Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sepia Saturday = Nate Salsbury

I happened upon this vintage photo while browsing in Google Images. How funny! You just can't help but smile back, right? At first I thought it was going to be a nameless, humorous face but there is the name of Nate Salsbury there and Salsbury's Troubadour, so I thought I'd do a little investigating! The New York Times Obituary from December 24, 1902 says it better than I ever could...


. DEATH OF NATE SALSBURY ... Principal "Wild West" Owner Passes Away at Long Branch..... His Varied Career as Boy Soldier, Comedian, and Manager of Amusement Enterprises.... Special to the New York Times.... LONG BRANCH, N.J., Dec. 24. --


Nate Salsbury, principal owner of Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" Show, died at his home in Liberty Street, this place, to-night from stomach trouble, from which he had long suffered. He had long been prominently identified with this town, and two years ago spent $200,000 in erecting upon the sandy waste near North Long Branch, the group of handsome cottages known as the Reservation. He was President of the Long Branch Property Holders Association.


. Mr. Salsbury had been failing gradually for a long time, but was confined to his house only a single week, prior to that time being up and attending to business. The "Wild West" is announced to open an engagement in London on Friday, and Col. Cody (Buffalo Bill) is at present in the British metropolis.


. Mr. Salsbury was born at Rockport, IL, fifty seven years ago, and was therefore, about sixteen years old at the outbreak of the Civil War. He offered his services to Col. Turner of the Fifteenth Illinois, however, and was accepted. He always said that so far as he knew, he was the youngest soldier in the field from the western sections of the country. His personality soon made him known outside of the regiment, and his songs and dancing, which afterward brought him a fortune, relieved the weariness and tedium of a many long march or irksome camp. He soon was wounded and was mustered out of the service, but he re-enlisted as soon as he was able to, and fought throughout the war, being in several other regiments. Among these commands was the famous Eighty-Ninth Regiment of Illinois, which was known as the "Railroad Regiment" of the West. He was at Chickamauga and many other hot-fought battles, and went through the Texas Campaign with the Fifty ninth Regiment. His Colonel heard him singing one day and is said to have remarked to another officer, "If I had a regiment of 1000 men like Salsbury, I could lick 3000 rebels."


. The war over, Salsbury left the army with $20,000 which he had accumulated from his brother soldiers because of his ability to play draw poker. He settled in Illinois where he led a rather expensive life. He started a course in a business college, studying finance and banking, but that came to a sudden end when he found his money all spent at the end of eighteen months. He had never been on the stage, but he applied to the manager at Grand Rapids, Michigan for a place in his company, and was hired at $12 a week, his employer telling him that he would be lucky if he ever collected that. He made his debut as Colorgog in a play called "Pocahontus", that required him to be on the stage eight minutes, and the play ran for only one night.
. Salsbury had however, his first taste of theatrical life and kept at it, becoming a member of itinerant companies. He endured much hardship at that time, but finally obtained an engagement as a comedian at the Boston Museum, where he remained for four years. Other member at that time being James O'Neill, William H. Crane, Nellie McHenry, and William J. Florence, all of whom were subsequently to become stars. He saved his money and proposed to John Webster that they start a stock company of their own. Webster had little or no capital but Salsbury carried his interest in the enterprise, which was a success from the start. It was known as the Salsbury Troubadours and it traveled all of Europe as well as the United States.


. Mr. Salsbury was still at the head of the Troubadours when he met Col. Cody and the "Wild West" show project was launched. Mr. Salsbury's son began to invest in other attractions, which turned out for the most part to be entirely successful. .


Sounds like Mr. Salsbury had a very interesting life.
He was married, had 4 children and
certainly knew the value of humor. :)


To see more sepia saturday, click HERE!


  1. Wow I'm first, I think that's a first
    I might have to give a cheer and a burst
    Or just stick my tongue out at Brian
    I'm sure he is sighing.

