Source: NMHS Newsletter, May 1995

James Whitcomb Riley Anecdote

Mrs. M. R. Gardner was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. R. F. Blount. When she was a girl she had an interesting experience with James Whitcomb Riley. At that time Mr. Riley was merely known as "Jim Riley," a tramp painter. He became well acquainted with Mrs. Gardner's brother, and together these two did much sign painting over the country. Mrs. Gardner, who was then a little girl, was very fond of Jim Riley. She wanted to go in the buckboard with Jim and her brother, and one day they let her do so. As she sat down on the seat, her long braids of hair fell over the back of the seat, and the ends fell in Jim Riley's paint bucket. So when the trip was over, her mother had to spend some time removing the effect of Riley's paint.