The 1890s

No benefit performance, no matter how successful, could have staved off the looming bankruptcy that Cotton eventually declared. He had union problems because he could not afford the dues. Even the relatively successful stock company he and Idalene were part of at the Alcazar theatre was not going to pay the rent. His relationship with his daughters, Dora and Euretta, (both living in California) must have been strained. There is no record of their relationship. And then, unexpectedly, the success of Joseph Grismer's play, The New South offers Cotton a niche in the big business of American theatrical productions. It was a niche he had inhabited for many years - the aged darkey.