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Hannibal History: Billy Nickens, a colorful character

When I research history

, I always keep an eye open for "golden nuggets." No, I'm not referring to the California Gold Rush. I'm looking for little tidbits that offer a glimpse into the personality - or character - of an individual or a situation.

I found one of these on Saturday, in the Hannibal Clipper, accessed through the Missouri Secretary of State's website. This is one of my favorite search engines, and access if free!

The June 20, 1875 newspaper of the day described Billy Nickens.

"He can pick the banjo, scrape the fiddle, make box-toe boots, ladies' garters and velvet slippers; or, he can talk love, politics, religion or rheumatics all in one breath."

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