Green’s Dictionary of Slang

butcher n.2

also butch
[ety. unknown; ? butcher as generic for a salesman]

(US, also butcher boy) a seller of sweets, fruit, soft drinks etc, working typically in a cinema or a railway train, thus defined by n. indicating a specific commodity, e.g. candy, news.

[US]C.L. Martin A Sketch of Sam Bass (1956) 58: The ‘butcher boy’ on the train also participated in the fight. [...] It is believed that the ‘butcher’ shot both Frank Jackson and Sam Pipes.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1893) 66: Pa said I was mistaken, cause they never prayed in circus, ’cept the lemonade butchers.
[US] ‘Sl. of the Circus Man’ in Boston Daily Globe 17 Dec. 35: The men who sell peanuts, red lemonade, palm leaf fans, animal and song books and concert tickets are known under the general term of ‘butchers.’.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Three Kings and a Pair’ in Gullible’s Travels 38: Her escort [...] was a guy named Bishop and she’d met him on the trip up. The news butcher introduced them, I guess.
[US]C.H. Darling Jargon Book 6: Butch – A news dealer on railroad trains.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 147: In all thet crowd with a circus, who’s gonna spot three or four safe-crackers wot is woikin’ as razor-backs er ticket-butchers er the like.
[US]W. Winchell Your Broadway & Mine 2 Mar. [synd. col.] The candy and lemonade butcher was busy seving drinks in the foyer.
J. Marshall Santa Fe 110: The butchers sold cheap, dirty books, bad candy and cheap cigars [DA].
[US](con. 1910s) J. Thompson Heed the Thunder (1994) 145: The news butch was in on the green-goods racket. He was a peddler of brass watches and glass diamonds. He sold marked cards and crooked dice. And almost always he sold whisky.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US](con. 1890s) H.F. in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) II 659: News-butchers on the trains used to carry these [obscene] poems.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]C. Clausen I Love You Honey, But the Season’s Over 114: That’s a good mark-up, even after you hire a few candy butchers to sell it in the seats.
J. Roe Same Old Grind 59: ‘When me and the old lady was playing the Rialto, Otto was the candy butcher [...] selling chocolates’.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 102: We’re talking about me selling blow jobs on the street like a candy butcher.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 64: What we called a butcher, someone who sells novelties, Coca Cola, ice cream or candy floss.
[US]W. Keyser ‘Carny Lingo’ in 🌐 Butcher — Strolling refreshment merchant, peddler of lemonade, candy, pretzels, and other edibles.