Circus Historical Society
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A biographical dictionary of the ninteenth century American circus
Ma - Me
Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout
Copyright © 2005 by William L. Slout. All rights reserved.
MABIE BROTHERS [Edmund F., Jeremiah]. Operated E. F. & J. Mabie’s circus. Two of 11 children of Joshua and Elizabeth Gifford Mabie, born in Putnam County, NY, near the village of Patterson. Edmund F. (1810-October 26, 1867); Jeremiah “Jerry” (June 12, 1812-August 31, 1867). In their 30s before entering the circus business, 1841, when they formed a partnership with Nathan A. Howes to operate the New York Circus, sometimes advertised as the Olympic Circus. 1843, Nate Howes left the firm and Jeremiah Mabie took a year off, leaving management in the hands of S. B. Howes and E. F. Mabie; this was the year that Howes & Mabie first ventured into the western states. Fall 1846, Seth B. Howes sold out his interest; 1847, title was changed to Grand Olympic Arena and United States Circus, with Edmund was manager. The first to quarter in Wisconsin with purchase of land near Delavan, June, 1847. Jeremiah managed the company, 1849, after which the brothers spent less time traveling with the show; Pardon A. Older bought a one-third interest this year. Older became manager, 1852, the title changing for the summer season to Great United States Circus of Older & Co. Entered into a lease contract, November 1852, with the James Raymond menagerie interests and toured under title of Mabie & Co.’s United States Circus and Raymond & Co. and Driesbach & Co.’s Menageries Combined, Pardon A. Older still the manager. After July, 1853, the Raymond name was dropped from the title. Used menagerie, 1854, from Richard Sands’ circus; Older sold his third of the firm back to the Mabies this year; S. B. DeLand became the manager. Jerry Mabie took over active management in 1859, but DeLand returned, 1860. J. J. Nathans joined for the 1854 tour, at which time the involvement of the Mabies diminished; Edmund was active in Delavan, and Jeremiah spent most of his time in New York. 1858, Mabies financed or supplied the equipment for a second troupe, Mabie & Crosby’s French and American Circus; 1859, it went out as Davis & Crosby. 1861, title was E. F. & J. Mabie and J. J. Nathans Combined. Mabie’s Great Show, 1862; Mabie’s Grand Menagerie, 1863; following year marked the end of the Mabie tours. Traveled the West and South for 17 years. They were astute businessmen, close-mouthed and tight-fisted. Jeremiah retained his residence in Putnam County, NY. Neither brother was married until they were 40 years of age, both marrying wives in their teens. Edmund and his wife, Laura Buckley, had 8 children; Jeremiah and Anna Mary Field had 3. The brothers died within 2 months of each other. [Stuart Thayer: “Their public legacy lay within circus history ... and in their efforts on behalf of the village of Delavan, opening it to a period of growth and fame.”]
MABIE, MYRON. Agent, Howes & Mabie, 1841-44.
MABIE, SYLVESTER. Agent, Howes & Mabie, 1841.
MABLE FAMILY . Bicyclists, Irwin Bros.’, 1887.
MACART, WILL. S. H. Barrett’s, 1885.
MACARTE, BLANCHE. G. G. Grady’s, 1870.
MACARTE BROTHERS [3 in number]. Posturers, John B. Doris’, 1884.
MACARTE, FRED. (d. August 15, 1919) Animal trainer and performer. Born in Yarmouth, England. Mother, Mme. Marie Macarte, was of the famous Ginnett family and owned one of the largest circuses in England. Wife was Josephine Macarte. At age 4 made his debut in the Cinderella pantomime, Astley’s Amphitheatre, London. Dan Rice’s, 1870; treasurer, Macarte Sisters’ Great Parisian Circus, 1870; Howes’ London, 1876-78, one of the 3 Livingston Brothers; Orrin Bros.’, Havana, winter 1878-79; S. H. Barrett’s, 1885; Barnum & Bailey, England, 1887-88, introducing his dog and monkey act. Continued in vaudeville with animal act, but poor health forced a move to California, 1914. Last engagement, Morosco Theatre, Los Angeles, in drama Young America, with dog, Brownie, 1918. Two of his original animal tricks were the baboon property man, “Babe,” and the original bicycle monkey, “Joe.” Died at his home in Hollywood, CA .
MACARTE, JEAN. Acrobat, with Howes & Co., 1846.
MACARTE, JOSEPHINE. (d. January 4, 1927) Wife of Fred Macarte. In show business some 50 years. Part of ther time with a standard dog act in vaudeville. Died in Los Angeles, age 77. See Fred Macarte.
MACARTE, MARIE. (1826-1892) English and Parisian equestrienne. A daughter of the Ginnett circus family of Europe, came to America in 1845 with her husband John McCarthy, a gymnast. She was the earliest featured women riders. Her specialty was a scarf dance. In this, she rode as a standing rider and presented several feminine characters by clever use of a shawl. In her act, leaped over ribbons, went through paper balloons, and executed a scarf dance; also introduced a new feature to the ring, that of giving mythological scenes in addition to her riding act, which originated from Ducrow’s work in England; act was considered new and novel for the time which included broad and lofty leaps and sword combat on horseback. A newspaper described her as: “a beauteous Arabian maid, flying from the pursuit—her color changes—her eyes flash with unwonted lustre - wild with despair - goaded with madness, she clings to her true steed as her only hope. Round and round dashes the horse, the enthusiasm of the audience at its highest pitch - again the music changes, and the despairing Arab girl has been transformed into a pious nun. Now she stands before you as the lovely peasant girl of vine-encircled France, and now as the meek Circessian slave, reared in the market place - the Hindoostan shawl girl, the Spanish serora, and the Fortune-telling gypsy follow in quick succession.” After McCarthy died, St. Helens, December 2, 1864, married Dan Rhodes, veteran advertiser and manager, Marshall, TX, March 9, 1868, while connected with Lake’s. An eldest son, Edward P. Hall, died, 1895; another, Fred Macarte, was a wire and general business performer. Sands, Lent & Co., 1847; Welch & Delavan, 1847; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1847; Nixon-Macarte Circus, Washington, DC, 1863; James M. Nixon’s Alhambra, NYC, fall 1863; Hippotheatron, 14th Street, NYC, winter 1863-64; Rivers & Derious, Washington, DC, fall 1864; National Circus, Cincinnati, winter 1864-65; Frank Howes’, 1866; Palmer’s, 1866; Mike Lipman’s, winter 1866-67; Haight & Chambers, 1867; Michael O’Conner’s, 1869; Stowe & Norton, 1869; G. G. Grady’s, 1870. November 14, 1874, issue of the New York Clipper, announced she was planning to retire, NYC, and establish an equestrian and gymnastic furnishing house, where all articles could be purchased for the circus business. Later, with husband Dan Rhodes retirement was again indicated, 1878. Still listed with S. H. Barrett’s as late as 1885.
MACARTE SISTERS [Kate, Addie, Marie, Blanch]. Proprietors, Macarte Sisters’ Great Parisian Circus, 1870; G. G. Grady’s, 1870. See Marie Macarte.
MACARTHY, MARIAN. Singer, James M. Nixon’s, Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1860.
MACCOMO, MARTINO. (1839-January 11, 1871) Animal tamer. Born in Angola. As a youth assisted his father, who was a hunter and trapper. Stone & McCollum, 1855, NYC. Following, toured the United States, went to England and was engaged by William Manders, a menagerie proprietor, 1857. Traveled with that organization, billed as “The African Lion King,” until the time of his death from rheumatic fever in Sunderland, England.
MACK, ADA. See Ada Zelkika.
MACK, HARRY. General performer. Juggler, Sheldenburger’s, 1871; performing dogs, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872; ringmaster, Campbell’s, 1878; equestrian director and equilibrist, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881; equestrian director and a troupe of performing dogs, Hilliard & Main, 1883; equilibrist, Pullman, Mack & Co., 1884; dog act, Col. Giles’ Great World’s Fair, 1885; Irwin Bros.’, 1889.
MACK, JAMES. Minstrel performer, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
MACK, JOHNNY. Clown, Great European, 1865.
MACK, PERCY. English jockey, Adam Forepaugh’s, under the patronage of Watson, the equestrian. Died, New Orleans, October 24, 1881.
MACK, ROBERT. General agent, James T. Johnson & Co., 1881; contracting agent, Beckett’s, 1887.
MACK, T. F. Proprietor and sideshow manager, Pullman, Mack & Co.’s United Mastodon Shows (Pullman, Hilliard, Main and Mack, proprietors), 1884.
MACKIE, GEORGE. Agent, Frank A. Gardner’s Circo Americano, Central and South America, 1888.
MACKLEY, JOHN [r. n. Terrance J. McGannon]. (1850?-March 5, 1911) Clown, vaudevillian, comic opera performer. Served for the North in the Civil War, being present at the Appomatox Court House in Virginia when Lee surrendered to Grant. Connected with Barnum & Bailey, Robinson’s, Ringling Bros.’, and McCue’s, road manager with the latter; comedian with Ada Richmond Comic Opera Co. and end man for the Emerson Minstrels. Shortly before his death, was performing week stands with the Merrymacks. Died of pneumonia, Pittsburgh, KS, age 61.
MACOMBER, ZEBEDEE. Pioneer in the menagerie business, and a member of the Zoological Institute. Connected with Rufus Welch and Eisenhart Purdy, Macomber, Welch & Co., 1832-37. Went to Africa 3 times for the Boston Zoological Association in search of wild beasts to bring back for exhibition. Landed in Hingham, MA, with 67 specimens May 19, 1835. Proprietor, Grand Caravan, 1825-26; Macomber & Co., Gray & Macomber (one show), 1829; Macomber & Co., Macomber & Howe, Macomber & Birchard, 1830; Macomber & Co., 1831; Purdy, Welch, Macomber, to Africa July 1834; Macomber and Welch, to Africa, January 1835 to May 1835; Purdy, Welch, Macomber (owned 3/16 Boston Exhibition), 1837; Welch, Macomber & Weeks, giraffe exhibition, 1839.
