Circus Historical Society
Olympians of the Sawdust Circle - POlympians of the Sawdust Circle: A biographical dictionary of the ninteenth century American circus
Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout
PAGE, GEORGE. (d. June 1, 1906) Clown, celebrated in his day as “Sawdust George.” Sustained injuries to his head that effected his mind and forced retirement from the arena while at the height of popularity. Died a pauper in Rochester, NY, age 81.
PAGE, HENRY S. Outstanding cornet player, L. B. Lent’s, 1873.
PAINTER, WILLIAM [r. n. William Bracken]. (d. December, 1877) Gymnast and acrobat, of Painter & Durand. Born in Johnstown, PA. Began working with A. P. Durand, 1855. Nixon & Kemp, 1858; Nixon & Co., 1859; Sloat & Shepherd, 1859. Went with the Aymar brothers (Walter and William) to California and engaged with John Wilson’s under the banner of Dan Rice’s Circus, 1860, performing at the American Theatre, San Francisco, which had been fashioned into an amphitheatre in the spring. Accompanied Doc Bassett’s to South America, leaving on the clipper ship Santa Claus, October 21, 1861. Orrin Bros.’, San Francisco, 1863; William Worrell’s Theatre, San Francisco, 1865; Bay View Park, San Francisco, 1866; Lee & Ryland’s Hippodrome, San Francisco, 1866, winter 1866-67. Died in Cincinnati, OH.
PALMER, ARTHUR G. Calliope player, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1876; Miles Orton’s, 1885.
PALMER BROTHERS [Robert, Harry]. Flying trapeze, leap for life, Cooper & Co., 1874.
PALMER, C. B. Had an interest in the Delavan-Adams show, which he sold by June, 1884.
PALMER, CLARENCE DELSMORE. Equestrian son of Mme. Ormond. Displayed an intellect rarely seen in a boy of his years. Was amiable and studious, habits that won him influential friends. Spalding & Rogers, 1849-55. Died at age 15.
PALMER, FRANK. Hostler. Started with the Burr Robbins’ show as a young man scarcely out of his teens, where he remained some 4 or 5 years. Later, Ringling Bros.’ for several years. [D. W. Watt: “He was always quiet and unassuming and where Frank had four or an eight horse team in charge when the parade was pulled out on the lot ready for the street, no boss hostler that Frank Palmer ever worked for worried about his turnout, for they knew that it would be right in every particular.”] Also with Gollmar Bros.’ Worked many years under Spencer Alexander, better known as “Delavan,” both with the Burr Robbins and later with the Ringling show.
PALMER, H. S. Palmer’s Great Western, 1865-66, after purchasing the show from John V. O’Brien toward the end of the 1864 season. Grandson of P. A. Older.
PALMER, HENRY CLAY. (d. January 18, 1910) Sideshow performer. Born in NYC. Began his career as a bell boy for the old Ann Street Museum, NYC. Later became one of the original glass blowers with P. T. Barnum’s. Died in NYC from asthma.
PALMER, HENRY. Rider, vaulter. Eagle Circus, 1836; Charles Bacon’s, 1837; Bacon & Derious, 1838-39; Welch & Bartlett, 1839; Welch & Mann, 1842. Married Louisa Wagstaff, a professional, 1842; (with wife), Welch & Mann, Mediterranean, 1843.
PALMER, JOSEPH D. With Jeremiah Fogg when he took over John Lamb’s circus, Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, December 31, 1831; had been treasurer for Fogg & Stickney, 1830; the firm continued at the Front Street Theatre for a while, then ended the partnership after a 6 week engagement at the Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia. In partnership with William Harrington as Palmer & Harrington, 1834; proprietor, Palmer’s Circus and Gymnastic Arena, 1835; Palmer’s Pavilion Circus, 1836-37. Was seen as a difficult employer.
PALMER, L. C. Proprietor (with Robert Chew), Atlantic and Pacific, 1872.
PALMER, LOUISA. Welch & Mann’s unit, Mediterranean, 1843-44. See Henry Palmer.
PALMER, R. A. (1848-1874) Balloon ascensionist, connected with Harry Buckley’s, spring 1874. In making an ascension for the townspeople of Delavan, before the circus went on the road, a guy line failed to cast off which resulted in the balloon rolling over and dragging him along the ground. When the balloon began to ascend he was severely injured from being smashed against the wall of the Park Hotel. Died 5 months later from complications.
PALMETTO, ROSINA. Robinson & Myers, 1883.
PAPE, BILLY. Acrobat and leaper, somersaulting over 5 elephants and 2 camels, a distance of 41’ 6”.
PARAZO, HARRY. Ringmaster, Caldwell’s Occidental, 1867.
PARENTO, CHARLES A., LUCAS D., OLIVIA. Gymnasts, Cooper & Co., 1874.
PARENTO, GEORGE. Gymnast, equilibrist. A. F. Tuttle’s, 1893; Sun Bros.’, 1896.
PARISH, L. H. Orchestra leader, S. O. Wheeler’s, 1867.
PARK, MANGO. Miles Orton’s, 1885.
PARKER, ANTHONY “TONY” [r. n. J. D. Agler]. (February 12, 1824-July 3, 1911) Clown. Started in the circus business with the VanAmburgh show at the age of 10, 1834, remaining until the Mexican War broke out, 1846. Rider, Mabie’s, 1848-50, 1854-55; John Robinson’s, 1852; Dan Rice’s, 1856, 1859-61; H. Buckley & Co., 1856; Spalding & Rogers, 1857-58. Spent 3 years in the service of the North during Civil War. Joined Yankee Robinson’s, 1866; Burr Robbins’, 1874; Cooper & Jackson, 1879. Performed for about 50 years. Author of On the Road with a Wagon Show. [Tony Parker: “I first went in as an acrobat and then became a clown and did nothing else for forty-five years, being a singer and Shakespearean jester. I made a success of this line of work and finally added riding, leaping and all branches of the business.”] Performed until 1888, retiring at the age of 85. Died, at his home in Winfield, KS, age 87.
PARKER, CHARLES W. (d. August 25, 1871) Began his career as a contortionist but by 1865 was a performing clown. Was a great favorite in the South, with his recognizable shout of “Whoa, January!” being heard wherever he appeared. Gardner & Hemmings, 1860-62; Nixon-Macarte, 1863; James M. Nixon’s Alhambra, NYC, fall 1863; Hippotheatron, NYC, late winter 1864; Melville’s Australian, 1864; Dan Castello’s, 1865-66; Seth B. Howes’, 1866; Yankee Robinson’s, 1866, 1868; Thayer & Noyes, 1867; Philadelphia Circus, winter 1867-68; Cooke’s, Philadelphia, winter 1867-68; Oriental Circus, 1870; Charles Noyes’ Crescent City, 1871. Died in Schenectady, NY.
PARKER, ED F. Talking and singing clown, Charles Lee’s, 1896.
PARKER, HARRY M. Trainer with 11 educated dogs. Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; John H. Murray’s, 1876; Burr Robbins’, 1878; Batcheller & Doris, 1882; Roberts and Gardner, 1886; John B. Doris & John L. Sullivan Show, 1888.
PARKER, JENNIE. C. T. Ames’, 1869.
PARKER, MR. and MRS. Flag dancers. Simpson & Price, Washington, January 1823; the Olympic, Philadelphia, May 1823; the Broadway Circus, NYC, June 1823; Blanchard & West, Canada, 1825; Mount Pitt Circus, NYC, 1827.
PARKER SISTERS. Charles Lee’s, 1887.
PARKHURST, GEORGE A. Boss canvasman. VanAmburgh & Co., 1881; Norris & Rowe, 1891; J. H. LaPearl’s, 1896.
