Circus Historical Society
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A biographical dictionary of the ninteenth century American circus
Di - Dw
Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout
Copyright © 2005 by William L. Slout. All rights reserved.
DIABOLA “DIB” [r. n. R. Moody]. Fire king and and a man of many faces. A hard, conscientious worker, was for some years with the Burr Robbins’, where he did several turns in the sideshow, concert feature in the big show, and made all the announcements in the big show, as he had a loud, clear voice which could be heard in all parts of the canvas. Was the kind that got the most out of life. After putting in several years on a salary with the Burr Robbins’, finally took an interest in the privileges, which was not a good investment. After closing the season, quit the business and settled in Chicago where he opened a buffet and restaurant at Sixty-First and State Streets. Also Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879. Died in 1884 or 1885. [D. W. Watt: “He was a good storyteller, and the night was never too dark, nor the roads so heavy, when I would drive by Dib and his wife, but what he would always say ‘Beautiful night, elegant roads,’ or something of the kind.”]
DIAMOND, BILLY. Clown, E. A. Griffith’s, 1894.
DIAMOND BROTHERS. Sells Bros.’, 1885.
DIAMOND, C. Clown, Hilliard & Hunting, 1877.
DIAMOND, FRANK. Howe’s New Colossal Shows, Mexican and Wild West Expositions (E. H. Howes & Co., proprietors), 1888.
DIAMOND, HARRY. Assistant advance agent, Holland & Gormley, 1888-89.
DIAMOND, J. Concert, John Robinson’s, 1871.
DIAMOND, JOHN. (1823?-October 29, 1857) Jig dancer. Performed at the Franklin Theatre, NYC, spring 1839. In the fall of that year, moved to the New Chatham Theatre, where in addition to dancing played the role of Black Ike in Shabby Genteel. Danced for P. T. Barnum, Vauxhall Garden, NYC. Barnum, after playing out the Diamond excitement and tiring of putting up with his revengeful disposition, dropped him. At one time, enlisted in the American army and nearly lost his life in Mexico. Was sentenced to be shot for attacking a superior officer. Fortunately, the peace treaty saved him the rifle squad. Danced for many years with Jim Sanford. Both men dressed “in the height of flashy extravagance.” At one time was a rival of Dick Pelham. They had a match dance at the Chatham Theare for $500 a side, February 13, 1840. As a circus performer, Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839; Ludlow & Smith, 1841; Henry Rockwell & Co., winter 1841; Rockwell & Stone, 1843; Mann, Welch & Delavan, 1845; G. N. Eldred, 1847; Dan Rice’s, 1849. Died at Blockley Alms House, Philadelphia, age 34.
DICE, CARL. Business manager, W. C. Coup’s, 1894.
DICKENSON, ENAM M. Singer. Palmer & Harrington, 1834; Buckley & Weeks, 1835; J. W. Bancker’s, 1836; Bacon & Derious, 1838; Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839; S. H. Nichols’, 1839-42; Broadway Circus, NYC, 1840; Bartlett & Delavan, 1841; Welch & Mann, 1841; Mann, Welch & Delavan, 1844; Welch & Mann, 1845; clown, S. P. Stickney’s, 1847; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1847; Spalding & Rogers, 1850-51.
DICKERSON, CHARLES. Dan Castello’s, winter 1867-68; James Robinson’s, 1870.
DICKEY, SAM. (d. November 11, 1888) Clown. Started in circus business around 1860. Burr Robbins’, 1874, 1879, 1883; Miles Orton’s, 1880, 1885; Wallace & Co., 1886; John F. Stowe & Co., 1888; Weldon & Hummel. A powerful man who knew no fear. One account lists him as dying in Cincinnati, November 11, 1888; another states that he died in the poor house of Wayne County, Mich., September 7, 1889, after whitening his face for the ring with a secret preparation which eventually attracted blood poisoning and caused partial paralysis; still another, that he died of consumption in a hospital in Chicago.
DICKINSON, CHARLES. Treasurer, James Robinson’s, 1870.
DICKSON, JOE. Clown, Hyatt & Co., 1859.
DICKSON, JOHN. Agent, New York Olympic, 1867.
DIEFENBACH, PHIL. (d. May 17, 1899) Clown and negro minstrel show manager, Haight & Chambers, winter 1866-67; Maginley & Carroll, 1868; clown, Ames’, 1869; Lake’s, 1869; ringmaster, James Robinson’s, 1870-72, equestrian director, 1873; ringmaster, Pat Ryan & Co., 1873; Jackley’s, 1874; ringmaster, P. T. Barnum’s, 1874; equestrian director, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; Great Eastern, 1878. Moved into circus management with Thayer, Diefenbach & Lewis’ Great Show and London Sensation, 1878. Following year, took out Diefenbach’s New Trans-Atlantic Shows. Continued as circus proprietor under such titles as Diefenbach’s Transatlantic Circus, 1888; Phil Diefenbach’s, 1892-97; Diefenbach & Hamilton’s (Phil Diefenbach, William Hamilton, proprietors), 1899. Mrs. Diefenbach was wardrobe woman with the old Dan Rice and John Robinson circuses when she was known as Maggie Roe. Marriage to Diefenbach produced a daughter, Katie. Diefenbach died from lung cancer, Trenton, TN, after being sick for 2 years, which necessitated spending all of the income for medicine and doctors and left his widow destitute and appealing for support. She died at her home in Hamilton, OH, June 8, 1901, age 56.
DIEGO. Rider and general performer, probably apprenticed with Pepin & Breschard, 1809. Described by one source as being 11 years old at the time; however, another source stated he was 15 in 1812, when apprenticeship had recently ended. Remained with the company through 1814. Then went with Davis & Co., Boston, fall 1815; Pepin, Philadelphia and Lancaster, summer 1817; Olympic Circus, Philadelphia, summer 1817.
DIGNEY, LUKE. Boss canvasman, Cooper, Bailey & Co. Australian tour, 1877.
DILKS, JOHN M. See John M. LaThorne.
DIMPLE, DOTTIE. (1863?-May 7, 1912) Equestrienne. Began performing at 8 years of age as one of the Dimple Sisters, Dottie and Dollie, with Yankee Robinson’s. For a number of years, Adam Forepaugh’s as a trick and bareback rider. Also a song and dance soubrette in vaudeville and burlesque and, later, owned and managed several theatres in the West. Married to Harry Rex Burton. Died in Kalamazoo, MI, from chronic asthma, age 49.
DINEGAR, ROBERT C. General agent, with Montgomery Queen’s, 1876.
