Circus Historical Society
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle - A
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A biographical dictionary of the ninteenth century American circus
Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout
ABAR, ALEX. Alex Abar’s Pavilion Show, 1889.
ABAR, WILLIE. Alex Abar’s Pavilion Show, 1889.
ABBEY, JEROME E. AND CORINNE. Jugglers, tumblers. Yankee Robinson’s, 1883; Ringling Bros.’, 1887; F. J. Taylor’s, 1891.
ABBOTT, CHARLES. Old fashioned clown, Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1869. Left the ring to perform on the comic stage and in pantomimes.
ABBOTT, J. N. Frank H. Rich Circus (Frank H. Rich, Col. Charles Whitney, J. N. Abbott, proprietors), 1886.
ABDELL, JAMES. Leaper, John Robinson’s, 1869-73.
ABEE, MONS. Gymnast, with Thompson, Smith & Hawes’, 1866; Whitmore & Co.’s Hippocomique, 1868.
ABEL, PROF. HENRY. Band leader. Orton’s, 1857; Orton & Older, 1858-60; John Wilson’s, Australia, 1866-67; remained behind when Wilson took his troupe to India.
ACKERMAN, ELLA. James R. Cooke’s, winter 1864-65.
ADALINE, MLLE. Circassian woman, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879.
ADAMS, CHARLES H. (1828-May 4, 1891) English clown and Pantaloon, born in Bristol. Married Mary Ann Cooke, the daughter of circus proprietor Thomas E. Cooke; father of clowns James R., and George H. Adams. With Ryan’s, Madame Ducrow’s, Powell’s, Hengler’s, Batty’s and Cooke’s circuses, 1840s, 1850s. Was written that he “draws wonderful music from a penny whistle.” 1865, at Hengler’s, was described as, “the celebrated horseman from the Cirque Napoleon, Paris.” Performed as “the mighty Jehu of the 19th century” and as a French a clog dance on the tight rope, 1866. Newsome’s, 1860s, horseman, trainer, and eccentric clown. Came to America, 1867, and joined L. B. Lent’s; Cooke’s, Tenth and Callowhill Streets, Philadelphia, January, 1868; French’s later that year. In partnership with equestrian manager, A. Henry, around 1868; in own management, 1869. Last season out, with James R. Adams’ “A Crazy Lot” Co. Died at the home of his father-in-law, Patterson, NJ.
ADAMS, CORA. Juggler, J. M. Barry’s Great American, 1894.
ADAMS, FRANK. Managed car #2, John Robinson’s, 1889; car #1, 1890-93.
ADAMS, GEORGE. Nixon’s Amphitheatre, Broadway opposite Waverly Place, NYC, winter 1871-72.
ADAMS, GEORGE ERNEST. (August 24, 1876-January 29, 1898) German comedian and noted violinist. Son of George H. Adams and Rose Adams; brother of James R. Adams. Born in Montreal, Canada, and received education at a boarding school. Made stage debut at a very young age with his father and continued performing until about 1892, when ill health compelled retirement. Died of consumption at the home of his parents, Paterson, NJ.
ADAMS, GEORGE H. “GRIMALDI”. (May 16, 1853-May 26, 1935) Clown, pantomimist, general performer. Born in London, the son of Charles H. Adams, a famous Pantaloon. Career began as an infant with his uncle, James E. Cooke. Struck out on his own and went to Spain, 1860, to perform with Ciniselli’s as well as Price’s Circus. After returning to England, joined Hengler’s in Liverpool, 1862. Following year, went to Paris and performed with a circus on the Champs Elysees. Became associated with the Nicolo Family and worked in the Risley business as an apprentice. Shortly, Nicolo left for America (doomed to drown with the sinking of the Evening Star); after which, Adams traveled through Scotland with a circus, 1864, and the following year went to Dublin to join his father who was with Newsome’s as clown. There, apprenticed to Hubert Mears, the circus manager, and continued with him until 1870, during which time he became an expert gymnast, a contortionist (called the “Alpine Wonder”), and a first-class rider. [M. B. Leavitt: “George Adams’ great specialty was a clown act on stilts.”] Sailed for America that year to join his parents and engaged with Stone & Murray in the fall season, remaining as a tumbling clown and general performer. With W. W. Cole’s, 1872-77, assumed the title of “Grimaldi” Adams. Married Miss Rosina Cooke, daughter of Henry Cooke, October 19, 1874, Galveston, TX. During the winter seasons, performed in variety theatres, much of the time at the Theatre Comique, NYC. Later, organized “Grimaldi” Adams’ Royal “Humpty Dumpty” Troupe, closing the season at the Olympic Theatre, NYC., April, 1877. John H. Murray’s tenting season, 1877. 1877-78, featured with Nick Roberts’ “Humpty Dumpty” Co. touring California, and later the Tony Denier “Humpty Dumpty” Troupe for 3 seasons, dropping the title of “Grimaldi” in the final year. Went into partnership with Adam Forepaugh in producing a “Humpty Dumpty” company. [Charles H. Day: “He was ambitious and persevering as a boy and deserving and meritorious as a man. As a boy with the old Murray circus, he could do almost anything in the ring and do it well—leap, tumble, ride and play clown, a good all-around performer, as the Cooke blood in his veins entitles him to be.”] Died age 82.
ADAMS, HARRY. (d. 1859) Lee & Bennett, San Francisco, 1856-57; Rowe & Marshall, 1857-58. Died in Australia.
ADAMS, JAMES CAPEN “GRIZZLY BEAR”. (October 22, 1812-October 25, 1860) California hunter and trapper and exhibitor of wild beasts. Born in Medway, MA. When gold rush fever struck, 1849, migrated to California, ultimately moving into the mountains to live. At some point, killed a female bear, then captured and trained her two cubs; acquired other native animals of the region and began a menagerie collection. The bears were trained to walk on their hind legs, talk on cue, wrestle, etc. A nasty encounter with one in the Sierra Nevadas, 1855, resulted in his sustaining severe wounds to his head and neck, leaving an indentation in his skull the size of a silver dollar. Shortly after that incident, moved out of the mountains and began exhibiting his collection, first in San Jose and then in San Francisco. Entered the circus business, 1856, with West Coast circus man Joseph Rowe, until Rowe left with a circus for Hawaii. Moved his California menagerie East, 1860, and went into business with P. T. Barnum and James M. Nixon. Before leaving, again had an encounter with one of his bears, which opened the injury on his skull, exposing a portion of his brain. Adams’ California Menagerie opened at Broadway and 13th St., NYC., April 30, 1860, and continued until July 7th. After a doctor’s suggestion that injuries would soon cause his death, and wishing to leave his wife with financial security, sold his half of the menagerie to Barnum. That fall Nixon took Cooke’s Royal Circus with Old Grizzly Adams Bear Menagerie on a tour of the New England states. Adams struck a deal to go along for 10 weeks at a total salary of $500. After fulfilling most of the contract, left the show, retired to his daughter’s home in Neponset, MA, where he died.
ADAMS, JAMES ROBERT “PICO”. (January 28, 1856-August 30, 1915) Clown. Born in Kent, England, the son of Charles H. Adams and Mary Ann Cooke, and brother of the pantomimist and clown, George H. Adams. Served a 7 year apprenticeship to Ethardo, the English circus manager, before coming to America, 1870, at which time he first engaged with James M. Nixon’s. Joined W. W. Cole’s, 1878-79; followed by a sojourn in Havana with Orrin Bros., winter 1879-80; W. W. Cole’s, 1880, and Australian tour (left San Francisco, October 23, 1880). George H. Adams’ “Humpty Dumpty” Co., 1881, under the management of Adam Forepaugh; William O. Dale Stevens’, 1883; John B. Doris’, 1885 (known as “Pico” Adams); Dockrill’s, South America, winter 1885-86. Starred in his own production of “A Crazy Lot”; also connected with Thompson and Lundy, Luna Park, Coney Island, and with the same management at Colonial Theatre, NYC., as assistant stage manager. Member of the NYC Hippodrome company from its opening, April 12, 1905, until it abandoned its spectacle productions. Married English actress, Becky Taylor, December 1891. Died in NYC.
ADAMS, JOHN C. Band leader. R. Sands & Co., 1851-52; Pennsylvania Circus Troupe, 1860.
ADAMS, JOHN G. Tumbler. S. O. Wheeler’s, 1865; Maginley, Carroll & Co., 1868; James M. Nixon’s Southern, 1870.
ADAMS, JOHNNY. Cosmopolitan Circus, Museum and Menagerie, December 1871.
ADAMS, MRS. CHARLES H. See Mary Ann Cooke.
ADAMS, MRS. GEORGE H. See Rosina Cooke.
ADAMS, P. Acrobat and leaper, Haight’s Great Southern, 1874.
ADAMS, THOMAS “LITTLE TOMMY”. (1837-April 21, 1895) Clown. Made his debut in Detroit, MI. For 2 years was principal clown with Sells Bros.’ Worked in many variety houses throughout the country. Was at one time the partner of Harry Watson. Died in Kansas City, MO, of consumption.
