AN EDITED EXCERPT FROM A TALK DELIVERED TO :
THE SOUTHWEST HISTORY GROUP OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
OF UNI VERSITY WOMEN
BY: FRANCES KALLIBON(MRS.PERRY)
DATE: October 26 , 1982
TOPIC: OLD JULIUS, THE LAST TOWN CRIER OF THE WESTERN
Ju lius Meyer's daughter , Miss Hannah Meyer, Director
of the Jewish Social Service Federation here, made a friend
of Rabbi Dr. Meyer's sister in New York. The Rabbi was a
scholar, interested in hist ory , and became librarian and
editor of the American Jewish Historical Society 's Quart-erly
In 1954, when I started doing research and writing , he
urged me to do some research on Hannah Meyer's father. He
said,"There will be no prob lem becausetniece"has a trunk
ful l of pictur es , newspaper articles , hand bills, and what
Julius was quite a colorful character. THis old gentl e -
man was born about 50 o r 60 years too soon. He had a natural
flair for advertising. He was a showman.His family, apparently ,
had been strolling players of some kind in Prussia. His
mother and father emigrated to New York from Germany and
he was born there in 1866.
In about 1886, when he was twenty years old, he moved to
Luling,Texas. He had a little grocery s t ore with a fruit
stand in front and in back he had a short order restaurant
and lunch counter . He served beer .
By 1900, he had met and married a Luling girl named Emily
e.tmqr- . . .
Op penh~. And 1n Lul1ng were born to the couple , f1ve
He began to distribute poster signs and hand bi ll s , ad-vertising
not only his own business but other projects as
well.He called his business THE SOUTHWESTERN ADVERTI SING
COMPANY , J . MEYER , PROPRI ETOR, BILLS, POSTER DISTRIBUTORS,
LULING, TEXAS . He did a very thriving business .
M ~ Yrc..y
His granddaughter, Mrs. Sam~, Jr. , has in her poss -
ession a letter from the Lydia E . Pinkham Medicine Company ,
dated April 26, 1909, requesting his services in advertising
the ir product. She has another letter from Mr . J . T . Howard of
Ga l veston , dated June 21, 19ll .. an order for Julius to post
bills a ll around the Luling area for h i m. Howard was a dis-tributor
of advertising materials al l over the United
States and Canada .
In many of these towns , the newspapers just came out once
a week so this method of advertising a product by way of
di stributing hand bil l s from house to house , business offices ,
store t o store , or posting posters on the trees and tele-graph
poles, was a way that merchants and professional
people could adverti se their wares and services .
It was either in late 1911 or ear l y 191 2 , that Julius
moved his whole f amily to San Antonio . They lived in a large
house over on Be l~ n street, between San Pedro and Flores
I was unab l e to discover the exact date that he became
the offi cia l town crier of San Antonio , but by 1912 , he had
become a very familiar figure in down town San Antonio . As
far as I could ascertain , this quaint o ld charac t er was the
last offi cial town crier in the western hemisphere .
Tootsie was hi s favori t e steed and on Tootsie , he rode
up and down Houston and Commerce s treets ca lling out the
news through his megaphone , advertising various events .
Toot sie wasfivery well trained ani mal; she had to be . She had
to be very stable to take the street traffic and the growing
number o f automobiles , honking horns, etc . She had to re-spond
to his secre t s i gna l s because J ulius ' hand we r e f u ll of
megaphone and the many signs he carried.
Now while Tootsi e was very well trained, very patient , I
hear d by the grapevine that she could get very irritated and
if she got very irritated and f ed up wi th too much something
or other , she was known to t ake a nip of hi s arm.
I understand the children l oved Tootsie. It ' s a wonder
they d i dn't make her sick because t hey a l l took app l es ,
carrots a nd s ugar to f eed her .
Wha t ever he was adverti s ing, Julius dressed up for it . For
adver t i s i ng a fa rm show , he d r essed up as a f armer ; advert -
i s ing a dog show , he dressed up as a clown. He advertised
THE SHEI K, and for another picture , he dressed up as a fron t-
~ man with a six-shooter on his hip .
Ju lius was not a man of great worldly means ; a ll he had to
sell was his time and his services . Yet , he gave free l y o f
h i mself for all charitable pur poses . The f amily has p re-served
l etters of gratitude for his serv i ces to the newly
organized Associated Charities(the Community Chest ; now the
United Way)) from the El ks Lodge thanking him for his free
advertisement of their concert in Beethoven Hall for the benefi
t of their milk and ice fund for needy children . They captioned
t heir l etter:"Ju l ius Meyer , rea l friend of starvi ng
A l etter f rom the Legion , Al amo Post no . 2 , t hanking him for
his many ser v i ces rendered. The St . Cecil i a Club vs . t he San
Antoni o Elks i n a baseball game to ben e f it the mi l k and ice
fund , also.
He helped the ladies of the 32nd Division raise money . He
ass isted the Red Cros s i n ser v ing coffe e and sandwiches at
the Market House for t he victims of the 1921 f l ood . And, I
Understand , he went up and down the street f or two or three
days helping them serve hot coffee , sandwiches;and passino out
blankets and clothing to people who had been flooded out of
The radio put Julius Meyer out of b u siness . The radio cou l d
reach thousands of people where Jul i us on any day could only
reach a handful, figurative l y speaking . Al so , the dri vers of
the automobi l es on Houston and Commerce streets complained
that he s l owed tra ff ic .
The mayor ordered him off the street . His l ast appearance
was on December 12 , 1926 . Then , a whole group of men , about ten ,
twe l ve , t hirteen, all went up to City Hall and tried to get
his job as official town crier. But by that time, traffic had
made it i mpossible for a man on a plodding horse not to
slow up traffic . Everybody was complaining.
He was reinstated very briefly in 1928 , due to numerous
petitions and beca use he was so highly praised by the news-
and many articles . An editorial from the Galveston Morning
News says that by taking Ju lius off the streets, San Antonio
was losing what had been one of their ~ain unique institutions
and attractions to tourists.The Conservation Society had not
gotten into full swing but I imagine the good ladies two or
three years later would have t aken up the cudgels to retain
Julius as an institution, also .
The old gentleman suffered his last illness in 1929 and d i ed
i n September,l929 . He was only 62 years old. Scores of San
Antonians from al l walks of life turned out for his funeral
as did all the city and county dignitaries and civic leaders.
There was a poem titled, JULIUS :
America has made him famous
Riding on his pony . Julius
and the pony , up and down
Telling what is new i n town.
You will never know San Antonio
Until you hear his megaphone,
"Baseball at the park today
Buffaloes and Bears will p lay."
America has made him famous
Shouting megaphone and Julius .
In the 1900's, a fter Julius carne to town and before his
death in the 1920 ' s , Julius lead the Battle of Flowers par-ade
on Tootsie . The children always applauded when they saw
him coming because they knew the parade was right behind him.
Questions from audience: Whoeve r advertised paid him . He
threw in different news items, l ike a h e adline in the newspaper
.Joskes and Wolff and Mar~ .. when one of the stores was
having a special, he would announce that;they·would pay him .
He probably went down Houston Street and circled past the
Alamo Plaza and then west on Commerce Stree t .
Every body I talked to thought Julius Meyer was a loveable
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Speech delivered by Frances P. Kallison to the The Southwest History Group of the American Association of University Women, " Old Julius, the Last Town Crier of the Western Hemisphere" : Institute of Texan Cultures Oral History Collection