PARKS, J. J. Treasurer, Campbell’s New York and Philadelphia Zoological and Equestrian Institute, 1869.
PARKS, JOHN J. (1822?-February, 1915) Privileges (with Frank Uffner), Howes’ Great London, 1873; purchased Howes’ Great London with Richard Dockrill, 1877, and was on the road with it for 2 years; title included Dockrill’s Parisian Circus and Grotesque Mardi Gras. Sold the show to James A. Bailey and James A. Cooper, 1879. Died in the national Elks Home, Bedford, VA, age 93.
PARMELEE, E. M. Band leader. French’s Oriental, 1867; VanAmburgh & Co., 1871.
PARMELEE, W. W. Contracting agent, Wallace & Anderson, 1890.
PARSONS, ARTHUR. Brother of Joe Parsons. Born and died in Darlington, WI. With Ringling Bros.’ about 17 years until 1910, when he left the circus business.
PARSONS, CHARLES J. Skatorial artist, Lowande & Hoffman, 1887.
PARSONS, JAMES. French & Monroe, 1885.
PARSONS, JOHN R. Cornet player and band leader. Sands & Quick, 1852; Lee & Bennett, San Francisco, 1856.
PARSON, JOSEPH. (d. 1895) Rider. With brothers, operated circuses, 1879-1883, on which Al Ringling was a performer. Rode a principal and great hurricane hurdle act on Ringling Bros.’, 1887, with a contract of $10 per week to do a high wire act, riding act, and outside ascension. Married Clarinda Lowande Lamkin, October 6, 1888, in the arena of Ringling Bros.’ at Praire du Chien, WI. Ringling Bros.’, 1889, but finished the season with George W. Richard’s Southern Circus, 1889-90; 4-horse act, principal act, 2-horse carrying act, and hurdle rider, Gollmar Bros.’, 1892; Shipp’s Midwinter Circus, Petersburg, IL, 1893-94, 1894-95.
PARSONS, SAMUEL B. Proprietor of menagerie and museum, Charleston, SC, 1817. Erected an arena at the corner of Eagle and State Streets, Albany, 1824. Parson’s Circus, Albany, around 1826. Built Pearl Street Circus there at a cost of $22,000, which included the horses; it failed to pay, 1829, and passed into the hands of S. J. Penniman, who later sold it to the Methodists to be used as a church. Thayer believes Parsons was the money man behind Bancker’s circus, 1824-26.
PARSONS, W. T. Agent, Cooper, Jackson & Co., 1882.
PARTINGTON, KATE. equestrienne and concert hall performer. Married to Hercules Libby. Warner & Henderson, 1874; with her trick horse, Montezuma, Springer’s, 1875; the North American Circus, 1877.
PASCALL, WILLIAM. Clown, Boston Lion Circus, 1836.
PASTOR, EDWARD. Manager, Alexander Robinson’s, 1871.
PASTOR, FRANK. (November 13, 1837-June 25, 1885) Rider. Brother of Tony and William Pastor. Born in NYC. Apprenticed to John J. Nathans at age 6 and remained with him until 1854. That year, joined Joe Pentland’s as a paid performer. Sailed for England, late 1856, and performed during the winter of that year throughout the British Isles. Summer 1857, was in Italy. In the winter, back in England. Following summer, 1858, Alhambra Palace, London. Subsequently, with Rentz’ on the Continent; Pablo Fanque’s, England, 1858; Price’s, Madrid, Spain, 1859; Cirque Napoleon, Paris, 1862; Signor Albisu’s, Havana, 1866; Parisian Circus, assembled for the Paris Exposition, 1867. While at the latter, used 3 large American flags in his performance. [John A. Dingess: “He was the first to unfold the stars and stripes in a Parisian circus, which had been established for more than forty years, and his performance was witnessed by Napoleon and the Emperess. The display of any flag except the French within the building was prohibited.”] Upon returning from Europe, connected with James M. French’s, 1869; equestrian director, co-proprietor, James Robinson’s, 1871-72; James W. Wilder & Co., 1873. Died of consumption, San Antonio, TX.
PASTOR, MARY AMELIA. (December 16, 1824-February 18, 1869) Wife of J. J. Nathans and possibly mother of Emma Nathans. May or may not be related to the Pastor boys who were apprenticed to Nathans at one time. See J. J. Nathans.
PASTOR, TONY. (May 28, 1837-August 26, 1908) Clown and negro minstrel. Brother of Frank and William Pastor. Born in NYC. Entered into show business at age of 6. Fall 1846, made debut at Barnum’s museum, appearing blackface and playing the tambourine in the minstrel band. April 1847, joined Raymond & Waring as a minstrel performer. That fall, apprenticed to John J. Nathan and made his debut in the arena at that time at Welch’s National Amphitheatre, Philadelphia. Welch, Delevan & Nathans, 1848; Federal Street Theatre, Boston, winter 1848-49; Welch, Nathans, Bancker & Christy, 1849-51. Sang comic songs in the ring, rode a “Pete Jenkins” act, tumbled with the acrobats, and danced “Lucy Long” in the minstrel aftershow. Was never a great success as a rider but was a valuable general performer—rode in the grand entry, tumbled, played ringmaster, sang comic songs, appeared in afterpieces. [John A. Dingess: “As a comic singer, he was looked upon by the circus going community to be without a peer.”] Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, fall 1851; through the East, Sands, Nathans & Quick, 1852; Bowery Amphitheatre, fall and winter 1852-53; Franconi’s Traveling Hippodrome, 1853; minstrel performer, Bowery, winter 1853-54; Mabie’s, 1854; ringmaster, general performer, sideshow performer, Levi J. North’s, 1855-56; North’s Amphitheatre, Chicago, winter 1855-56, 1856-57; Mabie’s, 1857-58; Sands, Nathans & Co., 1859; Dan Rice’s, Philadelphia, winter 1859-60. Made first appearance on variety stage, winter 1860, Rivers’ Melodeon, Philadelphia. Same winter, performed in the pantomime, The Monster of St. Michaels, NYC, Bowery Theatre, for Spalding & Rogers. Then returned to the Melodeon, remaining until April 1861. Having tired of traveling, decided to adopt the variety profession and began filling engagements as comic vocalist. Within a short time, went into management and became the most famous of the variety proprietors and, what he was later to be called, “the father of vaudeville.” As a New York manager, career began July 31, 1865, when he opened the Opera House, 201 Bowery. Remained there until March 27, 1875. October 4 of that year, assumed the management of 585 Broadway. October 10, 1881, leased the Germania Theatre, East 14th Street, NYC, and on October 24 the place was dedicated as Tony Pastor’s Theatre. The building burned on June 6, 1888. Another theatre was erected on the site and formally dedicated, October 22, that same year. Died in Elmhurst, NJ.
PASTOR, WILLIAM. (August 6, 1840-October 23, 1877) Clown and acrobat. Born in NYC, the brother of Tony and Frank Pastor. Introduced to the circus business as an apprentice to John J. Nathans. As early as 1848, with Welch, Delevan & Nathans and remained for several years; appeared at the Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, winter 1852-53; Washburn’s, 1853-54, standing on his head atop a pole 30' high; Mabie’s, 1857, as rider and vaulter; Nixon & Kemp, NYC, fall 1858; Sands, Nathans & Co., Broadway Theatre, NYC, fall 1858. Following year, went to Spain, making his debut July 4, 1860, as an acrobat. Following this, went to Denmark and appeared as a trick clown; and hence around Europe and then to Cuba for Chiarini, clowning in the Spanish language. Spalding & Rogers, Nassau, clowning in English. On return to NYC, his vessel was wrecked on a New Jersey beach, April 2, 1864. Clown, Hippotheatron, 14th Street, NYC. Went west with Spalding & Rogers, and, subsequently, back to Havana. During this time, Dr. Spalding advised him to turn vocalist, which he did, making his debut on October 11, 1865 at Spalding, Rogers & Bidwell’s Academy of Muisic, New Orleans. And so, leaving the circus in the manner of his brother, embarked on a successful variety career.
