Circus Historical Society
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A biographical dictionary of the ninteenth century American circus
La - Le
Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout
Copyright © 2005 by William L. Slout. All rights reserved.
LA BELLA ISABELLA. Equestrienne, George F. Bailey & Co., 1859.
LA BELLE IRENE. See Mrs. Irene Woodward.
LACHELLE, FRED. Business manager, Hendry’s New London Shows, 1892.
LACOMPE BROTHERS [George, Edward, Lou]. Brother act, Harry Thayer & Co.’s, 1890.
LA CONTA. Vaulter, Pepin & Breschard, 1810-14; clown, Cayetano’s, NYC, summer 1812; Pepin & Breschard, 1813, leaped over 8 horses; rider, Langley & Co., Charleston, winter/spring 1813-14; accompanied Breschard to Savannah in the latter part of 1814; Cayetano, Cincinnati and other western cities, 1814-16, the latter year leaped over 24 men with muskets and fixed bayonets. By 1817, had disappeared from view but apparently resurfaced with Price & Simpson, 1825. Mount Pitt Circus, NYC, winter 1827-28; Brown & Co., 1836. In addition to clowning, performed a trampoline act, vaulted over men and horses, also, as advertised, a flying somersaulted over 5 horses and through a flaming balloon. In 1816, it was claimed he was leaping over 24 men with muskets and fixed bayonets.
LA COSTE, JULIE. General performer, Rivers & Derious, 1864.
LA COTON, JOHNNIE. Variety troupe, Haight & Chambers, 1867.
LADELLE, MONS. Equestrian director, Hart, France & Co., 1889.
LA FAVRE, MILLIE. Gymnast, Robbins & Colvin, 1881; John V. O’Briens, 1885..
LA FOREST, CHARLES. Equestrian. A pupil of Samuel Tatnall and later a celebrated rider, performing in the early circuses and equestrian dramas beginning in the 1820s. Price & Simpson, 1823-24; Washington Gardens, Boston, spring 1825; Lafayette Amphitheatre, NYC, 1825-26; Mount Pitt Circus, NYC, winter 1826-27, winter 1827-28; Washington Gardens, Boston, summer 1827; Handy & Welch, 1830; Boston Lion Circus, 1836; winter circus at Richmond Hill, NYC, 1837; Lion Theatre Circus, 1837; Philadelphia Circus, 1840; Hobby & Pratt, 1842; Ogden & Hobby, 1842; Charles LaForest’s Equestrian Co., 1842; Stickney & Buckley, 1844. Married singer Sophie Eberle, 1828 (singer with the Lion Theatre Circus, 1837).
LA GOROUX. Barrel performer and South American juggler, Rosston, Springer & Henderson, 1872.
LA GRANDE, MAUD. Female Sampson and slack wire performer, Washington Bros.’, 1887.
LA GRANGE, CHARLES. Whitmore, Thompson & Co., 1865.
LA GRANGE, MONS. Elephant trainer, Sands & Nathans, 1857.
LA GRANVILLE, MME. See Millie DeGranville.
LAIDLY, ROBERT. Equestrian actor, born to the tailor’s trade in Philadelphia. At maturity, was tall and muscular but was cursed with an ungraceful hump on his shoulders; gifted with a powerful set of lungs and a nack for histrionics. Rose to the position of leading hero in the horse pieces. Pepin & West, Olympic, Philadelphia, fall 1817; James West’s, 1818; the Olympic circus, Philadelphia, 1822; Simpson & Price, C Street Circus, Washington, winter 1822-23.
LAILSON, PHILIP. Rider. A Frenchman who brought a circus company to America in the 1790s with one of the finest stud of horses to be seen in this country for some time to come and a troupe of 14, including 2 women and a 5 year old child. Company landed at Newport, RI, July 1796, and opened in Boston, August 11. The splendid and well-appointed double troupe of French entertainers opened in Philadelphia, April 8, 1797. In the company were Langley, Sully, Herman, McDonald, Vandervelde, Keano, and Miss Vanice, the first female equestrienne to perform in America. Was his own principal rider and vaulter on horseback. The company began performances in Alexandria, VA, at the upper end of King Street, September 5, 1797. From there, moved to NYC, opening in a new building in Greenwich Street from December 5, 1897 to February 1, 1898, the stand being, presumably, a failure. Then returned to Philadelphia and performed from March 8, 1798, to July 8, 1798. A month later, because of bad construction, the immense dome of the building gave way and fell to the ground crushing the interior completely. Financial loss required the equipment and horses to be sold off. After performing in the USA, Lailson went to the West Indies and was last heard of, 1809, Mexico. An interesting feature of Lailson’s company was the daily parade through the streets to advertise the show, considered the first of any known street parade in America. Stuart Thayer defines it as Lailson’s main contribution to the American circus.
LAINE, J. H. (b. May 10, 1839) Agent. Born in New Brunswick, NJ. Became a member of advance brigade for Sands, Nathans & Co., 1860; connected in a similar capacity with Sands, Rivers & Derious, H. Madigan’s, Joe Pentland’s, James Nixon’s, and Stone, Rosston & Murray until 1866; in advance of Yankee Robinson’s, 1869, and assistant manager of it, 1870; subsequently, advance agent for LaRue’s Minstrels, Charley Shay’s Quincuplexal (5 seasons), Duprez & Benedict’s Minstrels, Carncross & Dixey’s Minstrels, and one or two dramatic companies. For a time, was business manager, Seventh Street Theatre, Philadelphia; treasurer for the Thirty-fourth Street Theatre, NYC; treasurer for Dean, Pell & Co.’s Circus. 1876, appointed traveling passenger agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad but resigned after a year to go in advance of Emerson’s California Minstrels under management of Haverly and Maguire. Next organized a concert and specialty company which he put on the road for a short time. 1877-79, ahead of Barlow, Wilson, Primrose & West’s Minstrels; Allen's Great Eastern, 1880.
LAINE, W. Welch & Lent, 1854.
LAIR, GEORGE. Gymnast. Claimed to be one of the original Leotard Brothers, with George Bliss and Lewis Mette. Acrobat, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880.
LAISCELLE, LYMAN. Gymnast, with Burr Robbins, 1880; Robbins & Colvin, 1881.
LAISCELLE, WILLIAM L. Gymnast, Robbins & Colvin, 1881.
LAISCELLE, VICTOR. Leaping and tumbling, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1880-81.
LAKE, AGNES [nee Mersman]. (August 23, 1826-August 22, 1907) Equestrienne, tight rope walker, showwoman. Born in Doehm, Alsace, and brought to America by her parents, 1829. While only 16, eloped with clown William T. Lake, of the Robinson & Foster Circus. Arriving at St. Louis to find that neither a clergy or justice of the peace would perform the ceremony, they continued on to New Orleans and subsequently to Lafayette, LA, where they were wedded. With her husband, performed with Rich’s for 2 years; with Rockwell & Co., 1848; Stokes’, 1849; Burgess’, 1850; followed by 7 seasons with Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace. Nixon & Kemp, Palace Gardens, Sixth Ave. and 14th St., NYC, fall 1858. 1859, “Bill” Lake went into partnership with John Robinson, a union which lasted 4 years; then took out the William Lake Circus. Fall, 1862, Agnes went to Germany and appeared in a number of continental cities in the horse drama Mazeppa. Following spring, was back with her husband’s circus, where she remained until his tragic death, 1869. Continued management under the title of Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad and Mammoth Circus until 1872. That season, was out with the Great Eastern (Dan Carpenter, R. E. J. Miles, Andrew Haight, George DeHaven, proprietors). Following, retired from the circus to operate a printing plant in Cincinnati; the venture was unsuccessful lost her her savings within a year’s time. James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok had seen a circus performance, July 31, 1871, when the show was exhibiting in Cheyenne, WY, and was “smitten” with Agnes. After having courted her for 4 years, the two were married in Cheyenne, March 5, 1876. Shortly after the wedding, Agnes went to Cincinnati to visit her parents, while Hickok went to Deadwood on business, only to be shot and killed while playing cards in a saloon. Agnes then returned to performing under the name of Lake and made a hit in the circus version of Mazeppa. 1880, retired to the home of her son-in-law in Jersey City, NJ, dying there, age 80. Was the mother of William, Jr., star equestrienne Emma Lake, and adopted daughter Alice, and mother-in-law of Gil Robinson. Said to have made a higher ascent on the wire than anyone in her day. With Spalding & Rogers, 1857, she performed an outside free-act by trundling a wheelbarrow up a wire to the peak of the tent.
LAKE, ALEXANDER. Gymnast, VanAmburgh’s, 1874.
LAKE, ALICE [Mrs. Alice Wilson]. Equestrienne. Adopted daughter of William and Agnes Lake. In addition to performing with the Lake circus, Nixon & Kemp, 1858; George W. DeHaven’s, 1861; Levi J. North’s, 1863; John Robinson’s, 1864. On December 28, 1867, fell overboard from the steamer Laura, during a trip from Mobile to New Orleans, and drowned. Her body was found 18 miles from where she fell. She had been married but a short time to 4-horse rider John Wilson.
LAKE, CHARLEY. Rider, Robinson & Lake, 1862.
LAKE, CORDELIA [or Madame Cordelia]. Equestrienne. Took the Lake name because she was trained by Bill Lake. Charles Noyes’, winter 1871-72; Great Eastern, 1872, 1872; L. B. Lent’s, 1876; Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877; Great London, 1873; Wallace & Co., 1884-85; bareback principal rider, W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1886; Sig. Sautelle’s, 1894; LaPearl’s, 1896; Ringling Bros.’, 1898. May have been the lady who was married to George Wambold. The couple were divorced, September 1884.
LAKE, EMMA LOUISE. (February 22, 1855-May 11, 1911) Equestrienne. Born in Cincinnati, OH. Daughter of William and Agnes Lake. At 17, recognized as one the great horsewomen in the world. While performing as a manège rider with John Robinson’s, met and married Gilbert Robinson, the second son of old John Robinson in Memphis, TN, November 16, 1875. [M. B. Leavitt: She “was considered one of the greatest high school riders in the country.”] While riding in Buffalo Bill’s “Congress of the Riders of the World” as the feminine star during Cody’s first visit to London, was honored by an invitation from Queen Victoria to appear at Windsor. Was a 4 year old equestrienne, Nixon & Kemp, Palace Gardens, NYC, 1858; Great Eastern, 1872-73; John Robinson’s, 1874-78, 1882, 1892; manège P. T. Barnum’s, 1879-80, 1886; manège and leaping act, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881; W. O’Dale Stevens’, 1882-83; S. H. Barrett’s, 1883-85; Gran Circo Estrellas Del Nortis, West Indies, fall 1888. Died in Morris Plains, NJ.
