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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sun., Aug. 25, 2013, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

A star Washington State College football lineman named “Jumbo” Hunter was accused of stealing a trick pony from the Jones Brothers Circus in Pullman, and then he proved his innocence by displaying his famous “jumbo” feet.

Hunter said he came across the little pony browsing peacefully on College Hill, near his fraternity house. He said he did not know from whence the pony had come, so he tied it up in a nearby barn and gave it some feed.

At about the same time, the circus people noticed its star pony was missing and called the town marshal. They began a search.

Finally, at dawn they followed the pony’s tracks to the barn, where they found the pony contentedly having its breakfast.

The circus people were upset, however, and accused Hunter of stealing the $500 pony. They wanted him charged with grand larceny. So the marshal took him to City Hall.

When the prosecutor arrived and asked the circus men what evidence they had against Hunter, they said they found footprint tracks indicating that Hunter had walked off with the pony from the circus tents.

“Thereupon Hunter’s famous smile became visible and he protruded his pedal extremities and stated that he was willing and ready to proceed to the scene of the flight and place his No. 12 shoes, for which he had become famous, in the tracks.”

The circus men took one look at his shoes and immediately agreed to drop the charges.

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