Black squirrels

Scott Rothe, Emporia, is a descendant of the McMahon family who once ran a carnival based in Marysville. According to the family’s history, some black squirrels escaped from the carnival at a community event in 1902. This is the first documented story of black squirrels here and possibly is how they became established here. Photo by Sarah Kessinger


Searching for the origins of folklore that turned a small, very black rodent into a Marysville icon brought us last week to meet Scott Rothe of Emporia, a descendant of the family that operated the McMahon Carnival out of Marysville in a three-state area from 1896 to 1946.

Scott recently became the owner of a scrapbook that gives us the specific date and place of the event that has previously been referred to as a legend. He will bring the scrapbook to town when he is part of the Black Squirrel Origins program at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the City Building.