LAKE, ETTA. Elastic skin lady. Gregory & Co., 1886; Barnum & Bailey, 1889.
LAKE, F. Director of zoological garden, P. T. Barnum’s, 1874-75.
LAKE, LAURA. Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1867.
LAKE, NAT. Old time circus clown, retired, 1868, to his home in Pendleton, IN.
LAKE, WILLIAM THATCHER [r. n. was William Lake Thatcher]. (September 25, 1817-August 21, 1869) Showman, clown. Born in Burlington, MD. Buckley & Weeks, 1834-35; Eagle Circus/Cole & Co., 1837; Rockwell & Co., 1838; Ludlow & Smith, American Theatre, New Orleans, 1840; John Mateer’s, 1843-44; S. P. Stickney’s, 1846; Great Western, 1846; Rockwell & Co., 1847-48; Spalding, Rogers & Van Orden, 1851; Nixon & Kemp, 1858-59; Robinson & Eldred, 1859. While with Robinson & Foster, eloped with the 16 year old Agnes Mersman. See Agnes Lake. During the winter season in Mexico with Rich's, at a time of hostility between the United States and Mexico, show property was confiscated by the Mexican authorities. The Lake’s escaped with only the clothes on their backs. Then came an engagement of 11 years with Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace. Went into partnership with old John Robinson, 1859, which lasted until 1863. Following year, took out his own show and continued until 1869, when he was shot and killed on August 21 in Granby, MO, by Jake Killian, a local bully, who had tried to stay for the concert without paying. The Lakes had a son, William, Jr., a daughter, Emma, and an adopted daughter, Alice.
LALOO. (b. 1874) Double bodied boy. A fine looking high-caste Hindu, born in Oudh, India, the 2nd of 4 children. Was a big feature for museums and circuses, demanding a large salary. Had a small headless twin—with two arms and legs—attached to the lower part of his breast bone. [Barry Gray: “His sunny disposition and love of sport led him into a life of dissipation, which brought on his untimely ending.”] Was married, 1894, in Philadelphia. Died in Mexico around 1908, age 30.
LAKIER, CHARLES. Calliope player, advance car #2, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.
LA MARR, FRED. Gymnast, Alexander Robinson’s, 1875.
LAMB, JOHN. Formerly a theatrical producer who failed at the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia. Opened a circus company at the Front St. Theatre, Baltimore, 1831. Hired S. P. Stickney and his troupe of performers and operated from October 17 to December 31. Announced December 5 he had opened a riding school there during the day with Victor Pepin as manager. Business being unprofitable, turned the establishment over to Fogg & Palmer on the last day of the year. Later, proprietor of Lamb & Co.’s American Amphitheatre, winter 1839.
LAMBRIGGER, GUS. Sideshow manager, Wallace & Co., 1892.
LAMKIN, HARRY B., SR. (1849,1854, or 1856?-February 25, 1886) Ran away with M. O’Conner’s Circus, so by age 15 had already launched his career and was practicing as a bareback rider; first year listed on the O’Conner roster, 1870. Became an equilibrist, dancing barrel performer, leaper and tumbler. Mother remarried, 1856, to Rolla Shipp, making Ed Shipp Harry’s half-brother. Married Clarinda Lowande. Son Harry, Jr. was born in PA, 1879. A second son, Clarence, born, Petersburg, IL, 1884. The marriage brought a number of circus riders to his Petersburg, IL, home to winter. In need of a place to train, Lamkin built a ring barn, 1880, Petersburg, which brought more performers. Claimed, 1882, to be the originator of various balancing acts such as the Enchanted Globes, Phantom Cross, Magic Barrel and Mysterious Tables, also a 4-horse rider. Michael O’Conner & Co., 1870; John Robinson’s, 1871; clown, P. A. Older’s, 1872; leaper and tumbler, VanAmburgh & Co., 1874-77; acrobat, Great International, Offenbach Garden, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77; dancing barrel act, Theatre Comique, St. Louis, 1878; P. T. Barnum’s, winter 1878-79; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1880-81; Gilmore’s Zoo, Indianapolis, 1882; dancing barrel act, Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1883; Older, Crane & Co., 1884; Frank A. Robbins’, fall 1885. Co-proprietor, Gardner, Lamkin & Donovans American Circus Co. at the time of death. Died of yellow fever while touring in Panama during the building of the canal and was buried on Monkey Hill near Colon, Panama, age 32.
LAMKIN, HARRY, JR. (b. 1879) Son of Harry Lamkin and Clarinda Lowande. Began practicing in the ring barn, Petersburg, IL, at age 6. 1890, after developing skill as a standing rider, went into the ring for the first time. December 1893, appeared at the opening of the New Amphitheater (ring barn), Petersburg. Gollmar Bros.’, 1892; Sutton’s “Uncle Tom Cabin” Co., 1893; Andy McDonald’s, 1896; George W. Hall’s, Mexico, returning 1899; John Robinson’s, 1900-01, 1907; Great Wallace, 1902-03; Forepaugh-Sells, 1904-06; Campbell Bros.’, 1909; in Europe, 1910-16, where he closed his career. [J. D. Draper: “Harry’s statuary and posing act in 1900, while on horseback with Blanche Hilliard, was a real innovation. She did a two horse carrying act using Harry as top mounter. Old timers on the show said that it was the first instance they could remember of a lady carrying a man on her shoulders in a riding act.”] Developed into a hurdle, principal bareback somersault, and jockey rider. Was at one time married to Pearl Robinson, a niece of John F. Robinson.
LA MONDUE, FRANK. Leaper,Valkingburg’s, 1881.
LA MONT BROTHERS [Louis, Charles?]. Acrobats. With Thompson, Smith & Hawes, 1866; Whitmore & Co.’s Hippocomique, 1868; Miles Orton & Co., 1869; trapeze, Cole & Orton, 1871; Stone & Murray, 1871. Charles was principal clown, Valkingburg’s, 1881.
LA MONT FAMILY. Acrobats, John Robinson’s, 1890-93.
LAMOUR BROTHERS [Newton, William]. Horizontal bar performers, leapers and tumblers, Orton Bros.’, 1867.
LA MOYNE BROTHERS. Triple horizontal bar and balancing perch, W. R. Reynolds’, 1892.
LAMPKIN, J. [or Lamkin]. Leaper, John Robinson’s, 1869-71.
LAMPKIN, O. P. [or Lamkin]. Juggler, Hurlbert & Hunting, 1887.
LANAHAN, C. L. Hyena performer, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880.
LANCASTER, JOHN. Lowande & Hoffman, 1887; Cole’s Colossal Circus, 1893.+
LANDAUERS . Statuary posing, Ringling Bros.’, 1896.
LANDEMAN, PROF. Trainer of boxing kangaroos, Lemen Bros.’s Colossal Shows, 1893.
LANE, JOHN R. Equestrian and clown. Married to female clown, Lillie Lane. Equestrian director, G. G. Grady’s, 1869.
LANE, LILLIE. Female clown and danseuse, G. G. Grady’s, 1869. Married to equestrian and clown, John R. Lane.
LANG, MAJOR. Bermuda giant boy, Cameron’s Great Oriental, 1875.
LANGLEY. Rider. Originally from Charleston, SC. Ricketts’, Philadelphia, 1795. Performed an “Egyptian Pyramid” act and did a one-hand stand on horseback, Lailson’s, 1797-98. Formed a circus company and performed in a temporary structure in Charleston, September 1800. From there, the company went to Savannah and Augusta, GA, and back to Charleston. Shortly, quit as an entertainer and opened a riding school in that city. Retirement was short-lived because, spring 1802, appears to have been back on the road - 1812-13, since he was living in Charleston, joined Cayetano & Co. when they were there for the winter season. Again opened a circus in Charleston, Langley & Co., December 31, 1813, which continued into April. Following year, joined Pepin & Breschard in Charleston in November. This seens to be his last engagement as a circus rider. Son, William, also a performer, committed suicide, 1849.
LANGLEY, WILLIAM. Son of the above. A performer with Lailson’s Circus, but was with Sizer’s, a small outfit that traveled in the South, for most of his career. The Yeaman Circus, 1831; Frost, Husted & Co., 1836; Frost & Co., 1837; W. Gates & Co., 1838; Robinson & Foster, 1844. Cut his throat in a fit of depression, Charleston, SC, 1849.
LANGLOIS BROTHERS [Felix, Valentine]. Egyptian jugglers, hat spinners and leapers, VanAmburgh & Co., 1873-74, 1878; P. T. Barnum’s, 1879.
LANGST, HERR. Lion tamer, L. B. Lent’s, 1873.
LANGSTAFF, C. W. Hayner & Langstaff’s Pavilion, 1886. Married Ida Edger of that company, September 15, 1886.
LANGWORTHY, J. M. (1811?-May 22, 1871) Animal trainer and animal performer. VanAmburgh & Co. for 6 years in England, performing the elephant Bolivar, and continued with that concern for over 20 years. Became known as one of the best trainer and performer of animals in the country. With VanAmburgh, 1870, worked with a trained pony and a pair of comic mules and entered the cage with 4 lions and a pair of leopards. Following year, was ringmaster, G. C. Quick, 1850; ringmaster, Raymond & Co., 1852; animal tamer, 1854; New National Circus (John Tryon, proprietor), winter 1857-58; Mabie’s, Chicago, 1862; with performing dogs and monkeys, Lent’s Equescurriculum, 1863; Dan Rice’s, 1866; Adam Forepaugh’s 1867. Died of dropsy, Tecumseh, MI, age 60.
LA PEARL, HARRY. (b. 1884) Clown. Came into the business on his father’s show, J. H. LaPearl’s. 5 years old when he first appeared as a trapeze performer. Following year, did a contortion act; at 7 was a pony rider; by 12 was doing a principal bareback riding act; and at 15 did a bar act as a clown. Later, was the leading comedian with the “Reaping the Harvest” Co., which played the Chicago Opera House for 18 weeks. Clown, Barnum & Bailey, 1908-11, John Robinson’s, 1919; Campbell, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1921; King Bros.’, 1927; Russell Bros.’, 1935; moving picture, Polly of the Circus. Filled the winter seasons as a singing and dancing act in vaudeville. Was married, April 3, 1910, Madison Square Garden, to Frances Maginley, a non-professional.
