a ready market.  Eventually other area mills disappeared leaving this mill the only one within a radius of ten miles of Kammerer, seen below as it looked in 1876.

Noting that rye and wheat yields of local farmers were steadily increasing and exceeding flour needs, in 1859 Joseph bought a small second-hand distillery and placed it in the basement of his flour mill.  After operating this plant for two years, he built a separate building and increased mashing capacity from ten to twenty bushels daily.  When the water flow proved insufficient to run both the flour mill and the distillery, Joseph moved the latter to a new location near Mingo Creek.  Converted from an old sawmill, it was a modest-sized plant with the capacity to mash thirty bushels of grain a day.  He later added a warehouse and put his operation under federal “bottled in bond” regulations.  He called the enterprise “The Kammerer Manufacturing Company, Ltd.,”  

Despite the relatively small output, Joseph advertised his whiskey vigorously.  Shown here is a trade card cum ink blotter that claimed:  “Kammerer Pure Rye Whiskey has no equal for medicinal use when a stimulant is needed.” He sold it by age on a sliding scale of price.  Eleven year old whiskey fetched $5.00 a gallon, two year old just half of that amount.  Said a contemporary observer:  “Kammerer Pure Monongahela Rye Whiskey had a wide reputation for fine quality, and was sold and shipped to almost every State east of the Mississippi for medicinal purposes.”

In addition to his flour and liquor enterprises, Joseph owned 200 acres of land on which he grazed a herd of prime cattle.  This farmland was also yielding coal and gas.  In addition to maintaining the hotel, he expanded the Kammerer general store, reputed to have a stock of goods valued at $75,000, equivalent to $1.6 million today.  Joseph also was appointed postmaster at Kammerer.

Of all his investments, Joseph’s distillery may have offered the most problems.  The still house burned down on June 26, 1897, a total loss. Luckily, the bond house in which he had stored 11,000 gallons of whiskey remained intact. Washington County had been a center of the tumult over whiskey taxes known as the Whiskey Rebellion.  As a result, the area’s distillers were under heavy scrutiny.  Liquor licenses were issued on a yearly basis by the county requiring Joseph to make annual pilgrimages to the courthouse to apply.   As shown here, in 1906 Joseph was advertising that his license would expire on May 1, would not be renewed, and customers should order immediately. 

Joseph, four month’s shy of his eightieth birthday, died in February 1915.  The cause given on his death certificate was “severe gastritis & supposed passage of gall stones.”  He was not buried in the family plot at the Lutheran Cemetery where his parents lay, but chose burial at the nearby Pigeon Creek Cemetery connected with the Presbyterian Church.  His gravestone is shown here.

After his death, it was revealed that Joseph’s attempt to sell his whiskey before losing his license in Washington County had not been entirely successful.  His estate included 245 gallons of whiskey said to range in age from 20 to 45 years.  While this dating seems exaggerated, the value of the liquor still would be substantial.   Without a license to sell it, Joseph’s executors were forced to pour it down a sewer.  The incident made headlines.

Although Washington County today has more than 200,000 residents, Kammerer is just a bump on Pennsylvania Route 135.  The post office has been closed for years.  Gone is the flour mill, the hotel, and the general store.  Only the name remains to remind a current generation of a German immigrant father and his son who through their hard work and enterprise (including making whiskey) created a once thriving community in western Pennsylvania and thereby helped build 19th Century America.

Note:  This post principally was drawn from two sources:  1) 20th Century History of the City of Washington and Washington County, Pennsylvania and Representative Citizens, Joseph F. McFarland, Chicago, Ill., Richmond-Arnold Pub. Co., 1910.   2)  Pennsylvania Roots: Bringing Our Past into the Future, posted by Carole Eddleman, April 3, 2006.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Pepper Whiskey & “The Fight of the Century”


The advertising photo below is fascinating to me both for what it seems to say — and what it doesn’t.  The 20th Century really had only just begun in 1910 when a boxing match between Jack Johnson, a black man and reigning heavyweight champion, and James Jeffries, the former champ and “Great White Hope” was being ballyhooed as “The Fight of the Century.”  The James E. Pepper Distillery that had touted its lily white early American past and shown African-Americans in servile roles, changed course radically, sponsored the event, and seemed to be taking sides.

