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Message Archive: Messages 1101 - 1150




1150. David Larible, Mark Oliver Gable, 09 February, 2006 - Anyone know where David Larible is and also Mark Oliver Gable? I wrote Ringling and they said Mark was no longer a part of Ringling. I have just seen the new Ringling Blue show. Can't call it a circus as there was no cat act, no bears, chimps or other exotic animal act and most sadly it was not a 3 ring circus. I thought we might be nearing the end when Cole Bros dropped Clyde Beatty name and their incredible elephants but to go to Ringling and not have 3 rings - the traditional circus may be ending for good. Thanks as always for info. Frank, TBUZZARD73@aol.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 10 February, 2006 - Hi, From what I have heard, Mark-Oliver Gebel left Ringling at he end of the 133rd edition tour. A few of the tigers from the group he presented are in the current act on the 135th tour. Someone told me that he was taking some college courses in Florida. David Larible is now performing in Europe with Circus Roncalli. Opinions on the new blue unit and last years Cole Bros. Circus differ like night and day. I for one did not care for either, but they are still circuses. Jim Cole

    Reply: 22 February, 2006 - David Larible was amongst the performers at the 30 International Circus Festival in Monaco in January this year. As mentioned by Jim Cole Davis will in the coming season be with German Circus Roncalli performing together with Zippo (alias Roncalli' owner Bernhard Paul) and Gensi. Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk.

    Reply: 01 March, 2006 - Thanks for the info. Glad to see no one is as worried as I about the future of the traditional circus. Still think without 3 rings Ringling Blue its just another arena show not a circus but... Frank Lynch,Orlando FL. tbuzzard73@aol.com.

    Reply: 01 July, 2006 - What about Johnathan Lee Iverson? Where does he find himself post 2004? He does have a wikipedia entry interestingly: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnathan_Lee_Iverson

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1149. CHS Members, 08 February, 2006 - Come on CHS members! Let's answer some more of these questions. It seems like only the same few circus historians are getting into this great Q & A format. Yes, many of these questions have "first of May" written all over them and are difficult to answer, but they deserve some type of response. Jim Cole Respond to this message [Emphasis added by webmaster]



1148. Thomas Edward Ontko, clown, 07 February, 2006 - My uncle, Thomas Edward Ontko, was a Ringling Brothers' clown in the late 1940s. He was to have appeared at Madison Square Garden in the summer of 1947, but passed away in July. I have photographs of him, one of them with Emmett Kelly. Looking for someone who might have known him as a clown and/or has pictures of clowns from 1944-1947. Barbara Hammermann, Yorktown Heights, New York, h.hammermann@att.net. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.



1147. Wiley and Erma Franks, 07 February, 2006 - Known as Frank and Frankie. Wiley E. Franks and Erma E. Franks. They were from Wooster, Ohio. They were known for their daring acrobatics and balancing acts. They were star performers for the Sells-Forepaugh Circus. She started performing when she was 10yrs. and he was 9yrs old. They also performed for the Cole Bros. Barnum and Bailey circus. They were headliners in every city in the U.S., Australia, England, France, and Cuba. Their last 8 yrs. were spent with the Ringling's circus. They retired in St. Petersburg, bought land and a refreshment and grocery stand, located at Fourth st. south and Lakeview Ave., in 1936. In the winter of 1915, Wiley went with the Keith and other circuits to star in silent films. But liked the circus better. If you know anymore about these two I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Debra Johnson, Wooster, Ohio, SJohn97072@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 24 Jun 2014 - My name is Melanie Lewis and I am tracing my grandmothers family history. I found out from my mum that she worked in a travelling show in the north east of England called Frankie Franks. She was born in 1903 and she was approx 16 years old when she joined. I don't know what she worked as in this show, but I know she lived in South Shields at the time. Please can you give me some more information on this. I hope this is the right one. My grandmother's name was Florence Agnes Warden. Many thanks, Ms Melanie Lewis (Bullock) nee



1146. Ida Morris & family 1920-30s, 06 February, 2006 - I am looking for information on a traveling circus in Indiana & Kentucky during the late 20s & early 30s. My great aunt, Ida Morris, as a rope walker, and the rest of her family were performers as well. They were from Jeffersonville, Indiana. Steve Flaum. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 11 August, 2006 - In reference to the Morris Family, my mom who was then, Myrtle McCartin, from Jeffersonville, Indiana knew the Morris Family. She is still alive and lives in Southgate, Kentucky. She is 87 years old. She was on the Lewis Brothers Circus for one summer.(the summer of 1935). She said that the Morris Family lived on Pratt Street near 10th Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The Morris family had the following "kids" that she can remember: Bill, Merton, Eddie, Donny, Blanche, and one other daughter. (she did not know her name). They broke off from the Lewis Brothers Circus and created their own troup called the "Moreen Troup." This troup consisted of Bill, May, Eddie and Matt Kelly. My mom believes she is the only one left. We would love any information on any of this that anyone has. My mom met her first husband on the circus (they did a teeter-board act together). His name was Sam Waterfield. He has since died (I believe he died in the 60's). He had remarried. We would love pictures, info., etc. Thanking you in advance, B. Bradley

    Reply: 12 August, 2006 - I responded regarding the Morris familly on 8-10-06 however, I forgot to give my e-mail address. Sorry. I am, therefore, trying again with my information on this family. My mom was also from Jeffersonville, Indiana. Her name at that time was Myrtle Anderson. She is now 87 years old and lives in Southgate, Kentucky with many memories and questions regarding the Lewis Brothers Circus. She did give me some information on the Morris family. She traveled with the Lewis Brothers Circus in the summer of 1935 and then several of the circus workers formed another troupe called the Moreen Troupe. This consisted of my mom, her husband, Sam Waterfield, Bill & May Morris, Eddie, their son, and a man named Matt Kelly. The Morris family lived on Pratt Street near 10th Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana. They had the following kids: Bill (she thinks there was a Bill, Jr., Merton, Eddie, Donny, Blanche and another girl (name unknown). I hope this helps some. If anyone has additional information on the Lewis Brothers Circus during 1935 or the Moreen Troupe, please let me know. Bobbi Bradley e-mail address: bb79vw@yahoo.com

    Reply: 24 July 2007 - I am a great granddaughter of Ida Morris, her son Don just passed away a few years ago - they were from Bruswick , Ga - there are a few of us left if you have or need any info email kellyk@bellsouth.net - my mom’s email is jobernie@bellsouth.net her father was Bill Morris of the Kelly Morris Circus. Kelly Weaver

    Reply: 28 July 2007 - Hello: My name is Jobernie Morris Weaver. My daughter discovered you inquiry on the web. My father is Bill Morris now deceased and mother was Berniece Kelly. I am not sure of an Ida Morris but, my dad's Mom was Ethel Morris. I could probably find out who Ida was from my aunt in Brunswick, Ga. If you are still interested. jobernie@bellsouth.net



1145. Ringmaster Magazine, artist, 06 February, 2006 - I recently found a number of letters and illustrations of a young artist applying for work at "Ringmaster" in the 1930's. Letters were addressed to Miss Madolyn c/o Oursler West Falmouth, Massachusetts. He apparently had an interview with the editors of "Ringmaster," Jan. 1936 to present his illustrations. Not sure about the spelling of "Oursler." Is there any record of this illustrator in you archives? Sincerely, William A. Greever. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.



1144. Hunt Brothers Circus, 06 February, 2006 - Can any one provide me with a direction to obtain information regarding Hunt Brothers Circus. I remember this truck show from the late 1940,s and early 1950's in New Jersey. I believe they may have been headquartered in N.J. I have seen references to this show in some circus history books, but not any detail. Thanks for any help that may be supplied. Best regards, David Lewis. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 07 February, 2006 - Try Charles T. Hunt, "The Story of Mr. Circus," (1954). You'll also find coverage in back issues of Bandwagon and White Tops [check website article indexes], as well as Billboard. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 08 February, 2006 - I was associated with them during the final years. Is there something specific you want to know? Toward the end, they used the name Famous Hunt's Circus. Robert Momyer

    Reply: 11 February, 2006 - Hi, Try Happytunes@aol.com. Marsha Hunts email. Hope this helps. Bunni Bartok

    Reply: 17 May, 2006 - Regarding location in New Jersey: If you take the New Jersey Turnpike to the PA exit (6), shortly before the connector bridge to PA, there is an exit at US 130. Go south on US 130 and almost immediately after you pass back under the Turnpike, there is a Burger King. At the far corner of that parking lot, there is a nicely kept marker of the Winter Headquartes of the Hunt Brothers Circus. I am not from the area, but I believe it is Florence Township, and it is not far from the historic town of Roebling. Felix Roy, Collegeville, PA