DINGESS, JOHN A. (1829-April 15, 1901) Agent. Born in Charleston, WV. Brother of Robert S. Dingess. Worked for various circus and minstrel companies and at one time was representative for Tony Pastor. Dan Rice’s, 1849; VanAmburgh’s, 1855; Mabie’s, 1856-57; Harry Buckley’s, 1857; Spalding & Rogers Floating Palace, 1858-59; Dan Rice’s, 1860-61; manager, Burgess, Prendergast, Hughes & Donniker’s Minstrels, 1865, through the East; manager, Dingess & Green’s Minstrels, an organization that opened in Champaign, IL, November 18, 1866; Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1868; Dan Rice’s, 1869; John Robinson’s, 1870-71; general business agent, John Stowe & Sons, 1871; Great Eastern, 1872; Great Chicago, 1873; Older’s Great Trans-Atlantic, 1873; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1874-75; Ryan & Robinson, 1882. Also with many theatrical companies, including Director & Ulman’s Opera House Stock Co., Guiseppina Marlacchi Ballet Troupe (1870), Lisa Weber’s British Blonds (1871), Arlington’s Minstrels, Mrs. James A. Oates Burlesque and Opera Co., treasurer for Tony Pastor’s Theatre, NYC, etc. After retirement, 1880s, devoted some time to writing a book on circus life. Although never published, the hand written manuscript is at the Harry Hertzberg Circus Collection and Museum, San Antonio, TX. A typewritten copy is at the Robert L. Parkinson Library and Research Center, Baraboo, WI. Died in NYC, age about 80.
DINGESS, ROBERT S. (March 15, 1826-March 15, 1894) Agent and advertiser. Brother of agent John A. Dingess. Entered the business with the American Circus; followed by an engagement with Spalding & Rogers Floating Palace, 1850-51, 1853, 1856-60; Dan Rice’s, 1860-61; Antonio Bros.’, 1862; Arlington & Donniker’s Minstrels, winter 1862-63; Arlington, Kelly, Leon, Donniker & Jones’ Minstrels, 1863; Melville’s Australian Circus, 1864; Yankee Robinson & Dan Scott, 1866-67; William Lake’s, winter 1866-67, 1868; Nixon, Castello & Howes, 1867; George F. Bailey’s, 1868-69; John Robinson’s, 1869-70, 1872; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1870-75, 1880; Montgomery Queen’s, 1876; general director, W. C. Coup’ New United Monster Show, 1879; Pullman, Dingess & Co. (Henry Pullman, R. S. Dingess, proprietors), 1885; John T. Long’s, 1890; W. B. Reynold’s, 1892, (last engagement). At times cranky and not an easy man to get along with, was known among fellow professionals as “Black Hawk.” In wagon show days, was considered to have superior knowledge of the West, which made him in great demand. [D. W. Watt: “While Bob Dingess was thorough in his work in the business, he was not what you might call a companionable man, for he wore a bad scowl on his face that must have been made of buckskin or corduroy as he wore it for at least twenty-five years that I know of, and the last time I saw him it was still in good condition. But Dingess was a tireless worker and could always be found at his post early and late and many a long trip would he make over the country during the show season, looking up the best possible country to take the show into…. Bob Dingess probably knew more about the country and the conditions from California to Maine than anyone in the business.”]
DINNEFORD, WILLIAM. (d. December 8, 1852) Equestrian. According to T. Allston Brown, was a man of many occupations—actor, author, manager, auctioneer, broker and merchant. Born in London and came to American for the purpose of commerce. At one time was in the billiard table business. [Charles Durang: “Mr. William Dinneford was a dashing young Israelite from London, of fine personal appearance.”] American acting debut, Philadelphia, Chestnut Street Theatre, 1823; New York debut, Lafayette Theatre, 1826; Mount Pitt Circus (Gen. Sanford, proprietor); Washington Gardens, Boston, 1827. Subsequently became manager of the Franklin Theatre, Chatham Square, Palmo’s Opera House, Bowery Theatre, NYC. Traveled throughout the country with various theatrical groups until, in August 1845, opened The Byron, a lodging and eating establishment, 157 Broadway, NYC. Died in Panama.
DIVO, DON. Contortionist, F. J. Taylor’s, 1891.
DIXON. Comic songs, Samuel Parsons’ Albany Circus (under the management of Simon V. Wemple), Troy, NY, 1828; American Arena, Washington, DC, winter 1828-29.
DOBBINS, J. Excursion agent, John Robinson’s, 1892.
DOBSON BROTHERS. Gymnasts and acrobats, James T. Johnson & Co., 1869.
DOCK, SAM. (December 24, 1863-July 3, 1953) Began trouping, 1883, and continued without a miss until at least 1951. Harris Nickel-Plate, 1885; Beckett’s, 1886; Dock & Jordan, 1887; one-third interest, Welsh Bros.’, 1890-01; Flying Jordans, 1892; half interest, Wheeler & Co., 1893; superintendent, Wheeler’s, 1893; Welsh’s Great Golden Shows, 1893; Dock Keystone Shows, 1895; Great Keystone Shows, 1914; manager, Brison Bros.’, 1929. Last had a show of his own, 1942; but continued to work dogs, ponies and monkeys through 1951.
DOCKRILL, ELISE. (1852-1919) Daughter of Rose Kennebel and sister of Francois and Eugene Kennebel, French clowns. A one, 4 and 6-horse rider. Said to be the first woman to ride and drive 4 horses. Praised as an attractive rider “on a fine gray horse coursing around the ring at full speed,” leaping over banners and jumping through “balloons.” One of her most thrilling feats was grasping the girdle of the horse and supporting herself with only her hands while the steed leaped over fences. Named “The Empress of the Arena” by Barnum, who offered $10,000 to anyone to equal her 6-horse act. Commanded a weekly salary of $500 for full 12 months of the year while with Barnum between 1872-79, also had half use of Barnum’s private railroad car. 1877, took over the Great London Circus with husband Richard Dockrill, John J. Parks, and Homer Davis. P. T. Barnum’s, Hippotheatron, NYC, December 1872 (first appearance in USA on December 16); Great London, 1877-78; P. T. Barnum’s, 1879-80; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82. Injured in a fall at Cohoes, NY, and another at Portsmouth, VA, 1883. Walter L. Main’s, 1899. Suffered dislocated knee while alighting from a horse in Caracas, Venezuela, and was unable to ride again. When the circus company became afflicted with yellow fever, the Dockrills returned to USA without a penny, having lost over $100,000 in 7 months. By 1912, they had a home at Delavan Lake, WI. Lost a daughter, Eliza Hermina, to diphtheria, September 10, 1881, age 7. Died in poverty in Delavan, WI, and is buried in an unmarked lot. See below.
