Main page       Circus Historical Society       Membership
Circus Historical Society

Olympians of the Sawdust Circle
Mac - Mc

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

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

MAC DONALD, ALICE “MAD ALICE.” (1853?-August 12, 1896) Equestrienne. Married to animal trainer Felix MacDonald. Great London, 1880; Boyd & Peters, 1880; wild beast tamer, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881, 4-horse chariot driver, 1882; Frank A. Robbins’, 1885; P. T. Barnum’s, John Robinson’s, Doris & Colvin, George W. DeHaven’s, Leon de Leon’s (Cuba). Died in New Orleans, LA, age 43.

MAC DONALD, ANDREW. Proprietor, Andy Mac Donald’s World Fair Circus, 1892; MacDonald & Reichhold’s Great Chicago Shows (Andrew Mac Donald, George Reichhold, proprietors), 1896.

MAC DONALD, CHARLES. Clown and equestrian, John Bill Ricketts’, Philadelphia, making his first appearance May 9, 1793.

MAC DONALD, DONALD. Gymnast, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881.

MAC DONALD, FELIX. Lion tamer. Bryan’s, 1868; billed as “Famous Lion Tamer and Man of Iron Nerve,” Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1870; zoological director, P. T. Barnum’s, 1877; Boyd & Peters, 1880; Cole’s Great New Southern, 1881; Frank A. Robbins’, 1883, 1885; ringmaster, Wallace & Co., 1886; master of hippodrome stock, Doris & Colvin, 1887; Ferguson’s, 1888; Sam McFlinn’s, 1888; superintendent of menagerie, Barnum & Bailey, 1893. First wife, Pauline Lucca, was a female lion tamer; another wife, Alice MacDonald, was an equestrienne.

MAC DONALD, GEORGE B. (d. December 19, 1890) Contracting agent, Sells Bros.’, 1886; also O’Brien’s, Barnum’s.

MAC DONALD, GEORGE W. Washburn & Arlington, 1891; MacDonald & Wells’ Big Show (George W. MacDonald, F. E. Wells, proprietors), 1892.

MAC DONALD, HARRY. Australian Dime Show, 1887; W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1889.

MAC DONALD, J. Boss animal man, John Robinson’s, 1881.

MAC DONALD, J. D. Advertising agent, MacDonald & Wells’ Big Show (George W. MacDonald, F. E. Wells, proprietors), 1892.

MC ANDLIS, R. J. Treasurer, W. C. Coup’s, 1880.

MC ANDREWS, J. WALTER. Negro deliniator, “Watermelon Man,” Great European, 1865; Frank J. Howes’, 1865.

MC ARTHUR, J. B. Program agent, Warner & Henderson, 1874.

MC ARTHUR, W. Clown, George W. DeHaven’s, 1865.

MC ARTHUR, W. Ringmaster, with George W. DeHaven & Co., 1865

MC CABE, WILLIAM. Strongman, a unit of June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1841-42; Welch & Mann, 1843-44.

MC CADDON, JOSEPH TERRY. (January 31, 1859-January 21, 1938) Born in Beverly, OH. Brother-in-law of James A. Bailey. On occasion, signed his name Joe Bailey. 1876, joined Bailey as an apprentice, leaving for Australia with the Cooper & Bailey show as head of wardrobe. Manager, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1890-91, after James E. Cooper and James A. Bailey purchased the show following Forepaugh’s death; with the death of Cooper, January 1, 1892, James A. Bailey shared the ownership with McCaddon. Took the show to Europe, 1904, which was a disaster, causing bankruptcy; too large a show for the small French towns and opposition from Buffalo Bills’ Wild West show. With the death of Bailey, continued to direct both the Barnum & Bailey and the Buffalo Bill shows for 2 years, representing the controling interest of Mrs. Bailey, his sister. Disposed of all the circus holdings to the Ringlings, 1908, except the Buffalo Bill show, which he sold to Major Gordon W. Lillie (Pawnee Bill). Following, became interested in real estate in and around NYC. A man of refinement and college educated. Died of apoplexy at the home of his son, J. T. Jr., Great Neck, NY. He had another son, Stanley G., living in Coral Gables, FL.