LA PEARL, JAMES H. (1861-January 7, 1936) Born in Philadelphia. Owned and operated a popular medium sized circus during the 1890s. At age 15 began a 3 year apprenticeship with a Philadelphia watchmaker and jeweler and while learning that trade was also a member of the Turners, an athletic organization, where he learned the difficult feats in acro
batics and trapeze specialties. Stokes Circus, Smith’s Island, 1876. Gilmore’s Varieties and other Philadelphia amusements gained him popular favor. Was then booked over a Western circuit. Aerialist, Burr Robbins’, 1883; Parson Bros.’ Great Eastern, 1883; Porter & Wright’s, St. Louis, 1884. That fall, put out a small show playing fairs in Illinois. Conducted a watch repair and jewelry business, Chenoa and Vandalia, IL, 1885-1890. Established J. H. LaPearl’s Circus, 1891, beginning modestly and increasing in size from year to year; made final tour, 1898. Winter quartered in Crawfordsville, IN, 1891-92; in Danville, IL, 1893. Patented a motion sign, from which business he retired, 1926. Wife, Nellie, sought legal separation from him, September, 1910. Parents of Harry, circus clown, and Roy, vaudevillian. Died Kokomo, IN, age 74.
LA PEARL, KATIE [Mrs. Pearl Jones]. Bareback rider. Struck and killed by a streetcar in Indianapolis, IN, October 24, 1916, age about 50.
LA PEARL, ROY. 2-pony and bounding jockey rider with the LaPearl’s, 1890s. Son of J. H. and Nellie and brother of Harry LaPearl. Later went into vaudeville.
LA PEARL, RUBY. Statuary, LaPearl’s, 1897.
LA PETITE MARIE. See Marie Carroll.
LA PETITE TAGLIONE. Equestrienne, with Rowe & Marshall, 1857-58.
LAPHAM, S. P. Band leader, with G. G. Grady’s, 1873.
LA PIERRE, ALICE. Vocalist, character change artist, with Cooper & Co., 1874.
LA PLACE, TONY. Acrobatic and singing clown, Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, summer 1895.
LARGE, FRANK. Clown, A. F. Tuttle’s, 1893.
LA ROLE BROTHERS. Trapeze act, with Ringling Bros.’, 1890-91.
LA ROLE, CHARLES. Barrel, table, and cross act, Gollmar Bros.’, 1893.
LA ROSA BROTHERS [Frank, Eddie]. Double bar and Spanish ring act, T. K. Burk’s Circus, 1889.
LA ROSA, GEORGE W. Barrel and enchanted cross act. Sautelle Pavilion Shows, 1885; Baretta-LaRosa Circus, 1886; Col. Webb’s Overland Circus, 1887; W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1892.
LA ROSA, HARRY. Pullman, Mack & Co., 1884.
LA ROSA, MLLE. Trapeze performer. Shot and killed in Cincinnati, March 22, 1872, by James C. Davis, ringmaster for Backenstoe’s. There was some question whether or not the shooting had been accidental; however, Davis was found guiltless by the coroner’s jury and discharged. The lady was the wife of J. W. Whettony, also with the circus. She and Davis had been living together for some months. A native of Ohio, who left home around 1870, went to NYC and learned acrobatics.
LA ROSE BROTHERS [Henry, Joe]. Tumblers and leapers. Irwin Bros.’ Shows, 1887; St. Germain’s Imperial Circus, 1889, where Henry was manager; Prof. Williams’ Consolidated Railroad Shows, 1892, with Henry as equestrian director and assistant manager. There was also a Lottie LaRose, manège act and premier dancer, with the company.
LA ROUSE, W. Rider, Myers & Madigan, 1854, with his trained horse, Wild Bell, used in a bareback hurdle race.
LAROUX, ELLA. Equestrienne, L. B. Lent’s, 1858.
LA RUE, CAMILLE. Female gymnast, L. B. Lent’s, 1874.
LA RUE, JOHN. Clown, John O’Brien’s, 1883; (with William LaRue) Older, Crane & Co., 1884; Main & VanAmburgh, 1890; Sells & Gray, 1900.
LA RUE, WILLIAM, SR. [r. n. William McGrew]. (1832?-January 12, 1912) Head of the LaRue Family of performers - William, John, Willie, Leon - acrobatic, clown and hurdle acts. In his day, was a leading bareback rider. Stokes’, 1851; Robinson & Eldred, 1853; Howes, Myers & Madigan, 1854-55; Sloat & Shepherd, 1857; Frank J. Howes’, 1865; Stone, Rosston & Co., 1865-66; Orton Bros.’, 1866; later that summer, Haight & Chambers; Mike Lipman’s, winter 1866-67; French’s Oriental, 1867; Philadelphia Circus, winter 1867-68; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, winter 1868-69; equestrian director, G. G. Grady’s, 1868, 1872; bareback rider, Campbell’s, 1869; G. A. Huff & Co., 1870; Stowe’s, 1870; Great Combination Circus (William LaRue, Pete and John Conklin, George M. Kelley, proprietors), 1871; P. T. Barnum’s, 1872; hurdle rider, Baird, Howell & Co., 1874; Great Metropolitan Olympiad, 1877; California Circus, 1880; VanAmburgh & Co., 1881; John O’Brien’s, 1883; Walter L. Main’s, 1885-88; John F. Wood’s, 1889; Tony Lowande’s, Havana, winter 1893-94; general performer, Scribner & Smith, 1894; principal clown, John Robinson’s, 1910. Died in Philadelphia, age 80.
LA ROUX, ELLA. Equestrienne, L. B. Lent’s, 1858.
LA SAGE BROTHERS . Acrobats, Cooper & Co. (J. R. W. Hennessey, proprietor and manager), 1897.
LA SAILLE, CARRIE [or Laiscelle]. Equestrian, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881.
LA SAILLE, MONS. [or Laiscelle]. Acrobat, Hudson & Castello, 1881.
LA SCELLE BROTHERS [or Laiscelle, LaSaille; Leon, Fred]. Gymnasts. James W. Wilder & Co., 1873; John Wilson’s Palace Amphitheatre, San Francisco, 1874; John Robinson’s, 1876.
LA SELLE, MART. Mexican equilibrist, William O’Dale Stevens’, Park Square, Boston, 1883.
LA SALLE, VICTOR. Gymnast and leaper, Carlo Bros.’, South America, 1876;
LASSARD BROTHERS. Equilibrists, Moore Bros.’, 1887.
LA THORNE, JOHN M. [r. n. John M. Dilks]. (1823-October 20, 1903) Cannon ball, perch and slack-wire performer. Born in New Brunswick, NJ, descended from an old Revolutionary family; on his father’s side was Sir Thomas Dilks, Admiral of the British Navy. While working in a banking house, became involved with an amateur acting group, the Forrest Dramatic Association. At the same time, practiced with cannon balls, slack rope and other acts of athletic performance, laying the foundation for a successful career in this endeavor. Of his prowess, it is said that his Herculean feats were outstanding, for he “played with 32 and 40 pound cannon balls as readily as most people would with oranges.” First public performance, old Vauxhall Garden, NYC, spring 1845. Shortly, joined a circus traveling through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Then connected with Seth B. Howes’, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, doing a cannon ball act, which was a relatively new feature in the circus business and which created a sensation. Next, Rockwell & Stone, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC; then started on a starring tour that took him to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Charleston; Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1844; T. L. Vermule’s, 1845; Old Dominion, 1845 (may have been another title for the New Jersey Circus out the same season); John T. Potter’s, 1846; John Tryon’s Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1847, winter 1847-48; Victory Circus, 1847; Dan Rice’s, traveling by steamboat, visiting the towns on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, 1848; billed as “The Hercules of the Arena,” S. P. Stickney’s, New Orleans, 1849; Hercules performer, Spalding & Rogers, 1851. When Rockwell & Co., which was in New Orleans, was closed because of a cholera epidemic and sold at a sheriff’s sale, LaThorne and Sig. Luigi Germani purchased the property and opened there under canvas on Washington Square. But again, the cholera interfered, forcing the company to give up. LaThorne then rejoined Rice. Following, LaThorne and Germani tried again unsuccessfully in New Orleans; then joined the Southwestern Circus, under the management of S. Q. Stokes. The season was a bad one and LaThorne returned penniless to New Orleans. Joined Spalding & Rogers, American Theatre there, and remained with the company 6 years. During this time, combined with Henry Magilton and formed the Motley Brothers. Cincinnati, May 1853, the two performed for the first time in America “La Perche Equipoise.” Yankee Robinson’s, 1856; Dan Rice’s, Niblo’s Garden, NYC, fall 1857, and Philadelphia, February 1858, National Theatre; Eldred’s, 1858; 1860, stage manager, American Theatre, NYC, where he remained for 4 years; took a vaudeville company to New Orleans for Spalding & Bidwell, 1864, remaining about 2 years as stage manager and general director; returned, NYC, and worked at the Comique, Globe, and Metropolitan theatres. Owned the 36th St. Theatre at one time. Last managerial assignment, the Windsor in the Bowery. Resigned this position, July 4, 1873, for retirement. In latter years became totally blind. Died from pneumonia, NYC.
LATHROP, SAMUEL. (d. December 30, 1870) Clown. Born in Lexington, KY, son of a physician. Known as the “Kentucky Stump Orator.” Always dressed in black when not in the arena. One night, performed a mock wedding aboard a Mississippi steamboat for a country couple, who didn’t know it was a deception until the ceremony was finished. Hoadley, Latham, Eldred & Co., 1836-38; H. A. Woodward & Co., 1838; June, Titus & Angevine, 1841-42; Rockwell & Stone, 1843; ringmaster, John Mateer’s, 1843-44; Sands, Lent & Co., 1846-47; June, Titus & Co., 1848; R. Sands, 1849; Welch’s, Philadelphia, 1851; Sands & Chiarini, 1854; Sands & Nathans, 1855, 1859; Herr Driesbach & Co., 1857; Sands, Nathans & Co., Bowery and Broadway Circuses, 1857-58; operated the Metropolitan Circus, California, 1860; Nixon’s Amphitheatre, NYC, spring 1863; Madame Macarte’s European Circus (James M. Nixon, proprietor), 1863; Hippotheatron, NYC, winter 1863-64; National Theatre, Cincinnati, fall 1864; Haight & Chambers, 1866-67; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1867-68; International Comique and New York Circus, 1869; Alex Robinson’s, 1870. Died in NYC. Remembered for his “comical phiz” and funny sayings. A great favorite with the public. Made a large salary for his day, $75, but never saved anything. Died in NYC.
