Circus Historical Society
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A biographical dictionary of the ninteenth century American circus
Da - De
Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout
Copyright © 2005 by William L. Slout. All rights reserved.
DABELLA, H. D. Contracting agent, H. C. Lee’s Great Eastern, winter 1877-78.
D’ALMA FAMILY [Lottie, Bessie, Harry, Maude, John, Millie]. Acrobats. Composed of Lottie on the slack-wire, Harry doing outside ascensions, Maude equestrienne and rolling globes, and John exhibiting feats of strength. The family was with Pullman, Mack & Co., 1884; John Robinson’s, 1884, 1887-91; King, Burk & Co., 1885; Walter L. Main’s, 1886. Madame D’Alma was an aerialist with Doris & Colvin, 1887. John, Harry, Bessie, Maude, Millie and Lottie were with Gregory & D’Alma, 1889; Millie with L. J. Duchack’s, 1889; Maude, bareback rider with Walter L. Main’s, 1899; Madame D’Alma, trapeze performer with Frank A. Robbins’, 1886, was married to the boss hostler, John O’Griffin on September 7, 1886. Harry D’Alma, born in Clearfield, PA, the son of John and Lottie D’Alma, and brought up in the circus profession, was at various times connected with Main & Sargeant, L. W. Washburn’s, Walter L. Main’s, John Robinson’s, Gregory & D’Alma, Hall & McFlinn, Sells & Rentfrow, Great Syndicate Shows, and Circo Chiarini. At the time of death was performing with the Circo Escoces. Died in Guatemala City, Central America, from consumption, age 22. John, acrobat, died in Chicago, May 16, 1922, age 70. Had a successful dog and pony show on the road for 10 or more years. Became a competent animal trainer in later years.
D’ARLEY, G. W. Proprietor, D’Arley’s, 1886.
DARLING, CHARLES. Advertising agent, Harper Bros.’ European, 1893.
DARTELL BROTHERS. Aerialists, Gollmar Bros.’, 1892.
D’ATALIE, ADELAID (ADDIE AUSTIN). Principal rider, W. W. Cole’s, 1881-82.
D’ATALIE, ANGELA “MME. D’ATALIE”. (d. May 23, 1891) Iron-jawed woman, billed as “the Female Sampson.” First husband, Mons. D’Atalie, was a French athlete. Philadelphia Circus, corner of Tenth and Callowhill Streets, winter 1870-71; John V. O’Brien’s, 1871; John Robinson’s, 1872; Kleckner & Co., 1872; chariot driver and iron-jaw performer, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873; P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1874-75; female Samson, Montgomery Queen’s, 1875. The D’Atalies performed with two children who, in 1872, were designated as Young Zephyr, who did an act called “The Enchanted Glasses” and, Tout Petit, a little clown. These boys had been taken from a poor house and trained. After the death of Mons. D’Atalie on the Barnum show, 1873, she married the clown, Nat Austin, May 11, 1876, both being on Mongomery Queen’s, California. Was with Cooper, Bailey & Co. when they left for their tour of Australia on November 8, 1876 (assisted by pupils Addie and Eugene), and remained with the show into 1880s. Said to be a most amiable woman and well educated. See Mons. D’Atalie.
D’ATALIE, FRANCIS. Acrobat, Montgomery Queen’s, 1876. Most likely, the adopted son of Mme. and Mons. D’Atalie. See above.
D’ATALIE, JOE. Acrobat, Montgomery Queen’s, 1876. Most likely, abopted the son of Mme. and Mons. D’Atalie. See above.
D’ATALIE, MONS. (1842-May 19, 1873) French athlete and iron-jawed man. Born in Paris. Until the age of 20 was engaged in “commercial pursuits,” but during this time won celebrity as an amateur athlete. After losing a large sum of money in business, decided to become a professional performer. First engagement being for M. Dejean, director of the Cirque Napoleon. Followed with an appearance at the Paris Hippodrome, where he performed the feat of lifting a 178 pound weight with one hand from the ground to above his head, being 6 pounds greater than his own weight. Appeared at the Alhambra Palace, London, and then for the next 3 years toured throughout the British Isles. Came to the United States with the Lydia Thompson Burlesque Troupe, making a debut at Wood’s Museum, July 4, 1870 (another source states that he came to USA with a troupe of French wrestlers). Nixon’s, Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1870; John V. O’Brien’s, 1871; P. T. Barnum’s, 1873. Was assisted by wife Mme. Angela and 2 boys called “Young Zephyr” and “Tout Petit.” The boys had been taken from a poor house and trained. Died while with the Barnum show, Fall River, MA. Buried in Brookline Catholic Cenetery, MA.
D’JALMA, MME. Flying rings, Beckett’s, 1887.
D’JALMA, PRINCE SADI. Gymnast and tumbler. John Stowe & Sons, 1871; contortionist, John V. O’Brien’s, 1871-72; the “man of mystery,” Ben Maginley & Co., 1874; George F. Bailey & Co., Central and South America and West Indies, fall 1874.
D’OME, WILLIAM. Acrobat, Hudson & Castello’s, 1881.
DA COMA, ARTHUR and ROSE. Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, April 1893; Edward Shipp’s Winter Circus, Petersburg, IL, 1893-94; Ringling Bros.’, 1896.
DAILEY, THOMAS A. (d. November 16, 1935) Advertising car manager for many years. Started career, April 1875, as billposter in advance of A. B. Rothchild’s (John V. O’Brien’s). Remained 2 seasons. Later, going over to the Hyatt Frost and O. J. Ferguson VanAmburg show, where he remained in the billposting brigade, 1877-81. J. H. Rice’s (John O’Brien’s), 1882; boss billposter on one of the advertising cars, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1883 and 9 consecutive seasons; last 2 years, 1890-1891, car manager. Advertising car manager, Ringling Bros.’, 1892 and remained with them for many years, retiring in 1935. Member of the Knights of Columbus Elks. Struck and killed by an auto at Lancaster, PA, age 80.
DAIR, JESSIE. Gymnast and iron jaw lady, Belmont Elite Circus, 1889; flying trapeze and perch, Gollmar Bros.’, 1892.
DALE, DAN. Cook house manager, John Robinson’s, 1883-84; assistant treasurer, 1885-92; treasurer, 1893.
DALE, M. T. Assistant treasurer, VanAmburgh’s, 1874.
DALE, WILLIAM O., JR. Rider. Son of the accomplished bareback rider, William O. Dale. After his father’s death, his mother married P. Connolly, an actor for many years engaged at the Bowery Theatre, NYC. Mrs. Dale was also in the theatre. At “not yet 12 years of age,” was bareback rider. VanAmburg’s, 1871; Central Park Menagerie and Den Stone’s, 1872; bareback and trick rider, Baird, Howell & Co., 1874; W. W. Cole’s, 1878, and again in New Orleans, California, and on the Australian tour (which left San Francisco, October 23, 1880), 1880-81; W. C. Coup’s, 1879-80; 4-horse rider, Sherman & Hinman, San Francisco, 1883; Orrin Bros.’, winter 1884-85; somersaulter and 4-horse rider, VanAmburgh & Reiche Bros.’, 1885; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, 1886; bareback rider, Doris & Colvin, 1887; rider, Wallace & Co., 1888; jockey act, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893; somersault principal rider, Scribner & Smith, 1894; the Mid-Winter Circus, Petersburg, IL, winter 1894-95; principal bareback somersault rider, George S. Cole’s, 1895; Rice’s Circus Carnival, 1896; equestrian director, Sun Bros.’, 1907, 1910;
DALE, WILLIAM O., SR. Rider and vaulter. Native of Cincinnati. A performer of fine reputation. Frost, Husted & Co., 1836; Eagle Circus, 1836; Frost & Co., 1837; A. Hunt & Co., 1838; Raymond & Waring, 1839; Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839-40; Bartlett & Delavan, 1841; Welch & Mann, 1841; VanAmburgh’s, United Kingdom, 1843-?; Howes & Cushing, United Kingdom, 1846; John Tryon’s, NYC (where he was in a vaulting match with James MacFarland, September 28), 1846; Howes & Co., 1847; Rockwell & Co., 1848; Welch’s, Philadelphia, 1849-50; performed on “Floating Cord,” Welch & Mann, Philadelphia, 1846; Johnson & Co., 1851-52; Spalding & Rogers, 1856; Harry Buckley’s, 1857; Orton & Older, 1858; Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace, 1859; Buckley’s, 1860. Subsequently, went blind and became an inmate of a charitable institution in Cincinnati, 1865. A fund was raised through the efforts of the New York Clipper, with many circus people contributing what they could. Died penniless.