ADAMS, W. S. Agent. Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace, 1853; Welch’s, 1855; Nixon’s, 1859; Dan Rice’s, 1859-60; Robinson & Lake, 1860.
ADELAIDE, MLLE. Principal equestrienne from Batty’s Royal Circus, London. Henler’s circus, 1870s; first time in America, John H. Murray’s, 1875. [John Turner: “Daring rider performing a series of poses and leaps on horseback.”]
ADELE, MLLE. European equestrienne secured by John Wilson for 1868 circus season in California.
ADMIRAL DOT [r. n. Leopold Kahn]. (1858-October 26, 1918) “The California Dwarf,” born in San Franciso. When exhibited, advertised as 25” high and weighing 15 pounds. P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-73, 1876, 1884; Springer’s, 1875; Barnum & Bailey, 1889. Appeared in British naval uniform, sang, danced and played musical instruments. Married another midget, Dottie Swartwood, and fathered 2 children. After spending some 20 years in show business, retired to inn keeping at Admiral Dot’s Hotel, White Plains, NY. The place comprised 48 rooms, a bowling alley, a ballroom, banquet hall and restaurant. As one of the largest holders of property in that city, owner of a solid business block and several dwellings, accumulated around a quarter of a million dollars in assets. Died a few hours after his daughter had been buried at White Plains, NY.
ADOLPHE, MISS. Rider. James West’s company, NYC, 1820, newly arrived from Paris. Married William Blanchard, 1822.
ADRIEN. French juggler. Price & Simpson, 1825. This may be the same Adrien, the magician, showing his “curious and recreative experiments, Washington Hall, NYC, 1822, which included such titles as “The Flower Garden,” “The Sociable Box,” “The Enchanted Lyre,” “The Ladies’ Jewel,” “The Pyramids of Egypt,” “The Dutch Coffee House,” “Automaton’s Visible Buffooneries,” “The Hen Which Is No Egg,” etc. Resurfaced, March 1835, at the City Saloon, NYC, where, as advertised, made Madam Adrien “appear and disappear in a wonderful manner never before attempted in New York.” What was announced as a farewell season in America began in July, 1836, at the American Museum and supposedly terminated at Vauxhall Garden in August, 1838. This was just another of the illusionist’s tricks, his presence continued for at least 10 years.
AGAZZI, LIZZIE [Mrs. Elizabeth Clarisse]. (d. 1938) English equestrienne. W. W. Cole’s, 1885; Adam Forepaugh’s (1883-84); Barnum & Bailey, for the show’s first appearance in England. Appeared with principal circuses of Europe—2 seasons Carl Hagenbeck’s, Germany, and Circo Price, Madrid; also, George Sanger and Hengler shows. 3 years a member of circus, Covent Garden, London, under Holland management, taking part in a command performance at Sandringham Park, 1885. 2 sons, Erno and Will, wire walkers, appeared in English vaudeville for years. Died London hospital, age 82, after 45 years of retirement. AGER, HARRY. Lion tamer, Chiarini’s, India, 1881-82.
AGLER, J. D. See Anthony Parker.
AGRA, ZULUMA. Circassian lady, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873-74.
AGRATI, SIGNOR G. Contracting agent, Cooper, Bailey & Co. Australian tour, 1876-77.
AHEARN. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1892.
AIKEN, GEORGE. Agent, John Robinson’s, 1879; assistant treasurer, 1880; agent, 1881; manager car #1, 1882-87; railroad agent, 1888-93. Contractor, Sells Bros.’, 1890; general agent and railroad contractor, Walter L. Main, 1891-94; railroad contractor, Barnum & Bailey, 1895-97, 1900; railroad agent, Forepaugh-Sells, 1898; traffic manager, Pawnee Bill’s, 1899; traffic manager and contracting agent, John Robinson’s, 1901-02, 1909; railroad contractor, with Miller’s 101 Ranch, 1911; general agent, Robinson’s Famous Circus, 1911; railroad contractor, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, 1913; general agent, Howes’ Great London, 1915.
AINSLEY, NED. Clown, Lake’s, 1869-71.
AINSWORTH, JOSEPH. G. G. Grady’s, 1868.
AJAX [Frank Maguire]. Contortionist. Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881; “The Human Corkscrew and Boneless Wonder, the Perplexity of the Medical Profession,” with George S. Cole’s, 1895.
ALANTREE, MLLE. Leaper and tumbler, Washington Bros.’, 1887.
ALBEE, E. F. Vaudeville impresario. Joined the Barnum show around 1876. Spent 12 years with such circuses as Barnum’s, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson’s, Forepaugh’s, Sells Bros.’, Burr Robbins’, VanAmburgh’s, Norris’, and Great London.
ALBERTI, SIGNOR. Bareback and somersault rider, Anderson & Co., 1878.
ALBERTINE, MISS. Aerialist, G. M. Eldred & Co., 1859.
ALBINO BROTHERS. See Three Albinos.
ALBINO FAMILY. Gardner & Hemmings (under the Barnum name), Washington, DC, fall 1862; Mabie’s, 1863. Under Barnum’s management several years.
ALBION BROTHERS [William, Frank, Charles “Mike”]. Gymnasts and acrobats, brother and ladder acts. Burr Robbins’, 1886. William left the group in August of that year and was replaced by William Wertz of the Wertz Brothers. King & Franklin, 1887; Shield’s, 1888; Charles Andress’, 1889; LaPearl’s, 1892. William (William A. Bannerman), head of the 3 original Albion Brothers, died in Philadelphia, November 15, 1911. Was in the profession for 35 years. Had several partners including Abe Arenson, Adolph Mayer, and his brother Charles.
ALBION FAMILY. Gymnasts and acrobats. Shields’, fall 1886; Irwin Bros., 1887; E. H. Howes’, 1888; Miller & Runnells, 1888; Edward Shipp’s, winter 1889-90; W. H. Harris’ Nickel Plate, 1890.
ALBISU, SIGNOR. Cuban theatrical proprietor in Havana.
ALDABO, EUSEBIO. Contortionist, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.
ALDABRO. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1876. May be the same as above.
ALDEN, DARIUS ABNER. Sideshow talker, W. W. Cole’s, 1880. Was a glass blower.
ALDERMAN, WILLIAM. Treasurer, George W. DeHaven’s, 1869.
ALDERWICK, JAMES. Steward, W. W. Cole’s, 1886.
ALDINE, LIZZI. Sells Bros.’, Pacific coast, fall 1886.
ALDRICH, A. Scenic rider, Bowery Amphitheatre, 1841.
ALDRIDGE, M. A. Press agent, Robbins & Colvin, 1881.
ALEDA, MASTER. General performer, Stone & Rosston, 1864.
ADELE, MLLE. “Queen of the Sidesaddle,” and her stallion tandem team executing acts de manège, P. T. Barnum’s, 1878.
AGRA, ZALUMMA. Circassian Lady, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
ALEE, SIGNOR. Contortionist. Joseph Cushing’s, 1867; S. O. Wheeler’s, 1868.
ALEE, WILLIE. Contortionist. Son of Signor Alee. Joseph Cushing’s, 1867; S. O. Wheeler’s, 1868. Advertised as “Famous Whalebone Boy, who will dislocate his joints and compress himself into the smallest compass of any living boy.” Could fit himself into a box 15" x 18”.
ALEXANDER, C. A. Agent. W. W. Cole’s, 1875, general advertiser, 1876; contracting agent, Older’s, 1871.
ALEXANDER, ELIZA. English giantess, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1882-83.
ALEXANDER FAMILY. Levi J. North’s, 1859.
ALEXANDER, G. W. Band leader, G. G. Grady’s, 1874.
ALEXANDER, HENRY COOPER. English giant, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1882-83.
ALEXANDER, J. Agent. H. M. Bennett’s, 1856; Rowe’s, 1857; Hinkley & Kimbal, 1858; Mitchell’s, 1858; Olympic Circus, 1859; Lathrop, Peoples & Franklin, 1860; Lee & Ryland’s Cosmopolitan Circus, San Francisco, 1866; Lee & Ryland’s Hippodrome, San Francisco, 1866.
ALEXANDER, LILLIAN. With her manège horse Abdullah in an act entitled “Central Park Pastimes,” George S. Cole’s, 1895.
ALEXANDER, MASTER. (b. 1817) Purportedly Russian. Debut, Newbury, MA, July 1, Lafayette Circus, 1827-28; Providence Circus; Sweet & Hough, 1835; Eagle Circus, 1836; Miller, Yale, Sands, 1837; A. Hunt & Co., 1838.
ALEXANDER, SPENCER. (d. October 29, 1911) Better known as “Delavan.” Boss hosler, John O’Brien’s, Ringling Bros.’ for many years.
ALFREDO, ALF. Gymnast, Valkinburg’s, 1881.
ALFREDO FAMILY [William, Lewis, Emma]. Trapeze artists, featuring an act which involved the use of a bicycle on a line stretched from pole to pole. William rode the bike back and forth while Lewis and Emma performed on 2 trapeze bars suspended from it. Sells Bros., 1879; John Robinson’s, 1881. While performing with the latter circus, June 12, 1882, Pueblo, CO, a stake that supported the ropes, which had been made soft by an afternoon storm, pulled out of the ground and the rigging collapsed. Emma caught herself from falling but her husband plunged to the ground, landing on his head. Lewis died a few hours later, 28 years of age.