LA TORTE, MONS. See Mons. LeTort.
LA TORTE, VIOLE. Tom King’s, Washington, DC, winter 1861-62.
LAUGHLIN, DAVE C. See Dave Castello.
LAUGHLIN, JOHN HENRY. See Harry Costello.
LA VALLATIA. Levi J. North’s, 1859.
LA VAN BROTHERS [Fred, Harry, Howard Green]. Gymnasts. Began performing, 1877. Pullman & Hamilton, 1878; trapeze and horizontal bars, VanAmburgh & Co., 1879; triple horizontal bars, Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1880. Howard was injured from a fall, 1880 and retired; set up law practice in South Dakota. Fred became top mounter with the team of FrerIricks, Gloss & LaVan for the next 8 years, working in Europe, 1882-88. Harry was with S. H. Barrett’s, 1887. Reunited with his brother, Fred, for a double flying act, 1889, Ringling Bros.’; Fulford Overland Show, 1890. The two worked together until 1896, when Fred retired from performing. He died, 1897, of a kidney ailment. Harry worked with various partners and trained flyers until 1937, when he became a booking agent for aerial acts in New Orleans. Died there 1952.
LAVELLE, MME. Strong woman, Cooke’s, 1882.
LA VERNE, CHARLES. Principal clown, Gregory & Belford, 1892.
LA VERNE, CLAUDE. Clown, double somersault leaper, T. K. Burke’s, 1892.
LA VEUR, MONS. Gymnast, Whitmore & Co.’s Hippocomique, 1868.
LA VINCI, CARLOTTA. Equestrienne, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.
LAWLER, LILY. Slack-wire and juggler, Bruce L. Baldwin’s, 1894.
LAWLOR, JOHN. Clown, first appearance, Yankee Robinson’s, Chicago, 1867.
LAWRENCE, CHARLES B. Advance agent, Circus Royal and English Menagerie, 1881.
LAWRENCE, CHARLEY. Rider, S. H. Barrett’s, 1887.
LAWRENCE, D. Contortionist, also pulled against horses, Great Oriental Pavilion Show, 1877.
LAWRENCE, FRED. (1838-March 6, 1895) Press agent. Born in Newburyport, MA. After public schooling, attended the Andover Academy; after completion of studies, learned the printing trade working on his father’s Newburyport newspaper; later, published a paper of his own but was forced to give it up because of ill health. 1863, connected with the panorama Paradise Lost. Entered into the circus business as press agent for Nixon’s, 1865; United Hanlon Brothers’ Combination, 1866; 1867-70, George F. Bailey & Co.; press agent, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875, 1877; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80. Adam Forepaugh’s for some 25 years. Lawrence, in cooperation with Frank Connelly, who had been hired by Forepaugh to work with Lawrence on bill writing, were responsible for enveigling Prof. Leidy of the University of Pennsylvania to examine the Forepaugh “white elephant” and pronounce it a bonafied freak in an affidavit. [D. W. Watt: Fred was “easy going, never in a hurry and yet always had his work done ... the kind that an easy chair always looked good to ... was always a good fellow, commanding a big salary, and after the show in the evening looked up the best restaurant in the town and always had a friend with him.”] After Forepaugh’s death, Lawrence went with Barnum & Bailey. [Louis E. Cooke: “Fred Lawrence was also one of the old school of press agents, and in many respects on of the best descriptive writers in the business, as he usually confined himself to plain phraseology and covered all the details in simple language that everyone could understand.”] Died of comsumption at his home in London, NH.
LAWRENCE, HATTIE. See Lawrence Sisters.
LAWRENCE, NICHOLAS. Vaulting and leaping, D. W. Stone’s, 1878; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80.
LAWRENCE, WILLIAM. See Felix Carlo.
LAWRENCE SISTERS [Hattie, Jennie]. Gymnasts and trapeze performers. Howes’ London, 1877; D. W. Stone’s, 1878; double trapeze, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80; went to Europe, spring 1881, and successfully performed in France and Germany; returned to Europe, 1889, and turned their activities to balloon ascensions and parachute jumps. Hattie (d. December 9, 1921) was among the first women to do trapeze leaps. Began career with Kiralfy Bros. in The Black Crook. Married Nicholas Kassel. Died in Morristown, NJ, age 54.
LAWSON, FRANK P. Lion king. Was a pupil of Alviza Pierce, for whom he cleaned the dens. Was connected with James M. Nixon’s, four years with Adam Forepaugh’s, etc.
LAWSON, WILLIAM. Equestrian, leaper, ringmaster. Came to America with James West’s company, 1816; toured with Quick & Mead through the South, 1826, when, in addition to his ringmaster duties he played “Billy Button” and sang comic songs; Pepin & West, 1817; West’s, 1818-22; riding master, Olympic Circus, corner of Ninth and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia, 1823; ringmaster, Price & Simpson, 1822-25; Blanchard & West’s, Canada, 1825; Lafayette Amphitheatre, NYC, 1825-26; Quick & Mead, 1826; Samuel Parsons’, 1829. [T. Allston Brown: “He was a fine looking man. He could neither read nor write, yet he could play the part of a sailor in excellent style. His Mat Mizzen was the best ever produced on the American stage in that day. He played Joe Standfast equally well in The Turnpike Gate.”] Became a drunkard and was one of the first victims of the cholera epidemic in NYC, 1832.
LAWTON, JACK [“Happy Jack”]. (d. May 6, 1887) Dutch clown, particularly popular with Southern audiences. Began as a sideshow orator but made his first appearance as a clown with S. O. Wheeler’s; Lake’s, 1867; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1867; C. T. Ames’, 1868-70; H. W. Smith’s, winter 1869-70; James Robinson’s, 1871; G. G. Grady’s, 1871; Charles Noyes’, winter 1871-72; Cosmopolitan Circus, winter, 1871-72; Haight’s Great Southern, 1874; clown and temperence lecturer, Hamilton & Sargeant, 1878-79; John Robinson’s, 1879-80; Hayward’s, 1880; Thornton’s, 1880; established an auction house in Goldsboro, NC, 1884, but was back on the road, Pullman & Mack, 1885. His wife, Elizabeth, died that year, March 19, age 64. Lawton died while en route to join John Robinson’s, victim to an accident at a railroad crossing in Henderson, KY.
LAZELLE, FRED. Gymnast, perch and posturing. Levi J. North’s, 1863; Lake & Co., 1863-64; Gardner & Hemmings, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, winter 1865-66; (as Lazelle Brothers) Dan Rice’s, 1866; Yankee Robinson’s, 1868; the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1868-69; then Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1869; George W. DeHaven’s, 1869; Yankee Robinson’s, 1869; [with William Millson] flying trapeze, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-73; P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1874-75; [with Millson] Showles & Co. 1873.
LEACH, EUGENE B. Gymnast and vaulter. Caldwell’s Occidental, 1867; William Lake’s, 1868; Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1869; Yankee Robinson’s, 1869; Stone & Murray, 1870-72; acrobat, leaper and tumbler, John H. Murray’s, 1874-75; same, West Indies, winter 1878-79; W. C. Coup’s, 1879.
LEACH, HARVEY. Dwarf, monkey-man. Born near Long Island, with a body and arms of a well formed person and with legs but a few inches in length. First introduced to the public as an equestrian. Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839; rider, Welch & Mann, 1841; Nathan A. Howes’, 1845; later accompanied the circus to Europe, where some ingenious playwright contrived for him several dramas, notably The Gnome Fly, wherein Harvey, re-christened Signor Hervio Nano, who, encased in the costume of an enormous blue bottle, crossed the ceiling of the theatre and did other wonders. By the novelty of these dramatic effects, Leach reaped a rich harvest both in Europe and in this country, performing at the Bowery when William Dinneford had it. Some years after, Barnum happened to find the dwarf in London, ignorant of his identification (Hervio Nano was but Harvey the dwarf, Italianized), and with an habitual eye to business, introduced him to the London audience in a skin of some wild beast, and covered the walls of that city with placards: “What Is It?” Scarce a couple of days elapsed before the ingenious manager was amazed at having a correct answer to his query quite as publicly announced: ‘‘It is Harvey Leach, the dwarf, Hervio Nano.’’
LEACH, H. J. Contracting agent, Sells Bros.’, 1878.
LEAK, ANNA E. [or Leake, Mrs. Thompson]. Armless lady, giving exhibitions of sewing, embroidery, crotcheting and handwriting through the use of her feet and toes. Her handwriting with her left foot was more perfect than most people could do with their hands. P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-72; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1874; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876-78. Made two tours of Australia.
LEAMAN, MLLE. Equitation. Sands, Nathans & Co., 1855; Mabie’s, 1856-57.
LEAVENS, FRED. Contracting agent, Stowe Bros.’, 1889; for many years treasurer with W. W. Cole, also with W. C. Coup and P. T. Barnum. Died of dysentary, Mobile, AL, November 13, 1889, age about 43.
LEAVITT, JOHN. Whitmore, Thompson & Co., 1865.
LEAVITT, M. B. Ethiopian comedian and clown, Whittemore, Thompson & Co., 1865.
LEAVITT, WILLIAM and NORMA. Jugglers, equilibrist, etc. Geoge S. Cole’s, 1893; Cole & Lockwood Shows, 1894.
LEBO, JOHN C. Howes’ European, winter 1864.
LE BRUN, W. C. Strong man. Welch’s National, Philadelphia, 1843; Nathan A. Howes’, winter 1843-44; Howes & Gardner, 1844.
LECKLER, J. E. L. B. Lent’s, 1859; Robinson & Howes, 1863; Howes & Norton, 1864.
LE CLAIR, BLANCHE. Flying rings. Orrin Barber’s, 1888; Andy McDonald’s, 1892.