MC CAFFERTY, WALT. Ringling Bros.’, 1887; proprietor, Walt McCafferty’s Great Golden Shows, 1894; company stranded in July.

MC CAFFERTY, WALT. Privileges, F. J. Taylor’s, 1891. This may be the same man as above.

MC CALL, WILLIAM. Performed as Hardella Brothers (with Hardy Bale and William Lucifer), DeBonnaire’s Great Persian Exposition, 1883, 1885; Walter L. Main’s, 1886.

MC CANN, JAMES F. [also McKann]. Band leader. With Nixon’s Southern, 1870; John Robinson’s, 1871.

MC CANN, R. Program agent, Alex Robinson’s, 1874.

MC CARN, “MASTER”. 8 years old on his debut as a rider, Pepin & West, Olympic, Philadelphia, fall 1817. One of his feats, doing flipflops across the ring with his feet tied together. Franklin’s company, 42 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, spring 1802; moved to Vauxhall Garden, NYC, in July of that year; old Richmond Hill Circus the same year. Was lost in the U.S. sloop of war, Hornet, off Tampico.

MC CARTHIE, BILLIE. Acrobat, G. G. Grady’s, 1872.

MC CALL, MATIE. Haight & Chambers, 1867.

MC CARTHY, CHARLES. (1838?-January 23, 1900) Entered the circus profession at age 18 and developed into a singing clown, tumbler and animal trainer. Alex Robinson’s, 1866; leaper, John Robinson’s, 1871-73; ringmaster, 1873-74, 1876, 1878; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1877, clown in 1881-85, in charge of the mail department in 1888, clown and outside ticket seller, 1889; concert manager and clown, with Charles Lee’s, 1895. At the time of death, was employed at Middleton’s Clark Street Dime Museum, Chicago. Died there, age 62.

MC CARTHY, “Four Paw”. Boss canvasman, Bruce L. Baldwin’s, 1894.

MC CARTNEY, HARRY. Treasurer, W. C. Coup’s, 1878, 1892.

MC CARTY, CHARLES. Alex Robinson’s, 1866; Charles Noyes’, 1870; Howes’ Great London, 1878.

MC CARTY, J. Silas Dutton’s Southern, winter 1879-80, 1880.

MC CARTY, T. J. Manager, Daniel Shelby’s, 1888.

MC CASLIN, CHARLES. (d. October 1910) Forepaugh-Sells Bros.’ Died in Atlantic City, age 59, where he had cast aside the grease paint to become a Salvation Army worker.

MC CAULEY, CHARLIE. Comedian, bone player, Whitmore & Co., 1868.

MC CLEAN, CHARLES. See Charles McLean.

MC CLELLAN, ALFRED SEYMOUR. (March 13, 1856-February 10, 1884) Born in Norwich, CT. Gymnast. After amateur appearances, joined Heywood’s Combination, also Van’s Great Olympic Circus, under the name of Alfred Seymour. 1879, with Edmund Rice, performed as Rice Brothers - Great Commonwealth, Batcheller & Doris, Adam Forepaugh’s, J. T. Johnson’s (with Charles LaRue), Tony Denier’s, Sells Bros.’, Washburn’s Last Sensation, John B. Doris’, Edward’s Olympic. Shot and killed on Elizabeth Street, Norwich, by Frank V. Conant.

MC CLELLAN, C. S. Secretary, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.

MC CLENNEN, CHARLES W. (October 19, 1835-June 28, 1885) Born in New Lisbon, OH. First professional appearance as privilege man with Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace. Also connected with Adam Forepaugh’s, John Robinson’s, and J. J. Nathans’. Opened European Dime Museum at 37-37½ Bowery, NYC, November 1, 1877, which made him a good deal of money. Both he and his brother, John, were well known phrenologists. Died of consumption at his home in NYC. Had one child.

MC CLOUD, JAMES. French, Hobby & Co., 1835; western unit of June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1842.

MC CLURE, COL. DAN. (1848?-March 28, 1899) Joined a circus at age 17. Was connected variously with Montgomery Queen’s, Burr Robbins’, John Robinson’s, Wallace’s, Walter L. Main’s, Sells Bros.’ and Fred Burke’s Automatic Cities. At times, owned and managed museums in Erie, PA, and Akron, OH. Organized the Indian Blood Medicine Co., Atlanta, GA, 1897, and toured throughout the state until his death. Died from stomach cancer in Louisville, KY, age 51.

