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Olympians of the Sawdust Circle - F

Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A biographical dictionary of the ninteenth century American circus

Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout
Copyright © 2005 by William L. Slout. All rights reserved.

FAGAN, J. P. General agent, Cross & LeRoy, winter 1884.

FAIRCHILD, THOMAS R. (1862?-March 29, 1903) General performer. Began career with W. C. Coup’s. Died in Chicago from pneumonia, age 41.

FAIRY QUEEN. Advertised sister of Commodore Foot. James M. Nixon’s Amphitheatre, Chicago, 1872.

FANLON, LOUIS [r. n. Louis Neidrack]. Gymnast, clown. Born in Schorarie County, NY. About 18 years of age teamed with Rudolph Mette, famous clown and acrobat, performing as one of the Mette Brothers, P. T. Barnum’s, John Murray’s, Great Eastern. After marriage to a Miss Marie Hass, 1879, the team split up. Went to Cuba with the Leotards, an organization of acrobats, 1880. On return, joined Great London; later, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson and Sells Bros.’ Toured South America with own show around 1890.

FANNING, F. F. Proprietor, Fanning’s, 1891.

FARANTI, SIGNOR [P. W. Stemple]. (1846-January 10, 1924) Contortionist. Old time “bending act” performer. Great European, 1865; Frank J. Howes’, 1865; Thayer & Noyes, winter 1865-66; Haight & Chambers, 1866; George F. Bailey & Co., 1867, 1869; Amphitheatre, Louisville, January 1868; Montgomery Queen’s, 1874-75; John Wilson’s Palace Amphitheatre, San Francisco, 1875; Pat Ryan’s, 1882. Retired to New Orleans, constructed the Iron Building there, 1880s, seating some 5,000. [Charles H. Day: “When Faranta struck New Orleans he had just eight Mexican dollars in his pockets. And they were valued at just eighty-five cents each.”] 1914, lived at Elks Club, New Orleans.

FARINI, G. A. Ring lecturer, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882. Can this be the gemtleman below?

FARINI, GUILLERMO ANTONIO [r. n. William Leonard Hunt]. (June 10, 1838-January 17, 1929) “The Great Farini,” born to Hannah and Thomas Hunt near Lockport, NY, the second oldest of 9 children. Thomas Hunt was at various times a school teacher, grocery store and general store proprietor and farmer. Farini first saw a circus during his formative years of the 1840s. Possessed of natural athletic ability, he studied and copied the circus performers who visited Bowmanville, Canada. Exhibited his first circus at age 12, only to be closed down by his irate parents. Continued to practice stunts on the wire. 1859, Blondin’s expoits over Niagara Falls was an inspiration; so on October 1 of that year, as an attraction for the agricultural fair of Port Hope, Canada, Signor Farini made his first appearance on the high wire, crossing a stream in the center of town and performing a strong man act at Port Hope’s town hall by having a rock broken on his chest, lifting heavy weights and conducting a rope-pull against a dozen or so men. This led to performances at small fairs in Canada and, shortly, with Dan Rice’s floating circus. Offered a challenge to Blondin, 1860, and by July had promoted local sponsors and was making preparations for crossing at the Falls, a distance of 1,800’, farther than Blondin had attempted. The time came, August 15, the same day scheduled for a Blondin crossing. The debut was respectable and was followed by more attempts during the summer season. Although less polished, the stunt proved he was able to match with Blondin’s wire-walking feats. Married, 1861, and entered the Union army in a regiment of engineers, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. While performing in Havana, 1862, his wife, who was on the wire with him, fell and was mortally injured. Appeared at the Hippotheatron, NYC, summer 1864. August 9, 1864, while attempting to wade through the rapids near the edge of the falls on stilts, fell into the water and was swept toward the brink; at the last moment he caught hold of a tree branch which saved him from certain death. Said to have married a millionairess from Nova Scotia that year but nothing is known of the union. Around 1865, went to England, adopted an orphaned boy, whom he advertised as El Nino, and schooled him for his act. 1866, the “Flying Farinis” performed at Cremorne Gardens and the Alhambra Palace, London. 1870, Farini presented a Mlle. Lulu to the public, who became a sensational attraction on both continents. 1877, after Lulu suffered an inury while performing at Hengler’s Circus, Dublin, Farini admitted that Lulu was none other than his adopted son El Nino. In 1871, married Alice Carpenter, an English woman, who bore him 2 sons; but the couple underwent a sensational divorce, 1880. Became an author around 1875 with his book Ferns Which Grow In New Zealand. Followed with 3 other books. 1877, developed what is said to be the first sucessful human cannon ball act, featuring his protégé, the original Zazel. Became an ingenious developer of spectacular acts and was noted as possibly being the model for George du Maurier’s character of Svengali. Married a German aristocrat’s daughter, Anna Muller, 1886. Retired from show business, 1890s, to devote himself to his inventions and to his interest in botany. Published a 4th book, 1897, How to Grow Begonias. 1899, moved to Toronto, Canada, and became involved in stock market speculation, vice-president of a gold-mining company, manager of a whip company. Studied art, somewhere around 1900, and became interested in promoting young artists. Died, age 91.

FARINI, PROF. Cannoneer, P. T. Barnum’s, 1880.

FARNSWORTH, CARLOS H. (1821?-March 7, 1883) An agent in the circus business for 27 years. Mabie’s, 1857; Davis & Crosby, 1859; George F. Bailey & Co., 1861-65; advertiser, G. F. Bailey & Co., 1867; VanAmburgh’s, 1868; Campbell’s, 1869; general business agent, VanAmburgh's, 1871; contracting agent, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875. For 6 years before death was a deputy sheriff, Fairfax, Canada. Died in Fletcher, VT, age 62. While in the line of duty one night, was kicked and knocked senseless by one of his horses and found the next morning frozen to death.

FARNUM BROTHERS [Richard, James]. Pyramid chair performers. With Adam Forepaugh’s, 1888-89; F. J. Taylor’s, 1892.

FARRAN, RAY. Female fancy shooter, Gollmar Bros.’, 1896.

FARRELL, FRANK. Equestrian director, Bailey & Winan, 1890.

FARRELL, GEORGE. Assistant master of canvas, W. W. Cole’s, 1886.

FARRELL, JOE. H. Buckley & Co., 1857-58.

FARRELL, ROBERT. Clown, Brown’s, 1832, 1833.

FARRELL, SAM. Holland & Gormley, 1888.

FARRER, HUGH. Program agent, Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875.

FATIMA. Living “half-lady,” W. W. Cole’s, 1885.

FAULKS. Equestrian. performed as early as 1771 in Philadelphia at Centre Square with such feats as playing a French horn while standing on the saddle of a moving mount; riding 2 horses at full gallop, with one foot in the stirrup of each horse, then throwing himself upon his back and rising again; riding 3 horses at once at full speed and vaulting from one to the other; riding a galloping horse, mounting and dismounting many times. [T. Allston Brown: “These feats were much inferior to those we see in the circus at the present day but they must have excited a great stir among our ante-revolutionary inhabitants.”] Gaine’s New York Gazette announced he would exhibit his skills of horsemanship on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, beginning the 20th of December, 1771, “at a convenient Place belonging to Mr. Joseph Bogart near the Windmill above the Slaughter House, in the Bowery.” The Windmill referred to was located on the western part of the Bowery between Hester and St. Nicholas Streets. Tickets could be purchased for four shillings at the newspaper offices of Mr. Rivington and Mr. Gaine. The rider was said to have performed in England, Ireland and Scotland, so we can assume he was not native to this country. “If the weather should be bad,” the announcement read, “the performance will be postponed to the next fair day,” a confirmation that the event took place in an uncovered enclosure. Went through a series of routines with one, two and three horses which through the years have become familiar equestrian acts. In spite of the winter weather, performances continued into January.

FAUST & ECTOR [E. And T. Faust, W. Ector]. Gymnasts, Howes’ Great London, 1871-72.

FAUST, A. J. Assistant agent, Gregory Bros.’, 1884.

FAUST, LEW. Frank Rich’s Great Eastern Railroad Alliance, 1886.

FAUST, PORT. Clown, G. G. Grady’s, 1869

FAY, DILLY. See Henry W. Waugh.

FAY, MISS LEA. Beckett’s, 1881.

FAY, THOMAS E. (March 27, 1852-March 13, 1907) Boss canvasman. Born in Portland, ME. Joined Great Eastern as canvasman, 1872; also connected with L. B. Lent’s, 1876; W. W. Cole’s, 1878; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879; become boss canvasman, Burr Robbins’, 1880; Robbins & Colvin, 1881. Since then, was with various shows in that capacity. Last engagement, Campbell Bros.’, 1905-06. Died in St. Charles, MN.