LE CLAIR, JENNIE. Rider, L. B. Lent’s, 1876. Perhaps Dan Rice’s, 1873.
LE CLAIR, JOHN. Clown, acrobat, antipodean feats upon bottles and chairs. Came to America with Howes & Cushing’s, 1870. As the Le Claire Brothers with partner Shedrick Smith, was connected with Howe’s European, 1871; spinning act, John H. Murray’s, 1872, 1874. Also juggler, the Parisian Circus, Operti’s Tropical Garden, Philadelphia, fall 1876; juggler, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877; gymnast, Hengler’s, England, 1879; Robinson’s, California (Frank Frost, manager), 1886; juggler, Beckett’s, 1887. Later performed on single trapeze with many of the leading circuses. Died in Cardiff, Wales.
LE CLAIR, SHED [r. n. Shedrick Smith]. (July 8, 1850-August 19, 1884) Gymnast, clown, trapeze act finishing with a flight through balloons, along with partner. Was brought to America, 1873, by John H. Murray with John LeClaire and 3 of the Leopold Brothers. D. W. Stone’s, 1878; Circo Price, Madrid, Spain, 1880. Married one of the Stuart Sisters, who were with Sheridan, Mack & Day, 1875. Died abroad in a lunatic asylum.
LE CLAIRE, ROSE. See Rose Amick.
LE CLARE, JAMES. Assistant manager and equestrian, Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875.
LE CLARE, MAGGIE. Trapeze, W. W. Cole’s, 1877.
LE CLAIRE, ROSE. See Rose Amich.
LE COUNT, WILLIAM B. Banjoist and Ethiopian comedian. Died March 1, 1874, in Brooklyn, NY, age 46.
LEE, ALBERT, and OLLIE. Aerial artists, “introducing all the leading muscular and catching tricks of the period,” Cole’s Ten Cent Show, also called Cole & Sieber’s Ten Cent Show, 1890.
LEE, AUGUSTA. Pantomimist and posturer, Spalding & Rogers, 1856.
LEE, BILLY. Clown. Pullman’s; Lee’s London Circus, 1886; Ferguson’s London Coliseum Circus, 1888; Bailey & Winan, 1890. Retired December 1906 at age 62, nearly blind.
LEE, CHARLES. Still vaulter, as well as stage and ring performer, Price & Simpson, 1823-26. Father of Mary Ann Lee. [Charles Durang: “Charley was a general favorite—a reward due to his very obliging and honest good nature.”]
LEE, CHARLES C. (July 1, 1844-January 8, 1905) Possibly the brother of H. C. Lee. Originally, a magician under the name of LaCardo. Described as being a real showman, a handsome man with a magnetic personality and full of good natured humor. Great Chicago Circus (Dutton & Smith), 1879; Silas Dutton’s, winter 1879-80; Lee & Scribner, 1884; proprietor, Charles Lee’s Great London Show, around 1886, which was sold by the sheriff at Phoenix, NY, December 12, 1896. Sidelined for the 1897 season because of illness, Lee’s ponies and his wife’s dogs were leased to Billy Clifton’s Dog and Pony show for that season; by December, 1898, Lee had been confined to his bed from a stroke for 2½ years. See Henry Charles Lee.
LEE FAMILY. It is a puzzle getting the Lees sorted out and sifting through the surrounding myths; there were so many wives and so many children. As the Lee Family troupe, H. C., wife Margaret (d. 1852), Lavater, Charles C., Eugene, and Theodore - Eugene and Theodore were apprentices—they arrived in America in 1848. Throughout the years the family furnished a number of fine riders to the profession and were well known in California. [Stuart Thayer: “The Lees introduced what we now know as a ‘perch act’ into the American circus.”] Some of the Lees were supposed to have sailed on the Brother Jonathan for Portland, OR, on July 30, 1865. The ship foundered off the Northern California coast at Crescent City, leaving few survivors. Although their names were not included on the passenger list, it has been suggested that they could have boarded before sailing and made arrangements with the purser. In all probability, his first wife and and children - Mrs. H. C., Polly, Rosa, Arthur, Charley, R. E. - came East from California with C. W. Noyes’, 1872. It was reported that the Lee Family, 8 in number, were murdered by the Apaches while on their way to Mexico through Arizona, December 1872; later, this was thought to be a false report and probably was, because the Lees, gymnasts, equestrians and jugglers, were listed with James E. Cooper’s, 1873; Campbell’s New York and Philadelphia Zoological and Equestrian Institute, 1878; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, 1879. Prior to this, Hayes Park, San Francisco, 1866; Lee & Ryland’s Cosmopolitan Circus, San Francisco, 1866; Bay View Park, San Francisco, 1866. See Henry Charles Lee.
LEE, FRANK [r. n. Francis Kelly]. (1847?-April 6, 1875) Tumbler and vaulter. Brother of Luke Rivers, was a native of Philadelphia. Lee & Marshall’s, California, 1851; Lee & Bennett’s, San Francisco, 1857; Great Eastern, 1864; Orrin Bros.’, South American, 1867-68; vaulter, San Francisco Circus and Roman Hippodrome, 1872; John Wilson’s, San Francisco, winter 1873-74. Died of consumption in San Francisco, age 28.
LEE, GUS. Clown. P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-73; L. B. Lent’s, 1874; Curtis & DeHaven’s Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877; W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1885. [Charles H. Day: “The last time I met him in Chicago he was imbibing five cent beer and, in black face, guying the swinging fairies of the first part of a female minstrel show.”]
LEE, HARRY. Member of the famous Lee Family of performers. Lee’s Alantic and Pacific Circus, California, 1871; rider, Great International Circus (James E. Cooper, James A. Bailey, Robert S. Hood, proprietors), 1874; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1875; Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877; Metropolitan Circus, Havana, winter 1878-79; posturer (with Robert Lee), Orrin Bros.’, Havana, 1879; Chiarini’s, India, 1881-82. See below.
LEE, HENRY CHARLES. (1815-September 17, 1885) Rider, showman. Born in England. Came to America, 1848; opened at the Broadway Circus, NYC, 1848-49; the group then joined Welch & Mann for a tour of the West Indies. 1851, H. C. Lee, with wife, 2 sons, and John R. Marshall, went to San Francisco, engaged the American Theatre there, and began breaking horses for equestrian dramas; 1852, Lee & Marshall got up a circus tent and opened the National Circus, Sacramento, 1853-56; co-proprietor, Lee & Bennett’s Great North American Circus, San Francisco, 1856-57; H. C. Lee’s, 1858-59; joined with G. F. Ryland, 1865, and experienced several years of success with tours of the Sandwich Islands, Mexico and Central America; director and equestrian manager, Atlantic and Pacific Circus, 1871-72; proprietor, H. C. Lee’s Great Eastern Circus, winter 1877-78; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winter 1878-79. Was equestrian director for several shows, the last being Chiarini’s in Australia, Java and India; after leaving the company, he made his way to Sydney, where he remained until his death. Another source lists his last activity, 1877, when he and George W. DeHaven tried to revive the defunct Great Eastern circus title. Was married 3 times, had several children, some of whom were equestrian performers. One of his wives died in child birth in Rangoon, Burma, 1881, while with Chiarini’s.
LEE, HERCULES S. Strong man, cannon ball performer for a circus in Philadelphia, 1848; Johnson & Co., 1852.
LEE, JACK [or Eugene]. (1835?-1889) Started in the circus business at the age 5, apprenticed to H. C. Lee. Lee & Bennett, San Francisco, 1856-57; Lee & Ryland, California, 1869; character rider, San Francisco Circus, 1872. Died in Penang, China, age 54. Had lived in Asia for nearly 18 years prior to his death. See Lee Family and Henry Charles Lee.
LEE, JAMES A. Rider, W. R. Blaisdell’s Golden State Circus, California, 1868; character rider and juggler, Crystal Palace Show, 1872; John Wilson’s, San Francisco, winter 1873-74; rider, Montgomery Queen’s, 1874-75.
LEE, JAMES WALTER. (1873-August 31, 1910) Sideshow manager. Born in Ireland, the son of Prof. John Lee, who introduced the London Ghost Show to America. Died in Easton, PA.
LEE, LAVATER THOMAS. (July 28, 1860-August 16, 1899) Born in Valparaiso, Chile. Son or brother of Henry C. Lee. Made his first appearance at age 4 with the Lee circus and became a general performer. Was part of the Lavater Lee Troupe, consisting of Mme. Lee, Augusta, Rosa, John and Steve. Traveled with all the leading circuses and performed on all continents. Robinson & Eldred, 1850; J. M. June’s, 1851; Spalding & Rogers, 1852, 1856; Howes & Cushing, United Kingdom, 1858; rider and general performer, Lee’s Circus, California, 1871; rider, Great International, 1875; somersault rider, Chiarini’s, San Francisco, 1879; principal pad act, Orrin Bros.’, Havana, 1879; Chiarini’s, India, 1881-82; bareback rider, Sells Bros.’, 1894. Vaulted over 14 horses at the Olympic Arena, England, 1842. In his later years, devoted his energies almost exclusively to equestrianism as a bareback, trick and somersault rider. Died in London, England.
LEE, MAJOR. Midget, died in Detroit, October 11, 1918. Had just opened an engagement at Armstrong’s Museum in that city.
LEE, MARY ANN. Danseuse, Bartlett & Delavan, 1841. Daughter of Charles Lee, who was a member of Price and Simpson’s company, 1823. [Charles Durang: “The winning arch smile that wreathed her features, while reclining into attitudes at the end of every strain, ever won applause and harmonized with the excellence of her very neat pas.”]
LEE, MRS. H. C. Mother of the famous Lee Family of California, died giving birth to a son in Rangoon, British Burma, while with Chiarini’s. No date given. See Lee Family and Henry Charles Lee.
