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Olympians of the Sawdust Circle - K

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.

KAFFEO, HERR. Trick bicycle rider, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1887.

KAHBOWLS, MLLE. “Death defying plunge from a 35 foot high table pyramid,” “Winged woman of the air,” and “Russian Marvel,” Adam Forepaugh’s, 1885.

KAHN, LEOPOLD. See Admiral Dot.

KANE, G. A. “DR.” Agent, Howe’s European, 1864; Dan Castello’s, 1865; Thayer & Noyes, 1865-66; director of publications, Cooper & Jackson, 1880.

KANE, O. Aaron Turner’s, 1849.

KANE, PROF. Band leader, DeMott & Ward, 1868.

KARL BROTHERS. Acrobats, Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1892-93.

KASTNER, OTTO. Contracting agent, Williams & Co., 1892.

KATHINKA, MME. German giantess, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876.

KATNOCHIN, AWATI [or Awata]. Japanese juggler, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.

KATO. “The human knot,” Albert M. Wetter’s New Model Shows, 1893.

KATSMOSHIN, PRINCE. Japanese juggler. Great London, 1880; William O’Dale Stevens’, Park Square, Boston, 1883.

KAUFFMAN, PROF. Band leader, John O’Brien’s, 1871.

KAWANDA, J. T. Wild boy, Walter L. Main’s, 1893.

KEANO. Equestrian, Lailson’s, Philadelphia, 1797.

KEARNEY, JOE. Clown, Welsh Bros.’, 1895.

KEATING, WILLIAM L. Calliope player. Cooper, Bailey & Co., Australian tour, 1876-77; Sells Bros.’, 1878; advertising car #1, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1880-83; S. H. Barrett’s, 1885; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1886. 1887, his home address was 102 East Tenth Street, Covington, KY.

KEEFE, JOHN [r. n. John Mulligan]. (d. April 5, 1871) Gymnast, aerialist and acrobat. Performed with William F. Hogle as his gymnastic partner much of the time. John Robinson’s, 1857; Madigan’s, 1861; S. P. Stickney’s, 1861; Smith & Quick, Villenueva Theatre, Havana, winter 1861-62; Thayer & Noyes, 1862, 1867; Cooke’s, winter 1864-65; (with Burrows) Quaglieni’s Italian Cirque, 1866; Albisu’s, Havana, winter 1866-67. Became deranged around 1868 while on tour with Hogle in South America but apparently recovered within a few years. Died in Rome, NY.

KEEFER, WILLIAM. Chief bill poster, G. G. Grady’s, 1874.

KEEGAN, JOHN. General business agent, Great Combination (George M. Kelly, Pete and John Conklin, William LaRue, proprietors), 1871.

KEELER, FRED A. Manager, Melville’s Australian Circus, 1864; advertiser, Stone, Rosston and Murray’s, 1867; contracting agent, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876, conductor advertising dept., 1877, 1880; manager, advance car #3, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.

KEELER, NELLIE. “The Indiana Midget,” P. T. Barnum’s, 1879-80.

KEELER, S. C. Assistant manager, Maginley & Co., 1874.

KEETCH, ED. Contortion, perch and lofty tumbling, with World’s Fair Aggregation, 1892; same year, with Harry Devere, assumed ownership of the show and retitled it Devere & Keetch’s Colossal Shows and Pyrotechnical Sensation.

KEETING, GUSIE. Jig dancer, J. M. Barry’s Great American Circus, 1894.

KEITH, BENJAMIN FOSTER. (d. March 26, 1914) Sideshow and museum operator. Sometimes called “the father of continuous vaudeville.” Early career in show business, George Bunnell’s Museum, NYC, while still in his teens. Remained with Mr. Bunnell for a year or two. Later, went to the Barnum show, where he remained for a year; 1881, sideshow operator, Adam Forepaugh’s; following year, leased a store room in Boston and started in the museum business on a very small scale. Not so many years later, commenced to make history in vaudeville and hall show business and long before his death his name was a household word. At his death he left many millions. Twice married, first, 1873, to Mary Catherine, daughter of Charles Branley of Providence, RI. She died, 1910, leaving one son, Andrew Paul Keith, who for several years past was associated with his father in the theatrical business. Married again, October 29, 1913, to Ethel Bird, daughter of Plymton B. Chase of Akron, OH, and Washington, DC. Died at the Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach, FL.

KEITH, CHARLES. Engish knockabout clown, Batcheller & Doris, 1880.

KELLER, FRED A. Advertising agent, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.

KELLER. Curiosity. Native of North Carolina. Pepin & Barnet, 1823; Waterman & Co, 1838. Advertised as being 42 years old, 36” in height, double-jointed and “possessing extraordinary strength for his size.” Performed on a horse which stood 3’ 10” high.

KELLEY. Clown, Lafayette Circus, 1825-26; Page & Harrington, 1826-27; Price & Simpson, 1827; Ben Brown’s, January-March 1828; hall show, Boston, June 1828; Providence Circus, September 1828; Martinique, 1830.