ALI. Arabian attendant of Bucheet, the 2 year old, 1,000 pound hippopotamus that arrived in the USA aboard the steamer City of Manchester, October 19, 1860, accompanied by Frank J. Howes. The first hippo to make port on this continent. It was loaded onto the DeSoto, October 22, bound for New Orleans and exhibition at the Spalding & Rogers museum. Then, in early January, was shipped to Havana where it was placed before the public under a canvas pavilion opposite the Tacon Theatre for a period of 8 weeks. G. F. Bailey & Co., 1863.
ALLEE, BILLY. First collector of circus ephemera of note. St. Joseph, MO.
ALLEN, A. E. Allen’s Great Eastern (A. E. Allen, proprietor), 1879-80.
ALLEN, AZLENE. Equestrienne and danseuse, DeHaven & Bell, 1860.
ALLEN, JOHN F. Clown. Dan Rice’s, 1856; Slaymaker & Nichols, 1864.
ALLEN JOSEPH. Clown, Holland & McMahon, Chicago, fall 1885; King & Franklin, 1887.
ALLEN, TOM. Maginley & Bell, 1864.
ALLEN, WALTER. W. W. Cole’s annex, 1885.
ALLEN, WASHINGTON. (b. September 10, 1831) Side show curiosity, armless man. Born in Perry County, OH. Antonio & Wilder, 1859; Antonio Bros.’, 1860; Antonio Bros. & Melville, 1861; Mabie’s, 1862.
ALLEN, WHITING. (June 9, 1856-July 27, 1911) Agent. Born in Delaware, OH. Began as a professional by writing for the Herald in his home town. Later, moved to Chicago and continued journalistic pursuits until 1879, at which time became press representative for W. C. Coup’s circus. Followed by engagement with Adam Forepaugh’s, where he wrote couriers and did other special work, 1882; John B. Doris’, 1883; agent, W. T. Carleton Opera Co., winter 1884; Barnum & Bailey, traveling with the show in both the United States and Europe (Bailey is said to have stated that Allen made the show thousands of dollars at the turn of a single word.); left the show, 1905, to become associated with Bailey’s brother-in-law, J. T. McCaddon, in taking a circus to France, a venture that was doomed to failure. Moved into the theatrical field as business manager and press representative for dramatic shows; for one season, in charge of publicity department, Metropolitan Opera House, NYC., 1911 [M. B. Leavitt: “Mr. Oscar Hammerstein admits that it is largely due to Whiting Allen that the Philadelphia Opera House came into existence.”]. Rejoined Barnum & Bailey, but was forced to give up the engagement because of ill health. Assisted Leavitt in editing his book, Fifty Years in Theatrical Management, published in 1912. Final employment, the Kinemacolor Moving Picture Co., Chicago. As a press agent, was considered to be inventive, with infinite resource. [Louis E. Cooke: “He had the faculty of covering almost any subject in a clear and comprehensive manner. He was equally at home on musical, operatic, dramatic and circus subjects, and once within his room and left to himself would turn out as good copy as one ever read.”] Had a keen perception of story possibilities and was a superb courier writer. Married the former Nellie Gibbons, sister of Captain Edward Gibbons of the National Steamship Lines, December 20, 1882, in Philadelphia. Died at Sherman House, Chicago, of heart failure. Wife’s death followed, April 16, 1914.
ALLENSHAW, PROF. [or Allreinshaw]. Band leader, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.
ALLISON, C. W. Press agent. Welch & Sands, 1880; New Great Pacific, 1881.
ALMONTE, EDWARD MIDDLETON [“Ted”]. (1842-April 10, 1878) Clown, leaper. Born in England. Began career about 1863 for circus manager Edward Ginnett. Then Benjamin Bonn and his Russian Circus; Sanger’s for 3 seasons; came to America, 1871, with Howes’ Great European as an Italian trick clown, remaining with the firm for 2 years; L. B. Lent’s; Imperial Brazilian Hippodrome, Philadelphia, winter 1872-73; returned to Hengler’s, England; reappeared in America with John Murray’s, 1874-75 Advertise as “From Hengler’s Grand Cirque, London. The Children’s Clown will amuse the little folks.” Springer’s, 1875; Chiarini’s, 1875; Parisian Circus, Operti’s Tropical Garden, Philadelphia, fall 1876; winter circus, New National Theatre, Philadelphia, 1876-77; P. T. Barnum’s, 1876-78. Died while performing with the latter show, NYC.
ALMONTE, GABRIEL. Italian jester, Howes Great London, 1871-72.
ALPINE, CHARLES H. and PEARL. Triple bar, revolving trapeze, and highwire, Goodrich’s, 1897.
ALWARD, GUS. Alward & Co.’s Allied Shows, 1883; Alward & Way’s Allied shows, 1883.
ALWARD, JENNIE. Hurdle rider, dancing rope artist. Married John W. Cleveland [r. n. John Roberts], Holton, KS, May 27, 1893, when both were with the Wallace Show. W. B. Reynolds, 1895; Winter Circus, Chicago, 1895; Robert Hunting’s, 1896; LaPearl’s Danville, IL, winter 1896-97; hurdle and 4-horse act, Wood & Ewers, 1897. See John W. Cleveland.
AMBROSE, CAPT. Chief billposter, G. F. Bailey & Co., 1874.
AMBROSE, TOM. Ringmaster, F. J. Taylor’s, 1891.
AMENT, CAPT. W. D. (d. May 26, 1943) Trick skater and expert rifle shot. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1890; Ament’s Big Ten Cent Show, 1895; Ament’s Combined Shows, 1896; Ament’s Big City Show, 1898-1902; carnival, 1903; Ament & Meehan, 1907. Retired, 1911.
AMES, CLARK T. (d. November 2, 1870) Ames’ Southern Menagerie, 1866; Ames’ Crescent City Museum and Zoological Institute, New Orleans, October, 1867; supplied menagerie, Haight, Chambers and Ames’, 1867; C. T. Ames’, 1868-70. Ames’ estate sold an elephant and performing den of lions to Andrew Haight, 1871. His wife, known professionally as Ella Eugenia, was a lion tamer. Shot in the groin and killed in Dawson, GA, by drunken rowdies trying to force their way into a matinee.
AMES, MRS. CLARK T. “ELLA EUGENIA.” See Eugenie DeLorme.
AMHERST, JOHN H. (1776-August 12, 1851) Equestrian. Born in London. First appeared on stage, The Blue Devils, July 14, 1817, at Haymarket Theatre. Well known in London as an author, having dramatized several of Scott’s novels; at Astley’s Amphitheatre, wrote a number of hippodramas, including the equestrian drama, The Battle of Waterloo, next to Mazeppa, most frequently performed piece at Astley’s Royal Amphitheatre, A classic scholar and member of the English Dramatic Authors’ Society of London. As an actor performed Alexander the Great at Covent Garden. Came with Thomas Cooke to USA, 1836, where he was considered to be the first literary bill-puffer in this country. The entourage arrived New York City harbor November 20, numbering some forty members of the Cooke family—seven sons, five daughters, and a passel of grandchildren; one hundred and thirty people in all, including a circus band, servants and grooms, and a stud of thirty or forty of some of the finest horses ever imported to this date—some full-blooded Arabians and a number of small Burmese ponies. Large, portly man of polished manners and imposing appearance, gifted with an amusing literary style. Later, became well known for his connection with Welch’s Philadelphia circus. Died at Blockley Hospital, Philadelphia, in abject poverty and was buried by the Actors’ Order of Friendship.
AMICK, ROSE [professionally Rose LeClaire]. (d. May 20, 1882) Midget. Height, less than 3’; weight 45 pounds. The daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Joel Amick, both of whom were portly. P. T. Barnum discovery, she traveled with his show both in the United States and abroad for 15 years. Several years exhibited with an 800 pound woman as sisters. Died at Newmarket, Clark County, IN, age 28, leaving a sizable sum of money in the bank.
AMOUR, JULIE. Equestrienne, Howes’ Great European, 1864.
AMOUR, THERESA. Principal equestrienne, James Robinson’s, 1872.
ANDAREAU, ROSE. Manège, Wallace & Anderson, 1890.
ANDERSON, A. W. Photographer of a stereoview of the interior of P. T. Barnum’s 1872 tent, entered into the Library of Congress, 1873, which confirms the use of a single ring that season.
ANDERSON, JAMES. Boss hostler, John Robinson’s, 1867.
ANDERSON, JAMES T. (1837-April 23, 1911) Proprietor, Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1870; manager, Anderson & Co. (owned by Sells Bros.), 1878-80; assistant manager, Sells Bros.’, 1883. Bought the Nathans show at auction which furnished the nucleus for Wallace & Co., for which he was managing partner, 1884. Treasurer, Wallace & Co., 1885; advance agent, Dockrill’s, South America, 1885; manager, Wallace & Co., 1889; manager, Wallace & Anderson, 1890-91; assistant manager, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893-94; manager, Walter L. Main’s, 1903. Died at his home in Cleveland, OH, age 74.