LEE, PAULINE [Mrs. William E. Gorman]. (1857-September 10, 1902) Equestrienne. Daughter of H. C. Lee. Performed for her father’s circus until age 16. In early career, around 1872, billed as the only female juggler on horseback in America, standing on horse as it circled the ring, juggling 4 balls, then 7 knives, and finally spinning plates; also performed in chariot racing, driving a 5-horse team in tandem. Lee & Ryland, 1866; H. C. Lee & Co., California, 1870; C. W. Noyes’, 1870; equestrienne juggler, Atlantic and Pacific, 1871; juggler on horseback, J. Hudson’s, West Indies, 1872-73; equestrienne and juggler, Circo Espanol, Havana, winter 1874; principal rider, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876-77, leaving for Australia, November 8, 1876; Great London, 1878; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879; equestrienne and light balancer, Welch & Sands, 1880; Sells Bros.’, 1880; Great Australian, Philadelphia, winter 1881-82; Sherman & Hinman, California, 1883; Sells Bros.’, 1884-95, including the Australian tour; Wallace & Anderson, 1890. Married Paul Lehman, the clown but was divorced from him, San Francisco, September 17, 1883; then married hurdle rider, William Gorman, September 26, 1883. Last year of performing, 1896, Forepaugh-Sells, as bareback and manège rider; continued as designer and wardrobe mistress for that show. Died in Columbus, OH, age 45.
LEE, PETE. John Wilson’s Palace Amphitheatre, San Francisco, 1874.
LEE, ROBERT E. See Lee Family and Henry Charles Lee. Clown, Cooper and Bailey, 1875; Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877; posturer (with Harry Lee), Orrin Bros.’, Havana, 1879. Returned from China, October, 1892, where he had been traveling with Woodyear’s Circus.
LEE, ROSA. See Lee Family and Henry Charles Lee. Daughter of H. C. Lee. Spalding & Rogers, 1856; Lee & Ryland, California, winter, 1868-69; pony rider, Lee’s Circus, California, 1871; rider, Great International, 1874-75; H. C. Lee’s Great Eastern, winter 1877-78; Campbell’s Circus (John V. O’Brien’s), 1878; Metropolitan Circus, Havana, winter 1878-79; juggler, Orrin Bros.’, Havana, 1879; Chiarini’s, San Francisco, 1879; Barnum & Bailey, 1889; Walter L. Main’s, 1893; Rice’s, 1896; hurdle and bolting bareback rider, Apollo Circus, South America, 1897.
LEE, SAMUEL. Strong man, cannon ball. Philadelphia Circus, 1848; Crane’s, 1847, 1849; Welch’s, 1850-51; Johnson & Co., 1852; Barmore’s, 1854; Welch & Lent, 1855-56.
LEE, STEVE. Clown and posturer, with Spalding & Rogers, 1856.
LEE, THOMAS VICTOR. (d. November 21, 1931) Born on the Mississippi River just across from Hannibal, MO, at the close of the Civil War; orphaned at 10 months and reared on steamboats. Great London, 1879; P. T. Barnum’s, 1880; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1881, as well as W. C. Coup’s; Doris & Batcheller, 1882-83; featured juggler at the Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark, summer 1884; headliner at the Orpheum Theatre, New York City, 1887, as well as many others. Toured around the world with Chiarini’s as port pilot and juggler; managed Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb and Count and Baron Magli at various times; pilot and performer, Champion No. 9, French’s Sensation, Eugene Robinson’s Floating Palace, McKinney Dreamland and A. A. Beckett’s Hippodrome show-boats. Since 1916, was identified with various carnivals as an independent show owner. Married Olie Brennenstall of Fredonia, KS, 1898. Died of a heart attack at Waycross, GA, when with the Krause Greater Shows as owner-manager of the “Dinosaur” freak show.
LE FEVRE, MILLIE. Gymnast. Robbins & Colvin, 1881; Nathans & Co., 1883.
LE FLUER, JOSEPH. Somersault diver, Ringling Bros.’, 1896.
LE FORT, MONS. Rider, a Frenchman with Raymond & Waring at Cooke’s Circus, Philadelphia, 1839.
LE FOWLER, CHARLES. Clown. With Cramer’s, 1869; Haight’s Great Eastern, 1874.
LEFTWICH, R. R. Hurlburt & Leftwich (J. B. Cahoon, R. R. Leftwich, proprietors), 1890-94; Leftwich & Perry, 1895.
LEHMAN, A. Clown. H. C. Lee’s, California, 1870; Atlantic and Pacific, winter 1871-72; J. Hudson’s, West Indies, 1872-73; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winter 1878-79; Chiarini’s, San Francisco, 1879; Burr Robbins’, 1879; Chiarini’s, India, 1881-82.
LEHMAN AUGUSTUS. Spalding & Rogers, West Indies, 1863. Died of yellow fever, San Jago, West Indies, December 1863.
LEHMAN, E. H. [or W. H.]. Trick clown, leaper, tumbler. Noyes’ Crescent City, 1872; Circo Espanol, Havana, winter 1874; Howes & Cushing, 1875. This may be the same as A. Lehman.
LEHMAN, MRS. A. Equestrienne, with J. Hudson’s, West Indies, 1872-73.
LEHMAN, PAUL. Clown. Married to Pauline Lee; divorced in San Francisco, September 17, 1883.
LEIHY. Proprietor, Leihy, Lake & Co., California, 1870.
LELAND, VICTOR. Trapeze, James Robinson’s, 1871.
LELAND, GEORGE S. Landlord, St. Charles Hotel, NYC, where many of the circus people congregated in the off-season.
LELAND, MATT. Press agent. Burr Robins’, 1877, 1879; VanAmburgh & Co., 1878; Basye’s, 1879; Great St. Louis Circus, traveling on the Mississippi, winter 1879-80; supt. advertising car #1, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880; Cole’s Great New Southern (Matt Leland, William Monroe, George S. Cole, proprietors), 1881; excursion agent, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881; S. H. Barrett’s, 1885; Wallace & Co., 1886.
LEMEN BROTHERS [Frank V., Frost R., Colvin]. Proprietors, Lemen Bros. Circus. Started in the circus business as musicians with W. W. Cole’s, the closing of which, 1886, caused them to go into business for themselves, opening their 10¢ gilly circus in Clinton, IL, July 4, 1887, then growing from a 4-car to about a 20-car show. The show was closely identified with Kansas; for years it wintered in Dodson and Argentine of that state. The title, Lemen Bros.’ Shows, was changed, 1904, to Pan-American Shows. Circus was traded, 1909, to a Sioux City company for 26,000 acres of grazing land in Wyoming and a ranch in Holdt County, NE. Frank (1847-October 24, 1921), the oldest of the 3, born in Marion, IL. Connected with the circus profession for 55 years. Called “Joe Hepp” by his friends, was the administrative talent who had become a general superintendent with Cole; was a man of firm discipline and integrity who, during his career, was a capable 6, 8 and 10-horse driver, an occupation he frequently continued once he was managing his own troupe; was a lover of horses, an excellent judge of horse flesh and a shrewd trader; there was nothing around a circus he couldn’t do; frequently boasted, “Show me a lot we can’t get in on”; to back this up, carried a smaller big top for just such emergencies. Band leader, Cooper & Co., 1874. Died in Kansas City, MO, age 74. Frost R. (d. January 30, 1920) was a cornetist and band leader. Also died in Kansas City, age 65. Youngest brother, Colvin, was less involved in circus activity than the others, and subsequently was engaged in farming. Survived the brothers, lived in Springfield, MO.
LEMLY, D. Juggler, John Robinson’s, 1886.
LEMON, ED. Band leader, Ed G. Basye’s, 1878.
LE MONS, JOHN. Better known as Montana Charley, a dare devil on horseback.
LE MONSAN, PROF. Contortionist, Springer’s Royal Cirq-Zoolodon, 1875.
LENGEL, HERR ELIJAH. (d. September 15, 1880) Lion tamer. Native of Philadelphia, began as a tamer of wild beasts as early as 1848, when with Welch’s. Considered lion taming a “gift of nature” and claimed he never met a lion he couldn’t subdue. Throughout his career was wounded a number of times - the first, in the left leg in Western Pennsylvania while with the Barnum show; the second, while with S. B. Howe & Co., Augusta, GA, when he was severely bitten in the left hand, causing him to lose the use of his middle finger; the third infliction, in Little Rock, AR, by a lioness with Dan Castello’s, with 2 fingers of the right hand being mangled; the fourth, received in Madison, IN, 1868, when a lioness seized him by the right leg, sinking the teeth deep into the calf; the fifth occurred in New Orleans, 1869, when he was bitten on the left leg. Raymond’s, 1850; J. M. June’s, 1853; P. T. Barnum’s, 1854; S. B. Howes’, 1855; Driesbach, 1856; VanAmburgh & Co., 1859-60; S. B. Howes’, winter 1865-66; Dan Castello’s, 1866; director of the animal department, Haight, Chambers & Ames, 1867-68; C. T. Ames’, 1869-70; C. W. Noyes’, winter 1871-72; Great Eastern, 1872. Performed in South America and the West Indies during the last half of the 1870s. While with G. A. Courtney’s in the West Indies, he was torn to pieces by a tiger.
LENGEL, KATE. Wardrobe mistress, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80.
LE NOIR, GEORGE. Sideshow manager, Shedman Bros.’, 1894.
LENT, LAWRENCE B. New L. B. Lent & Co.’s Shows (Lawrence B. Lent & Co., proprietor), 1896.
LENT, LEWIS B. (1813-May 26, 1887) Showman. Born in Jamestown, NY (another source gives Somers, NY). Father bought, sold and leased animals and for a short time had a traveling menagerie. By the time Lewis was 21 years of age, 1834, was an agent for June, Titus & Angevine; August of that year, purchased an interest in I. R. and W. Howes’ Menagerie; as a partner of Brown & Lent, toured up and down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, making the jumps by steamboat, 1835-38; associated with June, Titus & Angevine again, 1839-42; became a partner and manager of Welch’s National Circus, 1843; following year, took Sands & Lent’s Circus to England, 1843-45, this being the first American circus to perform there; upon returning to America, the Sands & Lent partnership continued for some 10 years, until Lent withdrew; had an interested in and assisted the “Flatfoots” in managing Sands, Lent & Co.’s American Circus; VanAmburgh’s Menagerie; June, Titus & Angevine’s Menagerie and Circus, 1846-48; after spending 1849 in California, returned to manage Welch’s National Circus the following year; 1851-54, partner with P. T. Barnum’s; during the next 3 years, associated with Rufus Welch in the National Theatre and Circus, Philadelphia, Welch’s National Circus and L. B. Lent New York Circus Combined. To create a distinction between the two firms, the Welch wagons were painted vermilion and Lent’s ultramarine blue. During 1857-62, managed L. B. Lent’s National Circus; following 3 years was manager of the Equescurriculum, NYC; manager, New York Circus, Hippotheatron on East Fourteenth Street, NYC, fall and winter 1865-72; general director, L. B. Lent’s New York Circus, 1874; railroad agent, Howes & Cushing, 1875; held the same position for French’s, 1876; manager and railroad agent, VanAmburgh & Co., 1878; advance director, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879; at the end of the season, revived the New York Circus, Globe Theatre; general director, Batcheller & Doris, 1880; general agent, Robbins & Colvin, 1881; agent, Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1882. Died at his home, 264 Lexington Ave., NYC. Wife, Mary A. Lent, also died at the home, NYC. Was an all-round circus man and considered to be the best general agent and router of his day. Pioneered the use of “jaw-breaking” circus titles with his “Hippozoonomadom,” inspired by the aquisition of a hippotamus to his circus.