PATRICK, C. Michael O’Conner & Co., 1870.
PATRICK, WARREN A. See Joe Hepp.
PATTERSON BROTHERS. Gymnasts. French & Monroe, 1885; McFlinn’s, 1888; Main & VanAmburgh, 1890. One of the brothers, George Patterson, turned a backward double somersault from the swing.
PATTERSON, JAMES. Challenge bareback and Indian rough rider, Edmund Maurice’s Old Fashioned Circus, 1896.
PATTERSON, JOHN. (d. May 31, 1889) Irish clown. Born in Tralee, Ireland. Grew up with no formal education. Began professionally as a snare drummer; shortly, became successful as a singing and talking clown. Brought to the United States by Cooper and Bailey, 1876, with whom he remained for 2 seasons. April 16, 1877, appeared at Tony Pastor’s Theatre, also starred at the Theatre Comique, NYC, January 7, 1878. Howes’, 1877-78; variety performer, Olympic Theatre, Brooklyn, 1879; Cooper & Bailey, 1879, concert manager and Irish balladist, 1880; Batchelor & Doris, 1881. Returning to his native Ireland around 1886 with a small fortune, bought an interest in a small circus managed by Jimmy Keely and renamed the show Kelly & Patterson’s. Upon Keely’s death, married his widow. Died of consumption in the town of his birth. Had a fine baritone voice and sang such songs of his own composition as “Bridget Donoghue,” “The Rambler From Clare,” “A Garden Where The Praties Grow,” and “There Never Was A Coward Where The Shamrock Grows.” Irish brogue was refreshing, manner refined and gentle and performance, reported the Toronto Daily Leader, “sparkles like the effervescence from a bottle of newly opened champagne.” [D. W. Watt: “What made Patterson so unique a figure among the clowns of his day was the spontaneity of his wit and his fresh and unconventional humor. He did not peddle around a stale bag of hackneyed jokes. Often, as Mr. Doris told me, he would bound into the ring and take the ringmaster by surprise with a batch of unpremeditated jokes that sprang from his Celtic imagination, on the spur of the moment and as fast as he could utter them.”]
PATTERSON, MINNIE. Single trapeze. Walter L. Main’s, 1891; Frank A. Gardner’s, West Indies, winter 1891-92.
PATTON, G. T. Manager advertising car #4, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882.
PAUL, J. Gymnast, John Robinson’s, 1880.
PAUL, J. W. Strongman. June, Titus & Angevine, 1842; LeTort’s French Circus, 1842; Rockwell & Stone, 1842; Great Western, 1847; 40-horse driver, Spalding & Rogers, 1850-55; Howes & Cushing, England, 1857, handling the 40 cream-colored horses that drew the Appollonicon; Nixon & Kemp, 1858; James M. Nixon’s, 1859; Antonio & Wilder, 1859-60; Orton Bros.’, 1865; 40-horse driver, Stone & Murray, 1870-72; John H. Murray’s, 1873-75.
PAUL, T. G. Clown, VanAmburgh & Co., 1874.
PAULIN, EMMA C. See Emma Nathans.
PAULING, JAMES [or Paulding]. General performer, L. B. Lent’s, 1859-60, 1861-62.
PAULSCHOFF, HERR. Lion tamer, W. W. Cole’s, 1871.
PAULSEN, FREDERICK. Strong man, Lowande & Hoffman, 1887.
PAWLE, M. Strong man, Thompson, Smith & Hawes, 1866.
PAYNE, GEORGE [or Paine]. Armless wonder, Yankee Robinson’s, 1866; Sheldenburger & Co., 1871; Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880; Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881.
PAYNE, JAMES [“Buckskin Bill”]. Sharp shooter, Gollmar Bros.’, 1896.
PAYNE, MISS. 2-horse rider. Became Mrs. Coty, 1826. Appeared with Pepin’s troupe, 1823, as a Roman rider, a standing act in which one foot was on each of two horses. A reviewer wrote: “A very charming young lady, and a graceful performer.” [Stuart Thayer: “Her contribution literally raised the place of her gender in the ring above the side-saddle riding of most of her predecessors. Her status as a single woman on public display was most unusual, as it was more common for equestriennes to be the wives or daughters of male performers.”] After marriage, continued performing until 1843. Pepin & Barnet, Natchez, MS, 1823-24; Pepin’s, St. Louis, MO, 1826-27; J. P. Brown’s, 1831; Palmer’s, 1833; Eldred’s, 1834. Rider and vaulter, “stands as a statue to enchant the world,” and described as having “graceful enthusiasm.”
PAZATTI, MLLE. Snake charmer, W. W. Cole’s, 1886.
PEARSON, J. H. Bareback, hurdle and 4-horse rider. Came to this country, spring 1869, with Frank Pastor, who was returning from a European stay.
PEASE, CHARLES. Chief bill poster, P. T. Barnum’s, 1874.
PEASE, W. L. Advance press agent, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872.
PEASLEY, FLINT. Agent. John Sears’, 1859, performing in the New England states; Goodwin & Co., 1860; Wambold & Whitby, 1961; Slaymaker & Nichols, 1864.
PECK, FRANK. Clown, Prof. E. Hamilton & Sargeant, 1878.
PECK, WILLIAM K. Advertiser. For many years manager of advertising car No. 1, Adam Forepaugh’s. Special agent, Forepaugh’s, 1891. Continued with Forepaugh until the show joined with Sells Bros.’ Great Wallace, 1896; general agent, Al G. Barnes animal show, from 1920 until retirement, 1927. Known as “Exactly” Peck because in all his work everything had to be exact. [D. W. Watt: “Peck was one of the particular kind; every contract had to be just so, and if anything out of the ordinary came up, his explanation would be long and to the point.”]
PECKHAM, R. W. Contractor, Great Wallace, 1896.
PEDANTO. Gymnast, tight-rope artist, balloonist. 1874.
PEDRINELLI, F. [or Perdinella]. Sideshow trained monkeys, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1881-82.
PEEK, MYRTIE. (March 11, 1866-December 17, 1899) Equestrienne. Born in Leonidas, MI. Made debut, 1882. Sister of Madame Marantette. Died at her home, Silver Lake, MA, from pneumonia.
PEEL, MATT: (January 15, 1830-May 4, 1859) Born in NYC of Irish parents. When about 2 years old, his parents removed to Brooklyn, LI, where his father died, 1846. 1840, danced in public at a number of benefits at the Military Garden. 1843, organized a party to give Ethiopian concerts and traveled through Rhode Island. 1846, engaged by June & Titus to travel with their circus. Was one of the best eccentric performers on the Ethiopian stage and was never at a loss for a point upon which to “bring down the house.” Extremely jealous of his reputation; would never permit another to eclipse him in fun. First to bring forward that popular saying, “He was a good man; as good a man an over lived—but he can’t keep a hotel.” Made last appearance on the stage at Buffalo, NY, May 2, 1859. On the morning of the 4th, about 5 o’clock, while sitting up in bed conversing with his wife, instantly expired as he was exclaiming, “Oh, May, I am dying.” His wife subsequently became the wife of J. T. Huntley.
