Circus Historical Society
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A biographical dictionary of the ninteenth century American circus
Bi - By
Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout
Copyright © 2005 by William L. Slout. All rights reserved.
BLACK, HARRY. Equestrian director, C. W. Kidder & Co.’s, 1893.
BLACK, PROF. Performing ponies, John Robinson’s, 1889-91.
BLACK, ROBERT G. Ass’t sup’t, museum, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873; museum sup’t, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875.
BLACK, W. B. and HARRY. Proprietors, Black Bros.’, 1887.
BLACKBURN, JOSEPH. (d. February 26, 1841) Clown and juggler on horseback. Became, as Charles Durang expressed it, one of the “most celebrated of racy and droll” native born clowns of his day. The combination of “uncommon humor and visual activity” led to his being dubbed “the American Grimaldi.” Multi-talented, he was one of a few early circus people to keep a diary. His letters from Europe, 1838, were published in several of the American newspapers. Composed at least one song, “Sich a Gettin’ Up Stairs,” which he probably used in the ring. Friend and sidekick to the great rider and somersaulter Levi J. North, with whom he went on a tour of England. [George Stone: Considered him “a man of extraordinary ability” and one who “possessed a good education and figured as a poet of no ordinary pretensions.”] William Harrington’s, 1825, 1832; William Blanchard’s, 1828; Harrington & Buckley, 1830; Page’s, 1830; J. W. Bancker’s, 1832; Brown’s, 1835; Brown
& Co., 1836; Eagle Circus, 1837; Frost & Co., 1837; Noel E. Waring’s, winter 1837-38; Charles H. Bacon’s, 1837-38; Raymond & Waring, 1839; Philadelphia Circus, 1840; western unit of June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1841. Died on board the steamer Express Mail near Horse Shoe Bend and was buried in Memphis, TN.
BLACKFORD, J. H. Contractor, Great Western, 1876.
BLACKMORE, J. Rider, slack-rope performer. Appeared at the Royal Circus, London, as early as 1803. American activity included appearances with James West’s, Philadelphia, 1816; Pepin & West, Philadelphia, 1817; West’s, 1818. One of his feats was to stand on his head on a quart bottle placed on the saddle of a moving horse. Remained in America until
BLACKWELL, WILLIAM. Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1866.
BLACKWOOD, JAMES. (b. 1832) Rider. Apprenticed to S. B. Howes; used the name James Howes until apprenticeship ended, 1842. Cole & Co., 1837; Cole, Miller, Yale, winter 1837; Miller, Yale, Howes, 1838; Titus, Angevine, winter 1838; June, Titus &
Angevine, 1839; Yale & Co., 1840; June, Titus & Angevine, winter 1840; Howes & Mabie, winter 1841; 1842, 1845; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1846-48; Stone & McCollum, 1848; Stickney’s New Orleans Circus (S. P. Stickney, North & Jones, proprietors), 1849; J. M. June’s, winter 1850; Spalding & Rogers, 1852.
BLAISDELL, S. J. W. Bancker’s, New York State,
BLAISDELL, W. B. (d. October 18, 1888) Proprietor, Golden State Circus, Sacramento, CA, 1868. 85’ round top, 5 baggage vans, passenger coach holding 12, 8 ring horses. After the engagement there, the company toured the state. Married Julia Peak of the Peak Family of glass blowers. Died age 55.
BLAKE, WILLIAM. (d. May 24, 1866) Gymnast and acrobat. L’échelle, Slaymaker & Nichols, 1863; Robinson & Howes, 1864; Great European, 1865; Frank J. Howes’, 1865; John Robinson’s, 1865-66. Died Louisville, KY.
BLAKELY, T. H. Slack-wire performer, vaulter. Price & Simpson, 1824-27; accompanied the troupe to the Broadway Circus, NYC, in May of the latter year, which became his final engagement with circuses. Turned to the dramatic stage and performed as an actor until at least mid-century. There was a Blakely, a contortionist, with Mabie Bros., 1859.
BLANCHARD, CECELIA. See Blanchard Family.
BLANCHARD, ELIZABETH. See Blanchard Family.
BLANCHARD FAMILY [Mr. and Mrs. William Blanchard, sons George and William, daughter
Cecelia]. William Blanchard, English circus proprietor, opened a new amphitheatre, Baltimore, 1820, and realized a fortune, but subsequently lost it all. Opened at the old Chatham Garden, NYC, and failed. Performed in Albany, 1826, after a Canadian tour. Died in
Louisville, KY, 1837, and buried by the Masonic fraternity. All family members performed. Cecelia broke her leg while riding, Utica, NY, 1828, which was later amputated. Son William, a bareback rider, died in Martinique, West Indies, 1831.
BLANCHARD, MISS C. G. G. Grady’s, 1869.
BLANCHARD, GEORGE. See Blanchard Family.
BLANCHARD, G. E. Balloon ascensionist, 1826-30. May have been the George Blanchard above.
BLANCHARD, H. L. Gymnast, Hippocomique, 1865.
BLANCHARD, JEAN PIERRE. Balloon ascensionist. One of the earliest of American aeronauts. A native of France, he had, even at a young age, an inventor’s curiosity. 1781 constructed a flying machine fashioned after the manner of birds in flight, having four huge wings operated by hand and foot levers. The contraption was, of course, a failure, but once the Montgolfier brothers had proven the principle of lighter than air flight, Blanchard wasted no time in accepting the balloon as a legitimate device for exhibition and experimentation and in the ensuing years made 44 flights throughout the European continent. Greatest triumph, however, 8 years before coming to USA, occurred when he crossed the English Channel with Dr. John Jeffries of Boston (this was the first air voyage between nations, hailed “the eighth wonder of the world”), January 7, 1785. At 8:00 a.m. the balloon ascended over the white cliffs of Dover, a tribute to Blanchard’s imagination—the gondola, shaped like a bathtub, had a rear fin and four wing-like rudders,
attachments intended to steer and propel the balloon. The flight, which was fraught with hair raising events, terminated shortly after 3 o’clock in the afternoon in a wooded area not far from Calais. Shortly after arriving in America, Blanchard ascended from the yard of the Walnut Street prison, Philadelphia, January 9, 1793. President George Washington and an assemblage of dignitaries watched the hydrogen-filled balloon rise to over 5,000 feet and disappear in its travel of 15 miles before alighting into a patch of woods near Woodbury, NJ. The craft carried Blanchard, his black dog, and a letter of introduction from the President — it being the first piece of air mail on the America continent (this
was Blanchard’s 45th ascension but his first on our side of the Atlantic Ocean). Short time after the first American voyage, he was given permission to construct a rotunda on the Governor’s lot on Chestnut Street, where he exhibited the balloon being prepared for his 46th flight. At John Bill Ricketts circus, corner of Twelfth and Market Streets, 1793, sent up a balloon with a parachute attached containing a cat and a monkey; some form of slow ignition was rigged to release the parachute at a certain altitude, which allowed the
quadrupeds a safe floatation earthward. The ascension at Ricketts’ amphitheatre marked the first balloon act with an American circus.
BLANCHARD, WILLIAM. See Blanchard Family.
BLANCHE, MLLE. General performer, with Driesbach & Howes, 1868.
BLANCHETTE, C. E. Business manager with the Parisian Circus at Operti’s Tropical Garden, Philadelphia, fall 1876.
BLANCHETTE, EXZAVIOR. Thompson, Smith & Hawes, 1866.
BLANCHETTE, FRANK. Gymnast, contortionist, with Den Stone’s, 1873.
BLANFORD, CHRISTINE. John Robinson’s, 1868.
BLEECKER, FRED. Program agent, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875.
BLISS, ALBERT G. See Bliss Family.
BLISS, ALEXANDER. Rider, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.
BLISS BROTHERS. See Bliss Family.
BLISS, CATHERINE. See Bliss Family.
BLISS, CHARLES. See Bliss Family.
BLISS FAMILY [Charles Sr.; wife Catherine; sons Charles Jr., Albert, Joseph, and George; and daughters Mrs. V. E. Wilham, Mrs. Louise Murphy and Mrs. Frank A. Robbins]. Charles Bliss Sr. (1826?-July 21, 1906) “Signor Bliss,” ceiling walker, clown, called the “Human Fly.” Born in Bavaria. After coming to America, traveled for years with Dan Rice’s; also connected with Crane & Co., 1849; Rufus Welch’s, 1852; Sands, Nathans & Co., 1857; VanAmburgh’s, winter 1857-58; Nixon & Kemp, 1858-59; Old Cary’s, 1864; George W. DeHaven’s, 1865; Haight & Chambers, 1866; J. M. French’s, 1869. Died in Madison,
WI, age 80. Louise Bliss, an aerialist, slack wire ascensionist, dancer. Charles Bliss Jr., Dutch clown, died in Madison, WI, 1926, age 77. Began at the age of 6 and when a young man he went to Spain and gained fame as a tumbler. When 25, set a record by
turning 75 flips around the arena without stopping. Clown, tumbler, barrel-dancer, perhaps working as an individual act, connected with Stone & Murray, 1869; Great Roman Hippodrome and Congress of Novelties (William D. Curtis, proprietor), 1877; Cooper & Bailey, 1880; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1880-81; Sells Bros.’, 1883; Holland & McMahon (George Holland, John McMahon, proprietors), Chicago, fall 1885; P. T. Barnum’s, 1886; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, 1894. George Bliss (d. December, 1909), acrobat, specialized in long distance leaping; Haight & Chambers, 1866; J. M. French’s, 1867; Cooper & Bailey, 1880; P. T. Barnum’s, 1886; Gran Circo Pubillones, Cuba, winter 1888-89; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1889-90; somersault artist and high leaper, New York Circus, 1893, which sailed up the Hudson on a chartered steamer, stopping at various cities. Claimed to be one of the original Leotard Brothers with George Lair and Lewis Mette. In 1880, was working as the Leotards with George Schrode and Ed Snow. Albert G. (d. November 17, 1932), at age 8, performing with his family in a small traveling circus, 1857, as one of a group of tumblers. Was a trouper for 75 years. Died in Madison, WI, age 83. Albert, Charles and George were together as the Bliss Brothers, leapers and tumblers, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-73, 1877; Frank Stowe’s, 1874; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82.