KELLEY, GEORGE M. [or Kelly]. (1841-April 4, 1921) Primarily known for his excellent leaping ability, but was also a gymnast, tumbler and musician. A world champion, leaped over 28 horses placed neck to neck. Born at Glenn’s Falls, NY. For a few years teamed with Burrows for his trapeze work. Beginning 1855, Levi J. North’s; Maginley & VanVleck, 1863; Robinson & Howes, 1864; Howes’, Chicago, winter 1864-65; principal attraction, Thayer & Noyes, 1865-66. While with the latter, was leaping over 12 horses and billed as the greatest in the world. When Thayer & Noyes split their troupe for the winter, 1865, Kelley and Burrows, under the management of Dr. Thayer, moved by steamboat along the tributaries of the Mississippi. By 1866, had cleared 16 horses placed side by side while completing a single somersault. 1867, a member of an elite corps of performers with the Parisian Circus, assembled for the Paris Exposition (Avery Smith, G. Quick, John Nathans, Dr. Spalding and Bidwell, proprietors), and was proclaimed “The Champion Vaulter of the World.” With both James M. French’s and John Robinson’s, 1868. For Robinson, threw a somersault from a springboard over 17 horses, August 24, 1868, in Corinth, MS, said to have surpassed all previous attempts of leaping in this country or in Europe. Later, it was claimed he leaped over 20 horses while with John Robinson, spring 1872. Mrs. Charles Warner’s,, Philadelphia, winter 1869-70; James Robinson’s, 1870; Great Commonwealth, Cuba, 1871; co-proprietor, Commonwealth Circus that traveled by boat (Conklin Brothers, George M. Kelley and William LaRue, proprietors), 1871; co-proprieter, Klicker & Kelley’s Great Monster Circus, Menagerie and Museum (formerly Commnonwealth Circus), 1872; W. W. Cole’s, 1875; VanAmburgh’s, 1879; Sells Bros.’, 1881. Made several trips abroad as well as Cuba and Mexico. Performed before the crowned heads of England, France and Russia. Died at City Hospital, Binghamton, NY, age 80.

KELLEY, JOHN HENRY [or Kelly]. (1848?-February 6, 1872) Gymnast. Native of Glenn Falls, NY, the brother of George M. Kelley. Great Combination Circus (George M. Kelly, Pete and John Conklin, William LaRue, proprietors), 1871. Died of small pox, Binghampton, NY., age 24.

KELLEY, SAMUEL [or Kelly]. James Raymond’s son-in-law. Manager, with Peter Banigan, Banigan & Kelly’s (Raymond & Co.) menagerie, 1847.

KELLEY, THOMAS. Commissary and layer out, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876-79, layer out, 1880; layer out and forage agent, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.

KELLOGG, B. S. Asst’t treasurer, P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1874-75.

KELLY, B. Rider, Aaron Turner’s, 1837; Clayton, Bartlett & Welch, 1840.

KELLY, FRANCIS. See Frank Lee.

KELLY, J. Boss canvasman, John Robinson’s, 1893.

KELLY, JAMES. Agent, treasurer and business manager, George H. Adams’; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1884; press and general agent, Pullman, Dingess & Co., 1885.

KELLY, JAMES E. [or Kelley]. (April 8, 1827-December 27, 1892) Born at Carmel, Putnam County, NY. On leaving school, went into the banking business with Drew, Robinson & Co., Wall Street, NYC, and remained with that house for several years. Married a daughter (or perhaps the niece) of Daniel Drew. Was a prosperous banker in home town of Brewster, NY. Later was reduced to penury when his cashier embezelled funds and ran off to Africa to fight the Zulus. With Hyatt Frost, 1856, purchased the James Raymond menagerie, including the elephant Hannibal, which had been used in a 4-elephant hitch for the menagerie bandwagon. Bought out Gregory’s interest in VanAmburgh & Co., 1861; bought Hyatt Frost’s interest, 1868, to become the firm’s largest stock holder. 1871, bought interest in Howes’ Great London Circus. Shortly thereafter sold his interest in the VanAmburgh show to Hyatt Frost. Selected Henry Barnum to manage, 1874, who purchased a 10th interest and operated the show until 1877. Debt, caused by economic conditions in the country, forced them to put the show up for sale, January 29, 1877, which brought $65,000. The new owners were John Parks and Richard Dockrill. Kelly retired to Drewville, NY. Died at his residence, age 66.

KELLY, JOHN. Lake’s Hippo-Olypiad, January 1868.

KELLY, MICKEY. See James Hernandez.

KELLY, WILLIAM. Boss canvasman, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1889.

KELLY, WILLIAM A. Agent, Kelly, Leon & Wilson, 1870.

KELSEY, HATTIE. Equestrienne, with Walter B. Aymar’s, South America, early 1870s; troupe returned to the United States, 1875, and performed at Bidwell’s Acadamy of Music, New Orleans.

KELSEY, MEADE. Maginley & Bell, 1864.

KELSH, FRANCIS M. [Frank]. (September 2 or 7, 1822-July 20, 1890) Stone, Rosston & Co., 1866; manager, Stone, Rosston & Murray, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, winter 1866-67; manager, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1867; treasurer, L. B. Lent’s, 1869, 1872, railroad agent, 1874; general agent, D. W. Stone’s, 1878; excursion agent, P. T. Barnum’s, 1879, railroad contractor, 1880; advertising manager, John B. Doris’, 1883-84; railroad contractor, VanAmburgh, Charles Reich & Bros.’, 1885; special agent, Frank A. Robbins’, 1889. A lifelong friendship with agent Charles H. Castle created the designation of “The Two Orphans.” Kelsh was the better educated and more polished. Agent Charles H. Day wrote that Kelsh had a “most eloquent gift of convincing gab.”

KEMMER BROTHERS [3]. Trapeze, perch, and juggling, Bailey & Winan, 1890.

KEMP, WILLIAM H. (1817-April 8, 1891) Clown, from Birmingham, England. Specialties were pantomime and globe and barrel feats—“walks on crutches nine feet high” and “presents a pantomime of the ‘Harlequin’s Frolics, or Mistakes of the Night.’” First appeared in America, 1846, John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC; followed with engagements with Welch & Mann, Philadelphia, 1846; Howes & Co., 1847-48; Franklin Theatre, NYC, 1848; Crane & Co., 1849; James M. June & Co., 1850; Nixon & Kemp, 1857-58. Married to Marian McCarthy. Subsequently, became a leading gold-leaf manufacturer. Died in NYC.

KENDALL, EDWARD “NED.” (March 20, 1808-October 28, 1861) Band leader from Newport, RI, called “The Magic Bugler,” being the first virtuoso of the keyed bugle. Made musical debut in Boston, 1825. 1830, member of the orchestra, Boston’s Tremont Theatre. Bugler and band leader, John Sears’, 1832; still with the organization when the management came under Thomas Tufts, Hiram Waring and E. Waring - Waring, Tufts & Co, 1834; organized the Boston Brass Band, 1835, one of the first in America; Palmer’s, 1835; Purdy, Welch, Macomber & Co., 1837; S. H. Nichols’, 1840-42; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1842, 1847-48; Spalding & Rogers, 1854-56; Nixon & Kemp, 1858. Died of consumption, Boston, MS.