MC CLURE, DAN. Sideshow privilege, Burr Robbins’, 1877.

MC CLURE, JOHN. Agent, Crescent City Circus, 1855.

MC CULLOM, M. Concert banjoist, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879. May be the same as below.

MC CULLOM, MAT. Clown, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1871.

MC COLLUM, NAT [or Matt]. Banjoist and Ethiopian entertainer, Castello & VanVleck, 1863; general performer, VanAmburgh & Co., 1874, 1880. May be the same as above.

MC COLLUM, THOMAS. (1828-1872) Equestrian. Famous for his jockey act and, by some, considered the best 2-horse rider of his day. Boston Lion Circus, 1836; Lion Theatre Circus, 1837; acrobat, S. H. Nichols’, 1839, 1842; Raymond & Waring, Philadelphia, 1839-40; rider, Welch & Mann, 1841; 2-horse rider, Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1845; Howes & Mabie, 1845. Organized a boat show with clown Den Stone, Great Western Circus, 1846, which visited the river towns on the Mississippi, using the steamer Franklin, a boat 100’ by 15’ in size. Company was composed of 70 people including a band. Partnership lasted through the season, 1850. Went to England, Welch, McCollum & Risley, 1851. Son was English rider, Eugene Gardner, who took his professional name from an aunt, a well-known English equestrienne.

MC CONKEY, WILLIAM. Proprietor, McConkey & Co.’s Arabian Show, 1888, with his performing horses.

MC CONNELL, GEORGE. Frank A. Robbins’, 1885.

MC CORMICK, A. W. Proprietor, McCormick’s New Silver-Plate Show and Menagerie, 1898.

MC CORMICK, J. Acrobat, Sadler’s Great English Circus, 1875.

MC CORKLE. Took over the failing Great Railroad Circus, 1859; guided the company on a brief tour through Indiana and then into Chicago for a week, where, unfortunately, at the end of the stand he disappeared with whatever cash there was.

MC CORMICK, JOHN. Perhaps the first to develop the art of ceiling-walking; at least he was billed as the inventor of the antipodean apparatus for his performance, February 16, 1852, New York Amphitheatre, 37 Bowery. First presented in an indoor circus December, 1851, Sands, Lent & Co.; crossed a nine-foot slab mounted eighteen feet in the air. The bill read in part: “Professor John McCormick of Ohio, the successful inventor of the only antipodean apparatus ever completed, will exhibit his astonishing performance of inverted locomotion, in which he will walk feet uppermost, upon a marble slab, nine feet in length, at an elevation of eighteen feet from the ground.” Joe Pentland’s, 1852.

MC CRACKEN, SAMUEL. Proprietor, Samuel McCracken’s circus, 1825-26; managed Parson’s circus, 1826.

MC CREARY, J. M. Treasurer, Spalding & Rogers, 1853; agent, Wesley Barmore’s, 1854; Spalding & Rogers, 1857, 1859.

MC CUE, J. S. Proprietor, J. S. McCue’s National Circus, 1883.

MC CURRAN, CHARLES. Boss animal man, W. H. Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1884.

MC DONALD, CHARLES. The “electric boy,” P. T. Barnum’s, 1883.

MC DONALD, GEORGE. Asst. boss canvasman, P. T. Barnum’s, 1871.

MC DONALD, ROBERT. Dan Rice’s (Adam Forepaugh, proprietor), 1866.

MC ELROY, J. A. Manager, Miller & Runnells, 1888.

MC EWEN, WILLIAM S. Banjoist, Negro delineator, Cooper’s International, 1873; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876. Home was in Columbus, OH.

MC FADDEN, DAISY. Concert singer, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880.

MC FARLAND, A. Vaulter, Rockwell & Stone, 1843; Cincinnati Circus, 1845; acrobat, June & Turner, 1846; Henry Rockwell, 1847; J. M. June, 1851.

MC FARLAND, FRANK. Advance and contracting agent, Harry Thayer & Co.’s, 1890.