MADDEN, ARCHIBALD. Clown Born in Williamsburg, NY. Lafayette Amphitheatre, NYC, 1825-28; Mount Pitt Circus, NYC, 1826-27; Price & Simpson, Washington Amphitheatre, Boston, 1828; Stewart’s, 1832; Brown’s, 1833-34; Crane & Co., 1836; Waring, Raymond & Co., 1839.
MADDEN, CHARLES. Clown. Dodge & Bartine’s Great World Varieties, 1868; Burr Robbins’, 1879; Great New York Show, 1880; Hilliard & DeMott, 1880-81; M. M. Hilliard’s, 1882; principal clown, Sells Bros.’, 1883; clown and equestrian director, Pullman, Mack & Co., 1884-85; Miles Orton’s, 1885. Abandoned the ring, 1886-87, Sells Bros.’, to spend full time as press agent for the show; also press agent and clown, Lemen Bros.’, 1894.
MADDEN, GEORGE P. (1836-January 19, 1897) Versatile performer. Started with Mabie Bros.’ as sleight of hand artist. Had Punch and Judy show, perfected magic act and doubled as sideshow barker and treasurer, also fine vocalist and actor. Buckley and Babcock’s North American; later, in partnership with John Holland in circus company venture, Holland & Madden, 1860-1865; Ben Maginley’s, 1863; Coup-Castello’s Egyptian Caravan, 1870; Older’s, 1871; P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-73; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; Great Universal Fair, 1877; also Buckley’s Hippodrome and Buckley-Colvin Circus. Came out of retirement to join Dr. George Morrison’s Coliseum Circus, 1879. Married Mary Ann Holland, daughter of John and Honora Holland. Daughter Nora was considered prettiest girl in Delavan, 1880s. She married Joseph B. McMahon. Went to Witchita following the death of his daughter and died, age 59.
MADDEN, MARY ANN. (February 20, 1847-October 31, 1895) Equestrienne. Born of English parents who were traveling in Germany. Married clown George P. Madden around 1864. Died Delavan, WI. See above.
MADDRA, JAMES T. (1812-1902) 4-horse rider. Reynolds & Maddra, 1855; Orton’s, 1857; Orton & Older, 1859.
MADDRA, WILLIS. (b. 1845) Equestrian. Principal rider, Orton & Older, 1859-60.
MADDOX, GEORGE. Clown, Barnum & Bailey, 1892.
MADIGAN BROTHERS. Gymnasts, with D. F. Dunham’s, 1875.
MADIGAN, EDWARD H. (1856?-May 23, 1893) Born in Cleveland. Began in the circus business with W. W. Cole; also connected with Adam Forepaugh’s as excursion agent for 8 years, 1880s. Married Minnie Sylvester, 1890. Died in Buffalo, NY, age 37, while manager of the Star Theatre of that city.
MADIGAN FAMILY. Equestrians, consisting of Henry P. (1815-December 15, 1862), his wife Marie, and their children Emma, Ella, Rose, Eggie, James, and Charles. Henry P., a native of Albany, NY, the patriarch of the family, was considered a daring rider. Albany Circus, February 1826; J. W. Bancker’s, traveling in NY State, 1832; French, Hobby & Co., 1835; Mammoth Eagle Circus, 1836; winter circus, Richmond Hill, NYC, 1837; Charles H. Bacon’s, 1837-38; Bacon & Derious, 1838; Thomas Taplin Cooke’s, 1838; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1839, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC; Aaron Turner & Sons’, 1842; Howes & Mabie, 1843-45; Robinson & Foster, 1844; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1846; Victory Circus, 1847; John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1847; Dan Rice’s, 1849; S. P. Stickney’s, 1849; proprietor, Stone & Madigan’s Great Southwestern, 1850; Crane & Co., 1850; scenic rider, Mabie’s, 1851; Myers & Madigan’s Railroad Circus, 1854-55. [John A. Dingess: “Whether as ringmaster, equestrian, gymnast, vaulter, pantomimist or brilliant invention, Henry P. Madigan had no superior.... His accomplishment made up an entire encyclopedia of the sports of the circle.... His disposition was one of the most amiable character and his habits excellent. A good companion and a clever fellow, James H. Madigan was every inch a gentleman.”] Wife, Marie, occasionally rode in the grand entry but otherwise seldom appeared. She died July 17, 1887. Henry died in Kingston, Jamaica. Charles performed scenic riding together with his brother, James, on trapeze, as well as vaulting, turning and spinning. E. F. & J. Mabie’s Grand Olympic Arena and United States Circus, 1851; H. P. Madigan’s, 1856; Niblo & Sloat, 1860; James M. Nixon’s, Washington, DC, fall 1862; L. B. Lent’s, Wallack’s Old Theatre, NYC, 1863; L. B. Lent’s Equiscurriculum, 1863-64, 1866; Howe & Norton, 1864; French’s, 1867; Dan Castello’s, 1868; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1869; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, 1869. Eggie (1858?-July 7, 1892), vaulter, was a principal performer with Hengler’s, Boswell’s, Cooke’s and Myers’ circuses in England; also performed on the Continent as well as in the Far East with John Wilson’s. Wife’s name was Lizzie. Eggie died in London, age 34. Ida was married in NYC to banjoist and Ethiopian comedian Andrew Collum, December 27, 1873. James was a double-somersault performer and outstanding bareback rider. One of his feats was throwing back somersaults on a running steed. At the Old Bowery, NYC, he ran from the back stage entrance, making 2 complete turns in the air before alighting, after which he immediately leaped and turned another; executed battoute leaps over 8 horses, L. B. Lent’s, November 1863; considered one of the best in the world at this. Stone & Madigan, 1850; Myers & Madigan, 1854; Howes, Myers & Madigan, 1855; Howes & Cushing, England, 1858; Niblo & Sloat, 1860; Comac’s Woods, Philadelphia, early summer, 1860; Front Street Theartre, Baltimore, early winter, 1860; Great Orion Circus, Old Bowery, NYC, 1861; L. B. Lent’s Equescurriculum, 1861-64; Howe & Norton, 1864; Gardner & Hemmings, Philadelphia, winter 1864-65; John Robinson’s, 1866; L. B. Lent’s, Hippotheatron, NYC, 1867; Dan Castello’s, 1868; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1869, where he performed double somersaults over the large elephant Romeo; pad and double-somersault rider, James Robinson’s, 1870; John Wilson’s, Far East, 1884; Ginnett’s, Dublin, 1886. Rose was the wife of Jim Myers of the Myers & Madigan Circus. Howes & Mabie, 1845; John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1846; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1846; Dan Rice’s, 1849; Crane & Co., 1850; Stone & Madigan, 1850; principal equestrienne, Myers & Madigan, 1854-55; Howes & Cushing, England, 1858. [John A. Dingess: “In her principal act performance, or what is technically called a trick act, Miss Madigan outshown all her rivals.... She appeared the perfect embodiment of all the graces, displaying her animated tableau in rapid succession as she literally flew around the arena.”] Ella was also a skilled equestrienne. [John A. Dingess: Ella “who was the very embodiment of skill and elegance, had no compeer. As a delineator of graceful equitation, she was a charming picture on horseback and her beautiful flights over objects might have been termed perfection.”] Elvira, daughter of James Madigan, was a graceful and daring rider with and attractive face and figure. She was shot and killed in Copenhagen by her titled paramour, Count Sparre.
Researcher note from Ingvar Hyleborg. Malmö, Sweden: I was requested to do some research around the Madigan family in Sweden, especially in my home town Malmö, where both John’s widow and James with family lived for a number of years when the 20th century was still young. The last sentence about the MADIGAN FAMILY says: “Elvira, daughter of James Madigan, was a graceful and daring rider with and attractive face and figure. She was shot and killed in Copenhagen by her titled paramour, Count Sparre.” This information is partly correct.
Elvira Madigan was born as Hedvig Antoinette Isabella Eleonora Jensen in 1867 in Flensburg, Germany. Hedvig was the daughter of the Danish stable master Friedrich Peter Jensen, who died about 1870 and the artist Eleonora (Laura) Cecilie Marie Olsen, born 1849 in Pojo in Finland, who died in Malmö 1918, where she settled in 1903 together with her mother. Laura met John Adalbert Madigan, born 1850, after Friedrich’s dead and married him in 1892 in Bergen, Norway. John soon found that Hedvig had the necessary conditions to become an artist, and as her stepfather (she was later adopted) gave her professional training. Around 1880 John and Laura decided to start Circus Madigan and tour Scandinavia. John and Laura’s daughter Motalia Maria was born in 1891 and died in 1892. Hedvig died in 1889 on the island of Taasinge in Denmark, where she and Sparre are buried. John died in 1897 in a hotel fire in Gävle, Sweden. Laura took over as manager until 1902, when she sold Circus Madigan to Henning Gustafsson Orlando, who had worked together with John and Laura for many years. A few years later he renamed it to Circus Orlando.
James, born in 1842 in Albany, USA, settled in Malmö in 1898 together with his wife Lovisa Charlton, born 1852 in Scotland, and their daughter Camilla Elvira Maria, born 1891 in Norrköping, Sweden. The daughter Lilly Katarina Margareta was born in 1899 in Malmö. Their son William, born in 1879 in Germany, is not traced, but their daughter Rosealty (Rose) Amanda, born 1873 in Hamburg, appears in the records of the Malmö City Archives in 1908 together with her husband Richard Bergman, born 1871 (Hedvig’s half brother, Laura is his mother) and their daughter Wiolet Cecilia, born in 1898 in Malmö. Rosealty and Richard married 1895 in Bergen, Norway and divorced in Malmö 1909. Camilla left Sweden in 1909 and James and Lovisa returned to England in 1918 together with Lilly. The last notice in James’ records says. “Departed for England, not heard of for 30 years according to information by a relative 23/5 1947." Rosealty died in Amsterdam 1958, but her daughter Wiolet returned to Malmö and died here in 1976. Some of Wiolet’s descendants are living in Sweden.