BLISS, GEORGE. See Bliss Family.
BLITZ, EUGENE. Facial artist and Punch and Judy, John H. Murray’s, 1877.
BLITZ, FRANÇOIS R. (d. November 22, 1910) Son of Signor Blitz, the magician and ventriloquist. Side-show privilege, Col. Hayward’s Circus and Roman Hippodrome, which had an early demise; solicitor and Punch and Judy operator, sideshow, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879; sideshow privilege, Stickney’s Imperial Parisian Circus, 1880; Blitz’s Mammoth Dime
Show, 1881; privileges, A. A. Beckett’s, 1884; manager, Millie Christine Co., 1891. Died age 57.
BLOCK, ROBERT. Museum director, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875.
BLODGETT, WASH. Agent, Sprague’s Colossal Circus, 1880.
BLONDIN [r. n. Jean Francois Gravelet]. (1822?-February 22, 1897) Wire-walker and acrobat. Born in Hesdin, Pas de Calais (another source gives Saint-Omer), France. Adopted the name of the artist with whom he had been apprenticed. Fair-haired with light eyes, below average height and weight, wore a mustache and a chin piece, and was noted for his ease, precision, and amazing grace. Visited NYC, Ravel Troupe, 1850s; later, performed with the Martinetti Troupe, 1857. Proprietor of a circus company for 2
years. Made his real mark in America by crossing Niagara River on a rope, June 30, 1859. The rope, 1,100 feet in the air, was 3 1/4” in diameter and 1,300’ long. At times performed a drum feat on the wire that consisted of a backward somersault while beating a
drum in correct time with an accompanying orchestra. Also did the same type of feat while playing a violin. With Madigan & Gardner, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, winter 1860-61. After a year of continued success, returned to Europe, where he astounded the public with more high wire performances. It is said that one of his great feats occurred in London when he turned a somersault on stilts while 170’ in the air. [George Middleton: “I have seen nearly all the tight rope walkers, but there was only one great artist — he was Blondin.”] The last public appearance was in Belfast, Ireland, 1896, at 72 years of age. Died in London from diabetes the following year.
BLOOD, HARRY. Member of the variety troupe. John Robinson’s, 1861; Robinson & Lake, 1862; Robinson & Bros.’, 1863; Haight & Chambers, 1867; Lake’s, fall 1867.
BLUM, PAUL C. Contracting agent, Washburn & Arlington, 1891.
BLYTHE, GEORGE. (d. 1836) Equestrian director. Englishman, formerly a director of Astley’s Amphitheatre, London. Recruited and enticed to America by Steven Price as director of the Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, making his first appearance in this country on May 1, 1823. Brought with him many circus novelties from London, which served him well as a 2-horse rider and equestrian director with Simpson & Price’s circus from 1823-27, when in the two-horse carrying act held an apprentice at arm’s length. Opened a circus, Savannah, GA, January 13, 1827. Later, with Aaron Turner’s, Philadelphia, for a winter engagement, 1833-34. Understood horses and was an excellent groom, horseman and horse breaker and occupied himself in teaching ladies and gentlemen the art of riding with ease and safety. Stood 5’ 11” in height and possessed a muscular build - broad of shoulders and deep of chest; a skilled boxer but was civil and well-behave. Called a fine, jolly fellow, a stalwart, robust, florid-faced Britisher from the horse guards. [Charles Durang: “What George had learned in the hippodrome art he exercised with a true Briton’s
usual industry and honesty. Genius he had not; education was not his portion; but we can aver that he had a good heart. He kept the circus boys and grooms to their duties, and, we believe, they all liked him.”] Died in poverty on Staten Island, where he kept a porter
BOCCACIO, BRONCHO. Lion tamer. Born on Cape Cod from a Spanish mother and a Cuban planter father. Became a sailor, also spent many years as a hunter. While in South Africa, joined Fellis’ Circus and turned his attention to training animals. Later went to Europe and performed at the Menagerie Alexiano, Marseilles. An engagement with Sir Charles Wombwell in England followed, where he worked with the famous lion, Wallace. Later came to America to exhibit Wallace.
BODKIN, MIKE S. Associate. Joined Adam Forepaugh’s, 1880, and for 20 years was connected with the privileges. [D. W. Watt: He “was a man of unquestioned integrity and always held a responsible position in different departments, and many times was called in
consultation with Mr. Forepaugh as to what was best to do in this or that department.”]
BODISCO, SIGNOR. Monkey man, H. Buckley & Co., 1857-58, his first season in America.
BOGARDUS. Apprentice rider and pupil of Pepin. Pepin, Breschard & Cayetano, NYC and Baltimore, 1813-14. Continued with Cayetano & Co. in a tour of the the West and accompanied the company when it moved to New Orleans, 1816-17, performing a 2-horse riding act with his apprenticeship apparently finished. Was at Roulestone’s Amphitheatre, Boston,
summer 1818; with Villalave’s company, late summer and fall of the same year. Returned to Pepin’s troupe, 1819-21; Lafayette Amphitheatre, NYC, in its initial season, 1825. As a mature rider, performed exhibition riding with and without reins and rode standing on his
toes as the horse circled the ring.
BOGARDUS, CAPT. A. H. (September 17, 1833-March 23, 1913) Sharpshooting act. Born in Albany County, NY. Shot 100 birds with 100 shots, Dexter Park, Chicago, July 1869. Won American wing shot championship, 1871. Went to England, 1875; defended his title there until 1878 when he returned to the USA. W. W. Cole’s, 1882; one-third owner Buffalo Bill’s, 1883-84; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1884-87, 1889-91; Sells Bros.’, 1888. Worked with sons
Eugene, Edward, Peter, and Henry. [D. W. Watt: “When Capt. Bogardus and his four sons would step into the hippodrome track to commence their shooting
the glass ball in the air, the ovation that they would always receive was certainly a high compliment. The Bogardus family were not only fine in their business, but all high class gentlemen and the kind you would always be glad to introduce as your friends.”] He was
a man of giant strength, standing 6’ and weighing 220 pounds. Published a book, Field, Cover and Trap Shooting, 1874. Died at his home in Lincoln, IL.
BOGARTY, GEORGE. Levi J. North’s Circus, 1859.
BOISSET BROTHERS [4, including Fred, Hugo]. Horizontal bar and Brother Act, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.
BOGLE, JOSEPH W. Advance courier agent, P. T. Barnum’s, 1875.
BOLINO, TOM. Clown, Rivers & Derious, 1857-59.
BOLLER, WILL F. Proprietor, Allen’s, 1882-86; William Sells, 1891; Rippal & Boller, 1897; Boller Bros.’, 1898.
BOLUS, CHARLES. Boss canvasman, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872.
BONFANTE, SIGNORITA. Haight & Chambers, 1867.
BONNEY, C. A. Musical albino, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.
BOOKER, JOHNNY. Ethiopian performer, buffo singer and clown. Yankee Robinson’s, 1857-58; George F. Bailey & Co., 1859-60, 1864; as Booker & Howard’s Minstrels, L. B. Lent’s, 1865; ringmaster and manager of concert, Great Commonwealth Circus, 1879. Was dangerously wounded by a ball from a pistol entering the left breast, just below the collar bone, passing through the lung and lodging somewhere in that locality, Dayton, OH, October 1864, while traveling with Bailey’s Circus.
BOONE, DANIEL E. “COL.” (1841?-October 12, 1903) Showman and animal trainer, born in Kentucky. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1891. Died in San Francisco, age 62.
BOOTH, J. General performer, Spalding & Rogers, 1850.
BOOTH, JONAS. Printer, living in NYC. Made the first poster from pine block for a circus.
BOOTH, SAMUEL. Ran one of the largest show printing houses in the country (as did his father before him), Centre Street, NYC.
BOSHELL, CARRIE. Slack-wire performer, Howes Great London, 1877.
BOSHELL, DAN. Died in Bedford, Va., December 21, 1918.
BOSHELL FAMILY [Alfred A., Val, Ada, Louise, Carrie, Amy]. Alfred A. (1874?-August 27, 1909) was a various times advertising agent for Klaw & Erlanger, Jacob Litt and others. Died of tuberculosis at the home of his brother, Val, in St. Paul, MN, age 35. Louise, equestrienne and wire-walker. Appears to have been the most talented of the group and to have had the longest career. Connected with C. T. Ames’, 1870; John Robinson’s 1872; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1878, 1880; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879; “Queen of
the Floating Wire,” Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881. Married principal rider, Frank Melville, Ishpening, MI, August 3, 1878. Died at her home in Jacksonville, FL, October 15, 1934, age 78.
BOSWICK, DICK. Ben Maginley’s, 1863.
BOSWOLD, CHARLES “PROF.” Band leader, with L. B. Lent’s New York Circus, 1862-72.
BOULEN. Clown and rider. Pepin, Breschard & Cayetano, Baltimore, winter 1813-14; Pepin & Breschard, Charleston, fall 1814. It is believed he accompanied Pepin to Europe sometime after the beginning of January, 1815. Was back with Pepin in Philadelphia and
Lancaster, PA, summer 1817, and continued with him for a tour of the West Indies, 1819-20.