MC FARLAND, JAMES. (d. 1858) A tall, handsome man, was considered a celebrated equilibrist on the tight rope. Did the first free-act wire ascension outside a circus tent, which was for Levi J. North. Involved in a vaulting match with W. O. Dale at John Tryon’s, beginning September 28, 1846; betting was heavy, with McFarland the favorite over Dale, who had recently come from England; outcome is uncertain. Several years later, killed by a Mr. Roberts, landlord of a hotel at Liberty, MO. North’s circus and Spalding & Rogers were both perorming in that city. McFarland’s former wife, Mlle. Castilla, was attached to the North company. Fearing harassment, manager North ordered the landlord not to allow McFarland to seek her out. McFarland, learning she was in the hotel, demanded to see her. A confrontation with the landlord followed. The two drew weapons and engaged in a struggle, during which MacFarland was stabbed in the neck, severing his jugular vein and resulting in a speedy death. Acrobat, Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839; Howes & Mabie, 1841; P. H. Nichols’, 1841; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1844-49; tight-rope, S. H. Nichols & Co., 1842-43; Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1845; ringmaster, June & Turner, 1846; vaulter, Rockwell & Stone, 1846; John Tryon’s Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, winter 1846-47; tight rope, Spalding & Rogers, 1848-51, 1853; Welch’s, 1852; Levi J. North’s, 1854-55; winter 1857-58. Wife was the former Ann Tucker; daughter, Fanny Brown, married William Carlo.

MC FARLAND, THOMAS [r. n. William Brown?]. (d. 1881?) Somersaulter. Joseph Palmer’s, 1836, Havana, Cuba, 1837; Baacon & Derious, 1838-39; Welch & Bartlett, 1839; June, Titus & Angevine, 1840; Welch & Mann, winters 1841-42, 1842-43, 1843-44; Howes & Mabie, 1841-43; Howes’, winter 1843-44; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1844; John Tryon’s, winter 1844-45; Howes’, June 1845; Welch & Mann, August 1845; Welch, Mann & Delavan, August 1845; Rockwell & Stone (Rockwell’s unit), where he threw 67 somersaults, 1846; Howes & Co., 1847; Howes & Co., May 1848; 2nd unit, Howes & Co., threw 87 somersaults, 1848; Sands, winter 1848-49; Welch’s, 1849; June’s, winter 1849-50; J. M. June’s Oriental, 1851; Welch, Raymond, Driesbach, 1852.

MC FARLAND, W. H. (b. May 26, 1860) Manager of sideshows for 44 years, with only 6 circuses, always working on percentage. Originator of “Wild Man” and “Sea Serpent.” Stone & Murray, 1876; Harris’ Nickel-Plate, 1894-95; Howes Great London, 1915.

MC FLINN, HARRY. (1857?-January 4, 1889) Brother of showman Sam McFlinn. 9 years ticket agent, Burr Robbins’; left August, 1886, to take the baths in Mt. Clemens, MI, for his rheumatism; treasurer, Sam McFlinn’s European, 1888. Married Ruby Shropshire on the Robbins show, June 20, 1885, in Marshalltown, IA. Died of consumption in Burlington, IA, age 32.

MC FLYNN, IDA. Burr Robbins’, 1885.

MC FLINN, SAM. (1852?-May 26, 1911) Trick, talking and singing clown. Stood 6’ tall, was a fine dresser and handsome. Great Eastern, 1874; Stevens & Begun, 1874; H. Harlan’s, 1875; Great Universal Fair, 1877; Ed G. Basye’s, 1878; Dan Rice’s, 1878; Thornton’s, 1880; Burr Robbins’, 1880, 1884; Cole’s Great New Southern, 1881; VanAmburgh & Co., 1882-83; French & Monroe, 1885; manager, McFlinn’s Hippolympiad, 1887, of which Dr. James Thayer was the proprietor; proprietor and manager, Sam Mc Flinn’s European Circus, 1888; in partnership with Col. G. W. Hall, Sr., 1889-92, Hall & McFlinn’s. Claimed to be the originator of the Ten Cent Show. His circus usually wintered in Chicago where all his spare money was invested in real estate. Married Ida Thayer, daughter of Dr. James S. Thayer. They had no children. Died at age 59.


MC GILL, W. F. Treasurer, Driesbach & Howes, 1868.

MC GINNESS, JAMES. See James A. Bailey.