MADIGAN, ELLA. See Madigan Family.
MADIGAN, ELVIRA. See Madigan Family.
MADIGAN, HENRY P. See Madigan Family.
MADIGAN, JAMES H. See Madigan Family.
MADIGAN, JOHN. Gymnast. John Robinson’s, 1866; L. B. Lent’s, 1867; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, 1869.
MADIGAN, MARIE [Mrs. H. P. Madigan]. See Madigan Family.
MAER, JAMES. Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1867.
MAFFETT, JAMES. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1876.
MAGILL, S. A. Clown, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879.
MAGILTON, HENRY M. [or Majilton]. (1828-June 16, 1901) Gymnast and monkey impersonator. Born in Philadelphia. As a youth learned the carpentry trade. Winter, 1848, while doing gymnastic stunts on the ice, attracted the attention of several showmen with a winter circus located in the city. Became a tumbler with Aaron Turner’s, 1848-49; 1850, joined Spalding & Rogers and remained for 8 years. While with the show, became famous as the monkey in Jocko; or, The Brazilian Ape. A physical powers coupled with daring allowed him to climb all around a tent or theatre, up and down the posts, over the tiers of seats, leaping from place to place with the agility of a monkey. Of his powerful hands, it was said that he could travel the length of a joist holding his entire weight by just his thumbs and fingers. In appearance, was short and thick. Magilton and George Dunbar were with Sands, Nathans & Co., Bowery theatre, 1857-58, credited with being the first in America to do the 2-person comic feat called “Motley Brothers.” 1861, with Hiram Franklin, John Neber, John Rochette and George Dunbar, made a tour of Europe. While performing in London’s Alhambra, met with an accident which ended his career and sent him back to the United States a cripple for life. In doing a turn on the trapeze, before making his flying leap, his belt caught on the bar which delayed him from catching the other bar and he fell to the floor. The Queen sent her own physician to treat him. [John A. Dingess: The team of George Dunbar and Henry Magilton were outstanding for “uniqueness, activity and originality og their movements.”] Died from heart failure at his home in Philadelphia.
MAGINLEY, BEN. (November 18, 1832-June 3, 1888) Clown. Born in Philadephia of well-to-do parents. Left home at age 17 to join a stock company at Dr. Simpson’s Pittsburgh Theatre under the management of John Foster; later, followed Foster to Cleveland. Then moved on to Cincinnati and Baltimore theatres, the latter at the Front Street, 1856. During this period, performed in most of the major dramas of his time. At the start of the war, was stage manager and low comedian for proprietor George Rayfield of the New Memphis Theatre company, Memphis, TN. Took a farewell benefit on July 28, 1863, where, according to the Memphis Daily Bulletin, “pit, boxes, and gallery were jammed, and the lobbies were overflowing by those who had to stand.” Maginley was a popular figure with the Memphis locals. It has been written that an unsuccessful investment in an arenic venture forced his entry into the circus business. Just what that was is unclear. He may have put money into the erection of an indoor amphitheatre, for advertising of his circus admission prices implies such a structure—boxes, 75¢; family circle, 50¢; and colored gallery, 50¢. This could have been the building that opened in March of the following year for dramatic performances under the title of Olympic Amphitheatre for lessees Benjamin, Cony & Co. Maginley’s Great Circus opened on August 8, 1863. Oliver Bell had been employed to break horses for the establishment, and, within the short span of 10 days, succeeded in making ring stock out of them. Maginley, a robust, hearty man of some 240 pounds, entered the ring as clown for the first time on August 17 of that year. There is no information as to how long the circus continued in Memphis, the advertising in the Daily Bulletin having ended by August 13. Additionally, there is nothing to suggest that the company performed in any other city. In fact, Maginley may have remained within shouting distance, because he reappeared on March 14, 1864, at the New Memphis Theatre for the benefit of R. Arnold, and on the same day opened a 2-week engagement at the Olympic Amphitheatre where he performed the comic role of Timothy Toodles in Toodles. [Charles H. Day: “Ben is a jolly soul and it is worth the price of admission to hear him laugh.”] Maginley & VanVleck’s Cosmopolitan Circus opened in St. Louis, November 7, 1863. Maginley married Marie Carroll (“Marie Elise”), equestrienne adopted daughter of 2-horse rider Barney Carroll, 1864. A daughter, Viola, died March 14, 1874, at only 2 months old. Mrs. Maginley died of consumption the same year. (See Marie Carroll) Proprietor and clown, Ben Maginley’s Monitor Circus; subsequently, contracting agent and clown, George W. DeHaven’s, traveling in the South, 1865-66 (by fall the concern had been purchased by Andrew Haight and became Haight & Chambers’ United Circus); teamed with Barney Carroll in a circus venture, Maginley, Carroll & Co., 1867-68; Bailey & Co., 1870; equestrian director and clown, J. E. Warner & Co., 1871-72; manager, Great Eastern, 1873; manager and co-proprietor, John O’Brien and G. R. Spalding, Maginley & Co., 1874; co-proprietor and manager, Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; equestrian director, Howes’ Great London, 1876; equestrian director, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877. After retiring from the ring, spent several years on the stage as a character actor, performing with Lester Wallack in Rosedale, with McKee Rankin in The Danites, etc. In 1878, began starring in Deacon Cranket and A Square Man, working in those plays under the management of J. M. Hill, 1881-83; was the original Tom Blossom in May Blossom, 1884; this was followed by 2 seasons of Inshavogue. Died of heart trouble at home of his daughter, Mrs. Frank Buckle, Westchester, NY.
LORD, CHARLES. Asst. mgr, Castello & VanVleck, 1863.
MAGINLEY, ED and LOTTA. Aerialists, Bailey & Winan, 1890.
MAGINLEY, MRS. BEN. See Marie Carroll.
MAGINTY, H. General performer, with Spalding & Rogers, 1850-58.
MAGRI, COUNT. (d. November 5, 1920) Second husband of Mrs. Tom Thumb. 37” tall and weighed 55 pounds. First appeared on the Italian stage, 1865. Came to USA with his brother Ernest and later joined Barnum & Bailey. Died at a Middleboro, MA, hospital, age 71.
MAGUIRE, FRANCIS. See Frank Vaughan.
MAGUIRE, FRANK. See Ajax.
MAGUIRE, JAMES C. [or McGuire]. Clown. Bryan’s (John V. O’Brien’s), 1869; Mrs. Charles Warner’s, Philadelphia, 1869; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1870; Joel E. Warner’s, 1872; Dan Rice’s, 1872-73; Great International, 1874; Great Metropolitan Olypiad, 1877. Was shot in the arm, 1877, and had to have it amputated.
MAHOMET. Strong man of Bedouin Arabs. Carried 6 members of his troupe around the arena at once, a total of over 1,100 pounds. J. O. Howes’, 1848.
MAHEMET, ALI. (d. September 8, 1895) Acrobat. Came to America, 1881, bringing a troupe of Arabian acrobats, Adam Forepaugh’s; John B. Doris’, 1882; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, 1885; Barnum & Bailey, 1886; Thatcher, Primrose & West’s Minstrels, winter 1886-87; leading attraction, Pain’s Fireworks, Manhattan Beach, NY, summer 1887; Barnum & Bailey, 1888-89. On return of the latter circus from Europe, retired from the business. Died of consumption in Broolyn, NY, age about 56.
MAHR, CHRISTIAN. H. Buckley & Co., 1857-58.
