The remarkable photo below of the event in Ladonia was provided by the Burleson History Center. See more photos of this event HERE.
Honey Grove Signal, May 3, 1907
The Cole Younger and Nichols Carnival Co. arrived in the city Sunday afternoon and early Monday morning a large force of men was at work placing the many tens on the square.
was blowing a gale and it was with great difficulty that the tents were made ready. Monday night the big rain came and it looked like all was off with the carnival for the week; but early Tuesday morning the employes were at work filling the tents with straw, and in spite of mud and cold the many shows did a fair business at night. Wednesday a good crowd wag in town and the shows did a fair business; at night the crowd was so large that all the tents were packed and the same was true of yesterday and last night.
So far we have heard no complaint against any of the shows or the company’s method of doing business- The people seem to be having the time of their lives. At night the square is crowded with old and young and all seem to forget for the time all that might mar the pleasures and go in for a general good time. The first balloon ascension was made Wednesday evening and was a decided success. The air ship made a pretty ascent and the parachute worked admirably, the aeronaut alighting about the west line of the corporation.
The company will be with us until Saturday night and then go to Ladonia for a week. Should the weather be favorable to-day and to-morrow the business will doubtless be all that the company could ask.
Honey Grove Signal, April 26, 1907
Cole Younger, who is to visit Honey Grove next week with his carnival company was a familiar figure in this section during the latter years of the war. Old timers tell us that Quantrell’s men spent the most of two winters in North Texas, and were in Honey Grove frequently.
Honey Grove Signal
April 19, 1907
Honey Grove Signal, April 19, 1907
The Street Fair.
Honey Grove has never had a street fair, but is to try the experiment soon. On Monday, April 29th, the Cole Younger and Nichols Amusement Co. will stretch its tents on the public square and entertain our people for a whole week. The company has a large number of attractions and the managers are confident of their ability to please all. The advance agent, while here, submitted letters from officials of many towns and cities, stating that the shows were clean and that the managers were gentlemen. Other towns have tried carnivals and like them, and we trust that Honey Grove will experience the pleasure and profit that others report. Come and make merry with us during the week beginning April 29th.
Honey Grove Signal, April 26, 1907
The Cole Younger and Nichols Carnival Co., is the attraction in Bonham this week. The carnival is attracting large and is giving satisfaction. The public wedding Tuesday night, under carnival auspices, was witnessed by about three thousand people. The contracting parties were Mr. C. C. Boatright and Miss Maude Holcomb, Judge Carnival officiating. The company is to be here next week and Honey Grove invites everybody to come and have a good time with us.
Honey Grove Signal, April 19, 1907.
And Cole Younger is to be with us week after next. Probably no man in the United States has been more read about or talked about. The war made a pretty tough citizen out of Mr. Younger for a time and he did many things he ought not to have done. But he paid for his fun by serving a long term in the penitentiary and has now turned his back on all his follies. Through all he was a true friend of the South and in every section of the southland he has friends who have always \ sworn by Cole Younger
Bonham Daily Favorite, 1913.
Honey Grove Signal, April 12, 1907.
Cole Younger in Bonham.
Bonham entertained a distinguished visitor Saturday and Sunday in the person of Cole Younger, the noted outlaw of the latter sixties and early seventies. The object of his visit was to attend the funeral of his old comrade, Maj. B. F. Hays, both men serving under Quantrail in the war between-the states.
Cole Younger is now about 70 years old, and, in spite of his long stay in prison, is well preserved and enjoys good health. He is engaged in the show business and is now touring Texas.
While in Bonham Mr. Younger said that he never robbed but one lone individual in his life and that occurred in this way: A man of cold blood held a mortgage on the home of a widow woman for $80 and unless she paid this sum he was going to force collection by the sale of her home. Younger learning of this fact, went to the woman and gave her $80 with which to lift the mortgage, and when the man came to either sell the home or get the money, she handed over the $80. The man went his way and Younger held him up, got the $80 and gave the woman half of it.
This article was written by an unnamed Bonham Daily Favorite reporter.