MC GINNIS, JOHN. Boss canvasman, G. G. Grady’s, 1874.

MC GINTY, H. Gymnast, Spaulding & Rogers, 1850; 1854-58.

MC GLASSY. See Alfonso “Fons” Antonio.

MC GRAW, JOHN. Rider, S. H. Barrett’s, 1887.

MC GREW, JOHN. Minstrel, Alexander Robinson’s, 1875-76.

MC GREW, WILLIAM. See William LaRue, Sr.

MC GUFFIN, HENRY. Married Mme. Worland on the Lipman Circus, 1866, Alleghany City, PA.

MC GUIRE, JAMES. Comic singer, with Dan Rice’s, 1866; clown, Gardner & Kenyon, 1868; Pat Ryan’s, 1882.

MC HUE, J. S. Manager, Westman’s, 1882-83.

MC HUGH, WILLIAM H. Manager, L. B. Lent’s, 1874.

MC ILLWAY, JOHN. See John Jackson.

MC INTOSH, GEORGE D. Press agent, Hamilton & Sargeant, 1878, advance manager, 1879; contracting agent, Welsh & Sands, 1880; VanAmburgh & Co., 1881.

MC INTOSH, JAMES R. Press agent, Hamilton & Sargeant, 1879.

MC INTYRE, AARON. Privileges, Cameron & Tubbs’ North American, 1877.

MC INTYRE, JAMES. (August 8, 1857-August 18, 1937) Of the comedy team of McIntyre and Heath, one of the greatest blackface vaudeville and minstrel acts of all time. Died of uremic poisoning, on his estate in Noyack, near Southampton, LI, NY. In the days following the Civil War, McIntyre and Heath were supreme in the field of minstrel comedy and soft-shoe dancing. For more than 50 years they toured every part of the country, including the Far West when it was really wild. Their famous skit, The Ham Tree, amused audiences for years. They developed the slow-paced, melancholy blackface type of comedy, and were forerunners of Moran and Mack and Amos n’ Andy. Theirs was the first act to receive top billing on the Keith Circuit, and, in their time, received the biggest vaudeville contract from Keith. McIntyre was born at Kenosha, WI, and before he was out of his teens was already amusing audiences with impromptu songs and dances on the trains where he peddled candy. Began his professional career as a clog-dancer, Pete Kerwin’s Concert Hall, Chicago, which he left for a job with Katie Putnam’s ballad and dancing show. Quit this company to join McKenzie’s Circus, 1870; Burton & Ridgeway’s Minstrel’s, 1871; 3 years later, teamed with Tom Heath, another great burnt cork man, and the act was born - Mclntyre playing the lazy, drawling Alexander and Heath doing a foil as the pompous, polysyllabic Hennery. Fame came quickly, all over the world, and soon their act drew as high as $2,000 a week. Circuses included Anderson & Co., 1879, also Burr Robbins’ and others. McIntyre married a dancer and balladeer, Emma Young, professionally known as Maude Clifford. Among their most popular skits were Georgia Minstrels, Man From Montana, Flying to Jail, and Waiting at the Church. But The Ham Tree always remained the most popular item in their rtoire. Retired from the stage, 1919, but continued to appear in benefit performances now and then. Guested on Rudy Vallee radio program, 1832 [sic 1932?]. When McIntyr passed away, Heath was lying on a sick bed a few miles away, dangerously ill.

MC INTYRE, LIZZIE. [or Lizette]. Equestrienne, W. W.. Cole’s, 1886.

MC INTYRE, TOM B. Shakespearean clown and equestrian director, W. W. Cole’s, from at least 1877 through 1886, including the W. W. Cole’s Australian tour (which left San Francisco October 23, 1880). Subsequently, equestrian director, Doris & Colvin, 1887; Sells Bros.’, 1895.

MC KEE, FRANK. Agent, Robbins & Colvin, 1881.

MC KENNA, FRANK. S. H. Barrett’s, 1887.

MC KENZIE, DONALD. (1855?-March 1917) Advance agent, auditor and advertising manager. Born in Dubuque, IA. Ringling Bros.’, Barnum & Bailey, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, Gentry Bros.’ Died of Bright’s disease in his 63rd year.