DALVIN, HELEN. W. W. Cole’s, 1883.
DALY, POLLY. L. B. Lent’s, 1872.
DAMON, W. A. Walter L. Main’s, 1889.
DANFORTH, H. C. Railroad contractor, Nathans & Co., 1882.
DANZEFF, ULLRIG. Russian athlete. First season in America, Stone & Murray, 1869.
DARE, ANNIE. Contortionist, John F. Wood’s, winter 1889-90.
DARE, LEONA. Trapezist, New York debut, Nixon’s Amphitheatre, Broadway opposite Waverly Place, NYC, winter 1871-72; Joel E. Warner’s, 1872.
DARIOUS, HERR ALEXANDER. Animal performer, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872; zoological director, 1875.
DARTELLE BROTHERS. Flying return act, Gollmar Bros.’, 1893.
DARWIN, JACK. Juvenile gymnast and acrobat, Joel E. Warner & Co., 1872.
DASHAWAY, CHARLES. (1856?-February 7, 1910) Gymnast. Married to equestrienne Minnie Perry. Circus Ciniselli, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1883; Sells Bros.’, 1886; John B. Doris’, 1888; James Donovan’s, Bermuda, winter 1891-92. Died at his residence, Brooklyn, NY.
DASHWAY, WILLIAM. Gymnast. John H. Murray’s, 1880; (with Wilton) Nathans & Co.’s, 1882; Sells Brothers, 1886.
DAVENE TROUPE [William, Lizzie, Lucy]. French gymnasts and aerialists. Came to America from England to join P. T. Barnum’s, 1879-80; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881; Sells Bros.’, 1882-83. In Wilkes-Barre, PA, May 3, 1881, Lizzie Davene, performing her catapult act, failed to properly time her somersault and fell to the ground, landing partly upon her head. Was carried to her dressing room in a paralysed state and never recovered, died a month later, June 3. William M. Davene (r. n. William Morris, 1844-November 20, 1908), born in London. Married Vara Doborhova (Lucy Davene), trapeze performer, January 1, 1888, when both were with Frank A. Robbins’. He died in Norfolk, VA.
DAVENPORT, ALBERT M. “STICK”. (December 2, 1871-September 10, 1932) Rider. Son of John L. Davenport Sr. and Ella Hollis Davenport, and the brother of John Jr., May, Louise and Bertha (the latter a non-professional), and the nephew of Orrin M. Hollis. Made debut at age 8 as 2-pony rider with Burr Robbins’, 1879. By 1891, was a principal and somersault rider, tumbler and leaper. Divorced wife, Isabel Cummings, 1928. Beckett’s Great Exposition, 1881; Burr Robbins’, 1884-86; Ringling Bros.’, 1889, 1902; F. J. Taylor’s, 1891; John Robinson’s, 1893, 1908; Walter L. Main’s, 1894-1904; Forepaugh & Sells, 1896-99, 1901; Sells & Gray, 1900; New York Circus Co., winter 1900-01; Cole Bros.’, 1906-07; Campbell Bros.’, 1907, 1910; Rice Bros.’, 1909; Norris & Rowe, 1909-10; Mackey’s European, 1909; Robinson’s Famous, 1911; Yankee Robinson’s, 1913, 1915; Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1914; Coop & Lent, 1916-18; Marsh-Davenport, 1917; Santos & Artigas, 1919-20; Campbell, Bailey & Hutchinson; 1920-22; World Bros.’, 1923; Robbins Bros.’, 1924-26; Al G. Barnes’, 1926-30; Forepaugh-Lind, 1926. [D. W. Watt: “Sticks first learned to ride in the old Burr Robbins ring barn when he was but 9 or 10 years old, and his first appearance before an audience was in Janesville, riding a hurdle on two Shetland ponies.”] Died in Fort Worth, TX.
DAVENPORT, BILLY. Rider, S. H. Barrett’s, 1887.
DAVENPORT BROS. [Lewis, Charles, George]. Gymnasts and acrobats. George W. DeHaven’s, 1870; James Robinson’s, 1872; L. B. Lent’s, 1874; Great Eastern, 1874; Cooper and Bailey, 1875; Great Chicago, 1879; Cooper & Jackson, 1880; Brother act and scientific sparring, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882; Burr Robbins’, 1886. Charles Davenport (r. n. Michael Levy), with Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879, was injured and forced to retire from performing. Died in Cincinnati, OH, September 11 (or 12), 1906. George Davenport, concert performer, Dutch comic, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; Cooper, Bailey & Co. Australian tour, 1877. Died in Cincinnati, December 21, 1891, age 30. Lewis Davenport (r. n. Edward H. Trainer), acrobat, John Robinson’s, 1869-71; Charley Bartine’s, 1872; as one of the Davenport Brothers; Great Eastern, 1874; John Robinson’s, 1881; clown, Beckett’s, 1887.
DAVENPORT, CYRUS. Howes’ European, winter 1864.
DAVENPORT, ELLA [nee Ella Hollis]. See John L. Davenport, Sr.
DAVENPORT, GEORGE. General agent, Rockwell & Stone, 1843-44; Mann, Welch & Delavan, 1845; manager, Welch’s National Circus, 1847. Can this be the same George Davenport who was a Dutch comic in concert with Cooper, Bailey & Co.’s Circus, Australian tour, 1877-78?
DAVENPORT, JOHN L., JR. (December 24, 1869-April 6, 1947) Principal somersault and bounding jockey rider. Learned the art of riding from his father; began professionally, 1878, Sells Bros.’. Did first twisting forward somersault from one horse to another runnning in tandem, 1902. Continued riding as late as 1929, at which time he was with Gentry Bros.’ Earlier, with Sells Bros.’, 1878; Beckett’s Great Exposition Circus, 1881; Burr Robbins’, 1884-86; Ringling Bros.’, 1889, 1918; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1891; John S. McMahon’s, 1892; John Robinson’s, 1893, 1921, 1923; Sanger & Lent, 1893; F. J. Taylor’s, 1894; Walter L. Main’s, 1895; Sig. Sautelle’s, 1895; Forepaugh-Sells, 1897; Walter J. McDonald’s, 1900-01; Sun Bros.’, 1902; Yankee Robinson’s, 1908; Robinson Famous, 1911; Hagenbeck & Wallace, 1920; Gollmar Bros.’, 1922; Gentry Bros.’, 1928-29; Cole Bros.’, 1929.
DAVENPORT, JOHN L., SR. (March 22, 1836-February 3, 1916) Rider, clown, gymnast. Native of Savannah, GA. Started in the circus business at age 14. Sometimes called “the American clown,” become one of the best of the old school clowns. As a singing clown, often netted as much as $50 a week selling song books. Was proficient as ringmaster, principal equestrian, and clown. Robinson & Eldred, 1850; Spalding & Rogers, 1852-57; Antonio & Wilder, 1859; James M. Nixon’s, 1860; Howes & Cushing, to Great Britain, 1860, where he remained until 1863. Returned to America that year and was associated with Thayer & Noyes, Chicago, fall 1863; Robinson & Howes, Chicago, winter 1863-64; Howes & Norton (formerly Robinson & Howes), fall 1864; National Circus, Cincinnati, winter 1864-65; Great Union Combination (John and Alex Robinson), 1865; Frank J. Howes’, 1865; New American Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1865-66, summer 1866; Yankee Robinson’s, Chicago, winter 1866-67; Dodge & Bartine, 1868; Mike Lipman’s, 1869; Levi J. North’s, 1869; James Robinson’s, 1871; Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1871; Kleckner & Conklin (John O’Brien’s), 1872; Sells Bros.’, 1873-74, 1876-79; D. F. Dunham’s, 1875; Cooper & Jackson, 1880; Beckett’s, 1881; Burr Robbins’, 1884-88; Ringling Bros.’, 1889; equestrian director, F. J. Taylor’s, 1891; Criterion Theatre, Chicago (last appearance as clown), 1893; equestrian director, Howe’s London, 1896; Lemon Bros.’, 1905; Walter J. McDonald’s, 1900, 1906; Yankee Robinson’s, 1908. Married pad rider, Ella Hollis, 1869, and raised a family of riders - John, Jr., Albert, May, Orrin, and Louise. Built a ring barn in Newport, KY, by 1858, where he trained horses and circus riders in the off season. Died at his home in Chicago. [D. W. Watt: “Uncle John was always a good mixer, made friends with the landlord and other businessmen of the town that he might meet. No difference how poor the hotels, Uncle John never made a kick, but always said that these towns gave us the best they had and that was all we could expect.”]
