The Kennedy Peddler

The Unexpected Disappearance of the Peddler

It is well known that in the days of the blooming rural communities there was not much of a source from where the settlers could purchase necessities. The basics were available maybe miles away and would take the day to travel into town to just shop. At this time the peddler became more prevalent. A traveler, sometimes by foot, at others by cart he supplied the settlers with a means to purchase their tin wares or other certain sundries. These peddlers were usually local but at times men would come through town from all parts selling their wares. These peddlers would rely on the kindness of the townsfolk to put them up at times and would repay them with some of their items. These out of towners were also looked at as wealthy since they carried some cash upon them from their sales and were at times looked at suspiciously.

This story taken from Chautauqua County: A History by Helen McMahon retells the unfortunate story of a “Yankee” Peddler whom taking advantage of the good graces of the townsfolk stopped in at McGlasson’s Tavern in Kennedy to pass the night. Stories of disappearing peddlers circulated from town to town knowing that people of enterprise could often dispose of the peddler and obtain his money without anyone being the wiser. This story has some proof that possibly the peddler never left town that night. For when the old cemetery was moved the first grave dug up was that of a one legged man. The peddler who had stooped into McGlasson’s that night on his way through town was seen to have only one leg. Even more evidence turned up in a field nearby where the peddler’s pack was said to be found. Now the peddler is a mere memory but the vanishing peddler of Kennedy and the mysterious one legged corpse buried in the cemetery can live on as a true mystery of Chautauqua County.