    Anyway yes had to laugh at the look
    And that was as long as a book
    He really had an interesting life for sure
    One that sure wouldn't bore
    Although doesn't sound like it was easy at all
    But through it he stood tall
    And that is all one can do
    Plus have some fun which I know you
    Can do just fine with a rhyme
    Every single time

  2. Yes, a hard life for a bit
    But he made the best of it
    and laughed and made money, too
    Now that's a fun job...better than me and you!
    had to use the photo
    because he was so jovial!

    Sorry you had to read this
    while blogger was messing with it
    I got the paragraphs divided now
    So people won't go crosseyed and think they see a cow.

  3. Yes, how about you being first!
    Everyone else is worst!
    It is a first for you
    As Fox always tries and Brian's had a few.

  4. That is so cool that you researched him...and I thought that it was so different to see a picture like this..they usually didn't smile! What a guy! ;D

  5. Oh so you just made it hard for me to read
    And you just had to drop that seed
    They people would go cross eyed
    Making my eyes go wide
    Are you trying to blind this cat
    Or maybe poor old Pat
    How rude
    And crude..lol

  6. So sorry Pat
    Sometimes blogger plays terrible tricks
    and you are unaware until 'post' you click
    Then the font is all weird
    and the lines all merged.
    I can usually get it right
    if I play with it all night!
    You just beat me to it
    and had to read right through it!

  7. Have to be quick to keep up with me
    As I'm sure you see
    But you come back each time
    With a rhyme
    So you aren't slow
    And are always ready to go
    But yes I looked again and it is now much easier to read
    But I guess I just wanted to get in the lead
    And comment first
    So I read it in one big burst

  8. Hey, and as you were commenting here
    I was on Face It Facts reading there!
    And wouldn't you know, it says to make your blog presentable!
    Long run-on sentences would not be presentable!
    So you see I was right on top of things
    Dividing up my paragraphs so your eyes wouldn't sting!

  9. Julie ~ you are right! The photos back then are so somber you can't even tell their personalities! He was certainly a clown through and through. I wonder if his kids were funny, too!

  10. Gee, you're so used to rhyming with Pat, your last two sentences to Julie rhyme also!

    That was a very entertaining post. The photo certainly is atypical for the time. What a character he must have been!

  11. Silver ~ I saw that I rhymed on Julie's comment! See what Pat's doing to me? I'm turning into him....how can that be?

    oops...see? help me!

  12. Over at the Facts are you
    And you read too
    How nice you are
    Any new facticle topics you'd like to see added the the bar?

    hahaha turning into me
    You better flee
    As that isn't a good thing
    Of course Silver Fox is noticing
    But rhyming is such fun
    Maybe that's why you are doing it to everyone

  13. That was very interesting. Yes I kept looking at it and laughing out loud. Great post.

  14. I'm staying away from the rhyme
    because I simply don't have time
    His picture was really frightening, but the text was so enlightening
    I think I'd really like that man

  15. the cat ran away with the tongue some eh, thats ok...what a face, only a mother could love but a story better than some, if not most, we'll give him a good roast, see i can rhyme too even away from the cat's loo, er i mean blog, but i wont hog the time, that would be a crime see you soon, toodle oo...

  16. Christine H ~ rhyming is not required
    But Pat started it and now we're mired
    In the rhymes that will not stop
    it's enough to make our brains pop!

  17. Since I study 'dead' people, I am so pleased that you found a labeled photo and could find his obit. That is really a wonderful find!

  18. Betsy, I thought of you when I saw this painting this week over at Paint Party Friday. You have to see it...i am going to add the link below.
    so you can visit her site.
    it's for autism awareness. I immediately thought of you my friend - xo

  19. This is just not an expression that you see in older photographs. Love it!

  20. Heather...thanks...what a great painting and wonderful cause! I signed up as a follower, too! Thanks for thinking of me!~

  21. Are those is real teeth do you suppose??

  22. Corners...I'm thinking not! haha.

  23. (looks at all the rhyming)

    Did I do that?
    Aren't I just the clever cat!

  24. Cat, why yes you did and while you're all cheery
    I bet your smile looks just like Nate Salsbury!
    You're so proud of yourself
    like a little elf
    Turning us all into rhyming fiends
    we even rhyme in our dreams!

