Today we travel back to 1914 when a local circus set up to perform in Gill’s Woods, today known as Heise Park. Here is the play-by-play of what took place according to the Shelby Daily Globe.

It should be mentioned that the coverage may well have been somewhat exaggerated, given the story being told by out-of-town media. That shared, how many times have you heard of a circus being attacked by local militia members with bayonets?


Riot Narrowly Averted At Galion Saturday Morning When Factions Clash

Shelby Daily Globe — May 12, 1914

Galion was the scene of much excitement early Saturday morning when members of Company L, Ohio National Guard, tried to defend a field which they had leased for the week against the Robinson Circus which was billed to show there Saturday morning.

Galion had a street carnival all last week under the auspices of the military company. The trouble arose after B.B. Gill as agent for the property leased as circus grounds, had on April 10, rented the property for Saturday to the Robinson Circus, while he had on April 13, three days after the contract with the Robinsons had been made, given the military company an option on the ground for a week, with the exception of Saturday, for their carnival.

It appears that the military company and the carnival people combined to attempt to keep the circus from showing, hoping to thereby reap a bigger profit for the carnival and incidentally the company.

Saturday morning after the show had unloaded, and proceeded to the grounds, employees were met by about 15 members of Company L, under Sergeant H.H. Linneger. They refused admission to the grounds. Several of the employees of the circus attempted to push into the grounds and were met with a bayonet attack. Several cuts and bruises were received by the men. Finally, the crowd became so thick and were hissing the members of the militia and all in one body crowded onto the field, pushing the solider boys before them. After almost three hours of parley and scrapping the tents of the show were pitched and the parade was given in regular form.

A warrant has been sworn out for the arrest of Linneger on a charge of disorderly conduct.

Image by Claudio Kirner from Pixabay