    Reply: 18 July, 2006 - The Hunt Brother's Circus was indeed in Florence Township. I'm saddened to learn that it is now just a historical marker. A question for Robert Momyer: As a boy in high school, I worked in a men's clothing store in Burlington, NJ with a Mr. Case, who I believe was retired from the Hunt Brother's Circus, who had been, I think, a high-wire artist. What can you tell me about him? Richard S. White, Jr., richw9090@aol.com

    Reply: 03 Oct 2007 - My father use to travel with the Hunt Brothers circus sometimes between 1940-1950. His sister also traveled with them. Bobby Clark is my father, Wootsie Melon was my aunt. I am trying to do research on the circuses that he traveled with. Hunt Brothers, Diamond Jim, and Roger Brothers. Just a little information. Thanks, Ricky Clark, Opelika, Alabama, rclark6576@aol.com

    Reply: 29 May 2009 - Marsha, I wonder if you remember me? Betty Lunsford now Betty Olive. Dick Lunsford and I were on the Hunt Bros. Circus in 1956 and 1957. In 57 we were part of the Wild West after show and did acts in the main show. In 57 we came back but were the only Wild West acts and did other acts in the main show. I have a picture of myself and Dick with me on your horse and Dick is on my trick riding horse. Those were great years for me. I met the Hoovers, Dave and Lois and worked for a great show. I remember working at Palisades Amusement Park for I think was maybe 14 days? Dick and I bought 4 Black miniature ponies and I remember them getting loose in one of the towns we were playing. We were lucky to get them back.

    Reply: 14 Nov 2009 - Would like to have more family history about the Hunt family. When my parents and I went to the circus mid-1950s, there was a girl named marsha who looked a lot like me — I was about 4 or 5 at the time. Any family info? Dolores

    Reply: 28 Mar 2010 - Hunt Bros Circus had eight elephants shown by Capt Roy Bush. Their names were Dolly, Jewel, Blanche, Chandra ,Dinu, Rahnee, Sita, and Muna. Harry and Helen Hunt’s daughter Marsha displayed the younger elephants. The Hunts were an exceptionally nice circus family and ran a very family oriented show. rena.havens@verizon.net

    Reply: 12 Jul 2010 - I had an Aunt Betty Jo Tiner who use to help with the Elephants and the man she was with was Roy Bush. I have a picture of them together. Last time that the family ever heard from Betty Jo her married name was Bush. Does anyone know if she married Capt Roy Bush or if she is still living. I would be her niece and her other 3 sisters have passed. My name is Betty Jane Zollars Harkey, harkeysl@bellsouth.net



1143. Miniature Sparks Circus, 04 February, 2006 - I have recently come across 2 crates that contain little miniature figures, cars, clowns, wagons, trucks, animals, trains and figures of all kinds and there are also 2 tents. All marks on the trucks and wagons and such are Sparks Circus. There must be at least 2,000 pcs. The gentleman who owned it collected these in the 1930s up to 1940. Does anyone know what these are from? Any information would be appreciated. TYVEKHOMEWRAP@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 06 February, 2006 - Among circus hobbyists, including myself, many have taken on the project of creating circuses in miniature. There have been a few thousand in the decades since the 30's, and in 1936, an organization, the "Circus Model Builders" was created and still exists. Many model builders scratch built these creations, while others partially relied on kits and commercial figures. Through the years many of these great model builders have passed on, and their life's work ends up in cardboard boxes such as the one you have. The Sparks title was used, as this was a very well known circus from that era. A few model circuses are fortunate to find a permanent home in a museum, but sadly, many are discarded. If you know the name of the man who owned this miniature circus, and the city he was from, you should be able to get more information. Jim Cole, St. Cloud, FL jscolecircus@webtv.net

    Reply: 12 February, 2006 - I am a member of the Sparks Ring #4 of the Circus Model Builders of Central New Jersey. If you are interested in seeing your "Sparks Circus" models displayed, our Ring would be happy to do that. Our Ring displays at Model Circus and Railroad shows throughout the year. If you would donate your circus to the Sparks Ring we would display it. Currently we do not have a complete Sparks Circus. Bob Judge, Neptune, New Jersey. www.bigjudge@optonline.net



1142. Dora, high pole, trampoline 1940-50s, 04 February, 2006 - I remember my friend's Aunt Dora that would come to town in Los Angeles and set up her high pole and a trampoline and perform. The whole neighborhood would come out and watch her act. I think was between shows with the circus and kept up her training and flexibility for her next job. Her last name may have been Barnhardt, not sure. Does anyone know her name and what circus she performed with? This was in the 1940s and 1950s. Thanks, Fran Himmelberg, New Orleans, LA. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.



1141. Myers, fire eater, 04 February, 2006 - I guess this is the last place to look. My father told me stories of when he and my mother traveled with the Ringling, Barnum and Beatty circus. I am guessing it was around 1955 to 1960. He said he was a fire eater and mom read cards. So I think that would put them in a side show. They would have joined somewhere in SC. or Ga. where can I find information on that time line? They have both past and I am just finding out things about them. Their last name was Myers if you think that would help. Thank you, Ellen Micalizzi, Emmett, Idaho emmicalizzi@msn.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.



1140. Largest circuses, 04 February, 2006 - Back in the heyday of the tented circus we all know RBBB had the largest tent which held the most people. Which shows came in second and third? Were their bands as impressive as maestro Merle Evans combined band was? Thank You. Best, Craig. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

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1139. John Haly, strongman, 03 February, 2006 - I wonder if anyone would remember John Haly, a strong man who was employed by Ringling Brothers in the early 1960's. I wonder if he is dead or alive and what he may have done throughout his career. Does anyone have any pictures? Many Thanks, Dick Benjamin, LifeInAroostook@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 29 Feb 2008 - Hi im still alive. I'm 69 now. I still work out and I'm still in pretty good shape for my age. I was in two movies, the DARRING DOBERMANS and RUN ANGEL RUN. Both pictures were just bit parts but I showed body in both of them. I'm retired now for the last ten years. Thanks for asking me. john haly

    Reply: 17 Feb 2009 - Nice coincidence - I live in Northern England and in an idle moment I was looking at odd TV clips on YouTube - one of which was billed as Ringling Brother's Strongman on What's My line in black and white. I was curious but was expecting some hulking fella but there was John Haly - a stunningly handsome man! So I did a search on the internet and found this site and the actual reply from the man himself. Just surprised he didn't make more movies. James

    Reply: 20 Feb 2009 - Hi, I'm having my 70th birthday April 29th and I'm still going strong. I still do feats of strenth an I'm still in good shape. I work out 2 times a week. Thanks for asking. John Haly

    Reply: 25 Aug 2010 - Is this also the same John Haly that appeared at Hubert's Museum in NYC in the 1950s/1960s? I'd be interested in speaking with you off-list if you're willing. Thanks, Meredith, meredith0521@gmail.com

    Reply: 25 Mar 2012 - Dear Mr. Haly, Do you have a website? I have a real interest in strongman events. I would love to learn more about you and see some of your pics. God Bless! Bill

    Reply: 08 Dec 2012 - Mr Haley, did you get your movie roles as a result of your appearance on What’s My Line? You must have had many offers to model and act on television. I hope you’ve had a good life and will continue to enjoy great health and happiness for many years to come. - Patrick

    Reply: 10 Mar 2013 - Hi everyone, I worked at Hubert's flea circus part time as sort of a fill in for the different acts and I remember John Haley. I can be reached at: makoshark707@hotmail.com, my name is Preston, Thanks.



1138. Lewis Bros. poster, 03 February, 2006 - I have a circus poster of a Lewis Bros. circus. Printed at the Bottom of the poster is "Neal Walter Poster Corp. Elephant ringing a bell and a clown delivering a bottled drink to the table. Would you have any information about this poster? R. Howell, Muskegon, Michigan. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 04 February, 2006 - Dear Mr. Howell, The poster you have is known as a "stock poster", meaning it was used by more than one circus. The title would be left blank, and each show using it would have their title printed in. I have that poster from Biller Bros. Circus. I believe the orignal artwork goes back into the 40's. I know that there was a show out in the 70's that used the Lewis Bros. title. It may have been used prior to that. Among circus poster collectors, the Neal Walters printings are considered the K-Mart of posters. But it is still a fine example of American circus advertising. Jim Cole



1137. Beatrice Arnold, 03 February, 2006 - My great grandmother used this stage name while she worked in a circus as a bareback rider. Her real name was Alma Ball. According to family history, Beatrice worked in the circus between 1900-1906. Would love any available information. Thank you, P. Taylor. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.