ANDERSON, JAMES, JR. Press agent, Albert M. Wetter’s New Model Shows, 1893, but left the show early.
ANDERSON, JOSEPH. Elephant handler, Great Wallace, 1898. A professional for 20 years, was killed by the elephant Nero, June 3, 1898, at Racine, WI. The elephants had been unloaded from the railroad cars and driven to a water trough by Anderson. A bicyclist road up and leaned in front of where the elephants were drinking. Suddenly, Nero took hold of the rear wheel of the bicycle, throwing the rider off, and tossed the wheel 25’ in the air. Anderson jabbed Nero behind the ear. The gesture infuriated the animal. Nero turned on Anderson, grabbed him with his trunk and, “lifting him as though he were a peanut,” dashed him 3 or 4 times against the ground, hammered him against the water trough, threw him on the ground, stood over him, buried his tusks in him and disemboweled him. Then trampled him “into a jelly,” picked up the remains and threw it against a fence on the roadside.
ANDERSON, MILES. Treasurer, Hendry’s New London Shows, 1892.
ANDERSON, W. C. Contracting agent, James Robinson’s, 1870; general business agent, James Robinson’s, 1871.
ANDREAS, JOHN. Slack-rope performer. Pupil of Ben Stoker. Harrington & Buckley, 1830; Fogg & Stickney, November 1830; William Harrington’s, 1832-33; Nathan A. Howes’, winter 1833; Palmer & Harrison, 1834; slack-rope, posturing, Bancker & Harrington, 1835; J. W. Bancker’s, 1836; Luddington’s, 1837; Brown & Co., 1837; Noel E. Waring’s, 1838.
ANDRES, W. S. See Doc “Rev.” Wadell.
ANDRESS, CHARLES. (January 15, 1852-August 26, 1933) Showman, legal adjuster. Born in Canada. Began career at the age of 10 as a child ventriloquist, imitator, and fiddler, 1865, which attracted the attention of a magician named Captain Thomas (one account gives the name as Prof. Hertz), who took him on as an apprentice. After 2 years, the magician returned to England because of ailing health; Andress soon developed his own act of magic, bird calls and ventriloquism, augmented by some trained animals. By 1872, was operating the Andress’ Carnival of Novelties. Claimed to be the first to use the word “carnival” in describing a show. Charles Andress’ Carnival of Curiosities, Trained Animal Exposition and Congress of Living Wonders, 1888; Charles Andress’ Big Circus, 1889; took Willie Sells as a partner, 1890. “I began to find out when too late, that my troubles had only begun,” Andress wrote to the New York Clipper. “The show for some unknown reason was very badly handled. No salaries were paid, and in less then five weeks it was in the hands of a receiver.” The show was attached for performers’ salaries totaling $6,000. Representing a total investment of $25,000, the outfit was sold at auction for a mere $2,964 (Andress wasn’t the first to be “burned” by Willie Sells). W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1892; Andress & Showers’, 1896; annex manager, W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1892-93, 1897; E. Davis’, 1894; G. W. Hall’s, 1894; Ringling Bros.’, 1895, as legal adjuster for 10 years; Barnum & Bailey, 5 years, going to Europe with the show. Invented a mechanical stake driver run by a gasoline engine that was in general use by 1912. Announced his retirement, 1907, after 45 years in show business. Had investments in real estate in Great Bend, KS, a place that eventually became his home. Married there at age 80 to 27 year old Virginia Prichard, November 9, 1930. A son was born the following year. Died of influenza in Great Bend.
ANDREWS, A. B. Boneless boy, G. G. Grady’s, 1869.
ANDREWS, BILLY. (1840?-Dec. 9, 1895) Clown. Orton Bros.’, 1865-68; John W. Robinson’s (not “Old John”), 1870; Wootten & Haight, 1871; Great Eastern, 1872; North American Circus (Asa B. Stow, manager), 1873; partner with Wootten for a circus troupe, 1873; Basye’s, 1879; returned from retirement to fill engagement with the St. Louis Circus, winter 1879-80; press agent and clown, Thornton’s, 1880; clown, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881. Wife was Lotino Andrews. Died in Kankakee, IL, at the insane asylum.
ANDREWS, GEORGE. Contortionist and acrobat, G. G. Grady’s, 1871.
ANDREWS, J. H. Leaper and tumbler, W. H. Stone’s, 1881.
ANGELA, MLLE. Female Sampson, with John Robinson’s, 1872.
ANGELIQUE, MLLE. Hippotheatron, NYC, winter 1864-65.
ANGELO. Aerialist, Robinson & Howes, 1863.
ANGELS, LOUIS. Equestrian director, with Montgomery Queen’s, 1887.
ANGEVINE, CALEB SUTTON. (April 4, 1798-July 19, 1859) Menagerie and circus proprietor. 1821, set up exhibition rooms, 37 Bowery, NYC; operated circus with Samuel Clift, Hart B. Doolittle, Ichabod Doolittle, 1824; partner, June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1827, 1834; Unit #1, Zoological Institute, 1835-36; New York Unit, Zoological Institute, 1837; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., menagerie, 1838-39; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., circus, 1838-39; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., circus and menagerie, 1840; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 3 units, 1841; VanAmburgh & Co. (Lewis B. Titus, John June, Caleb S. Angevine and Gerard Crane, proprietors), Europe, 1842-45; partner, VanAmburgh & Co., 1846-47. Retired, 1848. Buried in June Cemetery, North Salem.
ANNEREAU, JEANNETTE. Rider. Lee & Marshall, 1855; Lee & Bennett, 1857; H. C. Lee’s, 1859; Lee, Worrell & Sebastian, 1863. Had 2 children from marriage to Annereau, a son, Jeannot, and a daughter, Charlotte. Married H. C. Lee, March 19, 1856.
ANSON, BILLY. Superintendent of menagerie, Gollmar Bros.’, 1897.
ANTONIO, ANTOINE. Vaulter. Great Western, 1855; Levi J. North’s, 1856; John Robinson’s, 1857; tented variety, William Davison & Co., 1858; Spalding & Rogers, winter 1858; Spalding & Rogers, 1859-60; Spalding & Rogers, South America, 1862.
ANTONIO BROTHERS [Guglielmo, Philip Augustus, Lorenzo, Alphonso]. Acrobats. Edward Eldred’s, 1834; Hubbell’s, 1849; Mann, Moore & Co., 1853; L. G. Butler & Co., 1854-56; Antonio, Carroll & Co. (with W. B. Carroll), 1857; Antonio & Wilder, 1858-59; Wood’s Theatre, St. Louis, winter 1859-60; Antonio Bros.’, 1860-61; circus sold to a Mr. Norton of Chicago (probably Horace Norton), April 1863. Guglielmo (1820-1902) was the oldest of the 3 brothers. Spalding & Rogers, 1859; Stowe & Norton, 1869; James Robinson, 1870. Then came Philip Augustus (d. 1895), the acting manager for Antonio & Wilder’s, 1859. In retirement from the circus profession, 1862, he and Alphonso, kept a saloon under the Everett House, St. Louis. Lorenzo (1826-1828) the youngest of the brothers. A 4th member of the troupe was Alphonso “Fons” Antonio, real name McGlassy (1835?-August 19, 1895). Retired from show business and became part owner of a cafe under the Olympic Theatre, St. Louis, MO. Once considered wealthy, was in poor circumstances at time of death at Carondelet, MO, age about 60. Assumed a suicide, since his body was found floating in a pond.
ANTONIO CHARLES “DEAF CHARLEY” [r. n. Charles Wright]. (1841-1875) Clown, horizontal bar and cannon ball performer. A native of Providence, RI. Traveled with various circuses for some 15 years. Acrobat, Dan Rice’s Paris Pavilion, 1871, and July 27 of that year married Miss Lottie Harris of Fox’s American Theatre, Philadelphia; A. W. Davis’, 1874. Died in Toledo, OH, of pneumonia.
ANTONIO, DIAVOLO [r. n. Antonio Migasi]. Acrobatic father of the Antonio Brothers. Performed at the old Park Theatre and at Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1835, and with his 3 sons introduced a manner of the Risley business. Retired from performing around 1851 and became the troupe manager. See Antonio Brothers.
ANTONIO, MAY. Juggling and slack-wire, and ascensionist, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.
ANTONIO, TILLIE. Stowe’s, 1868.
ANTONIO, WASHINGTON “WASH”. Acrobat. P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-73; trick clown, North American, 1875; Dockrill’s, South America, winter 1885-86; Frank Brown’s, South America, 1889.
ANTONY, CARL. (1824-1904) Equestrian, horse trainer. Performed in Europe and America and at one time was owner of a Swiss circus. Trained and exhibited the dozen black stallions for P. T. Barnum’s, 1878-79; Coup’s, 1880. Married Kate Stokes, daughter of Spencer Q. Stokes, Pittsburgh, PA, September 10, 1878. Later divorced. Died in Greenwich, CT.