FAYLING. Double somersaulter, Warner, Henderson & Co., 1874.

FAYLOR, JOHN. Tumbler, W. R. Blaisdell’s, California, 1868.

FELICIA, ARIANA [or Adriane, Arlene]. Special import from “La Cirque Imperiale, Paris, and the Royal Amphitheatre, London,” appeared in an act called “Les Reine Des Fees.” It is unclear what this queen of the fairies did for such billing but the advertised credentials were sufficient to justify it; although elsewhere she was identified as a rival of Zoyara. L. B. Lent’s, September 1861; L. B. Lent’s, Hippozoonomadon, 1862.

FELIX. Apprentice rider, Pepin & Breschard, NYC, 1810-11.

FELLON, “MASTER.” “The iron boy,” feats of strength, Crystal Palace Circus, 1872.

FERGUSON, ED O. General agent. A. P. Collier’s Shows, 1897; George W. Hall, Sr.’s, 1900.

FERGUSON, O. J. Driesbach’s, 1857; VanAmburgh’s for a number of years - advertiser, treasurer and co-proprietor from at least 1869-81. Sold interest in VanAmburgh’s, circa 1882. After which, was manager, Nathans & Co., 1882; manager, Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1883; proprietor, O. J. Ferguson’s New York and New England Circus, 1884; general agent, Frank A. Robbins’, 1885; assistant manager, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1887; proprietor, Ferguson’s Coliseum Circus, 1888; general superintendant, Sig. Sautelle’s, 1898.

FERGUSON, ROBERT D. (1842?-April 15, 1870) Rider. Born in England, brought to America by Ben Jennings, the clown. Traveled with Levi J. North and other circuses. Upon retiring from the ring, kept a hotel in Cairo, IL. For the 4 years prior to death, ran a saloon in Memphis, TN. Died of consumption, age 28.

FERNANDEZ, EUGENE. General performer. Flagg & Aymar, 1856; John Robinson, 1856.

FERRIS, JOE. (1872?-September 3, 1916) Sideshow ticket taker for many years with Ringling Bros.’ Died at Cedar Rapids, IA, age 44.

FERRIS, THEODORE. Lion tamer. Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1883-84; Great Wallace, 1900-02; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1899-1900.

FERRIS, WALTER. Frank Rich’s Great Eastern Railroad Alliance, 1886.

FERRIS, WYLIE. Equilibrist. King & Franklin, 1887; Charles Lee’s London Circus, 1888.

FERRON, CHARLES H. “FANOLA”. (1858?-July 6, 1896) Bareback rider. At one time had a small circus which traveled about the country selling patent medicines after the performances. His wife was also a rider. Left the circus business to become a vender of patent medicines and horse trainer. Committed suicide by taking morphine at the Ludlow Street Jail, NYC, age 38, after being sentenced the day of his death to 11 months in the peritentiary for counterfeiting trade-marks. Some time before, in connection with a man named Curtis, formed a firm, the International Propaganda Co., and begun to flood the market with imitations of remedies produced by a patent medicine concern. The victimized company brought a civil action and obtained a judgment of $30,000 by default, and upon execution of the judgment, Ferron was to serve 6 months in jail. The term had not expired when he was sentenced to the penitentiary.

FETAUX, JOSEPH. Rider, Sadler’s Great English Circus, 1875.

FIDLER, J. Agent for Barnum’s autobiography, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876.

FIELD, AL G. [r. n. Alfred Griffith Hatfield]. (November 7, 1848 or 1850-April 3, 1921) Negro minstrel, clown, equestrian director, proprietor. Born in Leesburg, VA. Equestrian director and clown, Collins’ Oriental Combination, 1877; clown, Boyd & Peters, 1878; equestrian director and candy stand and reserved seat privileges, London Sensation Show, 1879; clown and manager of concert, Miles Orton’s, 1880-82; John Robinson’s, 1882; equestrian manager, Weldon & Co. winter 1884; equestrian manager and clown, Wallace & Co., 1884-86. Formed a minstrel troupe, 1886 (first advertisement appeared in the New York Clipper, July, 1886, for an October performance at Marion, OH). The company, that year numbering 27 people, continued successfully until Field’s death. By 1898, the show was enlarged to 60 people traveling on 2 specially built railroad cars, the “Southland” and the “Dan Emmett.” In 1895, organized the Al G. Field Real Negro Minstrels and a “Darkest America” Co., which were on the road for 2 years. 1898, sold the Real Negro Minstrels to Oliver P. Scott and leased the other show to John W. Vogel. Became known as the “Millionaire Minstrel” because of his successful managerial activities. Was also a good minstrel performer, remembered for his monologues. Training in management came from working with Sells Bros.’ and with Duprez & Benedict’s Minstrels, both outfits noted for their advertising practices. It is said that Field was the first minstrel manager to carry entire stage settings and scenery and the first to use a special train of cars for transporting his troupe. Was a devoted family man and fond of dogs and horses. Carried a fine pair of horses with the show to drive about in the cities visited. Permanent residence was in Columbus, OH, where he owned considerable real estate, including “Maple Villa” Farm, located in the Olentangy Valley near the city, where he bred blooded horses, pedigreed cattle, game fowl, and hogs. 1909, was listed as director of the Central National Bank of Columbus, the Columbus Casualty Co., and had an interest in the street railway system there. Is the author of the book Watch Yourself Go By. Died at his home in Columbus, OH, of Bright’s desease.

FIELD, TILDA. Wallace & Co., 1885. Was probably Al G. Field’s wife.

FIELDER, DICK. Agent for Barnum’s autobiography, P. T. Barnum’s, 1879.

FIELDING, MAGGIE. Equestrienne, E. Stowe’s Northwestern Circus, 1871.

FIELDS, GEORGE. Advertising agent, with Haight’s Great Southern, 1874.

FILKINS, ROBERT [“Col.”]. Agent, Robbins & Colvin, 1881.

FILLIS, CHARLES. Rider, Wootten & Haight’s, 1871.

FILLUP, ORLANDO. Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879.

FILMORE, WILLIAM. Program agent, Alexander Robinson’s, 1875.

FINCH, ED. Leased the elephant, Little Bet, 1823, from Hackaliah Bailey and had success in his exhibitions of her. 1826, in partnership with Agrippa Martin, toured the Tippo Sultan Menagerie; and in association with Albert Miller, as Finch, Miller & Co. Had the “Grand Caravan,” some 10 animals, on the road in 1830-31. Co-proprietor with Purdy, Welch, Finch & Wright’s menagerie, 1832.

FINCKUM, J. Orton Bros.’, 1865.

FINN, JAMES LEON. (d. May 2, 1888) Bareback rider. W. W. Cole’s; Barrett’s, 1887.

FIRTH, WILLIAM. H. Buckley & Co., 1857-58.

FISH, BENJAMIN. (1833?-November 12, 1908) Born in Birmingham, England. Joined P. T. Barnum at the time Tom Thumb was being introduced to Great Britain, and for many years treasurer of the Barnum show and personal representative to Barnum. Was the last of 3 executors of the Barnum estate and, as such, had full charge of it. Died in Bridgeport, CT, of heart failure, age 75.