1136. John Harvey Wood, Wood's Museum, 03 February, 2006 - I am the great great grandson of John Harvey Wood who, according to family tradition, is reputed at one time to have owned and operated Wood's Museum in Chicago, a later to have travelled to San Francisco where he exhibited an aquarium on a train car. I would greatly appreciate for any information or leads which might help me sort out my "Colonel" from Col. Joseph H Wood, who was also a reknown 19th century showman. Robert P. Gaffney, San Francisco. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 03 February, 2006 - Someone has already sorted out the overlapping stories of the various J. H. Woods. A gentleman named Edwin C. Webster, then residing in Eros, LA, privately printed a booklet based on his research. It ran about 30 pages in length. You might try and establish contact with him. Someone named John C. Gaffney was researching the same story in 1983. Fred Dahlinger [a Google search "Edwin C. Webster" +Eros resulted in an address and phone no. - J. Griffin]



1135. Barnum & Bailey trapeze artists killed in train crash, 02 February, 2006 - I'm trying to find information regarding trapeze artists which were killed in a train crash in the late 1800s, they performed with Barnum and Baileys circus and are believed to be my greatgrand parents. My grandmother became an orphan at the age of 6 years old at the time of their death, she was looked after by a nanny during tours. She was adopted in England which was the country she was in at the time of her parents deaths, it has been said that Barnum and Bailey was on tour in England at the time I would be most grateful for any information. Thank you, Shirley. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 03 February, 2006 - Barnum & Bailey toured Great Britain in 1898-1899. Harvey L. Watkins wrote a book about the tour. You might be able to locate it in a larger library. I think if you also do a bit of web searching you'll find a good bit of commentary about the tour on various websites. They may have listed the show route, or it can be found in the 1945 RBBB route book. You might find additional coverage in period British trade publications, perhaps the "Era" or "World's Fair." A wreck of the American circus train, especially with loss of life, would have been adequately unusual to have merited mention. The one generally known took place a couple years later in Germany. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 29 Sep 2007 - Just to say that the tour book that Harvey Watkins wrote makes no mention of the train disaster in England and he would certainly have done so had there been one - the book is very detailed. The crash that Fred Dahlinger refers to was on the 6th July at Beuthen Germany and killed two men only of the party who were William Smith the superintedent of Ring Stock and John Wilton, Mr Bailey's coachman. He has his son with him William but he survived. There are other people who die of accidents or natural causes on the tour and I will try and list them for you if you are still lookinf for this information. One of the other deaths was Henry Clark a member of the railway department at Bekes Csaba in the Czech republic as it now is. There is a moving account of his funeral in the book just in case you are interested. Heather Noel-Smith



1134. Ringling personnel 1945, 02 February, 2006 - My name is Shawn Gallagher and I live in Poughkeepsie, New York. My great grand-mother worked in the Ringling brothers circus in the 1940's. She had an autograph book signed from 1945 by many of the performers and workers. At least 100 signatures. Is there somewhere to find a listing of performers from that era to help me figure out who some of them were? They all didn't have the best handwriting. There is a beautiful caricature drawn by Emmet Kelly in it. There is another clown who drew himself (cant read the name but can make out "king of clowns"). The names vary from Arthur L. Springer-master of ceremonies, to the side show performers, and even a few pages with all the band members. She did put little notes on the pages telling what they did in the show. I am amazed how well preserved the pages of this book are. Thanks for any help you can give. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 03 February, 2006 - The 1945 RBBB route book has a seven-page personnel roster, which also provides their position information. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 19 April, 2006 - Shawn, My guess on the "King of Clowns" signature would be Lou Jacobs. Cindy

    Reply: 15 August, 2006 - The autograph and drawing of the “King of Clowns” would be from Felix Adler, who was on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show for several decades starting I believe in the 1030’s, but was certainly known as the King of Clowns in the 1940’s. I have a signed self-portrait drawing by Felix Adler, and besides Emmett Kelly, I haven’t been able to identify any other clowns from this era who did portraits of themselves. While Kelly usually drew cartoon-like characterizations of himself, my drawing of Adler is done in a much more realistic style, simply drawn, but a perfect likeness. Neil C. Cockerline, Director of Preservation Services and Conservator, Midwest Art Conservation Center, Minneapolis, E-mail: ncockerline@preserveart.org, Web: www.preserveart.org

    Reply: 23 Jan 2008 - I am looking for information on a acrobat act with the name Gallagher. There were five or six siblings who performed together. I have some pictures. Thank you annabanana1960@hotmail.com

    Reply: 10 Mar 2008 - From looking up info online, I see a Gallagher-Downie circus from the late 1800's. There was also a Gallagher troupe of several siblings in the late 30's/40's/50's who later were with the Kelly-Miller circus out of Hugo, OK. What's your great-grandmother's name? Donna Pinney

    Reply: 26 Jul 2009 - My uncle, Tommy Cropper, was a trick rider with Ringling Bros. from 1941-49. I was wondering if his signature is in your autograph book. I am researching his career. Thanks, Andrea (Cropper) Radigan



1133. Wild West in Germany, 02 February, 2006 - The Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt a. M. in Germany is currently working on an exhibition project featuring the myth of the Wild West in Germany in the 19th and first half of the twentieth century. We're especially interested in documentary material on Doc Carver, Annie Oakley and "Buffalo Bill's Wild West". If any private or public collection owns material (posters, photographs, memorabilia) connected to the Germany Tours, it would be a great help to us.
      Concerning Buffalo Bills Wild West Posters, there are concrete questions that we could need help with. We found a few posters in collections, but aren't sure if they were used in German Shows as they aren't labelled with City names and actually have English titles (Bucking mustangs, bucking Bronco, Cowboys riding Wild mustangs). They are mostly in soft colours, printed by Calhoun print. There are more Buffalo Bill posters on the homepage of the J. Best Collection www.circusmuseum.nl, that we don't know of if they've been used in Germany. If anybody has got material or has any idea what the Buffalo Bill posters in Germany looked like, I'd be very grateful if we could get in touch. In that case I could also send you pictures of the posters we already have found. Please contact me at hartmann-h@gmx.de - many thanks for your help. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 20 February, 2006 - Some of the types of posters that were available for the 1906 Buffalo Bill Wild West Show's Tour of Germany are available on the Library of Congress website of theatrical posters as various printing companies sent copies to have their unique artwork protected. If you look at the types of posters produced you will see a number by the Courier Company prior to 1906 which was when the tour was conducted. My 1905 route card for the show in France lists an office address as 45 Avenue Rapp, Paris. On page 29 or the book Four Years in Europe with Buffalo Bill by Charles Griffin there is a photo of the advance office with the staff outside. The eight posters that decorate the outside of the Bureaux of Publicite show a poster of a buffalo with a portrait of Buffalo Bill on his side and one of Buffalo Bill on a horse. Some others have date t ails attached to the bottom of the posters noting date and place of exhibition. My July 1906 route card ends in Austria but has a return address of J. Weiner in Vienna, Austria. This was the address of one of the largest printing establishments in Europe, and it was used because in 1900 the Barnum & Bailey Circus ordered a large number of couriers, Wonder Books, and various three, one, 1/2, 1/4 1/6 and 1/8 sheet posters to be printed by the firm. I would assume that since the return address was for the printing company they may have done some work for the Buffalo Bill Show, but I have no evidence. In looking over some of my Calhoun Show Print Co. letters from 1903 they noted that the company was established in 1852 and reorganized in 1901. They provided both pictorial and block prints, and offered an extensive assortment of stock pictorial paper. The Calhoun Company printed stock paper for four cents a sheet, thus you will see the generic cowboys, bronco, etc. on their paper. They usually left space for the name of the show on the poster but any dates tails would have been printed separately in case the show had to cancel a date and could use stock paper for another date. John Polacsek

    Reply: 07 May 2008 - I saw a note on the internet that you are looking for information regarding William F "Doc" Carver. I might be able to help. What would you like to know? Regards, Don French



1132. Randy Concello, 02 February, 2006 - Did Randy Concello son of the famous Flying Concello's take up the family business? I wish his Dad would have had a cameo in the movie Greatest Show On Earth. His famous Mother looks fabulous in the movie. Of all the persons responsible for keeping the Big One under canvas in my opinion it was Randy's Dad. His seat wagons, aluminum poles, animal cages and letting JRN know you have to be realistic and cut the size to remain under canvas. Then, Art's innovations when JRN needed him again to go indoors. Often wonder how things would have turned out if JRN had listened to Art and when the time came to sell if Big Bertha had been sold to Art Concello interests. Best, Craig. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 09 February, 2006 - Randall Concello is now an attorney practising family law in Sarasota. Ron Perry

