Home

jun_10__1982.html

  • Print
User Rating:  / 0
PoorBest 
Accommodations
Churches
Community Calendar
History
Schools
Social Groups
Web Links



1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

WILD WEST SHOW DAYS TO BE RETOLD IN BOOK
June 10, 1982


Click

Pix #1 - Montana Meechy's Wild West Show when it played at London, Ohio in August 1939.

Remember Buffalo Bill Cody's wild west show, and the others similiar to it, that amused and thrilled spectatos with fancy horse riding, shooting, knife throwing, roping, etc?

If you do, then you are an "old-timer" because Cody's show made it last appearance in 1917. But, perhaps you have heard someone from that era tell of the exciting performances of the wold west shows that toured the nation, including Ohio, for many years.

Another one of the wild west shows that toured Ohio after Cody's show had quit was "Montana Meechy's Real Wild West Show". It ran from 1924-1936. It's principle was "Edward Raymont Meech" better known as "Montana" who had been in the Cody show until it closed in 1917.

Suzanne Meech Doughty, Fort Campbell, KY., granddaughter of "Montana" wants to keep the exciting memories of those wild west shows alive for future generations, and plans to record them in a book she is presently working on.

APPEARED HERE

Some Fostorians may remember Meechy since he and his band appeared at the Moose hall here on Dev. 14, 1935. An article about his local appearance in the scrapbook, which his granddughter possesses.

From letters received from Mrs. Doughty, your author has excerpted some of the interesting reading which will be included in her book.

Mrs. Doughty's grandmother, Myrtle Ivy Stalker, met "Montana" Meech when he joined her parents show "Buckskin Ben's Wild West Dog and Pony Show". Benjamin and Mary Stalker's show ran from 1897-1936, and "Montana" was with the show for two years.

"Montana" and Myrtle were married Jan. 6, 1917, and lived the rest of their life in Ohio. They had four children: Benjamin, Mardell, Alice and Arby.

Benjamin, the father of Mrs. Doughty became an expert trick roper and rider. Mardell was the human target for the knife-throwing act performed by "Montana".

ANNIE AND MYRTLE MEET

When "Montana" and Myrtle Meech started their show in 1924, Myrtle did a shooting act. In 1929, she shot in competition with the famous Annie Oakley, to attempt to take her title away from her. Annie hit 98 and 97 our of 100 targets tossed into the air.

Myrtle started her shooting act in her parent's show when she was only four. She was 5 1/2 before she missed a shot. According to Mrs. Doughty, she was a "natural" and people traveled for miles to see her act.

"Montana" came from Columbus, Ohio, and lived in a house at 1190 Atcheson St. built by his father George Meech. The house still stands at that address.

The Meech family originated on the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish sea, between Belfast and Blackpool.

COLUMBUS HEADQUARTERS

When "Montana" and Myrtle decided to form their own show in 1924, he built his own show trucks on a side street in Columbus. They were square bodies on Ford truck chassis, painted orange and lettered in red. He also had a medicine show. Their housecase, with a platform on one side, was used for the medicine show, where a cure-all patent, medicine was sold. The man and wife team would do an act to attract the crown for sale of the medicine.

From the letters received from Mrs. Doughty, I am convinced she will have scores of interesting tales to tell about her family and the thrilling acts of the old wild west shows in her book.

Believing that there may be readers of this column who knew about, or witnessed the acts of her family, Mrs. Doughty is seeking additional information about them to include in her book, both information and possibly photos.

The one accompanying photo shows "Montana's" show when it was playing at London, Ohio in 1939.

WELL-KNOWN FRIENDS

Some of "Montana's" and Myrtle's closest friends were Will Roges, Jess Willard, J.R. Williams, creator of the cartoon strip "Out Our Way", Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Otto Gray, Ken Maynard, Annie Oakley and the Indian Irontail and his squaw. Irontail was one of three Indians used as models to make the Indian head nickels.

Mrs. Doughty has promised to answer each person who writes to her about her family's shows, having seen or heard about it. She is also interested if anyone knows of the whereabouts of any of "Montana's" guns used in his show.

Her address is - Suzanne Meech Doughty, 4976 D. Lee Village, Fort Campbell, KY, 42223.

Your author closes this story with two personal experiences relating to it. In 1959, our family visited Colorado and drove to the top of Lookout Mountain to see Cody's grave. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the photo of it which I planned to show.

The second experience told to me by Taylor Brumbaugh, my wife's deceased uncle, who lived in Fostoria many years ago, substantiates that Cody was acquanited with Ohio, probably due to his show tours through the state. According to Brumbaugh, when he was a young man, Cody was in Fostoria at one time to see his old friend Frank Singer, who lived at 217 E. Fremont St., just west of the New York Central tracks.

At that time, Brumbaugh was at the Singer home and held the reigns of the horse Cody has ridden there while the old friends visited. Presumably, Cody's show was not too far from Fostoria for Cody to ride there.

MORE ABOUT ANNIE OAKLEY

Annie was born Aug. 13, 1860 near Greenville, Ohio in Darke County, Patterson Township. The family lived in the country close to Northstar. Shw was christened Phoebe Ann Oakley Mozee, but at some time the last name became Moses. Her parents were Quakers, who came from Pennsylvania.

At 16, Annie outshot Frank Butler, a talented marksman in a contest. Her skill so impressed him that within 12 months he married her. For the rest of their show career he was her manager.

Cody's show was standed in New Orleans, after a streak of bad luck when Annie and Frank applied for a place in his show. they had just left the Sells Brothers Circus. They were told to come back the next season, which they did when the show was in Louisville.

NICKNAMED "MISSY"

It was at that time that the team of Butler and Oakley first met Buffalo Bill according to one account. "They told me about you, Missy". We're glad to have you, said Cody. For the next 17 years, Annie and Frank were a part of Cody's show as it toured the United States and Europe. Annie opened every show after the initial fanfare and grand entry.

According to one account, when Sitting Bull, the Sioux Indian chief joined the show, he immediately took a great interest in annie and admired her shooting. He called her "Little Sure Shot" and in a formal ceremony adopted her as his daughter.

In England, Annie was presented to Queen Victoria. In Germany, during a special independent tour, Prince Wilhelm later to become Kaiser Wilhelm, entered the arena while Annie was performing and requested her to repeat a feat he had seen her do in England. In this event, he held the lighted cigarette between his lips and Annie severed the lighted portion with a bullet from her rifle.

Annie was still with Cody's show in 1912, the last year he headed on his own show. Cody died in January 1917, in Denver, and is buried on the top of Lookout Mountain near Denver.

Annie died of pernicious anemia November. 3, 1926, near the place where she lived as a child.

Frank, her husband, died November 23, 1926, in his hotel room in Detroit. Before Annie's death, she insisted that Frank spend the winter in Florida because of poor health. He was in Detroit at the time of her death awaiting one of Annie's relatives to take him to Florida.

The ashes of Annie and the body of Frank are in graves in a county cemetery at Brock, Ohio.

Top of page