Jackson Street south of Gates Street, Palmyra NY | 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
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"
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
4, 1886 cartoon.
Reynolds is depicted at
center. The figures at left and
right represent hostile Methodist
(left) and Catholic clerics.