    Reply: 22 February, 2006 - Ron: Thank You for the info. Best, Craig Johnson

    Reply: 14 Mar 2009 - Art was my grandfather and Randy was my father. They were both wonderful and talented men! I also wonder what it would have been like had JRN listened to Art as he was great at what he did! Antoinette Concello



1131. Wild West 1884, 02 February, 2006 - Looking for a wild west show in 1884 that left Billings, Montana to South Dakota to Minnesota to Wisconsin then to Chicago. It ended in Indiana. Participants: Liver eating Johnson, Calamity Jane, Tom LeForge, Thomas Hardwick, Curly, 22 Crow Indians, Cowboys from Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, one named Circkle. Names of the show: Hardwick' Show, Skakel and Martins, The Great Rocky Mountain Show and several others. Thank you, dormannelson@sbcglobal.net. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 02 February, 2006 - The Great Rocky Mountain Show was at Janesville, WI on July 3, 1884 and Milwaukee, WI on July 5, 1884. It was a fairground operation, played before the grandstand seating like the Cody & Carver outfit. Don Russell's wild west book has Skakel & Martin recorded for 1885 but doesn't mention Hardwick. His source for Skakel & Martin was an 1885 Carver advertisement that listed six prior failures [Russell, page 24]. Russell's papers are now at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, WY. If you've already read the "New York Clipper," then try the Dramatic News or other theatrical journals, as well as digitized newspapers that can be searched with key word techniques. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 02 February, 2006 - Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota), July 4, 1884. "The Billings Post says the erratic female, known as Calamity Jane, who was one of the first stampeders into the Black Hills country, left on Monday's train to join the Liver-Eating Johnson troupe." I was amazed there was a troupe named "Liver-Eating"! - J. Griffin

    Reply: 30 April, 2006 - Thanks Fred and J., there is a mention in McLaird's Calamity Jane book of the show, especially Liver eating Johnston of whom I am doing the biography, Dorman



1130. Wanda Leonard, trapeze, 31 January, 2006 - I would appreciate any information on my grandmother who was a flying trapeze artist in Australia and known as the Human Fly. Her name was Wanda Leonard. Please contact me at r.n.miller@xtra.co.nz. Many thanks for your help. Noeline Miller, New Zealand. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

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1129. Jumbo & Tufts, 31 January, 2006 - In connection with a new research project on Jumbo the elephant and the Barnum Museum at Tufts University, I would be grateful to learn the whereabouts of any Jumbo material (memorabilia, posters, etc.) and Barnum correspondence in public or private collections. Some twenty years ago, for example, the magazine "Collectors' Showcase" (December 1986) published an article about Robert Fuller Houston's collection of Jumboania. Does anyone know where that collection is? Thanks in advance. Andrew McClellan, Tufts University, andrew.mcclellan@tufts.edu. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 04 February, 2006 - The Barnum Museum of Natural History, College Hill Massachusetts originally opened in 1884 and destroyed by fire in 1975. Along with Jumbo's mounted hide that had been presented to them around 1889. I believe they also had at one time displayed there, the skeleton of a Royal Sacred White Elephant(perhaps Toung Taloung), which was one of the elephants that died in the fire that destroyed the menagerie building at the Barnum & London winter quarters November 20, 1887 in Bridgeport, Conn. At one time (back around the 1940's) the University of Bridgeport claimed that Jumbo's hide really belonged to them, however Tufts University was not about to just give it to them, so supposedly they gave the University of Brideport the mounted skeleton of the Royal Sacred White Elephant instead. So you may want to check with that university. for any list of which specimens they may have reposited. K.C. Rufus Ledbetter apemonsterman@yahoo.com

    Reply: 09 February, 2006 - There are two sections of Jumbo's tusk in the collections of the American Museum of Natural History(along with his skeleton which is no longer on exhibit and now packed away in boxes) see message 828 of this web site for additional whereabouts of sections of Jumbo's tusk. Jumbo's 47 pound heart at one time could be seen on display at Stimpson Hall, Cornell University in Ithaca New York, however his heart mysteriously vanished around 1950 and all they have now is the enormous glass jar it had once been preserved in with the old label noting it was Jumbo's heart. Its well recorded that doctors at the University of Bridgeport Conn. dissected a number of Barnum's animals. Usually after that,the hide and skeletons were sent to the Ward's Natural Scientific Establishment in Rochester New York for preparation and mounting. Unfortunately a fire destroyed that company in the early 1930's, with only a few surviving records, however some still exist including letters from P.T Barnum to Henry A. Ward, and are archived in the Rare Book Deptartment at the Rush Rhees library at the University of Rochester. K.C. Kenton Cornish, kentonc2001@yahoo.com

    Reply: 07 Dec 2011 - I imagine you know that for years Jumbo, stuffed, was in the Barnum museum at Tufts University at Medford, Mass. They had a fire maybe 5 years ago and I believe just the tail was saved. My daughter and son-in-law are Tufts alumni. There's a book of the history of Jumbo that's quite complete. I think my kids have it. Barbara Stanton, bgsths@msn.com



1128. Jim Howell, 31 January, 2006 - I'm trying to find an uncle of my late father who was a clown with the Ringling Bros.& Barnum and Bailey circus. His name was Jim Howell. Jim was a painter of circus paintings. We went and saw him in Chicago sometime in the 60's but not exactly sure when. He even stayed at our house in Aurora, Illinois when the circus was in Chicago. Have been trying to locate him for the past few years, but don't know where to look. I know his family was from Charlotte, SC and he had relatives (Stan and Peg Bremer in Wilmington, NC, now deceased). I've wanted to see him again if he is still alive. He would most likely be in his upper 70's by now. Did not know where to write the circus to ask, but saw your circus web page, so I thought I would try you. If there is any way you could help, please let me know. my e-mail address is BigAl53pep@aol.com. My name is Al Kunold, Aurora, Illinois. My dad's name was the same. I'm sure he would remember it. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 02 February, 2006 - Al: I knew Jim years ago. In fact he came out to the house with Bill Ballantine and Dave Mullaney when the Red Unit played here in 1971. This might help in your search: He was spelling his last name "Howle" when I knew him. That spelling might bring up some info on the net that would otherwise have been missed. Best of luck, Ole Whitey

    Reply: 04 March, 2006 - From about 1967 to the mid 70's my father & mother handled the advertising and promotion for Ringling Bros. when they came through Salt Lake City. If memory serves me, Jim was the advance man for circus promotion in the early 70's. As such, he would be in SLC a week or two ahead of the troop, and because he traveled alone (as I recall - I was in my early teens then), my folks had him to the house for dinner. Jim became a friend of the family. Unfortunately, we lost track of him over the years, but your second uncle was a kind and gentle man as well as generous - he graciously offered three of his paintings to us as gifts - one of my favorites is "Clown Car In a Field." While I don't know where he ended up I can tell you that - one night he came to our house and announced he had just quit the circus to become an artist. I remember my dad telling him that his work would be more valuable as a clown who is an artist, not an artist who used to be a clown. Shortly thereafter Jim had rejoined Ringling Bros. and became the official circus artist. Hope this is of interest and good luck in your search. Vic Shapiro.

    Reply: 06 March, 2006 - Jim Howle, Hartsville, South Carolina, America's premier clown portrait artist. His works number over 200 original canvases, which are today being seen in museums and private collections throughout the world. Jim received his training at Ringling's Art School, and Ringlings Clown College, where he was a member of the very first class. He clowned with the Greatest Show On Earth for many years, and was Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey's official circus artist. He is excellent at makeup design assistance and has developed his own line of clown makeup. Jim was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1994. GCF, lock@sc.rr.com

    Reply: 16 Feb 2010 - To those who knew Jim and shared their stories, thanks. If anyone would have a current address, please send to littleal53@live.com. Would like to hear from him. Al Kunold, Aurora, IL.

    Reply: 15 Jan 2012 - If anyone gets in contact with Jim Howell, have him contact me. Al Kunold, 30 St. Root St., Aurora, IL 60505. Would just like hearing from him to know he's OK.

    Reply: 16 Jan 2012 - Did you ever get in contact with Jim Howell? I met him yesterday. If you I can put you in contact with someone who has his info. Travis.

    Reply: 18 Jan 2012 - I would love to meet him. We only live about 30 miles away from each other. Bob Cline, Cheraw, SC fivetiger@shtc.net

    Reply: 02 Oct 2012 - Have not heard from Jim Howell yet. Would just like to know how he's doing. Been a long time since I've seen him. Any replies can be sent to Al Kunold at al53pep@aol.com



1127. Ryerson Gaudet, aka Ray Goody, 31 January, 2006 - I am looking for information on or pictures of my father. He was a star performer in the Mills Bros. Circus based out of Cleveland Hts., OH. His name was Ryerson Gaudet, aka Ray Goody, and he was a tight rope walker. He also did what they called the "slide for life" where he walked up a rope from the ground to the top of the tent and slide down backwards on his feet. I also am looking for any info on the Mills Bros. Circus including history and other performers on that show. Thanks in advance for any help you can give. Patti Koester. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.