KENDALL, EDWARD. (d. December 13, 1918) Agent and business manager. Married to Ruby Marion, a burlesque actress. Died in Brooklyn, NY, age 68.

KENDALL, E. P. General agent, Driesbach & Howes, 1868.

KENDALL, NED. Agent, not to be confused with the band leader of that name. [Charles H. Day: He “was one of the greatest advance agents that ever piloted a show in this or any other country. He was what used to be called ‘a working agent’; could put up a stand of bills and delighted to do it, knew the country to a dot, wrote with fluency, and had a legion of friends. Ned Kendall could inject about as much wormwood into a paragraph as any man that ever put a pen to paper.”]

KENN, DAN. Band leader, Nixon’s, 1870.

KENNARD BROTHERS [Charles, Edwin]. Knock-about clowns. Shield’s, 1888; W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1889-91; Sells Bros.’, 1895; Charles Barnum’s, 1904; Hippodrome, 1915.

KENNEBEL BROS. [Francois, Joseph, Eugene]. Clowns. Brothers of Mme. Elise Dockrill, equestrienne. Montgomery Queen’s, 1876-77; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winters 1877-78, 1879-79, 1882-83; Great London, 1878; VanAmburgh’s, 1880; Batcheller & Doris, 1880; Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1882; Leon & Dockrill, Iron Amphitheatre, Havana, winter 1881-82; John B. Doris’, 1883; Kennebel’s Parisian Circus, fall 1885; Shields’, 1887. Joseph (d. November 27, 1883) performed without words, communicating with his audience through well arranged facial grimaces, oblique nods, finger motions and grotesque attitudes, something new to the American circus. [New York Sun, 1872: “He dresses in green with a long point of black hair at each side of his head, and a similar red point in the middle. His face is white and the eyes are shaded with red and a faint black.”] He performed a “butterfly act” wherein a large white butterfly was attached to the end of a whip, and while Kennebel tried to catch it with one hand, he jerked it away with the other. Another amusing antic was accomplished by using a “basket horse” as he mimicked the maneuvers of the equestrians. Made debut in USA at Barnum’s Hippotheatron, NYC, December 1872; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879. Died in Chicago. Eugene, also a pantomime clown, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882. Rose, mother of the Kennebel family - Francoise, Eugene, Elise Dockrill, died in NYC, January 8, 1896.

KENNEBEL, ELLA. Concert, menage rider, Montgomery Queen’s, 1876-77.

KENNEDY, C. E. Contracting agent, John F. Stowe’s, 1892.

KENNEDY, D. A. Ringmaster, Barry & Co., 1879; general agent, Gregory Bros.’, 1885; general advance representative, Great American Circus, Museum and Menagerie, 1893.

KENNEDY, DANIEL. Leaper. Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winter 1878-79; W. W. Cole’s, 1880-81.

KENNEDY, D. R. Treasurer, Cooper & Co., 1874.

KENNEDY, JAMES O. Singing clown, Harry Thayer & Co.’s, 1890.

KENNEDY, J. R. In charge of one of the advertising cars for Barnum & Bailey for 7 seasons. Also agent, Cooper & Jackson, 1880; general agent, O’Brien, Handenberger, Astley & Lowanda, 1884; advertiser, Walter L. Main’s, 1893; general agent, Cole & Lockwood, 1894.

KENNEDY, R. S. Rider. Dan Rice’s, 1848; Col. Mann’s, 1849; ringmaster, H. M. Smith’s, 1856; Orton’s, 1857; ringmaster, Mabie’s, 1858.

KENNEDY, W. Rider, Quick, Sands & Co., Baltimore, 1833.

KENNEDY, WILLIAM [“Billy”]. Clown, Sands & Quick, 1852-55; Levi J. North’s, 1855-56; ringmaster, L. B. Lent’s, 1859-60; Cooke & Robinson, 1861; L. B. Lent’s, 1862; George F. Bailey & Co., 1866; James M. Nixon’s, 1870; Howes’ Great London, 1876.

KENNEDY, WILLIAM B. “POP.” (1830?-August 1, 1906) Born in NYC. Originally a jig dancer, having danced matches with John Diamond. Joined a circus sideshow as a singing clown. Sands & Nathans’, performed with Tony Pastor. The two were later associated with the Bowery Amphitheatre Co., NYC. In Pastor’s employ for over 30 years, in later years being on the Pastor Theatre’s door. Died of pneumonia, NYC, age 76. Gymnast and rider, Dan Rice’s, 1849; Levi J. North’s, 1855; ringmaster, Mabie’s, 1858-59; clown, L. B. Lent’s, 1861-62; Howard’s Athenaeum, Boston, Goodwin & Wilder, winter 1861; Brien’s, 1863; clown, Mrs. Charles Warner’s, 1864; Stone, Rosston & Co., 1864; S. O. Wheeler’s, Boston, winter 1864-65; Palmer’s, 1865; George Bailey & Co., 1866; Lee & Ryland, San Francisco, 1867; Dan Rice’s, 1868; James Robinson’s, 1870.

KENSHAW, JAMES. General performer, with L. B. Lent’s, 1861.

KENT, CARRIE. “The only lady living who slides from the dome of the canvas to the ground suspended by the hair,” Martell’s Great Consolidated Shows, 1884.

KENT, JULIAN [or Julien, Jule]. Clown. Dan Rice’s, 1852, 1859; Madigan’s, 1861; Cremorne Gardens (formerly Palace Gardens), NYC, spring and summer 1862; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1866; Dan Castello’s, 1870; Leihy, Lake & Co., 1870; L. B. Lent’s, 1871-72; James Robinson’s, 1872; Cooper and Bailey, 1875; Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877.