PEEL, TOMMY. Left with John Wilson’s for the Southwest Pacific, September 18, 1865.
PELHAM, RICHARD WARD [r. n. Richard W. Pell]. (February 13, 1815-October 8, 1856) Born in NYC. Made first appearance on the stage, 1835, Bowery Theatre, NYC, with T. D. Rice in Oh, Hush!. Afterwards traveled with Turner’s, executing a song and dance. Appeared at various theatres in New York; became one of the original minstrel band and went to England. Never returned to America, 1843. Last engagement, August 1856. Died in Liverpool, England, of cancer of the stomach and was buried in Anfield Cemetery. Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1840; Howes & Mabie, 1841; Henry Rockwell & Co., winter 1841; Hubble & Co., 1842.
PELL, ABNER W. (d. September 27, 1865) Treasurer. Rockwell & Co.’s, 1838, 1848; Rufus Welch’s, New Orleans, 1853; last engagement, Dan Castello’s. Leaving the business, kept the Cottage Place Hotel, Chicago, a hangout for circus people. Died there, age 45.
PELL, CHARLES C. (1818-1889) Agent. Born in NYC. Rockwell & Co., 1847-48; Levi J. North’s canal show, 1853-55; Rowe’s, 1856; Eldred’s, 1858; Levi J. North’s, 1859; Miles’ Circus Royale, Canada, 1863; Dan Castello’s, 1867-69; Gregory & Orrin, 1869; James M. Nixon’s, 1870; general business agent, Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1871; trainmaster, P. T. Barnum’s, 1872; Conklin Bros.’ Crystal Palace Circus, 1872; general agent, Montgomery Queen’s, 1873-76. Died in Denver, age 71.
PELL, LEONARD. Juggler, L. B. Lent’s, 1876.
PELL, RICHARD W. See Richard Ward Pelham.
PELLET, S. S. Clown, Hilliard, Hamilton & Hunting, 1876.
PENDERGAST, GEORGE. Acrobat, Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875.
PENDERGAST, JIMMY “CURLEY.” Clown. The brother of Charles Pendergast. One time, one of the Three Renaldos. Connected with Ringling Bros.’ Died in Chicago, January 17, 1910, age 29.
PENDERGAST, JOHN. Negro minstrel, Albizu’s, Havana, 1866.
PENDERGAST, WILLIAM. Zoological director, Maginley & Co., 1874.
PENNY, H. W. Gymnast, whose trapeze and horizontal bar partner was George Goldie, as well as others. Rice’s, 1859-60; Miles’ Circus Royale, Canada, spring 1863; James M. Nixon’s Alhambra, NYC, fall 1863; Thayer & Noyes, 1864; S. O. Wheeler’s, Boston, winter 1864-65; Stone, Rosston & Murray, winter 1866-67; Dan Rice’s, 1868; (with Lewis Kline) trapeze and horizontal bars as the Delevanti Brothers, beginning in 1868; assistant manager, Haight’s Great Eastern, 1874; treasurer, Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875.
PENTLAND, JOE. (1816-February 7, 1873) Clown. Born in Boston of poor Irish immigrant parents. One of the earliest singing clowns in America. Famous for his impromptu songs and portrayal of a drunken sailor on horseback, and as ventriloquist, balancer, and magician. Aaron Turner’s, 1830-31, 1836; T. L. Stew art’s, 1831-32; J. J. Hall’s, 1836; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1839-41; Howes & Mabie, 1841; VanAmburgh’s, England, 1844; Welch & Mann, 1845-46; John Tryon’s, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1845; Sands, Lent & Co., Chatham Theatre, NYC, 1847; R. Sands & Co., 1849. 1852-56, had his own show, Joe Pentland’s Dramatic Equestrian Establishment. Joined Howes & Cushing, England, 1857-58; returned to America, 1859. Cooke’s Royal Amphitheatre (James M. Nixon, proprietor), Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1860; First National Union Circus (combination of Nixon’s Royal Circus and Sloat’s New York Circus), NYC, fall 1861; L. B. Lent’s, Philadelphia, 1861, for whom he worked on and off several years; S. P. Stickney’s, 1861. John Wilson had a circus under the Pentland name in California, 1862, but there was no sign of Pentland being present. L. B. Lent’s Broadway Amphitheatre, NYC, winter, 1863-64; S. O. Wheeler’s, Boston, 1864; Dan Rice’s, 1865; New American Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1865-66. Died in NYC. Jane Ann, his widow, died there, May 3, 1874, in her 57th year.
PEOPLES, KATE. (d. October 30, 1877) Wife of George Peoples, bareback rider. Connected with Wilson & Kingsley, accompanying the show to South and Central America, 1864-65. Died in San Fancisco.
PEOPLES, GEORGE. (d. December 18, 1866) Equestrian. Lee & Marshall, 1852-56; Rowe & Marshall, 1857-58; John Wilson’s, California, 1860; John Wilson’s “Joe Pentland” Circus, California, 1862; Orrin’s, San Francisco, 1863; Chiarini’s, 1866; Grand Reserve Combination, 1866. Major circus activity was confined to the West Coast. Became one of the chief mine owners of the famous Reese River claims at Austin, Nevada Territory. Died of cholera in Houston, TX.
PEPIN, VICTOR. (March 8, 1780-1845) Born in Albany, fourth child of Andre Pepin. Father was born in France about 1735, and migrated to Canada at the age of 25 or 30; married Judith Dauni in 1760 in Boucherville, Quebec; was a captain in the Canadian militia, joined the American forces that invaded Quebec in November 1775; moved his wife and children to New York State; served in the army until 1779. Family moved to the west shore of Lake Champlain in 1786, where land was set aside by the state to be given to Canadian and Nova Scotian refugees who had served in the Continental Army. Andre went to France, 1793, and never returned, abandoning his family consisting of his wife and four children. Took Victor with him. Victor returned in the partnership of Pepin & Breschard, who brought their circus, including horses and company, to Boston from Spain, winter 1807-08. June 2, opened in NYC, corner of Broadway and Anthony Street, probably performing nearly continuously until the end of December. Followed by opening in Philadelphia, Ninth and Walnut Streets, February 2, 1809. Returned to NYC, opening July 1, 1809, and continuing until August 26. The company seems to have alternated seasonally between New York and Philadelphia for several years, offering both circus performances and horse dramas. In circus management in USA from 1807 to 1827. Small in stature and darkeyed, the father of 4 children, a proficient rider and an excellent trainer of horses. Stuart Thayer describes him as “one of the foremost contributors to the history of the American circus.” Pepin & Breschard, along with partner Cayetano Mariotini, have the distinction of taking the first organized circus company beyond the Appalachians, which occured spring, 1814, when the company performed in Pittsburgh and then in Cincinnati. Charleston stand, fall 1814, was the last in which the two rider/managers were together; company was split at the end of November, Breschard taking his compliment to Savannah and Pepin continuing at Charleston through the beginning of January, 1815. Left the country and did not return until 1816; when he opened a circus in Philadelphia to little success. After James West’s troupe landed in NYC that year, Pepin induced him to come to Philadelphia, presumably at the place Pepin had been occupying, intending to revive his fortunes through West. Opened in Baltimore for a time, 1817. Organized a group of stockholders to purchase the Olympic, Philadelphia, sometime in 1818, and presented hippodramas. Appeared again, August 1821, Pensacola, FL, newly arrived from Havana, to take advantage of the influx of people for the exchanging of flags between the United States and Spain. Following year, in New Orleans, associated with a performer named Barnet in conducting the Olympic Circus. April 12, 1823, farewell advertisement was issued through the press and the company worked its way to St. Louis, MO; after many reverses, returned to Philadelphia, 1831, poor and friendless; an offer to give riding lessons got little response; compassionately, the management of the Arch Street Theatre held a benefit in his name. Regarding his tour, Thayer quotes the Mississippian: “When we speak of Mr. Pepin we must give him higher praise than that which belongs merely to the leader of a band of excellent equestrians. His gentlemanly deportment and correctness of principal place him far above such praise.” Was a dashing rider, who executed surprising leaps over boards and ribbons, and daring feats astride two horses. [T. Allston Brown: “I have not seen a more dexterous or sure equestrian since Pepin.”]