BOURDON, H. Gymnast, Rivers & Derious, 1859.
BOWEN, ELI. (b. October 14, 1844) “The Legless Wonder” or “The Legless Acrobat”; two feet of different sizes growing directly from the hip joints. Born in Richland County, OH, one of 10 children, the other 9 being completely normal. Age 13, 1857, started traveling with Major Brown’s Colosseum. Adam Forepaugh’s (Pullman Bros.’ sideshow), 1876; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879; Barnum & Bailey, England, 1897. For his sideshow performance, did tumbling tricks and acrobatic work on a pole. Married an attractive young lady of 16, Mattie Haight, and fathered a large and healthy family.
BOWENS. General performer, R. Sands’, 1849.
BOWERS, COONEY. Agent, W. H. Harris’ NickelPlate, 1891.
BOWERS, DAVID P. Virginia Serenader, Raymond & Waring, 1844.
BOWERS, CHARLES. Ringmaster, S. O. Wheeler’s, 1865.
BOWMAN, B. L. Ringmaster, Holland, Bowman & McLaughlin, 1890; manager and sideshow orator, Rentz’, 1891; sideshow proprietor, World’s Fair Aggregation, 1892. Wife handled a troupe of educated dogs.
BOYD, ORLANDO J. (d. February 18, 1893) Great Transatlantic Allied Shows (Orlando J. Boyd, S. C. Peters, proprietors), 1879; manager car #1, John Robinson’s, 1880-81; advance manager, O’Brien, Handenberger, Astley & Lowanda, 1884; Frank A. Robbins’,
1888-89. Died in Philadelphia.
BOYD, W. C. (b. July 4, 1850) Agent. Born in Amenia, Duchess County, NY, the home of Hyatt Frost. Being in the general provision business there, his first contact with the circus was selling meat to Frost’s VanAmburgh & Co. in winter quarters. Engaged by that
organization, 1879; general agent, Cooper & Jackson, 1880, 1882; advertising car, W. W. Cole’s, 1884, director of publications, 1885, contracting agent, 1886; general agent, Doris & Colvin, 1887; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1888-92. Also connected with Cooper & Bailey, P. T. Barnum’s, Barnum & Bailey, Forepaugh-Sells Bros.’, Beveridge Wild West, Walter L. Main’s, LaPearl’s, Burbridge & Boyd. Connected with the theatrical units of Shennandoah, Held by the Enemy, Jim the Penman, Rudolph and Adolph, Matthews & Bulger, The Man from Mexico, The Young Mrs. Winthrop, Foxy Grandpa, On the Mississippi, The Bowery, The Private Secretary, Al G. Field’s Minstrels, The Passing Show, The Irish Alderman, Down in Dixie, Princess Chick Opera Co.; manager of the Park Theatre,
Indianapolis, and the Wonderland Theatre, Detroit.
BOSHELL, LOUISE. See Boshell Family.
BOWEN, ELI. Legless man, Cooper & Bailey, 1879.
BOYD, WILLIAM. Advertiser. Association’s Celebrated Menagerie and Aviary, Baltimore, 1837; VanAmburgh’s, 1859.
BOYLAN, F. O. Contracting agent, Great Chicago,
BOYLE, JOHN E. Press agent, John B. Doris’, 1884-85; general contracting agent, E. H. Howes & Co., 1888; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1889. Following 1889, was working for the Daily Times, Buffalo, NY.
BOYLE, M. F. Whittemore, Thompson & Co.’s Equescurriculum, 1865
BOYTON, PAUL “CAPT.” (1847?-April 19, 1924) Born in Pennsylvania. Famous for the journeys taken and exploits performed on water throughout the world. First known for his ability as a diver, “The American Pearl Diver.” Exhibited and demonstrated a patented
life-saving suit (see illustration). Once, to show its usefulness, he disembarked from a steamer some miles from the Irish coast and made his way through a heavy sea to land. He next crossed the English Channel in it, spring 1875, leaving the French shore on May 27 and arriving in England the following day, covering about 34 miles en route. March 20, 1878, he crossed the Straits of Gibraltar. After a stay on the Continent for several years, returned to the USA, where he accomplished lengthy journeys on Western rivers. With Barnum & Bailey, 1888, performed in an artificial lake constructed within the circus tent. The tank eventually became a swimming pool at Barnum & Bailey’s Bridgeport winter quarters. Had water show adjacent to Pawnee Bill show, Antwerp Exposition, 1894; Boyton’s Sea Lion Park, Coney Island, 1895-1901. Son Joseph was treasurer Ringling-Barnum, 1891. Died age 77.
BRACKEN, WILLIAM. See William Painter.
BRADBURY, ROBERT. (1774?-July 21, 1831) Originally a cabinet maker in Liverpool, made his debut as a clown at the Liverpool Theatre. A man of great strength. As a tumbler specialised in making amazing leaps and taking dangerous falls, for which he was well padded. Appeared at Sadler’s Wells, 1803, said to be of the Royal Circus. A rival to Grimaldi, of whom he was a friend. Came from England with the James West company, 1816; Pepin’s, Baltimore, 1817.
BRADLEY, J. W. Treasurer, Castello & VanVleck,
BRADO, ROBERT. Treasurer, John H. Murray’s,
BRADY, G. F. Boss canvasman, F. J. Taylor’s, 1891.
BRADY, SAM. Concert manager, VanAmburgh’s,
BRAINARD, ALBERT. Treasurer, Great New York Circus (E. Hamilton, F. W. Sergeant, proprietors),
BRANDEN, HARRY. Contortionist. Cross & LeRoy, 1884; Lemen Bros.’, 1887; Shields’, 1887-88; W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1889; aerialist, Gollmar Bros.’, 1898; wire-walker, Gollmar Bros., 1900.
BRANDON, HARRY. “Spanish king,” W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1891; stilt wire walker, Gollmar Bros.’, 1897.
BRANDON, WILLIAM H. (1819?-March 12, 1871) Keeper of elephant Hannibal, VanAmburgh’s. Died in Athens, NY, age 52.
BRANDT, JOHN. Gymnast and modern Hercules, Alexander Robinson’s, 1876.
BRANNAN, EDWARD L. (b. July 3, 1859) Candy privilege (with Billy Watson), Lively’s Great Allied Shows, 1878. Advance agent, Fulford & Co., 1890. Also Cooper & Hemmings; Sam McFlinn’s; G. W. Hall’s; Cooper, Jackson & Co.; Sells Bros.’; Forepaugh-Sells; William Sells’; etc.
BRATTON, CHARLES. Orchestra leader, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.
BREEN, WILLIAM L. Candy privilege manager, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.
BREEZE, JACK. Foreman, advertising car, Barnum’s, 1877; killed in the tragic wreck of the advertising car at Four Mile Creek, Iowa, that year, August 29, along with 11 others.
BREMMER, L. C. Banjoist, W. N. Smith’s Ethiopians, with VanAmburgh & Co., 1860.
BRENNER, HERR. Strongman, Howes & Mabie, 1845-46.
BRENT, TOMMY. Bareback rider, tumbler, George F. Bailey & Co., 1860.
BRESCHARD, JEAN BAPTISTE CASMIERE. Equestrian. Frenchman of “excellent address and personal appearance.” Was a partner of the Pepin & Breschard circus, who brought
their horses and company from Spain in the winter of 1807 and performed in Boston until they opened in NYC, June 2, 1808, in the circus, corner of Broadway and Anthony Street. May have run continuously until the end of December. The company opened in Philadelphia at Ninth and Walnut Streets, February 2, 1809; returned to NYC, opening July 1, 1809, and continuing until August 26; were back in June of the following year, until they closed the season on September 29; organized the Olympic Circus, Baltimore, 1811; moved it to Philadelphia, opening the season on June 18, which lasted until September 28. Breschard was connected with William Twaits in managing the Olympic Circus in Philadelphia,
1812, for the production of horse dramas. There again, this time with Pepin, opening August 30, 1813. Stud of horses, though roughly broken, were excellent animals; the company was numerous and well appointed; costumes were the best thing of that kind that had been seen in America. The company seems to have alternated seasonally between New York and Philadelphia, offering both circus performances and horse dramas. Last connection with management was in Boston, January 14, 1815, with only he and his wife mentioned in the advertisement. It is supposed that he went to Europe for a time, but, 1817, was performing as an acrobat in a hall show, being the last word on both Breschard and
his wife. He rode with extreme elegance and modesty; was a model performer, executing everything with elegance, while in full military habit; a man of excellent dress and manner. Charles Durang described his riding as “a genteel comedian attired for the polished drawing room.”
BRESCHARD, MRS. JEAN. BRESCHARD. Equestrienne, arrived in Boston with the troupe
of Pepin & Breschard, 1807, as one of the first woman riders in USA. Husband and Pepin performed in France and Spain, and presumably she was with them. Rode side-saddle in the manège style with “the majesty and grace of a fine Amazon”; recorded act was a leap from horseback through two barrels, and another was a demonstration of hurdle jumping. She and her husband disappear after 1815. See above.
BRESLAW, C. James West’s company, 1819-20.
BREWER, JAMES W. (1822?-April 23, 1860) Gymnast known for his work on the horizontal bars and bottle acts. Native of Boston. Strongman, John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1845; Rockwell & Stone, 1846; Col. Mann’s, 1849; went to California, 1849, with several performers; A. W. Tell’s, 1851; Col. Mann’s, 1852; Australia, 1853-54; Lee & Marshall, 1855. November 27, 1858, he shot Benjamin F. Moulton, for which he was tried and acquitted on grounds of self-defense. Died at St. Helena, CA, age about 38.