KENYON, CHARLES. (1845?-July 20, 1892) With his trick horse Ingomar, Philadelphia Circus, winter 1867-68; with his trick horse Ingomar, Gardner, Kenyon & Robinson, 1869; equestrian director, Handenburger & Co., 1871; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1873; equestrian director, Cooper and Bailey, 1875. Married to Eliza Gardner, daughter of Dan and Camilla Gardner. Two daughters, Ella and Minnie, were stage performers. Died in Peoria, IL, age 47.

KERNELL, JOHN. The Pinafore Concert Co., Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879.

KERPEN, HERR WILLIAM. Bearded man, VanAmburgh & Co., 1872; museum director, Maginley & Co., 1874.

KERR, CLARENCE. Boss canvasman, Cooper & Co. (J. R. W. Hennessey, proprietor and manager), 1897.

KERR, CLEM. Advertising agent, Cooper & Co. (J. R. W. Hennessey, proprietor and manager), 1897.

KERRIGAN, CHARLES. Cooke’s, Tenth and Callowbill Streets, Philadelphia, January 1868.

KETCHUM, FRANK. Candy privilege (with Tom Burk), Great Western, 1876.

KEYES, DANIEL. Thayer & Noyes, 1866.

KEYES, LIZZIE [or Keys, Lizzie LaSchaller]. Equestrienne. Howe’s Great London, 1871; forward and backward principal act, L. B. Lent’s, winter 1871-72; John H. Murray’s, 1872; Joel E. Warner & Co., 1873; W. W. Cole’s, 1874; Hengler’s, England, 1875; Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; Allen’s Great Eastern, 1879; Stickney’s Imperial Parisian Circus, 1880; Robinson & Myers, 1883; Washburn & Hunting, 1884. Married clown D. A. Seal.

KEYS, HARRY. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1857, 1859-60; 1861-62.

KEYS, J. S. 2 and 4-horse rider, equestrian manager, M. O’Conner’s, 1870.

KEYSER, LAURA S. See Louise Montague.

KIBBLE, WILLIAM. 2-horse carrying and 4-horse act, L. W. Washburn’s, 1895-96.

KICHI, FUDI. Barrel kicking, high-wire, and Japanese slide, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.

KICHI, KAMA. Contortionist and flying perch, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.

KIDDER, CHARLES W. Assistant manager, Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1869. Married Miss Kate Heidler in Xenia, OH, February 17, 1870, and left the circus business that year to open a confectionary store in Xenia with his father-in-law, J. W. Heidler. Apparently the arrangement did not work out, for was back as advance agent with James T. Johnson & Co., 1870; assistant manager, James E. Cooper’s, 1872; general agent, A. B. Rothcilds & Co., 1875; asst. mgr., Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; contracting agent, VanAmburgh & Co., 1877-83; Fannie Mountcastle Dramatic Co., winter 1884-85; advertising car, Creston Show, 1886; general advance agent, William Main & Co., 1889; Main & Sargeant, 1890-91; Kidder & Co., 1893.

KIDWELL, WASH. Former steamboat engineer who went into circus business with Charles Castle and Harry Whitbeck, 1853, to form Whitbeck & Co., with Mme. Tourniaire, the greatest female bareback rider of her time, as the star attraction; show performed in a 110’ round top and traveled by steamboat along the Ohio River and tributaries, but lasted only one year.

KIELEY, F. Whittemore, Thompson & Co., 1865.

KIELEY, JOHNNY. Banjoist, Whitmore & Co., 1868.

KIMBALL, C. T. Contracting agent, W. W. Cole’s, 1873; Burr Robbins’, 1874-85; contracting agent, Robbins & Colvin, 1881; United States Circus, 1882; advance agent, Holland & Gormley, 1888-90; general agent and contractor, Holland, Bowman & McLaughlin, 1890.

KINCADE, ARTHUR. Wallace & Co. (Ben F. Wallace and James Anderson, proprietors), 1885.

KINCADE BROTHERS [Edward, George, James, Frederick]. Gymnasts, VanAmburgh & Co. 1871. Also had their own show out that year, Kincade’s Circus.

KINCADE, D. H. Robinson & Deery’s, 1864.

KINCADE, EDWARD. Rider, J. J. Hall’s, West Indies, 1837; Clayton, Bartlett & Welch, 1840; Welch & Delavan, 1841; acrobat, Welch & Mann, 1843-44; Great Western, 1847; S. P. Stickney’s, 1847. Killed in Caracus, South America, about 1862.

KINCADE, HENRY A. [sometimes Kincaide]. Rider and acrobat. Born in Madrid of a father who was a well known circus manager in Spain. Migrated to Mexico early in his career where, in Mexico City, managed a circus company. During the Mexico-American War, the government confiscated his show, putting the horses and the company into the army. Kincade escaped to the American lines and into the hands of Gen. Taylor. Was subsequently paroled and sent to NYC where he made his American deput at the Bowery Amphitheatre under the management of Richard Sands. Sired a family of performers, James, George, John, William and Katy - riders, vaulters, tumblers, acrobats, and gymnasts. As a posturer, general performer and equestrian director, was connected with Caldwell’s Occidental, 1867-68; S. O. Wheeler’s Circus, 1868; Alex Robinson’s, 1869; Australian Circus, 1870; VanAmburg & Co., 1871; P. A. Older’s, 1872; J. M. Carrington’s, 1874; Hamilton & Sargeant, 1879; George S. Cole’s, 1881. Died of gangrene poisoning, 1882, the result of an accidental injury to his foot. Was 63 years of age and had spent 51 years in the circus business.

KINCADE, HARRY [r. n. William Burt]. (d. October 2, 1881) Gymnast. Half-brother of Samuel Burt. Died in Pulaski, TN, with Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, where during a performance, September 29, he failed to complete a double somersault, causing a concussion of the spinal cord.