ANZO. Contortionist, John Robinson’s, 1888.
ARABIAN BROTHERS [G. W. King, C. R. Teese]. Gymnasts. George Bailey & Co., 1869, 1871; John Stowe & Sons, 1871.
ARBUCKLE, JOHN. Clown, Springer’s, 1875.
ARBUCKLE, O. S. (November 22, 1845-December, 1882) Clown. Born in Ohio. James T. Johnson’s, 1872; H. Harlan’s, 1875; Joel E. Warner’s, 1876; Great Oriental Pavilion Show, 1877; Ed G. Basye’s, 1878; cannoneer, concert, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879; California Circus, 1880. Died in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while working for the Ohio Telephone Company, which was establishing phone service there.
ARCHER, EMMA. Gymnast, W. W. Cole’s, 1886.
ARCHER, GEORGE W. (d. February 7, 1865) Globe performer. Banks, Archer & Rockwell, 1849; Levi J. North’s, 1853-55; H. M. Smith’s, 1856-57; Spalding & Rogers, 1858; Satterlee & Bell, 1858; Hyatt & Co., 1859; Great Railroad Circus (McCorkle). 1859. Drafted into the Union Army, January 1864. Died in Baltimore.
ARCHER, WILLIAM. (d. May 24, 1850) Palmer & Harrington’s, 1834; Palmer’s Circus and Gymnastic Arena, 1835; J. W. Bancker’s National Gymnasium and American Arena Co., 1836; C. H. Bacon’s, 1837; H. H. Fuller’s Olympic Circus, 1838; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1839; Howes & Mabie’s Olympic, 1841; S. H. Nichols’, 1842; Banks, Archer & Rockwell, 1846-50. Died in Cuba of yellow fever.
ARDELL, MLLE. Aerialist who slid from the top of the tent to the ground with her hair suspended on a wire. With Miles Orton’s, 1885.
ARGANDI, SIGNOR. Rider, VanAmburgh & Co., 1881.
ARGYE, M. R. Band leader, Orton’s, 1866.
ARIZONA, CHARLES. Great New York Circus (E. Hamilton, F. W. Sergeant, proprietors), 1877.
ARLENE BROTHERS. Gymnasts, New York Central Park Circus, 1877.
ARLINGTON, BILLY. Concert, Montgomery Queen’s, 1876.
ARLINGTON, ED. (1874-October 23, 1947) Secretary, Walter L. Main’s, 1893-94; excursion agent, Ringling Bros.’, 1897; railroad agent, Barnum & Bailey, 1901-06; manager, Pawnee Bill’s, 1907; proprietor, 101 Ranch, 1908-15.
ARLINGTON, FREDDIE. Female trapezist, St. Germain’s Imperial Circus, 1889.
ARLINGTON, GEORGE. (d. December 1, 1923) Sideshow manager of Lalloo (or Laloo), the double-bodied boy, and the original Aztecs. VanAmburgh’s, 1885; Barnum & Bailey, 1888; proprietor and general agent, Washburn & Arlington, 1890-91; superintendent of concert, Barnum & Bailey, 1899.
ARLINGTON, W. C. Gymnast, J. W. Wilder’s, 1872.
ARMER, AL [or Armour]. (January 4, 1864-April 28, 1925). Clown and somersault leaper. Born in Palmyra, MO. Joined Miles Orton’s at age 11; connected with Richards’ (George W. Richards, proprietor), 1887; equestrian director, W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1891; Johnny J. Jones’. Had son Al. Jr., a musician with Paul Whiteman, and a daughter Marguerite. Died at Pittsburg, KS, of heart problems, and was given a Masonic burial in Chicago. Was in show business 49 years.
ARMSTRONG, CHARLES. Press agent, James T. Johnson’s, 1885.
ARMSTRONG, F. Levi J. North’s National Amphitheatre, 1857-60.
ARMSTRONG, GARDNER J. Tumbler. Davis & Crosby’s, 1859; Thayer & Noyes, 1877.
ARMSTRONG, H. D. Business manager, Col. Spicer’s, 1886.
ARMSTRONG, J. (d. 1857) Lee & Bennett’s, 1856-57. Died in San Diego, California.
ARMSTRONG, J. A. Dog circus, Miller & Runnells, 1888.
ARMSTRONG, JAMES A. Band leader, G. G. Grady’s, 1872.
ARMSTRONG, JEANNETTE. Equestrienne. Stone, Rosston & Murray’s, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, winter 1866-67; Stone, Rosston and Murray’s, 1867; Cuba, 1868; double equestrian act with Tom Armstrong for G. A. Huff & Co., 1870; James Robinson’s, 1871; principal act, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872; Haight’s Great Southern, 1874; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1876; Thayer & Noyes, 1877; New York Central Park, 1877; equitation, Adam Forepaugh, 1878-79; Batcheller & Doris, 1880; VanAmburgh’s, 1883; principal equestrienne, Pullman, Mack & Co., 1884. Married Henry Burdeau, gymnast, Philadelphia, October 31, 1872.
ARMSTRONG, JOHN. Lee & Marshall, 1853; J. L. & N. M. Hinkley, 1857; Rowe & Marshall, 1857-58, and with the show in Australia, 1858; Pennsylvania Circus Troupe, 1860.
ARMSTRONG, THOMAS. Equestrian. Spalding & Rogers, 1855-56; clown, Levi J. North’s, 1857-60; VanAmburgh’s, 1859; Levi J. North’s, Chicago, 1859; Mabie’s & Nathans, 1861; Nixon’s Cremorne Garden Circus, Washington, DC, October-December 1862;; double equestrian act with Jeannette Armstrong, G. A. Huff & Co., 1870; vaulter, G. G. Grady’s, 1870.
ARMSTRONG, WILLIAM. See William Nixon.
ARMSTRONG, WILLIS. Rider, vaulter. Star State Circus, 1852; Mabie & Crosby, 1858; Levi J. North’s, 1859; Van Amburgh’s, 1860; Madigan & Gardner, winter 1860-61; Madigan’s, 1861; Madigan & Carroll, 1862.
ARNAL. Dancer, Pepin & Breschard, 1813.
ARNOLD, RICHARD A. Sup’t picture gallery and statuary, museum, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
ARRILLA, MLLE. EMMA [or Arilla]. Equestrienne. VanAmburgh’s, 1871; VanAmburgh & Co.’s Menagerie, Siegrist’s French and Frost’s American Circus Combined, 1871; J. W. Wilder’s, 1872.
ARSTINGSTALL, GEORGE. (d. February 11, 1904) One of the top elephant trainers and performers. Born in Marietta, VA, where he received a common school education. Spoke six languages but still maintained the accent from his native state. In appearance, had brown, piercing eyes, and jet black hair and mustache. Just before the Civil War, although inexperienced, joined Dan Rice’s as an animal tamer and worked with a troupe of Grizzly Adam’s bears that Rice had purchased. After leaving Rice, exhibited Lipman’s sacred bull, 1866. Began making hot air balloon ascensions, but after falling 68’ in one at Portsmouth, OH, decided animal training was a bit safer. Buckley’s, 1868. Went to Europe and worked with a variety of animals including lions, tigers, and hyenas. Howes’ Great London, 1876-78; during the latter year the elephants Mandarin and Hebe were bred, resulting in the first baby of the breed to be born in America and live, Columbia, March 10, 1880. Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80; Barnum’s Great London, 1881-85. Bred Chief and Queen, resulting in a second birth, Baby Bridgeport, February 2, 1882. Found by a Bridgeport, CT, policeman on a night in mid-February, 1887, on the tracks of a railroad in an apparent suicide attempt. Said to have been still greatly effected by the death of Jumbo, as well as being in a state of depression growing out of “an affair of the heart.” Later denied the story. Retired to go into business in Bridgeport and perhaps to get married. April 2, 1887, sailed for Germany to train elephants for Hagenbeck; returned to USA, February 7, 1892. Joined Adam Forepaugh’s to oversee 14 elephants. Shortly, developed an act consisting of 2 American panthers, 2 Asiatic leopards, 2 lions, 2 dogs—great Dane and mastiff, a black bear, all going through a drill in the same ring. Retired after 1894 season. Imported animals for DeSilva & Gaylord, 1895. Was exhibiting the dwarf elephant, Kedah, 1896; ran the maze ride, Sea beach, Coney Island, 1899. Died at Leachdale, PA.
ARTHUR, BOB. General performer, John H. Murray’s, 1877.
ASH, WILLIAM. Clown, John Robinson’s, 1875-83.
ASHBURN, A. W. Manager, Washington Bros.’, 1887.
ASHBY, CLARENCE and EVA. Equestrian director, etc., LaPearl’s, 1893.