DOCKRILL, RICHARD H. (August 9, 1843-December 28, 1922) Born in Cork, Ireland. Equestrian and equestrian director, who, with his wife, Elise Kennebel, were first noted as French riders with Howes’ Great American Circus and Menagerie, London, England, 1870. Came to America the following year with the circus. Performed a manège act with his horse, Ellington, exhibiting “riding-school” techniques in galloping, waltzing, etc. Was also proficient as a scenic rider but had greatest ability as an equestrian director, for which he was considered one of the best of his day. With John J. Parks and Homer Davis, purchased the Seth B. Howes show, January, 1877, taking it on the road for 2 years, Dockrill’s Parisian Circus and Grotesque Mardi Gras. Sold the show to James A. Bailey and James E. Cooper, 1879. First American engagement, P. T. Barnum’s, winter, 1872, terminating with the burning of the Hippotheatron, NYC, December 24, where their horses were lost. Howes’ Great London, 1873; John Wilson’s, California, 1873-74; P. T. Barnum’s, 1880; in partnership with Leon De Leon, Leon’s Iron Amphitheatre, Havana, fall 1881; equestrian director, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82; Nathans & Co., 1883; Dockrill’s, South America, 1885-86; Barnum & Bailey, 1892-93, 1905; Walter L. Main’s, 1899, 1901, 1904; Norris & Rowe’s, 1908. Daughter, Rose, married George Holland.
DOCKRILL, ROZELLE E. “ROSE”. (d. March 7, 1920) Bareback and forward bareback and jockey rider. Daughter of Elise and Richard Dockrill. Made debut on bareback with Barnum & Bailey, 1893; famous for combining the somersault and toe dance on horseback. John G. Robinson & Franklin Bros.’, 1896; Ringling Bros.’, 1897; Walter L. Main’s, 1899. Married George E. Holland in Savannah, GA, November 11, 1901. Died on March 7, 1920, at daughter’s home in Delavan, WI.
DODDS, JOSEPH. Band leader, Shedman Bros.’, 1894.
DODE, DAVID HENRY. (d. August, 1888) Giant, 7’ 3”, P. T. Barnum’s.
DODGE, BEN. Sells Bros.’, 1879.
DODGE, HARRY. Press agent, John Wilson’s, 1875.
DODGE, J. Advertising agent, Cooper, Bailey & Co. Australian tour, 1877. May be the same as below.
DODGE, J. A. Director, Crystal Palace Circus, California, 1872.
DODGE, OLIVER. Rider, horse trainer. First started in the circus business, 1853. Wesley Barmore’s, 1854; VanAmburgh’s, 1855; Yankee Robinson’s, 1856-57; L. B. Lent’s, 1858; Alex Robinson’s, 1862; Miles’ Circus Royale, Canada, 1863; Metropolitan, 1864; ringmaster, Yankee Robinson’s, Chicago, 1866; Smith & Baird, 1872.
DOER, MONS. J. W. Bancker’s, New York State, 1832.
DOGGET, EDWARD. Sideshow manager, Gardner & Hemmings, 1863.
DOLPHIN, T. G. (d. July 29, 1890) Advance agent, Reese, Levis & Dolphin, 1885; P. T. Barnum’s.
DOLSON, AL. General agent, Bailey & Winan, 1890.
D’OME, WILLIAM. Acrobat, Hudson & Castello (J. M. Hudson and Dan Castello, proprietors), 1881.
DOMINION BROTHERS [William, John, Clifford]. Alex Robinson’s, 1870.
DONAHUE, JAMES. Concert clog dancer, leaper, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.
DONAHUE, VICTOR. Master of transportation, Bruce L. Baldwin’s, 1894.
DONALD, GEORGE. Rider. L. B. Lent’s, 1871; P. T. Barnum’s, 1874; Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; Great Australian, National Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1881-82.
DONALDSON, FRANK. Gymnast. Began in the circus business, Aaron Turner’s, 1842, as a posturer at $12 a week. Great Western, 1845; Spalding & Rogers, 1852-59; George F. Bailey & Co., 1860; Chiarini’s, Havana, winter 1861-62; Dan Castello’s, 1870; perch act (with George Dunbar) P. T. Barnum’s, 1871; man monkey, J. W. Wilder’s, 1872; John H. Murray’s, 1873. By 1879, was devoting his days to patenting his inventions.
DONALDSON, GEORGE W. [r. n. George W. Blanchard]. (1853?-February 1914) Cannon ball performer and strong man. John Robinson’s, 1879; DeHaven & Lee, around 1880; sold interest in Donaldson & Rich, 1885; World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. At one time a partner of Charley “Pop” Baker, the glass blower. Died at his home in Detroit in his 62nd year.
DONALDSON, HOMER. Contortionists. Robinson & Lake, Wood’s Theatre, Cincinnati, 1859; Sells Bros.’, 1884-86; Roberts & Gardner, 1886.
DONALDSON, JAMES. Agent, Collins’ Oriental Combination, 1877.
DONALDSON, VIRGINIA. Variety performer as comedienne and danseuse, J. W. Wilder’s, 1872.
DONALDSON, W. H. (April 19, 1864-August 1, 1925) Founder and publisher of the Billboard Publishing Co. The son of William M. Donaldson from Dayton, KY. After completing his education, young Donaldson went to work for his father in an art store and picture frame establishment in Cincinnati. Shortly, his father opened a poster business, 127 East 8th St., which was the beginning of the Donaldson Lithographing Co. of Newport, KY. Continued to work for his father as a poster salesman. 1894, he and James Hennegan founded the Billboard. Starting as a monthly, the first issue contained 8 pages devoted solely to the billposting trade. A disagreement with the leaders of the billposting association led to the Billboard’s divorce from participation in the field of outdoor publicity. An agricultural fair department and a circus department were added as features. When James Hennegan retired, Donaldson assumed entire control of the paper. Married Jennie Hasson, daughter of William Hasson, a prominent cordage manufacturor, 1885.
DONALDSON, WILLIAM B. (1823-April 16, 1873) Comic singer, John T. Potter’s, 1845-46; singer, John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1847; clown, VanAmburgh’s, 1857-58; Tom King’s, 1858; Robinson & Lake, 1860; clown, Mike Lipman’s, 1867; clown, Broadway Circus, NYC, February, 1858. May, 1871, leased Lockwood House, Poughkeepsie, NY, which was opened for minstrel performances. Astonished people by his remarkable left-hand playing on the banjo, not simply picking and fingering with the left hand, but entirely reversing the position in which the instrument is ordinarily held. Died in Poughkeepsie, NY.
DONALDSON, WASHINGTON HARRISON: (October 10, 1840-1875) Balloonist. Born in Philadelphia, the son of alderman David L. Donaldson. As a child was fond of sports and became proficient at balancing on a ladder, walking the tight-rope, etc.; also acquired the magician’s and ventriloquist’s art and performed as such for several years. Subsequently, became interested in aeronautics and performed on a trapeze suspended from a balloon. While in Philadelphia, Broad and Norris Streets, 1874, ascended in a small one-man balloon; the rig became unmanageable and descended near Atco, NJ;. Three telegrams were sent to Philadelphia, stating that Donaldson had fallen from a great height and been killed, which created quite a sensation. The wires were signed by “J. M. Spencer, M.D.” Shortly, other telegrams announced that Donaldson was alive. It later came out that Donaldson had sent the telegrams himself and that losing the balloon was a pre-arranged publicity stunt. Made many ascensions for Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1874-75, until he disappeared, July 15, 1875, over Lake Michigan; after leaving the Chicago show lot in a tattered balloon for a free attraction that day. He was carried out over the lake where he encountered a storm; his body was never recovered.