FISH, CHARLES W. (November 23, 1848-May 5, 1895) Rider. Born in Philadelphia. Mother died shortly after birth, which prompted a move to Cincinnati with his grandmother. At age 9 was placed under the care of James Macfarland, then traveling with Spalding & Rogers. Around 1857, McFarland was killed during a domestic quarrel. The following year Fish was indentured for 78 months to Charles J. Rogers. Traveled with Spalding & Rogers’ company throughout the South and West and into Canada. Also accompanied them to the West Indies and South America. While returning from the latter, the ship was wrecked, April 2, 1864, near Long Beach Island, off the New Jersey shore. The company lost everything except 3 horses from a stud of 24. The apprenticeship being over, joined Frank J. Howes’, 1865. Following this engagement, rejoined Spalding & Rogers in New Orleans. Mike Lipman’s, 1866, 1869; Nixon, Costello & Howes, 1867-68; Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1869; James M. French’s, 1869-70; George Ryland’s, California, 1870; J. E. Warner & Co., 1871; L. B. Lent’s, 1872. This was followed by a tour of the British Isles with the Hengler circus and then to Moscow at the Cirque Hinne with the Ciniselli Royal Italian Circus, where he was dubbed “the Patti of the Cirque” by Prince Kourakin, who presented him with an elegant cigar holder. In St. Petersburg was entertained by Prince Schamyl of Circassia, whose lady presented him with a laurel wreath on his benefit night, the highest honor bestowed on visiting artists. A tour of Europe for the Renz circus followed, throughout which he appeared before various royal families. On returning to USA, was connected with Montgomery Queen’s, 1874-75; P. T. Barnum’s, 1876-78; International Circus, Offenbach Garden, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winters 1877-78, 1878-79, 1879-80, 1884-85; Cooper & Bailey, 1879-80; Burr Robbins’, 1880; Robbins & Colvin, 1881; W. O’Dale Stevens’ Australian Circus, performing in variety theatres prior to summer season, 1882; Sells Bros.’, 1882; W. O’Dale Stevens’ Australian Circus, Boston, spring 1883; Burr Robbins’, 1884; Frank A. Robbins’, 1885-88; the Gran Circo Pubillones, Cuba, winter 1888-89; Barnum & Bailey, 1889, 1891; Walter L. Main’s, 1892; opened with the Winter Circus, Philadelphia, November 19, 1892, and remained through the run; Ringling Bros., 1893. [D. W. Watt: “He was what was known as a forward and back somerset rider and thousands of times when he would be turning a somerset on a horse he would slip and go off onto the ground on purpose just to show bandwagon the people how he could get back. He could leave the ring at almost any angle and leap onto the horse’s back and stay there. To the average audience that was the best act that Charlie Fish did.”] He was lithe and slight of frame and blessed with agility and grace. May have been the first to do a somersault on a horse and land on a single foot. Was before the public more than 30 years and was one of the best bareback riders of his time. “Robinson was declared the more dashing rider,” Fish once remarked, “but I was declared the champion trick rider of the world, a title I am ready and willing to defend against all comers.” [John A. Dingess: found his act “one of extreme mediocrity,” and further, “self-esteem and egotism overbalanced all his artistic ability.... Fish’s diminutive size and general appearance were greatly against him.”] Retirement came in 1894 because of failing health. In addition to riding skills, Fish was interested in painting and writing. In 1888, authored Frank A. Robbins’ route book and in 1894 contributed a series of drawings for Ringling Bros.’ book. Died from blood poisoning at home in Chicago.

FISH, HAMILTON. Treasurer, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877.

FISH, JOHN. Secretary, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872.

FISHER BROTHERS. Gymnasts. Hilliard & Hunting, 1879; Walter L. Main’s, 1882; John B. Doris’, 1886; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1887; human meteors, Wallace & Co., 1889; Walter L. Main’s, 1892; flying trapeze, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893.

FISHER, FRANK. (1871?-April 9, 1899) Animal trainer. Formerly with the Barnum show, was employed by Lemen Bros.’ for 7 years until he was killed by the elephant Rajah in Lemen Bros.’ winter quarters in Argentine, KS, age about 28.

FISHER, FRED H. (July 2, 1855-November 7, 1914) Member of The Flying Fishers. Born in Rockford, IL. Connected with many of the leading shows, the last being John Robinson’s Ten Big Shows. After retirement, moved from Cincinnati to LaCrosse, WI, where he conducted the Hotel LaCrosse Annex. Died at the LaCrosse Hospital of diabetes.

FISHER, GEORGE H. Press agent, Scribner & Smith, 1895.

FISHER, JOHN E. Indian rubber man. Rockwell & Co.’s, 1848; Stone & McCollum, 1850; Johnson & Co., 1852; Joe Pentland’s, 1854; Sands, Nathans & Co., 1855; Lee & Marshall, 1856.

FISHER, PROF. Balloon ascensionist, G. G. Grady’s, 1871.

FISHER, SILAS. “Great Canadian Giant.” Stood 7’ tall and at age 30 weighed 245 pounds. Traveled 6 years with the likes of P. T. Barnum’s, Adam Forepaugh’s, Burr Robbins’, and others for a weekly salary of $25 to $50.

FISHER, WALTER. Contracting agent, Walter L. Main’s, 1893.

FISTLER, H. A. Advertiser. Was keeping a saloon in Chicago, corner of Clark and Monroe Streets, 1867.

FITCH, MATILDA. Dancer, Great European, 1865

FITCH, TIMOTHY L. Ethiopian performer, Great European, 1865; Frank J. Howes’, 1865; assistant manager, W. W. Coles, 1877-78.

FITZGERALD, DANIEL J. (1852-1904) Associate. Born in Massachusetts. Married to Carrie Mueller, professionally known as Carrie Armstrong, 1882. Museum, San Francisco, 1883; Denby’s Trans-Continental, 1884; Barnum & Bailey, Royal Italian, W. W. Cole’s, Sherman’s, Sherman & Hinman, Denby’s. At one time was a partner in Friar, Gaylord & Fitzgerald. General agent, Walter L. Main’s, 1895; manager, 1899; assistant manager of the show, 1904.

FITZGERALD, F. Boss canvasman, Springer’s Royal CirqZoolodon, 1875.

FITZGERALD, JAMES. Equilibristic, juggler, baton drillist and club tosser. Howe’s, 1888; Gollmar Bros.’ for several years beginning 1892, listed as ringmaster, 1897.


FITZGERALD, JOSEPH. Club juggler, Main & Sargeant, 1891.

FITZGERALD, RICHARD. (July 4, 1842-June 24, 1889) Amusement agent and manager. Born in Wheeling, WV, but reared in NYC. Professional career began, 1865, as proprietor of Parker’s Opera House and Virginia Hall in Alexandria, VA. Later, manager of the Canterbury, Richmond. The same year was with Spalding & Bidwell at their Academy of Music, New Orleans. Summer 1866, business manager, New York Champs Elysees. Fall of that year became associated with James Conner in a dramatic agency. After Conner’s death, returned to work for Spalding & Bidwell at their Olympic Theatre, St. Louis. Next, went back to the dramatic agency business at the corner of Houston and Broadway, NYC. Shortly, took actor T. G. Riggs as a partner and moved to 512 Broadway. 1871, managed the Charles M. Barras “Black Crook” Co. and later Kiralfy’s “Humpty Dumpty” Co. Two seasons as agent with Cameron & Co.’s Oriental Circus (1875), and Tubbs & Co.’s New York Circus. After which, returned to the dramatic agency business, NYC. Was said to be a most companionable man with only 2 weaknesses - “his large-heartedness and his love of Masonry, Lodge No. 273.”

FITZGERALD, S. A. Band leader, North American, 1877.

FITZGIBBON, JOHN. See Santiago Gibbonoise.

FITZPATRICK, JOHN L. (d. January 14, 1906) Acrobat. For 15 years a bar performer, 8 of which were spent with Robert Hunting’s. Also connected with Gregory Bros.’ Was a member of Ricardo & Fitz. Died in Ottawa, Canada.

FITZROY FAMILY. Orton Bros.’, 1864.

FITZWILLIAMS, FRANK. Irish athlete and strong-man. S. H. Barrett & Co., 1883; cannon balls, John Robinson’s, 1885, 1889-92.

FLAKE, JAMES. Caldwell’s Occidental Circus, 1867.

FLETCHER, JOHN. Boss canvasman, G. G. Grady’s, 1871.

FLETCHER, R. Clown, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875.

FLETCHERS [Lily, Charles, William]. Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, 1883. William, listed as “W. Flatcher,” leaper and tumbler, W. H. Stowe’s, 1881.

FLINT. Animal trainer. John Sears’ menagerie, 1833; Waring, Tufts & Co., 1834; Associations Celebrated Menagerie and Aviary from the Zoological Institute, NYC, 1835; the same, Baltimore, 1837.

FLOTOW, PRINCE. French grotesque, Wallace & Co., 1884.

FLYNN, ARTHUR. Treasurer, Holland & Gormley, 1889.

FLYNN, JOHN. Gregory, Merritt & Co., 1886.

FLYNN, MARK. Alex Abar’s, 1889.

FLYNN, PATRICK [“Patsey”]. (d. May 9, 1890) P. T. Barnum’s.

FLYNN, PETE. Agent, car #1, Metropolitan Circus, 1897.