ASHBY, JOSEPH. (1847-September 17, 1926) Trick, scene act, and 4-horse rider. Son of Joe Ashby, Punch and Judy showman; brother of Happy Ashby and half-brother of Alf Burgess. Began with the Sangers at age 9 turning somersaults on horseback and remained with them 16 years as a rider. Sangers’, Agricultural Hall, London, performing St. George in St. George and the Dragon. Bell and Myers’, traveling on the continent. Married Marie Charlton, equestrienne, 1871, at Marseilles. Performed together, Franconi’s, Renz’, Salamonsky’s, Pinder’s, Cinisclli’s, Rancy’s, Carre’s, Corty-Althoff’s, etc. In England with Powell and Clarke’s, Belfast, 1875; Hengler’s, London and the provinces, 1878-81. USA joined Adam Forepaugh’s as principal bareback rider, 1881; Great Australian Circus, winter 1881-82; then returned to England. With wife and son George, Circus Zaeo, Italy, 1887; later, started a circus in Italy with Archie Pearson, but it failed. Hengler’s, Covent Garden, 1889-90; Arundel’s, Birmingham, 1897; Croueste’s, 1891-92. Died, age 79, at his home, 47 St. George Street, Birmingham, where he had lived in retirement.
ASHBY, Marie [nee Charlton]. Equestrienne. Once said to be one of the best horsewomen in Europe. Daughter of William Charlton, musician. Apprenticed to Frederick John Ginnett. Married Joseph Ashby, 1871, Marseilles, when touring with Bell and Myers. Hengler’s, Hull, 1874, and provinces, 1878-80; Whitmee’s, Oxford, 1893. Had 3 sons, including rider George Ashby, who died in Barcelona. See Joseph Ashby.
ASHE, FRANCES L. (d. November 10, 1907) Mother of Ashton Troupe of acrobats; wife of William R. Ashe. Died at Toledo, OH.
ASHE, WILLIAM R. “BILLY”. Clown. G. G. Grady’s, 1868, 1873; Warner & Henderson, 1874; Springer’s, 1875; Joel E. Warner’s, 1876; Hamilton & Sergeant, 1878; Dr. A. W. Hager’s, 1878; John Robinson’s, 1879-86; Holland & McMahon, 1886; Holland & Gormley, 1888-89; John F. Wood’s, fall 1889. Married Frances L. Ashe.
ASHLEY, FRED. (d. March 1, 1865) Gymnast and fancy dancer. Died of injuries while performing, age 29.
ASHLEY, H. Co-proprietor, Great Orion Circus, Old Bowery Theatre, NYC, fall 1861.
ASHLEY, MARY. Bareback rider, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1881.
ASHTON, ALBERT G. Gymnast, Montgomery Queen’s, 1875.
ASHTON BROTHERS [Harry, Willian]. Gymnasts. L. B. Lent’s, 1874; John Robinson’s, 1881; Nathans & Co., 1882-83; W. W. Cole’s, 1883; Burr Robbins’, 1884; Shields’, 1887; Ringling Bros.’, 1890-92; bars and brother act, L. W. Washburn’s, 1895; L. B. Lent & Co., 1896.
ASHTON, FRANK. Gymnast, contortionist. Son of gymnast William H. Ashton and brother of William Ashton, Jr. Thayer & Noyes, 1864; O. S. Wheeler’s, 1865; New York Champs Elysees, 1866; Wootten & Haight, 1871; Smith & Baird, 1872; Great Eastern, 1874; L. B. Lent’s, 1876; posturing, leaper, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82; S. H. Barrett’s, 1885; P. T. Barnum’s, 1886; Gardner & Donovan, 1886; Sells Bros.’, 1887; James Donovan’s, winter 1891-92; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1892.
ASHTON, HARRY. Ringling Bros., 1891.
ASHTON, JOSIE [Mrs. Josephine Gagnon]. (1870-April 28, 1912) Equestrienne. Burr Robbins’, 1880, when she bought the retired James Robinson’s ring horse for $1,200, said to be the most perfectly gaited horse that ever went into the ring, and kept him for many years. P. T. Barnum’s, 1886; Gardner & Donovan, South America, 1886; Sells Bros.’, 1887, 1889; principal act and flying rings, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893; Ringling Bros.’, 1894; Barnum & Bailey, 1895; flying rings, Barnum & Bailey, London, winter 1898; Hippodrome, Luna Park, Coney Island, 1905; Al F. Wheeler’s, 1910. Died of cancer in Orange, NJ.
ASHTON, LAURA. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1883-85.
ASHTON, LILLIAN. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1892.
ASHTON, MAMIE. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1884-87; Ringling Bros.’, 1891.
ASHTON, M. E. Agent, Tribbey & Co.’s Mastadon Dime Circus, 1887.
ASHTON, SAM. Acrobat. Horizontal bar act with Frank Clifton and Albert Gaston, Montgomery Queen’s, 1875.
ASHTON, TONY. Piloted a variety show in Indiana, 1879; equestrian manager, Hall’s, 1886; singing clown and troupe of dogs, Stevens & Smith, 1898.
ASHTON, WILLIAM H. Gymnast, globe on horse-back. Sands, Nathans & Co., 1859; Niblo & Sloat, 1860; R. Sands’, 1861; Rogers & Ashton’s troupe of acrobats, 1861; Spalding & Rogers, 1862; Miles’ Circus Royale, 1863; teamed with H. W. Penny, Thayer & Noyes, 1864; clown, O. S. Wheeler’s, 1865; New York Champs Elysees, 1866; John Robinson’s, 1867-68; performing posturing, acrobatic and contortion acts with his 2 boys, Frank and William, Jr.; Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1868.
ASHTON, WILLIAM, JR. Gymnast. Son of gymnast William H. Ashton and brother of Frank Ashton. Thayer & Noyes, 1864; contortionist, O. S. Wheeler’s, 1865; New York Champs Elysees, 1866; Springer’s, 1875; W. W. Cole’s, 1876; Burr Robbins’, 1877, 1779, 1885; Ringling Bros.’, 1891; clown, Welsh Bros.’, 1895. A daughter, Etta May Ashton, was a vaudeville performer. Wife died, June 12, 1907, Cincinnati, OH.
ASHTON, ZOE. S. H. Barrett’s, 1885.
ASPINALL, MISS [also Aspinwall]. Dancer. Married a Mr. Moreland, 1826. West & Blanchard, 1824; Price & Simpson, 1825-26; Mount Pitt Circus, 1827; Blanchard’s Amphitheatre, NYC, 1830.
ASTEN, ISAAC. Equestrian. One of the earliest native riders in America. First known as a trampoline artist, throwing somersaults, making leaps into lighted galleries, over 10 horses, or over a phalanx of men holding muskets with fixed bayonets. Became a rider in horse dramas and later an equestrian director. First appears on record at the Broadway Circus, NYC, Price & Simpson’s company, 1823-25; ringmaster, Olympic Circus, Philadelphia, 1823; West & Blanchard, from August 1825; Lafayette Circus, 1826, 1828; Fogg & Stickney, 1828; Mount Pitt Circus, NYC, 1826-28; Washington Circus, Martinique, 1830; Palmer & Fogg, winter 1831; riding master, Washington Circus, 1832; riding master, Fogg & Stickney, 1833; Buckley & Weeks, 1834-35; ringmaster, Palmer's, March 1836; Green & Waring, April, 1836; J. J. Hall’s, winter 1837.
ASTON BROTHERS. Nathans & Co.’s, 1882.
ASTON, CHARLES. Clown. Howes & Sands, 1834-35; Boston Amphitheatre (H. H. Fuller, manager), 1837; Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1840. Wife was a competent equestrienne, listed as a member of the Grecian Arena and Classic Circus (P. H. Nichols, proprietor), 1841.
ATHERTON, CARRIE. Vocalist and dancer, Bunnell sideshow, P. T. Barnum’s, 1879.
ATHLEAU, ROSA. Pullman, Mack & Co., 1884.
ATKINS, PROF. Aeronaut from Toledo, OH. Lost his life while with Mike Lipman’s circus at Decatur, AL, May 27, 1872, age 20. Was about to ascend in his balloon, when he remarked apprehensively, “This is the last ascension I’ll ever make.” And it was. The balloon plummeted into the Tennessee River from a height of about a half-mile and the young man drowned.
ATKINSON, A. Detective, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876-79.
ATTERBURY, ROBERT LEE. (b. February 10, 1866) Born at Paris, MO. Entered amusement business, 1883, with Burr Robbins’. Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1884; G. W. Donaldson’s, 1885; F. H. Rich’s, 1886; Burr Robbins, 1887; Grenier Bros.’, 1888; French & Co., 1889; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1890-91; McMahon’s, 1892; Miles Orton’s, 1893; Sells & Rentfrow, 1894; W. D. Reynolds’, 1895-96; Dan Shelby’s, 1897; Wintermute Bros.’, 1898-99; Hutchinson & Co., 1900; Cullen Bros.’, 1901; Walter McDonald’s, 1902; Younger & James Wild West, 1903; Kirkhart & Reichold, 1904; Hutchinson & Co., 1905; W. P. Hall’s, 1906; Barnum & Bailey, Buffalo Bill, 1907; Rice Bros.’, 1908; LaMont Bros.’, 1909-10. Organized Atterbury Bros.’ Wagon Shows, 1910, which he managed until the fall of 1924; bought Col. Hoogawonnie Circus, 1925, and continued same until 1927, when changed the title to Cook Bros.’ and continued until 1930. Joined Harrington’s, 1931, and furnished 5 acts put on by the Atterbury Troupe of aerialists. Owned and managed the Atterbutry Trained Animal Circus. Married Miss Grace Smith, 1900, who died 3 years later; then married second wife, Rose, 1908.