DONALDSON BROTHERS. Contortionists, Sells Bros.’, 1886.
DONAVAN, JOHN. Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879.
DONAVAN, WILLIAM. (d. April 16, 1873) Leaper, acrobat. Great Railroad, 1859; Robinson & Lake, 1858-60; Antonio & Melville, 1861; Antonio Bros.’, 1862; L. B. Lent’s, 1863-64, 1866; Howe & Norton, fall 1864; J. M. French’s, 1867. Died in Poughkeepsie, NY.
DONCASTER, MARIE. Rider, Palmer’s, 1836.
DONEGANI. Brought a company of tumblers, wire dancers and posturers to Philadelphia, December 1790, and gave exhibitions in Oeller’s Hotel, Chestnut Street.
DONETTI, CARLOS. Animal trainer. Performed the Great Parisian Troupe of Acting Monkeys, Dogs and Goats on the steamers Banjo and James Raymond, Spalding & Rogers, 1858; Donetti & Woods, 1859.
DONNELLY, CHARLES. Lion king. Pullman & Hamilton, 1878.
DONNELLY, JAMES. Museum director, Springer’s, 1875.
DONNELLY, JOE. Lockwood & Flynn, 1887.
DONOVAN, ANNIE [nee Annie Pogue]. (d. October 21, 1902) Bearded lady. Born in Virginia. Lost her father at 8 month old. As a baby had hair longer than her body and developed facial hair early, eventially having a heavy black beard and mustache. Taken to NYC at 9 months of age and exhibited at Barnum’s Museum. Entire life as an oddity was spent in Barnum’s employ; except, in 1865, when Barnum’s museum burned, a showman abducted her and exhibited her privately throughout Europe until 1867, when he was arrested in Canada and recovered by her mother. Married showman Robert Elliot, 1880, but was divorced in 1895. Then married William Donovan, wardrobe man. He died, 1900. She died of consumption, age 37, at her home, 187 Cornelia Street, Brooklyn, where she lived with her mother, Mary Pogue. In accordance with her wish, was buried with beard unshaven.
DONOVAN, JAMES. (December 5, 1853-June 28, 1902) Leaper. John O’Brien’s, 1877-78; Great London, 1879-80; in Europe, 1880-83; Gardner & Donovan, South America, 1886-87; Sturges & Donovan, 1888; Gran Circo Estrellas Del Nortis, West Indies, fall 1888; Stickney & Donovan, 1889; James Donovan’s New American Circus, Bermuda, winter 1891-92; Donovan’s South American Circus, Cuba, winter 1894-95; (James Donovan, Frank Long, proprietors) Donovan & Long, Central America, winter 1896-97; Stirk & Donovan, 1897; Donovan & Stickney’s New Combined North American Circus, West Indies, winter 1897-98; bought out partner Robert Stickney, spring 1898; manager with the New York Circus Co., West Indies, winter 1900-01.
DONOVAN, JERRY C. (1845?-May 28, 1898) Painter by trade, but gave it up to join the circus. Contracting agent, Sells Bros.’ for 12 years until the close of the 1896 season; Great Wallace Shows, remaining until death. Died at his home in Columbus, OH, age 53.
DONOVAN, MRS. A. Costume mistress, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873; P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1874-75.
DONOVAN, WILLIAM A. (d. December 26, 1869) Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1858; Great Railroad, 1859; Robinson & Lake, 1860; l’echelle perileuse, Antonio Bros.’, 1861; L. B. Lent’s, 1866. Died in NYC.
DOOLEY, E. H. (d. May 15, 1887) Lion tamer, Beckett’s; Miles Orton’s, 1880, 1885; Tribbey & Co.’s Mastadon Dime Circus, 1887.
DOOLEY, J. Boss animal man, John Robinson’s, 1882.
DOOLITTLE. Rider and partner with John B. Green in Green & Doolittle, 1825. Went into the menagerie business the following year.
DORIAN, ALFRED. Contortionists, glass eater, sword walker and “all-around circus freak.” Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1883; Frank A. Gardner’s, West Indies, 1884; Holland & McMahon, 1887; Dan Shelby’s, fall 1888; Orrin Bros.’, winter 1888-89; Frank A. Gardner’s, Central and South America, 1888-89; F. J. Taylor’s, 1892; John Robinson’s, 1892-93; Pubillones’, Havana, winter 1892-93; Sells Bros.’, 1894; LaPearl’s, 1894; W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1895; Sands & Ashley, 1895. Married Bertha Harrod, aerialist, Virginia, IL, May 9, 1894, but the marriage lasted only about 2 years. Connected with M. L. Clark’s, 1896, until he left, June 27, and killed himself some days later by taking poison. Failed marriage had led to dissipation.
DORIN, W. F. Business manager, Shedman Bros.’, 1894.
DORIS, ED F. Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1880.
DORIS, E. S. Doris’ winter circus, Forty-second Street, NYC, 1830 (E. S. Doris, proprietor; John B. Doris, manager).
DORIS, JOHN B.: (January 14, 1848-February 6, 1912.) Native of Vermont. Ran away from home and joined Dan Rice’s at the age 14. 1863, while still very young, purchased privileges with George Batcheller for the Dan Rice show. After accruing sufficient capital, Batcheller & Doris launched a circus, 1865, which continued successfully for 20 years. Bought out his partner, 1881, and went out as John B. Doris’ until 1889, before disbanding and opening the Doris Museum, Eighth Ave., between 27th and 28th Streets, NYC. Ran the establishment for 12 years and then sold out to the proprietors of Huber’s Museum on 14th Street. Obtained control of Princess Theatre, 29th and Broadway, where he produced Orange Blossom to no success. Subsequently, became manager to May Robson, Wilton Lackaye and other stars. Married to Ella E. Stokes, daughter of circus man Spencer Q. Stokes, 1887. They had no children. Died at his home, NYC.
DORIS, MARGARET. Equestrienne, Barnum & Bailey, 1892.
DORIS, WILLIAM J. (d. August 3, 1913) Privileges, Walter L. Main’s, 1901; sideshow and privilege manager, Buckskin Bill’s Wild West, 1902. Died age 57.
DORR, EMMA. Slack-wire, Ringling Bros.’, 1891; ascensionist, Young Bros. & Baldwin, 1892.
DORR FAMILY [William, Josie, William, Jr.]. Robinson’s Combined Shows, 1892; Great American Circus, 1893; Fulford & Co., 1890; Sieber & Cole, 1891; J. M. Barry’s Great American Circus, 1894; W. F. Kirkhart’s, 1895; Great Eastern, 1896. William H. Dorr (July 1862-November 18, 1896) aerialist and general performer, born in San Francisco, CA. Died while performing with Frank A. Gardner’s, St. Pierre, Martinique, West Indies, age 34. Josie had trained dogs, featuring her riding dog, Beauty, with J. M. Barry’s Great American, 1894.
