The Peanut Guy of White Cloud, Michigan: Early 1900s
Before I get to the Peanut Guy, here's a briefing on the town of White Cloud.
White Cloud sits in two Newaygo County townships: Everett and Wilcox.
It began life in 1871 when it was founded as a logging camp by Lester Morgan. In fact, in 1873, the town was referred to as Morgan Station when it was given a post office and the railroad gave it a depot. At times it was also called Morgantown and Morganville. The town was co-founded by Sextus Wilcox, of whom the township was named after.
In 1877, the name “White Cloud” was finalized and it became incorporated in 1879. The town did very well, thanks to being a junction where two Pere Marquette railroad lines met.
As with most Michigan logging communities, White Cloud's lumber trade eventually diminished. Many of the great old downtown structures you'll see in the photo gallery below are gone, except for a few scattered here and there.
In the early 1900s, one of White Cloud's most memorable residents was (who I call) the Peanut Guy, who rode around town in a cart pulled by his pet goats.
He was disabled and couldn't work, and this is the idea he came up with to make a living. As to the cause of his disability, there are two theories:
1) He became crippled when a train smacked into him, leaving him disabled for life.
2) He was shot in the back while attempting to steal a neighbor's chickens, leaving him paralyzed.
Whatever the reason, it's lost to time and people will believe what they want. Either way, this unnamed man found a way to make money: selling popcorn, candy, nuts, cigars, trinkets, and other miscellaneous items from his cart pulled by one goat, sometimes two goats. He would show up at town events, greet passengers at the depot, and sell his wares downtown.
Take a look at the gallery below for pictures of the Peanut Guy along with some old photos of White Cloud!
WHITE CLOUD AND THE PEANUT GUY