MAIN, WALTER L. (July 13, 1854-November 29, 1950) Raised near Cleveland, OH, where he always resided. Son of circus proprietor William Main, of Main & Hilliard. Was a bill passer for the show at age 7, advance agent at 11, and at 18, 1885, with financial help from his mother, joined with Charles Phillips, a cornet player in his father’s circus, in producing a company of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. After selling his interest to Phillips, opened a variety show and played fair dates primarily in Ohio. When horse-drawn street-cars were being replaced by electric trolleys, sent his father to Cleveland to buy horses for the show, who returned with 20 of them, purchased for the sum of $200. With the stud of trolley horses, Walter Main launched his circus. In 1891, the show went to rail travel with 13 60-foot circus cars; 1892, toured with his first 3-ring show; the next year, at the peak of his circus management, had 2 rings and a center platform, with Stirk and Zeno as a feature flying return on the high wire. The show was nearly demolished in a train wreck on the Tyrone & Clearfield Railroad near Tyrone, PA, May 30, 1893, when the brakemen lost control coming down the mountain and a pile up occurred at Vail Station. It was the first section, consisting of 20 cars (6 were 60-footers, the rest 50-footers). 17 of the cars jumped the track, 6 men were killed outright and about 20 were badly injured, 60 horses were killed on impact, 20 more had to be shot, and another 50 were injured. Damage was estimated at between $100,000 and $200,000. The show was back on the road within 8 days, opening in Tyrone to big business, since sympathy of the community was great - no license, no lot fee, and the Elks Club gave the company a banquet. Writing in 1899, Main claimed that in 15 years operation he had only one losing season and that, at that time, it was the 3rd largest circus in the country, the loser being due to the train wreck on that fateful Decoration Day. An attempt was made at the end of 1899 to secure a buyer or for someone to lease the Walter L. Main Circus; however, the entire outfit was auctioned off on January 24, 1900, at the winter quarters in Geneva, OH. Always the owner, manager and router of his own show, Main sold out while still under 40 years of age and went to Europe for a rest. Claimed that ill health and his independent wealth made it feasible to unburden himself from circus management. At this time, owned 2 large farms, home in Geneva, and interests in other business ventures. In December, 1900, a dispatch stated that he had closed a contract with the American Bicycle Co. of New York City to lease the large building formerly occupied by the Geneva Cycle Co. and to occupy it for winter quarters in anticipation of returning to the road, 1901, with a 30-car circus. Later, it was announced that temperance crusader, Carrie Nation, would travel with the circus - to be featured over all other attractions, appear only 30 minutes during the day, give a 15 minute talk on temperance in the menagerie tent at both afternoon and evening performances, with a special tableaux wagon devoted to her in the street spectacle, have a quarter section of a Pullman car, a maid, and all her meals served in her private compartment, and exclusive use of the main tent every Sunday afternoon. Main did indeed take the Walter L. Main Circus on the road, 1901, and continued with it until his second retirement, 1905, when he ceased circus management with sole ownership of a 31-car railroad show, which was sold to William P. Hall. December 11, 1905, purchased the controlling interest in the First National Bank of Geneva; subsequently, bought, rented and sold circus property and obtained interest in other shows through their use of it. 1901, owned and leased the Rhoda Royal Show; 1905, owned all the horses with the Hagenbeck Show and Powers Performing Elephants that played the Hippodrome, NYC; leased a 7-car show and property, Cummings’ Wild West Exhibition, 1906; interest with the show was terminated in July, 1906, which included 80 draught horses and a troupe of performing elephants. Main had gone with the show to get it organized but eventually lost a desire to travel. October 2, 1906, the Cummings show property was nearly all destroyed by fire at the winter quarters in Geneva; many of the animals were killed; losses amounted to about $100,000, which was partially covered by insurance. It was thought that the blaze was caused by defective electric wiring. Leased property to Dan Robinson’s Circus, 1910; rented out a 3-car show and a wagon show, 1911; a “clean up sale” of show property was advertised to occur at winter quarters, January 28, 1913. Andrew Downie leased the Walter L. Main Show name, 1918, and went on the road with what was formerly Andrew Downie’s La Tena Circus, until the lease ran out, 1921. Managed stadium shows for Harry and Irving Polack, owners of the Rutherford Greater Shows and Pollack Bros.’ 20 Big Shows, 1917. Married a non-professional, Florence M. Damon, of Jefferson, Ohio, on December 31, 1887; divorced, Jefferson, May 26, 1903. Second marriage, Pittsburgh, PA, June 9, 1909, to Louise Katherine Schneider, a non-professional, the bride being 28 years old, the groom 46. [Floyd King: He had a habit of saying “‘Don’t talk show business at meals; it is bad for the digestion.’ Then he would sit down and, forgetting his rule, would launch into some circus recollection.”] Was founder of the Circus Friends of America, a fraternal organization for circus fans.
MAIN, WILLIAM. Father of Walter Main. First organized as Main & Burdick, 1879; Main & Sargeant’s International, 1881 (Main and F. W. Sargeant, proprietors). After purchasing partner’s interest, sole ownership, 1882; Hilliard & Main, 1883; co-proprietor and advance man, Pullman, Mack & Co.’s United Mastodon Shows (Pullman, Hilliard, Main and Mack, proprietors), 1884; sold out, 1885; with son Walter, 1886; co-proprietor, William Main & Co.’s New Consolidated Show (Main, Sargeant, and Clapp, proprietors), 1889; Main & Sargeant, 1890-91.
MALCOLMS. Aerialists, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.
MALLORY, BENACE. (1829-November 2, 1859) Rider. Howes & Mabie, 1845; Spalding’s, 1846-47; Welch, Delavan & Nathans, 1848; Spalding & Rogers, 1850; Robinson & Eldred, 1851. Died in Savannah, GA.
MALONE, J. Band leader, John Robinson’s, 1869-70; treasurer, Ryland’s, returning to California after about 5 years spent in South and Central America, 1878.
MANAHAN, DAN. Boss canvasman, with John Robinson’s, 1871-72.
MANCHARD, FRED. Clown, Howe’s New London, 1887.
MANCHESTER, H. E. Bill agent, G. G. Grady’s, 1869.
MANDERS, S. T. Equestrian, VanAmburgh & Co., 1881.
MANFREDI. [with his daughters] Troupe of wire-walkers. Pepin & Breschard, 1809; Cayetano & Co.; Canada, fall 1811; Cayetano’s, NYC, summer 1812.
MANKIN, GEORGE W. Light and heavy balancer, Yankee Robinson’s, 1862; Frank J. Howes’, 1865; aerialists and gymnast; Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1870; Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1871; contortionist, Burr Robbins’ & Co., 1872; tumbler, G. G. Grady’s, 1873-74.
MANKIN, HIRAM. Stowe’s Western Circus and Indian Show, 1867-68.
MANN, COL. ALVAH. (d. July 9, 1855) Co-proprietor, Welch & Mann’s New York Circus, 1841; Welch & Mann’s, 1842-43, which performed in metropolitan areas - the Park Theatre, Bowery Amphitheatre, (NYC), the Olympic Circus (Philadelphia), the Front Street Theatre (Baltimore); and Military Gardens (Brooklyn). The show was out as Welch, Mann & Delavan’s Grand Double Circus, 1844; the following year, Welch & Mann’s Mammoth National Circus. After the 1846 season, Mann left the circus business for a time; latest speculation, 1852-53, was unsuccessful. Died in NYC.
MANN, ED. Acrobat, leaper, Haight’s Great Southern, 1874.
MANN, ELLA. Albino, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
MANN, GEORGE G. General agent, McMahon’s, 1888.
MANN, H. A. General agent, Charles Lee’s, 1893.
MANN, HENRY W. Contracting agent, Frank A. Robbins’, 1885.
MANNING, BILLY. George W. DeHaven’s, 1865.
MANNING, DAN C. Talking and singing clown, Charles Bartine’s, 1892.
MANNING, JOHN “VOCALIST BILL.” (1870?-December 7, 1908) Worked with all the big shows of his time for over 20 years, including as clown, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1893; and the Barnum & Bailey show in England. Was at various times property man, canvasman, seat man, etc. Died from consumption, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bronx, NYC, age 38.
MANNING, WILLIAM E. (1834?-May 15, 1876) Born in Piqua, OH. Commenced in the minstrel profession at 17 years of age, first with the Dixey Company, 1859; afterward, with Campbell, Morris, Rumsey, Wilson and Newcomb troupes, and with the VanAmburgh, and Haight & Chambers circuses. Became an assistant manager in the Emerson, Allen & Manning Troupe, 1867; afterward the Emerson & Manning, and Manning Minstrels. As an end man, had a clear, honest eye, a face of over-healthy crimson, and a general unassuming bearing. [T. Allston Brown: “It was a curious but perfectly natural compound of simplicity, cunning, affection, dishonesty, earnestness, laziness and cowardice; all his bad qualities so manifestly the product of hard experience and sad necessity that one could not help a feeling of sympathy and liking for the worn-out, shuffling-gaited, whining-voiced old rascal.”] Died of consumption, Chicago, IL, age 42.
MANNING, WILSON. Ringmaster, with Palmer’s, 1835; Bancker & Harrington, 1835; clown, Waring and Raymond, New Orleans, winter 1837-38; rider, John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1843; Welch & Mann, 1843.
MANSFIELD, GEORGE. At one time a partner of F. F. Proctor as the Levantine Brothers. His father ran a shoe store in Boston. [M. B. Leavitt: He “for many years was great in an act with crystal pyramids.”]
MANTANO. Wild beast tamer of a pack of 11 hyenas, Howes & Sanger, 1872.
MANTLE, WILLIAM. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1871
MANTZ, JULIUS. Band leader, with Alexander Robinson’s, 1871.
MANUEL, PHILIP. Leader brass band, Orton Bros.’, 1865.
MARANATETTE, MME. Equestrienne. Famous for her skill with the Marantette high school horses. Married her manager, Col. D. H. Harris, 1895. Their travels have covered America and Europe.
MARSELLA BROTHERS. Gymnasts, New York Central Park Circus, 1877.
MARCELLUS, LIZZIE. (d. March 30, 1882) Equestrienne. Born in Schenectady, NY, where her father had a small farm. About 1866, was apprenticed to Dan Rice, when her training as a rider commenced, and she rapidly developed into a dashing and skillful rider. Made her first appearance in NYC when Dan Rice’s Paris Pavilion Circus began a season on Fourteenth Street between Second and Third Avenues on September 25. 1871 (This was a portable theatre that had been constructed in this country and taken to Paris for the use of an American circus during the Exposition, but which French authorities would not allow to be used inside the city limits.). Married Harry Cordona, 1873, but the union proving unhappy, obtained a divorce 2 years later. Married William H. Stowe, clown and leaper, 1877. P. T. Barnum’s, 1879-80; John H. Murray’s, West Indies, winter 1878-79, 1879-80; and then Orrin Bros.’, Havana, Cuba. The Stowes next joined the New Orleans Circus, which they ultimately purchased at auction and took out, a small affair traveling principally by steamboat on the Mississippi and its tributaries; until both Mr. and Mrs. Stowe, with their 2 children, lost their lives by the burning of the steamer Golden City, at Memphis, TN. Considered one of the best dressers that ever graced the arena.
MARCHAEL, WILLIAM. Posturer, performed with his son, Welch & Mann, Philadelphia, 1846.
MARCO SISTERS. Roman ladder and high wire, Moore Bros.’, 1887.