DORR, HENRY. Gymnast, treble horizontal bars, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876.
DORR, HOWARD. Gymnast and posturer. Batcheller & Doris, 1870; San Francisco Circus, 1872; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877; Anderson & Co., 1879; Batcheller & Doris, 1880.
DOTRELLA, SIGNOR. Iron jaw man, W. W. Cole’s, 1886.
DOUGHERTY, HUGH. Double somersault leaper, Bailey & Winan, 1890.
DOUGLASS, PROF. Band leader, Gardner, Kenyon & Robinson, 1869.
DOUVILLIER. Cayetano’s Co., in New Orleans, summer 1817. Had worked as an actor for Philip Lailson, NYC, 1797.
DOWD, PROF. Strong man, Robbins & Colvin, 1881.
DOWD, TOM. Member of variety troupe with Haight & Chambers, 1867.
DOWN, SIGNOR. Knockabout clown, with Walter L. Main’s, 1887-88.
DOWNIE, ALEXANDER. (April 9, 1806-March 29, 1843) Trampoline performer. Born in NYC. Joined Aaron Turner’s as clown, 1820, and on horseback executed the feat of somersaulting from a mount at full speed. 1829, threw 21 “jerk forwards” off a vaulting board at the Washington Circus, Philadelphia. Also 7 forward off a swing at Blanchard’s Amphitheatre, NYC, 1830, and gave “the clown’s act on horseback, with the sailor’s description of a fox chase.” A very popular entertainer who once threw 80 somersaults without stopping. Married a Miss Montgomery, an actress at the Bowery Theatre, NYC, 1838. Their daughter, Louise, born in 1841, was a drum performer. Price & Simpson, 1824-25; Washington Gardens, Boston, spring 1825; Lafayette Amphitheatre, NYC, 1825-26; William Harrington’s, 1825; Parson’s Amphitheatre, Albany, 1826; Parsons’ Albany Circus, Troy, NY, 1828; William Harrington’s, touring the West, summer 1829; William Blanchard’s, 1830; clown, Fogg & Stickney, 1830-32; clown, Green & Brown, 1834; Bancker & Harrington, 1835; leaper, Brown’s, 1835-36; clown, the winter circus, Richmond Hill, NYC, 1837; clown, Broadway Circus, NYC, 1840; Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839-40; Henry Rockwell & Co., winter 1841. Died in Puerto Rico while with Welch’s Circus.
DOWNIE, ANDREW [r. n. McPhee]. (August 13, 1863-December 17, 1930) Born in Stephens Township, near Exeter, Ontario, Canada. As a child, moved with his parents to Stratford, Ont. Learned to tumble in his father’s barn. For years he did a “spade” dance and break-away ladder act in vaudeville. 1884, with Clarence Austin, launched Downie & Austin Parlor Circus, a one-ring affair. Ryan & Robinson, 1886; billed as the “human spider,” Lowande & Hoffman, 1887; aerialist and clown, Irwin Bros.’, 1887-88. Married Christina Hewer in Guelph, Ontario, 1890, known as Millie LaTena. Had Diamond Minstrels on the road, 1891; following season, took out Andrew Downie’s Dog and Pony Circus; Downie & Gallagher’s Shows (Andrew Downie, J. P. Gallagher, proprietors), 1891-92; Downie’s New United Shows, 1893; end of 1902 season, took a repertoire company through Canada and later a Tom show; fall 1910, shipped his show to Oxford, PA, where he combined with Al F. Wheeler for the Downie & Wheeler Shows, 1911-13. 1914, launched the LaTena Wild Animal Circus, a 10-car show; 1916, the show was enlarged to 15 cars. Winter 1917-18, leased the title of the Walter L. Main circus and in 3 years made a fortune. Use of the title expired at the end of the 1921 season, at which time retirement was planned by purchasing 2,200 acres of land in Northwestern Canada with the expectation of developing it for sale. Sold his circus equipment to the Miller brothers of the 101 Ranch fame, 1924. 1926, took out a railroad circus under his own name which he operated until 1930. One of the first circuses to adopt motorized travel, the Downie Bros. Motorized Circus. Died at his home in Medina, NY, age 67.
DOWNIE, BEN. Stow, Long & Gumble, 1889.
DOWNIE BROTHERS. Tight-wire act, Reese, Levis & Dolphin, 1885.
DOWNS, GEORGE. Acrobat. American Arena, Washington, DC, winter 1828-29; William Harrington’s, touring the West, summer 1829; rider, Harrington & Buckley, 1830; rider, John Lamb’s, 1831; Yeaman’s, 1833; Joseph D. Palmer’s, 1833, 1835-36; Palmer & Harrington, 1834.
DRAKE, B. M. Contracting agent, Ringling Bros.’, 1891-92.
DRAKE, W. O. “MASTER”. W. Gates & Co., 1838.
DRAPER FAMILY. Trick bicycle riders, Shedman Bros.’, 1894.
DRAYTON, HERR CHARLES. General performer. Cannon ball act, John Wilson’s, 1875; tumbler and leaper, light and heavy balancing, Montgomery Queen’s, 1877; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winter 1877-78; cannon ball, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879; animal tamer, W. C. Coup’s, 1880-82; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1882-83; Sells Bros.’, 1883; Pullman & Dingess, 1885; Frank H. Rich’s, 1886; Oliver’s, 1892; W. F. Kirkhart’s, 1895; (with wife Madeline) Howes’ London, 1896; Donovan & Long, Central America, winter 1896-97; Ringling Bros.’, 1889; the Haag Circus, 1899; cannon ball performer and foot juggler, Gollmar Bros., 1900.
DREW, BILLY. One of Bunnell’s Minstrels, R. Sands’, 1863.
DREW, FRANK. Assistant to James L. Hutchinson with privileges, VanAmburgh’s, 1876.
DREW, FRANK. Clown, Dan Rice’s, 1860. Married Estella Barclay, an equestrienne with the show, that year. Was also an actor.
DREW, GEORGE E. Hebrew-dialect clown, with John B. Doris’, 1883.
DREXEL, W. Strong man, Stone & Rosston, 1865; Stone, Rosston & Murray, 1867; Stone & Murray, 1869.