FOGG, JEREMIAH P. Proprietor. Lived in Westchester County, NY. In charge of a menagerie featuring the elephant Columbus, 1819; with Ebeneezer Howes in running a small menagerie in the South, 1826, combined with Quick & Mead’s (one of the earliest circuses using the canvas pavilion). The company traveled from South Carolina to Alabama. S. P. Stickney rode for this circus for 3 years before joining up with Fogg in their joint enterprise. Firm of Fogg & Stickney (Jeremiah Fogg, S. P. Stickney) was a nursery for some fine talent, Levi J. North and Charles J. Rogers among others. Fogg and Stickney remained partners for 12 years, 1828-42. At the end of the 1837 season, they bought Oscar Brown’s circus, in which Fogg had previously had a minor interest. Retired after the 1842 season.

FOLEY, CHARLES. Clown, Great North American, 1873; concert performer, Irish comedian, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876.

FOLEY, G. J. Proprietor, Foley’s, 1890.

FOLEY, TOM. Boss canvasman, Howes & Cushing, South America, 1876.

FOLEY, WILLIAM H. Clown, Joseph Rowe’s, California, 1849; Foley’s California Circus, 1850-51.

FONTAINBLEAU, MME. Gymnast, P. A. Older’s, 1871.

FONTAINE, MLLE. Gardner & Hemmings, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, January, 1866.

FOOTE, COMMODORE. Midget. James M. Nixon’s Nixon’s Cremorne Gardens (formerly Palace Gardens), NYC, spring 1862; October-December, Washington, DC; Nixon’s Amphitheatre, Chicago, 1872. Exhibited in various other circuses and museums.

FORBES, CHARLES. General contracting agent, Bartine’s, 1889. [Charles H. Day: “No one doubts that Mr. Forbes is a close, calculating businessman, just the one to make billboard contracts, hire lots and the like ahead of a show; but when it comes to writing anything except his name to a check and filling out a statement of local expenses, he is as much at a loss as William W. Durand would be in writing biblical poetry.”]

FORBES, SPENCER. Chief bill poster, John Robinson’s, 1874.

FORD, GEORGE. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1881.

FORD, T. J. Railroad contractor, Miles Orton’s, 1888.

FORD, WILLIAM A. (1840?-May 5, 1875) Treasurer, John H. Murray’s, 1875. Died at Fall River, MA, of pneumonia, age 35. Home was in East Boston, MA.

FOREPAUGH, ADAM, JR. (1859-March 29, 1919) Son of old Adam Forepaugh. Devoted considerable time to training animals, being one of the leading elephant and horse trainers of his day. 1889, the Forepaugh show exhibited the trapeze horse Eclipse; a herd of dancing elephants; John L. Sullivan, the boxing elephant; and Blondin, the “tight-rope” walking pony. When the show was sold to Cooper, Bailey and Barnum, Forepaugh, Jr., was retained for a seasonal salary of $10,000. Also considered an outstanding equestrian director. [D. W. Watt: “He could certainly put in more acts and run a show faster than any equestrian director that his father ever had. Young Adam was the equestrian director of the Forepaugh show for several years before the death of his father. He, too, was a great rider and one of the greatest elephant trainers that the world ever knew. Yet he was a good handler of people and had the respect of all the people in the dressing rooms.”] At one time, had his own circus out, the Adam Forepaugh, Jr., Show, but lacked the business sense of his father. Married to performer, Lillie Deacon. Retired because of ill health, 1893. Died at his home in Philadelphia.

FOREPAUGH, ADAM, SR. [r. n. Adam Forbach]. (February 28, 1831-January 22, 1890) Born in Philadelphia of German ancestry. Left school at age 9 to become a butcher, working for $4.00 a month and board. Eventually gravitated to buying and selling stock, primarily horses and cattle. Moved to NYC and soon became one of the city’s largest dealers in horses, supplying several horse railroad companies with all their animals as well as stock used by the Brooklyn lines. Made a fortune selling horses to the government during the Civil War. It was through horse selling that Forepaugh got into the circus business, at which time he changed the family name. 1864, sold 44 horses to John O’Brien for $9,000 to form the Tom King Excelsior Circus. When the money came due, was forced to take a share of the show as payment. April, 1865, with O’Brien, purchased the Jerry Mabie menagerie, consisting of 12 cages, two elephants and other animals, for $25,000. The show was divided into the Great National Circus, with Mrs. Charles Warner as the attraction, and the Dan Rice Circus, with which Rice was paid $1,000 per week and a guarantee of 26 weeks for his services and his name. Forepaugh took charge of the latter show himself. Same year, sold three-quarters interest in the Great National Circus to Den Stone, Frank Rosston and George Bronson, and later sold the remainder to Samuel Booth. Continued with the Dan Rice circus. Winter 1865-66, the Rice show performed in Philadelphia, at which time Forepaugh severed business relationship with O’Brien. Went out under his own name, 1866, traveling through the East with 22 cages of wild animals. Sent two one-ring shows out, 1868, but the following year was back to one show, a policy he maintained for the rest of his career. Louisville, June 10, 1869, used two round top pavilions, one for the menagerie and the other for performance. When Forepaugh started out with the Rice show, he had 110 horses, 14 cages, and one ticket wagon, with daily expenses of from $500 to $600. By 1877, when the show last traveled by wagons, it used 300 employees—35 to handle the tents and 65 to drive. By 1880, the outfit traveled on 3 trains of rail-road cars, and had 60 cages, 290 horses, 400 employees, and a daily expense of $4,000. Was the first to incorporate the wild west spectacle into his ring performance and was the first manager to exhibit the menagerie under a separate tent in connection with a circus. The idea was contributed by Joel E. Warner and put into effect at St. Louis, 1868 (according to Warner); however, it may have been 1869 and the place Louisville (Forepaugh). The show carried more animals in the menagerie than any other circus and paid the highest prices for European talent. Was said to be “the master of his business as no man before him was and as no man probably will be in the future.” 1870s, Forepaugh’s and Barnum’s were the two largest shows on the road, and were in constant competition, fighting for the same territory, until, in 1882, Barnum sued for peace. At that time, they made a 2-year agreement to divide the territory and alternate going over the circuits but, 1884, they were at it again, with the famed “white elephant” incident serving as the cause. Forepaugh once exclaimed, “I have a boy and Mr. Barnum has none. My show will outlast his.” Was twice married. The first wife, Mary Ann Blaker (April 1, 1835-December 1, 1872), the daughter of Ulysses Blaker of Philadelphia, died of consumption in Philadelphia. The second, Mary G. Tallman, married, Philadelphia, October 7, 1884. He never smoked, chewed, or drank; in manner, had a rough exterior, loved a joke, was haughty to his minor employees, shrewd in business, and attentive to the small details of his organization. Always sat at the main entrance of the show, making his face familiar to everyone who went through the gate. Died at his residence, leaving a large estate.

FOREPAUGH, ANDREW JACKSON “JACK”. (1835-November 8, 1896) Brother of Adam Forepaugh, Sr. Born in Philadelphia. Lion tamer with Forepaugh’s, 1868, 1888. John O’Brien’s, 1870; superintendant of menagerie and lion performer, J. E. Warner & Co., 1871; Springer, Rosston & Henderson, 1871-73; zoological director and lion tamer, Montgomery Queen’s, 1873-76, accompanying the show to California and Australia. Son, Harry, at 5 years of age, was riding in a lion’s cage on his father’s knee while with Montgomery Queen’s, 1874. Also connected with Maybury, Pullman & Hamilton for a time. Later, occupied himself with buying and selling horses. Started a carting business in Philadelphia, 1891, which was carried on until his death in that city, age 61.

FOREPAUGH, CHARLES. (d. July 17, 1929) Brother of Adam Forepaugh, Sr. In the horse trading business with his brother, Philadelphia, and in show business for more than 50 years. Claimed to be the first circus performer to thrust his head into the mouth of a lion. Died at West Berlin, NJ, age 92.

FOREPAUGH, GEORGE W. (1828-June 4, 1910) Attendant. Brother of Adam Forepaugh, Sr., and father of John A. Forepaugh. Worked in various capacities on the Adam Forepaugh circus. Later years, was doorman for the Forepaugh Theatre, Philadelphia. Died there of apoplexy, age 82.

FOREPAUGH, IRVING. Superintendant of animals, Rosston, Springer & Henderson, 1871.