  25. I've never rhymed in my interesting dreams,
    But they've still been creative as heck, so it seems.

  26. I was thinking the same thing - not his teeth!

  27. Though I have time,
    My thoughts don't rhyme.

  28. What strange looking man,
    but a very interesting post.
    I wonder what he would look like
    if he came back as a ghost!

  29. I agree with you on the image, it appears so whimsical.;) Reflects so well the way he lived his life.;))
    Have a lovely weekend,

  30. That's the noisiest photo I've ever seen! LOL

  31. I don't think I can smile that big
    Maybe if I used a twig
    To prop open my mouth a bit
    Although that could look scary and cause a fit
    But look more people rhymed too
    Don't you just like all the fun I bring to you..haha

  32. Yes, Pat ~ as if this post wouldn't be funny enough
    You certainly added the finishing touch!

  33. You sure got some info about this guy. Old photos can be so interesting. :-)

  34. This man certainly knew how to squeeze every inch of wonder out of life...first his photo very interesting as to how most people were captured on film....and it does go to reason with the style of his life, and such a lot of neat info you uncovered about him! I'm sure he's still smiling from above! Thanks!

  35. When I first saw the image I was working on titles for it such as "Picture of Man reading a Silver Fox Blog Post". But the true story seems almost more fascinating that I could invent (or even, perhaps Mr Lynch himself).

  36. In all the old photos everyone looks so serious...I'm glad this photographer had a sense of humor too!

  37. See I finish what I start
    Errmm umm the post you took to heart
    My ten cents just gave it the finishing touch
    Oh I'm just to much
    Maybe that made him more glad
    And I'm just a tad bad

  38. @Alan: I'm flattered that you think one of my posts could have provoked Mr. Salsbury's reaction as pictured, but he died in 1902. How long do you think I've been blogging?!?

  39. Very unusual to see an old photo like this. Normally they sit very much not smiling.. hee hee..
    Have a great weekend! :)

  40. I was thinking the same thing...we don't usually see smiles in these old pictures.

    What a great article. It was such a great read.

    Thanks for all your research.

  41. I want to read a whole book
    About this guy with the goofy look
    Ladies of the grove

  42. Nancy ~ a whole book would be so much fun
    He should have kept a journal while on the run
    Through orphanages and the war
    The stories he had would amaze for sure!

  43. Oh, there IS a lot of material out there about Nate! Try a Google search under both "Nate" Salsbury and "Nathan" (his proper name). Image searches under both names will bring up more typical "serious" period shots, too... some with a full beard!

  44. Silver ~ I saw a lot of that when preparing this post. Quite famous, wasn't he?

  45. Yup, but probably over-shadowed by the even-more-famous Mr. Cody!

  46. What a laugh was my first reaction on seeing the photo. Interesting to read about Nate and is involvement with the Wild West show.

  47. He looks like a scream - no wonder he got on well with his shows, he was no doubt an entertainer :-) Jo

  48. What a marvelous, funny smile! Terrific post, Betsy.

  49. Wow, Betsy, this is great! He does look like he is having fun in this photo. I really enjoyed reading your post and about his life.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to say hello.

    Happy SS!

    Kathy M.

  50. You hit on a Gold Mine,
    With the picture and all the rhyme.

  51. It looks like I did start something
    So is that why you asked about emailing
    You want to chew the cat out
    For causing all this rhyming out and about..haha

  52. I did email twice!
    I think they are going to your spam.
    But I think I found my answers in
    the FAQ's!

  53. Hmmm you did, that is weird, as I don't have any spam on to block things, everything comes through, I just emailed myself from another and it worked, plus answered a few today from others..hmmm

  54. Truly a character as it seems he would be from his picture. So interesting!

  55. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have met this man. Thank you for the introduction!

  56. Great picture. It looks like he is holding this pose (slow camera), it doesn't look like a spontaneous laugh

  57. quite the entertaining story!! what a guy!!


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