DRIESBACH, HERR JACOB. (November 2, 1807-December 5, 1877) Wild beast tamer of renown. Born in Sharon, NY. In youth was a “runner” for the Albany boats. Entered the circus business about 1842 with Raymond & Waring, and continued, as the show changed hands to Raymond & Weeks and on to VanAmburgh’s and Herr Driesbach’s Menagerie for some 20 years. Was said to be the first man to train a leopard. Walked the streets with one, which had “a string tied to it” in the shape of a chain. Taught the animal to attack him in the cage while he was working a lion. During the winter season, 1853-54, Driesbach was in NYC with Raymond & Weeks’ menagerie on Broadway, south of Spring Street. Clarry & Reilly, printers, made their first bill in four colors for him. Married a non-professional from Wooster, OH, around 1856, and entered into the occupation of farming. Also kept a hotel nearby, which was always a refuge for itinerant showmen. Possibly the first wild beast tamer recorded by photography. By 1873, was living in retirement at Apple Creek Station, Wayne County, OH, where he died, age 70.
DRISCO, PROF. R. H. Zoological director, Howe’s Great London, 1874.
DU BOIS, EMMA. Trapeze artist, Sells Bros.’, 1885; S. H. Barrett’s, 1887.
DU BOIS, FREDERICK A. Agent, Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1869.
DU BOIS, LOUISE. Equestrienne, George F. Bailey & Co., 1859.
DU BOIS, PAULINE. Female Hercules, with Main & VanAmburgh, 1890.
DU BOIS, PIERRE. Strong man, James M. Nixon’s, 1870. Performed a feat of firing off a 700 pound cannon placed upon his shoulders.
DU BOIS, WILLIAM A. Keeper, Philadelphia Zoological Garden (for James Raymond), 1844; Raymond & Waring, 1845.
DUBSKY, ROSINA. Equestrienne and tight-rope performer. Sister of Aimee Austin. Principal pad rider, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1881; W. W. Cole’s, 1882, 1885; Orrin Bros’., Mexico, winter 1883-84; Frank A. Robbins’, 1885; T. Sidley’s, 1885; Sparrow’s, 1886; Frank A. Robbins’, 1888. Husband died in Cuba, April 1880. Married James Murray a few years later.
DUCELLO, DAN. Proprietor, Dan Ducello’s, 1876-79. Performed lions, etc.
DUCHACK, L. J. Proprietor and manager, L. J. Duchack’s New London Railroad Shows, 1889.
DUCROW, BELLOTA. Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, 1889.
DUCROW BROTHERS. John Wilson’s Palace Amphitheatre, San Francisco, 1874.
DUCROW, CHARLES. Dr. James L. Theyer’s, 1880.
DUCROW, CLARENCE. Somersault rider, San Francisco Circus, 1872.
DUCROW, DAN. (1855-August 11, 1930) Acrobat and clown. Born in California. Joined the Great World Circus as a trick mule rider when he was 9 years old. Toured the Orient and Australia with the Pioneer Circus. Acrobat, Montgomery Queen’s; later, with McIntyre & Heath when the team was with Sells Bros.’; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico; Pubillones’, Havana, winter 1884-85; performing donkeys, Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, 1889. Was also with Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros.’ with his brother, Toto, as Ducrow Brothers clown act. The act broke up when Toto went into the movies. Died in Pittsburgh, PA, age 75.
DUCROW, EDGAR. Stickney’s Grand National, 1848.
DUCROW FAMILY. Frank A. Gardner’s, South American, 1888.
DUCROW, GEORGIE. Baby hurdle rider, L. B. Lent’s New York Circus, 1867-68.
DUCROW, GUSTAVE. George F. Bailey & Co., 1863.
DUCROW, JAMES. Ed G. Basye’s,1878.
DUCROW, LOUIS. Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, 1889.
DUCROW, MASTER EDGAR. Lee & Bennett’s, San Francisco, 1856-57.
DUCROW, MRS. WILLIAM. See Belle Celeste.
DUCROW, WILLIAM J. [r. n. William Johnson]. (1845?-September 25, 1909) After apprenticing to L. B. Lent, took the name of Ducrow. General performer, John Robinson’s, 1857-62; L. B. Lent’s, 1859-62, 1864, 1867-68, 1874, 1876; Goodwin & Wilder, Boston, 1861; L. B. Lent’s Broadway Amphitheatre, NYC, 1862, winter, 1863-64; Spalding & Rogers, New Orleans, winter 1864-65; Stone & Murray, 1871; equestrian director, Burr Robbins’, 1879-80; VanAmburgh’s, 1881; W. C. Coup’s, 1882; Pubillones’, Havana, winter 1885-86; equestrian director, Barnum & Bailey, 1887-88, where he presented a trained zebra act; equestrian director, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893; Donovan’s, in Cuba, winter 1894-95; equestrian director, Barnum & Bailey, London, 1898; equestrian director, Barnum & Bailey, 1908. Married Belle Celeste while both were appearing with Lent’s New York Circus, Boston, May 18, 1874. Died at the Elk’s National Home, age 64.
DUFFEE. Black performer who displayed leaping agility, horsemanship, and vaulting, with feats such as leaping over a hoop and whip, dancing the hornpipe, and dashing around the ring on the tips of his toes. An apprentice with Pepin & Breschard, 1809; went with Cayetano Mariotini’s group to Newburyport and Exeter, MA, and Portsmouth, NH, in the spring of 1810 and returned to NYC in time to rejoin Pepin & Breschard for the company’s opening, June 21; with Cayetano & Co. in Canada, fall 1811-13, and Pepin, Breschard & Cayetano, NYC, summer 1813; then went with the company to Philadelphia for the fall season; with Pepin, Breschard & Cayetano, Baltimore, winter 1813-14; Pittsburgh and Cincinnati beginning in the spring, 1814. Turned up with a small troupe performing in Chillicothe, OH, August 1815, where he “rode on his head with his feet in the air” and executed the “Lion’s Leap” through a hoop and over two swords. At New Orleans with Cayetano, 1816, performing his trick horse, Colin. By beginning of 1817, had left Cayetano’s company.
DUFFY, COL. OWEN. Boss canvasman, Maginley & Co., 1874.
DUGANE, C. E. Program agent, S. P. Stickney & Son’s, 1874.
DUGEE, ANTHONY JOSEPH. In 1752 arranged to perform in a new exhibition hall in Mr. Adam Van Denberg’s Garden. Cavorted on the slack-wire, balanced seven pipes on his nose, as well as a straw on the head of a drinking glass, juggled balls and danced the hornpipe. Was accompanied by Mrs. Dugee, billed as the female Samson because of her ability to extend her body between two chairs while a 300 pound anvil on her breast was struck with the sledge hammers of two men; and in the same position she stalwartly bore the weight of six men, and with an additional show of strength she lifted the anvil with her hair. Circus acts but not a circus.
DULHAUER, WILLIE. Contortionist, the Great New York, 1877.
DUMILIEU, VICTOR. Magician, J. Purdy Brown’s, 1827.
DUMONT, PAULINE. Manège, S. H. Barrett’s, 1887.
DUMONT, W. H. (1860?-January 2, 1900) Advertiser, Barnum & Bailey, 1895. Later, was superintendent of Keith’s Union Square Theatre, NYC. Died of pneumonia at his home in NYC, age about 40.
