While researching this week’s article on pre Civl War Arkansas on something interesting that occurred one hundred and fifty years ago, the Arkansas Toothpick editor stumbled across a most interesting note, a joke perhaps.

The reader must consider the purpose of newspapers in 1860: news, education, politics, and most appreciated new media for entertainment. While the same paper that prints a poem one week may print something as unusual as this artcile on the ugly man from Ohio.

As reported in June of 1860 in a Fayetteville, Arkansas newspaper, an article noted the existance of a rather unsightly man from where else… the North, and what better way to “uglify” an individual of the North than to name the character Brown (as in John Brown, was was not quite cold in his grave at the time this article was written):

[FAYETTEVILLE, ARK.] THE ARKANSIAN, June 16, 1860, p. 1, c. 5
Ugly Men.—In the eastern part of Ohio there resides a man named Brown, now a justice of the peace, and a very sensible man, but by common consent the ugliest individual in the west, being long, gaunt, sallow, and awry, with a gait like a kangaroo. One day he was hunting and on one of the mountain roads he met a man on foot alone, longer and gaunter, by all odds than himself. He could give the Squire fifty and beat him. Without saying a word, Brown raised his gun, and deliberately leveled at the stranger. “For God’s sake, don’t shoot!” shouted the man in alarm. “Stranger,” replied Brown, “I swore ten years ago that if ever I met a man uglier than I was, I’d shoot him, and you are the first one I’ve seen.” The stranger after taking a careful survey of his rival, replied: “Well, Captain, if I look any worse than you do, shoot. I don’t want to live any longer!”