PEPPER, THOMAS. Gymnast. John Robinson’s, 1857; Thayer’s (Thayer and Phelps, proprietors), small clown troupe, 1861; George W. DeHaven & Co., 1866; Dan Castello’s, 1867-69; E. Stowe’s Northwestern, 1871.
PERCIVAL, DAVID. 16-horse chariot driver, Stone & Murray, 1869.
PERCIVAL, R. General performer, Driesbach & Howes, 1868.
PERCY, ALEXANDER. Iron-jaw man, Ryland’s, returning to California after about 5 years spent in South and Central America, 1878.
PERCY, FRANK. Agent, W. H. Stowe’s, 1881.
PERCY, HARRY. Courtney & Sanford’s Minstrels, a party made up in New York to travel with Courtney & Sanford’s Circus in South America. Sailed from New York, July 23, 1873.
PERDITTI, A. Equestrian, John Robinson’s, 1881.
PEREZ, MARINO. Peruvian contortionist and foot juggler. Castle Garden; Fogg & Stickney’s; John Lamb’s, 1831; Joseph D. Palmer’s, 1833; Crane & Eldred, 1834; Buckley, Weeks & Co., 1835; Boston Lion Circus, 1836; Lion Theatre Circus, 1837; Robinson & Foster, 1844; Welch & Mann, 1846; R. Sands’, 1849. Performed with Italian sticks and balanced a 16” globe on his feet, and concluded by dancing a Horn-pipe feet upwards, with a pole on them 10’ in length.
PERILLE, ROMANZA. Stone, Rosston & Murray, 1866; Whitby & Co., 1867.
PERINE, FRANK. Gymnast, Sells Bros.’, 1873-74.
PERKINS, J. H. Brass band leader, George W. DeHaven’s, 1865.
PERLEY, FRANK L. Agent, Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson, 1882; succeeded David S. Thomas as press agent, P. T. Barnum, 1885-87; press representative, Barnum & Bailey, 1891-93.
PERPENO. Mexican clown, Howes’ New London, 1888.
PERRIN, W. Elephant keeper, western unit of June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1842.
PERRY, ALBERT. Lowande & Hoffman, 1887.
PERRY, EBEN WOOD. Equestrian. A lengthy career in the American circus. H. H. Fuller’s, 1838; J. W. Stocking’s, 1839; Howes & Mabie, 1841; Comanche chief, Welch’s, Philadelphia, 1843; Howes and Gardner, 1844; Nathan A. Howes’, 1845; Rockwell & Stone, 1845; Sands, Lent, 1846-47; E. F. & J. Mabie’s, 1848; Dr. Gilbert R. Spalding’s, 1849; Welch & Delevan, 1849; Spalding & Rogers, 1849-53, as “the Olympic Jehu, and without competitor in his 4-horse acts”; equestrian director, Wesley Barmore’s, 1854; equestrian director, Mabie’s, 1856; Hyatt Frost’s, 1857; VanAmburgh & Co., Broadway Theatre, winter 1857-58; New National Circus (John Tryon, proprietor), winter 1857-58; George F. Bailey & Co., 1858-61; VanAmburgh & Co., 1859; 3 and 4-horse rider, Levi J. North’s, 1863; equestrian director, Lake & Co., winter, 1863-64; equestrian director and 2 and 4-horse rider, Yankee Robinson’s, Chicago, 1866-67; 2-horse act, Dan Rice’s, 1868; equestrian director, Campbell’s, 1869; Stowe’s, 1870; equestrian director, G. G. Grady’s, 1871; Central Park, 1872; North American Circus (Asa B. Stow, manager), 1873-77; Sells Bros.’, 1878; equestrian director, Great Commonwealth, transported by the boat, William Newman, 1879. Patriarch of the Perry clan of riders, which included daughters Minnie, Jennie, Isabella, Julia, and son Tom. Of the group, Minnie was the only one to pursue a lengthy career.
PERRY, ISABELLA. Equestrienne daughter of E. W. Perry, George F. Bailey & Co., 1858-62; Lake’s, 1863.
PERRY, JENNIE. Equestrienne daughter of E. W. Perry. VanAmburgh’s, Broadway Theatre, December 1857; George F. Bailey & Co., 1860-61; Lake & Co., 1863; Dan Rice’s, 1869. Later, married and retired from the profession.
PERRY, JULIA. Equestrienne daughter of E. W. Perry. G. G. Grady’s, 1871.
PERRY, MINNIE. (d. 1886) Equestrienne daughter of E. W. Perry. George F. Bailey & Co., 1860; Yankee Robinson’s, 1865; 2-horse act with her father and also performed with her 2 ponies, Puck and Oberon, Dan Rice’s, 1868; principal and pony acts, Campbell’s, 1869; G. G. Grady’s, 1871; Central Park Circus, 1872; J. W. Wilder’s, 1873; North American, 1875; New York Central Park, 1877; Sells Bros.’, 1878; principal equestrienne, Great Commonwealth, transported by the boat, William Newman, 1879; Orrin Bros.’, Mexico, winter 1882. Married Carlos Dashway (or Dashaway). Dashway was with Nathans & Co., 1882, when his wife gave birth to baby girl, Philadelphia. Circus Ciniselli, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1883; Sells Bros.’, 1886. Died of typhoid fever.
PERRY, OLIVER H. Acrobat. Brown & Mills, 1838, later as Waterman & Co.; Waring & Raymond, 1842.
PERRY, OSCAR P. Band leader. Rivers & Derious, 1857, 1864; Stone, Rosston & Murray, 1867; Stone & Murray, 1870-72; John H. Murray’s, 1873, 1879; S. P. Stickney & Son’s, 1874; Cameron’s Great Oriental, 1875; E. H. Howes’, 1888.
PERRY, S. J. Equestrian, George F. Bailey & Co., 1861-62.
PERRY, THOMAS. Equestrian. Son of E. W. Perry. George F. Bailey & Co., 1860-61; Lake & Co., 1863; Yankee Robinson’s, 1865.
PERRY, THOMAS R. Press agent, Doris & Colvin, 1887.
PERRY, W. C. (March 11, 1836-February 3, 1900) Proprietor, Perry’s, 1887.
PERRY, WILLIAM H. Assistant manager, with Rosston, Springer & Henderson, 1872.
PETEROFF, THEODORE. (d. January, 1904) Side-show performer, billed as “Jo Jo, the Dog Faced Boy.” Stood 5’ in height and had a thick covering of hair over his entire body and peculiarly shaped head. Money-making curiosity, brought to the United States from Russia by Nick Forster and first exhibited, 1885, as one of the principals of Barnum & Bailey, Madison Square Garden. S. H. Barrett’s, 1887. Later, with Barnum & Bailey for several years. Died of pneumonia in Salomica, Turkey.
PETERS, PROF. Chicago band leader, Howe & Norton, 1864; Great European, 1865.
PETERS, S. C. Proprietor and treasurer, Great Trans-Atlantic Allied Shows, 1879.
PETERSON, JACK. Clown, John Robinson’s, 1857-58.