DUNBAR, ALONZO. Property master, P. T. Barnum’s, 1879.
DUNBAR, GEORGE [r. n. George A. Nice]. (January 26, 1830-September 27, 1884) Light balancer, acrobat, clown, and general performer. Born in Baltimore where his father was captain of a Chesapeake Bay schooner. Entered the profession at an young age and remained almost until his death. Juggler, Chinese equilibrist and posturer, Mann, Welch & Delavan, 1845-47; Spalding & Rogers, 1850, advertised as “the most expert equilibrist and necromancer of the age”; gymnast, (with Magilton and Donaldson) again with Spalding & Rogers, 1855; Dunbar and Magilton together, Sands, Nathans & Co., Bowery Circus, 1858. The two then made a successful European tour. In their perche act, Dunbar held the pole while Magilton performed at the top. Later, Magilton fell and was paralyzed. Member of the Donaldson Troupe, Frank Donaldson, Miaco Brothers, Harry Bernard and Petite Angelo, doing the Zampillaerostation. Also, Thayer & Noyes, winter 1865-66; [with Rochford] Whitby & Co., 1867; [with Donaldson] perch act, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871; one of the original Four Russian Athletes, organized around 1872; did a double-somersault from a giant swing, W. W. Cole’s, 1879, (with Reno), 1880, aerial bycicle act, 1881, 1884, (with Vernon) 1885; perch, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882. Considered one of the finest light balancers of his time, he was tall and well formed and could twist himself into “fantastic” shapes. [John A. Dingess: The team of Dunbar and Henry Magilton were outstanding for “uniqueness, activity and originality of their movements.... As an equilibrist he had no equal in the world.”] Died of consumption and in poverty at his residence, NYC.
DUNBAR, GEORGE W. [r. n. William Gerhardt]. (1844?-October 10, 1916) Aerialist. Native of Johnstown, PA. Barrett & Co., 1882; Cantellis & Leon, Havana, 1882; W. W. Cole’s, 1883; Welsh Bros.’, 1897; Barnum & Bailey, England, 1898; Major Gordon’s, 1910. Beginning around 1890, performed with his wife, Della Dunbar, known as the Flying Dunbars, double trapeze performers. Della died in Brooklyn, NY, May 24, 1898, age 33, having performed with her husband for about 8 years prior to her death. George died in NYC, age 72.
DUNBAR, HATTIE. Wife of George Dunbar.
DUNBAR, JAMES. Orton’s, 1867.
DUNBAR, JOHN. Purchased M. O’Connor & Co.’s Great Western Circus, September 1, 1871. Was a resident of Swan City, NE.
DUNBAR, R. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1878.
DUNBAR, THEODORE. (d. May 25, 1881) Gymnast, acrobat and leaper. While traveling with a circus, 1879, was accused of robbery and sent to prison for a 12 year sentence. Died of consumption in the penitentary, Columbus, OH.
DUNBAR, WILLIAM. Property master, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.
DUNGEE, MRS. ANTHONY. Strong woman. Appeared in NYC, August 1753, with her husband. Called “The Female Samson,” her performance consisting of extending her body between 2 chairs and bearing the weight of 300 lbs. on her chest, which was struck with sledge hammers by 2 men. From the same position, she bore the weight of 6 men. She lifted an anvil by her hair and perform other feats of strength.
DUNGEE ANTHONY JOSEPH. Wire-walker. Performed in NYC, August 1753, in the new exhibition hall of Adam VanDenberg. While on the slack-wire, balanced 7 pipes on his nose, balanced a straw on the head of a drinking glass, juggled balls, and danced the hornpipe.
DUNHAM, C. L. American Hippocolosiculum (Thompson, Smith & Hawes, proprietors), 1866.
DUNHAM, D. F. Proprietor and manager, D. F. Dunham’s European Circus, 1875; privileges, Hilliard & Hunting, 1877.
DUNN. Rider, Frost & Co., 1837.
DUNN, IRA. Rider, Robert Davis’ circus venture, Salem, MA, February. 1810; back with Davis & Co., Boston, October 1815, billed as a one-legged acrobat.
DUNN, MARTIN. (January 3, 1832-September 24, 1884) Native of Portland, ME. Was for several seasons manager for Yankee Robinson’s and L. B. Lent’s. After leaving the profession, went into the express business. Died in NYC.
DUNN, MICHAEL. Boss canvasman, Curtis’ Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877.
DUNN, R. J.: H. Buckley & Co., 1857-58.
DUNNIVAN, J. Contracting agent, S. H. Barrett’s, 1885.
DU NORD, MME. Female lion tamer, Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1868.
DUNSWORTH, CHARLES M. Gardner & Donovan, South America, 1886; Roberts & Gardner, 1886; Frank A. Gardner’s, Central and South America, winter 1887-88.
DUPE, RICHARD. Contortionist, Harry Thayer & Co.’s, 1890.
DUPONT BROTHERS [Thomas, William, Master Henry]. Triple brother act, Lowande’s Brazilian Circus, South America, 1880.
DUPONT, LOUIS. Contortionist, Great American Circus, Museum and Menagerie, 1893.
DUPREE, CHARLOTTE. Slack-wire, Pepin & West at the Olympic Circus, Philadelphia, fall 1817, this being her American debut. Remained with James West’s management 1818-22, the latter year being West’s final appearance in America. The following year, Simpson & Price, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
DUPREE, EUGENE. Hurdle rider, H. M. Smith’s, 1870.
DUPUE, BILLY. Clown, Collins’ Oriental Combination, 1877.
DUPUE, GEORGE. Rider, Collins’ Oriental Combination, 1877.
DUPUE, MILLIE. Equestrienne, Collins’ Oriental Combination, 1877.
DURAND, ANNIE. Jockey and manège act, Gollmar Bros.’, 1895.
DURAND, A. P. General performer, Howes & Mabie, 1845; Robinson & Eldred, 1847, 1849; Spalding & Rogers, 1852-54; Yankee Robinson’s, 1857; Nixon & Kemp, 1858; Joe Pentland’s, 1859 (had teamed with Painter since 1855). Following year, the two were with the Aymar brothers (Walter and William) when they went to California and were engaged with John Wilson’s organization under the banner of Dan Rice’s Circus, 1860-62; performed in South and Central America, Bassett & Aymar, 1861; Orrin Bros.’, San Francisco, 1863; (with Painter) Bay View Park, San Francisco, 1866; Lee & Ryland’s Hippodrome, San Francisco, 1866.
DURAND, J. H. Broadway Amphitheatre, 1857; Bowery Circus, NYC, January 1858.
DURAND, LOUIS. Morosco’s Royal Russian Circus, 1885.
DURAND, MLLE. Buckley & Co., 1857.
DURAND SISTERS. Statuary posing, Gollmar Bros.’, 1893.
