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First Circus in Linn County

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First Circus in Linn County

From the Brookfield Gazette, May 1, 1915.

It was in the summer of 1857 that the first circus arrived to gladden the eyes of Linn county people, or for that matter, traveled across North Missouri. The show was one famous in its day-Levi J. North's Great National Circus, and, besides the regulation animals and performers, carried a real, honest-to-goodness steam calliope.

The circus had traveled up the Missouri river by steamboat to St. Joseph and had then struck out across country to Hannibal. The show pitched its tents at Linneus, the county seat, and showed to a big crowd but it was at Bucklin (then Bucklinville) that the real multitude gathered. People came on horseback, on foot, in covered wagons. Many, determined to be on time, came several days ahead and camped on the grounds. They came from and from Keytesville, from Brunswick, and from all along the right-of –way of the Hannibal St. Joe Railroad, which was then in process of construction. In spite of the slow methods of travel, lack of newspapers phones the management of the circus had spread the news of its and it was the principal subject of conversation and comment the mighty open fireplace for weeks before and for months afterward. It is very probable that Levi J. North was then and there regarded as a much bigger man than one James Buchanan, the President of the United States.