This prize fight had taken on highly symbolic meaning for millions of Americans, white and black.  Johnson had an uncanny ability to antagonize whites.  As one author has put it:  “He threatened the paradigm of white superiority with his prowess in the ring and he offended moralists with his lifestyle.”   That lifestyle included arrests for speeding and other infractions, drinking and carousing, and flaunted relationships with white women.   A postcard of the time expressed the attitude of many.  It showed the white fighting cock (Jeffries) driving a right and a left to the head of the black rooster (Johnson) who appears to be knocked out.

What then motivated the James E. Pepper people to merchandise its whiskey through a man that was widely disliked and reviled, largely for being black?  The founder of the distillery, James Pepper, was a Kentucky Southerner who advertised his products by harking back to a time before the Civil War.  “Born with the Revolution” was the company slogan adorned by images of Lady Liberty and (all-white) Continental soldiers.


Nor was Pepper above portraying African-Americans in servile occupations.  Like other whiskey purveyors at the time, the Lexington distiller advertising widely with a “Uncle Tom” figure — bald with a fringe of kinky white hair — serving Pepper whiskey and a glass.  Shown here is a typical black figure from the distillery on a postcard advertising “Old Jas. E. Pepper Whisky.” (Pepper spelled it without the “e”.)

By the time of the Johnson-Jeffries fight, however, the management at the Kentucky distillery had changed. In May 1907 a group of Chicago investors, headed by Joseph Wolf bought the plant and brand names from Pepper’s widow.   For seven years before the purchase Wolf had managed the distribution of the Kentucky product from his Chicago offices and knew the business.  After incorporating the enterprise anew, he made improvements to the distillery, warehouses and bottling operations, and expanded production.  Wolf also stepped up the Pepper whiskey marketing effort.  

In a bold move, Wolf and his colleagues apparently decided to buck two traditions in the liquor trade:  1) Staying away from association with prize fighting because of its unpopularity with a large segment of the public and its illegality in many states and 2) avoiding marketing directly to blacks.   The Pepper distillery sought and got sponsorship of the “Fight of the Century” and thereby entre' into the large population of color that idolized Jack Johnson.  

The venue for the match continued to be vexing for the promoters.  An agreement had been reached that the fight would take place in California, Utah or Nevada.  When officials in both San Francisco and Salt Lake City vowed to ban the contest, it gravitated to Reno, Nevada.  Reno, however, posed a particular problem for Jeffries.  

Five years earlier, not long after retiring from the ring, Jeffries had frequented the roulette table at Reno’s Louvre Saloon, shown above, and dropped $5,000 in a night.  Instead of paying up, the former World Heavyweight Champ gave his IOU, a note he failed to pay off.  In order to let the fight go forward, the promoter, Tex Richard, apparently paid the debt, likely using the Pepper sponsorship money.

The fight date was set for the Fourth of July, 1910.  From the outset, as one observer has it:   “The upcoming fight would be relentless hyped as a titanic clash of races, leaving little room for objectivity…Most Americans believed that Johnson was mentally and physically inferior and conversely believed in Jeffries’ invincibility.”  In truth, Jeffries was several years away from his prime as a boxer, overweight and rusty from being on a vaudeville circuit rather than in the ring.  By contrast, Johnson for all his boozing and racy lifestyle was at the peak of his form.  In reality it was a mismatch, but anointing Jeffries as “the Great White Hope,” gave the combat epic proportions, race against race, gaining national and  international attention.