DAVENPORT, KATE. Dodge & Bartine, 1868.
DAVENPORT, LEW. Great Roman Hippodrome,
DAVENPORT, MAY. Equestrian daughter of John L. Davenport, Sr. Howes’ London (J. C. O’Brien, manager), 1896; New York Circus Co., West Indies, winter 1900-01; jockey and carrying act, Walter L. Main’s, 1901; Forepaugh-Sells, 1907; Barnum & Bailey, 1909-13.
DAVENPORT, WALTER. W. C. Coup’s New United Monster Show, 1879.
DAVEY, T. Treasurer, James M. Nixon’s, 1870.
DAVIDSON, JOEL S. Clown. Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1870; Sells Bros.’, 1874, 1877, 1880; Anderson & Co., 1879; S. H. Barrett & Co., 1883.
DAVIDSON, PROF. Stock director, Albert M. Wetter’s New Model Shows, 1893.
DAVIES, CHARLIE. Clown, L. B. Lent’s, 1874.
DA VINCI, CARLOTTA. “Sprite of the elfin drama,” P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.
DAVIS, AL W. Proprietor, California Circus. Jumped the show in June 1881, leaving the company stranded. The show collapsed.
DAVIS, ANNIE. Equestrienne, Burr Robbins’, 1875.
DAVIS, A. W. Had a menagerie out, 1874, traveling on the Great Lakes with the steamboat Huron. Proprietor and manager, Sadler’s Great English, 1875; A. W. Davis’ Great Moral Show, Monster Manegerie and Grand Olympian Exposition; general manager, Great Transatlantic Allied Shows, 1879.
DAVIS, CHARLES A. Agent. Brother of agents James R. and Thomas Davis. Particularly good at writing and working up interviews with his stars and proprietors. [D. W. Watt: “It was said of him in the business that he never was in his sleeper more than ten or fifteen minutes before the train pulled out, and yet Charlie Davis was never left. Much of his work for the day following he would do in the hotel in the evening after the night show and always stepped on the train about the time that it was ready to pull out for the next town.”] Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace, 1857-59; Thayer & Noyes, 1865; L. B. Lent’s, 1868; Maginley, Carroll & Co., 1868; Batcheller & Doris, 1882. Joined Adam Forepaugh’s, 1884; W. W. Cole’s, 1886.. [Roland Butler: “His various styles of publications advertising the Famous Original Wild West and Forepaugh Show Combined in 1890 were vividly written and were splendid specimens of the art of bill writing.”]
DAVIS, BARNEY. See Plutano and Waino.
DAVIS, CHARLES. Leaper and tumbler, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876.
DAVIS, CHARLES L. (b. October 21, 1852) Was born in Baltimore, MD, of a theatrical family. Faced the footlights for the first time at age 4. Clowned and worked the concert, Dan Rice’s, Thayer & Noyes, W. W. Coles’, etc. At 17, made business manager, Baltimore Museum. Later, associated with the Odeon Theatre, Baltimore; Theatre Comique, Providence, RI; Capital Theatre, Hartford, CT; Metropolitan Theatre, NYC. In addition to duties as stage manager, appeared in Dutch songs, banjo playing, sketches and after-pieces. Created a full length play from a sketch, Alvin Joslin, and toured in the lead role for several seasons, making a small fortune.
DAVIS, D. F. Treasurer, Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1880; general agent, Burk’s, 1891.
DAVIS, E. Clown, Raymond & Co., 1852.
DAVIS, ED. Excursion agent, John B. Doris’, 1883, general agent, 1884-85; advertising car supt., Adam Forepaugh’s, 1887; advance agent, Hunting’s New York Cirque-Curriculum, 1888; general agent and railroad contractor, Andress’, 1890; general contracting agent, B. E. Wallace’s, 1892-93.
DAVIS, ED F. (d. February 25, 1918) Davis’ New Orleans Circus, 1879; Davis’ Great Overland Show, 1885; railroad contractor, W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1891; proprietor, Empire Shows, 1893; Davis’ New Orleans Circus, 1894; Davis’ “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” Co., 1901; contracting agent, B. E. Wallace’s, 1906.
DAVIS, GEORGE. Downie & Gallagher, 1893.
DAVIS, HARRY. Press agent, Bailey & Winan, 1890.
DAVIS, HIRAM. See Plutano and Waino.
DAVIS, HOMER. Proprietor cook house, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873; agent, Howes’ Great London, 1878; proprietor, Homer Davis’ New Show, 1879; advance agent, Cooper & Bailey, 1880.
DAVIS, JAMES C. Ringmaster, treasurer. Shot and killed Mlle. LaRosa, trapeze performer, Cincinnati, March 22, 1872. The two had recently left the Cosmopolitan Circus. Mlle. LaRosa was the wife of J. W. Whettony, also with the circus; but she and Davis had been living together for some months. There was some question as to whether or not the shooting had been accidental. Davis was found guiltless by the coroner’s jury and discharged.
DAVIS, JAMES P. (1830?-April, 1902) Began with L. B. Lent’s, 1851; also with Antonio & Wilder’s, 1859. Died in Ypsilanti, MI, age 72.
DAVIS, JAMES R. “JUMBO”. (1852?-September 17, 1886] Press agent, Batcheller & Doris, 1880; P. T. Barnum’s, 1882-83; railroad contractor, John B. Doris’, 1885. Rose from a twenty-five-dollar-a-week job to a place with James A. Bailey, which paid him $5,000 a year. For some years was Barnum’s purchasng agent abroad. Traveled extensively in Asia and Africa in search of animals for exhibition. The brother of agent Charles A. and showman Thomas H. Davis. Shortly before his death, was engaged as manager of Kohl & Middleton’s Museum, Cincinnati. Died in that city of consumption, age 34.
DAVIS, J. CHARLES. Agent. Born in Montgomery County, NY, the eldest son of Rev. A. S. Davis. Educated at Little Falls Academy and Madison University. Began a professional career as agent for the Cosmopolitan Circus and Menagerie, under the tutelage of Charles Stow. Connected at various times with James Robinson’s, Adam Forepaugh’s, P. T. Barnum’s, and John H. Murray’s. Served as press agent for two international expositions; toured Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania as manager and part owner (with Frank Frost). With an English opera company, toured India, China, South Africa. Visited the Orient and eastern islands as correspondent for several publications and as foreign agent for Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson. Returned to New York City, May 23, 1885, after an absence of 7 years. Directed several athletic events in Madison Square Garden that summer. Joined the Barnum show in the spring, 1885. Business manager, of People’s Theatre, NYC, 1885-86 season. Promoted the presidential campaign of Gen. Butler for People’s Party. Worked on behalf of the Actors Fund.
DAVIS, J. D. In charge of stock, Wheeler Bros.’, 1894.
DAVIS, JIM. Contractor, John Robinson’s, 1892.
DAVIS, J. L. Dog act, Dan Rice’s Paris Pavilion, 1871-72.
DAVIS, J. O. Contracting agent, John Stowe & Sons, 1871.
DAVIS, JOE. Clown, Anderson & Co., 1879.
DAVIS, MARGARET. English equestrienne, Barnum & Bailey, 1892.
DAVIS, M. H. Proprietor, Davis’, 1890.
DAVIS, MONS. Wild beast tamer, VanAmburgh’s, 1865-66, 1868. Advertised as feeding “four savage lions raw meat from his naked hands.”
DAVIS, NATHAN. (d. January 5, 1917) Animal trainer. John O’Brien’s, Cooper & Bailey, Buffalo Bill’s; Astley & Lowanda, 1884.
DAVIS, PROF. Dog act, Gardner & Donovan, South America, 1886; Hobson Bros.’, 1887. Could this be J. L. Davis?
DAVIS, RICHARD. Rider, Jim Myers’, 1856.
DAVIS, ROBERT. Rider and vaulter. Bought Roulestone’s Amphitheatre, Boston, with a Mr. Bates (an actor) and opened a circus there, 1810, which ran January 11-February 22. Took the company to Salem, MA, where he opened on February 27 in partnership with a Mr. Leeds. Had his circus, Davis & Co., Boston, 1815, where it ran October 19-March 4, 1816; re-opened May 21-June 17; moved to Portland, ME, for an August engagement. Listed as principal rider with a circus that opened in Portland, July 10, 1821. Riding included “the wonderful feat of the weather-cock,” probably an act of standing on the saddle on one foot, body parallel to the ground, and forming the resemblance of a weathercock.
DAVIS, STEWART. Equestrian director and ring-master. Husband of equestrienne Annie Worland. Great Pacific Circus, 1877-78; Cooper & Jackson, 1880.
