Odd Characters in Houston No. 4

From the Houston Daily Post, August 10, 1900, this tells the strange story of Leonor Borehardt’s nickname “Oofty Goofty.”


(see also Odd Characters in Houston No. 1 – Sam Stuart, No. 2 – “Father Time” Watts, and No. 3 – Lorenzo Dow)


Odd Characters in Houston No. 4 – Oofty Goofty:

Among Houston’s odd characters “Oofty Goofty,” the “diamond” merchant, holds a position that is peculiarly his own. To Houston people his face is almost as familiar as that of the lady which graces one side of the American dollar, but perhaps few know anything of his past, or how he came by the appellation that serves him as a name.


“I was at work on Market street [in San Francisco] when two men approached me and started a conversation, which resulted in their opening a museum in which I was the whole show. Until nearly all of the arrangements were made, I did not know that I was expected to play ‘the wild man,’ but it was then too late to back out. The proprietors of the museum stripped me from head to foot, covered me with a coat of glue and then provided me with a luxuriant crop of hair all over my body. I was then handcuffed and chained and put in a cage. A “speller” was put on the outside of the tent to announce the attraction and the price of admission, while on the inside I was made to eat raw meat and say ‘oof, goof,’ from which I got the name that has stayed with me ever since.


Among the other statements made by the ‘speller’ was the one that I spoke twenty-one language and understood none of them. The ladies fed me candy and peanuts. Two Irishmen came in one day and poked me in the ribs until I had to make a few remarks in English. The men who were exhibiting me then skipped out, taking with them several hundred dollars, the proceeds of the show. They left me in the cage and it cost the city about $200 to transform me into an ordinary citizen. The glue stopped the pores of my skin and I came near dying. From that time until this day I have been known as ‘Oofty Goofty.'”



Odd Characters in Houston No. 4 - Oofty Goofty