The decision by Wolf and the Pepper Distillery to back the event seems a genius stroke.  As thousands of people from all over the U.S. and, indeed, the world, crowded into the streets of Reno, the banners that greeted them read “James E. Pepper Whisky — Born with the Republic.”   A photograph of the scene the day before the fight illustrates a banner that could be read for blocks.

On fight day, 17,000 people crowded into the stands erected in a natural basin caused by the Truckee River outside Reno.   “At 2:44 PM the “Battle of the Century” got underway.  By 2:48 it had become the “Beating of the Century.”   Scheduled to go 45 rounds, Johnson was in no hurry to finish off Jeffries.  The photo below shows them still boxing in the 14th Round.  Note the Pepper sign in the background.   In the very next round a vicious combination by Johnson had Jeffries helpless on the ropes.  Jeffries’ corner “threw in the towel,” acknowledging defeat.

Although one newspaper opined that it was likely a boon that Johnson won, thus sparing the nation from black rioting, the “Fight of the Century” riots that did occur were white violence triggered by Johnson’s victory.  “Rather than rioting, most blacks tried to keep a low profile and avoided the white mobs until the storm blew over.

Johnson’s fans would have taken pride in the photo of the heavyweight champ that opens this post, reputedly drinking James E. Pepper whiskey the day before the fight, while surrounded by a crowd of both blacks and whites.   I cannot help but wonder if a similar photograph was taken of Jim Jeffries with Pepper whiskey — just in case. 

Note:   Much of the information for this post was gleaned from a book entitled “The Last Great Prizefight:  Johnson vs. Jeffries,” by Steven Frederick.  Frederick was a licensed Nevada bookmaker not a historian or writer, but he mastered the art of the narrative and it is truly a well-written, interesting and informative book, well worth the read.  All of the direct quotes above are from Frederick’s work.  Earlier posts on the Pepper distilling family have appeared on this website on September 22, 2012, and January 21 and 24, 2017. 


Friday, April 15, 2022

Whiskey Men as “Dime Novel” Heroes

Foreword:  The “celebrity culture” that engulfs America today had its roots in the 19th Century, long before motion pictures and television.  A major venue for “hero” creation were dime novels.  They often narrated fictional accounts of living individuals who had come to public notice through their exploits.  Here are presented three “whiskey men” who epitomized that kind of fame and the publicity they engendered.

Few men in their time engendered more printer’s ink than Wyatt Earp.  Sometime lawman, sometime gunman, in his own time and up to the present Earp has been the subject of both fact and more often fiction.  The number of “dime novels” devoted to his imagined exploits number in the dozens.   Ignored, however, is the Wyatt Earp, who is credited with building Nome, Alaska, from a muddy mining camp of tents into a real city.

After gunfights in Arizona, Earp and his common-law wife, Josephine Sarah Marcus, whom Wyatt called “Sadie,” moved around the Far West, finally stopping in Yuma, Arizona.  It was there that Earp learned of a gold strike in the small fishing village of Nome, Alaska, not far from the Article Circle.   As author Ann Kirschner puts it:  “Josephine and Wyatt Earp were drawn to Nome as one more place to seek their fortune.”

In 1899 the couple arrived in Nome.  The settlement that greeted them, shown here, must have been discouraging. Largely tents, Nome was five miles long and two blocks wide.  The town still lacked docks. The Earps’ steamer was met by row boats who ferried the couple to within 30 feet of the shoreline.  From there Josephine was carried ashore on the back of a local.  In Nome the Earps found unpaved streets, a treeless landscape, a river filled with stinking sewage, and thick mud everywhere.  Finding no suitable hotel, the couple spent the winter in a wooden shack.

In Nome, Earp entered the whiskey trade.  He and a partner are credited with constructing the town’s first two-story building, a saloon they called the “Dexter,” left.  It immediately was reckoned the largest and most luxurious drinking establishment in Nome.  Although he stayed only four years there, Earp’s fame drew dozens of men and women to Nome hoping to strike it rich.  His initiative to build the first substantial building in a tent city spurred local development. Grateful residents voted him to the town council. Earp’s saloon served important civic purposes as a clubhouse, town hall and forum for political campaigns. Although Nome had been good to Earp, Earp also had been good for Nome.