MARDELL, W. F. (d. December 27, 1908) Entered the circus business when shows consisted of only a few wagons; worked in various positions and finally elevated himself to being an advance man for Ringling Bros.’ Mardell & Co., 1884-89. Married Millie Annette, a featured bareback rider. Died in Memphis, TN.
MARIE ELISE. See Marie Carroll.
MARIETTA, MME. Equestrienne, Orton & Older, 1859.
MARIETTA SISTERS. Gymnasts, equestriennes, Cooper & Co., 1874.
MARION, DAVID. Gymnast, W. W. Cole’s, 1886.
MARION, E. C. Contortionist, Baldwin, Wll & Co.’s Great Eastern, 1880.
MARION, G. General agent, Baldwin, Wall & Co.’s Great Eastern, 1880
MARION, JULIAN. Hurdle rider, Ryland’s, returning to California after about 5 years spent in South and Central America, 1878.
MARION SISTERS. Equestriennes, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-73. First appearance in USA, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.
MARIOTINI, CAYETANO. See Cayetano.
MARKOES, LES. Acrobat, Montgomery Queen’s, 1873.
MARKOWIT, DAVE. Treasurer, with White & Markowit’s United Railroad Shows, 1889.
MARKS, FRANK. John Robinson’s, 1871.
MARKS, HIRAM. (1832?-1910) Clown. Native of Cincinnatus, NY. Began with Welch’s National Circus. Was considered expert and daring bareback rider, but at about 35 years of age fell from a horse while performing the “Drunken Sailor” act and was kicked in the knee by the animal, which rendered him unable to continue a riding career. Consequently, became a Shakespearean clown and the originator of clown acts that were imitated in the modern ring. In later years, worked as both ringmaster and clown. Children, Willie, Minnie, and Sallie, were also bareback riders. Daughter, Minnie, married Charles Robinson, one of the owners of the Robinson circus. Wife died in Cincinnati, OH, of consumption, December 9, 1866, age 28; he died in Indianapolis, IN, age 78. Dan Rice’s, 1848-49; Stone & Madigan, 1850; Great Western, 1855; Major Brown’s, 1856-57; Satterlee-Bell, 1858; ringmaster, Levi J. North’s, Chicago, 1859; Hyatt & Co., 1859; George W. DeHaven’s, 1860-62; Levi J. North’s, 1863; Lake & Co., 1863; John Robinson’s, 1865, 1871, 1873-75, 1883-93; Lipman & Stokes, a first-year organization, 1866; Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1867-68, winter 1870-71; Amphitheatre, Louisville, January 1868; principal clown, Stone & Orton, 1870; P. T. Barnum’s, 1872; equestrian director, Sells Bros.’, a first year organization, 1872; W. W. Cole’s, 1875; Burr Robins’, 1877; equestrian director, Camp’s Grand Southern, 1880; Batcheller & Doris, 1881.
MARKER, WILLIAM. Superintendent of animals, Montgomery Queen’s, 1873.
MARKS, JAMES. Orton Bros.’, 1865.
MARKS, JOHNNY. George W. DeHaven’s, 1860.
MARKS, JOSEPHINE. Equestrienne. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1886; John Robinson’s, 1888-89; Ringling Bros.’, 1892; LaPearl’s, winter 1894-95.
MARKS, MINNIE. (d. January 16, 1886) Equestrienne. After being trained by her father, Hiram Marks, made her debut as a pad rider on Mike Lipman's, 1866, age 6. Dan Castello's, 1867; touted as "the child wonder on horseback," Stowe & Orton, 1870; Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1870; Lake's Hippo-Olympiad, winter 1870-71; began performing as a bareback rider, John Robinson's, 1871; Sells Bros.', 1872; principal rider, P. T. Bamum's, 1872; W. W. Cole's, 1875; Burr Robbins', 1877. Married Charles M. Robinson, October 20, 1879, and continued with the Robinsons until her death.
MARKS, ROBERT. Son of Hiram Marks, bareback rider, Batcheller & Doris, 1881.
MARKS, SALLIE. (d. August 29, 1891) Equestrienne. Youngest daughter of Hiram Marks. John Robinson's, 1874, 1877-79, 1887; principal rider, E. N. Camp's Grand Southern, 1880; principal equestrienne, Batcheller & Doris, 1881; John B. Doris', 1883-86; Frank A. Gardner's Circo Americana, Central and South America, C. W. Kidder & Co.'s, 1893. Married rider Willie Showles at Boonsville, MO, September 27, 1883 (the couple were with John B. Doris'); divorced from him, July 1, 1887. Was announced that she was to marry Ed Zeigler, master of transportation, September 1, 1887. Marks, Willie. Leaper and rider. Son of Hiram Marks. George W. DeHaven's, 1860; John Robinson's, 1873-74, 1876-78, 1883-85, 1887-89; Burr Robbins', 1877; Adam Forepaugh's, 1886; Ringling
Bros.', 1892, 1899; LaPearl's, winter 1894; Sig. Sautelle's, 1897; Shipp's Winter Circus, Petersburg, IL, 1898-99; Shipp & Collins, winter 1899-1900; Gollmar Bros.', 1905. While with John Robinson's, married Josie Morton, a non-professional, June 30, 1884, at Franklin, OH.
MARKS, WILLIE. Leaper and rider. Son of Hiram Marks. George W. DeHaven’s, 1860; John Robinson’s, 1873-74, 1876-78, 1883-85, 1887-89; Burr Robbins’, 1877; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1886; Ringling Bros.’, 1892, 1899; LaPearl’s, winter 1894; Sig. Sautelle’s, 1897; Shipp’s Winter Circus, Petersburg, IL, 1898-99; Shipp & Collins, winter 1899-1900; Gollmar Bros.’, 1905. While with John Robinson’s, married Josie Morton, a non-professional, June 30, 1884, at Franklin, OH.
MARLETTA BROTHERS. C. W. Kidder & Co.'s, 1893.
MARQUEZ, ANTONIO. Brazilian rider. With Spalding & Rogers, 1864; European Circus, 1869; Burr Robbins',
MARR, RODNEY. Press agent, Frank A. Robbins', 1890.
MARRETTA SISTERS [or Marrietta; Millie, Rosalie]. Gymnasts, flying trapeze with somersaults and a variety of leaps, also single balancing trapeze acts. Stowe & Orton, 1870, said to be the youngest double trapeze act of the day, also did an outside ascension and the “Niagara leap”; Cole & Orton, 1871-72; Burr Robbins’, 1877; John Robinson’s, 1884; Sells Bros.’, 1885; Frank Huffman’s, 1886; Howe’s New London, 1887; Lemen Bros.’, 1891-92; LaPearl’s, 1892. Millie (November 29, 1856-March 2, 1902), born in California, MO. Entered the profession, 1869, G. G. Grady’s. While in New Orleans, 1896, met with an accident which ended her career; died there as a result of surgery. Rose performed balancing trapeze, Martinho Lowande’s Brazilian Circus, winter 1899-1900; John Robinson, 1905; Sun Bros.’, 1910.
MARRIETTA SISTERS. See above.
MARRITUS, CHARLES. Walter L. Main’s, 1888.
MARROW, ELLA. Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1882.
MARSDEN, F. C. Excursion agent, Sells Bros.’, 1881.
MARSH, JOHN H. (1839?-June 7, 1881) Cornet player and band leader. Connected with various circuses including the European, R. Sands’, and Bailey’s; later years, led a band in the White Mountains. His wife, Fanny Archer, was a well known variety performer. Marsh died at his home in Woodstock, VT, age 42.
MARSHALL, ALF. R. Agent, James M. French’s, 1867.
MARSHALL, GEORGE. Acrobat, Sadler’s, 1875.
MARSHALL, JOHN. Musical director, F. J. Taylor’s, 1891.
MARSHALL, JOHN R. Lee & Marshall, 1852-56; co-proprietor (with John A. Rowe), Rowe & Marshall’s American Circus, 1858, which toured Australia and parts east; treasurer, Lee & Ryland’s Hippodrome, San Francisco, 1866. Later, managed hall shows and was advertiser with Leihy, Lake & Co., California, 1870.
MARSHALL, L. Acrobat, John Robinson’s, 1885.
MARSHALL, TOM. Clown with Dan Rice’s at one time. Died in Cincinnati, OH, 1903, at over 80 years of age.
MARTELL FAMILY [Harry & family]. Cyclistists on the high-wire. W. W. Cole’s, 1883; proprietors, Martell & Co., 1883-84; Martell, Phalon & Co., 1885; John B. Doris’, 1886 (little Hattie rode a mite size bike at this time); S. H. Barrett’s, 1887. Harry Martell, with his 1884 show, laid claim to making the longest jump on record that year: the company was organized in Neosho Falls, KS, with plans to open on April 27; when heavy rains mired their travel, contracting agent, Sam Lent, made arrangements with the Missouri Pacific Railroad and on May 3 the 32 people circus left Burlington, KS, on its way to Afton, NY, arriving on the 5th, a distance of 1,256 miles. But the show folded in mid-season.
MARTELL, JEAN. Monkey man, billed as the Cynocephalus. “Standing upright upon a running horse he leaps objects, bounds over obstacles, executes the manual of arms, and absolutely fires off a gun.” James M. French’s, 1869-70; L. B. Lent’s, 1871. “Captured in Zanzibar, Africa. The Cynocephalus can actually perform feats which would be a natural impossibility for any human rider to achieve.” With John O’Brien’s, 1871; W. W. Cole’s, 1871; L. B. Lent’s, 1871; Mongomery Queen’s, 1875. Question: were the Cynocephalae listed with the 3 circuses in 1871 performed by Jean Martell? Or was Jean Martell merely the instructor for others performing the act?
MARTELLA BROTHERS. Gymnasts, Holland, Bowman & McLaughlin, 1890.
MARTENI. Slack wire, R. Sands’, 1861.
