History

What Do You Call a Peg-Legged Tightrope Artist? Rope Walker

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After falling from a rope which was stretched over a street in Corsicana, a peg-legged Jewish tightrope walker didn’t divulge his name while he was dying. No, this isn’t a joke. In reality, according to local folklore, he was buried in the town’s Hebrew Cemetery under the name Rope Walker.

He passed away in 1884. His legend goes even further, saying that there was an iron stove strapped on his back as he attempted to traverse one of the main streets of Corsicana across a rope. After falling, Rope Walker had asked for a rabbi’s assistance while he was dying. When he didn’t reveal his name, the residents of the small Texas town south of Dallas simply buried him with the famed moniker.

What Do You Call a Peg-Legged Tightrope Artist? Rope Walker

Photo: Instagram/jiri.bouma

As far as Lone Star State legends go, Rope Walker has put Corsicana on the map. His grave has been maintained and the original tombstone, with an arch-top, has been placed flat into cement, while a new grave marker has been added to the plot, denoting his date of death. The potential identity of Rope Walker was revealed in 2016 as being a “Professor Berg,” or “Professor Daniel De Houne,” however, locals continue to refer to him as Rope Walker. The cemetery board’s secretary-treasurer is responsible for the continued preservation work as well as the replacement grave marker.

What Do You Call a Peg-Legged Tightrope Artist? Rope Walker

Photo: Facebook/I Love Texas

This and so many more interesting and mysterious gravesites abound in Texas. For example, there’s a grave in the middle of a Texas road. Then there’s the grave monument that some folks claim depicts Jesus in cowboy boots.  We know about many of the strangest graves; others remain hidden over years, until one day we may come across them in our growth and expansion. Visitors still stop by the grave of Rope Walker. Corsicana is congenial about it, and the cemetery has garnered a bit of notoriety in the process.