KINCADE, JAMES. Equestrian. Bareback rider, VanAmburgh & Co.’s northern, 1859; Sells Bros.’ 1879; Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881; Miles Orton’s, 1882; John Robinson’s, 1882; S. H. Barrett & Co., 1883; Wallace & Co., 1884-85; principal somersault act, McMahon’s, 1888; F. J. Taylor’s, 1892; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893; Sig. Sautelle’s, 1896-97.

KINCADE, WILLIAM [sometimes Kincaid]. (d. Decenber 27, 1868) Rider and acrobat. Pupil of J. J. Nathans. Clayton, Bartlett & Welch, 1840; eastern unit, June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1842; acrobat, Welch & Mann, 1843-44; Mann, Welch & Delavan, 1844-46; Rockwell & Stone, 1846; Indian act, Robinson & Eldred, 1847-49; Welch & Lent, 1854; Spalding & Rogers, 1855; Welch & Lent, 1856; L. B. Lent’s, 1858; Dan Rice’s, winter 1858; Welch’s, Philadelphia, 1859; VanAmburgh & Co., 1859; Mabie’s, Winter Garden, 1862; acrobat, Hippotheatron, 14th Street, NYC, winter 1863-64; Howes’ European, winter 1864; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Continental Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1864-65; George F. Bailey & Co., 1866-67. Died of consumption in Baltimore.

KINCADE, WILLIAM. Cooper & Jackson, 1880; Robbins & Colvin, 1881.

KING, ANDREW, N. (1843-January 7, 1890) Acrobat and showman. Born in Galveston, TX. Apprenticed into the circus business at the age of 10. Upon developing skills, took a partner and performed as Aubrey & King. Described as being small in stature, solidly built, with dark complexion and mustache. Said to be the first in the country to do the head to hand somersault. Injuries received from a fall put an end to King’s career as a performer. Took the program privileges with Adam Forepaugh’s for 5 or 6 years. Married Alida McGee, sister of actor J. W. McGee around 1880. About 1882, became associated with the circus of King, Burke & Co. When Burke retired, W. E. Franklin became a partner and the firm took the title of King & Franklin. Franklin went ahead of the show and King managed the day to day operation until his death in London, England.

KING, BERTIE. The equestrienne wife of Charles King. Springer’s Royal Cirq-Zoolodon, 1875. See Charles King.

KING, BILLY. Concert banjo player, Great Australian, 1870.

KING BROTHERS. Acrobats, J. H. Shields’, winter 1889-90.

KING, CHARLES. 4-horse act and juggling on horseback. A pupil of Harry Whitby. Leaper, Brien’s (John V. O’Brien’s), 1863; Mrs. Dan Rice’s, 1864; Yankee Robinson’s, Chicago, fall 1866; Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1868; James E. Cooper’s, 1872; equestrian, Sells Bros.’, 1873; Montgomery Queen’s, 1874; equestrian, Springer’s Royal Cirq-Zoolodon, 1875; equestrian director, A. F. Tuttle’s, 1892; advertiser, Irwin Bros.’, 1893. Was married to equestrienne Bertie King.

KING, CHARLES. Clown, James Robinson’s, 1872; clown and Ethiopian comedian, Montgomery Queen’s, 1874, 1876; Ethiopian comedian, clown, banjoist, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1878. This may or may not be the same performer as above.

KING, DAVID L. Leaper, H. Harlan’s, 1875.

KING, DR. Showman who included elements of a circus in 1789, NYC, 28 Wall Street. On exhibition were a male and female ourang outang, a sloth, baboon, monkey, tiger, buffalo, porcupine, crocodile, swordfish, “ant bear,” lizard, and a variety of birds.

KING, FLORA [Mrs. Stirk]. Member of the Stirk Family act, sister of Minnie King, juggler and balancer.

KING, F. W. Equestrian director, the California Circus (Corey & Smith, proprietors), 1880.

KING, GEORGE. (b. April 15, 1838) Acrobat. Born in Philadelphia. Gardner & Hemmings, 1862, Polish Brothers (with W. W. Hill), 1863; Robinson & Lake, 1863-64; Gardner & Hemmings, National Hall, Philadelphia, 1865; Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, 1866; Dan Rice’s, 1866; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, 1870.

KING, HARRY [and the King family, 4 in number, r. n. Henry C. McMinn]. (1842-1882) Equestrian and gymnast. Born in Philadelphia. Consolidation Circus, 1866; Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1867; Philadelphia Circus, winter 1867-68; Gardner, Kenyon & Robinson’s, 1869; tumbler and gymnast, E. Stowe’s Northwestern, 1871; P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-73; rider, Montgomery Queen’s, 1873, 1876; equestrian director, A. B. Rothchilds & Co., 1875; equestrian director, Homer Davis’, 1879. Died of consumption in Brooklyn, age 39.

KING, HARRY. Aerialist, King & Deverne. Married Gracie Rentfrow, daughter of J. N. Rentfrow, November 28, 1895, Denver, CO.

KING, HARRY. Treasurer, Collins’ Oriental Combination, 1877.

KING, HENRY. Superintendent of the hippodrome, P. T. Barnum’s, 1875.

KING, JAMES. Clown, with F. J. Taylor’s, 1892; Gollmar Bros.’, 1893-95.

KING, JOHN. Boss animal man, John Robinson’s, 1875-80. Killed by the elephant Chief, September 27, 1880.

KING, JOHN. Boss hostler, Caldwell’s Occidental, 1867.

KING, JOHN. Clown, Orton Bros.’, 1868; second clown, M. O’Conner & Co., 1869; John Robinson’s, 1880.

KING, LIZZIE. Jesse W. Foster’s, South America, 1894.

KING, MINNIE. Juggler and balancer, sister of Mrs. Flora Stirk of the Stirk Family.

KING, MME. Bearded lady, Yankee Robinson’s, 1866.

KING, PHILLIP. Caldwell’s Occidental, 1867.

KING, R. H. Commissary and layer out, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877-79, layer out, 1880; layer out and forage agent, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.