ATWOOD, A. D. Band leader, G. F. Bailey & Co., 1860-63.
ATWOOD, J. B. Press agent, W. W. Cole’s, 1874.
AUBREY, CHARLOTTE. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875.
AUGUSTA, MLLE. First appearance in America, Nixon’s Cremorne Garden Circus, Washington, DC, October-December 1862.
AUGUSTE, HENRI. Spalding & Rogers, winter 1864-65.
AURITA, MLLE. Tight-rope, Howes’ New London, 1887.
AUSTIN, AIMEE. Ceiling walker, W. W. Cole’s, 1883, doubled with her sister, Rose Dubsky, on the trapeze. St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer assured readers that her human fly feat “in which she walks head down on the ceiling [was] a marvel of skill, nerve and daring.” (See Adelaide D’Atalie)
AUSTIN, BILLY. Band leader, Hamilton & Sargeant, 1877.
AUSTIN BROTHERS [Richard, Michael]. Trapeze and horizontal bars. O’Conner & Co., 1869-70; Alexander Robinson’s, 1871; P. A. Older’s, 1872; P. T. Barnum’s, 1872, W. W. Cole’s, 1873.
AUSTIN, CARRIE. See Charles Austin.
AUSTIN, CHARLES (and Carrie). General performer and clown. Musket-drill artists, Montgomery Queen’s, 1873-1874; challenge musket drill, Palace of Wonders, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876; tumbler, Thayer & Noyes, 1877; Coup’s Equescurriculum, 1878; knock-about clown, Reese, Levis & Dolphin, 1885; Orrin Bros.’, winter 1889-90. Equestrienne wife, Carrie, worked with him, performing a “lightning drill and bayonet combat,” as well as handling their troupe of performing dogs.
AUSTIN, EDWARD. (d. December 3, 1915) Boss hostler. Native of Norway. Started with Mabie’s shortly after coming to his country. After the death of Mabie, traveled for several years with VanAmburgh, Howes’ London, and Barnum & Bailey. Died at the age of 83 in Delavan, WI, where he had lived for more than 60 years. [D. W. Watt: “He was a man of excellent habits, always attending strictly to business and was considered by all the big shows in the country to be the best man in the business up to the time that he had to retire on account of old age.”]
AUSTIN FAMILY [R. G., Rose, Aimee, George E.]. General performers. Orrin Bros.’, winter 1883-84; W. W. Cole’s, 1885; Coney Island, 1892; Bentley’s, 1895. Aimee Austin or Mrs. Phil D. Green, (February 22, 1870-January 11, 1907) aerialist, sometimes called the “Human Fly,” born in London and began performing with Rose Austin at age 9 as part of the Austin Sisters aerial act at the Circus Rentz, Berlin, under the management of her brother-in-law, R. G. Austin. Performed with various circuses throughout Europe before coming to America. In the winter, 1882, the family was engaged by Ernest Cooke, agent for W. W. Cole; at the close of the season, Orrin Bros., Mexico; re-engaged with Cole for 1884. In the fall of that year, R. G. Austin formed the R. G. Austin Australian Novelty Co. W. W. Cole again, 1885. 1886, went to England. Australian Variety Co. on the road as late as 1891. Aimee died of cancer in Pittsburgh, PA. George E. Austin, rider and leaper, was connected with Cooper & Bailey’s, 1879-80; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1884-85; also John O’Brien’s, 1885; White & Markowit, 1889. Addie Austin, or Mrs. Frank Brown, (December 23, 1853-June 8, 1889) equestrienne, sister of George E. Austin; born in Mexico, MO; member of the D’Atalie family of acrobats who made their debut, 1870. Bareback rider, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-75; Montgomery Queen’s, 1876; Cooper, Bailey & Co., tour of Australia and South America, 1876-80; W. W. Cole’s (which left San Francisco for Australia and New Zealand, October 23, 1880), 1880-83; Cantelli & Leon, Cuba, winter 1882-83; Carlo Bros.', South America, 1884. Married Frank Brown, fall 1883, a union which produced 3 children. Brown managed his own circus from about 1886 to 1889. Addie died in South America.
AUSTIN, LULU. Outside ascension and revolving globe, Hurlburt & Hunting, 1885.
AUSTIN, MIKE. Horizontal bar act, Dan Rice’s Paris Pavilion Circus, 1871.
AUSTIN, NATHAN W. “NAT”. (1834-June 1, 1892) Gentlemanly English clown and excellent general performer—equestrian, a good leaper and still vaulter, a superior juggler on horseback and globe ascensionist (rolling a globe up an inclined to the top of the tent and back, after which the globe opened and out popped his trick dog). John A. Dingess called his appearance in the ring “majestic and refined.” A. V. Cadwell’s, 1853; Lee & Marshall, 1855-56; James A. Rowe’s, 1857; Hinkley & Kimball, 1857; Rowe & Marshall, Australia, 1858; Lent’s National Circus, Philadelphia, 1859; Nixon & Co., 1859; VanAmburgh’s, 1859-60; Antonio Bros.’, 1861; Howard’s Athenaeum, Boston, Goodwin & Wilder, winter 1861-62; Goodwin & Wilder, 1862; National Circus, Philadelphia, winter 1863-64; National Circus, Cincinnati, 1864; Hippotheatron, NYC, late winter 1864; Melville’s Australian, 1864; James M. Nixon’s, 1864; Hippotheatron, NYC, February, October 1864; co-proprietor (with Richard Platt), Hippotheatron, NYC, September 1865; S. O. Wheeler’s, 1865; John Robinson’s, 1866; Stone, Rosston & Co., 1867; Stone, Rosston & Murray, 1868; Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1869; Stone & Murray, 1870; Nixon’s Amphitheatre, Broadway opposite Waverly Place, NYC, winter 1871-72; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872; Montgomery Queen’s, 1873-75; John Wilson’s, San Francisco, 1875; left with Cooper, Bailey & Co. for Australia, November 8, 1880. First wife was wire ascensionist and rope dancer Jeanette Ellsler. Divorced in 1876. Married Madame D’Atalie, May 11, 1876, both being on Montgomery Queen’s. Cooper, Bailey & Co.’s Australian tour, 1877-80. Wife died, 1891. Austin died at the State Lunatic Hospital, Worcester, MA, age 58, after about a 12 year retirement from the circus profession.
AUSTIN, PERCY W. (d. 1875) Youthful prodigy. Pupil of Nathan Austin. S. O. Wheeler’s, 1863. Left the circus business and settled in Durham, NC, employed with Lawrence & Johnson, painters. Died from the wounds of the premature discharge of a cannon being fired in honor of a local political victory.
AUSTIN, PROF. Dogs and ponies, Hunting’s, 1889.
AUSTIN, W. Band leader, Great Western, 1876.
AUSTIN, W. H. Manager, George F. Bailey & Co., 1857, 1859, 1861-62.
AUSTIN, WILLIAM. Gymnast, son of Nathan Austin, with Goodwin & Wilder, 1862; manager, George F. Bailey’s, 1870.
AUSTIN, W. W. With newly invented family steam carriage, Spalding & Rogers, 1864.
AUSTRALIAN FOUR [Dan Kennedy, Bert Richardson, John Casselli, Charles Reuch]. W. W. Cole’s, 1881.
AVELO, F. Clown, Gregory Bros.’, 1884.
AVELOS, GEORGE. See William H. Franklin.
AVERY, LIZZIE. Aerialist, Howes’ London, 1897.
AVERY, WILLIAM. Barnum, VanAmburgh and Castello’s, 1867; Jesse W. Foster’s, South America, 1894.
AVOLLO, JOE. (d. July 19, 1889) Lemen Bros.’
AXTELL, W. Acrobat, John Robinson’s, 1892-93.
AYMAR, ALBERT F. Equestrian. Brother of John P., Lewis D., Walter B., and William T. Aymar. Winter circus, Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1843-44; John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1844; Sands, Lent & Co., 1848-49; Den Stone’s, 1854; Washburn’s, 1855, 1857; Flagg & Aymar, 1856; Antonio & Wilder, 1858; Robinson & Lake, Cincinnati, 1859; Antonio Bros.’, 1860; Goodwin & Wilder, Boston, 1861; Robinson & Lake, 1861-62; Thayer & Noyes, 1862-63; Robinson & Howes, which became Howes & Norton, 1864; DeHaven & Haight, 1865; New American Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1865-66; Franklin J. Howes’, 1865; Caldwell’s, 1867; Lake’s, 1868; Dan Rice’s, 1868; Stowe & Norton, 1869; equestrian director, clown and rider, John Stowe & Sons, 1871; C. W. Noyes’, 1872; James W. Wilder & Co., 1873; Warner & Henderson, 1874; clown, Howes & Cushing, 1875. Had a farm near Berrien Springs, MI, in the 1870s, where he fitted up a practice ring. By 1878 was keeping a bowling alley and restaurant there.
