or Morretti, was, at the opening of the story, an orphan, living with Mr. and Mrs. Amos Blackford in the town of Bedford. Deacon Blackford had taken care of Joe since the boy was about five years old, and was, in a sense, his foster-father.
Joe inherited from his mother an ability to ride almost any kind of horse, and he had nerves that made him unafraid to do circus tricks at great heights. As a boy he had climbed the village church steeple, to the delight of his companions and the horror of his foster-parents.
One day "Professor Rosello" gave an exhibition of magic in Bedford, and new events in Joe's life dated from then. The young man saved the professor's life, and then, because of threatened punishment on the part of Deacon Blackford, Joe ran away from home, eventually joining Professor Rosello, who made him an assistant.
Joe Strong was then started on his career to become a magician, and he "made good," as they say in theatrical circles. He invented some startling tricks and was a g