Little Dixie’s Circus Cemetery

Monument at Mount Olivet Cemetery erected in 1960: “A Tribute to All Showmen Under God’s Big Top.”

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Little Dixie’s Circus Cemetery

by Tanya Finchum, JulianaNykolaiszyn
Southern Cultures, Vol. 21, No. 2: Summer 2015

"'Now, my momma's pumps are buried with her, that and her whip is buried with her . . . She asked if we would put that in with her. Now, there was one problem. I couldn't find—well, her whip is buried with her. Her pumps are not.'"

Often referred to as Little Dixie, the southeastern corner of Oklahoma is home to more than just customs stemming from Native American influences in the 1800s and southerners who later migrated to the area in the 1900s. Outside of similarities in agriculture, architecture, demographics, and politics resembling the American South, in one town you can add another unique feature to the list: the circus. Hugo, Oklahoma, the county seat of Choctaw County, has served as the winter home for traditional tent shows since the 1940s.