1126. Contest, circus history, 30 January, 2006 - My son is participating in a contest to win circus tickets. Can you tell us which US president sold his horse to a circus owner so that it would be in the show? Also, what is the trapeze wire made of? Thank you so much! Diane Burch, djburch@edys.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 03 February, 2006 - Dear Diane, Circus history books often mention President George Washington as having some invovement with the John Ricketts circus in the 1790's. Flying trapeze wire is steel cable that has been crimped into a small loop at either end. It is fasted to the fly bar with special safety hooks or "shackles". The "single trapeze (does not involve the performer flying off to a catcher), usually has ropes that have been spliced around the bar. Decorative fabric is then sewn around the ropes. Good luck with your contest. Jim Cole



1125. Original circus posters, 30 January, 2006 - I am trying to find info on original circus posters. Is there a book that gives description and pictures of original turn of the century posters? Thank you, Laurence C Chaney. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 31 January, 2006 - Try checking "Billers, Banners and Bombast" by C. P. Fox and Tom Parkinson, and also a book by Jack Rennert that illustrated 100 different circus posters. The catalogs issued by Rennert's firm also provide a certain amount of background information about circus posters, when they're offered for sale. If certain, selected posters are of interest, it might be worthwhile to post specific queries about each. Fred Dahlinger



1124. Sheesley Shows, carnival, 30 January, 2006 - I am trying to get more information about Sheesley Shows. I am aware of Joe McKennon's book "Pictorial History of the American Carnival," however, I would like to see if there are any other sources. Any information would be greatly appreciated as my grandfather was an animal trainer with Sheesley for a few years around 1920. Michele. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 30 January, 2006 - I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for, but a search of newspaperarchives.com turned up nearly 90 'hits' for "Sheesley Shows." Most were 1920s, some 1919, a few later. Might be worth a short-term subscription. J. Griffin

    Reply: 31 January, 2006 - Bob Goldsack wrote an extended story about Capt. John Sheesley's Mighty Sheesley Shows in his defunct "Midway Journal Illustrated." Perhaps he has a few extra back copies for sale. You can find his contact information [Nashua, NH] in past queries. Many years ago, W. H. B. Jones sold two sets of 1939 Sheesley photographs. His negatives have been scattered, but sometimes you can find prints in various collections [Baraboo - but not in the carnival photo section, in a private collection, Gibsonton, etc.]. You can also check the weekly listings about carnivals in "Billboard" magazine for further information about the Sheesley operation. The original business records of the operation are long gone and that journal provides about the only continuum of information. In the spring they sometimes published show rosters. Speak to your local librarian about obtaining it on interlibrary loan. Fred Dahlinger [Note: Goldsack's contact information now on this website's publications page under Other.]

    Reply: 21 Nov 2011 - I have bunch of photos of Sheesley Shows from the early 1900's I found in south Florida if you're interested? Thanks, Doug

    Reply: 25 Feb 2012 - I would be interested in any photos of the Great Sheesley's Shows. I am especially interested in any posters (original or remake) as I am wanting to create a display in my family room of anything pertaining to Captain John Sheesley. Thank You all, Lester Sheesley

    Reply: 08 May 2012 - There are 4 pages of carnival workers listed in the 1940 census in Alexandria, Louisiana, (enumeration district 40-8). Charles Sheesley is listed as owner. Other Sheesley names are Joan (7 yo), John D (30), and Dorothy (28). Donna
    http://interactive.ancestry.com/2442/m-t0627-01441-00192/?backurl=http%3a%2f%
    2fwww.ancestry.com%2f1940-census&ssrc=#imageId=M-T0627-01441-00346 (pages 41-44).



1123. Circus act, 29 January, 2006 - My mother traveled with a circus after high school (she graduated in 1935). She was the prop girl for a man who walked a ball up a spiral tower and then did balancing acts at the top. Her name was Violet Frank, and she was engaged to the performer but never married him. She's been gone a long time and I am just curious if anyone has pictures of the act, or a similar act I could show my children. Colleen Skott, momhome@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 12 February, 2006 - I had found pictures of an act like this, from 'the Great Fussner' who performed this act well into the fifties. I mailed them to the poster, so maybe you can contact her to see if Fussner coincided with your mother. See my answers and subsequent to question 493 of this board. Incidently he had a daughter named Violet. But there were more performers with this act see also www.shiawasseehistory.com/owossofair.html. Natasha Gerson



1122. King Bros., 29 January, 2006 - Any info on King Bros. winter in Macon, GA? JEtheridge8@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 15 May 2007 - I lived in Macon, Ga when King Bros and King Bros-Cristiani Combined Circus wintered there at Central City Park. What info do you need? Thanks, Charles H.

    Reply: 26 Jul 2009 - I have a picture of my uncle, Tommy Cropper, going over a broad jump in Kings Bros Rodeo in 1935 – is this the same Kings Bros? I am researching his career, he was a trick rider in Ringling Bros in the 1940’s. Thanks, Andrea



1121. Barnum & London winter quarters, 29 January, 2006 - Would anyone know the history behind the Barnum & London winter quarters in Bridgeport Conn? One source says that it burned down in 1868, however another source says that it was constructed in 1880 on a 10 acre lot adjacent to the New York,New Haven and Hartford Rail line, when P.T Barnum was partners with James A. Bailey and James L. Hutchinson,and that the animal building burned down in November 20, 1887 (killing all the animals except 29 elephants that escaped). When was it originally constructed? Is there anything left of the Barnum & London winter quarters? Have any buildings been preserved? If not did the local archaelogist do any excavations there? Rufus Ledbetter, apemonsterman@yahoo.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 29 January, 2006 - The intent to establish a Bridgeport winter quarters was announced by Barnum as early as August 1880. At the time, it wasn't known that there were secret negotiations underway between him and Bailey, facilitated by Hutchinson, to form a new three-way partnership for 1881. An existing factory property was eventually procured and upgraded.
          Through outright ownership into the mid-1890s, and later by leases, Barnum & London, Barnum & Bailey and finally RBBB occupied the quarters land through the spring of 1927. It was bounded by Wordin Avenue, Norman Street, Hanover Street and the railroad on the south, but did not include some of the land in the NE corner. They then vacated the property, shipped the useful equipment and apparatus to Sarasota by special trains and largely cleared the real estate of the buildings that they had erected through the years.
          The Barnum heirs later donated the property to the City of Bridgeport. It's been used as a sports field and perhaps for other purposes. No archeological assessments of the site have been undertaken, but some digging has unearthed red brick of the type that had been used in constructing some of the quarters structures. As far as I know, none of the circus buildings remain standing, but many of the homes facing the property remain intact from the years of circus presence.
          There have been a couple articles written about the quarters, one printed in Bandwagon, and which can be located in the website index.
          The 1868 fire reference is in regard to another Barnum operation. There were at least five major fires at the Bridgeport winter quarters, those in 1887, 1897, 1900, 1903 and 1924 being the best known. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 04 February, 2006 - The former grounds of the old Barnum & London winter quarters in Bridgeport, Conn, is now a recreational park called Went field in the West End section of Bridgeport, which is the low income side of town. After the winter quarters were abandoned it became the site of a printing and engraving company and also a metal extrusion facility. However those have been removed (but apparently not the pollutants that reached the ground water. Went field is now a recreational park that consists of 4 basketball courts, 3 softball fields also practice fields for soccer and track and field, and volley ball. The old Barnum fire house was convererted into a maintence facility for the parks dept. Rufus Ledbetter, apemonsterman@yahoo.com



1120. W. W. Cole, 29 January, 2006 - Help Please I have a W. W. Cole Bros. circus pictorial primer stamped at Hillsdale, Monday, August 8th. Know what year, I do know it was the first time they used electric lights under the big top. Otherwise I'm lost. Any information may be sent to chucksbabs@yahoo.com. Thanks, Bill. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 29 January, 2006 - Knowing that electric lights were first used by a circus in 1879 and that the Cole show was auctioned in 1886, a perpetual calendar yields one year, 1881, applicable to the item in your possession. You can gain a complete understanding of the Cole show by reading Bill Slout's book, "Chilly Billy," published in 2002. If the item in your possession is a single sheet of paper, printed on both sides, and of an upright configuration, it's what printers and circus people termed a "quarter sheet." Collectors have termed them "heralds." If it's a folded and stapled item, it's what's termed a "courier." Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 29 January, 2006 - According to Robert Parkinson's Directory of American Circuses, the W.W.Cole show existed from 1871 to 1886. Using a repeating calender, the only year that Monday August 8th occurred in during this time frame was 1881. Bob Cline