PETERSON, JOHN. Clown. Howes & Sands, 1834-35; Robinson & Eldred, 1847.
PETERSON, JOHN. Elephant trainer and boss animal man, Reichold Shows, 1897.
PETTIT, CHARLES. Main & Burdick, 1880; clown, Frank A. Robbins’, 1888.
PETTIT, C. W. Band leader, New York Central Park Circus, 1877.
PETTIT, S. S. Clown, Goldenburg’s (John V. O’Brien, proprietor), 1874.
PETTIT, THOMAS. (b. 1863) Acrobat. Born in Zanesville, OH. Performed with various partners - Charles E. McVey, Danny Ryan, James Stitt. Hilliard & Main, 1883; aerial return act, Sells Bros.’, 1888-89; French & Co., 1891; Walter L. Main, 1895; bars and double trapeze, Wallace & Co., 1896. After marriage, formed a family act with wife, Elizabeth, and sons, Ray, Walter, Charles.
PEZOLT, CHARLES. Band leader, Johnson & Co., 1881.
PFAU, JOSEPH. (d. October 10, 1870) Russian athlete. Born in St. Petersburg but spent most of his life in France. First USA performance, L. B. Lent’s New York Circus, 1867-68. Flying trapeze, winter circus, Academy of Music, New Orleans, January, 1869; Hanlon Brothers combination, 1869. Death occurred at Chester, Orange County, NY, age about 29.
PHANLON BROTHERS [Louis, William, Wash]. Acrobats. Martell, Phanlon & Co., 1885.
PHELPS, CHARLES Agent, Dan Rice’s, 1863-64.
PHELPS, FRANK C. Posturer with 4 pupils, Washburn’s, 1855; Dan Rice’s, 1857; clown, Yankee Robinson’s, 1860; Dr. James L. Thayer’s (Thayer and Phelps), small clown troupe, 1861; James M. Nixon’s, Washington, DC, fall 1862.
PHELPS, LEW. Clog and jig dancer, Hippocomoque, 1868.
PHELPS, MARY. Rider, L. B. Lent’s, 1862.
PHELPS, P. A. Orator, Reed’s, 1893.
PHELPS, W. H. Ringmaster, Great New York Circus, 1877; James T. Johnson’s, 1888; Lemen Bros.’, 1891.
PHILLIPE, SAM. Ringmaster. Brown’s Mammoth Arena, 1834-36; Bacon & Derious, 1838; Welch, Bartlett & Co., 1839.
PHILLIPS, C. H. Treasurer, Phillips-Scott Union Pacific Circus, 1888.
PHILLIPS, CLYDE. Juggler, slack-wire performer, Wallace & Anderson, 1890.
PHILLIPS, M. S. Dan Rice’s, January, 1851.
PHILLIPS, SAM. Debut January 1, 1828, Providence Circus; no longer apprentice, Brown & Weeks, 1834; ringmaster, Brown’s, 1835; ringmaster, Brown & Co., 1836; ringmaster, Bacon & Derious, 1838-39; clown, Welch & Bartlett, 1839.
PICARD, P. E. Agent, Chiarini’s, South and Central America, 1869.
PICARDO, M. Contortionist and equilibrist, Bruce L. Baldwin’s, 1894.
PICKETT, SAMUEL. Acrobat, G. G. Grady’s, 1874.
PIERCE, A. W. N. Smith’s Ethiopians, VanAmburgh & Co., 1860.
PIERCE, ALVIZA. Lion tamer. Raymond & Co., 1846-47; animal keeper, P. T. Barnum’s, 1851; Howes’ European, winter 1864, took over the lions after the death of Crockett, 1865, 1867-70; Yankee Robinson’s, Chicago, 1866; zoological director, Howes & Cushing, 1875; supt. of zoological dept., Montgomery Queen’s, 1876. He entered the den and compelled the wild beasts to perform groupings, pyramids, and leaping through hoops and balloons of fire; he fed them raw meat with his naked hands and discharged firearms while there.
PIERCE, EARL H. (1823-June 5, 1859) Born in NYC. Went on to become one of the greatest comic banjo soloists of his day and to achieve fame by his song of “Hoop-de-dooden-do.” First appearance before the public, Philadelphia, Ogden & Raymond’s Circus. Then, 1842, joined a minstrel party composed of Frank Brower, Jimmy O’Connell, Frank Diamond, Mestayer, Dan Emmett, and Master Pierce. At this time, they were performing at Franklin Theatre, NYC. Leaving the minstrels for a while, joined Turner’s Circus. Later, E. P. Christy’s Minstrels. Went to England, 1856, and died suddenly in London 3 years later.
PIERCE, MINNIE. Aerialist, McMahon’s, 1888.
PIERCE, S. L. (d. February 12, 1887) In charge of the Tom Thumb group, P. T. Barnum’s.
PIERSON, CHARLES H. General agent, Phil Diefenbach’, 1892.
PIESLEY, ROBERT. Equestrian director, Albert M. Wetter’s New Model Shows, 1893.
PINDS, SAMUEL. Haight & Chambers, 1867.
PINKMAN, J. Detective, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
PIQUET, VICTOR. (d. 1848) Contortionist. St. Charles Circus, New Orleans, 1841; Hobby & Pratt, 1842; Spalding’s North American, 1842, 1847; Nathan A. Howes’, winter 1843-44; Howes & Gardner, 1844; Rockwell & Stone, 1844-46; S. P. Stickney’s, 1847. Died in New Orleans of cholera.
PITRE, “PETER the AFRICAN.” First to be advertised as a vaulter. Pepin & Breschard, Charleston, 1807-08, leaping 5 horses and 2 “fiery galleries”; was also one of three men who, in 1811, used the trampoline, a canvas-covered frame, as an aid to height and distance in leaping. Stewart’s, 1809; Davis’, 1810; Cayetano’s, 1811.
PIZZARRO, J. H. George W. DeHaven & Co., 1865.
PLATE, WILLIAM. Master of horse, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1875.
PLATT, GEORGE. Advance agent, P. T. Barnum’s, 1875.
PLATT, RICHARD. Co-proprietor, James M. Nixon’s, 1865.
PLATT, WILLIAM. Boss hostler, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872.
PLATTNER, HIRAM. Aeronaut, “Trip to the Clouds,” G. G. Grady’s, 1873.
PLIMPTON, GEORGE. Celebrated Kent bugler, James W. Bancker’s, traveling in New York state, 1832.
PLUNKARD, A. J. Treasurer, Albert M. Wetter’s New Model Shows., 1893.
PLUTANO AND WAINO. (1827-May or June 1912) Exhibited with his brother, Waino as the “Wild Men from Borneo.” Actual names were Hiram W. and Barney Davis. Was advertised they were brought to America in the 1850s by a Capt. Hammond, who claimed he found them in the wilds of Borneo. Actually, Hiram was born on Long Island, Barney in England. The bidding for their services was stiff but they became major curiosities on a level with Jo Jo, the Dog-Faced Boy and the Siamese Twins. [Prof. J. Frank Stanley: “The Museum and sideshow stories about their early ferocity, their aboriginal dialect, their gradual yielding to training, and their wonderful strength were founded mainly on fact.”] The brothers never weighed more than 45 pounds each but they had the strength to lift full grown men. Although they had subnormal mentalities, they were good natured and gentle. Waino died at the age of 80. Plutano died at the age of 87 at the home of Henry D. Warner in Waltham, MA. Warner’s father, Hanaford Warner, was their manager for more than 50 years.
POGGY, JOHN. Elephant trainer. From Salem, NJ. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1888. Killed on September 25 of that year, DuBois, PA, while attempting to unload an elephant that had been angered from being fed apples by spectators which contained tobacco and pepper.