KING, SAMUEL A. “PROF.” (1828?-November 3, 1914) Aeronaut, one of the pioneers of balloon ascensians and aeronautic exhibitions. Was present at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, 1876. Traveled with Barnum & Bailey for a year as a free act. During the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, took a woman passenger aloft, whereupon the balloon was blown out over Lake Michigan and both were given up as lost. A revenue cutter was sent to find their remains, but before the boat returned the Professor landed his balloon safely. Died in Philadelphia from heart failure, age 86.

KING, THOMAS. (1832-October 26, 1877) Leaper, rider, and manager. Born in Baltimore. Joined a circus as a boy to become one of the greatest leapers of his day. While performing in California, 1856, leaped 31’ 7½” over 9 horses. Robinson & Eldred, Boston, 1852; Rufus Welch, 1852; Meyers & Madigan, 1854-55; Welch & Lent, 1854; took a circus to the Holliday Street Theatre, Baltimore, winter 1858-59; Sloat & Shephard, 1857-59; Woodville Park, Philadelphia, summer 1860; S. P. Stickney’s, 1861; L. B. Lent’s, fall 1861; flying vaulter, Lent’s Hippozoonomadon, 1862; Gardner & Hemmings, 1862-63; Whittaker’s Amphitheatre, March 1863; Tom King’s Excelsior Circus, 1864; Mrs. Dan Rice’s, Philadelphia, 1864; Thayer & Noyes, 1865-66; a split troupe from the Thayer & Noyes organization, under the management of Dr. Thayer, which moved by steamboat along the tributaries of the Mississippi, December 1865; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1867, 1870; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, 1869; New National Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77. Married the equestrienne Virginia A. Myers, daughter of clown and showman James Myers and the former Rose Madigan, at Rhinebeck, NY, May 12, 1859, while with the Joe Pentland Circus. The two worked together throughout most of their married life. King died in Washington, DC. Virginia died on September 3, 1884.

KING, THOMAS. Calliope player, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880.

KING, VIRGINIA A. See Virginia A. Myers.

KING, WHIT. Minstrel performer, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.

KING, WILLIAM. Gymnast, Howes’, 199 Bowery, NYC, winter 1863-64.

KINGSLEY, OMAR SAMUEL [“Ella Zoyara”]. (1840?-April 3, 1879) Bareback rider. A Creole from Louisiana, who at age 7 began under the tutelage of Spencer Q. Stokes. Had a beautiful face, long dark hair, and a slender form. Story has it that during his youth he was always dressed in feminine attire and caution was taken that his playmates were only girls his own age, developing in him the manners and grace of the female sex. 1852, sailed for England with Stokes’ company for an 8 year tour of the continent. With Stokes as mentor, performed in the principal cities of Europe under the names of Ella Stokes and Ella Zoyara and in the guise of an equestrienne. It is said that while in Moscow a Russian count fell madly in love with him; men of nobility in the countries he visits flocked around him, bestowing rich gifts upon him. Created quite a stir at Cooke’s Royal Amphitheatre, Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1860, riding bareback dressed as Mlle. Ella Zoyara. The Spirit of the Times, referring to the “Zoyara question of sex,” openly chided, “If the person is a man, the humbug is a very dishonest one; if a woman, for the sake of all parties, the point should be settled.” Created another stir when in October, 1861, he and Sallie Stickney were quietly married and soon left for California and Australia. After return to USA, 1869, Kingsley procured a divorce and remarried. In later years, abandoned the female attire and took up training horses with success. Managed a circus of his own on the West Coast and was various times in partnership with John Wilson. Around 1876, took the Wilson circus to the Orient. Died of small pox in Bombay, India, age 39. Cooke’s Royal Amphitheatre, Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1860; James M. Nixon’s, 1860; S. P. Stickney’s, 1861; Stokes’, 1862-63. Participated in management, Zoyara Equirotator Circus (formerly Stokes), 1863; show collapsed within a matter of weeks and the property was disposed of at public auction in Brooklyn. Chiarini’s Circus, Havana, 1864; John Wilson’s, San Francisco, June 1864; Wilson & Zoyara’s, California, 1865; John Wilson’s, Australia and India, 1866-67; equestrian director, Leihy, Lake & Co., 1870; San Francisco Circus and Roman Hippodrome, May 1872; with his trained horse President, John Wilson’s, California, 1873; performing horses, John Wilson’s Palace Amphitheatre, San Francisco, 1874-75. [Robert Kitchen: “Zoyara’s temper tantrums were legendary and were reported by a number of observers. After all he was a star and obviously much spoiled by his mentor.”]

KINKADE [or Kincade]. Balloonist. Walt McCafferty’s Great Golden Shows, 1894; J. M. Barry’s Great American, 1894. [Orin Copple King: Kincade was advertised as making a “perilous descent to earth from an altitude of between 2,500 and 3,000 feet in a flimical (sic) looking umbrella shaped parachute.”]

KINNEY, J. Acrobat. Welch & Lent, 1856; L. B. Lent’s, 1859.

KINSLOW, JOSEPH H. Band leader, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876, 1879.