DAVIS, THOMAS H. (1859?-June 8, 1911) Agent. Born in South Bend, IN. Brother of agents James R. and Charles A. Davis. Agent, with Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875; manager of excursions, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1885. Later, went around the world buying freaks for Barnum & Bailey. On one such trip, bought the “sacred white elephant” for the show. Became manager of the museum in Milwaukee, WI, 1885-86, for Jacob Litt. Two years later, formed a theatrical partnership and produced The Stowaway, In Old Kentucky, The Ensign, Gus Heege in Ole Olson and Jon Jonson, and David Warfield in The Nutmeg Match. Partnership ended, 1894. Along with William T. Keogh and J. J. Rosenthal, was in charge of the tour of John Kernell in The Hustler. With Keogh, had other attractions on the road - The White Rat, On The Bowery, McFadden’s Elopement, etc., in addition to managing the old Star Theatre, Broadway and Thirteenth Street, NYC. Partnership ended, 1899. In latter years, was publisher of the magazine The Home Life and a real estate operator. In 1892, married Ida E. Roof of Massilon, OH. Died from cancer at his home in White Plains, NY, age 52.
DAVIS, WILLIAM. Clown, Tivoli Gardens, Philadelphia, 1826; Bernard & Page, 1829; T. L. Stewart’s Tremont Circus Co., 1831; Buckley, Weeks & Co., 1835; Grecian Arena, 1841; Mons. LeTort’s, 1842; John Mateer’s, 1843-44; 4-horse rider, Rockwell & Stone, 1845; Robinson & Eldred, 1847.
DAVIS, W. M., JR. (July 19, 1819-April 13, 1903) Born in Covington, NY. Began career as a musician with VanAmburgh’s, 1839. After 7 years with that show and with Raymond & VanAmburgh as advance agent and manager, joined Mabie’s in the same capacity for 9 years. Claimed that, while acting as manager, 1858, originated the practice of camping on the circus lot with sleeping, dining and horse tents. This was confirmed by both James H. DeMott and George S. Cole. The claim was also contested by James Essler who said he was with Mabies the year in question. Davis’ last engagement, contracting agent, Cole & Orton, 1871; at the end of the season, after 18 years of trouping, retired. Died in Marble Rock, IA.
DAVY, GEORGE. Ringmaster, with Castello & VanVleck, 1863-64.
DAWES, SAMUEL. Gardner & Donovan, South America, 1886.
DAWLEY, DAVE. Carlo Bros.’, South America, 1877.
DAWN, SIGNOR. Knockabout clown. Wallace & Co., 1884; Main & VanAmburgh, 1890.
DAY. Keeper, Mammoth Menagerie from Zoological Institute, New York, 1837.
DAY, CHARLES H. (1842?-October 3, 1907) One of the leading agents and bill writers of his day, being most active in the circus business from 1874 to 1885. Often worked under the title of “Director of Publications,” which usually appeared along with his name on the various booklets and bills he created. Noted for his originality of thought and expression, for his ability to put on paper that “which oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed.” His couriers (advertising booklets) were always original, “surpassing in range of thought and vividness any published by circuses at that time.” In 1875, while with Adam Forepaugh’s, was considered to be one of the best all-around publicity men in the business. With Forepaugh’s advertisement budget, was able to create copy for heralds, magazines, newpapers and hand bills in abundance. Wrote every line for a 16 page newspaper, The Adam Forepaugh Illustrated Feature Journal, which included features of interest for every member of the household - helpful hints, poems, recipes, remedies for common ailments, a children’s department. Credited with the idea for Forepaugh’s $10,000 Beauty Contest and the pre-arranged selection of actress Louise Montague as the winner, first brought out for the season of 1881. Her appearance with the show was profitable for Forepaugh; with his street pageant, “Lalla Rookh’s Departure from Delhi,” with Miss Montague paraded atop the famous elephant, was a press agent’s dream. Early in his career, was manager and agent for negro minstrel companies, such as William Arlington’s, W. W. Newcomb’s, Sam Sharpley’s, and W. S. Cleveland’s. Circus connections included John H. Murray’s, 1873-75: L. B. Lent’s, 1876; Coup’s Equescurriculum, 1878; Den W. Stone’s, 1878; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879-81, 1887; Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1882; P. T. Barnum’s, 1884; Sells Bros.’, 1886. As a free lance writer, published more than one hundred pieces: series of circus stories for The Home Magazine beginning in the June issue of 1899 with “Tales of the Old Circus Man”; serialized story, “Van Amburgh, Elephant Performer and Lion Trainer,” Golden Hours, 1900; authored the book, The Adventures of Young Adam Forepaugh, the Elephant Trainer; contributed articles to the New York Clipper over a 35 year period; served on the staff of Music and Drama. Was considered by his colleagues to be “a man of energy and resource.” One called him “a spectacular figure in the amusement world.” A gentleman of the old school, he was a congenial, convivial companion. After retirement, married Gertrude H. Garvey of NYC, November 29, 1901. Day was 59, his bride 23. Died in New Haven, CT, of erysipelas, age 65.
DAY, HIRAM T. (d. 1897) Clown and a valuable general performer, rider, tumbler, ringmaster. Acrobat, Welch & Mann, 1846; acrobat, Welch’s, 1847; Dan Rice’s, 1848-49; Spalding & Roger, American Theatre, New Orleans, fall 1851; G. C. Quick’s, 1852; Sands, Quick & Co., Baltimore, 1853; Sands & Chiarini, 1854; John Robinson’s, 1857-58, 1861-63; Robinson Bros.’, 1863; Metropolitan Circus, 1864; Alex Robinson’s, 1865; Deery & Robinson, 1865; International Comique and New York Circus, 1868; Alex Robinson’s, 1869-75; Metchear & Cameron, 1870; Great Australian, 1870; rider, Collins’ Oriental Combination, 1877.
DAY, JAMES. Clown and female impersonator, Haight & Chambers’, 1867. Native of Canada. Committed suicide in Galveston, TX, January 21 1868, age 18, by taking morphine. At the time of death was employed by the Melodeon Concert Hall, Galveston.
DAY, JENNIE. Wire performer, ascensionist, and danseuse. Lipman’s, 1866; member of variety troupe, Haight & Chambers, 1867.
DAY, NELLIE. Haight & Chambers, 1867. See above.
DAY, TOM. Leaper, Haight & Wootten, 1871.
DAY, WILLIAM. Contortionist. Robinson & Foster, 1843; Stickney & Buckley, 1844; S. P. Stickney’s, 1845; Great Western, 1846; slack-rope, Welch & Mann, 1846.
DAYTON. Clown, Sells Bros.’, 1884. While with the show in the spring of the year, fell dead performing in the ring.
DAYTON, GEORGE C. Manager of curiosities, Bunnell sideshow, P. T. Barnum’s, 1879.
DAYTON, GRETA. High-wire, Lemen Bros.’, 1892.
DAYTON, PETE. Walter L. Main’s, 1887.
DEACON, LILLIE. Manège and trick horse performer. First appearance in America, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1882-83; Barnum & Bailey, 1889. Married Adam Forepaugh, Jr., 1882.
DEADEYE, DICK. Leader of a band of dancing Yuma Indians, w. W. Cole’s, 1880.
DEAN, A. J. Manager, Great National, 1874.
DEAN, C. L. Press agent, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893.
DEAN, EFFIE. Holland & Gormley, 1889.
DE AULEY, MLLE. Equestrienne, George W. DeHaven’s, 1865.
DE BACH, MONS. F. and MME. Parisian equestrians. Appeared in Manchester, Liverpool, London, and many of the European capitols before coming to USA, early 1850s. One of the sensational acts was DeBach’s globe ascension on the spiral column. Did juggling on horseback and was said to have introduced Americans to the antipodean globe exercises on horseback. Mme. DeBach was graced with a pleasing face and figure. Her act of equitation on 6 Arabian steeds was said to have been phenomenal in its artistry. Appearing in full Grecian costume, she bounded from one horse to the other. [John A. Dingess: “This lady presented one of the most beautiful scenes of female courage, skill and classic beauty ever witnessed.”] Welch & Lent, Walnut Street Circus, Philadelphia, 1855; Nixon & Kemp, 1857; Sands, Nathans & Co., Broadway Theatre, NYC, 1857-58; L. B. Lent’s, 1858; Joe Pentland’s, 1859; Levi J. North’s, 1859; globe act on horseback, Cooke’s Royal Amphitheatre, Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1860 (April-June); James M. Nixon’s, 1860; Levi J. North’s, 1860; Gardner & Hemmings, 1861.