LENT, SAMUEL. Contracting agent, Allen’s Great Eastern, 1879.
LENT, SANFORD E. Treasurer, D. W. Stone’s, 1878; accountant, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1881.
LENTINI, FRANCESCO A. “FRANK.” (b. 1889) Sideshow curiosity, billed “The Three-Legged Wonder.” Born in Rosolini, Sicily, with an shorter third leg growing out of his hip. Used it as a stool and one of his stunts was to kick a football with it. Married a normal woman and fathered 2 boys and a girl. Professionally connected with Walter L. Main’s, Ringling-Barnum, Buffalo Bill’s, etc.
LENTON BROTHERS. Burr Robbins’, 1878; Great London, 1878; VanAmburgh & Co., 1879; Stickney’s Imperial Parisian Circus, 1880.
LENTON, LANCE. Banjoist, Cooper, Bailey & Co., Australian tour, 1877.
LENTON, THOMAS. English clown and acrobat. Spalding & Rogers, 1857-59; Chiarini’s, Havana, 1859; Nixon & Co., 1859; clown and gymnast, VanAmburgh & Co.’s southern, 1859-60. After retirement from the circus ring, managed a variety theatre in England.
LEON BROTHERS [Leon De Leon, Albert Leon]. Gymnasts, J. W. Wilder’s, 1872-1873.
LEON, DAN. Bareback rider, John Wilson’s Circus, Australia and India, 1866-67; gymnast, Howes’ Great London, 1872; Wallace & Co., 1884; John Robinson’s, 1888, 1890; jockey and trick rider, Ringling Bros., 1897.
LEON, EVA. Tight-rope performer from Adams’ Circus, England, first time in America, John H. Murray’s, 1875.
LEON, FRANK. Leaper. Gardner & Hemmings, 1862; John Robinson’s, 1872.
LEON, GEORGE. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1872.
LEON, JAMES T. [r. n. John S. Towne]. (1844?-May 9, 1896) Gymnast, head of the Leon Family, a troupe consisting of Leon, his wife Estelle, and 2 sons, Bert and Earl. Gardner & Hemmings, 1860; Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1867; Mike Lipman’s, 1869; manager and treasurer, Kelly, Leon & Wilson, 1870; P. T. Barnum’s, 1871; Beckett’s, 1881; John Robinson’s, 1883-86, 1891; Bartine’s, 1892. Last engagement with Cooper & Co., which he left on account of illness. Admitted to an insane asylum in Jackson, LA, and died there, age 52.
LEON, JESSE. Rider, Lemen Bros.’, 1892; Ringling Bros., 1894.
LEON, JOSEPH. Seven member group, Leon’s Rajade Troupe, musical burlesque, stilt act, etc., Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.
LEON, JOSEPHINE. Danseuse, J. W. Wilder’s, 1872.
LEON, LAGUN. Rider, Hudson & Castello, 1881.
LEON, MARCUS. Bareback rider, Wallace & Co., 1884.
LEON, MOLLIE. (d. March 28, 1905) Equestrienne and gymnast, a member of the Al and Mollie Leon team, trapeze artists. Great New York Show, 1880; John Robinson’s, 1886; Bartine’s, 1892. Died in Urbana, OH.
LEON, PROF. [r. n. Alfred Smith]. Risley performer with sons Edward, Alfred, and Joseph, advertised “from the Follies Berger, Paris, first time in America,” John H. Murray’s, 1875-76; John Robinson’s Circus, 1884.
LEON, T. Equestrian director, the World’s Fair Aggregation, 1892.
LEON, VICTOR. Gymnast, the Philadelphia Circus, winter 1870-71.
LEON, WILLIE. Leaper, Cooper & Jackson, 1880.
LEON, LEROY [or Leon LeRoy]. First came out dressed as a female rider under the supervision of Spencer Q. Stokes in New Orleans, 1846. He later became a hurdle rider.
LEONARD BROTHERS. W. C. Coup’s; Griffith & Allen, 1886.
LEONARD, H. W. Railroad contractor, Walter L. Main’s, 1888; Frank A. Robbins’, 1890; W. F. Kirkhart’s (W. F. Kirkhart, R. M. Harvey, proprietors), 1895.
LEONARD, NELLIE. Aerialist, trapeze and running globe performer. Joel E. Warner’s, 1876; Scribner & Clements, 1887; flying perch, Holland & Gormley, 1889; Lee’s Great London, 1893.
LEONARD, O. Buckley & Co., 1857.
LEONARD, STEPHEN B. Elephant performer, J. E. Warner & Co., 1871; advertiser, P. T. Barnum’s, 1875.
LEONARD, WALLA and ELEANOR. Acrobats, Joel E. Warner’s Circus, 1876; equestrian director (Walla), Holland & Gormley, 1889.
LEONARD, WALTER. Trapeze artist, Alexander Robinson’s, 1870.
LEONATI. English spiral bicycle ascensionist. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1882. Rode a small bicycle down a winding spiral from the top of the center pole, the spiral being only 12” wide, with nothing on the sides to keep his wheels from going off. With Adam Forepaugh, received $350 per week and all his expenses. After making a hit in the country, went back to Europe, where he demand a much greater salary than he had ever received before coming to the USA. Invested his money in a town in England, first purchasing the principal hotel; a few years later bought some ground adjoining the hotel upon which he erected a fine theatre.
LEONCHI. Performer, Leonchi’s Tribe of Indians, P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1874-75.
LEONHARDT BROTHERS. Donaldson & Rich, 1885.
LEONHART, NELLIE. Aerialist, Ringling Bros.’, 1890.
LEONI BROTHERS. Brothers act, Great Oriental Pavilion Show, 1877.
LEONTE, JUAN. Juggler, L. B. Lent’s, 1874.
LEONTINE, MME. Free act wire ascensionist, Mabie’s, 1857-58.
LEOPAR BROTHERS [John, Henry, Clifford]. Gymnasts, John H. Murray’s, 1875.
LEOPOLD AND GERALDINE. Double trapeze act, Montgomery Queen’s, 1874;
LEOPOLD & WENTWORTH. Gymnasts and triple-bar performers, Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1884.
LEOPOLD BROTHERS [John, William, Frederick]. Gymnasts. John H. Murray’s, 1873; D. F. Dunham’s European Circus, 1875; Main & Burdick, 1880; Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1884; S. H. Barrett’s, 1885; McMahon’s, 1888.
LEOPOLD, EDWARD. Equilibrist. Hamilton & Sargeant, 1877; Main & Burdick, 1880; Clement & Russell, 1888.
LEOPOLD, EUGENE. Acrobat, with Montgomery Queen’s, 1876.
LEOPOLD FAMILY [Geraldine, George, Little Gerry]. Gymnasts. Trapeze artists, Nixon’s Amphitheatre, Chicago, 1872, where their “Lulu Sensation Act” was featured - Geraldine stood erect on a low stage and through some contrivance was hurled into the air for a distance of around 20 feet and caught by Leopold who was hanging on a trapeze bar by his feet. Perhaps the same as above. Cooper, Bailey & Co., left for Australia, November 8, 1876; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, 1879; Cosmopolitan, Havana, fall 1880; W. C. Coup’s, 1881; Leon & Dockrill’s, Havana, winter 1881-82; Cantellis & Leon, Havana, winter 1882. Little Gerry, a 6 year old in 1879, was billed as La Nina del Aire.
LEOPOLD, FRANK. C. W. Kidder & Co.’s, 1893; Wheeler Bros.’ (Alson Wheeler, D. Wheeler, proprietors), 1894.
LEOPOLD, FRANK, C. Leaper, McClelland’s United Monster Shows, 1889. Killed attempting a double somersault, Appola, PA, September 13, 1889.
LEOPOLD, GEORGE and BLANCHE. Acrobats, James T. Johnson & Co., 1870; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1884.
LEOPOLD, J. S. Leaper and gymnast. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1876; Cooper, Bailey & Co., Australian tour, 1877-78, during which time threw a double somersault over the backs of 6 elephants; St. Leon’s, Australia, by August, 1878, where he was billed as “The Treble Horizontal Bar Performer of the World,” also acted as the show’s business manager for a time during 1879, after which he may have returned to America.
LEOPOLD, MINNIE. Rider, D. F. Dunham’s European, 1875.
LEOPOLD, WILLIAM. Eldest brother of the Leopold Family. Died 1888. Had not performed with the group since 1885.
LEOTARD BROTHERS [George Bliss, George Schrode, Ed Snow]. Acrobats, leapers and tumblers. Sadler’s, 1875; P. T. Barnum’s, 1877; Metropolitan Circus, Havana, winter 1878-79; brothers act, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winter 1879-80; P. T. Barnum’s, 1880; (Bliss, Schrode, and George Lair) Orrin Bros.’ Mexico, spring 1882; S. H. Barrett & Co., 1883-85. Louis Fanlan joined the group in Cuba, 1880.
LEOTARD, JULES. Aerialist. Innovator of swinging from bar to bar, which was devised at his father’s gymnasium, Toulouse, France, by practicing over a swimming pool. Made debut, November 12, 1859, Cirque Napoleon, Paris. Only USA appearance, 1868, Academy of Music, NYC. Died at age 30.
LEPONT, F. Gymnast, Whitmore & Co.’s Hippo-comique, 1868.
LERCH, ANTON. Clown, Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, spring 1883. Joined Nathans & Co. in April of the same year.
LERONA, MONS. Hurdle rider, Doris & Colvin, 1887.