BREWER, LON. Boss canvasman, Sig Montanio’s,
BRIAN, F. Mrs. Charles Warner’s winter circus, Philadelphia, corner of Tenth and Callowhill Streets, December 1868.
BRICKWOOD, CHARLES. Banjoist and comedian, Ducello’s United Exhibitions, 1879.
BRIDGES, AMELIA. (d. September 7, 1885) Equestrienne, commonly referred to as “Madame Bridges.” Worked her trick pony, Dove, and, as an equestrienne, made changes of clothing while riding. First husband was John B. Bridges, with whom she had a son,
John, Jr. After Bridges died, 1879, she married circus proprietor Andrew Gulig of Circo Americano, Brazil. New York Champs Elysees, 1866; Mike Lipman’s,
1867; G. G. Grady’s, 1868, 1872; George W. DeHaven’s, 1869; John W. Robinson’s (not “Old John”), 1870; tight-rope act, Chiarini’s, 1872; G. G. Grady’s, 1874; John Wilson’s, San Francisco, 1874; H. Harlan’s, 1875; Carlo Bros., South America, 1876-77; American Circus, South America, 1879.
BRIDGES, JOHN B. (1816?-December 13, 1879) Equestrian, clown. Husband of Amelia Bridges and father of John, Jr. and Amelia Carlo, wife of George
Carlo of the Carlo Brothers. New York Champs Elysees, 1866; Dan Castello’s, winter 1866-67; G. G. Grady’s, 1874; H. Harlan’s, 1875; Joel E. Warner’s, 1876; Carlo Bros.’, South America, 1876-77; American Circus, South America, 1879. Had property in St.
Charles, IL, where he was made a Freemason in Lodge No. 48. Died in South America, age 53.
BRIDGES, JOHN, JR. Son of Amelia and John B. Bridges. Equestrian with the American Circus (A. Guilig, G. Ravell, W. H. Franklin, proprietors), South America, 1879.
BRIG. GEN, SPEC. Mideget, advertised as 25 inches tall, Barnum’s, 1878.
BRIGGS, ADA. Fat lady, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.
BRISTOL, CHARLES. Agent. Responsible for bringing Frank Howes into the business, 1851.
BRISTOL, CLIFFORD. Son of D. M. Bristol. Agent, VanAmburgh’s, 1847.
BRISTOL, DE LOSS M. (d. May 11, 1926) Father of Clifford Bristol. Prof. Bristol’s Equescurriculum (horses and mules), 1885-91; Prescott’s Great Eastern, 1896. Died at home of his son, Exeter, age 78.
BRISTOL, PROF. Balloonist, W. W. Cole’s, 1875.
BRITTNER, W. P. Musical director, Mrs. Charles H. Warner’s, 1863-64.
BRITTON, A. T. String band leader, George W. DeHaven’s, 1865.
BROCK, FRED. Contortionist, E. O. Rogers’, 1891.
BROCK, HARRY. Clown, A. B. Rothcilds & Co., 1875.
BROCKWAY, LEVI J. Equestrian director, Beckett’s Great Exposition Circus, 1881.
BROKER, JOHNNY “MASTER”. Boy gymnast, Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1870.
BRONSON, GEORGE R. Agent. Sands & Howes, 1840; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1841; VanAmburgh & Co., southern tour, winter 1859-60, summer 1860; Mabie’s Menagerie, 1862, 1864; manager, Stone & Rosston, 1865; advertiser, Stone, Rosston & Murray, 1868; general agent, Montgomery Queen’s, 1874; railroad agent, Haight’s Great Eastern, 1874; Howes’s Great London, 1875; railroad contractor and general director, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1877; advance director, D. W. Stone’s, 1878; railroad contractor, Sells Bros.’, 1880. [Peter Sells: “George Bronson was another great agent. He was a splendid type of a man. Of extraordinary habits and great knowledge of the country, he commanded a large salary as a railroad contractor.”]
BROOKS, CHARLES H. Contracting agent, W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1884.
BROOKS, GEORGE. Minstrel, Alexander Robinson’s, 1875-76.
BROOKS, NELLIE. Sideshow performer, German, Irish, serio-comic and melodramic sketches, Barnum’s, 1877.
BROOKS, RICHARD [“Sailor Dick”]. Boss animal man, Burr Robbins’, 1879.
BROOKS, SILAS M. (d. April 7, 1906) Balloonist. Entered the entertainment business, 1848, when engaged by Barnum to form a Druid band; manufactured crude horn instruments and grotesque costumes and created a successful feature until over-shadowed by the Jenny Lind craze. Organized a circus featuring a balloon ascension. When Paulin, his aeronaut, was taken ill, Brooks donned his garb and made the ascension himself. Finding it to his liking, continued in that capacity, making himself a fortune. Died, however, in the poor house in Collinsville, CT.
BROOKS, T. Animal tamer. Quick, Sands & Co., Baltimore, 1833; VanAmburgh’s, 1847-49; G. C. Quick, 1850-51; Sands & Quick, 1852-53.
BROSELL, JOHN. Bill poster, Barnum’s, 1877, killed in the tragic wreck of the advertising car at Four Mile Creek, Iowa, that year, August 29, along with 11
BROTHERTON, FRANÇOIS. Wire-walker, juggler, balancer, tight-rope ascensionist and troupe of trained dogs, Cooper & Chapin, 1874.
BROTHERTON, CHARLES “MASTER”. Son of François Brotherton. Aerial suspensionist, Cooper & Chapin’s Circus and Menagerie, 1874.
BROTHWELL, CHARLES. One of P. T. Barnum’s “busy bees,” late 1870s.
BROWER, FRANCIS MARION [“Frank”]. (November 30, 1823-June 4, 1874) Clown, minstrel performer, actor. Born in Baltimore and grew to become a leading performer in negro minstrelsy, possessing a store of anecdotes, which he related in his own unique
style. [John A. Dingess: “In private life, he was a genial companion, engaging in his manners, and his conversation bristled with distinctive intellect.”] Spent much of his formative career in the circus business, including such engagements as juggler, Cincinnati
Circus, 1841; eastern unit, June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1842; Nathan A. Howes, winter 1842-43; Ogden & Hobby, 1842; Welch & Mann, 1845-46; Welch, Delavan & Nathans, 1847-48; R. Sands & Co., 1849; Robinson & Eldred, 1850; Johnson & Co., 1852; Wesley Barmore’s, 1854; Sands, Nathans & Co., 1854; Welch & Lent, 1856; Welch’s National Circus, winter 1856; Sands & Nathans, 1857. Married equestrienne Louisa Banks Brower. [T. Allston Brown:
“The appearance of Frank in the ring is the cue for mirth; and his jests, always chaste and original, are such as would make a stoic hold his sides. I have spent many an hour listening to the laughter-provoking jests of Uncle Frank and must confess that, as a clown, I think he has but few equals.”] Brower died in Philadelphia.
BROWER, LOUISA [formerly Louisa Howard, nee Banks]. Equestrienne wife of Frank Brower. Born in Baltimore, MD. Act consisted of leaping over high objects and darting through balloons and, it is said, with style and finish. Buckley & Weeks, 1834-35;
Boston Lion’s, 1836; J. J. Hall’s, 1837; Raymond & Waring, 1840; Welch & Mann, 1842-46; Welch’s, 1847-49; Risley & McCullum, England, 1851; Barmore’s, 1854; Sands, Nathans & Co., 1854; Welch & Lent, 1855-56; Welch’s National Circus, winter 1856; Sands & Nathans, 1857. Advertised as an “elegant equestrienne in her graceful horseback performance known as ‘The Venetian Carnival’.” [T. Allston Brown: “This celebrated and wonderful equestrienne
received a greater amount of sincere, unbought and enthusiastic applause than was ever awarded to any person who has attempted the daring and heroic art which she practiced. Her unrivaled grace and astounding daring have been themes of eulogium, astonishment and admiration in all of the more populous cities of Europe. She is the only equestrienne, who
ever graced this country, who rides with the daring and elegance taught only by the Parisian schools; and she is acknowledged to have no superior in any part of the world.”]
BROWN, BANDANA. Ethiopian entertainer. Great Western, 1846; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1847; Stone & McCollum, 1848.
BROWN, BENJAMIN. (1798-1842) Cousin of J. Purdy Brown. Born in Croton Falls, Westchester County, NY. In charge of caring for an elephent exhibited by Hackaliah Bailey and Edward Finch, 1820, a job he retained until at least 1823. Riding master, J. Purdy Brown’s, 1826, where he performed the horse Conqueror as well; managed a circus and menagerie, 1828; co-proprietor with brother, Herschel J. Brown, Royal Pavilion Circus/Olympic Circus, West Indies, 1829-30 (menagerie is said to have consisted
of “a few old, worn out animals”).
BROWN, C. F. Gymnast, tumbler, Joel E. Warner & Co., 1871.
BROWN, CHARLES P. Clown, Dan Rice’s, 1851; rider, gymnast, Spalding & Rogers, 1850-57; Burt & Robinson, 1858; Orton & Older’s Southern Circus, 1858-59; Great Railroad Circus, 1859; George W. DeHaven’s, 1860; Whitmore, Thompson & Co’s, 1865; clown, Burr Robbins’, 1875; John Forepaugh’s, California, 1888.
BROWN, CHRISTOPHER C. Brother of Ben Brown. Brown Bros.’, 1826-29. Drove the first elephant exhibited in the United States. Moved her from place to place at night and exhibited during the day in barns and outhouses at a shilling a head, children half
price. [Ben Brown: “My brother Christopher was the first man to put up a canvas....”]