MARTIN, AGRIPPA D. Animal handler, and keeper of the famous elephant, Hannibal. Raymond & Weeks, 1834; S. Butler & Co., 1834; Zoological Institute, Philadelphia, 1835; equestrian director, Eagle Circus/Cole & Co., 1837. Remembered for his rescuing the elephant Tippo Sultan from tigers that escaped their cages in NYC, 1826. Daughter, Helen, was married to Dr. James L. Thayer, April 3, 1860.
MARTIN, B. Agent, VaAmburgh & Co., 1874.
MARTIN, HENRI. (1793-1882) Lion tamer. Considered to be the first in circus history to enter a cage with a wild beast, which occurred, 1819, in Nuremburg. A French rider out of work, Martin enter a cage with a 4 year old tiger, where he remained but a few minutes and returned without injury. Eventually taught the tiger, Atir, to sit up and lie down and other simple tricks. Died after 40 years in retirement, age 90.
MARTIN, JAMES & SON. Manufacturer of circus and side show canvases, 110-114 Commercial Street, Boston, MA.
MARTIN, JOHN. Menagerie proprietor and exhibitor of the elephant Tippoo Sultan, 1823, the Grand Caravan and Tippoo Sultan. An animal with large tusks, was one of 2 male elephants in America at this time.
MARTIN, JOSEPH. Lion tamer, Parson’s, Albany, 1826.
MARTIN, MARY. Albino, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82.
MARTIN, THOMAS. (d. August 9, 1876) Trapeze performer. Great Southern, 1875; Great London Pavilion Show, 1876. Died from a fall while with the latter show.
MARTIN, WILLIAM. Advance courier distributer, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; contracting agent, Beckett’s, 1881; Gregory Brothers’, 1883-85.
MARTINA, MME. Orton & Older, 1858-59.
MARTINA, MONS. Wire walker and juggler, Orton & Older, 1858-59; Mabie’s, 1860.
MARTINE, AL. Acrobat, Howe’s Great London, 1874.
MARTINE, GEORGE. Equestrian director, with Whitney’s, 1892; LaPearl’s, 1896.
MARTINELLI BROTHERS. Clowns, Martell & Co., 1884.
MARTINETTE, JULIEN. (d. April 19, 1884) Clown. At one time proprietor of Martinette & Parel Pantomime Co. Died in the Sells Bros.’ ring, age 63. His home was in Baltimore.
MARTINETTI BROTHERS. Acrobats. Sells Bros.’, 1884; Burr Robbins’, 1887; Stow, Long & Gumble, 1889. Bailey & Winan, 1890.
MARTINEZ, EUGENE [with wife Irene]. Knife-thrower and fire jugglers. Thompson, Smith & Hawes, 1866; E. G. Smith’s, 1867; G. G. Grady’s, 1870; C. W. Noyes’, 1872-73.
MARTINEZ, FRANC. Clown, Burr Robbins’, 1886.
MARTINEZ, PEDRO. Juggler, G. G. Grady’s, 1870.
MARTINI, SIG. Thompson, Smith & Hawes, 1866.
MASCARINI, JEROME. Man monkey and curious scenic rider, imitating the gambols, antics and exercises of an ape on horseback, Joe Pentland’s, 1859.
MASON, MME. “Formerly of the London and Parisian circuses,” chariot racer, Franconi’s New York Hippodrome, 1853; 40-horse driver, Nixon & Kemp, 1858; Nixon & Co., 1859; First National Union Circus (combination of Nixon’s Royal Circus and Sloat’s New York Circus), 1861.
MASON, ANNIE. Chariot racer, P. T. Barnum’s Roman Hippodrome, 1875. This may be the same as above.
MASON, M. W. Agent, S. P. Stickney’s, 1846.
MATEER, JOHN. Rider. Fogg & Stickney, 1833; Brown’s, 1835-37; A. Hunt & Co., 1838; proprietor (with John Shay, Charles J. Rogers, J. W. Jackson), Cincinnati Circus, 1840-41; John Mateer’s Southern Circus, 1843-44.
MATTHEWS, CHARLES C. (d. September 12, 1918) Gymnast. Cloud swing performer, Robinson, Gardner & Kenyon, 1869; James Robinson’s, 1870; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1871; Dan Rice’s, 1872; Stevens & Begun, 1874; tumbler and leaper, Great Roman Hippodrome, 1877; equestrian director, Miles Orton’s, 1880; Hudson & Castello, 1881; DeHaven’s Great Eastern, 1883; equestrian director, Black Bros.’, 1887-88; George W. Richards’, winter 1889-90; Orton Bros.’, 1889; cloud swing, Gollmar Bros.’, 1892. Married Belle Celeste. Died in Philadelphia, age 82.
MATTHEWS FAMILY [William, Master George, Thomas, Fred, Theodore, Willie, Loretta, and Polonini]. Acrobats. John Wilson’s, 1865; San Francisco Circus and Roman Hippodrome, 1872; P. T. Barnum’s, 1873-74; Montgomery Queen’s, 1876. Then returned to Europe.
MATTHEWS, GEORGE. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1870.
MATHEWS, JAMES. Privileges, Three Melville’s & Co., 1889.
MATTHEWS, WILLIAM. Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, 1886.
MATTY BROTHERS. German gymnasts, Stickney’s National Circus, Old Bowery, November 1861.
MAURICE, EDMUND. Proprietor, Maurice’s Old Fashioned Circus, 1896.
MAURICE, JAMES. See Thomas Holmes.
MAURITTIUS, CHARLES. Clown. Valkingburg’s, 1881; Roberts & Gardner Circus (Nick Roberts, F. A. Gardner, proprietors), 1886; principal talking, knock-about and pantomime clown, Lowande & Hoffman, 1887.
MAURY. Acrobat, John Robinson’s, 1889.
MAXEY [sometimes Maxcey]. Kent bugler. With Simpson & Price, 1822, 1824-25; William Blanchard’s, 1826; Tivoli Gardens, Philadelphia, 1826. Played a brass soprano instrument with side holes and keys, much in the manner of a clarinet.
MAXINO and BARTOLA. Aztec Children, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
MAXWELL, CHARLES. Press agent, W. W. Cole’s, 1884, 1886.
MAXWELL, G. Fat boy, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.
MAXWELL, J. Gymnast, W. H. Stowe’s, 1881; John Robinson’s, 1885.
MAXWELL, L. C. Proprietor (with G. H. Smith) and treasurer, Great Western Circus, 1876.
MAXWELL, OTTO. Clown, Barnum & Bailey, 1892.
MAXWELL, VISHAM. W. H. Stowe’s, winter 1881-82.
MAY, A. [“Prof.”] Dog circus, Walter L. Main’s, 1882, 1886; William Main & Co., 1887.
MAY, FRED. Clown, Stone & Murray, 1869.
MAY, J. M. Ringmaster, Orton’s, 1856-57; Orton & Older, 1858-61.
MAY, JOHN. (September 7, 1816-May 12, 1854) Clown. Born in Orange County, NY. As a boy was apprenticed to a tailor, but soon abandoned that career and joined a circus. Visited Europe, 1844, and performed in all of the principal cities. Subsequently, visited Africa and South America. Said to have been a worthy man, temperate in his habits and with a lively wit; having traveled much, was always pleasing and amusing in conversation. Howes & Sands, 1835; Nathan A. Howes’, 1836; Yale, Sands & Co., 1838; Cole, Miller, Gale & Co., 1838; Howes & Mabie, 1841; Nathan A. Howes’, winter 1843-44; Welch & Mann, 1843-44; Mann, Welch & Delavan, 1844-47; R. Sands & Co., 1849; Howes & Co., 1849; E. F. & J. Mabie’s, 1850. Was struck in the head with a stone while touring in the West, from which he lost his memory and was unable to perform. Old friends supported him until he was admitted to the insane ward at Blockley’s Almshouse, Philadelphia, where he died.
MAY, LESLIE. Old Cary’s Great World Circus, traveling by rail and boat down the Mississippi, July 1864.
MAYA, LORENZO. (d. November 12, 1895.) Clown. Chiarini’s, Havana, winter 1859-60; French and Spanish clown, Parisian Circus, assembled for the Paris Exposition, 1867; clown and manager, Albisu’s Circus, Havana, winter 1867-68; James Robinson’s, 1870-71; Dan Rice’s Paris Pavilion Circus, 1871-72; Burr Robbins’, 1874; agent, Chiarini’s, South America, 1875; treasurer, Chiarini’s, the Orient, 1881-82. After clowning days ended, was the secretary and general business man for Chiarini. Died in NYC.
MAYBURY, WILLIAM A. (d. August 1, 1888) Lawyer from Detroit. Co-proprietor, Maybury, Pullman & Hamilton, 1882.
MAYETT, CHARLES. Wallace & Co., 1885, Yankee Robinson’s, 1866; Stowe & Norton, 1869.
MAYHIER. Slack-rope walker, Pepin’s, 1818-20.
MAYLAND, ANNETTE. Whitby & Co. (John O’Brien, proprietor), 1867.
MAYNARD BROTHERS [Mark, Eugene]. Gymnasts. Alexander Robinson’s, 1872-77; VanAmburgh & Co., 1883. Mark was clown, Andress’ New Colossal, 1889.
MAYNARD, THOMAS. Balladist, Hippocomique, 1868.
MAYO, CARL [r. n. Carl Grustall]. (d. April 10, 1908) Acrobatic clown, John Robinson’s. Died in Cincinnati, OH.
MAYO, WILLIAM. Trained horse act, Great Chicago Circus, on the corner of Halsted and Depuyster Streets, 1879; Lockwood & Flynn, 1887; director, Sprague’s, 1880; manager, Mayo’s Model Show, 1884.