FOREPAUGH, JOHN A. (August 9, 1852-June 7, 1895) Born in Philadelphia, son of George W. and nephew of Adam Forepaugh, Sr. Began as a circus rider at age 6 but left to attend school. 1864, joined Mrs. Charles Warner’s at the old Continental Theatre, Philadelphia, and resumed his riding. At age 16 was manager for his uncle and continued until 1881 when he became manager for the O’Brien show. Returned to Forepaugh’s, however, and remained until 1885. Proprietor, John Forepaugh’s, California, 1888. With Adam Forepaugh’s death and the purchase of the show by Cooper & Bailey, remained on as manager for the new owners. Was one of the proprietors of the Broad Street Casino, Philadelphia, for 2 years. Managed the Forepaugh Theatre in that city, which was named by him, for 11 years; also managed the Masonic Temple Theatre, Baltimore. Died at his home in Philadelphia.

FOREPAUGH, JOHN A. (March 27, 1831-January 13, 1906) Born in Philadelphia, elder brother of Adam Forepaugh, Sr., and father of William R. “Bib” Forepaugh. Began circus career, 1866, most of which was managerial with Adam Forepaugh, Dan Rice, Forepaugh & Gardner, Springer, Rosston & Henderson, Forepaugh’s Winter Circus, Philadelphia, and Forepaugh’s Theatre, Philadelphia. Was elected an honorary member of the Aristocratic Philadelphia Centennial Club, 1874. Went completely blind several years prior to death.

FOREPAUGH, JOSEPHINE F. [Mrs. Ludwig Simmeth]. (1850-September 6, 1907) Gymnast. Born in Lewisburg, PA. Married William R. Forepaugh in the early 1870s. Using the professional names of Alice Napier and Alice Murdell, was connected with Montgomery Queen’s, Rosston, Springer & Henderson, Adam Forepaugh’s, Ringling Bros.’, Orrin Bros.’, S. H. Barrett’s, Walter L. Main’s, Burr Robbins’, Frank A. Robbins’, John Shields’, etc. Died in Philadelphia, age 57.

FOREPAUGH, MAMIE. Equestrienne. Sells Bros.’, 1894; Sig. Sautelle’s, 1897.

FOREPAUGH, PATSY [r. n. M. J. Meagher]. Clown, with Adam Forepaugh’s, 1889, during which time he went into the ring with John L. Sullivan, the boxing elephant. Superintendent of animals, Great Wallace, 1893. Killed by the elephant, Sid, December 20, 1899, at the winter quarters of Forepaugh-Sells Bros.’, Columbus, OH. Had been the keeper of Sid for many years and had had no trouble with the animal; but this particular time when the elephants were led into the training circle for their daily exercise, Sid became unruly. Forepaugh jabbed him with his stick, which infuriated the beast, who threw him to the ground and fell upon him, piercing him with one of his tusks on which was a brass ball 6 inches in diameter.

FOREPAUGH, WILLIAM M. Treasurer. Maginley & Co., 1874; A. B. Rothcilds & Co., 1875.

FOREPAUGH, WILLIAM R. “BIB”. (January 29, 1854-May 11, 1897) Acrobat. Adam Forepaugh, Sr.’s, nephew. Born in Philadelphia. Appeared with Charles F. Warner’s at age 12. Later, performed under the title of the Forepaugh Brothers with C. C. Mathews and Nelson Curry. Next with Blanche Fontainbleu, and then with Alice Napier, whom he married, 1873, and fathered 5 children. See Josephine Forepaugh. Was “The Man Fly” with Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, winter 1870-71; Ralston, Springer & Henderson, 1872; Montgomery Queen’s, 1873; Burr Robbins’, 1874-75; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1876, where, with Frank R. Clifton, introduced a 5-bar act. Remained with this show until joining John Robinson’s, 1884-85. Took out Forepaugh & Samwells (W. R. Forepaugh, Thomas Samwells, proprietors), 1886; equestrian director, John Forepaugh’s, California, 1888. Returned to John Robinson’s, 1890-92; Adam Forepaugh, Jr.’s, 1893; Frank A. Robbins’, playing fair dates, 1896. Died of injuries as a result of a railroad collision, Tampa, FL.

FOREPAUGH SISTERS. Aerialists, with John Robinson’s, 1892.

FORESTER, BLANCHE. Equestrienne, Warner & Henderson, 1874.

FORESTER, JULIEN. Clown, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.

FORREST, CHARLES. Dodge & Bartine, 1868.

FORREST, FANNIE. James M. Nixon’s, NYC, 1863-64.

FORREST, FRANK M. Contracting agent, Cooper & Co., 1874.

FORREST, HUBERT. General performer, L. B. Lent’s, 1858-66.

FORTIER, A. Perche equipoise, Mabie’s, 1859.

FOSHAY, J. W. Treasurer, Sands, Lent, 1848; proprietor, R. Sands Circus, 1949, 1860-61; treasurer, Howes’ European, 1865-69.

FOSTER, ANSON B. Proprietor, Anson B. Foster & Co., 1836; manager, James Raymond’s, 1840.

FOSTER, B. A. “COL.” Purchased James T. Johnson’s, June 17, 1885, Downs, KS, and changed the title to Col. Foster’s New York Circus and Museum.

FOSTER, CHARLES J. Rider. Benchley & Stone’s Lafayette Circus, 1837-38; Philadelphia Circus (James Raymond and Joel E. Waring, proprietors), 1840; Welch & Mann, 1841; Bartlett & Delavan, 1841; Robinson & Foster, 1843.

FOSTER, EMMA. Equestrienne. Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1868; J. W. Wilder’s, 1872.

FOSTER, F. E. VanAmburgh &Co., 1871.

FOSTER, GEORGE. Gardner & Hemmings, Continental Theatre, Philadelphia, February 1865.

FOSTER, HENRY. Albino, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876, Australian tour, 1877.

FOSTER, JACK. Clown. Rivers & Derious, 1857-59; George F. Bailey & Co., 1860-61; Gardner & Hemmings, 1862-63.

FOSTER, JESSE W. “COL.” (d. June 5, 1909) Agent. Worked several years for circuses in the West Indies, Central and South America. Chiarini’s, South America, 1875; Gardner & Donovan, South America, 1886; Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, 1889-93; proprietor, Jesse W. Foster’s New York Circus, South America, 1894; general representative and director, Donovan’s South American, Cuba, winter 1894-95; representative and general agent, Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, 1895-96; Stickney & Donovan, West Indies, 1897-98; Martinho Lowande’s, winter 1899-1900. Died from spinal meningitis at his home, NYC.

FOSTER, JOB. Lost his life while traveling with Robinson & Lake’s Circus, 1851.

FOSTER, JOHN J. (November 13, 1830-May 26, 1906) Clown. Born in Chambersburg, PA (Cumberland Valley, Franklin Co.). Entered the circus business, 1846, Robinson & Eldred’s. Bowery Circus, NYC, January 1858; Rivers & Derious’, 1859; Madigan & Gardner, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, winter 1860-61; George F. Bailey & Co., 1860-61; Gardner & Hemmings, National Hall, Philadelphia, fall 1862; Goodwin & Wilder, 1862, 1872; Gardner & Hemmings, 1863; Rivers & Derious, 1864; James M. Nixon’s, 1865; Thayer & Noyes, 1866; Barnum & VanAmburgh’s, 1866; Lipman’s, 1866; Central Park Circus, NYC, 1867; Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1868; Lake’s, 1869; G. A. Huff & Co., 1870; James M. Nixon’s, 1870; VanAmburgh & Co., 1872; Wilder’s North American, 1872; Burr Robbins’, 1874; concert performer, Ethiopian entertainer, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; excursion agent, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877; director of operations, Campbell’s, 1878; press agent, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879-80; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881; press agent, John Robinson’s, 1882; Frank A. Robbins’, 1883, 1885; Sparrow’s, 1886; Roberts & Gardner, 1886; C. W. Kidder & Co.’s, 1893; New York Circus, 1893, which sailed up the Hudson on a chartered steamer, stopping at various cities; George S. Cole’s, 1895; VanAmburgh & Co., 1896. Was active in show business up until 3 years prior to death, which occurred at the Actor’s Home on Staten Island, NY, age 76. Daughter, Mary E., married Silas H. Moore, non-professional, June 5, 1879, NYC.

FOSTER, JOSEPH. Clown. Came to the United States with Thomas Cooke. Titus, Angevine, 1838; Fogg & Stickney, 1839; American Theatre troupe, Fogg & Stickney, 1840; Bartlett & Delavan, 1841; American Theatre, September 1841; partner, Robinson & Foster, 1842-44; equestrian director, Welch & Mann, winters 1846-47, 1847-48, 1848-49.

FOSTER, LUCIUS. Boss canvasman, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877.

FOSTER, M. Principal rider, Rivers & Derious, 1857.

FOSTER, MAMIE. Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1868.

FOSTER, MRS. JOHN. Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1868.

