Home History First, a sermon

First, a sermon

by Michael Polzella
P.T. Barnum

He’s often considered the world’s greatest showman. But when P.T. Barnum spent a November Saturday night in 1836 at Rocky Mount Falls (now Rocky Mount), he mesmerized a crowd not with circus acts but with a sermon.

Barnum accompanied his host to a Baptist church, where several benches were laid out under some trees. He requested to speak after the outdoor service.

Barnum told the nearly 300 people gathered that while he wasn’t a preacher, he had “a deep interest in morality and religion.” The next day Barnum’s circus entertained the locals.

Rocky Mount was the troupe’s first stop.

Ron Smith, S&A Communications

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