MEAD, ABRAHAM H. From Westchester County, NY. A stockholder in the Zoological Institute and agent for various shows throughout his career. Married to Elizabeth Bailey, of the Westchester County show family. One of the proprietors of Quick & Mead, 1826; the two men also owned an interest in Fogg & Howes’ Menagerie; in partnership with Jeremiah P. Fogg, Washington Circus, Philadelphia, 1826-28; managed, Philips & Finch menagerie, 1829; co-proprietor, Miller, Mead & Delavan’, 1834-35; agent, June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1839-40; Grecian Arena and Classic Circus, 1841; Rockwell & Stone, 1842.
MEAD, E. G. Treasurer, Henry Rockwell’s unit of Rockwell & Stone, 1846; Rockwell & Co., 1847-48.
MEAD, ERASTUS. Canvas boss, Montgomery Queen’s, 1875.
MEAGHER, M. J. See Patsy Forepaugh.
MEANY, STEVE. Juggler, E. O. Rogers’, 1891.
MEDERIC BROTHERS. Brother act, Bailey & Winan, 1890.
MEDICI, MARIE. Danseuse, P. T. Barnum’s, 1875.
MEDINA, LOTENZ. Balancer, H. M. Smith’s, 1870.
MEDRANO, DOMENICA. Rope-walker. Made his only American appearance with Pepin & Breschard, Philadelphia, 1812. His act began by him jumping back and forth on a rope with ankles shackled; then dancing blindfolded over swords attached to the rope; encased in a sack, balanced 6 wine glasses piled on his head with a ladder atop them; stood on his head on a tumbler placed on the rope; leaped from the gallery to the rope, catching it with his teeth and swinging back and forth.
MEEHAM, WILLIAM A. And his Canine Paradox, George S. Cole’s, 1895.
MEEKER, FRED. Excursion agent, Metropolitan Circus, 1897.
MEERS, HUBERT. European equestrian. In Paris threw 42 back somersaults while on horseback. Secured by John Wilson, 1868, California.
MEERS FAMILY [Marie, Alice Jennie, and Lilly]. Equestriennes. Howes’ Great London, 1872.
MEERS SISTERS. Bareback riders, with Barnum & Bailey, 1891.
MELBER, CHARLES. Bandmaster, with John Robinson’s, 1865.
MELEKE, ZOE. Circassian lady, P. T. Barnum, 1876-77.
MELROSE BROTHERS [Wallie, John, Will]. With Lemen Bros.’, 1892.
MELROSE FAMILY [Percy, Estella, Park, Theresa]. Percy was balancing trapeze artist with Vaulkinburg’s, 1882. The family performed as bicycle artists, Sells Bros.’, 1883-86, 1889; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1887; Wallace & Anderson, 1890 - Park Melrose on the unicycle, Miss Theresa, “a bright, intelligent little girl of 8 years who has been with her parents on the wheels for over four years.”
MELROSE, LILLIIAN. Gymnast, W. W. Cole’s, 1886; manège, Great Exposition Circus (John C. O’Brien, manager), 1895.
MELROSE, PERCY C. See Melrose Family.
MELROSE, WILLIAM F. (1875-November 1, 1934) Somersault, bareback and jockey rider, leaper. Married Marie Meers, one of the equestrienne Meers Sisters. Great Exposition Circus, 1895; LaPearl’s, 1896; 4-horse rider, Robinson-Franklin, 1897; somersault rider, Great Wallace, 1898-04; Walter L. Main’s, 1902; Barnum & Bailey, 1905; (with Marie Meers) double jockey act, Forepaugh-Sells, 1910. Died of a stroke, age 59, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
MELTON, J. B. Trained dogs, Washington Bros.’s, 1887.
MELTON, TOM. Clown, Springer’s Royal Cirq-Zoolodon, 1875.
MELVILLE, ALEXANDER. Rider. Son of James and brother of Frank Melville. Child hurdle rider, L. B. Lent’s, 1869; P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-72, 1874; Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; Howes’ Great London, 1876.
MELVILLE BROTHERS [Arthur, William, Ernest]. Acrobats and double bar performers. James T. Johnson’s, 1886; King & Franklin, 1888; James Donovan’s, Bermuda, winter 1891-92.
MELVILLE, CHARLES J. (September 1, 1826-August 3, 1893) At one time champion bareback rider of the world. Born near Pittsburgh, PA. Learned to ride at age 4 and created a sensation as an infant prodigy. Beginning with Angevine, June & Turner. Ultimately, traveled with all the great circuses of his day. For many years with Dan Rice’s, and at one time had his own show. During the Civil War, served in the 52nd Ohio Regiment until wounded and sent home. Made and lost several fortunes in his 48 years of trouping before he retired to a farm in Stoystown, PA. About 1889, eyesight failed, which forced him to spent all his savings in attempts to regain it. By 1893, was destitute and in the charity ward at West Penn Hospital. Died there, age 67.
MELVILLE, CLARA. Equestrienne, Baird, Howell & Co., 1874.
MELVILLE, DANIEL. L. B. Lent’s, 1868.
MELVILLE, DONALD. Rider, New York Circus, 1881.
MELVILLE, ERNEST. Rider, Barnum & Bailey, 1895. Married to Josie Ashton. Jailed September, 1899, for stabbing his father-in-law over an argument.
MELVILLE, FRANCIS. Somersault act (with George Melville), P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.
MELVILLE, FRANK. (September 16, 1854-November 23, 1908) Eldest son of James Melville and brother of George and Alexander. Born in Sydney, Australia, shortly before his parents came to America. Became prominent as a bareback rider and excelled in a principal act and a 6-horse act; said to be the first to do a somersault from the ground to a galloping horse and was the originator of other acts now regularly performed. Married Louise Boshell at Ishpening, MI, August 3, 1878. Appeared with his father from age 8 through 22. See James Munro Melville. When the New York Hippodrome was organized, left Barnum & Bailey to become its equestrian director, training most of the horses used in the performances. Last appearance as a rider was at the Hippodrome, 1907, when, with his wife, he presented a “high school” act. Died of a heart attack in NYC. Sands, Nathans & Co., 1857-58; Nixon & Co., 1859; Chiarini’s, 1861. While with George F. Bailey & Co., 1867, did 10 to 15 back somersaults daily over objects and through balloons. Presented with a gold medal, October 13, 1866, at Norwalk, CT, by members of the company inscribed: “Presented by the members of the G. F. Bailey’s Circus Company to Frank Melville, aged 12 years, for accomplishing sixteen back somersaults on horseback.” Also pad rider, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-74; Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; Howes’ Great London, 1876; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; Great London, 1877; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1878; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879-80; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881; equestrian director, W. C. Coup’s, 1882; Rentz’, Berlin, 1884. Supposedly retired from the ring and was managing a riding school in Louisville, KY, 1893; however, was back as equestrian director, Barnum & Bailey, 1904; followed by the same duties at the Hippodrome, NYC, 1904-05; and with Thompson and Dundy Hippodrome, Coney Island, 1905. Died of a heart attack at his office in the Hippodrome.
MELVILLE, GEORGE DONALD. (1857-May 20, 1917) Born in Valparaiso. Son of James and brother of Frank and Alexander. L. B. Lent’s, Wallack’s Old Theatre, fall 1863; Wheeler’s new amphitheatre on the site of the old National Theatre, Boston, winter 1864-65; George F. Bailey & Co., 1866-67; Yankee Robinson’s, 1868; bareback rider and somersault act, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-72; VanAmburgh & Co., 1877; W. C. Coup’s, 1881; Barnum & Bailey, 1885; Miller, Okey & Freeman, 1886. Married Anna Morgan in NYC, January of 1876. Couple had a son, Frank, and George had two step-sons, W. C. and George F. Miller. Later, married Mamie Conway. Died in Jersey City.
MELVILLE, JAMES MUNRO [r. n. James Munroe or Munro]. (October 14, 1835-November 17, 1892) One of the most famous bareback riders in the world. Born at Inverness, Scotland. Accompanied his parents to Australia where he joined a circus, 1851, in Sydney and became an apprentice to John Malcolm; made his debut the following year, billed as “Mr. Munro.” By 20 years of age, had mastered the art of bareback riding. Married Elizabeth Louise Mills (Miss Howard), equestrienne, in Sydney, July 29, 1854. Astley's Amphitheatre, Melbourne, 1855. Same year, went to Valparaiso, Chile, with Rolla Rossiter, a celebrated slack wire performer, and toured South America. First engagement in the United States, Lee & Bennett (Bennett was a California banker), San Francisco, 1856; made NYC debut, 1857, old Bowery Theatre under the management of VanAmburgh & Co. Arriving toward the end of January of that year and flattered the press by giving a preview of riding for them before performing publicly. Shortly, was connected with Nixon & Kemp, 1858-59, flying, vaulting and jumping over hurdles, fences, bars and gates. Standing on his naked horse, he, at the same time, carried and balanced his son of 12 years, in every variety of posture. VanAmburgh & Co., 1860; S. P. Stickney’s, 1861; Antonio Bros.’, 1861; Goodwin & Wilder, fall 1861; R. Sands’, 1863; proprietor, Melville’s Australian Circus, 1864; Hippotheatron, 14th Street, NYC, November 1864; S. O. Wheeler’s, winter 1864-65; Chiarini’s, Havana, fall 1865; George Bailey & Co., 1865-66, 1873; equestrian director, Yankee Robinson’s, 1868; L. B. Lent’s, 1870; P. T. Barnum’s, 1871-72, 1874; co-proprietor, Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; Howes’ Great London, 1876; John H. Murray’s, 1878; equestrian director, W. C. Coup’ New United Monster Show, 1879-80; ringmaster, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882; last ring appearance may have been with Melville-Hamilton, 1891. He and wife, Louise, were the parents of 5: Frank, George and Alexander Melville were all circus riders. Died at his residence, 207 W. 34th Street, NYC, age 57.