DURAND, WILLIAM W. (1837-December 10, 1886) Press agent. Born in Indiana and educated at White River Academy. Printer and journalist under George D. Prentice at the Louisville Journal and a drug clerk there for a time during the Civil War. Later, was on the editorial staff of the Cincinnati Press. Entered the circus business as a press agent about 1867. Great Eastern, 1872-74; P. T. Barnum’s Hippodrome, 1875; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1876; Great London, 1878; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879, 1885-86; J. H. Haverly’s minstrel company, winter 1879-80; then Cooper & Bailey, 1880; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-84, 1886. In the 1880s was said to draw a larger salary than anyone connected with the show, at times $7,000 a year and expenses. [Louis E. Cooke: “Billy Durand, as he was usually called, was one of the most congenial fellows I have ever happened to meet, and I shall never forget the kindly manner in which I was greeted by him when I first entered the circus field and came in contact with him in opposition work.”] It was announced, 1877, that he was operating a grocery store in Bloomington, IN. Died at the railway station in Indianapolis while managing the Museum in that city. As an agent, was considered one of the best writers in the business; copy was always forceful and original. [Charles H. Day: “He smoked like a chimney and chewed plug tobacco.... He is a sledge-hammer writer and, in opposition, goes in for knock-down blows and has more force and ability to a square inch than half a dozen inflated, self-conceited windbags, who call themselves circus writers.”]
DURANG, JOHN. Acrobat, clown and wire walker. Ricketts’, Philadelphia, 1795-1800. With Lewis DeGraff, gave limited circus performances in Philadelphia, July 1800, and at Leaman’s Columbia Garden, Baltimore, summer and fall 1805. The company closed at Leaman’s October 8, and opened at the Pantheon in that city, giving performances until January 20, 1806. Left the first memoir of American circus life.
DURO, MME. Female Hercules, Irwin Bros.’, 1887.
DUSCHACK, I. J. Proprietor, Duschack’s, 1889.
DU SOLLE. Olympic Circus, Philadelphia, July 2, 1817 for a short engagement.
DUTCHER, CHARLEY. (d. June 1, 1889) P. T. Barnum’s.
DUTTON, ARTHUR. Infant son of William Dutton, L. B. Lent’s, 1868.
DUTTON, DOLLIE. (d. January 6, 1890) Midget. 29” high, weighed 15 pounds.
DUTTON, EFFIE. Equestrienne. Wife of William Dutton, Sr. Manège, Sells & Barrett, 1890; Sells Bros.’, 1891-95, bareback riding, lady’s flat race and English hurdle race. [New York Clipper reported she was “doing remarkably well with the principal equestrian act and will at no distant day become one of the leaders of her profession.”] Howes’ Great London, 1897; John Robinson’s, 1898; 1900, 1907. See WILLIAM DUTTON, SR.
DUTTON, JAMES. Somersault rider. Howe’s Great London, 1897; John Robinson’s, 1907.
DUTTON, SAWYER. W. W. Cole’s, 1886.
DUTTON, SILAS. Co-proprietor (with J. R. Smith), Great Chicago, 1879; Silas Dutton’s Southern Circus, winter 1879-80.
DUTTON SISTERS. Equestriennes, Sells & Rentfrow’s, 1893. May have been William Dutton’s daughters.
DUTTON, WILLIAM, JR. Rider. Son of the well known rider, equestrian director. Principal double somersault leaper, Cooper & Co.’s Great United Shows (J. R. W. Hennessey, proprietor and manager), 1897; leaper, Sells & Downs, 1905. Wife was Helene Smith. Son was born June 1, 1880.
DUTTON, WILLIAM, M. SR. (1843-December 24, 1906) Equestrian and general performer. Born in Toronto, Canada. Made circus debut, 1860, at the old Wood’s Theatre, Cincinnati, for winter season of Lake & Robinson. John Robinson’s, 1861-65; National Circus, Cincinnati, winter 1864-65; George W. DeHaven’s, 1865; William Lake’s, 1866; Yankee Robinson’s, Chicago, fall 1866; Hitchcock & Cushing, 1867; equestrian director, G. W. DeHaven’s, 1866-67; somersault rider, L. B. Lent’s, 1868, 1871-72; P. T. Barnum’s, 1871; W. W. Cole’s, 1874; rider, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875-78; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winter 1878-79; Cooper & Bailey, 1879-80; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82; William O. Dale Stevens’, Park Square, Boston, spring 1883; Barnum & Bailey, 1885-86; W. W. Cole’s, 1886; somersault bareback rider, Doris & Colvin, 1887; Sells & Rentfrow’s, 1893 [Orin Copple King: Advertised as “performing at will forward and backward somersaults on the bare back of his swiftly running steed. One of the most dashing Equestrains (sic) of the age, engaged at an enormous salary to ride at each performance of this faultless exhibition.”]. Equestrian director, Hummel & Hamilton, October 1896; equestrian director, Howes’ Great London, 1897; the Haag Circus, 1899; equestrian director, John Robinson’s, 1900. Claimed to have performed a triple somersault with William Lake’s in rehearsal at Elkhorn, Illinois, 1860. Vaulted over 12 horses, John Robinson’s, August 12, 1865. With Lake’s, Lowell, IN, fall 1866, succeeded in turning a triple somersault from a spring board. Dutton’s riding was described as elegant and graceful, and his somersaults accomplished with remarkable ease. Was married, 1865, in Chicago to Iza Stowe. She died of Bright’s disease in NYC, February 1873. Sons Arthur and William Dutton Jr. survived that union. A second wife, Helena Smith, was the daughter of William Smith, Sr., 4-horse circus rider, 1874. Helene sued for divorce, 1889, equestrienne Effie Orgust named correspondent, whom he married. While with John Robinson’s, was assulted on October 18, 1906, in Cincinnati, OH, and suffered from a fractured skull. Died at the Galt House, Cincinnati, a few months later, age 63, having never recovered from his accident.
DUVAL BROTHERS [Clifton, Livingston, Eugene]. Triple horizontal bars, Den W. Stone’s, 1878.
DUVAL, MME. Iron jaw lady, S. H. Barrett’s, 1887.
DUVAL, MONS. Contortionist, Antonio Bros.’, 1660-61.
DUVERNA, WILLIAM. Contortionist. Was called “the greatest dislocationist in existance,” while with Cooke’s Royal Amphitheatre (James M. Nixon, proprietor), Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1860; James M. Nixon’s, 1860; R. Sands, 1861; Goodwin & Wilder, Howard Athenaeum, Boston, 1861; Spalding & Rogers, West Indies, 1862-64; Hippotheatron, NYC, with Spalding & Rogers, spring 1864; Hippotheatron, NYC, fall 1864; Chiarini’s, New Orleans and Havana, fall 1866, and Mexico City, fall 1867, San Francisco, 1868.
DWYER, W. H. Manager, G. G. Grady’s, 1873; manager, Great Australian, 1877.
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