KIRALFY, IMRE. (1845 or 1848-April 28, 1919) Born in Hungary. At 4 years of age, showing vocal ability, appeared in Weber’s Preciosa. When the revolution broke out he left with his family for Italy; with the resoration of peace, toured the principal cities of Germany and began a serious study of music. At age 23, began organizing scenic pageants and, after visiting the Paris Exhibition, organized in 1868, at the request of the mayor of Brussels, a colossal public fête. The following year, accompanied his parents to the United States, where he remained for 25 years. His first spectacular production was Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days at the Academy of Music, NYC. Subsequently, devised many great spectacular stage and open-air productions, beginning with The Fall of Babylon at St. George, Staten Island, in which one thousand performers were engaged. This was followed with Nero and the Burning of Rome, with 1,500 performers on a mammoth stage, and with dazzling scenic and mechanical effects. In conjunction with P. T. Barnum, created the pictorial drama of Columbus, 1890, which was developed for the Barnum & Bailey tour, 1892. Went to London, where he presented Nero at the Olympia, 1891, and a spectacular and realistic production called Venice at the Olympia, 1892. Following year, was induced by Abbey and Grau to return to Chicago for the creation of a new scenic production for the World’s Columbian Exposition, America, at the Auditorium Theatre. [M. B. Leavitt: “It was, indeed, a magnificent production throughout, and by far the greatest attraction ever presented upon the boards of any theatre.”] The same year, returned to London, reconstructed Earl’s Court and became Director-General of the exhibition given there. 1896, followed with another pictorial series of illustrations, India, and the following year with Ceylon. Another one of a series of great productions was The Victorian Era Exhibitions, 1897; followed by Greater Britain, 1899; Woman’s International Exhibition, 1900; Military Exhibition, 1901. Was invested with the Royal Order of Leopold as Knight Commander; then became an officer of Public Instruction in France; following as British Commissioner General at the Universal Exhibition in 1906; King of Portugal made him Knight Commander of the Order Villa Vogosa. After this, created and organized the great Franco-British Exhibition at Shepherd’s Bush in London; then the Imperial International Exhibition, 1909; the Japan-British Exhibition, 1910; culminating with the Coronation Exhibition, 1912. Was a collector of rare paintings and objects of art, an active member of the Masonic Fraternity, and a grand officer of the Grand Lodge of England. In the early 1870s, married Miss Marie Graham, a lady many years his junior, which produced 5 sons and a daughter.

KIRBY, J. Acrobat, John Robinson’s, 1886-87, 1891.

KIRBY, JAMES. Clown. Born in England. Made his debut at the Royalty Theatre, London. First appeared in America with Price & Simpson, 1825; following year, was clown with Broadway Circus, NYC. Drowned in Brooklyn, NY, 1826.

KIRBY, PROF. Gymnast, known as “the great American acrobat,” appeared with his children for Welch & Mann, Philadelphia, 1847.

KIRK, BOBBIE. G. G. Grady’s, 1868.

KIRK, WILLIAM. Yankee Robinson’s, Chicago, November 1866.

KIRKHART, FRANK J. [or W. F]. Started a circus, 1893, made three stands and disbanded. Landed at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair in the middle of the season with exactly $150. In short order had $11,000, rented a piece of ground at Captive Balloon Park for $25 a day and bought a new tent, opened a 10¢ circus - a walk-through show - and within 2 weeks had 3 bands and 3 sets of performers operating from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Then acquired the Brazilian Concert Hall next to him and ran that show. Success allowed him to launch a 3-car circus, Kirkhart’s World’s Fair Circus, 1894-95. Kirkhart & Ryan, 1896.


KIRK, WILLIAM & SONS. Manufacturers of calliopes until early 1890s, when the business was taken over by Thomas J. Nichol.

KIRKWOOD, WILLIAM. Howes & Norton (formerly Robinson & Howes), 1864.

KITRIDGE, J. J. Treasurer, C. T. Ames’, 1868.

KLATZ, JOHN [or Klutze]. Juggler, John Robinson’s, 1882-84, 1887; Burr Robbins’, 1886.

KLECKER, CHARLES. Co-proprietor, Klecker & Kelly’s (formerly the Commnonwealth Circus), 1872.

KLINE, CHARLES. General performer, Baldwin, Wall & Co.’s Great Eastern, 1880.

KLINE, FRED. Ceiling walker, horizontal bars, tumbler, Cooper & Co., 1874.

KLINE, GEORGE. Antipodean feats and Polandrick ladder, Dan Rice’s Paris Pavilion, 1873.

KLINE, GEORGE W. Clown. Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80; leaper, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881, character clown, Roman standing race, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893; with educated mule, Tospy, Sells Bros.’, 1894; Milwaukee Mid-Winter Circus, Exposition Music Hall, 1894-95; Edward Shipp’s Mid-Winter Circus, Petersburg, IL, winters 1894-95, 1895-95; Howe’s London, 1896. Married Mamie Belmont, Boston, June 19, 1886, while with Adam Forepaugh’s.

KLINE, H. S. O. Wheeler’s, 1867.

KLINE, LEWIS. Gymnast. Rivers & Derious, 1864; Alex Robinson’s, 1866; (with H. W. Penny) performed on the trapeze and horizontal bars as the Delevanti Brothers, Dan Rice’s, 1868; S. P. Stickney’s, 1869; James M. Nixon’s Parisian Hippodrome and Chicago Amphitheatre, May 1872.

KLINE, MAMIE. Manège, Sells Bros.’, 1895. Married George W. Kline, Boston, June 19, 1886, while with Adam Forepaugh’s.

KLING, FRED. Beckett’s, 1881; Downie & Gallagher, 1892-93.

KLUTZE, C. Juggler, John Robinson’s, 1882-84, 1887.

KNAPP, GEORGE O. (1840-April 27, 1875) Clown and general performer. Began career as clown with Edward Eldred’s, 1834; followed by engagements with Buckley, Weeks & Co., 1835; Boston Lion Circus, 1836; Lion Theatre Circus, 1837; S. H. Nichols’, 1838-43; Thomas Taplin Cooke’s, 1838; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1842-48; Welch & Delevan, 1849; Spalding & Rogers, 1850-51; Washburn’s, 1855; Flagg & Aymar, 1856; Antonio & Carroll, 1857; Antonio & Wilder, 1858; Davis & Crosby, 1859. Around 1859, became an agent for M. B. Leavitt’s theatrical company. 1866, agent, E. S. Washburn’s hall show, Washburn’s Last Sensation, and continued in that capacity until 1872. [E. S. Washburne: “During the time he was with me his life was spotless, and the greatest tribute I can pay his memory is to say that he was an honest man.”] Last engagement, agent with Sam Cole’s North American Circus and Balloon Show, 1875. Died in St. Luke’s Hospital, NYC, as a result of cancer surgery. He left a widow and 2 children in a state of destitution.