    Reply: 29 January, 2006 - The W. W. Cole Mammoth Circus & Menagerie was coming back from the west coast when it stopped in Hillsdale, Michigan on August 8, 1881. Ted Bowman Route Collection

    Reply: 11 Jan 2009 - Actually, Cole was responsible for the first municipally owner electric utility in America - Fairfield, Iowa, in 1882. He was traveled with a generator and two arc lights, which he sold to the city - presumably he was intending to buy a newer more sophisticated generator. See: Welty, Susan Fulton, ed. A Fair Field. (Detroit: Harlo Press, 1968), pp. 283-284. Don

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1119. Circus ca 1957, 29 January, 2006 - I'm illustrating a children's book about an experience I had in Anoka Minnesota about 1957. My friends and I (about 9 years old at the time) were able to help a visiting circus set up for a performance in our town. We got to do all kinds of things including helping to feed the lions and raise the big top. For our work we received tickets for ourselves and I think our families to attend the nights' performance for free. I don't remember the name of the circus I just remember it seemed very small with not a lot of animals, and it seemed quite poor. It was a great experience that I've remembered all my life, that's why I'm writing this book. The illustrations in the book are fantasized to some extent, though the story line is as accurate as I can remember it, I'm trying to portray what it felt like to be a kid then. What I have done is put in sidebar pages where I show photos of the time and use this device as a counter point to the fantasy of the story. If you have any idea what circus that was or if you have photos of it or a similar circus that I could include in my book it would be of great help. Also if you have any stories or specifics on characters or acts or animals, in fact anything that would help keep the time alive I would greatly appreciate that help. Sincerely, Jim Cameron, jscameron@comcast.net, Norwell, MA. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 29 January, 2006 - The Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros. Circus, America's 2nd Largest Circus played Anoka, Minn. on August 24, 1957. The menagerie included 23 elephants, 6 chimps, 2 giraffes, 14 lions, 2 hippos, 1 wart hog, 1 rhino, 18 camels, 2 hyenas, 6 llamas, and 2 baby gorillas. The show featured Col. Tim McCoy who appeared in the concert with Chief Keys and Oklahoma Shorty. There was also a tie in with a Red Goose Shoe float in almost every town. Check the local newspaper for advertisements and stories about the show. Check Ebay as the 1957 route book for this show occasionally appear for sale. Ted Bowman Route Collection.



1118. Ringling secretary Wilson, 28 January, 2006 - I am trying to find out if my hometown, Wilson, Oklahoma, was truly founded by the Ringling Bros. secretary around 1913. His last name was supposed to have been Wilson. Ringling, Oklahoma is 8 miles west of Wilson and that's supposed to be where that name came from, as well. Also, did their circus include Wilson in their "circuit" during the late 20's and early 30's. If not, do you know which circus might have? My grandmother remembered a circus coming to town during that time and I'm wondering if it was the Ringling Bros Circus. Thank you so much! This is a wonderful thing you are doing, keeping the circus history available to people like me. It will keep the old-time circus alive in our hearts! Best regards, Farah Bazzrea, Nashville TN, fbazzrea@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 30 January, 2006 - John Ringling is the person affiliated with the railroad; he owned several in various parts of the US. The community name source you're seeking is probably Charles C. Wilson (1870-1920). Some brief biographical information is available within Slout's "Olympians," on this website. He was with Ringlings in the 1910s, working out of the 221 Institute Place office in Chicago. That was about the time when Ringling was involved with the railroads. You might find further information about him at the Chicago Historical Society; obituaries in Chicago newspapers, the "Billboard" and "New York Clipper"; or in various circus archives. Having a community named in your honor is pretty unusual and it may have been mentioned at his passing. Railroad histories might cover the origin and ownership of the railroad, but it's unclear if they'd reveal the source of community names. Often someone interested in state history has compiled a book about name place origins. You might check an Oklahoma history organization [state library or historical society] in that regard. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 30 January, 2006 - Wilson Historical Museum, Wilson, OK. "In 1912 the decision was made by Jake Hamon, Ardmore oilman, and John Ringling, the circus magnate, to build a railroad (the Oklahoma, New Mexico and Pacific Railroad) west from Ardmore to Ringling, Lawton and beyond. Not satisfied with the land deal they could secure in Hewitt, they erected a depot and started a new town about a mile west of Hewitt. Wilson was founded in August 1913. The town was incorporated on November 5, 1914. Wilson was named for Charles Wilson, secretary to John Ringling. For a while after its founding the town was known as "New Wilson," since there had been another Wilson (Wilson, Indian Territory) located 7 miles southeast of Ardmore. On August 5, 1918 Oklahoma Governor R. L. Williams declared that "New Wilson" would henceforth be known simply as "Wilson." The name of the post office was not changed from "New Wilson" to "Wilson" until January 28, 1920." From: www.rootsweb.com/~okwhm/whsname.htm. - J. Griffin



1117. Texas Slim and Montana Nell, 28 January, 2006 - I'm looking for anyone who may have knowledge of my grandparents. Their names were Robert Walter and Pearl Collins. Their show names were Texas Slim and Montana Nell. They had a knife throwing and whip act from 1929 to the late 40's. They were in many circuses and wild west shows such as the 101 ranch. Joe Darrah, current day champion knife thrower is nominating them into "The International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame" in Austin , TX next labor day weekend. Thank you for your time on this. Respectfully, Chuck Engel, Daytona Beach, FL. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.



1116. Showfolks flea market, 27 January, 2006 - When is the next Showfolks of Sarasota flea market (once held during Circus Festival Weekend) or the auction at the Tampa Showfolks building? FLMAGIC50@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 27 January, 2006 - You can check out Showfolks of Sarasota at www.showfolks.org. They have a calendar of events on their website and contact information. J. Griffin



1115. Salinas,CA Circus-Carnival, 26 January, 2006 - Could you tell me any information about the Carnival or Circus in Salinas, California historically for the 50's or early 60's. Growing up here 40 years ago I remember going to a Circus by the Southern Pacific railroad station in 1960? Then the circus stopped coming to town shortly thereafter. As an adult, when I viewed the movie "East of Eden" that was shot in Salinas and surrounding areas, they showed a circus. I am wondering if that was the same circus and how early did it start in Salinas? Thank you for listening. Roger, hays1919@sbcglobal.net. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 27 January, 2006 - The best way to determine the past visitations by circuses to Salinas is to scan the old newspapers. Flamboyant circus ads can usually be readily picked out amongst all other advertising. Often they also provided the location of the show. Open space adjacent to railroad stations were often a favored spot for railroad shows because it was a short haul from the railroad yard to the lot. I believe that the Foley & Burk Shows, California's home based railroad carnival, played the Salinas fair. One of their baggage wagons was painted with an inscription advertising the event. An article about the show was printed in Bob Goldsack's "Midway Journal Illustrated," Volume II, Number 1, starting on page 27. You can find Bob's address in past CHS queries about the Johnny J. Jones Exposition. Fred Dahlinger. [Goldsack: Midway Publications, 70 Dublin Ave., Nashua, NH 03063. Tel # 603-883-9405]



1114. Carson & Barnes, 26 January, 2006 - The last large tented circus in America is Carson & Barnes. Am I correct? Do they ever play in Pennsylvania? Thank You. Best, Craig. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 27 January, 2006 - Well yes and no, there are a few other large tent circuses, the new Cole Bros, Big Apple, some Shrine circuses held under tents, but if you're looking for the old time, true blue traditional American big top circus still doing one night stands, using the elephants to put up the big top, and still carrying a big menagerie then Carson & Barnes is it!!! Members of Miller family still own the show, the Miller's have operated Circuses since 1938! I believe they do bring the show east every few years, may want to check their web site, hope you get to see one of the last REAL Circuses left! The Kelly-Miller Circus is a real nice tradional medium sized Circus. Bobby Fairchild

    Reply: 22 February, 2006 - Bobby: Thank You for the info. Cole Bros. and the Feld operation sure aren't in the true spirit of the American Circus of the past. The Feld operation went so far to say that their father saved RBBB. Guess they haven't read the book Circus Boss. John Ringling North whether you agreed with his circus tactics or not, he saved the Big One for the Ringling family in the 1930s and again saved it when he got control and gave America the finest circus in the history of all American circuses. He and Art Concello truly gave us the best of the best and when JRN went indoors he and Art kept the North style performance. Sadly, there weren't any Ringlings or North's left that wanted to head the show. In the coffers, JRN had Big Bertha solidly in the black and the Feld's who bought it were so circus minded they sold it to a toy operation and then bought it back. Seems, it always comes down to the dollar. Best, Craig