DE BAR, BOB. Clown, American Circus, fall 1878; Trans-Atlantic, 1879. Married Miss Nellie Skidmore, non-professional, July 2, 1879, Richmond, IN..
DE BAR BROTHERS. Gymnasts, Sadler’s, 1875.
DE BAR, BEN AND NELLIE. Boyd & Peters, 1880.
DE BARRY, PAUL. New American Theatre, Philadelphia, December, 1865.
DE BERG, CARLOTTA [Mrs. James E. Cooke]. (1841?-November 24, 1915) Equestrienne. Born in England. Became one of the greatest female riders of her day. Made her debut in NYC, April 23, 1866. At the Hippotheatron, 1867, was billed as the “most dashing and daring equestrienne the world has ever known.” L. B. Lent’s, 1866-67, 1874: J. M. French’s, 1870; European and American, winter 1870-71; Rosston, Springer & Henderson, 1871-72; Nixon’s Amphitheatre, Broadway opposite Waverly Place, NYC, winter 1871-72; Den Stone’s, 1873; Carlo Bros.’, South America, 1877; James E. Cooke’s, 1880-82. Died at her home in Jersey City, N. J., age 74.
DE BOISE, PAULINE. Female Samson, E. O. Rogers’, 1891.
DE BONNAIRE, LEWIS. Trapeze performer, DeBonnaire’s Great Parisian Exposition, 1880-85; clown and comic singer, Howes’ New London, 1887.
DE BONNAIRE, MINNIE. DeBonnaire’s Great Parisian Exposition, 1880-85; manageress, Great Parisian Shows, 1892.
DE BRENT, AMY. James Robinson’s, 1870.
DE BUCH, MONS. HENRI. Whitby & Co., 1867 (John O’Brien, proprietor).
DE BURDY, FRANK. Tattooed man, Burr Robbins’, 1886.
DE CAMP, CAPT. J. A. Acrobat and strong man. Howes & Sands, 1834; Palmer & Harrington, 1834; Bancker & Harrington, 1835; J. W. Bancker’s, 1836; ringmaster, Palmer’s, 1836; ringmaster, eastern unit of June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1841; Sands’, United Kingdom, 1842; VanAmburgh’s, United Kingdon, 1843-44; John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1845; ringmaster, Welch & Mann, 1846; ringmaster, Sands, Lent & Co., 1847; R. Sands & Co., 1849; Welch’s, 1850; Joe Pentland’s, 1854.
DE CARMO, A. CARLOS. Spalding & Rogers, 1864.
DE CASTRO, LOUIS. George Sieber & Co., 1887.
DECKER, FRANK. Frank Rich’s, 1886.
DECKER, J. H. Sells Bros.’, 1886.
DECKER, MAJOR. (1849?-October 28, 1893) Midget. Engaged by VanAmburgh’s when 20 years old. Connected with Barnum’s, Coup’s, Sells Bros.’, Hyatt Frost’s, Dan Rice’s, and John O’Brien’s. Worked in dime museums during the winter seasons. Regular height was 32”; weighed around 75 pounds. Although usually made large salaries, spent much of it for liquor. Chronic alcoholism caused his death at Mackinac House, Chicago, age 44.
DE CODONA, MME. FRANCES. Iron jaw woman, Cooper and Bailey, 1875-76.
DE COERT, EMILE. Juggler and general performer, Great Australian, 1870;
DE COMA FAMILY [Arthur, Rose]. Acrobats. With W. W. Cole’s, California, 1880-81; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1886; Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, 1889; juggling and slack wire, Andy McDonald’s, 1892; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, spring 1893; Edward Shipp’s Winter Circus, 1893-94, Petersburg, IL. Performed an act that consisted of riding a bicycle on a wire over 50’ above the arena; a trapeze was attached to it upon which two of the members performed feats of agility.
DE COMPAS FAMILY. Shelby’s Golden Circus, 1888.
DE CORAL, MADAME. Manège, scene and principal rider and gymnast, Howes & Cushing, 1875.
DE COSTA, JUAN ANTIONIA. Flying-ring gymnast, Lowande & Hoffman, 1887.
DE CROERT, EMILE. Juggler and general performer, Australian Circus, 1870.
DEER BROTHERS. Full-blooded Indians performers, with Walter L. Main’s, 1893. Featured in a chase for a bride with Jim Deer’s wife, Georgia Deer, who was an Anglo and an excellent rough rider.
DE FABIER, LOUIS. Ringmaster, John Robinson’s (Great Union Combination), 1865.
DE FOREST, GEORGE W. Gymnast, W. W. Cole’s, 1872.
DE FORREST, CLARA. Equestrienne, Mt. Pitt Circus, NYC, 1826.
DE FORREST, GUY. Acrobat, Burr Robbins’, 1874.
DE GARMO, MAT. Parson’s circus, Albany, 1820s.
DE GLORIAN BROTHERS. Aerialists, John Wilson’s, California, 1865.
DE GRAFF, LEWIS. Rider, Leaman’s Columbia Garden, Baltimore, summer, fall, 1805. Closed at Leaman’s, August 8, and moved to the Pantheon of that city, performing until January 20, 1806.
DE GRANVILLE, MILLIE [r. n. Alma Hayes]. (May 31, 1852-February 2, 1902) Strong woman, “the lady with the jaws of iron.” Born in Montreal, Canada. Came into the profession, 1867, Tony Pastor’s Theatre, billed as the “female Hercules.” Held a cannon on her shoulders while it was fired. Great International, 1874; John Wilson’s, San Francisco, 1874-75; VanAmburgh’s, 1876; P. T. Barnum’s, 1877; Cooper & Bailey, 1878; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, spring 1879; John Robinson’s, 1882-83; John B. Doris’, 1884; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1885-86; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1887-88. Married Jack Walhalla with Cooper & Bailey, Australia, March 10, 1878. Married second husband, Dr. Louis G. Knox, veterinary surgeon, Boston, 1889. Died at Danbury, CT.
Note: Dr. Louis Griffin Knox, for forty-five years a practicing physician and an unusual and interesting figure in Danbury, and well known in eastern Putnam county, died at his home in Danbury, Saturday evening, June 13, 1931. . . . Dr. Knox was born in New York city, June 20, 1851, the son of Peter Hart and Dorcas Urania (Young) Knox. He attended Bedford academy, Bedford, N.Y., and after his graduation from that institution studied medicine under the private preceptorship of Dr. Seth Shove, of Bedford, and Dr. Willard Parker, of New York city. He afterwards entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons, of Columbia university, where he graduated in 1872. Locating in Patterson, Dr. Knox resided in the Newcomb house and also at Ludingtonville for a time. He practiced medicine in these two places from 1873 to 1875 and served as coroner of Putnam county for ten years.
While in Patterson he made the acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Forepaugh, who at that time were outstanding figures in the circus world. He traveled with the Adam Forepaugh circus several seasons, as physician. Dr. Knox went to Danbury from Patterson about 1886 and established himself there in the practice of medicine. He continued for years many of the contacts made while connected with the Forepaugh circus and his first wife, Mile deGranville, was a widely known circus performer, who died about twenty years ago. His liking for things pertaining the circus life was demonstrated by his practice of collecting animals ordinarily found only in circus menageries or zoos. He kept two lion cubs in his apartments on White street, as pets, until they became too large to remain there with safety to the household, and also made pets of other jungle beasts and huge snakes and other unusual creatures. Dr. Knox also indicated his love for animals by establishing kennels and raising pedigreed dogs. He made a specialty of bloodhounds and raised, trained and sold these animals with much success. He was a regular exhibitor of bloodhounds at the leading kennel shows in New York city and elsewhere and his entries won many notable prizes. Dr. Knox became an expert horseman during his association with the circus and many Danbury people will recall that he rode about the streets of the city, and not infrequently made professional calls upon horseback. . . . Putnam County Courier (Carmel, N.Y.), June 19, 1931.
DE GROOT, MAJOR. Oddity. William Blanchard & William West’s, Canada, 1825-26; Quick & Mead, 1826; Handy & Welch, 1830.
DE HAVEN, CLAUDE. (November 3, 1839-June 3, 1888) Agent. Born in New Orleans. Press agent, George W. Bailey & Co., 1873; advertising agent, Maginley & Co., 1874; press agent, Howes & Cushing, 1875; Tony Pastor’s, winter 1875-76; John H. Murray’s, 1876; press agent, Great London, 1878; advertiser, Tony Pastor’s New Theatre, NYC, 1879; special agent, Sells Bros.’, 1880. Also Barnum’s, John Robinson’s, Stone & Murray, Batcheller & Doris, Adam Forepaugh’s, and advance agent for the M. B. Levitt Specialty Co., this being his last engagement with an amusement organization. Died in Providence, RI, where he had resided since 1879 and where he was running a small newspaper, The Indicator. Was called by a colleague of the press, “a true Bohemian.”