BROWN, FANNY. Daughter of Thomas McFarland (r. n. William Brown). Acrobat, Ross & Carlo, 1865; left with John Wilson’s for the Southwest Pacific, September 1865. Married William Carlo, San Francisco, 1866. Chiarini’s, South and Central America,
1869; manège and pantomimist, Carlo Bros.’, South America, 1876.
BROWN, FRANK. English clown, equestrian. The son of Henry Brown, clown and circus proprietor. Montgomery Queen’s, 1874; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1880-81; Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881; Cantelli & Leons, Havana, Cuba, winter 1882-83.
BROWN, GEORGE W. (July 10, 1844-December 20, 1918) Gymnast, equestrian. Born in Reading, PA. Gardner & Hemmings, 1863-64; Robinson & Deery, 1864; Gardner & Hemmings, Philadelphia, winter 1865-66, and summer 1866; Dan Rice’s, 1867; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1867, 1869; Philadelphia Circus, winter 1867-68; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, fall
1869; Great Combination, 1871; J. W. Wilder’s, 1872; Warner & Henderson, 1874; Springer’s, 1875; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1882-83, 1884-85; Dockrill’s, South America, winter 1885-86; Tony Lowande’s, Havana, Cuba, fall 1893.
Highly rated forward tumbler, doing 8 or 10 in a swing. Between about 1869 and 1871, worked with Joseph Sanford as a gymnastic partner. Died at his home in Kansas City, MO.
BROWN, HERSCHEL J. (1803-1864) The brother of Ben Brown. Brown Bros.’, 1826-29; B. F. Brown & Co., 1830-32.
BROWN, JEFF. Minstrel performer, P. T. Barnum’s,
BROWN, JESS. Leaper, King & Franklin, 1887; proprietor, Brown’s, 1895.
BROWN, J. F. Sideshow privilege, Australian Circus, 1870.
BROWN, J. M. Agent. Committed suicide December 2, 1909, Columbus, OH, by drinking carbolic acid. Was about 55 years of age.
BROWN, JOSHUAH PURDY. (1802?-June 6, 1834) A native of Somers, Westchester County, NY. In 1825, was a partner with Lewis Bailey in a circus venture, his first season under canvas and one which marked the beginning of the use of tents for traveling
circuses. Stuart Thayer credits him with “Americanizing” the circus, initializing the wagon traveling show with its own portable theatre, making one-day stands. Moved his companies great distances and explored new territories; was the first to take a circus to Virginia, 1826; as early as 1828, moved up and down the Mississippi Valley to be the first circus to enter the then western area, where he set up companies in Natchez and New Orleans; continued the practice of the permanent circuses by featuring hippodramas under canvas; 1832, toured with a combined circus and menagerie (under the title of Brown’s Circus and Menagerie), one of the first to do so. Thayer correctly suggests that since Brown had his show on the road as early as 1825, the year the canvas tent was introduced
as a circus covering, and survived the vicissitudes of travel and competition, he must have been a practitioner of good management and of astute business choices.
BROWN, KATIE. Child equestrienne. 10 year old apprentice traveling on O’Brien’s circus when she was taken from the train at Frankford, PA, by the Society to Protect Children from Cruelty and returned to her mother, a Mrs. Coles, and sent back to school because she came under a new law that prevented the training of children under 16 years of age for public performances. In all probability she had been under the tutelage of Madame Louise Tourniaire.
BROWN, LOUISE. See Louise Tourniaire.
BROWN, MINNIE. Equestrienne and vocalist, Dan Rice’s, 1878.
BROWN, MOLLY [“Little Mollie”]. (May 17, 1860-January 9, 1924) Equestrienne. Born in Somerset County, NJ, the daughter of the famous equestrienne Mme. Louise Tournaire. Began a professional career at age 6, and as a child performer had remarkable
strength and endurance and was an outstanding pad and bareback rider. Credited with being the first woman to turn a somersault on a bare-backed horse from a standing position, 1873. Earliest reference was as Marie, L. B. Lent’s Equescurriculum, 1865; George W. DeHaven’s, 1866; S. O. Wheeler’s, 1867-68; S. P. Stickney’s, 1869; Campbell’s, 1870; Batcheller & Doris, 1870; Sheldenburger’s, 1871; John O’Brien’s, 1873; P. T. Barnum’s, 1873; Mongomery Queen’s, 1874-76; New National Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1877; D. W. Stone’s, 1878; P. T. Barnum’s, 1878; Batcheller & Doris, 1879-1880; Circus Royal, 1881; John V. O’Brien’s, 1883; O’Brien, Handenberger, Astley &
Lowanda, 1884. [Elmira, NY, Gazette, July 2, 1873: “Old and experienced circus riders consider it quite a feat to turn somersaults on a horse going at full speed but here is a young girl twelve years old, the only female who has the bravery and skill to accomplish it, performing the feat with an ease and grace that call forth the most enthusiastic applause.”] Was married clandestinely to Clarence W. Farrell, February, 1878,
who was for many years treasurer of Frank A. Robbins’ Shows. Second husband was James J. Files, non-professional. Died in Philadelphia, survived by 2 daughters, Louise and Viola.
BROWN, MRS. FRANK. See Addie Austin.
BROWN, OSCAR. (d. 1842) Brother of J. Purdy Brown. Took over the circus after J. Purdy died, 1834, and ran it from 1834 to 1837. Previously, had operated
Brown & Green’s Menagerie and Circus, 1832, in Ohio with partner J. B. Green; had the circus out, 1835, under the title Brown’s Mammoth Arena Circus Co.; which was sold to Fogg & Stickney at end of the 1837 season, terminating a 13 year career in management, which generally established a pattern of opening in New Orleans, moving north in the spring and south in the fall.
BROWN, S. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1871.
BROWN, S. E. Proprietor, Major Brown’s Mammoth
BROWN, T. ALLSTON “COL.” (January 16, 1836-April 2, 1918) Known as the antiquarian of the theatrical world, few men in America had a broader or more comprehensive knowledge of American amusements and their representatives. Perhaps the most underrated amusement historian of the 19th century, although his interest in factual material nullified an eloquence of style. Where others were primarily interested in the “higher drama,” Brown concerned himself with a broader stage; and where others identified themselves with their immediate theatrical provinces, Brown kept no provincial borders. Varied experiences in the theatrical profession as literary correspondent, publisher, editor, business agent, advance man, circus treasurer, theatre manager, and talent agent supplied him with an
intimate understanding of the business and its people, and the mobility required by the nature of his various employments allowed him to collect material from the innumerable cities he visited. [M. B. Leavitt: “Col. T. Allston Brown was the first agent of his time and the recognized historian of the American stage. A resumé of stage history and life of its people would not be complete without due reference to Col. Brown, for no man in all America has a broader or more comprehensive knowledge of the American stage and its representatives.”] Born in Newburyport, MA. Grandfather was the Rev. Charles William Milton, who was the minister in one church in that town 42 years. 1852, removed to Philadelphia and in September, 1855, became the Philadelphia correspondent of the New York
Clipper, being known as “Young Rapid.” April, 1858, founded a dramatic paper, The Tattler, which later changed its name to The Philadelphian. Shortly after,
was connected with the dramatic department of Col. Fitzgerald’s City Item. May, 1860, began the publication of a series of dramatic articles for The New York
Programme. His “A Complete History of the Amphitheatre and Circus” was first serialized in the theatrical columns of the New York Clipper in eight installments, running from December 22, 1860, through February 9, 1861. Contributed three other historical series to the pages of the Clipper - A “History of the American Stage,” ran in seventeen installments from July 28 through November 17, 1860; another and far
more lengthy theatrical record began in March of 1888 as “The Theatre in America,” described as “Its Rise and Its Progress During a Period of 156 Years, A Succinct History of Our First and Famous Plays and Playhouses, Opening Bills, Casts of Characters, Distinguished Actors and Actresses, Notable Debuts, Deaths, Fires, Etc., Etc”, which served as the foundation for a work that was published in 1903, a detailed, three volume A History of the New York Stage from the First Performance in 1732 to 1901, reissued in 1964; the “Early History of Negro Minstrelsy,” a painstaking documentation of
“it’s rise and progress in the United States,” was carried by the Clipper in 59 installments, beginning in the anniversary issue of February 17, 1912, and ending on
March 8, 1914, being the most complete record of minstrelsy yet assembled. A book, also called History of the American Stage, was first published in 1870 and was reissued in 1969, containing biographical sketches of members of the profession that appeared on the American stage from 1733 to 1870. The totality of these works, added to his years of contributions to the pages of the New York Clipper, establishes him as a leading historian of American amusements. In January, 1860, first entered the theatrical business, going in advance of the Cooper English Opera Co.; December of that year, treasurer, Gardner & Madigan’s Circus; treasurer, H. P. Madigan’s, summer 1861. While at the
Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, M. Blondin, the rope walker, was one of the attractions, whose main act was to ascend on a rope with a man on his back, from the
stage to the upper gallery, one hundred feet above the parquet seats. At one performance the man to go on Blondin’s back failed to materialize at the critical moment, and to save the act Brown volunteered and made the ascension, for which act of bravery the entire
press of Baltimore announced him as “Colonel” T. Allston Brown, a title that has clung to him ever since. Was business manager for Isabella Cubas, Spanish danseuse and pantomimist, winter 1862; Dan Rice’s, 1862, afterwards with Tom King’s, Baltimore and
Washington. When James M. Nixon opened the Cremorne Gardens on Fourteenth Street that year, Col. Brown was engaged as business manager; after the Garden closing, October 9, the circus part of the show went to Washington for the winter and Col. Brown accompanied it. February, 1863, agent, Hart & Simmons’ Minstrels; writer, Thayer & Noyes, summer
1863; fall 1863, became dramatic editor of the New York Clipper and published a showman’s guide the same year; April, 1870, resigned from the Clipper to establish a dramatic agency; manager of Theatre Comique (Broadway near Spring Street) after retiring temporarily from the agency business in March, 1877, and transferring his interest to his brother, J. Alexander Brown; went on the road with Boucicault’s Shaugbraun, returning to the agency business in January, 1878; September 1882, manager, Hanion Brothers [sic Hanlon] in Le Voyage En Suisse, he having engaged them in
Europe for an American tour of three years; manager, Marie Aimee; then a tour with Mrs. Gen. Tom Thumb; next with Charles Arnold in Hans the Boatman. Died in Philadelphia, age 82.