MC KNIGHT, GEORGE. Clown, Barnum & Bailey, 1892.

MC KNIGHT, J. Strongman, the “Vermont Samson.” S. H. Nichols’, Albany Amphitheatre, winter, 1843, dubbed “The Vermont Sampson”; fired a cannon from his arm, also from his body when in a prone position; Spalding & Rogers, 1845-46, invited the public to inspect the cannon. McKnight also lifted “heavy bodies” by his hair, and bent an iron bar across his naked arm.

MC LACHLAN, JOHN. (b. March 18, 1860) Born in London, Ontario, Canada. Joined a train crew with Sells Bros.’, May 14, 1880, under boss Archie Seals. Chalker and snubber, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1881; train crew for Byron Rose, P. T. Barnum’s, 1885-90; 1st assistant under Jack Webb, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1891-93; Barnum & Bailey, 1894; superintendent, Buffalo Bill Wild West, 1895; Barnum & Bailey, 1902. [C. G. Sturtevant: “There was no detail of his position of which Mr. McLachlan was not an expert. His knowledge of the railway systems of the United States and Canada was complete; he knew every yard and siding, was acquainted with all officials, yardmasters, dispatchers, and people in the various mechanical and operative departments, and, moreover, they respected him for his great abilities.”]

MC LANE, W. R. Manager, P. A. Older’s, 1872; assistant manager, United States Circus, 1882.

MC LAUGHLIN, BRIDGET Equestrienne. Sister of Virginia Sherwood, who changed her name to Bridgetta. While performing with a half dozen horses in New Orleans, missed her footing and fell between the animals; although she managed to grasp the main of one of the horses, she was dragged around the ring for some distance before one of the horses trampled on her and caused serious injury, which resulted in her death a short time after being carried from the arena. Was buried in Pittsburgh.

MC LAUGHLIN, HANK. Boss canvasman, Harper Bros.’ European (P. N. and D. J. Harper, proprietors), 1892.

MC LAUGHLIN, JAMES. Chief of detectives, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872-76.

MC LAUGHLIN, J. R. Treasurer, Holland, Bowman & McLaughlin, 1890.

MC LEAN, CHARLES. (b. March 13, 1837) Born in Tompkinsville, Staten Island, NY. Pioneer boss canvasman. Began at age 12 as property boy with Sands & Nathans, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1849; Franconi’s Hippodrome, NYC, 1853; Howes & Cushing, 1855-59; R. Sands’, 1860-63; European Circus (Avery Smith, G. C. Quick, John Nathans & Co., proprietors), first assumed job of handling the canvas, 1864-70; show sold to James Wilder with McLean remaining, 1871; P. T. Barnum’s (Older managed), ran side-show for G. B. Bunnell, 1872; P. T. Barnum’s—150’ round top with three 50’ middles - (Coup and Castello), 1873; remained with that organization until Barnum and Bailey became the property of the Ringlings.

MC LEAN, JOHN. Agent. With L. B. Lent’s, 1874; Miles Orton’s, 1885.

MC LEAN, MISS C. Equestrienne and danseuse, J. W. Wilder’s, 1872.

MC MAHON, CHARLES H. (d. December 1, 1894) Acrobat, rider. Born in Manchester, MI, and entered the business at age 15 under the care of his brother, John S. McMahon, circus proprietor and rider. Hurdle rider, Donaldson & Rich, 1885; Holland & McMahon’s World Circus (George Holland, John McMahon, proprietors), 1885-88; Ringling Bros.’, 1891; equestrian director, W. B. Reynolds’, 1892; Charles McMahon’s Circus, 1893; Howes & Cushing, 1894. Died of pneumonia in Birmingham, AL, at about 27 years of age.