KNAPP, HARRY A. “YANKEE.” Clown, agent. Spalding & Rogers, 1850; John Robinson’s, 1857, contracting agent for that show, 1871-72; 1876, 1879; Batcheller & Doris, 1880; Canfield, Booker & Lamont’s “Humpty Dumpty” Company, 1880-81, 1881-82; Great Interior Circus, 1882; Cory Delmay Burlesque Company, and Piper’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” Co., 1882-83; Hans’ Pavilion Show, 1883; Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1884; Robinson, French & Co., 1884-85; VanAmburgh’s, 1885; Donaldson & Rich, 1885; Shields Great Southern, 1885-86; Beckett’s Hippodrome, 1886; Holland & McMahon, 1886-87; Forepaugh & Samwell’s, 1887; John Robinson’s, 1888; Burr Robbins’, 1889; Ringling Bros.’, 1890-91; Taylor & Co., 1892; Chicago World’s Fair, 1893; Wood Bros.’, 1894. Was found dead in a chair in his room in the house of the Rough and Ready Engine Co. of Greenwich, NY, June 30, 1899, age about 55. He had been an inmate of an institution connected with this fire fighting unit.

KNAPP, HARRISON BAILEY. (d. September 14, 1895) Advertiser. VanAmburgh, Charles Reich & Bros.’, 1885; advertising director, Frank A. Robbins’, 1890. Died in NYC from Bright’s disease.

KNEELAND, F. Negro minstrel, Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace, 1859.

KNIGHT. Clown. Native of Georgia. Asa Smith’s, 1828; the Yeaman Circus, 1831.

KNIGHT, FRED. (b. September 6, 1844) Began as animal handler with the VanAmburgh Golden Menagerie, 1865. Elephant handler, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879; performing elephants, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881. Married Della Cook, dancer and bareback rider. While working at Frank Talbott’s Hippodrome, St. Louis, MO, fell and sustained a broken hip which ended his career and forced the Knights to spent all of their savings on doctor bills.

KNOLTON, DELL. Clown. O. J. Ferguson’s, 1884; W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1886.

KNOTT, DON. Contracting agent, Miles Orton’s, 1892.

KNOTT, GEORGE P. Agent. Began in the circus business, 1853, with Spalding & Rogers. Subsequently, connected with John Robinson’s, VanAmburgh & Co., Dan Rice’s, Thayer & Noyes, G. G. Grady’s, Dan Castello’s; Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby; Cooper & Bailey, and Barnum & Bailey. Manager of advertising car #1, Wallace & Anderson, 1890; Albert M. Wetter’s New Model Shows, 1893, but left the show early.

KNOUTH, FRED. Aerialist, Gollmar Bros.’, 1897.

KNOUTH, WILL. Pantomime clown, Gollmar Bros.’, 1897.

KNUPP, EDWARD C. Agent, Walter L. Main’s, 1895-96; general agent, Cole Bros.’, 1909; assistant to Wallace, Hagenbeck & Wallace, 1910.

KODAKS [3]. Brother act, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.

KOHL, C. E. Sideshow manager, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881. Formed a partnerhip with George Middleton, 1884, and opened a museum in Chicago, Clark Street near Madison. At one time Middleton and Kohl had 8 museums operating in the Midwest. In later years owned a number of Chicago theatres, including the Majestic, Olympic, Haymarket, and Chicago Opera House. Kohl and Middleton were the first to introduce continuous vaudeville to Chicago.

KOHL, EDWARD C. Asst. agent for Barnum autobiography, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873; assistant to James L. Hutchinson, privileges, VanAmburgh & Co., 1876; sideshow manager and orator, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880; concert manager, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.

KOHLAND, A. S. Director of publications, W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1886; contracting agent, Stowe Bros.’, 1889; Sells & Rentfrow, 1894; railroad contractor, Walter L. Main’s, 1896. Later, did newspaper work in Salt Lake City, UT, and Leadville and Cripple Creek, CO. Died in Cripple Creek, May 1900.

KOHN, OSCAR. Trainer of hippopotamus, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876-77.

KOPP, E. H. Solo cornetist, VanAmburgh & Co., 1877.

KOPP, F. A. Orchestra leader, VanAmburgh & Co., 1877.

KOPP, PROF. S. F. Band leader, Joe Pentland’s, 1856; Sloat & Shepard, 1857; Nixon & Co., 1860; Melville’s Australian, 1864; VanAmburgh & Co., 1868, 1874; Empire City, 1871; VanAmburgh & Co., 1877.

KOUNZE, L. Leaper, John Robinson’s, 1877-78.

KRAMER, SALLIE. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1888-89.

KRAO “The Missing Link.” Purported to have been found in the jungles of Laos by Carl Bock and developed as an attraction by Signor G. A. Farini, who for advertising purposes suggested she might be the “link” in Darwin’s theory. Advertised as having “prehensile feet, pouches, hair over most of her body and other simian characteristics.” Was for years the leading feature at the London Aquarium. Charles H. Day, offering a large advance cash guarantee through Robert Filkins, Farani’s American agent, brought her to the United States and exhibited her at the Chestnut Street Museum, Philadelphia, 1884. Following year, was with John B. Doris’. Continued to be on exhibition as late as 1917, when she was with Ringling Bros.’ side-show. Developed into a well educated woman, capable of speaking several languages. [Barry Gray: “Krao is one of the most interesting as well as highest salaried anomalies in the world.... Her good traits are many; her bad ones none.... Kind, gentle, charitable, thoroughly educated and loyal always to her friends and employers.”] John B. Doris’, 1885; Barnum & Bailey, 1906-14.

KRIGH, PHILLIP. Fat man, known as “Indiana’s 700 Pound Man.” Over 6’ tall and his weight often reached 775 pounds. Died in Stilesville, IN, August 22, 1905.

KRUZE, LOU. Juggler, John Robinson’s, 1879.


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