1113. Bart Logan, 26 January, 2006 - I am doing research for a novel based on my father's life. He was Bart Logan, from Philadelphia, PA. He was with a circus at some point between 1910 and 1917 (he was born in 1900 and died in 1968). I know that there was a snake charmer (he said she was billed as a "Hindoo Princess" and a Hungarian couple (he thought they were Hungarian, anyway) who had performing ponies. There was at least one elephant. The circus travelled mostly in the southern and central part of the U.S. Any info. would be greatly appreciated. Gina Logan, Braintree, Vermont. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 26 Jan 2008 - Would you be asking about the Billy West Shows? They traveled about that period of time. Had a snake charmer and ponies that traveled with the show. Irvinpittius@aol.com

    Reply: 07 May 2008 - It’s possible that it may have been Billy West’s show. Dad used to talk about someone named Bill. Do you have any information about West? gina



1112. Clarence Franklin Sells, 24 January, 2006 - I recently found a WWI registration for Clarence Franklin Sells. On Sept 12, 1918 he lived in Bridgeport Lawrence Illinois and worked for a traveling carnival. He married in Dauphin, PA and had a child in 1921. I was wondering if anyone had any information on a traveling carnival from Illinois that went to Dauphin PA about 1919 or 1920. He has listed as nearest relative as Ezra Sells. Does anyone know if this is his father? Our family history says that Clarence was in the Sells circus, maybe about 1925-1930. I don't know if this is true or not. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Marcia, sellsr@suscom.net. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 26 January, 2006 - The most direct means to identify the traveling show in question will be to scan the Dauphin newspapers for advertisements. Once the show identities are known, one can then go to the winter quarters lists printed in Billboard and New York Clipper and determine those that originated in Illinois. Check with your local librarian about obtaining the local newspapers and later the show trade journals via interlibrary loan. Be aware, there are basic differences between a carnival and a circus. The latter are largely a performance, a daily moving enterprise. Carnivals were back end shows, with rides and games, often staying in a community for a week, or playing the run of a fair.
          Sells Bros. as a title was used from the 1870s until 1895, when the Adam Forepaugh name was placed in front of it. It was then Forepaugh-Sells 1896-1907 and 1910-1911, with the last use occurring as a subtitle in 1935 on Hagenbeck-Wallace. There was also the Seils-Sterling title, used by the Lindemann family of Sheboygan, WI, c.1922-1938. There were other Sells shows, Sells & Downs 1902-1905, Sells-Floto 1906-1932 and so on. Check the Sturtevant title list on this website for some basic Sells title information. Fred Dahlinger



1111. Unus, Franz Furtner, 24 January, 2006 - An obituary for Unus was published in White Tops, Sep-Oct, 1994, p. 47. He died on August 22, Sarasota, Florida. Franz Furtner, Austrian equilibrist who went by the name of Unus, was born October 19, 1907 in Eichgraben. Began performing in 1933. He was hired by John Ringling North. He entered the big top in top hat and tails, always wore while bloves. His specialty was performing a one-finger stand on top of a lighted globe. A member of Showfolks of Sarasota and owned a motel in Sarasota. Survived by wife Penny, three daughters and a son. See messages 1029, 1056, and 1080, 1092. J. Griffin. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 27 January, 2006 - Two UNUS posters on circusmuseum.nl (type UNUS in search = zoeken in de beeldcollectie) English edition of the site in two weeks available. Herman Voogd, hvoogd@teylersmuseum.nl



1110. Princess White Cloud, 24 January, 2006 - We are searching for information/pictures about a performer named Princess White Cloud. Thank you for any assistance. Sherrybun@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 26 January, 2006 - Ask Joe Darrah, champion knife thrower if this is a relative of che che white cloud. His email address is brknfthr@aol.com. Chuck Engel

    Reply: 26 January, 2006 - Princess Whitecloud is listed as a performer on the Braly circus 1947 at the Limestone County Fair. She is listed as a Sioux Indian soloist and organist, featured with her electric organ solovox and cathedral chimes. Darren Bryan in Georgia, darrenrx@bellsouth.net

    Reply: 28 January, 2006 - Could very well be a relative of Kenny Pierce (aka) Chi Chi White cloud, I know his family was with several circuses around that time period, performing in the after show concerts. Chi Chi was from the Seneca Nation of Indians, Salamanca N.Y. and toured with many tent shows, on several of those he also doubled as Boss Canvasman. Chi Chi was the fastest knife thrower I ever saw, (and I did a knife throwing act for years myself). His lightning speed was unsurpassed. The last time I saw Chi Chi was in the early 90's when I played Salamanca with Billy Martin's All Star Circus. Bobby Fairchild

    Reply: 03 April, 2006 - Princess Naoma Whitecloud, M.Music, was my voice teacher in Biloxi Mississippi from 1974 - 1977 at Werlein's for Music, a shop in the Edgewater Plaza mall. She was a very caring and kind person, and a most strict taskmaster as a teacher. In her studio were old pictures and photos of her in her youth, at a large organ and with various other performers. It was said that the honorary title of Princess was bestowed upon her as a young adult for her tireless efforts to improve the water situation on her reservation, but I was not told which tribe nor the location. When I tried to seek her out in the mid 1980s, the staff of Werlein's informed me that she had passed away, but that, as her former student, if I could stop in at the store they might be able to give me a rare copy of an album she had recorded - unfortunately I was not able to make the 2000 mile trip back to Mississippi and would have no idea how to find that album now. There is another vocalist still on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who might be able to give more information if you can track her down - Gigi Reeks. Good luck finding your information - I also have looked but have found no more than is told in this email. Kathleen McDonald-Neal

    Reply: 26 Aug 2007 - Hi - I just came across this message. I HAVE the Princess Whitecloud Album discussed in this thread. If you would like me to email you the dozen or so cuts from the album (mp3's), and a scan of the album covers, please let me know where to send them. I was not able to get any more information on her other than that listed. Regards, Fred Klein, fredkemail-cl@yahoo.com

    Reply: 03 Jan 2009 - Princess Whitecloud was a keyboard performer at the Koko Club in Biloxi MS in the time frame 1957-1958. She entertained at her multi-keyboard organ & piano bar. She was very popular with Air Force students stationed at nearby Keesler Air Force Base who were able by dint of age and personal finances to go to the bar. Gene Montgomery

    Reply: 27 May 2009 - I can add that Princess White Cloud played the organ with the show that travelled with the fair that came to Florence, Alabama, each fall in the mid 1950s. That was quite a while ago, but she remains a household name with my two sisters and me. StephenEBroyles@gmail.com.

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1109. Circus employees, 24 January, 2006 - Did circus employees stay with circus all the time and sleep there? Thank you. james, JEtheridge8@aol.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 24 January, 2006 - Hello James, Back in the "old days", we lived in the train cars. We had a cook tent "The Cook House", they would raise a flag and we knew it was time to eat. It was sectioned off to two sides. One side was for the Performers and the other side was for the workers. We had a waiter, table cloths, dishes; the works. We had two buses that transported us from the trains to the "lot". During the day we stayed on the lot, since we usually had two performances, there was not much time to leave. The performers had small "state rooms" on the train. Each train car was numbered and had the name of a city on the side. The workers stayed in what you might call "dormitory cars", actually Bunk Cars. Each worker had his own bunk and they shared the rest of the car. Today all performers have mobile homes or campers. They mostly drive their own vehicles. I believe the workers still have a bunk car but, now it is a semi truck. My recollections are from Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. I would imagine that the other circuses during my time had the same arrangements. When we had more than a one day stand, many of us would rent a motel room close by and take baths and showers. There were no bathing facilities in the trains or on the lot. We mainly washed out of buckets so, a real bath was a very wanted luxury. I hope this answers your enquiry. Erny Karoly

    Reply: 14 Mar 2009 - My grandfather Art Concello had three train cars (one actually a cook car) parked in Sarasota, Fl after he retired from the show business. We redid the insides to modernize them, and my sister lived in one and I lived in the other. They were complete 2 bed 1 bath living room dinning room and of course kitchen. Sad to say that they were scrapped last year. We did enjoy the time we had with the piece of history that we had inherited! Antoinette

    Reply: 28 Dec 2009 - See message no. 3208. Goldie, circus brat.