MC MAHON, JOHN S. (d. November 17, 1892) Born in Ann Arbor, MI. Considered one of the best all-around performers in the profession - bareback, 4-horse and hurdle rider, tumbler, leaper, wrestler and boxer. Hurdle and Indian rider, Dr. A. W. Hager’s, 1878; hurdle rider, leaper, tumbler, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1882; hurdle rider, Burr Robbins’, 1885; Holland & McMahon’s World Circus (George Holland, John McMahon, proprietors), Chicago, 1885-86. Took a show to Mexico, Central America and the West Indies, 1870s, where he is said to have made a fortune. Had a one-ring show on the Pacific Coast, 1888, and remained west of the Mississippi for 3 years. When health began to fail, around 1890, was confined to the sidelines; last riding occurred at Oakland, CA, on the closing night of that year. The show started out from there for the 1892 season and went as far as Halifax, N.S., then returned to Portland, OR, for closing on November 12, 1892. At that time, McMahon expressed the intention to dispose of his interest in the cmpany because of ailing health. The outfit was then shipped to Chicago for sale. Died in his Pullman car as he passed through Missoula, MT, while accompanying his outfit back, age about 38 years. Standing about 5’10”, he had great physical powers and an attractive physique, was an admirer of horses and proud of his own stock, temperate in his habits and careful of his health, but overwork and over-training sapped him and lymph cancer did the rest.

MC MAHON, JOSEPH BRYAN. (1862-1897) Brother of John S. and Charles H. McMahon. A graduate of the University of Michigan. Holland-McMahon, 1886-1888; after brother John died, 1892, took out a circus in the McMahon name. [Orin Copple King: He had much in common with grifters the likes of Willie Sells and Ben Wallace, who “stayed close to the straight and narrow when at home, but once they passed the city limits nothing was too scurilous for them to attempt.”] While in Wichita, KS, with the McMahon Bros.’s Circus, 1897, was shot in the stomach 3 times and killed by Deputy Sheriff J. V. Cunningham, a Texas law enforcement officer, in the Manhattan Hotel, Witchita, KS. The officer had come to question McMahon about one of his roustabouts who was charged with setting fire to the Windsor Hotel in Abiline, TX. One version states that an altercation ensued, which caused both to pull out their weapons; McMahon’s shot went wild; before he died, a notary was called and McMahon dictated a statement of the shooting and made out his will. Another version has Cunningham shooting McMahon as he reached for a handkerchief, thinking he was going for a weapon. Cunningham was nearly lynched following the shooting because McMahon was an extremely popular figure in Witchita. Funeral at the Witchita Scottish Rite Cathedral was so immense that the crowd overflowed into the street. [Gordon Yadon: ”He hired uncouth men with bad reputations, brought in all sorts of gamblers, and tolerated other unethical practises.”].

MC MANN, CHARLES. Agent, car #2, Metropolitan Circus, 1897.

MC MINN, HENRY C. See Harry King.

MC MURTRY, J. A. Proprieter, McMurtry’s Indian Show, Museum and Amphitheatre, 1863-64. Later, speculated in show property and engaged in commercial business, Harmonsburg, PA.

MC NALLY, PETER S. (d. April 10, 1915) Connected with Forepaugh-Sells, Globe Theatre, Boston, and other enterprises as a press agent. Brother, John J. McNally, was a playwright. Long distance swimmer who, 1897, attempted to swim the English Channel, coming within 3 miles of the French shore. Married Agnes V. Murphy of Lawrence, MA, 1903. Died on the deck of a fishing schooner, lying off Gloucester, MA.

MC NELL, MINNIE. Walter L. Main’s, 1887.

MC NUTT, J. O. Band leader, Walter L. Main’s, 1893.

MC PHAIL, A. Agent, Cook & Whitby’s, 1892.

MC PHAIL, BERT. Special agent, Cooke & Whitby, 1892.


MC TIERNAN, MARY. Albino, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82.

MC VEIGH, JOHN E. True & McVeigh’s Mammoth Railroad Shows (Cecil A. True, John E. McVeigh, proprietors), 1896.

MC VEY, ANDY. Clown, Barnum & Bailey, 1892.

MC VEY, CHARLES E. (December 15, 1866 - July 1892) Acrobat. Born in Zanesville, OH. Entered the profession at age 18 with Thomas Pettit, performing on the horizontal bars for Weldon’s Circus. Following season, bar and trapeze performers, Wallace & Co.; Sells Bros.’, 1888-89; French and Co., 1891. Broke his neck and died from a fall.

MC VICKERS, JOHN. Clown, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881.


Copyright © 2005
William L. Slout and Circus Historical Society, Inc.
No part of this information may be reproduced in any form or means
without written permission of William L. Slout and the Circus Historical Society, Inc.

Last modified October 2005