POLAND, THOMAS W. Equestrian director, Castello & VanVleck’s, 1863-64; ringmaster and equestrian director, Haight & Chambers, 1867; ringmaster, C. T. Ames’, New Orleans, 1868; ringmaster, Noyes’ Crescent City, 1870-72. Spent summer, 1871, breaking pad horses and trick mules for Noyes. Great International, 1873-74. Married Carlotta R. Davis in Louisville, Kentucky, January 27, 1874. The bride was a native of that city.
POMEROY, W. H. Proprietor, Great International Railroad Shows, 1891-92. Collapsed at Anaheim, CA, July 1892.
POOLE, THOMAS. Claiming to be the “first American who ever exhibited feats of equestrianism on the continent,” erected the first circus structure in Philadelphia, south side of Market Street, between Schuylkill, 7th and 8th, 1775. Tickets for the “first” seats were 5 shillings and for the “second” seats 3 shillings, ninepence. One act in his program consisted of 3 horses that imitated “playing dead,” one groaning as if in pain, then rising and bowing to the audience; another sitting up like a “lady’s lap dog.” Arrived in New York, 1786, for exhibitions on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning September 21st. Program reflected much of what Bates had done; and, indeed, Pool may have been a student of Bates. Site of his riding was advertised to be on the hill near the Jewish Burial Ground, in the vicinity of Chatham Square. Added a band of music and a clown who entertained the ladies and gentlemen between the feats, giving Pool a chance to rest before his next equestrian challenge. The visit persisted until the first of November.
PORTER. Contortionist, Frost & Co., 1837.
PORTER, DAVID. Boss canvasman, Warner & Henderson, 1874.
PORTER, ELEAZER. Innkeeper, Hartford, CT, who constructed a building suitable for circus performances behind his hotel, 1824, and became, as Stuart Thayer suggests, the first non-professional involved in arena ownership.
PORTER, JOE. Treasurer. J. E. Warner & Co., 1871; Warner & Henderson, 1874.
PORTER, MAMIE. Fat lady, John B. Doris’, 1883. Married Mons. Fowler, “the White Moor,” in Dover, NJ, August 26, 1883.
PORTER, WALTER. (d. December 9, 1912) Acrobat. Member and founder of the Melrose Troupe, connected with Barnum & Bailey and other such organizations. Died, Bridgeport, CT, age 41.
PORTER, WILLIAM. Contracting agent, Wallace & Co., 1885.
PORTER, WILLIAM H. [“Billy”]. (d. January 25, 1903) Clown. Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1869; Philadelphia Circus, winter 1870-71; Rosston, Springer & Henderson, 1871-72; L. B. Lent’s, 1873; clown, P. T. Barnum’s, 1875; New National Theatre, Philadelphia, winter 1876-77; Cooper & Bailey, South America, 1878; Anderson & Co., 1879. Opened a saloon, Twelfth and Callowhill Streets, Philadelphia, January 1873. Died in that city.
POSEY, JAKE. (b. June 27, 1863) Noted driver of 10 to 40-horse teams. Born in Cedar Grove, IN. Made his home in Cincinnati. First year on the road, VanAmburgh & Co., 1880; Sells Bros.’, 1881-83; S. H. Barrett, 1884-87; drove beautiful 6-horse bill wagon, Stowe, Long & Gumble, 1888; Miller & Freeman, 1889; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1890; boss hostler, John Robinson’s, 1891; boss hostler, Robert Hunting’s, 1893-95; Barnum & Bailey, 1896; B. E. Wallace & Co., 1897; Barnum & Bailey, in Europe, 1897-1902; Buffalo Bill’s, 1903-07; Campbell’s, 1910; Yankee Robinson’s, 1911-13; Hagenbeck & Wallace, 1914-16; Al G. Barnes’, 1921; Sparks’, 1923-30; Al G. Barnes’, 1931-35; Hagenbeck & Wallace, 1936. Wife, Jessie, was a non-professional.
POST, SIMON B. W. Band leader. Rockwell & Stone, 1843; Howes & Gardner, 1844; June & Turner, 1847; Col. Mann’s, 1849; Rufus Welch’s, 1850-52; Welch & Lent, 1855; Yankee Robinson’s, 1867.
POTTER, CHARLES A. (d. June 23, 1918) Program agent, John H. Murray’s, 1874-75; press agent, 1877; Den W. Stone’s, 1878; advertising car supt., Adam Forepaugh’s, 13 years off and on through 1894; Great Wallace, 1895-98, completing 27th year as an advertiser. At end of season, located in Danielson, CT, as an advertising agent and reporter for the Wendham County Transcript. Died at St. Cloud, FL, age 73.
POTTER, HARRY, and ELLA. Trapeze performers. Fulford & Co., 1890; Sells Bros.’, 1891; W. B. Reynolds’, 1892.
POTTER, JOHN T. Proprietor and manager. Native of Ogdenburg, NY. On the road with John T. Potter’s Victory Arena and Great Western Circus, 1844-46; the latter year, his final year of circus management, changed the title to great Empire Circus.
POTTER, TED. With comic mule, Montgomery Queen’s, 1875.
POWELL, CHAUNCEY. George Richards’, 1888; World’s Fair Aggregation, 1891; Richard’s Big Show (Dick P. Sutton, proprietor), 1892.
POWELL, LEE. (d. August 1896) Clown. Great Orion, Old Bowery, NYC, 1861; Alex Robinson’s, 1865; Robinson & Lake, 1863, 1867; equestrian director and clown, John Robinson’s, 1866; clown, Alex Robinson’s, 1866, 1869, 1874, 1877; George Bailey & Co., 1867; advertiser, John Robinson’s, 1868; general agent, James Robinson’s, winter 1870-71; Van’s Olympic, 1872; James E. Cooke’s, 1880; James T. Johnson’s, 1884; Sig. Sautelle’s, 1889; contracting agent, Bailey & Winan, 1890; Sautelle’s Old Reliable, 1895. Married Miss Emily Trayer of Minersville, PA, August 4, 1866. Died in Albany, NY.
POWERS, GEORGE. Lake’s Hippo-Olympiad, 1869.
POWERS, PERRY. Formerly a hotel keeper. Proprietor, Perry Powers’ Combination Circus, 1867.
PRATT, CHARLES M. Proprietor, Lee’s Circus, California, 1871; press agent, Cooper & Jackson, 1880.
PRATT, F. C. General agent, G. G. Grady’s, 1871.
PRENDERGAST, JOHN. Agent, Holland & McMahon, 1888.
PRENTICE, ALEX. George W. DeHaven’s, operated by Andrew Haight, 1865-66; Haight & Chambers, 1867. Married Alice Cromwell, Cincinnati September 3, 1867. Killed in a barroom, Memphis, TN, November 4, 1867, age 38. A shoemaker by trade but had been in the circus business in recent years.
PRENTICE, FEDERICK “KID.” (d. April, 1915) Associate with Barnum & Bailey for several years. Died in Bridgeport, MA, age 53.
PRESCOTT, CHARLES F. (b. April 4, 1867) Proprietor, Great Eastern, 1895-97. Show and winter quarters burned, spring 1900.
PRESTON, WILLIAM C. Agent. Rockwell & Co. (Stokes’ unit), 1848; S. P. Stickney’s, 1849, agent for museum, 1855; Spalding & Rogers, 1856; arrested for murder, Cincinnati, 1856; Robinson & Lake, July 1859; contracting agent, Dan Rice’s, 1860; general agent, Dan Rice’s, 1861.