Tuesday December 23, 1913, Bonham Daily Favorite, Page 3
COLE YOUNGER HIMSELF HERE
Gentleman, Soldier, Outlaw, Convict and Citizen Again Was In City.
One of the most unique characters one could hope to meet in a days's travel has been in Bonham. We refer to the man whose name captions this article, who is none other than Cole Younger.
The reporter of the Favorite met this man on the streets Saturday afternoon and had a little talk with him. He is as easy to approach as a man can very well be, and puts on no airs, but talks and acts like a Missouri farmer.
He told the Favorite man that he was in Bonham during the war between the states with some men, 285 in number, and that he reported to General McCulloch, who was in command here. The men he had with him were commonly known as a part of Quantrell's band.
The Favorite man confided in this man who is now old and gray that he had read the live of the James Boys and the Younger Brothers, but did not tell Cole Younger that he carefully concealed those books from the eyes of his parents. Nevertheless they were not scattered about so the parents could find out just what was being read.
As we looked upon this man what a flood of happenings came trooping by! The war; its horrors; death and devastation on all hands; fields laid waste; cattle gone and the country ruined. then after this worse came - reconstruction. The period of time which tried men's souls more than the four years' death struggle preceding it. That awful adjustment of affairs with untried citizenry suddenly turned loose on it with the ballot in their hands, with no more conception of its sanctity of what it really stood for than a Hottentot in darkest Africa.
In these days of reconstruction was when the Youngers and James boys held their sway and fared forth to pray upon those who were possessed of this world's goods in perhaps a little more free handed manner than did Bold Robin Hood of Lincolnshire.
It is not the purpose of this article to condemn or condone Cole Younger in what he did then. He will have champions enough, and he will have traducers in plenty as long as he lives, and each will see to it that he is either praised enough or abused sufficiently. That is for them to fight over; to fly at each others throats as ravening wolves.
But since the state of Minnesota has seen fit to temper its justice with mercy, and has turned this old man out of its state's prison on parole, surely one of the Southland, where Younger was born and bred, can spread the mantle of charity over the past and give the old man the glad hand and fervently wish that his last days may be his best days.
When the late Major B. F. Hays died this man Cole Younger was in McKinney. He had known Major Hays in Missouri, and he came here to attend the burial of his friend of the long ago. He referred to that incident Saturday, and stated that he knew Major Hays sixty years ago, in Missouri.
Cole Younger, Confederate soldier and outlaw who robbed banks with the James gang, was a visitor at times to Fannin County.
He was sentenced to prison for his role in a bank robbery in 1876, but paroled in 1901. After that time he toured on a lecture circuit.
In 1907 he was in Bonham for the funeral of Major B. F. Hays and he also presented the Cole Younger & Nichols Theater Amusements Co. in Bonham, Honey Grove and Ladonia. There were several articles in the Honey Grove Signal of 1907 about his visit, and they are provided below.
In 1913 he lectured in Bonham at the Steger Opera House. The advertisements for his lecture appeared in the Bonham Daily Favorite. An unnamed Bonham Daily Favorite reporter wrote an article about his encounter with Cole Younger, and it is transcribed below.
Folks in Fannin County were fascinated with Cole Younger at the time, and many still are.
Thanks to Debby Crofford for this photo which includes Cole Younger, middle row, far right, in front of the Richards Hotel in Ladonia. The photo is not dated, and may be from 1907 or 1913.
Most of the other men are Civil War veterans. We believe the other names are: Top row - L-R ; C. S. Charleville, unknown, Miss Mae Richards, and Mrs Carl Day.
Middle row ; Joseph Conn (J.C.) Wise, H.H. Isom, Bascom Cain and Cole Younger
Bottom seated; unknown, Tom Reed, and Edmund Wood Cummens.
Honey Grove Signal, May 10, 1907
The Cole Younger and Nichols Carnival Co. pulled up stakes Saturday night and are now entertaining the people of Ladonia and surrounding country. In spite of much inclement weather the company did a fine business in Honey Grove and the managers expressed a desire to return in the near future, probably next fall. The shows given are probably as good as those of any similar company, and we heard no complaint against the manner in which the carnival was conducted. The fire company received $85 from the exhibitions and the Twentieth Century Club about $40.