It may be a stretch to call Dr. Frank Powell, aka “White Beaver,” a whiskey man—but only slightly.  A medical school graduate and inventor of patent medicines, Powell was peddling nostrums more alcoholic than most whiskeys.  Many a boy, fetching the dime novel hidden in the corn crib, thrilled to the adventures of “White Beaver” as in story after story the Western hero overcame all odds to best his evil enemies. 

 After graduating from medical school,  Powell had been named to a government post as surgeon in the Department of the Platte, Nebraska, and later made Medicine Chief of the Winnebago Indians.  According to legend, Frank got his name, “White Beaver” from riding into the camp of a hostile group of Indians, in order to inoculate residents against small pox.  Others say he got it by rescuing a Sioux princess.  Regardless, Powell embraced the title, let his hair grow long, and began to polish his legend.

Powell is depicted here on the cover of Beadle’s Dime Library on the trail of evil-doers.  Among his titles were “White Beaver, the Indian Medicine Chief,” “White Beaver’s Red Trail, and “Surgeon Scout to the Rescue.” In fact, much of this period Powell was working as a small town doctor in placid LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He also was putting his energies into mixing up and marketing his highly alcoholic patent medicines. 

With the passage of the Food and Drug Act in 1906, Federal authorities were on the trail of White Beaver. They hailed him into court alleging that both “White Beaver’s Cough Cream” and “White Beaver’s Wonder Worker” were in violation of the statute. The cough cream contained morphine, cloroform and 82% alcohol (164 proof), classifying it among the strongest liquors on the market. “Wonder Worker” had similar ingredients and was 150 proof. Powell admitted guilt, paid a $300 fine, and White Beaver’s products disappeared.


Eastern heroes also could be the stuff of legend.  In the early 1890s, the New York City tour buses regularly stopped at the door of a saloon at 114 Bowery Street and passengers rushed inside to see the proprietor who was waiting for them behind the bar.  What they witnessed was the suave gent shown here who was eager to tell them the story of his leap off the Brooklyn Bridge and how he lived to tell about it.  His name was Steve Brodie.

On the morning of July 22nd, 1886, Brodie said goodbye to his wife, Bridget, and climbed on a wagon that crossing the Brooklyn bridge.  Down below friends sat in a rowboat waiting.  Bystanders shouted “suicide” as they saw the form of a man preparing to jump. In a moment it was over as the form hit the water.  Suddenly the rowboat was moving rapidly toward a man flailing in the river.  Brodie’s friends pulled him into the boat and rowed to the Manhattan side of the bridge where Brodie was arrested.  Headlines in New York papers the next day gave banner coverage to the story of Stevie Brodie and his jump.  Soon comic book and magazine accounts of his daring-do were appearing everywhere.

But there were skeptics.  The only real eye witness to the jump was Brodie himself.  That did not deter him from opening his saloon right after his release from jail, 0r embarking on a career in vaudeville.  One theatrical in 1894 focussed on his exploits.  Called “On the Bowery,” it used a set fashioned after his saloon and as a finale had Brodie making a faux jump.  One of the playbills from “On the Bowery” depicts the daredevil behind the bar serving a top-hatted customer while a Bowery bum siphons alcohol from a cigar lighter.

As time passed and questions continued to be asked about the veracity of his story, Brodie reacted negatively to the skeptics and the cooling of his fame.  He moved to Buffalo, New York, where he opened a new saloon.  There he made it known that he contemplated a new stunt — jumping over Niagara Falls.  He never did.  

Note:  These three vignettes are  abbreviated from other posts to be found on this website:  Wyatt Earp, March 18, 2021;  “White Beaver” Dr. Frank Powell, February 25, 2019, and Steve Brodie, October 25, 2019.