The Kansas Farmer Jack Thynne made Brussels Laugh
By Shelby Crawford - Reprinted from The Citizen's homecoming edition, July 27, 2007.
Born in 1897 and self taught on the fiddle, Jack Thynne, "The Kansas Farmer" made his career travelling, entertaining crowds, and uplifting people with his music and humorous monologues.
Married in 1920, he continued travelling and performing his act until settling back in his hometown in the late 1960s. In his later years, his shows became fewer and fewer, but his artistic flare for stories continued through his weekly columns in The Brussels Post. His final performance in 1974 drew together such an assembly of people some had to be turned away.
From weddings, carnivals, fairs, and town celebrations, the Kansas Farmer, part of the Gentlemen’s Club and all-around entertainer, is considered a novelty in his home-town and known for his audacious actions and risky writing. Keeping tabs on every euchre event and those who attended as well as any other town happenings, his weekly news articles were jam-packed with titillating tales of his Gentlemen’s Club meetings and town news.
Spending much time away from his small town travelling to other communities to entertain, the Kansas Farmer became a well-known name in many parts.
Signing each article “truthfully yours T.K.F.”, The Kansas Farmer, this collection of enjoyable articles written by Jack Thynne of Brussels, Ontario is a fascinating read. Dating back around the 1970s Jack Thynne, wrote facts and spun fun fictitious stories of his own comedic commentary about the town of Brussels.
Thynne paints the town of Brussels the way he saw it – honestly, but with a sense of camaraderie among its community through good and bad. Not shy about using the names of people in his town, Thynne describes what is happening with the community from card games and town events to people’s adultery and alcoholism.
He points out certain individuals political standpoints, and does not forget to add in his own, particularly if it is of an opposing opinion. Thynne delights in comparing the older ways of life to the modern approaches, mainly his view of the lifestyle difference between the hardworking country family and the undemanding city life of fast-moving technology and instant gratification.
Although his exaggerated stories of cucumber vines growing so fast they wrapped around his legs and dragged him to his neighbour’s lawn are stimulating to read, it is his stories about the people in the town and how the community interacts with each other through different happenings that make the articles of particular interest.