Jackson Street south of Gates Street, Palmyra, New York | Unmarked Location
This is inferred to be the location of the "old circus grounds" in Palmyra where freethought lecturer C. B. Reynolds pitched his tent and delivered a freethought oration on June 25, 1886. This was one stop on the tent lecture tour that gave rise to his famous blasphemy prosecution in Boonton, New Jersey, in which he was defended by Robert Green Ingersoll.
The location appears to be just inside the oval racetrack of the current-day Wayne County Fairgrounds. If you have more accurate information as to the location of the old circus grounds, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reynolds's "Liberal Tent" was round and some fifty feet in diameter. This engraving, including Reynolds in the foreground (moustached) reading the freethought paper The Truth Seeker, appeared in that publication's "annual" for 1886.
C. B. Reynolds once described delivering freethought lectures before hostile rural audiences as "casting pearls," recalling the biblical phrase "casting pearls before swine." Truth Seeker house cartoonist Watson Heston interpreted that literally in this hard-hitting September 4, 1886, cartoon. Reynolds is depicted at center. The figures at left and right represent hostile Methodist (left) and Catholic clerics.