FOSTER, NAPOLEON. (January 31, 1804-April 9, 1877) Director of spectacles and horse dramas. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Began as an actor and later assisted in the production of pantomimes at Astley’s Amphitheatre and the Adelphi in London. Came to the United States with Cooke’s company, 1836. Remained in the country when Cooke returned to England. Connected with the company at the Baltimore Amphitheatre, 1838. Staged spectacles for William E. Burton, 1840, Philadelphia. Stage manager for Philadelphia Amphitheatre and other theatrical enterprises in that city off and on for the next several years. In the interim, joined S. P. Stickney’s, 1851, Amphitheatre, Baronne Street, New Orleans. Married 3 times and had numerous children.

FOSTER, NED. Privileges, Dan Castello’s, 1880, acquired in June from E. W. Wiggins.

FOSTER, NICK G. Negro minstrel, Spalding & Rogers Floating Palace, 1859.

FOSTER, PEARL. Sideshow albino, Cooper, Bailey & Co., Australian tour, 1876-77.

FOSTER, R. Cannon balls, Robinson & Eldred, 1850.

FOSTER SISTERS. James M. Nixon’s, fall 1870.


FOWLER, CHARLES LEE. Clown and comic vocalist. Maginley, Carroll & Co., 1867; M. O’Conner & Co., 1870; Haight & Co., winter 1871-72.

FOWLER, BERT. Agent, World’s Fair Aggegation, 1892.

FOWLER, HARVEY N. Proprietor, hotel de Barnum, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876.

FOWLER, JAMES. Leaper and tumbler, Hamilton & Sargeant, 1878.

FOWLER, O. B. Agent. Haight, Chambers & Ames’, 1867; Driesbach & Howes, 1868.

FOWLER, WILLIAM. Aerial performer. Cooke’s, 1882; Sig. Sautelle’s, 1886. Married Fannie Traver, non-professional, 1886.

FOWLER, WILLIAM M. Asssistant treasurer, Maginley & Co., 1874.

FOWLER, WILLIAM W. Born in Brooklyn, NY. First entered the circus profession on the business staff of Robinson & Eldred. Later connected with Spalding & Rogers, Jerry Mabie’s, Sands & Nathans, Harry Buckley’s and others, as treasurer, layer-out agent, and in other capacities. For several years, business manager of the Carter Zouave Troupe. Season of 1867-68, agent, Peak Family of Swiss bell ringers. For 10 years, business manager, Berger Family and Sol Smith Russell. At the time of death, manager and part owner of the “Two Sisters” Co. Died of pneumonia in Toronto, Canada, age 63.

FOX, CHARLES. H. Buckley & Co., 1857-58.

FOX, EDWARD. Leaper, John Robinson’s, 1874-75.

FOX, JOHN. Master of transportation, King & Franklin, 1889.

FRANCE, F. F. Hart, France & Co. (H. H. Hart, F. F. France, proprietors), 1889.

FRANCIS, GEORGE. Tumbler and leaper, P. T. Barnum’s, 1879-80; advance agent, Hurlburt & Hunting, 1887.

FRANCIS, MILLIE. Consolidation Circus (managed by W. B. Hough), 1866.

FRANCIS, WILLIAM. (d. July 21, 1892) Aerialist.

FRANCOIS BROTHERS. Great International Circus, Offenbach Garden, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77.

FRANCONI, ANGELINE. Equestrienne daughter of Henri Franconi. Franconi’s New York Hippodrome, 1853; Levi J. North’s, Chicago, 1857-58.

FRANCONI, HENRI. (October 24, 1818-January 22, 1905) Equestrian and showman. Came to America from France, 1853, for Franconi’s Hippodrome, NYC. Hippoferean, 1855; Franconi’s, 1855; Robinson & Eldred, November, 1855-June, 1856; Eldred’s, 1856-57; John Robinson’s, 1868-70, where he performed the trained horses Grey Eagle and Stonewall; equestrian director, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1871. Died in South Hatfield, PA.

FRANK, TONY [or Franks]. (1839?-May 5, 1878) Band leader, Adam Forepaugh’s, beginning, 1869, and continuing until his death during his 10th year. A native of Buffalo, NY. Was considered a thorough musician and well respected person. Died at the American Exchange Hotel, Virginia City, NV, age 39. His brother Charles, also with the Forepaugh show, accompanied the body to Brunswick, ME, for interment.

FRANKIE, M. Master of horse, George W. DeHaven’s, 1865.

FRANKLIN, B. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1876.

FRANKLIN, E. A. Sideshow manager, Howes’ New Colossal Shows, 1888.

FRANKLIN, HARRY. Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1869.

FRANKLIN, HIRAM W. Pad rider, slack-rope artist and vaulter. One of the first of American leapers to accomplish a double somersault from the battoute board, 1850s. Palmer’s, 1835; Sweet & Hough, 1835; Nathan A. Howes’, 1836; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1839-42; Howes & Mabie, 1841, 1843; Rockwell & Stone, 1838, 1842; tight-rope, Nathan A. Howes’ winter 1842; trampoline, John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1843; tight-rope, Rockwell & Stone, 1843-46; Rockwell’s Amphitheatre, Cincinnati, 1846; tight-rope, Robinson & Eldred, 1847; Rockwell & Co., 1847-48; equestrian director, National Circus, Philadelphia, 1852; Welch & Lent, 1854, 1856; L. B. Lent’s, 1859. Considered a good pad rider and proficient as a vaulter and slack rope performer. Odell quotes from the New York Herald of January 31, 1844, which describes Franklin as “the beautiful, fearless rider and unsurpassed vaulter.” It goes on to say that “his double somersault and his wild gallop on his bare-back steed are feats of the most extraordinary interest which can be conceived.” By this time, the double-somersault must have been a regular part of Franklin’s performance. His double leaps, double somersaults, performance on the slack-wire and accomplishments as an equestrian made him one of the most versatile and talented performers of his day. Ultimately, succeeded in turning a triple somersault. Said to have thrown 76 consecutive sommersaults during a single performance. Was in South America, April 1864, where it was rumored that his ship foundered and sank (another source places the ship lost in the Mauritius in the Indian Ocean; and still another, lost at sea off the Cape of Good Hope).

FRANKLIN, J. D. Tattooed man, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.

FRANKLIN, JOHN. Clown. L. B. Lent’s, 1855-60; Madigan & Gardner, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, 1860-61; principal rider, S. P. Stickney’s, 1869.

FRANKLIN, J. W. Rider, leaper, tumbler, gymnast, Carlo Bros.’, South America, 1877.

FRANKLIN, THOMAS, JR. Rider. Was with his father, Thomas Franklin, at Ricketts’ circus, NYC, 1797. Also, with his father, had a short-lived circus venture, 1799. Operated a circus company in conjunction with a Mr. Lattin, rider and clown, 42 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, spring 1802. In July, was performing at Vauxhall Garden, NYC. Combined with a Mr. Robertson in a circus venture (who could have been the balloonist), February 1803, at Newport, RI. Thomas Stewart’s, Boston, 1809, Cayetano & Co., Canada, fall 1811.

FRANKLIN, THOMAS, SR. Clown. Father of rider Thomas Franklin, Jr. Member of English troupe (Breuning), 1786; Benjamin Handy troupe (UK, Breuning), 1788; Handy & Franklin, 1789; Handy & Franklin, 1792; Franklin’s, 1792; Hughes’ (UK), 1793. With Ricketts’ circus, New York City, 1797, and a southern tour with Francis Ricketts that same year. Thayer credits him with taking out the fourth multi-act circus in America, in association with a Mr. Johnson (or Johnston), an actor. They exhibited their equestrian skills in a piece called The Peasant of the Alps at a location that had once been the site of Lailson’s circus. Began in NYC, February 8, 1799, and continued until March 19. Also made other stops but apparently was soon disbanded. Lattin & Franklin, 1802; Langley & Co., 1802. One of Franklin’s feats was that of balancing a horse on which his son was seated, perhaps by holding up a platform while on his hands and knees; however it was accomplished, must have been a man of great strength. Died in America.