1108. Message removed at request of sender.



1107. What Ever Became of Famous Circus Elephant, 21 January, 2006 - Would anyone have any info as to what became of the noted Barnum & Bailey circus elephant, "Queen"? She originally had been a performing elephant with the Howes London show in the 1870's and perhaps most famous for being the dame of "Baby Bridgeport" who was only the second elephant to be born in captivity in Bridgeport,CT in 1882. After Bridgeport died there in 1886, James A. Bailey sold Queen and Chief (Bridgeports sire) to Adam Forepaugh, for $2,000 dollars on account for their bad tempers.(Queen had a unexplainable hatred for James A. Bailey and almost killed him 1885 during a procession.) K.C., Kenton Cornish, kentonc2001@yahoo.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 22 January, 2006 - Kenton Cornish - Forepaugh's Queen was renamed Empress in 1878 and leased to Campbell Menagerie, which Forepaugh had bought from O'Brien. At end season 1878 Forepaugh sold Campbell show to Batchelor & Doris along with lease of Empress. Stuart Thayer.

    Reply: 23 January, 2006 - Hello Kenton, The Queen you refer to has been graced with the official Asian Elephant stud book #5 for being the birth mother of Baby Bridgeport. The Asian Elephant Studbook lists her as being born in the wild in 1859. You are correct in that she was sold to Adam Forepaugh with Chieftain in 1886 and died later that same year. Bob Cline

    Reply: 23 January, 2006 - I believe you gentlemen are referring to two different elephants. My father used to correspond with an old time Wallace & Co. elephant man named Harry Parkhurst and in one of his letters he recounts Wallace having purchased two elephants from the 4-Paw Show in 1891 "Jess" and "Queen". He unloaded them at the Penn R.R. site at Bunker Hill and walked them to the old quarters. No indication that these elephants were ever used by Wallace (Cook & Whitby) but he did lease them out for the next two seasons before they vanished from my records "Queen" with Bob Hunting Circus and "Jess" with Sells & Rentfrew. Buckles

    Reply: 24 January, 2006 - I have not been able to make any direct connection to the Barnum & London Queen of 1885. However there are two mature female elephants named Queen in the early 20th Century that perhaps may have been her. A elephant named "Queen" was executed in 1910 at the Frank Robbins winterquarters (William Bartels animal farm) in Jersey City. Reportly she had killed 10 people in her circus career and one of which had been a assistant handler there a month earlier. The newspaper accounts say she had previously been with the Cole Bros. cirus prior to having been delivered to William Bartels animal farm in October 1910. The second "Queen"of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey show had been a very old individual when it died in a boxcar outside Madison Square Garden for the opening engagement of Ringling Bros show in March 1930. Reportly she was about 66 years old and previously had been with the Sells Bros. Circus a number of years earlier. Its well known that Adam Forepaugh used to either lease or sell some of his elephants to the Sells Bros. show during the early 1890's. This of course is presuming that the Barnum & London's Queen had kept the same name afterward. K.C., Kenton Cornish, kentonc2001@yahoo.com.



1106. Franzen Brothers, 21 January, 2006 - Does anyone have any information on Franzen Brothers circus? I was told my grandfather worked on a high wire act hanging from his teeth with this outfit. Trying to find someone who knew him or any information that is available about him. His name was James Monroe Heininger and it would have been in the 1930's or 1940's when he performed. I must get my interest in the circus/carnival business honestly from him as I worked for James E. Strates Shows in the 1970's. Thanks! Terry Heininger. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 22 January, 2006 - You have some wrong information. Franzen Bros. Circus was established by Wayne Franzen of Amherst Junction, Wisconsin in 1974. Bobby Fairchild.

    Reply: 22 January, 2006 - Bobby is right. Franzen Bros. originated in Wisconsin. This circus is covered in Dahlinger & Thayer's "Badger State Showmen." Operated from 1974-1997. J. Griffin

    Reply: 26 Jul 2008 - If you worked for Strates in the 70's did you know my grandfather Ray Case? By the 70's he would have been missing a leg, but he performed as far back as the mid 40's with the Strates show as a strongman and sword swallower. He was also the head tentsman. If you know of any historical links for James Strates circus let me know. Joe Gusner

    Reply: 20 Mar 2009 - Sir: One of the Franzen Bros (Wayne) is an elephant trainer and wild animal trainer who will appear at the Baraboo Museum this coming Summer. John Fugate, Peru, Indiana knows one of the brothers whose name name is Wayne. Bob Untereiner, Palatine, Ill.

    Reply: 22 Mar 2009 - Wayne Franzen started Franzen Bros. Circus. He has sinced passed away. His son, Brian Franzen, will be at CWM in Baraboo this summer with his elephants. He also has tigers but I'm not sure if they will be working in Baraboo. Bob Cline



1105. Wartenburg acrobats, 21 January, 2006 - I am seeking information on the Wartenburg family of acrobats one branch of the family married into the Johnson family. Any further information on where to follow this up would be most gratefully received, anne, rayanne@compuserve.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.



1104. Ringling parade NYC, 20 January, 2006 - Does anyone know when the elephants with the Ringling Circus will do their annual parade in NYC? Thanks, Diana. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.



1103. Hula hoop, 20 January, 2006 - My name is Judith laniga, I am writing from Australia, I am a professional hula hoopist (circus) I am writing a book on the hula hoop, including the history and I would like to find out when the hula hoop was first used in circus in different countries. I hope you can help me. Thank you, Judith Lanigan, circus comedienne, hula hoopist, writer, Brisbane, Australia. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender; replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 21 January, 2006 - Someone in the USA says that he was shown a photograph of hula hoop in circus dated 1892, and that hula hoop in circus definately predated the hula hoop fad of the 1950s and that there were even problems with the hula hoop patent becasue of that. I am wondering if anyone who visits your site has any futher information or any pictures, or any idea who the circus buff is who has the picture of 1892 circus hula hoops. Judith Lanigan

    Reply: 21 January, 2006 - Dear Judith, The hula hoop was first introduced into the American culture in 1958. Every kid on the block had one. I believe that there was even a popular song at the time that helped to boost the nation wide craze. One would think that the circus of that era could easily have capitalized on that by presenting a hula hoop act in the show, then selling them as souvenirs. Other than being used as jump props, and occasional use on the low wire and bareback riding acts, I do not recall seeing a genuine hula hoop act presented on an American circus until the early 1990's. Now many circuses present them as part of their program. Perhaps one of the best known performers to present a hula hoop act is Dania Kasseeva, a wonderful Russian performer who often worked with the Hannerford Circus. Dessi Espana also presented a very well choreographed hula hoop act on various editions of the Ringling show. Sadly, Dessi was killed in 2004 as a result of a fall from aerial rigging on Ringling's Gold unit in St. Paul, Minnesota. Jim Cole



1102. Whitson Brothers, 20 January, 2006 - Where can I find information on the Whitson Brothers Acrobatic Troupe? Thanks, David. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 17 September, 2006 - I'm from Kendallville, Indiana and a family by the name of Whitson lived just around the corner. There were two men in the act (I think they were called "The Whitson Brothers) during the time I was there (1934 - 1952). I remember them practicing in the small gymnasium one Sat afternoon(in the 1950's) and they asked me to catch a trunk they used in their act of foot balancing and flipping. I remember one was lying on his back with his feet in the air. The trunk was standing end-wise on his feet, and the other man was standing on top of the trunk. Then, the top guy jumped up, the lower man pushed the trunk to me (it was very light) and the top man landed on the bottom man's feet, as I recall, in a sitting position, perhaps with a somersault. You might find information in the Kendallville Public Library's back issues of the Kendallville News Sun which are on microfilm. Or - run a query in the News Sun at www.kpcnews.com/the_news_sun/. (My uncle, Forest Grubb, was an acrobat with a group know as The Belfords, also from Kendallville. He met his wife Victoria on the Marcus Show and they were married in Christ Church, New Zealand. Her father was a trick bicyclist and went by the name of Valdare. (by Kay Lewis Strater)

    Reply: 24 Aug 2007 - To the person who wants info on the Whitson bros. My mom is Colleen Davis (Whitson) who is the daughter of Jack Whitson. We would be happy to fill you in on a lot of the history of the Whitson/Belford act. smithfamily@ligtel.com, sincerely, Pat Smith



1101. Flying Lelands, 19 January, 2006 - I am looking for info on The Flying Leland's who worked with the Hannefords (Poodles) and Tommy. There were Flying Leland's Florance, Tony & 6 others. Florance was my Aunt & Tony my Uncle Flo's Husband. I am Yvonne Leland all are gone & I am trying to put together family history. Thank You, Yvonne, Yvonne Bryceland onebigapplemamma@hotmail.com. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

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