This is a detail from a stereoscopic view of the Taunton Music Hall, Taunton, MA. Leaning against the wall is a large poster announcing the performance of Ben Cotton & Sam Sharpley's Minstrels.
Cotton's California Minstrels performed together for about a year between 1866-67. By the end of 1867 Cotton's band joined forces with Sam Sharpley and his Ironclads in a fatal partnership.
Sam Sharpley employed his brother Tom in a managerial role. The murder of Tom Sharpley, in what is now Madison Square Park in mid-town Manhattan, was a watershed moment in public attitudes toward minstrelsy. Sharpley & Cotton left New York following the shooting but continued to perform together for a year.