FRANKLIN, W. E. (March 3, 1853-March 29, 1936) Agent. Born near Lexington, IL. In charge of reserve seat privilege for Joel E. Warner, 1874; show closed before the end of the season; Franklin went with Doc Hoffman’s. Agent, Pullman & Hamilton, 1875; general agent, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1876-1881; agent, King, Burk & Co., 1883-1887; King & Franklin, 1888. Following King’s death, Franklin operated the show alone. Railroad contractor and excursion agent, Barnum & Bailey, 3 years; general agent, Walter L. Main’s, 1895; John Robinson’s, 1896-97; 1897-98. Went out with Robinson & Franklin Shows; then joined Hagenbeck-Wallace as general agent, with which he remained 9 years. Followed with an engagement with Sells-Floto, 1909-10. Then retired from the business to Valparaiso, IN. Died at his home, St. Petersburg, FL, age 73.

FRANKLIN, WILLIAM H. [r. n. George Avelos]. (d. December 16, 1883) Rider. Welch’s, 1849; Rivers & Runnell, 1850; Madison & Stone, 1852-53; Welch & Lent, 1854-55; Rowe & Co.’s Pioneer Circus, San Francisco, 1856; Lee & Bennett, San Francisco, 1857; Hinkley & Kimball, 1858; Kimball’s, 1859; Lathrop, Peoples, Franklin, 1860; John Wilson’s, California, 1862; Gardner & Hemmings (under the Barnum name), Washington, DC, fall 1862; Lee & Ryland, San Francisco, winter 1866-67; principal rider, Golden State Circus (W. B. Blaisdell, proprietor), California, 1868; circus at Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1868-69; Stone & Murray, 1869; Rosston, Springer & Henderson, 1871; clown and pad act, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872-75; Imperial Brazilian Hippodrome, Philadelphia, winter 1872-73; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1876; Carlo Bros.’, South America, 1877; American Circus (A. Guilig, G. Ravell, W. H. Franklin, proprietors), South America, 1879. Married Sallie Stickney, 1872, while both were with Adam Forepaugh’s. Died in Brazil.

FRANKS, TONY. See Tony Frank.

FRANZ, R. C. High stilt performer, Great Oriental Pavilion Show, 1877.

FRASER, WILLIAM H. (1819?-May 1893) Equestrian. Native of Scotland. Gained most prominence with Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson. Died of injuries from a fall down a flight of stairs at his home, age 74.

FRASH, TAYLOR. Rider, Warner & Henderson, 1874.

FRAZER, DICK. Frank Rich’s, 1886.

FRAZER, H. E. Treasurer, Homer Davis’ New Show, 1879.

FRAZER, R. W. Caldwell’s, 1867.

FREDERICKS. Trapeze performer. Parisian Circus, Operti’s Tropical Garden, Philadelphia, fall 1876; single trapeze, Stickney’s Imperial Parisian Circus, 1880.

FREDERICKS, GEORGE. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1881.

FREDERICKS, MLLE. VanAmburgh & Co., December 1859.

FREDERICKS, WILLIAM. British rider. Advertised as: “Bareback rider and Exponent of the ‘Bounding Jockey’ from Hengler’s Grand Cirque, London. He also presents his Performing Goat ‘Pete’ in the amusing act of The Crown and the Goat.” John H. Murray’s, 1874, first appearance in America.

FREE, JOHN. Bandleader, DeHaven’s, 1862.

FREELY BROTHERS. Trapeze, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.

FREEMAN, CHARLES. Sideshow giant. Bowery Amphitheatre, 1841; L. B. Lent’s, 1860. This must be the man who was a rider with a circus at Arcadian Gardens, NYC. With his 7’ frame, rode 2 horses and could execute a double-somersault. February 5, 1842, sparred with Ben Count at the Bowery Theatre, NYC. Had previously been on exhibit at the American Museum. Afterwards, was a pugilistic hero who, under the title of Freeman, the American Giant, fought Perry, the Tipton Slasher, England. Died there of consumption.

FREEMAN, L. Contortionist, June & Turner’s, 1845-46.

FREEMAN, WILLIAM H. Miller, Stowe & Freeman (Charles A. Miller, James B. Stowe, William H. Freeman, proprietors), 1887.

FREEMAN, W. W. Press agent. Sells Bros.’, 1882; Miller, Stowe & Freeman (Charles A. Miller, James B. Stowe, William H. Freeman, proprietors), 1886-87.

FREES, J. Agent, John Robinson’s, 1887.

FREMONT, W. H. Contracting agent, Bartine’s, 1896.

FRENCH, CHARLES., Lilly, Harry, Eric, George]. Bicyclists and skaters Clown, Delavan’s, 1886.

FRENCH FAMILY [Laura, Barnum & Bailey, 1889; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1891; Ringling Bros.’, 1896.

FRENCH, HARRY. Member of Holton & Gates’ Harmoniums, a minstrel band organized for the the Simon Pure American Circus, New York, October 1, 1866.

FRENCH, JAMES M. (August 7, 1821-January 10, 1902) Born in Woodstock, CT. Became a nationally-known menagerie owner whose quarters were on Woodward Avenue, Highland Park, Michigan. Left his father’s farm at 12 years of age and located in the South, where he ran a general store in the Tuckapaw Region of Louisiana. A good judge of horses and livestock, started a horse market in New Orleans and dealt in the finest animals for carriage and road purposes and supplied all the wealthy people in that city and throughout the Southwest. Went into the cotton business and many times ran blockades on the Mississippi. Joined the Confederate Army and served at the front. Had one-third interest in Thayer & Noyes, 1866. 23 days of rain made it necessary for his partners to borrow from him. Shortly, was forced to attach the show in Detroit, September 25, 4 weeks before scheduled closing. J. M. French’s Great Oriental Circus and Egyptian Caravan opened April 20, 1867 in Detroit. The Egyptian Caravan part of the title represented the results of a good business deal. Before the war, 1856-57, the Army had imported a shipload of camels to establish a mail route from San Antonio, TX, to the Pacific Coast, the Jeff Davis camel experiment. They were sold when the project failed, the ones in California, 1864, and those in Texas, 1866. French bought 40 of the animals for a minimal price. Hitched a team of 12 of them to his big bandwagon for the street parade, allegedly the first ever broken to work in harness without the assistance of horses (both Sands and Howes had 10-camel hitches, 1848, being the first groups brought into this country). His elephant, Empress, imported in 1869, was said at that time to be the largest ever brought to America. After his circus was auctioned off at Trenton, NJ, November 3, 1870, he kept the animals and took them to Detroit where he built quarters on Woodward Avenue and leased them to traveling shows in the summer and housed them at the Michigan quarters in the winter. Intended to quit circus management for other pursuits; however, the J. M. French’s Oriental Circus and Egyptian Caravan was reported on the road in 1871. The same year, leased animals to Cole & Orton. Had the concert privilege, G. G. Grady’s, 1872; leased animals to J. E. Warner, 1873; leased animals to Warner, Springer & Henderson, 1874; exhibited animals on a lot on Woodward Avenue, 1875; leased to Excelsior Circus and Menagerie, 1875. At its early closure, he placed an ad in the August 21 New York Clipper: “The Excelsior Circus & Menagerie having closed at Prescott, Ontario, for want of money and brains is now at my place. Can be fitted out on short notice.” 1876, organized a show with L. B. Lent for which he was general manager; left the firm mid-July that year. Leased to the Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877, which collapsed in Buffalo in July. Then leased to George W. DeHaven’s Hippodrome, 1878. Announced plans to give Roman Hippodrome races at horse tracks and county fairs. Was to lease animals to Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, but lost them when on May 22, 1879, the animal building in Detroit and the entire menagerie were destroyed by fire before they could be shipped. Later, opened a variety theatre with clown Jerry Hopper, November 1884, Sheboygan, MI, and ran the Grand Central Hotel there until 1892, when he sold out and moved back to Detroit. Took great pleasure in owning race horses and, through this, was Director of the Gents Driving Club, which built a half-mile track in Highland Park. Died at his residence, 20 Lincoln Ave., Detroit, after succumbing to an attack of erysipelas, age 81.

FRENCH, L. H. [Leigh Hill]. French & Co., 1883; French & Monroe, boat show, 1885; Howes’ New London (French and Monroe, proprietors), 1888; French’s New Sensation, showboat, 1890.

FRENCH, REUBEN. Agent with a menagerie as early as 1830. Managed for the Zoological Institute, French, Hobby & Co., on the road as a menagerie, 1834; was possibly the French connected with Quick & Mead, 1826, who traveled on horseback and kept his advertising paper in two saddlebags, possibly making him the first to advance a tented circus.

FRENCH FAMILY [Laura, Lilly, Harry, Eric, George]. Bicyclists and skaters, Barnum & Bailey, 1889.

FRESH, TAYLOR. Rider, with Warner & Henderson, 1874. Also had his own show.