DE HAVEN, ED. Clown, George F. Bailey & Co., 1872-73.
DE HAVEN, GEORGE W. (March 22, 1837-August 27, 1902) Born in Jackson, IL. At age 12 his widowed father gave him $200 in gold and told him to shift for himself. Purchased a team of oxen and a plow and hired out for farm work. Through thrift and investment in labor, acquired a threshing machine to work the wheat fields. 1858, bought an interest in a circus, Satterlee, Bell & Co. In partnership with Oliver Bell, took out a railroad show, 1859. Proprietor, George W. DeHaven’s, 1860-62. The latter year, took a showboat along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Maginley & VanVleck, 1863. In partnership with Andrew Haight, 1865; 1866, with Guerin and St. Germaine, took out DeHaven’s Imperial Circus; 1868, connected with Ladd and Alderman for a season. Balloon ascensions became a popular attraction with circuses in the years following the war, and DeHaven appears to be the first to use them as a free act outside the circus tent. The practice began in 1870 with no fanfare and seemingly no thought of it being innovative [New York Clipper, 1870: “One of the aeronauts connected with DeHaven’s Circus was recently severely injured by falling from the balloon into a summer house at Davenport, Iowa, and his substitute was drowned at Dubuque by falling in the river, we are informed.”]. DeHaven moved about in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana; then, at the end of July, R. E. J. Miles purchased the circus, which continued to function under the DeHaven banner. The company traveled the Ohio River on their boat Victor until they reached Wheeling, WV, when they transferred to moving on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. At this time it was announced: “A balloon ascension is now made daily in connection with the circus.” 1871, with Jacob Haight, he secured the privileges of the Empire City Circus. Following this, with Miles and the two Haights, became a partner in the Great Eastern Manegerie, Museum, Aviary, Circus and Balloon Show, 1872; privileges, L. B. Lent’s, 1873; Great Chicago Show, with S. Q. Stokes, 1873; general manager, American Racing Association, 1875; general manager, Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877; manager, H. C. Lee’s, winter 1877-78; manager, Great Chicago, 1879; manager, Silas Dutton’s Southern, winter 1879-80; had a novelty company under canvas, 1881; proprietor, Great Eastern, 1883; manager, Col. G. W. Hall’s, 1886; proprietor, George W. DeHaven’s Show Company, Museum, Theatre, Triple Show and Free Menagerie, 1887. Organized and put on the road 33 different circuses during his career. Would take out any show as often as he could find a backer for it; uncanny ability to talk a circus into being. [Agent charles Pell: He is “a hustler of indomitable perseverance, resourceful and relentless, and if any man can organize a show and run it on wind, he can. The most successful of men have been laughed at and derided and George W. DeHaven may be in that class, and to prove to you the faith that is in me, I would engage to him tomorrow and take my chances.”] W. W. Durand described him as a man of splendid presence who, in his prime, was tall, cool, gray-eyed, broad of forehead, of athletic stature, solid and muscular, and with an active step and speech. [Durand: “Perhaps no other man in the profession has such manifestly excellent qualities to fit him for the position, so responsible, of manager as DeHaven. He has a mysterious command and influence over his army of actors, working men and attaches, that is at once inexplicable and yet effectual. His orders or wishes are ever obeyed, and so quietly, that one would suppose that his men had been trained under the most rigid discipline, which is not the case. He is supreme among his people, and yet one would never suppose it from any word or action of his. DeHaven was by nature intended for a manager, and he does the old Dame credit.” Infirm for 11 years prior to his death because of a stroke. Died in Cedar Rapids, IA, age 65.
DE HAVEN, J. Clown, George F. Bailey & Co., 1871.
DE HAVEN, PROF. PAUL. Balloonist, North American, 1875.
DE JALMA, MME. Flying-rings, Beckett’s Railroad Circus, 1887.
DE LACY, WILLIAM [r. n. William Merrill]. (d. June 16, 1889) Leaper. Suffered from a fall, June 15, 1889, Fairfield, IA, while attempting a double somersault over 5 horses and 3 men and died the next day. Had decided to give up doing this particular feat because of the danger involved. It was to be his last attempt. In reality, he had some hesitancy about it, for he said to a companion before executing it, “Jack, I am afraid of this.” Previously, he had been engaged with Alfred Miaco’s novelty company, 1888, and with Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, that year.
DELANCEY, ROBERT. Gymnast, Alex Robinson’s, 1866.
DELAND, SAMUEL B. Manegerie manager, E. F. & J. Mabie’s, 1849-59; agent, Mabie’s, winter season 1851-53, manager, 1854-58, 1860.
DELANE. See Thomas L. Huntley.
DE LANEY, FRANK. Assistant manager, L. B. Lent’s, 1876; magician and solicitor, Miles Orton’s, 1880.
DE LA RUE, ELISE. Gymnast, S. P. Stickney & Son’s, 1874.
DELAVAN, GEORGE. Clown, G. G. Grady’s, 1870.
DELAVAN, S. Veterinary surgeon, P. T. Barnum’s, 1875.
DELAVAN, T. H. Delavan’s Great Dime Show, 1884; Delavan, Adams & Palmer, 1884; Delavan & Grant, 1885; business manager, Delavan’s Circus, 1886-87.
DELAVAN, WILLIAM A.: (1804-November 11, 1873) Born in Patterson, Putnam Co., NY. One of the earliest circus and manegerie proprietors. Co-owner with Miller, Mead & Delavan, 1834; director, Association’s Celebrated Menagerie, Philadelphia, 1835; manager, Nathan A. Howes’, 1836; bought into a partnership with Jonas Bartlett, 1841, the title becoming Bartlett & Delavan; proprietor, Welch & Delavan, Baltimore, 1841; manager, Welch, Mann & Delavan, 1844-45, 1849; Welch & Delavan, 1847. Subsequently, returned to NYC and kept the Monument House, Union Square. Died in Sharon, NY, age 69.
DE LAVE FAMILY. Welch & Sands (Sells Bros., proprietors), 1880.
DE LAVE, MONS. Wire-walker. Walked across the Genesee River, just in front of the falls, on a 900’ rope stretched 100’ to 140’ above the water, 1859. Walked from the roof of the National Theatre, NYC, to the other side of the street, March 1860; and in June of that year walked a rope strung across the Passaic River at Patterson, NJ. S. P. Stickney’s, 1861; Madigan’s Great Show, 1861.
DE LEON, ALBERT. Gymnast, J. W. Wilder’s, 1872.
DE LEON, LEON. Gymnast, J. W. Wilder’s, 1872; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, 1878.
DELEVANTI BROTHERS [Lewis Kline, Edward Winnie]. Gymnasts. Gardner & Hemmings, National Hall, Philadelphia, fall 1862; Rivers & Derious, 1864; Nixon’s Amphitheatre, Washington, 1865; Alex Robinson’s, 1866; Seth B. Howes’, fall 1866; Chiarini’s, Havana, winter 1866-67; S. O. Wheeler’s, 1867; S. P. Stickney’s, 1869; European and American Circus, winter 1869-70.
DELEVANTI, THOMAS. James T. Johnson’s, 1888.
DEL FUEGO. Adam Forepaugh, 1888.
DEL FUEGO, LULU [Mrs. Frank Foignet]. (1867?-December 22, 1911) General performer. Entered the circus business in the early 1880s with the old John Robinson show. Was also connected with the Mighty Haag, 1911. Died in Chicago, age 44.
DELHAUER, WILLIAM. Contortionist and wire ascensionist, Sells Bros.’, 1881-82.
DELIYEDE, PETE. Band leader, G. G. Grady’s, 1871.
DELL, EDDIE. Contortionist, Gollmar Bros.’, 1892.
DELMAINE, HARRY. Egyptian juggler, Lowande & Hoffman, 1887; Lowande’s Winter Circus, 1889-90.
DELMAR, MLLE. JEANETTE. French equestrienne, W. W. Cole’s, 1886.
DELMATO, NINA. Manège and trick horse performer, Holland, Bowman & McLaughlin, 1890.
DELMONT BROTHERS [Eddie, Frank]. Gymnasts. Great Commonwealth, transported by boat, William Newman, 1879; John H. Murray’s, 1880; McDonald & Wells, 1892.
