About Professor Gus Rich


Born in Salem, North Carolina on July 16, 1833, William Augustus Reich was known far and wide as “Professor Gus Rich, the Wizard of the Blue Ridge.”


A third generation tinsmith, Gus was by turns an inventor (holding a patent on an improved butter and egg churn), newspaper correspondent, entrepreneur, musician and Civil War soldier. He served at the Battle of Gettysburg as the bass drummer of the 26th Regimental Band, North Carolina Troops, C.S.A.


Of all his accomplishments, he was most proud to be a traveling magician! In the thirty years following the Civil War he traveled throughout the South in a horse drawn wagon rigged especially to hold his apparatus and his tents, appearing in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, as far north as Cincinnati and as far west as Indianapolis.


Calling himself Professor Gus Rich, he presented The Great Southern Sleight of Hand Show which he proudly proclaimed to be “Good, Clean Family Fun... Guaranteed to Amuse the Ear, Deceive the Eye and Astonish the Mind!”


Professor Gus Rich died on July 8, 1917 and rests today in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the beautiful, old Moravian Cemetery called “God’s Acre.”