Ivy Baldwin, hero of the high wire, passed away in his sleep on Oct. 8, 1953, after 87 action-packed years. Who would have guessed that the little man, who lived so dangerously, would die so peacefully?

A Civil War baby boomer born in San Antonio the year after Appomattox, Willie Ivy waited until he was full-grown — 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds — to leave home. The 12-year-old stayed in town and supported himself like most young runaways by peddling newspapers.

Bartee Haile writes This Week In Texas History which appears every Sunday.

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