DE LONG, ED. Guilford & Cannon, winter 1889-90; stilts and knockabout clown, Cooper & Co. (J. R. W. Hennessey, proprietor and manager), 1897.
DE LONG, SAM. Frank Rich’s, 1886.
DEL ORIENTE, MAGO. Magician, Great Southern Menagerie and Varieties, 1859.
DE LORME, EUGENIA [Mrs. Clark T, Ames]. Female lion tamer. G. N. Eldred’s, 1858-59; Robinson & Lake, 1859-62; John Robinson’s, 1864; Haight, Chambers and Ames’, 1867; C. T. Ames’, 1868-70. Attacked by a lion while performing, Sunbury, PA, August 20, 1869, and badly injured. Following the death of Ames, married H. K. Robinson, Memphis, TN, January 2, 1872, a non-professional.
DE LOUIS, GEORGE [r. n. Charles P. Raymond]. (October 24, 1822-June 26, 1875) Born in Rouen, France. Pad rider, leaper and trapeze performer. Gardner & Hemmings, 1863-64; along with his trained dogs Kate, Matt and Jennie, Thayer & Noyes, 1865-66; with his dogs, Chiarini’s, Havana, fall 1866; James M. French’s, 1867. While performing, New Orleans, fell from a trapeze, causing an injury that led to death.
DELSMORE, MISS. Rider, Dr. G. R. Spalding’s, 1844-47.
DELVY, FRED and BLANCHE. Double trapeze, Albert M. Wetter’s New Model Shows, 1893.
DEMAR, MOLLIE. Serio-comic, John H. Murray’s, 1877.
DEMEREAN, HELENE. James Robinson’s, 1870.
DE MONTAGUE, MME. Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1882.
DE MONTFORD, ETELKA. Gymnast, W. W. Cole’s, 1886.
DE MORA, FRANK. Contortionist, Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1889-90; Sells Bros.’, 1894.
DEMOREST, JAMES. Equestrian and leaper. Bryan’s, 1869; Campbell’s, 1870; Rosston, Springer & Henderson, 1872.
DE MOTT, CHARLES. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1867.
DE MOTT FAMILY [James, Josephine, Josie, Louise, William]. In the manner of such equestrian clans as the Stickneys and the Sherwoods, they worked together as a family until James DeMott’s retirement. James DeMott (1838-October 5, 1902) Born in East Troy, NY, of French and German ancestry. Ran away from home at age 10 and joined S. B. Howes United States Circus, 1848. Apprenticed to William Smith, a 4- horse rider. The next year, was with John Platt Crain’s Co.; 1850, visited the West Indies under the management of Harry Whitby. Sands & Lent, 1851; Nathans, Quick, 1852; Welch, Sands, Quick & Nathans, 1852; Washington Circus, Thirty-ninth and Sixth Ave., NYC, 1853; L. G. Butler's, 1854; Sands, Nathans, 1855; Mabie’s, 1856-60; Niblo & Sloat, West Indies, fall 1860; Goodwin & Wilder, Howard’s Athenaeum, Boston, 1861. While with the George F. Bailey show, 1861, married Josephine Tourniaire. The union produced 3 outstanding equestrians, Josie, William and Louise, who were raised within the world of the circus and who were gradually schooled into becoming a performing part of it. There were also 5 other children. George F. Bailey & Co, 1862; S. O. Wheeler’s, 1863; Robinson & Howes, winter 1863-64; Tom King’s, 1864; Seth B. Howes’, 1865-66; Thayer & Noyes, 1866; sideshow privilege (with David Henderson), principal bareback rider, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1867; DeMott & Ward, 1868; John O’Brien’s, 1869; managed Campbell’s, 1870, and Sheldenberger’s, 1871, both owned by John V. O’Brien; privileges, Springer, Rosston & Henderson, 1872; James E. Cooper’s, winter 1872-73; privileges, Cooper & Bailey, 1873-74; managed and had interest in Rothschild’s (another O’Brien show), 1875-76; Hamilton’s New York Circus, 1877; ringmaster and equestrian director, Hamilton & Sargeant’s, 1878; Hunting, Hilliard & DeMott, 1879; Hilliard & DeMott, 1880-81; John O’Brien’s, 1882; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, fall, winter 1882-83; John Robinson’s, 1884-89; Orrin Bros.’, fall, winter 1888-89; Europe with Barnum & Bailey, fall 1889; John Robinson’s, 1890-93. In mid-career, lost his savings in the English bank of Jay Cook & Co. [Josephine DeMott Robinson: “My father was a miserable business man, one who always refused to tie himself to contracts and whose honesty was proverbial in the show business.”] Following the last season with Robinson, retired from the circus business and settled in Frankford, PA, where he resided for many years and where he eventually died after a 3-week illness. Josephine “Josie” (circa 1870-February 21, 1920), eldest daughter of James and Josephine and a graceful and daring equestrienne. [John A. Dingess: She “was the very perfection of art and the embodiment of one’s wildest dreams.”] At 19 years of age, married grifter George H. Hines, Selina, NC, September 30, 1889, under a veil of controversy, presumably having been duped into the union. Served papers for divorce in November of that same year, claiming coercion; then married Charles M. Robinson, son of old John. Died at home of her adopted daughter, Camille, in Frankford, PA. Louise, second daughter of James and Josephine, and sister of Josie and William, was an attractive rider of high school horses. Carried on the equestrian family tradition by marrying Robert Stickney, Jr. See Robert Stickney, Jr. Began on John Robinson’s in both principal riding acts and manège. After marriage to Stickney, 1893, she and her husband usually appeared on the same program Later, concentrated on manège, both from the side saddle and from the 4-wheeled buggy or cart. By 1909, then on Hagenbeck-Wallace, she entered the arena dressed all in white, riding in a high seated 4-wheeled cart, drawn by a milk-white horse with a cake-walking white dog performing underneath. After leaving the circus, she and her husband appeared on the vaudeville circuit. 1923, retired to North Platte, NE, where Robert engaged in breaking high school and trick horses. William was within a year of the age of his sister, Josie. Married in Philadelphia, December 5, 1892, to Katie Smith, a non-professional. At the time, was performing in theatres with “The Country Circus” Co. Later, Walter L. Main’s, 1895; John Robinson’s, 1902-08; principal rider, performing an Indian riding act, Two Bills’ Show, 1912. As a principal, hurdle and somersault rider, career extended from 1874 until 1925. A second wife, Eunice Stokes DeMott, who survived him, was a principal rider performing with him as early as 1910-11, riding manège and doing a double carrying act. After their riding careers ended, they conducted a school of dance and acrobatics, Baltimore, MD.
DE MOTT, GARY. (December 10, 1830-March 27, 1863) Equestrian and clown. Den Stone’s, 1854; VanAmburgh’s, 1855; Mabie’s, 1857-59; R. Sands’, 1861; L. B. Lent’s, 1862. Also performed as comedian in equestrian dramas, such as Jack Sheppard and Dick Turpin. Died in NYC.
DENIER, JOHN. Tight-rope ascensionist, Howes’, 199 Bowery, NYC, winter 1863-64.
DENIER, TONY. (d. 1917) Clown and pantomimist. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1867, for several years, perhaps until 1877. Became famous for his performances in Humpty Dumpty, touring both in the USA and abroad.
DENMAN, GEORGE [“Deafy”]. (b. 1872) Born in NYC. Cookhouse, Sells Bros.’, 1890; elephants, Sells Bros.’, 1891-95; Barnum & Bailey, Europe, 1896; Forepaugh-Sells, 1911; Ringling Bros.’, 1919-1932.
DENZER BROTHERS [Valentine, Jacob, Charles, Randolph]. Gymnasts from the Rentz’s German Amphitheatre, Hamburg. Valentine was an antipodean globe performer. For a time, part owner in the Denzer Circus. Left to go into the clothing business. At time of death, had been away from show business about 20 years. Died in West Hoboken, NJ, November 2, 1900, age 70. Jacob worked on stilts and the trapeze. Died of consumption in Lowell, OH, October 25, 1863. The brothers performed with Sands, Nathans & Co., Bowery Circus, 1858-59; Niblo & Sloat, 1860; G. F. Bailey & Co., 1862; S. O. Wheeler’s, Boston, 1864; Mrs. Charles H. Warner’s, Philadelphia, winter 1864-65; Stone & Rosston, 1865; Stone, Rosston & Murray, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, winter 1866-67; Seth B. Howes’, 1867; Great London, 1874.
DE ORMER BROTHERS . Leapers and tumblers, Gollmar Bros.’, 1892.
DE PAUL, EMMA. Lowande’s Brazilian Circus, 1889.