MELVILLE, LEE. Equestrian director, Irwin Bros.’, 1887.
MELVILLE, LOUISE [nee Elizabeth Louise Mills]. Wife of James Melville. A graceful equestrienne who had apprenticed to John Malcolm in Sydney, Australia. Only daughter of Mrs. Wright, a Shakespearean actress who played principal roles with visiting stars. Lee & Bennett’s, San Francisco, 1856-57; J. M. Nixon’s, 1859; Mabie’s Winter Garden, Chicago, 1862; Melville, Cooke & Sands, 1863. See James Melville.
MELVILLE, LOUISE BOSHELL. (1862-October 15, 1934) High-wire and slack-wire performer. Wife of Frank Melville. Adam Forepaugh, 1878; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881. See Frank Melville. Died at Jacksonville, FL, age 78.
MELVILLE, RICHARD. Thayer & Noyes, 1866.
MELVILLE, SAM. Australian clown. Apprentice of James Melville. Melville Brothers - Sammy, Frank, George - juvenile equestrians, Melville, Cooke & Sands, 1863; George F. Bailey & Co., 1866; S. P. Stickney’s, 1869; William T. Aymar’s, 1870; James M. Nixon’s, fall 1870; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1871-73.
MELVILLE, WALTER [r. n. Walter Melville Bishop, performed later as Walter Morosco] From Guilford, CT. Began performing at about age 15, 1865. Used the name Melville until 1873. Perhaps with Forepaugh’s as gymnast, 1871. See Morosco Family.
MELVILLE, WILLIAM. McMahon’s, 1888; Sells Bros.’, 1893.
MEMNARDT, BOBBY. English clown, Howes’ New London, 1887.
MENCHES, CHARLES. Menches & Barber, 1887.
MENDOZA BROTHERS. Sells Bros.’, 1879.
MENDOZA, FRED. Tumbler and leaper, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.
MENDOZA SISTERS. Winter circus, 42nd Street, NYC, 1830 (E. S. Doris, proprietor; John B. Doris, manager).
MENIAL. Rope-dancer and clown. Cayetano & Co., 1810, amusing the audiences with buffoonery and horsemanship; Pepin & Breschard, Philadelphia, 1809, where he did the "Tailor Riding to Waterford" with the trained jackass. Zebra; Cayetano Mariotini's troupe to Newburyport and Exeter, MA, and Portsmouth, NH, spring 1810, returning to NYC to rejoin Pepin & Breschard opening there, June 21—did a sketch whereby he ate at a table with the trained horse. Ocelot; Cayetano's, 1811, Canada, and in Albany and NYC, 1812; Codet's management, Montreal, 1812; Cayetano's, Charleston, winter 1812-13; Pepin & Breschard, Olympic Circus, Philadelphia, August 30, 1813; Pepin, Breschard & Cayetano, NYC, summer 1813; Philadelphia, fall season; Pepin & Breschard, Charleston, November 1814. It is believed he accompanied Pepin to Europe sometime after the beginning of January, 1815. Pepin's, Philadelphia, 1816, Baltimore, January 1817, Lancaster, summer 1817; joined Caytano's, New Orleans, July 5, 1817; Roulestone's Amphitheatre, Boston, July 1, 1818, through July 20; Villalave's, summer and fall 1818; September the company was billed as Menial & Vilallave; back with Pepin, West Indies, 1819-20; again, 1821.
MENTER, ALMON EDGAR. (18477-April 3, 1887) Band leader. From a show business family, a native of Covington, KY. Attained a certain renown early as Edgar, the boy cornetist in his father's band. A primiere leader, arranger and composer for both string and brass, the compositions being particularly praise-worthy as music for grand entries and special acts. Dan Rice's, 1849-52, 1863; Dan Rice's Paris Pavilion Circus, 1871-72; John H. Murray's Railroad Circus, 1874-75; W. C. Coup's, 1878-79; New York Circus, 1881; Adam Forepaugh's, 1884. Died of pneumonia in NYC.
MENTER, FRANK. Tumbler and gymnast, with E. Stowe’s, 1871.
MENTOR. Trained horse, with Pepin & Barnet’s company, Natchez, MS, June 1823.
MERCHANT, WILLIAM. Alex Abar’s Pavilion Show, 1889.
MEREDITH, ALBERT and MARGUERITE. Contortionist. Hurlburt & Hunting, 1885-87; Hunting’s, 1888; double trapeze, Main & Sargeant, 1891.
MERRANTI, M. Tranca act, Sands, Nathans & Co., 1857-58.
MERRETT, RANDOLPH. Agent, Harry Whitby’s, 1859.
MERRICK, W. N. Solo cornetist and bandmaster, Sells Bros.’, 1882-84. Later connected as band leader with Forepaugh-Sells Bros.’ and Hagenbeck-Wallace.
MERRELL BROS. See Harry S. Morris, Sr.
MERRILL, E. Contracting agent, G. G. Grady’s, 1872.
MERRITT, FRANK S. Co-proprietor, Gregory, Merritt & Co. (Charles Gregory, Frank S. Merritt, proprietors), 1886. The outfit was formerly known as the Royal Pavilion Shows.
MERTZ, MAJOR JOHN and MRS. Sideshow midgets. Retired to Salisbury, NC, where Mrs. Mertz was born and raised. Her maiden name was Nale. Abe Nale, the older brother, took charge of the sideshow in which they were exhibited. [D. W. Watt: “They never traveled with a show that they did not leave a good name and managers were always anxious to get Major Mertz and his wife as an attraction. They occupied a platform in the sideshow where they sold their pictures to visitors and a crowd of interested spectators could always be seen around their platform.”]
MERTZ, PROF. Trained ponies and trick mule, Robert Hunting’s, 1894.
MESSENGER, JAMES. Cannon ball performer - using 30, 40, and 50 pound iron balls—club swinger, and general performer. Feats in the ring showed extraordinary muscular strength, even though he was but 5’ 6” in height, measured 42” around the chest, and weighed only 160 pounds. First entered the business at James M. Nixon’s, NYC. A narrow escape occurred, 1870, on the Erie Railroad, when the special show train, through a mistake on the part of the officials, was dashed into by the Pacific Express, running on the same track. Messenger, standing on the rear platform, saved his own life by jumping from the platform down the embankment. L. B. Lent’s, 1866-70; P. T. Barnum’s, 1871, 1873; Dan Rice’s, 1872; club swinging, W. C. Coup’s, 1878; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winters 1879-80, 1880-81; Indian clubs, feats of strength, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880; Forepaugh & Samwells, 1886; Lowande & Hoffman, 1887; Shield’s, 1888; Whitney Family, 1889.
MESTAYER, FELIX. Clown, New York Champs Elyees, 1865.
MESTAYER, HARRY. Negro minstrel. Boston Lion Circus, 1836; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1839-40; John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1843; Welch & Mann, 1843-44; John T. Potter’s, 1844-46; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1845.
MESTAYER, LOUIS. Clown and wire-walker, Durang & DeGraff, Leaman’s Columbis Garden, Baltimore, for his first performance in America, September 12, 1805. Mestayer and his wife were both wire-walkers, doing hall shows as well as arena performances. Pepin & Breschard, 1810-11; Pepin, Breschard & Cayetano, 1813-14; Davis & Co., 1815-16; and with Pepin, opening for a short engagement at the Olympic Circus, Philadelphia, July 2, 1817.
METCALFE, GEORGE H. Manager and proprietor, New York Champs Elysees, starting from NYC, March 25, 1865, 1866-67. Formerly, ran a tavern, NYC.
METCHEAR, WILLIAM J. (June 24, 1837-October 25, 1879) Son of James E. and Katharine T. Metchear. Born at Newport, NY. After early work as a coach driver, entered show business as an agent for George H. Metcalfe’s Champs Elysees Circus, starting from NYC, March 25, 1865. Later, had candy stand privileges, S. O. Wheeler’s, 1867; agent, S. P. Stickney’s; bought the circus property belonging to S. O. Wheeler, 1870, and entered into management with Conant and Cameron of the Great Australian Circus. Leaving the arenic business, became part proprietor of the Washington House, Providence, RI; left that and bought the Adams House, same city; during this time, was a speculater in show property and around 1879 dabbled with a sideshow at fairs and summer resorts. [M. B. Leavitt: “Doc Meecher was a fake dime museum manager. The only real thing he ever exhibited was an educated pig.”] Died of consumption in Providence, RI, age 42.
METTE BROTHERS [Rudolph, Louis, Frank]. Gymnasts - four globes, trapeze, comic stilts, etc. Consisting of Rudolph, Louis Mette (who may have been a brother) and Henry Wilcox. Chindahl also lists a Frank Mette. Springer’s Royal Cirq-Zoolodon, 1875; Parisian Circus, Operti’s Tropical Garden, Philadelphia, fall 1876; New National Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77; Den W. Stone’s, 1878; Great American Circus, 1878; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1879; Roman Races, Brighton Beach Fair Grounds, Coney Island, 1879; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880; Dr. James L. Thayer’s, 1880; VanAmburgh & Co., 1883; Frank A. Robbins’, 1885. Rudolph married Ella Stokes, daughter of S. Q. Stokes, January 25, 1877. Both were performing at the New National Theatre, Philadelphia. Louis claimed to have been one of the original Leotard Brothers, with George Bliss and George Lair.
METZ, CARL. Acrobat, VanAmburgh & Co., 1881.
MEYER, FRITZ. Musical director, Dan Rice’s, 1867-68.
MEYERS, CHARLES. Slack-wire and balancer, F. J. Taylor’s, 1891.
MEYERS, J. Leaper, tumbler, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
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