BROWN, TOM. Master of transportation, Cook & Whitby’s, 1892.
BROWN, W. C. Leader of string band, G. F. Bailey & Co., 1861.
BRUNSTADT. Great Norwegian Giant. Bunnell’s Museum, 1881; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.
BRYAN, W. T. Proprietor, Bryan & Williams, 1894.
BRYANT, JAMES. Acrobat, Buckley, Weeks & Co., 1835; Boston Lion Circus, 1836; New Jersey Circus, 1845; Great Empire Circus, 1846; Robinson & Eldred, 1847.
BRYANT, RUFUS. Trapeze performer, Great London Pavilion Show, 1876.
BRYANT, WILLIAM T. Performer, Pinafore Concert Co., Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879.
BUCHANAN, ROBERT. Boss canvasman, John Robinson’s, 1869-70.
BUCHANAN, CHARLES. Spalding & Rogers, November 1863.
BUCKLEY, DANIEL. Thayer & Noyes, 1865. Was thrown out of a bill wagon going down a steep hill in Maryland and suffered a broken leg. Presumably it was amputated.
BUCKLEY, EDWARD G. (September 16, 1836-March 30, 1892) Rider. Son of Matthew and Marianne Buckley, brother of Henry, Page and Laura. Started as rider with Mabie Bros.’ at 15 and after 14 years with them, traveled with Harry Buckley’s, Buckley-Babcock’s, Coup-Castello’s, Buckley’s Roman Hippodrome, Buckley-Colvin and Castello’s Centennial Circus; also Stickney & Buckley, 1844; S. P. Stickney’s, 1845; Howes & Mabie, 1846; E. F. Mabie’s, 1847-48; ringmaster, Buckley & Co., 1857;
assistant manager, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871; concert privilege, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872; concert, candy stand and reserve seat privileges, Burr Robbins’, 1877; press agent, Burr Robbins’, 1885; William C. Coup’s Equescurriculum and Indian Exhibition. Married Helen Gaskell; 3 children from the union - Matthew, James, Harriet. Active in circus business for 50 years. Died of pneumonia in Chicago.
BUCKLEY, GEORGE. (d. 1865) Acrobat. Was a pupil of William Harrington. Palmer & Harrington, 1834; Bancker & Harrington, 1835; J. W. Bancker’s, 1836; Brown & Co., 1837; A. Hunt & Co., 1838; Raymond’s menagerie and circus, 1839; Raymond & Waring, Philadelphia, 1840; eastern unit of June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1841; Welch & Mann’s, winter 1841; R. Sands, United Kingdom, 1842, 1845; VanAmburgh’s, 1844; United Kingdon to South Africa, with Franklin, 1860. Died in Lucknow, India, 1865.
BUCKLEY, HARRY. (March 1, 1829-September 8, 1884) Son of Matthew and Marianne Buckley and the brother of Edward and Page. Became an accomplished violinist. Over six-feet tall, weighing over 200 pounds, was large for a principal rider. 4-horse rider, Mabie Bros.’, at age of 12; Boston Lion Circus (Raymond & Weeks, proprietors), 1836-37; S. H. Nichols’, 1839, 1842; S. P. Stickney’s, 1845; Howes & Mabie, 1846; E. F. Mabie’s, 1847-51; manager, H. Buckley & Co.’s National Circus, organized in Delavan, WI, 1857; 1858, took out the Buckley-Babcock North American Circus, which was on the road for 2 years without a break, ending up in the Carribbean aboard a
sailing vessel; Mabie’s Menagerie and Nathans’ Circus, 1861; sideshow privilege (with W. C. Coup) Mabie’s, 1863; sideshow privilege (with Billy Cook), Yankee Robinson’s, 1867; P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-72; concert privileges, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-73; returned to Delavan, WI, and organized the Roman Hippodrome which had a $3000 daily expense and 1000 on the payroll—playing without a big top, only at fair-grounds, at first, but later acquired a tent; menagerie manager, Dan Rice’s, 1877, manager, 1878. Later in
life owned a hardware store in Delavan, WI, and, with W. C. Coup, built the first cheese factory in that state. Moved to Chicago, 1882, and died there 2 years later.
BUCKLEY, JAMES. (?-1849) Rider. Harrington’s, 1832; Palmer & Harrington, 1834; Bancker & Harrington, 1835-36; Brown & Co., 1836; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., Bowery Amphitheatre, 1840; A. Hunt & Co., 1838; eastern unit of June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1841; VanAmburgh’s, England, 1844; Richard Sands’, England, 1845; Robinson & Eldred,
1847; Stickney’s Grand National, 1848. Died in New Albany, IN, of cholera.
BUCKLEY, JAMES PAGE. (October 3, 1848-February 11, 1918) Born in Missouri, youngest son of Matthew and Marianne Buckley and brother of Edward and Harry. Cookhouse manager, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872; manager, W. C. Coup’s, 1893; equestrian director, Coup & Dice, 1894; co-proprietor, W. C. Coup’s Educated Horses, 1896; F. J. Gentry’s, 1896; proprietor, Page Buckley’s Dog, Horse and Pony Show, 1898. Died at New Lisbon, WI.
BUCKLEY, LAURA. (November 23, 1833-October 1917) Born in Philadelphia. Daughter of Matthew and Marianne Buckley and sister of Harry, Ed, and
Page. Debut, Buckley, Hopkins, 1838; Buckley, Hopkins, Tufts, 1839; Buckley & Stickney’s, 1844; S. P. Stickney’s, 1845; Howes & Mabie, 1846; E. F. Mabie’s, 1847-48. Retirement came, 1850, with marriage to Edmund Foster Mabie. Married Orlando
Crosby, December 5, 1870, at Delavan, WI. Died in Elroy, WI.
BUCKLEY, MARIANNE. (1802-1877) The wife of Matthew Buckley and mother of Edward, Henry, Page and Laura; a performer until 1839. Boston Lion Circus (Raymond & Weeks, proprietors), 1836.
BUCKLEY, MATTHEW B. (June 15, 1800-February 28, 1897) Rider, general performer, showman, the “grandfather” of the Delavan, WI, circus colony. The father of Harry, Edward and Page Buckley. Born in London, England, came to USA,
1826; had a long and distinguished career, performing skillfully as a rider, slack-rope performer, pantomimist, dancer, musician and still vaulter. A quiet, genteel man, as effective on the stage as in the arena; began as a youthful clown and rider at English fairs; at a still early age, apprenticed as a rider to manager Astley of Astley’s Amphitheatre, London, 1811. Price & Simpson brought him to America, where he made
his debut at the Lafayette Amphitheatre, NYC, June 27. Headed his own company, 1828, which he continued intermittantly. Harrington & Buckley, 1830; John Lamb’s, 1831; Fogg & Stickney, 1832. Purchased a small show from John Lindsey and Nathan Miller,
1833, calling it Buckley & Co.; following year, was out under the name of Buckley & Weeks, lasting 3 seasons. Boston Lion Circus (Raymond & Weeks, proprietors), 1836-37; co-proprietor with Henry Rockwell and H. Hopkins in a circus enterprise,
Buckley, Rockwell, Hopkins & Co., 1838; S. H. Nichols’, 1839; Raymond & Waring, 1839; S. P. Stickney’s partner in a venture, 1840; joined S. P. Stickney’s New Orleans Circus, 1844, and by August of that year was a partner in the company; equestrian manager, S. P. Stickney’s, 1845; clown and rider, Howes & Mabie, 1846; ringmaster, E. F. Mabie’s,
1847-48. Retired from circus life to Delavan, WI, 1854; co-owner H. Buckley & Co., 1857. On 90th birthday amazed Delavanites by doing a backsomersault in the business district. Died at his home, age 97.
BUCKLEY, SOPHIA. Equestrienne, singer, Palmer’s Circus and Gymnastic Arena, 1835; Palmer’s Pavilion Circus, 1836.
BUELL, ASA. Elephant trainer, John Robinson’s, 1868; boss animal man, John Robinson’s, 1874-75.
BUGBEE, D. Agent, Spalding & Rogers, 1851.
BUISLAY, AUGUST. (1847?-November 19, 1911), acrobat, parachutist, was the most prominent. When the first gas filled balloons came into vogue, the intrepid trapeze performer, began making ascensions, parachuting from the floating balloon. Was a partner
with David R. Hawley of the gymnastic team of Buislay & Hawley in the early 1880s. August died in San Francisco, age 64. Mme. Martha (Mrs. August Buislay) manège performer, was described as “the most remarkable leaper over high gates under saddle in
America.” Arrived from Mexico, 1865. John Wilson’s, San Francisco, 1865; Lee & Ryland, California, 1866; Great European, 1868. Julio listed with Courtney & Sanford’s, Lima, Peru, fall 1870. August (with Hawley), Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82; Leon & Dockrill, Iron Amphitheatre, Havana, winter 1881-82; gymnast and trapeze performer, Orrin Bros.’, 1882-83; trapeze artist, Burr Robbins’, 1884; bar performer,
Robinson’s, California (Frank Frost, manager), 1886. Hortense Buislay married Eduardo Codona; marriage produced a daughter, Victoria, and sons Alfredo and Lalo, aerialists.