DERIMS, E. Welch & Mann, Philadelphia, 1847.
DERIOUS, EDWIN “NED”. (1808-July 19, 1888) Rider and vaulter. Born in Philadelphia; apprenticed with a showman by the name of Hunt at a very early age, becoming a fine athlete, a good rider, vaulter, and tight rope performer. J. Purdy Brown’s, 1827, 1829; Benjamin Brown’s, 1828; Palmer & Harrington’s, 1834; vaulter and rider, Palmer’s, 1835-37. Acquired half interest in Bacon’s company, 1838, Bacon & Derious’ Olympic Circus. Company broke up in Richmond, VA, and equipment was purchased by Welch & Bartlett. Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1840; Broadway Circus, NYC, 1840; eastern unit of June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1841; Bartlett & Delavan, 1841; Welch & Mann, 1841; VanAmburgh’s Roman Amphitheatre, England, 1842-44; Rivers & Derious’ Grecian Arena, 1852; Rivers & Derious with Herr Driesbach’s, 1853; Rivers & Derious, 1857-58; Sands, Nathans & Co., Broadway Theatre, NYC, 1858; Dan Rice’s, 1858, where he appeared on the enchanted ladder, tossed the globe on horseback, rode bareback, etc.; monkey man, Rivers & Derious’, 1859; Gardner & Hemmings, 1862; Gardner & Hemmings (under the Barnum name), Washington, DC, fall 1862; Slaymaker & Nichols, 1864; Mrs. Dan Rice’s, 1864; Gardner & Hemmings, National Hall, Philadelphia, 1865; New American Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1865-66; Dan Rice’s, 1866; equestrian manager, Parisian Circus, 1867. In Paris at the opening of the Exposition of 1867, was gored by a buffalo, stricken with paralysis, and for 10 years prior to death was an invalid. Died in Philadelphia.
DERIOUS, GEORGE. Rider. Son of rider Edwin Derious. Welch’s, 1849; Rivers & Derious, 1851-52; Driesbach, Rivers & Derious, 1853; Ballard’s, winter 1853; Rivers & Derious, 1855-58; man monkey, Gardner & Hemmings, 1861-62; Bryan’s, with Mrs. Dan Rice, 1863; Dan Castello’s, 1866.
DEROCK, ELFIE. Wire ascensionist, Sherman & Hinman, 1883.
DE ROSA, GEORGE. Frank Rich’s, 1886.
DERR, JOHN. General performer, Flagg & Aymar, 1856.
DERR WILLIAM R. (1810?-June 7, 1878) Equestrian. Varied career combining the ring and the stage. Around 1835, traveled with the Grand Combined Circus as the “Modern Hercules” and as part of a 4-brothers pyramid act, along with D. Morgan, W. Smith, and L. Lipman. Clown, James W. Bancker’s, 1832; clown, Aaron Turner’s, 1833, 1835; J. J. Hall’s, West Indies, 1837; strong man, H. H. Fuller’s, 1838; strong man, June, Titus, Angevine & Co., Bowery Amphitheatre, 1840; Henry Rockwell & Co., winter 1841; clown, Welch & Mann, 1841; clown, John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1843; horse-breaker, Rockwell & Stone, 1845; trainer and ring-master, June & Co., 1851; ringmaster, Joe Pentland’s, 1852. In 1853, developed a starring reputation as a “horse actor” or “horse charmer” in equestrian dramas by touring the country with his prize mount, Ingomar. For a period of time following the war, settled in St. Louis, MO, at the Varieties, with a repertory that included such horse spectacles as Putnam, Mazeppa, and El Hyder. Around 1868, traveled in support of the equestrian actress Kate Fisher and for whose productions he trained and furnished the horses. Died in Morrisiana, NY, age 68. Derr’s wife was listed as “a great hurdle act de manège,” with Washburn’s Great Indian Amphitheatre and Circus, 1855.
DERRIOTT, JAMES. Mabie’s, 1860.
DERTH, MAJOR F. [or H.]. Teamster. 40-horse hitch driver, with Spalding & Rogers, 1858-59; driver 40-horse bandwagon, Dan Rice’s, 1873. 1859 ads stated Derth had been the teamster of the 40-horse hitch for 10 years, yet earlier ads show J. W. Paul. [Stuart Thayer: “It is possible that Derth drove the hitch over the road and Paul drove it in parade.”]
DE RUTH, MONS. Strong man, W. W. Cole’s, 1879.
DE VALLEROT, PROF. Press agent, G. F. Bailey & Co., 1874.
DEVAN, WILLIAM. McMahon’s, 1888; F. J. Taylor’s, 1892.
DEVANIER, JOSEPHINE [Josephine Webb]. Rope ascensionist. Madame Macarte’s European Circus (James M. Nixon, proprietor), 1863; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Continental Theatre, Philadelphia, fall 1864; double equitation and grand haut ecole acts, Spalding & Rogers, New Orleans, winter 1864-65; Dan Castello’s, 1865; Thayer & Noyes, winter 1865-66; outdoor wire ascension prior to each performance, New York Champs Elysees, 1865-66; Thayer & Noyes, 1866; L. B. Lent’s, 1867; pad act, French’s, 1868; Cooke’s, Philadelphia, winter 1867-68; Academy of Music, New Orleans, winter 1868-69.
DEVEAU, WILLIAM F. P. Assistant ticket agent, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
DE VEAUX, TOMMY. Clown, Great Western, 1876.
DEVERAUX, GEORGE. Acrobat, Alexander Robinson’s, 1875.
DEVERE, ANN. James T. Johnson’s, 1884.
DEVERE, CARRIE. Concert performer, John H. Murray’s, 1875. May have been the wife of William Devere.
DEVERE, CHARLES [r. n. Charles Dingley]. (1823-July 7, 1868) General and versatile performer, capable of clowning, leaping and tumbling, but specialty was performing on the slack-rope. When a mere youth, ran away from home and found employment at a bowling alley in Albany, NY. Soon jobbed out as a cabin boy on a canal boat on the Ohio River. 1839, joined Turner’s circus. Following year, went to the West Indies, remaining for 3 years. Rejoined Turner’s, 1843, and remained in the circus business until 1849. Then went to work in a printing office. 1850, traveled with a panorama of Napoleon but returned to circus performing, 1851. Appeared with Great Orion Circus, Old Bowery, NYC, 1861; Nixon’s Cremorne Garden Circus, Washington, DC, October-December 1862; James M. Nixon’s, fall 1865. Went to California for three years, then to Australia and the Orient. 1867, advertised the feat of throwing a boomerang 300’. Became known as a “Jonah,” one who brought bad luck to the circus troupe, a reputation impossible to live down. Died in San Francisco, CA.
DEVERE, DAN. Banjoist, J. Hudson’s, West Indies, 1872-73.
DEVERE, EDA. Equestrienne, Cooper & Jackson, 1880.
DEVERE, FRANK. Charles Lee’s, 1888; Downie & Gallagher, 1893.
DEVERE, GEORGE. Great Australian Circus Co., 1877.
DEVERE, HARRY. Clown, World’s Fair Aggegation, 1892. Same year, with Ed Keetch, assumed ownership of the show and retitled it Devere & Keetch’s Colossal Shows and Pyrotechnical Sensation.
DEVERE, HELENE. W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1886.
DEVERE, J. F. C. Bareback and hurdle rider, E. Stowe’s, 1870.
DEVERE, MAY. Cooper & Jackson, 1880.
DEVERE, MME. (1855?-June 18, 1912) Bearded lady. Born in Kentucky. Began career at the age of 17. Connected for some 40 years with the principal circuses and museums in America. Married sideshow manager J. W. Devere. Died of a heart attack in Oelwein, IA, age 57, while with the Patterson Carnival Co.
DEVERE, WILLIAM. Banjoist and singer. Museum director, Alexander Robinson’s, 1875.
DE VERNE, L. Ringmaster, Great Oriental Pavilion Show, 1877.
DE VERNE, SAM. Banjoist, Denver Dick’s Wild West and Sioux Indian Medicine Company, 1894.
DE VILLANUEVA, JOSE. Equilibrist, calisthentist, Spalding & Rogers, 1857-59.
DEVINE, CAROLINE. Equestrienne. Boston Lion Circus, 1836; S. H. Nichols’, 1838, 1840.
DEVINE, GEORGE. Minstrel performer, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
DEVINO BROTHERS. Triple bar, Bailey & Winan, 1890.
DEWEY, H. J. Program agent, Burr Robbins’, 1874.
DE WITT, HENRY. Acrobat, Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875.
DE YOUNG, MRS. G. See Rosa Celeste.
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