Rope Walker was a peg-legged Jewish tightrope walker who died in 1884, when he fell from a rope stretched across one of the town’s main streets. He had an iron stove strapped to his back.
According to local stories, he asked for a rabbi as he was dying, but he did not reveal his name. And so he was buried as “Rope Walker” in the Hebrew Cemetery of Corsicana, a small town 55 miles south of Dallas. (When Philippe Petit was arrested for tightrope walking between New York’s Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, the police didn’t know what to charge him with, so they wrote “Man on Wire,” a phrase that became the name of James Marsh’s 2008 documentary.)
Rope Walker is something of a Corsicana legend. His original arch-topped tombstone has been set flat into cement, and a new marker has been added with his death date. Babbette Samuels, the 85-year-old secretary treasurer of the cemetery board, is responsible for the replacement headstone and preservation work.In 2016, a possible identity of the Rope Walker was revealed as “Professor Berg,” also known as “Professor Daniel De Houne.”