BUISLAY FAMILY [August, Adolphe Martha, Julio, Etienne, Grenet, Justin, Master Joaquin, Mlle. Luisa]. French athletes, gymnasts and trapeze performers. Came to California from France and started a small, one-ring circus. As gymnasts and antipodean artists, featured feats of the “Spiral Mountain” and the “Niagara Leap.”
BULOID, MASTER. Juvenile rider, Seth B. Howes’ United States circus, 1848.
BUNGAREE. Fire eater, first time in America, Melville, Maginley & Cooke’s Circus, 1875.
BUNNELL, GEORGE B. (d. May 3, 1911) Museum and sideshow proprietor. Born in Southport, CT. Brothers John and Samuel were also in the sideshow
business. Sideshow, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-72; ass’t manager, 1873; asst’t manager, P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1875; Palace of Wonders privilege, P. T. Barnum, 1876; sideshow proprietor, P. T. Barnum’s, 1879. Proprietor, New American Museum during the late 1870s and 1880s; proprietor, Bunnell’s Museum, Broadway and Ninth Street, NYC. Died age
BURDEAU, HENRY. Gymnast, clown, and stilt performer. Various times a partner of Charles S. Burrows and W. F. Hogle. Rivers & Derious, 1856-59; Bowery Amphitheatre, 1857-58; R. Sands’, 1860-62; Spalding & Rogers, South America, 1862; Robinson & Howes, 1863; Robinson & Howes, 1864; George W. DeHaven’s, 1865; Haight & Chambers, 1866-67; (with Charles S. Burrows) Cooke’s, Philadelphia, January 1868; (with Burrows) Bryan’s, 1869; (with Hogle) comic stilt act, Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1870; (with Burrows) James Robinson’s, 1870. Formed a partnership with W. F. Hogle and Dr. James L. Thayer for the tenting season of 1870. (with Hogle) Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, winter 1870-71; G. G. Grady’s, 1871; (with Burrows) Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872; John H. Murray, 1873; Haight’s Great
Eastern, 1874; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1876; New York Central Park Circus, 1877; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879; Batcheller & Doris, 1880; Welsh & Sands, post-season 1880; VanAmburg & Co., 1883. Married Jeanette Armstrong, equestrienne, Philadelphia, October 31, 1872. Both had been members of Adam Forepaugh’s the prior season.
BURDEAU, JEANETTE. See Jeanette Armstrong.
BURDETT, CHARLES “MAJOR”. (1850?-May 25, 1882) Dwarf. Born in Cumberland, MD. Twin
brother of Fannie Burdett, also a dwarf. First exhibited, 1872; P. T. Barnum’s, 1874; W. W. Cole’s, 1878-79; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1880-82. Died in Pontiac, MI, age 32.
BURDETT, FANNIE. Dwarf, sister of Major Burdett. P. T. Barnum’s, 1874.
BURDICK, A. D. For some years private groom of Mme. Dockrill after she first came over to this country from Europe.
BURDICK, EPHRAIM H. Proprietor, Burdick & Main, 1879. Don Allen purchased William Main’s interest, 1880, making Burdick & Allen.
BURGESS, JOSHUAH. Proprietor, Burgess’ Menagerie, 1832; sideshow manager, Zoological Institute, Boston, 1836; collection of birds and reptiles, Macomber, Welch & Co.’s touring the Maritimes, 1836. Went down with the sinking of the Royal Tar that
BURGESS, SAM. Proprietor, Sam Burgess’ American Circus, 1850.
BURGESS, TOM. Clown and comic singer. Dan Rice’s, 1851-52; Levi J. North’s, 1859; George W. DeHaven’s, 1860; Castello & VanVleck, 1863-64; DeHaven & Co., 1865; Palmer’s Great Western, 1865; Dan Castello & Co., 1866; Perry Powers’, 1867; Haight & Chambers, 1867.
BURK, E. Assistant master of transportation, W. W. Cole’s, 1885.
BURK, NETTIE. (d. July 2, 1932) Feature equestrienne attraction. The daughter of a horse breeder; learned to ride on her father’s farm in Stony Fort, NJ. Entered the ring around 1860 with a small circus traveling out of NYC. From this, attracted the attention of Adam Forepaugh, who signed her for a season. Barnum then took her away from Forepaugh. She toured Europe and all the foreign capitals. Later, organized her own act which included horses, trained dogs and a clown. Fell in love with a bartender by the name of Jackson, married him and dropped out of show business. After Jackson’s death, worked at various jobs until she was 68, hiding her identity. When friends
found her destitute, they enlisted the aid of the Actors Fund to care for her. Died in NYC, age 90.
BURK, SEARGENT. Champion lightning drill of the world, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
BURK, T. K. (1853-August 24, 1893) Treasurer, King, Burk & Co. New Railroad Shows, 1883-87; T. K. Burk’s Equine College, 1889; T. K. Burk’s Railroad Circus, 1890-92. Died, age 40, at the home of his sister (Mrs. John Miller), Peru, IN. Buried Paw Paw,
BURK, TOM. Candy privilege (with Frank Ketchum), Great Western, 1876.
BURKE, ED. Equestrian director, Bruce L. Baldwin’s, 1894.
BURKE, ELI. Trapeze, Hyatt & Co., 1859; Great Railroad Circus (McCorkle), 1859.
BURKE, ELLA. L. B. Lent’s, 1859-60.
BURKE, HARRY. Treasurer, George W. Richard’s, 1887.
BURKE, L. NICHOLAS. Clown, L. B. Lent’s, 1862.
BURKE, SERGEANT. Zouave drillist. Sideshow, P. T. Barnum’s, 1875.
BURKE, THOMAS EWING. (d. March 22, 1926) Brother of Billy Burke and an uncle of Billie Burke the actress. Died of a stroke in Fredericktown, OH.
BURKE, TONY. Orator, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.
BURKE, WILLIAM ETHELBERT [“Billy”]. (October 23, 1845-October 5, 1906) Clown, who sang comic songs and tumbled. Father of Billie Burke, the actress. Agent Charles Day described him as a happy-go-lucky, genial individual. Born at Waterford, Knox
County, Ohio. His father arranged for him to become druggist apprentice to S. S. Tuttle of Frederickton, Ohio. Next became a drygoods clerk in Pittsburgh. But soon abandoned that for performing as end man with Tumble’s Varieties. This was cut short when at only 16 he joined the Union army, with which he was involved in 6 major battles before being seriously wounded in the Battle of Arkansas Post and given an honorable discharge. However, during his Army days he was extremely popular because of his comical songs and jokes about the daily life of a Civil War soldier. After the war, engaged for a short stint with a minstrel troupe, 1865, which did not last long. Joined James M. Nixon’s circus company, which, after a brief southern tour, set sail for Galveston, TX. The ship
encountered a severe storm and was all but destroyed. Burke was picked up by the United States steamship, South Carolina and landed at New Orleans. There, joined Thayer and Noyes playing up the Red River on the steamer Ida May. Unluckily, a storm wrecked this vessel, although Burke escaped with only the loss of his wardrobe. Thayer & Noyes’ Circus, 1866; Mike Lipman’s, winter 1866-67; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, fall 1869; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1870, 1877, 1879-81, 1887, 1893; James Robinson’s, 1870-72; DeHaven & Stokes, 1873; Montgomery Queen’s, 1873-75; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1876; Den W. Stone’s, 1878; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82; with clown elephant “Sidney,” Sells Bros.’, 1885-86 [ Salina, KA, Republican: “Billy Burke, of the Sells Brothers’ Shows, is an old soldier, but none of his jokes are. That accounts for his successful drilling of ‘Sid.’”]. Great Eastern, 1889; Barnum & Bailey, 1895; Rice’s, 1896. [D. W. Watt: “His assumed air of deference to the ringmaster and his slyness in ‘taking a rise’
out of him, his injured innocence when caught with the penny whistle concealed in his capacious pockets, his gusto in singing the regulation ‘clown song,’ which constitutes one of the performance, his condescension in holding up the paper hoops and banners while assisting at the graceful equestrienne acts of Mme. Dockrill and Miss Daisy Belmont, his undisguised admiration for those charming ladies, expressed in eloquent pantomime that which had to be seen to be appreciated.”] One of the greatest vocal
jesters of the tented world died in England.
BURKE, W. S. Proprietor, Burke’s, 1895.
BURKO, BILLY. Pantomime clown, Dan Rice’s Paris Pavilion, 1871-72.
BURNELL, GEORGE. Sideshow operator. Sands’ & Co., 1863; Seth B. Howe’s European, 1867.
BURNES, EDWARD “CHIP.” (1850?-October 13, 1883) Lecturer. Began his career, 1866, L. B. Lent’s, Barnum’s, Forepaugh’s and other circus enterprises. Last engagement, Windsor Museum, Bowery, NYC. Died in that city, age 33.
BURNISH, BENJAMIN. Acrobat, rider. Lamb & Co.’s American Amphitheatre, winter 1839; Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1840; rider, June, Titus, Angevine & Co., western unit, 1841; rider, Dan Rice’s, 1848-49; Stoke’s, 1850-51; Washburn’s, 1855-56; Nixon & Sloat, 1860.
BURNISH, W. E. Scenic rider, Dan Rice’s, 1849.
BURNS. Lion tamer, DeMott & Ward’s, 1868.
BURNS, BARNEY. Rider and clown, Joseph D. Palmer’s, 1835-36.
BURNS, ORNEY. Broke his neck in Cincinnati, OH, from a vaulting board, 1838, and died 4 days later.