FRIDAY, FRITZ. Band leader, John Robinson’s, 1859-60; John Robinson’s, 1864-65, 1869-72.

FRIERBERG, LEW. Orchestra leader, Wintermute Bros.’, 1897.

FRIHE, JOHN. Orchestra leader, Castello & VanVleck, 1863.

FRISBIE, ALFRED. See Alfred Miaco.

FRITZ, EDWIN. Acrobat. Around 1870 formed a partnership with James Cassim and performed under the name of Cassim & Fritz, traveling through France and Spain, then to India and South America. Following, were engaged for a year at the Bella Union Theatre, San Francisco. Succeeding engagements were at the Theatre Comique, St. Louis and the Metropolitan Theatre, NYC, the latter under the management of R. W. Butler. Traveled with L. B. Lent’s for 2 seasons, performing in variety theatres in the winter. Howes & Cushing (F. B. Howes and Joseph Cushing, proprietors), 1875; Cooper & Bailey, 1876, and accompanying the show to San Francisco, then to Australia and South America. Returned to NYC and opened at Niblo’s Garden, December 23, 1878; knockabout clown, Great Commonwealth Circus, 1879; tumbler and leaper, P. T. Barnum’s, 1879-80; Pat Ryan’s, 1882. Married to performer Kittie Sharpe.

FRITZ, JOHN. Cole’s Colossal Circus (George S. Cole, John H. Sparks, proprietors), 1893; Cole & Lockwood, 1894.

FROST, C. Contracting agent, VanAmburgh’s, 1871.

FROST, CHARLES. (October 10, 1822-August 1905) Old time circus man and brother of Hyatt Frost.

FROST, FRANK. Nephew of Hyatt Frost; manager of Robinson’s Circus, California, 1886. That same year, put out the show under the VanAmburgh name, which exasperated his uncle. [Hyatt Frost: “I have worked hard for forty years to become sole manager of the menagerie and circus and title of VanAmburgh & Frost Shows and I have no interest whatsoever in the so-called show now in California and never did have. I would not, under any circumstances, permit the public to be deceived under the name VanAmburgh & Frost by paying their money to see an imitation show, owned and run by men who have so grossly pilfered me of my good name and title. Many an old ‘forty-niner’ now in California is personally acquainted with me and is well aware that I never had anything to do with any show but the best.”] General manager, John Forepaugh's, California, 1888.

FROST, H. C. Assistant treasurer, Alex Robinson’s, 1870.

FROST, HYATT. (March 4, 1827-September 3, 1895) Born Southeast, Putnam County, NY. Joined Raymond & Waring at age 19, working for the candy privilege man. Subsequently, with VanAmburgh’s, managed by James Raymond. At the outset, went ahead of the show doing the billing, but became manager when Raymond died. Purchased the show, 1857, with Ira Gregory. Married Miss Sarah Halstead, January 19, 1864. 1868, a partner in the Barnum, VanAmburgh & Co.’s Museum, NYC, when the establishment was destroyed by fire, sustaining a $200,000 loss (the men also owned VanAmburgh & Co.’s Great Golden Menagerie). Established the use of a cook tent, 1871. 1881, determining the need of a rest after over 35 years in the circus business, advertised VanAmburgh & Co. for auction. Last managerial venture was with the Reiche Brothers, animal importers, 1885. Shortly after that, Frost, a “black-bearded, piratical-looking” man, retired reasonably well off. Died at his home near Amenia, NY.

FROST, I. P. Proprietor (with N. R. Husted), Frost, Husted & Co., 1836; proprietor, Frost & Co., 1837.

FROST, PHOEBE. See Madame Sanyeah.

FRYER, PROF. ROBERT W. [or Freyer]. Horse trainer, bronco horses, dogs and goats, with Coup’s Equescuricculum, 1878. At the close of the season, built an establishment for training horses and dogs in Independence, IA. One of the acts developed was a moving pyramid with 7 horses, culminating in a “statuesque tableau.” Another was a performance on stilts by a pony, never before successfully accomplished. Exhibited a trick horse and performing mules, Caldwell’s Occidental Circus, 1867; equestrian manager, P. A. Older’s, 1872 (and married his daughter); equestrian director, Nathans & Co., 1882; W. C. Coup’s, 1879-81; proprietor, Fryer’s New United Shows, East Indies, Australia and South America, 1886-87.

FUEGO, SIGNOR. “The Fire Fiend, revolving in the air amid a globe of fire,” J. W. Wilder’s, 1872.

FUHRMAN, KARL [or Carl]. Organist for the Spalding & Rogers’ Appollonicon, 1849, band leader, 1850; organist, 1852-53.

FULFORD, ABEL H. “ABE”. (August 9, 1848-1913) Born in Belleville, Canada. Co-proprietor and business manager, Fulford & Co.’s Great United London Shows (A. K. Fulford, William McClintock, W. M. Lyttle, Jesse C. Elliott, proprietors), 1890. Had at one time been a partner with W. M. Lyttle in a stage coach line. Prior to his brief fling in show business, he and his brother had been partners in a construction business, chiefly doing excavations and road building. The circus was on the road only one season. Died in Topeka, KS, age 66.

FULLER, CHARLES W. (March 1, 1826-April 9, 1888) Agent. Franconi’s, 1853; Rivers & Derious, 1854-55; J. W. Myers’, 1856; Nixon & Kemp, 1857-58; James M. Nixon’s, 1859-60; first managerial job was as proprietor, Monitor Show, 1865, which carried a wagon fashioned to represent the gunboat Monitor, containing a stereoptic and panoramic views of the Civil War; S. O. Wheeler’s, 1863; contracting agent, L. B. Lent’s, 1864, 1867-72; general manager, P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1874-75; general agent and railroad contractor, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876-77; general manager, Coup’s Equescuricculum, 1878; Cooper & Bailey, 1879-82; railroad director, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1884-85; railroad contractor, Barnum & Bailey, 1886-87. Was twice married. After some 30 years in the circus business, had an interest in the Fuller Detective Agency, managed by his step-son. Died at his home in NYC.

FULLER, EDWARD. G. G. Grady’s, 1868.

FULLER, H. A. Candy stand privileges, New York Champs Elysees, 1866; Australian Circus, 1870.

FULLER, H. H. Proprietor (with A. R. Fuller), Olympic Circus, 1835; manager, Macomber, Welch & Co., 1836; manager, Boston Amphitheatre, 1837; proprietor, H. H. Fuller’s Olympic Circus, 1838.

FULLER, W. E. Assistant manager, Cook & Whitby, 1892; assistant manager, Great Wallace (B. E. Wallace, proprietor), 1893, general agent, 1896.

FULTON, JOHN. (d. December 6, 1887) Joined Yankee Robinson’s, 1855, in charge of the candy stand and remained 3 years. Went into the sideshow business, traveling with several circuses until the outbreak of Civil War. Enlisted but was sent home after an injury from falling off a horse. Started in the museum business, Indianapolis, IN. Joined Yankee Robinson’s again, 1866; sideshow privilege, Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1867; sideshow privilege (with George Middleton), Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1870; candy stand (with George Coup), P. T. Barnum’s, 1871; sideshow, Sells Bros.’, 1872; sideshow and candy stand, George F. Bailey & Co., 1873; sideshow, Warner, Henderson & Springer, 1874; Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; candy stand (with George Coup), P. T. Barnum’s, 1876; A. S. Burt’s, 1883; sideshow manager, Frank A. Robbins’, 1882, 1884-87. Died in NYC.

FULTON, M. Acrobat and leaper, Haight’s Great Southern, 1874.

FUNK, AD. Agent, Walt McCafferty’s Great Golden Shows, 1894.

FUQUA, JAMES. Boss hostler, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876-80; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82.

FUREY, ROBERT. General performer, Howes & Sanger, 1872.

FURSMAN, GEORGE W. (1847-April 27, 1903) Born in Nassau, NY. John H. Murray’s; Burr Robbins’; privileges, Sells Bros.’, 1878; treasurer, Campbell’s, 1878; VanAmburgh’s, 1879; Robbins & Colvin, 1881; Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, 1895-1897. Formed a partnership with George Peck, Peck & Fursman, and put out several companies. Married Georgia Millson around 1881. A daughter, Eugenie, was married in 1902 to William Sweeney, bandmaster of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.

FUSNER, JESSE L. Talking and singing clown. Walter L. Main’s, 1887, 1892; Sam MacFlinn’s, 1888; Lee’s Great London, 1893, where he worked the parade as a rube, stopping to make inquiries, etc.


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Last modified October 2005