PRICE, CHARLES. (d. January 4, 1913) Sideshow albino. Adam Forepaugh’s, 1883. At one time with John Robinson’s. Died from bronchitis and heart trouble, East Liverpool, OH, age 76.
PRICE, FRANK. Boss canvasman, John Robinson’s, 1880.
PRICE, STEPHEN. Son of a well-to-do family, a lawyer, a partner with Edmund Simpson in proprietorship of the Park Theatre, NYC, beginning in 1812. When they considered James West’s circus company to be threatening competition, they developed a scheme to buy him out, circulating a rumor that they were about to construct an arena for circus performances, and hiring Sam Tatnall to break horses in a lot behind the theatre. This charade was enough to convince West to sell out to them and return to England, well paid for his efforts.
PRICE, W. H. Manager, Price & James Shows, 1897.
PRICE & HANNON. Trapeze performers, Great European, 1865. See Richard H. Hannon.
PRIDHAM, WILLIAM. Agent. H. C. Lee’s, 1858; Bassett’s, 1861; John Wilson’s, American Theatre, San Francisco, 1860, 1862. Most familiar with routing in California.
PRIEST, B. Proprietor, Paris Pavilion Show, 1883-86; Priest & Co.’s Great Western, 1887, taken over same year by Penn & Leon.
PRIMROSE, C. S. [r. n. Cready Smith]. Agent. Lithographer, Bailey’s London, 1890-91; general agent, Fred Locke’s, 1892-93; agent, E. G. Holland & Co., 1894; special agent, Cooke & Whitby, 1894; contracting agent, J. H. LaPearl’s, 1895-97; Gentry Bros.’, unit #1, 1898-1903; assistant general agent, Gollmar Bros.’s, 1904-05; “Uncle Si Haskins” Co., winter 1904-05; Gentry Bros.’, 1905-06. Following this, was owner and manager of several hall shows. Married Myrtle B. Webb, non-professional, December 27, 1895, in Akron, OH. She died January 18, 1952.
PRIMROSE, GEORGE S. Negro minstrel concert feature, John Robinson’s, 1872; general agent, Alington Minstrels, winter 1893-94; general contracting agent, Holland & Co., 1894; J. H. LaPearl’s, 1894.
PRINCE RANDIAN [or Randion]. Born with neither arms nor legs. Reported to have been brought to America from British Guiana by P. T. Barnum, 1889. Exhibited in a one-piece woolen sack, in which he moved about by wiggling his hips and shoulders, much like a snake. At various times, billed as “the Snake Man” and “the Caterpillar Man.” Performed in carnivals, circuses and dime museums for 45 years. Was married and had 5 children. Died at age 63.
PRINGLE, CHARLES. Bill poster, P. T. Barnum’s, 1873.
PRITCHARD, MONS. Cannon king, John Forepaugh’s, California, 1888.
PROBST, A. Band leader, L. B. Lent’s, 1861.
PROCTOR, F. F. See Fred Levantine.
PROCTOR, ROBERT. (d. June 19, 1888) Circus proprietor.
PROSHO, THOMAS. Band leader, Metropolitan Pavilion, 1874.
PROSSER, J. Rider and vaulter. Aprentice to Ben Brown. John B. Green & Doolittle, 1825; J. Purdy Brown’s, 1825, 1826; Pavilion Circus, 1826; Ben Brown’s, 1828 (no longer an apprentice); Asa T. Smith’s, 1829; Ben Brown’s 1830; French, Hobby & Co., 1835.
PROTZMAM, PROF. A. Band leader, Orton Bros.’, 1866-67.
PRYNE, FRANK. Property master, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1879.
PUCKROILL, ALEXANDER. Buffo clown and jester, with E. F. & J. Mabie’s, 1851, advertised as “King of Clowns.”
PULLIS. Slack-rope performer. Mount Pitt Circus, NYC, fall 1826; Lafayette Circus, NYC, January 1827.
PULLMAN, DOT. Daughter of Giles Pullman. Rolling globe act which featured playing musical instruments while balancing. Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881; Irwin Bros.’, 1887.
PULLMAN, FRED. Walter L. Main’s, 1888.
PULLMAN, GILES. (1836-October 11, 1900) Agent. Born in Herkimer County, NY. Brother of Henry Pullman. Enlisted in Co. A, 117th New York Volunteers, and served through the Civil War. General agent, Alex Robinson’s, 1866; privileges (with brother Henry), Adam Forepaugh’s, 1873-1876; Pullman & Hamilton, 1880; director of advance brigade, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881; Maybury, Pullman & Hamilton, 1882; general agent, Frank Robbins’, 1883; proprietor and advance agent, Hilliard, Pullman, Mack & Co., 1884; Col. Giles’ Great World’s Fair (Giles Pullman, proprietor), 1885-86; general agent, Walter L. Main’s, 1887-89, 1896; general agent, Irwin Bros.’, 1888; managed a museum in Antwerp, Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show, during the exposition, 1894-95; toured Germany with an Indian troupe, 1898; agent, Harrison Bros.’, 1900. Died from pneumonia at his home, Buffalo, NY.
PULLMAN, HENRY. (1839-March 28, 1925) Born in Herkimer, NY. Brother of Giles Pullman. Started in the circus business with Levy J. North’s boat show, 1860, traveling the Erie Canal. Remained in the business some 50 years. George F. Bailey & Co., 1863; Alexander Robinson’s, 1864; John Robinson’s, on a boat tour of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, 1869; manager, Macarte Sisters’ Great Parisian Circus, 1870; privileges (with brother Giles), Adam Forepaugh’s, 1873-76; general superintendent, Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton, 1881; Pullman, Dingess & Co.’s Circus (Henry Pullman and R. S. Dingess, proprietors), 1885; Pullman’s, 1886; treasurer, Walter L. Main’s, 1891; purchasing agent, Campbell Bros.’, 1910. Left the circus to take a position at the Pan-American Exposition, 1901, but returned at the close of the exposition and remained until 1912, after which he became a ticket taker at the Strand Theatre, Buffalo, where he remained until 1924. Died at his home in Buffalo, NY, following a stroke, age 87.
PULVER, CRETE. Supt. advertising car #2, Cooper, Bailey & Co., 1880-82.
PURDY, EISENHART. (b. 1799) Menagerie proprietor, a member of the Zoological Institute. Native of Westchester County, NY. Co-proprietor, Carley, Purdy & Wright, 1830; co-proprietor, Purdy, Carley & Bailey, 1831; co-proprietor, Purdy, Welch, Finch & Wright, 1832; co-proprietor, Purdy, Welch, Macomber & Co., 1833-37.
PURDY, S. S. Negro minstrel, Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace, 1859.
PURVIS, JOHNNY. English talking and knockabout clown. Along with trained donkeys, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1882-83, 1887-89, 1893; principal clown, Sells Bros.’, 1884-86; Barnum & Bailey, 1892; Frank A. Gardner’s, South America, 1896; True & McVeigh’s, 1896. Wife, Clara Purvis, performed trick horses and a running globe act. Was divorced from her, 1888.
PURVIS, ROBERT. Trained dogs, W. B. Reynolds’ Consolidated Shows, 1892.
PURVIS SISTERS [Ada, Adell]. High-wire performers, Sells Bros.’, 1884-85; Doris & Colvin, 1887.
PUTNAM, P. S. Band leader, E. F. & J. Mabie’s, 1848-51.
PUTNAM. Elephant keeper. Handler of the elephant Columbus. Purdy, Welch, Macomber & Co., 1833; June, Titus, Angevine & Co., 1836; Grand Zoological and Ornithological Exhibition, 1836; H. Ludington & Co., 1837.
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