BURNS, THOMAS. Robinson & Howes, 1863.
BURR, WILLIAM. Bonist, minstrel troupe, Gardner & Hemmings, 1863.
BURRELL, W. Mabie’s, 1860.
BURROUGHS, DR. Imported a 3 year old rhinoceros into Philadelphia, fall 1830, the second of its kind to appear in this country. The animal was exhibited at that time with Raymond & Ogden’s menagerie.
BURROUGHS, WATKINS. Equestrian. Born in England. Made his stage debut at the Surrey Theatre, London. First appearance in America, 1825, Park Theatre, NYC, as Harry Dornton in The Road To Ruin. Stage manager, Lafayette Amphitheatre, NYC, where circus performances and horse dramas were given. Price & Simpson’s, Washington Amphitheatre, Boston, 1826; rider, Yeaman’s, 1831; J. T. and J. B. Bailey’s, 1834. Eventually returned to England.
BURROWS, CHARLES S. [or Burroughs]. (d. April 17, 1901) Gymnast, acrobat and stilt performer. Worked with various partners - Whitney, Burdeau, Keefe, Kelley. At one time, trapeze act consisted of balancing on ladders, chairs, etc., while the trapeze was swinging. Levi J North’s (with Whitney), 1860; Castello & VanVleck (with Kelley), 1863-64; Howes & Norton (formerly Robinson & Howes), 1864; James R. Cooke’s (with Keefe), winter 1864-65; split troupe from the Thayer & Noyes organization, under the management of Dr. Thayer, that moved by steamboat along the tributaries of the Mississippi (with Kelley), 1865; Thayer & Noyes (with Kelley), 1866; Haight & Chambers (with Burdeau), 1867; Cooke’s (with Burdeau), Philadelphia, 1868; Bryan’s (with Burdeau), 1869; Dr. James L. Thayer’s (with Burdeau), 1869; James Robinson’s (with Burdeau), winter 1869-70; Campbell’s (with Burdeau), 1870; Rosston, Springer & Henderson (with Burdeau), 1871; Adam Forepaugh’s (with Burdeau), 1872; Montgomery Queen’s, (with Burdeau), 1873-74; ladder of glass, Montgomery Queen’s, 1875; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1876; Great International Circus, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77; D. W. Stone’s, 1878. Kept a tavern on Ninth & Arch Streets, Philadelphia, beginning around 1879. [Charles H. Day: “Burrows always was a conniver, as long ago as he was committee on hay and oats with Forepaugh.
He managed to save some money and after the Den Stone show ceased traveling at Chicago, while George Bronson went home to Kansas to see the hogs and other members of his family, Burrows concluded to get out of the sawdust and make dust. Since then he has, as they say in the Quaker City, been ‘keeping tavern.’ Right well has the tavern kept Burrows....
There is one peculiarity at Burrows - he has no slate. Trust died before C. S. opened shop.... But when it comes to a bit of sensible charity, ‘Cucumber,’ as the boys call him, will put his hand in his pocket and produce his full share.”] Died in Philadelphia after ten years of retirement.
BURROWS, WILLIAM P. Treasurer, Clayton & Bartlett’s New York Pavilion Circus, 1844. Show lasted only a season.
BURSLEM. Clown, West’s circus, 1821. Sang such songs as “London Sights,” “Barney, Leave the Girls Alone” and “The Dandies of 1821.”
BURT, A. S. Agent. Yankee Robinson’s, 1853-59; Great European, 1865; Lake’s, 1867; advertising agent, Yankee Robinson’s, 1868; contracting agent, Ben Maginley’s, 1874; Thayer & Noyes, 1877; general agent, VanAmburgh & Co., winter 1877-78.
BURT, F. Light and heavy balancing, Albert Hose’s, 1893.
BURT, JAMES. Acrobat and clown. J. B. Green & Co., 1833; Green & Brown, 1834; Bacon & Derious, 1838; trick clown, Spalding & Rogers, 1856; Slaymaker & Nichols, 1864. Retired to keeping a cigar store in Philadelphia.
BURT, SAM “LE JEUNE” [or Burte]. Vaulting rider, Stone & McCollum, 1849-50; hurdle racer, Spalding & Rogers, 1851-52; Crystal Amphitheatre, 1853, 1856; Nathans & Co., 1857; George F. Bailey & Co., 1859, 1862; First National Union Circus (combination of Nixon’s Royal Circus and Sloat’s New York Circus), 1861; L. B. Lent’s, 1861; Chiarini’s, 1861; G.
F. Bailey & Co., 1860, 1862-64; bareback rider, G. F. Bailey & Co., New Orleans, winter 1863-64 (this being the first equestrian exhibition in that city in 3 years); Slaymaker & Nichols, 1864; bareback rider, Stone & Rosston, 1865; George W. DeHaven’s, 1866; Stone, Rosston & Murray, Baltimore, winter 1866-67, 1867; bareback rider, Cooke’s Circus, Philadelphia, winter 1867-68; Stone & Murray, 1868-69; Great European, 1870; bareback, hurdle and somersault rider, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872; James W. Wilder & Co., 1873; Pete Conklin’s, 1873; John Robinson’s, 1876.
BURT, NELLIE. James W. Wilder & Co., 1873. May be the wife of Le Jeune Burt.
BURT, WILLIAM: Corde volante. Stone, Rosston & Co., 1866; Den Stone’s, 1873; Great International, Offenbach Garden, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77.
BURT, W. J. Agent, John Robinson’s circus, 1882.
BURTAH, ANDY. Contortionist, Main & Sargeant, 1891.
BURTIS, ISAAC. Proprietor, Military Garden, Brooklyn, 1843. Interest in Clayton & Bartlett’s Circus, 1844; interest in Howes & Mabie, 1845-48.
BURTON BROTHERS [Clarence, Tony]. Acrobats and trapeze performers, Alexander Robinson’s, 1875. Clarence was with Robinson, 1870-77. The Three Burton’s, ladder act, brother act, Main & Sargeant, 1891.
BURTON, JACOB. Equestrian. Bancker’s New York Circus, 1824; West’s, 1825; McCracken’s, 1825-26; Parson’s (Samuel McCracken, manager), Albany, NY, 1826; Samuel Parsons’ Albany Circus (Simon V. Wemple, manager), Troy, NY, 1828. Was a native of Albany. Joined the army and died in Florida.
BUSBY, MEROE. Female race rider, P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1875.
BUSHNELL, DAN. Slack-wire, Burr Robbins’, 1876.
BUSHNELL, G. W. Proprietor, Bushnell & Costello, 1876. May have been the Bushnell below.
BUSHNELL, PROF. Rider and general performer. Entered the ring, 1853. 1857, met with an accident, a horse throwing up his head as he was vaulting over it and striking him a hard blow, from the effects of which was 18 months in recovering. With his wife, revived the celebrated feat of William Tell, as he was able to throw a knife with such accuracy as to cleave an apple in two upon her head. Dan Rice’s, 1862; slack-wire and impalement, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
BUTLER. Keeper, Purdy, Welch, Macomber & Co.’s menagerie, 1834.
BUTLER, AMELIA. Female clown, Nixon & Kemp, 1858.
BUTLER, FRANK [r. n. Frank Bean]. (d. December 18, 1882) Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882. At the end of the season, while performing in Little Rock, AR, stricken with malaria. Died at his home, Georgetown, MA.
BUTLER, FRANK E. (d. November 22, 1922) Marksman. Husband of Annie Oakley. Married her when she was 16 after having lost to her in a shooting competition. James T. Johnson’s, 1883; Sells Bros.’, 1884; Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, 1885. At times
worked as a team: Butler & Baughman; Butler, Graham and Butler; Butler and Oakley. Died, age 76, in Ferndale, MI.
BUTLER, JOHN. Strong man, Flagg & Aymar’s,
BUTLER, L. G. Proprietor, L. G. Butler’s, 1853-55; Butler’s Great Western, 1856.
BUTLER, ROBERT. Singing and pantomime clown. Nixon & Kemp, 1858; New American Theatre, Philadelphia, December 1865; E. G. Smith’s National Pantomime Troupe, NYC, in a comic pantomime of the “Black Crook,” 1867; J. W. Wilder’s, 1872; concert director, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879; Circus Royal, 1882.
BUTLER, STEPHEN. Showman. Born around 1801. Native of Onondago, NY. Leased the Raymond & Weeks menagerie, 1834. This included the great war elephant Hannibal. By
January of the following year the show was operating with the title of Butler, Bancker & Co. Retired from the menagerie business that year.
BUTLER, W. D. Director of aquarium, W. C. Coup’ New United Monster Show, 1879.
BUTTERS, ARTHUR. Band leader, Bruce L. Baldwin’s, 1894.
BYETTE, THOMAS. Monkey rider and gymnast, Alexander Robinson’s, 1875.
BYRNES, BARNEY. Known from Quebec to New Orleans as a job actor. First sang “Long-Tail Blue” and “Sich a Getting Up Stair,” written and composed by Joe Blackburn. Very eccentric and talented. Originated many of the best “gags” still popular with his successors. With Bancker’s, 1824; William Harrington’s, 1831-32; Howes & Sands, 1834; vaulter, Palmer & Harrington, 1834; Palmer’s, 1835; Bancker & Harrington, 1835; Brown & Co., 1836; winter circus at Richmond Hill, NYC, 1837; negro minstrel, E. C. Yale & Co., 1840; assistant ringmaster, Welch & Mann, 1841; Bartlett & Delavan, 1841.
BYRNES, MASSA. Negro ditties, Howes & Mabie,
BYRON BROTHERS. Double trapeze, Howes & Sanger, 1872.
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