Monday, April 20, 2009

The Goat Lady

-!The%20Goat%20Woman%20of%20Smackover%20--imageTrips from Camden to El Dorado, Arkansas, in the ’50’s and ’60’s sometimes rewarded us with a glimpse of the strange woman we  called The Goat Lady.

To a child, she was a scary woman with her wild unkempt hair, and I often wondered what kind of person would live among a bunch of goats in a shack along Arkansas Highway 7.  I remember hearing stories that she had been a famous concert musician, who ran away and became a recluse.

Although not entirely accurate, it turns out that story has an element of truth.  Rhena Salome Miller Meyer performed in the Barnum and Bailey Circus, playing seven instruments as a one-woman band.

When the circus folded after a performance in Camden at the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929, she and her husband Charles Meyer drove their 1915 Model-T circus show truck to nearby Smackover.  There they settled, living in the truck, and she began to raise pet goats, which she thought of as her children.

6847929_120008152761 One article that I read said that she liked to perform for the local children from the back of the circus truck, and even included her goats in the act.  The circus truck has been restored and is now on display at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover.

10 comments:

xinex said...

Interesting, Kathy! To answer your question about the purses, I had them organized in our walk in closet, which has shelves. Thanks for stopping by....Christine

Domestic Designer said...

That is so interesting. When I was growing up our town had the goat man. He had a buggy pulled by 2 goats and was seen quite often on Main St. :-)

momma said...

it's interesting how a little bit of fact gets mixed up with a little bit of fiction.

Malvie said...

Sadly, we call Mother's roommate the Goat Lady because that's exactly what she sounds like: "Ohhhhhh, ssssoooommmmebbooodddyy heeeellllp meee" (sounding like, "Baaaaaa"). She's really an interesting person and has had a fascinating life, but when she gets wound up---Goat Lady.

My great-uncle had a farm (when I knew him) and he always had goats. One arrived on Christmas Day, 1961 (I was 4), and he let me name the kid; I named him "Jingle Bells". Jingle Bells lived to a ripe old age; I think he was 20 or so when he finally succumbed (Uncle Sam had married a younger woman, and she still had Jingle Bells long after Sam passed away).

Keetha said...

That red icon looks like a children's book cover, is it????

Fascinating story.

My aunt and Uncle (who have both "run off to Heaven" now) "ran away with the circus" when they were in their 70's. Seriously. Uncle George played the trumpet in the Circus band and Aunt Barbara taught the children and took tickets. They became counselors and comforters to the circus family and loved their life as part of the Big Top.

Martha said...

Kathy --

I used Pacifica organic boxed chicken stock.

Candy said...

What a great story. I am so glad this cool-looking trailer/truck was saved. Would make a darling potting shed.
Have a great Tuesday, Candy

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

VERy interesting!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Kathy, that is so interesting. I love that truck, and I agree with Candy - I'd like to have it in my back yard. I bet she would be surprised to know that the circus truck is now in a museum. laurie

nitarmc said...

I remember the Goat Lady AND Dr. Bledsoe.