AYMAR, CHARLES. Performed as an equestrian chiefly in California with such as Orrin Bros.’, San Francisco, 1863.
AYMAR, EDWARD. Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876.
AYMAR, ELIZABETH. Equestrienne. At Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1843-44; John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1844; Washburn’s, 1855; Robinson & Lake, Wood’s Theatre, Cincinnati, 1859; Antonio Bros.’, 1860; Goodwin & Wilder, Boston, 1861; Robinson & Lake, 1861-62; Thayer & Noyes, 1862-63; Howes & Norton, 1864; New American Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1865-66; Franklin J. Howes’, 1865; Caldwell’s, 1867; Lake’s, 1868; Dan Rice’s, 1868; Stowe & Norton, 1869; John Stowe & Sons, 1871; C. W. Noyes’, 1872; Warner & Henderson, 1874.
AYMAR, EMMA. Equestrienne, Great European, 1865.
AYMAR, FRANK. Clown, Charles Noyes’, winter 1871-72.
AYMAR, JAMES. Clown. Parisian Circus, Philadelphia, fall 1876; Basye’s, 1879.
AYMAR, JENNIE. Allen’s Great Eastern, 1879.
AYMAR, JOHN. (1826-1843) Acrobat and rider, brother of Walter B. and William T. Aymar. From Patterson, NJ. Apprenticed to Aaron Turner from 1833 to perhaps 1838, when he stopped being listed as Master Aymar. Rode with the winter circus at Richmond Hill, NYC, 1837; Thomas Taplin Cooke’s, 1838; S. H. Nichols’, 1838-39; Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, winter 1840-41; Grecian Arena and Classic Circus, 1841; Howes & Mabie, 1843. There was a John Aymar recorded as an equestrian with the winter circus at Niblo’s Garden, 1843-44, and with Welch & Mann, 1845. The latter engagements are questionable for he may have been dead. A John Aymar was killed in England attempting to do a triple somersault. Was one of 4 Aymars to enter the circus business. Is remembered as an intelligent young man and an entertaining conversationalist, a performer of some ability and daring. Was said to be the first on record to do a double-somersault over 4 horses. Is also recorded as having completed a triple somersault with Batty’s Circus, London. Legend has it that he met a performer who had seen some Arabs in Paris accomplish the triple in practice. Aymar then became determined to perfect the feat, apparently using no springboard, rather relying entirely on extraordinary strength. Performed the triple at the benefit of Tom Barry, the clown. Was killed some time later when he tried to repeat the feat, land ing on his forehead and braking his neck, age 25 or 33, depending on which source one uses. There is disagreement as to when and where this occurred. One source gives Manchester, England, as the place; another states that he was killed at Batty’s Circus, St. Hilliers, Isle of Jersey, England, August 17, 1843; but he probably died in 1859. Wife was an equestrienne with John Tryon’s circus at the Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1843.
AYMAR, LOTTIE. Bareback equestrienne and trapeze performer. Daughter of Walter B. Aymar. Records show her performing as early as 1861 with Bassett & Aymar, South America; later, Sells Bros.’, 1882; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1883; New York and New England (O. J. Ferguson’s), 1884; Dockrill’s, winter 1885-86; Miller, Okey & Freeman, 1886; Barnum & Bailey, 1889; Orrin Bros.’, winter 1889-90; Ringling Bros.’, 1891-94; McDonald & Reichhold, 1896; Sig. Sautelle’s, 1897. First husband Harry Wambold. Later married Doc Miller, high pedestal equilibrist, 1891.
AYMAR, PAULINE. Equestrienne, Warner & Henderson’s, 1874.
AYMAR, W. FREDERICK. (d. December 22, 1897) Formerly known as William F. Aymar; son of William T. Aymar, the proprietor of Flagg & Aymar. Franconi brought his mother to America as a special feature for the Franconi Royal Hippodrome, NYC. At 7, Frederick was doing a posturing act. Principal rider, Metcalf’s, 1868; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1869; Centennial Circus, 1870; Walter B. Aymar’s, South America, early 1870s; troupe returned to the United States, 1875, and performed at Bidwell’s Academy of Music, New Orleans; ringmaster, Lowande’s Great Brazilian, 1877; ringmaster and clown, P. T. Barnum’s, 1878-79; Allen’s Great Eastern, 1879-80; Sell Bros.’, 1880-81; agent, Burr Robbins’, 1885; Jane Coombs Dramatic Co., winter 1886-87; equestrian director, King & Franklin, 1888-90; returned to Sells management with S. H. Barrett’s New United Monster Shows; Charles Bartine’s, 1890; equestrian director and clown, Walter L. Main’s, 1892; press agent, Walter L. Main’s, 1893; and equestrian director, Walter L. Main’s, 1894-97. Died at his home in Dayton, Ohio.
AYMAR, WALTER B. (1832-June 9, 1891) Equestrian. Brother of John P., Lewis D., Albert F., and William T. Aymar. Juvenile rider, Nathan Howes’, 1845, at age 15. With William, took a circus company overland to California, said to be the first troupe to do so. The brothers then visited Peru and other South American countries. Western unit, June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1842; John Tryon’s, 1845; Sands, Lent & Co., 1846-48; Alvah Mann’s, 1849; advertised by Spalding & Rogers, 1850-52, as “the modern centaur and great bareback trick rider”; Green B. Johnson’s, 1851; Sands, Nathans & Co., 1854; Spalding & Rogers, 1851-54; bareback rider, Washburn’s, 1855; Flagg & Aymar, 1856; John Robinson’s, 1856; Sands & Nathans, 1857. Advertised as: “He performs with astonishing rapidity, The Erratic Spheres, or Revolving Orbs while lying on his back, on the back of his horse.” Nixon & Kemp, 1857; Burt & Robinson’s (Yankee), 1858; co-proprietor (with George J. Arnold), Louisa Wells Equestrian Troupe, winter 1858-59; Wilson’s “Dan Rice”, California, 1860; Bassett’s, South America, 1861. Following year, company encountered financial trouble; Bassett was taken ill and unable to continue; Aymar and wife took over. Robinson & Howes, 1864; equestrian director, Burr Robbins’, 1879-80; Allen's Great Eastern, 1880; Cooper & Jackson, 1881; Sells Bros.’, 1882; scenic rider, William O. Dale Stevens’, Boston, 1883; equestrian director, Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1884; O. J. Ferguson’s, 1884; Dockrill’s, South America, winter 1885-86. Wife, Maggie (nee Manley), died, NYC, June 8, 1909, leaving a daughter, Lottie, and a son, William.
AYMAR, WILLIAM F. See W. Frederick Aymar.
AYMAR, WILLIAM T. (June 23, 1830-March 16, 1883) Clown and general performer. Born in Brooklyn, NY. Brother of Walter B., Lewis D., Albert F., and John P. Entered circus business, 1841, after being trained by John. Took what was said to be the first circus to go overland to California with brother Walter; then visited Peru and other South American countries. After 6 months, returned to San Francisco where he opened a livery stable. Subsequently, returned to the circus business: Sands & Lent, 1848-50; Spalding & Rogers, 1851-52; Den Stone’s, 1854. Reported to have somersaulted over 10 horses, Washburn’s, 1855. Co-proprietor, Flagg & Aymar, 1856; Joe Pentland’s, 1857-58; Louisa Wells’ Equestrian Troupe, 1859; Wilson’s “Dan Rice,” 1860; Bassett & Aymar, South America, 1861; Robinson & Lake, 1862; Orrin Bros.’, San Francisco, 1863; Frank J. Howes’, 1865; clown and leaper, New York Champs Elysees, 1866; Adam Forepaugh’s, Philadelphia, winter 1866-67, where he finished his leaps by throwing himself over the elephant Hannibal; Barnum, VanAmburgh and Castello, 1867; clown, Dan Castello’s, 1867-68; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1869; European and American, winter 1869-70; Newton’s, 1872; clown, leaper, tumbler, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873; general director, Allen’s Great Eastern, 1879-80; Beckett’s, 1881. A good general performer who somersaulted over horses and elephants, did a Pete Jenkins act, and was among the first to do the perch in America. During performance with a circus at Coney Island, injured himself, causing lung hemorrhaging, which led to his death.
AYMAR, WILLIAM, JR. (d. December 29, 1888) Son of equestrian family of Walter and Maggie Aymar (nee Margaret Manley). Acrobat, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877; John H. Murray’s, West Indies, winter 1878-79; Allen’s Great Eastern, 1879; Sells Bros.’, 1882; Hilliard & Main, 1883; bareback somersault rider, New York and New England (O. J. Ferguson, proprietor), 1884; Walter L. Main’s, 1888; Frank A. Gardner’s, West Indies, winter 1888-89. Died in Kingston, Jamaica.
AYRES, DAVID. Gymnast. Fell from a trapeze bar, Truxillo, Peru, December 18, 1864.
AYRES, PROF. G. G. Grady’s, 1869.
AZTEC CHILDREN. P. T. Barnum’s sideshow, 1873.
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