LE ROUX, CHARLES. Rider. Made debut American Arena, Washington, DC, winter season 1828-29, at age 9; (Master Charles) Harrington & Buckley, 1830; cloud swing, Ducello’s United Exhibitions, 1879; gymnast, James T. Johnson & Co., 1881; Hurlburt & Hunting, 1885.
LE ROUX, JOSEPHINE. General performer, L. B. Lent’s, 1866.
LE ROY BROTHERS. Gymnasts. W. W. Cole’s, 1876.
LE ROY, DELLA. Wire equilibrist, D. S. Swadley’s, 1872.
LE ROY, EDWARD. Trapeze act, W. F. Kirkhart’s Great American, 1894.
LE ROY, FRANK G. and GRETA. LaPearl’s Winter Circus, Danville, IL, 1895-96.
LE ROY, JAMES. Hurdle rider, John Wilson’s, 1865; hurdle and bar rider, W. R. Blaisdell’s, California, 1868; 4-horse rider, Oriental Circus, 1870; San Francisco Circus and Roman Hippodrome, 1872.
LE ROY, LARR. Acrobat, John Robinson’s, 1890-92.
LE ROY, LEON. See LeRoy Leon.
LE ROY, WALTER. Lee & Bennett’s, San Francisco, 1856-57; Hinkley & Kimball, 1858; John Wilson’s, 1859-61, Australia and India, 1866-67; Cross & LeRoy’s Trans-Atlantic Circus (E. J. Cross and Walter LeRoy, proprietors), 1884; ringmaster, John B. Doris’, 1886.
LE RUE, EDWARD [r. n. Charles Edward Norberry]. (1858?-September 6, 1888) Gymnast. Began in the profession, 1868, Newark, NJ, doing trapeze and ceiling walking with partner John Hannon as the LeRue Brothers. Continued together until 1873 when LeRue teamed with Peter J. Kenyon. Following Kenyon’s retirement, joined with Frank Avery, LeRue doing clown work on the horizontal bars. In final years, taught swimming at Dexter’s Baths, NYC. Died in his 40th year.
LESLIE BROTHERS [Fred, Louis, John]. Acrobats. Smith & Baird, 1872; C. W. Noyes’, 1871-72; James E. Cooper’s, 1873-74; P. T. Barnum’s, 1875; Rothschild & Co.’s, 1876; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1878; Sells Bros.’, 1879-86. John, G. A. Courtney’s, West Indies, 1880. Fred, equestrian director, Sells Bros.’, 1885.
LESLIE, FRANK. Performing dogs, Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, 1889.
LESLIE, IRENE. Washburn & Hunting, 1884.
LESLIE, JOHN. Clown, Great International, 1874; Burr Robins’, 1877; G. A. Courtney’s, West Indies, 1880.
LESLIE, “MASTER”. Rider, William Blanchard’s, New York State and the West, 1826-28; Bernard & Page, 1829; singer and rider, Page’s, 1830; Stickles’, 1832.
LESSLEY BROTHERS [Charley, Lem]. Double trapeze, Miles Orton’s, 1865.
LESTER, DAN. Clown, Wallace & Anderson, 1890.
LESTER, EDWARD. Contortionist, with Cooper & Jackson, 1880.
LESTER, GEORGE. Gymnast, Robinson, Gardner & Kenyon, 1869; acrobat, James Robinson’s, 1870, winter 1870-71.
LESTER, WILLIAM H. (d. May 1, 1872) Contortionist. Orton & Older, 1859; Levi J. North’s, 1863; Lake & Co., 1863; Howe & Norton, 1864; Orton Bros.’, 1864-65; Gardner & Hemmings, Continental Theatre, Philadelphia, spring 1865; George F. Bailey & Co., 1866; American Circus for the Paris Exposition, 1867; (with George Kelley) trapeze and horizontal bars, French’s, 1868; L. B. Lent’s, 1868-71; G. G. Grady’s, 1872. Died of smallpox, New Orleans; had been connected with C. W. Noyes’ Crescent City Circus.
LE STRANGE, MONS. and MLLE. Human butterflies, W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1886.
LE SURDO. Contortionist, Shedman Bros.’, 1894.
LE TORT, GEORGE. Maginley & Co., 1874.
LE TORT, MONS. French rider. With Raymond & Waring, Cooke’s Circus, Philadelphia, 1839; Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1840; S. H. Nichols’, 1841; proprietor, LeTort’s French Circus, 1842; Nathan A. Howes’, winter, 1842; Welch & Mann, 1843; strong man, Rockwell & Stone, 1843-45; bareback rider, New York Champs Elysees, 1865.
LEVANT, WALTER. Leaper, Washington Bros.’, 1887.
LEVANTINE BROTHERS [Frederick, John, George]. Balancing feats, horizontal bars. Whitmore, Thompson & Co., 1865; L. B. Lent’s, 1866-67, 1869-71, 1873; Whitmore & Co.’s Hippocomique, 1868; John O’Brien’s, 1871; Montgomery Queen’s, 1875-76; D. W. Stone’s, 1878; Metropolitan Circus, Havana, winter 1878-79; Lowande & Hoffman, 1887.
LEVANTINE, FRED. Native of Maine. One of the Levantine Brothers. See above. Later changed his name to F. F. Proctor. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1878; Orrin Bros’, Havana, winter 1878-79. After retiring from performing, went into theatrical management. Began business in a small way but gradually extended his connections. Under professional name, Levantine, opened Levantine’s Theatre, Albany, NY., which was devoted to burlesque. Later, 1884, was lessee of the Theatorium, Rochester, NY. After that, formed a partnership with H. R. Jacobs in Albany and secured theatres in many of the large cities in the east, playing attractions at 10¢, 20¢ and 30¢ admission. In that way, soon controlled 25 theatres; road shows and managers were enabled to book with them for an entire season over their chain of houses. After several years Jacobs and Proctor dissolved, and, 1890 Proctor/Levantine was in control of a circuit of 12 theatres. Built the Twenty-Third St. Theatre, NYC, for legitimate attractions; this house became the first “continuous performance” theatre in the city, 1904. Opened the Pleasure Palace, 1895, and a few years later purchased it. 1900, secured the One Hundred Twenty-fifth St. Theatre, buying the entire property 2 years later. Then leased the Fifth Avenue and continued until 1906 when he made a combination with B. F. Keith, his most formidable rival in the vaudeville field. Subsequently, purchased the Leland Opera House, Albany, NY, Newark Theatre, NJ, and became lessee of a number of other theatres.
LEVANTINE, H. Press agent, VanAmburgh & Co., 1876.
LEVANTINE, WILLIAM. Aerialist and equilibrist. Died October 20, 1889, age 39.
LEVERE, LEO. (d. June 28, 1881) Leaper. Cooper’s International, 1874; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879; John Robinson’s and others. Last engagement, privileges, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton. Died in Montreal.
LEVI, ANDREW J. [or Levy]. Rider, tumbler and general performer. Apprenticed to Benjamin Brown. With J. Purdy Brown’s, 1825-29; followed by engagements with the Royal Pavilion Circus/Olympic Circus, 1830-31; Stewart’s American Amphitheatre, 1832; Fogg & Stickney, 1833; Brown & Co., 1836-37; W. Gates & Co., 1838; Mons. LeTort’s, 1842; Stickney & Buckley, 1844; Cincinnati Circus, 1845; Great Western (Stone & McCollum, proprietors), 1846-49; Johnson & Co., 1852; Levi J. North’s, 1860; Cooke & Robinson, 1861. Was said to have performed a principal riding act “with grace and finish rarely seen now-a-days.” Later in life, 1870, after his riding days ended, was noted attending the stock for Agnes Lake’s. 1882, was livng in the poor house in Sedalia, MO, and maintaining himself by fishing and trapping.
LEVI, M. Ringmaster, with Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, winter 1870-71.
LEVIS, DAVE B. Privileges, Adam Forepaugh’s, Hummill & Hamilton; partner, Reese, Levis & Dolphin, 1884. Later, produced one-night stand, brass band drama, Josh Spruceby, to great success. Became attached to the American Consular Service in Europe, ending up in Tunis as their representative.
LEVRINGTON, THOMAS. Spalding & Rogers, 1863.
LEWIS. Clown, vaulter. Joseph Cowell’s, 1824; clown, J. W. Bancker’s, 1824, 1836; J. Purdy Brown’s, 1825-29; somersaulted over 9 horses, Edward Eldred’s, 1834; A. Hunt & Co., 1838. One feats was to turn a somersault through a balloon on fire; also worked on the trampoline.
LEWIS, CHARLES. Press agent, Warner & Henderson, 1874; Ferguson’s London Coliseum Circus, 1888.
LEWIS, CHARLES. Negro minstrel, with Orton & Older’s, 1858-59; also with that company for a number of years as agent.
LEWIS, D. B. Manager, Reese, Levis & Dolphin, 1885.
LEWIS, EMMA. Wire walker and race rider, King & Franklin, 1891; Walter L. Main’s, 1892.
LEWIS, GEORGE W. Agent, D. S. Swadley’s, 1872; Burr Robbins’, 1885.
LEWIS, GEORGE. Negro minstrel, in charge of the Sable Haromists, Orton & Older, 1859.
LEWIS, JOHN. Sideshow manager, John Robinson’s, 1864.
LEWIS, JOHN “UNCLE JOHN.” (January 1, 1829-November 24, 1903) Born in Circleville, OH. Started in show business with Chapman’s, 1852. Had his own outfit, 1868, traveling on the Mississippi River. Sells Bros.’, 1895. Died in the city of his birth, age 74.
LEWIS, JOHNNY. (d. 1867) Clog and wench dancer, with Haight & Chambers. Died of cholera in St. Louis, MO.
LEWIS, JOSEPH. Contortionist, Walter L. Main’s, 1892.
LEWIS, MATTIE. Chariot racer, P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1875.
LEWIS, N. W. Agent, Whitmore & Co.’s Hippo-comique, 1868.
LEWIS, TOM. Boss hostler, Shedman Bros.’, 1894.
LEWIS, W. C. See William Murray.
LEWIS, WILLIAM. Master of horse, Howes’ Great London, 1871.
LEYDEN, J. J. Chief of paste brigade, W. C. Coup’s, 1878.
LEYDEN, MYNHEER. Strong man, pulling against horses, firing cannons from his shoulder, breaking hemp cables, with Rockwell & Stone, 1843.
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