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Message Archive: Messages 1151 - 1200

1200. Archey Achy - Bear Trainer and Showman, 01 March, 2006 - I am searching for information on Archey Achy (unsure of spelling). He was from nothern WI and traveled in various circus's including Europe with a Black Bear that did tricks etc. I understand from my grandmother that the bear was burned severly in Europe - the bears hair grew back bright red. I am looking for pictures or other information. Thanks, Scott Peavey. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1199. Chief Debra, wife Esquirimaua, 27 February, 2006 - I have an old picture (around 1900 I think) with Chief Debra & wife Esquirimaua written on the back. I may not have transcribed her name correctly. They appear to be dwarfs. At the bottom of the picture is Wendt, New York which I assume is the photographer. I will try to send pictures of the front and back - hope I can make it work! Could you give me any information about them. Linda Taylor,, Greentop, MO. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 March, 2006 - Hi Linda, The photo you have is of Chief Debro who was billed as an Eskimo midget. Actually, he was from Kendallville Indiana. He was on the Mighty Haag Shows in 1911 and 1912. If you use the search link at the top of this page and search for Debro, you will find several mentions of him. Darren Bryan in Georgia,

    Reply: 28 February, 2006 - Sorry, this discussion board does not permit graphic attachments. - J. Griffin, webmaster

    Reply: 03 March, 2006 - I posted the original question and want to thank you for the information. Correct spelling of the names is a big plus.

    Reply: 04 March, 2006 - Here is a link to a collection of Chief Debro and wife photos.,221. Darren Bryan in Georgia,

    Reply: 05 March, 2006 - Esquimaux is probably what is written on the back, which is the French word for Eskimo. They were billed as Eskimo midgets. It may be of interest to you that Olof Krarer was a popular midget around that same time and was also billed as an Eskimo. Olof immigrated to the US in 1876 and gave appearances from the 1890s through at least the 1920's. I have read that Olof was actually from Iceland. Darren Bryan in Georgia,

1198. Alexander R Waever, 28 February, 2006 - Can anyone tell me where I can find information on Alexander R Waever? I have a drawing of a circus carraige with his signature on it and I'd like to know more about it. The carraige has the name Adam Forepaughs & Sells Bros on it. Thanks so much, Janeene, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1197. Father of Red Skelton, 28 February, 2006 - I am trying to find any proof that Red Skelton's father was a clown. It has been said that he performed for Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. Can anyone help confirm this? Mark Kratzner, Vincennes, IN, Hometown of Red Skelton, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 March, 2006 - It is true. Red Skelton's Father was a clown on Hagenbeck Wallace. His father died shortly before Red was born. Red also performed as clown on Hagenbeck Wallace Show before he was sixteen years old. He also performed on medicine shows. He did not have an easy early life, You can look him up by simply putting his name on any search engine. You will get loads of info about him. Erny Karoly

    Reply: 15 July, 2006 - I am trying to find out more about my family who my mother said were directly related to Red Skelton, he being either a brother or first cousin of either my great grandfather Joseph skelton or my great great grandfather William Skelton. William Skelton arrived in Australia from Cornwall, England in 1824, Joseph his son did live in Argentina for some time I believe. My mother seemed to know quite a bit about Red Skelton's family which leads me to believe there may have been a connection. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. Margaret

    Reply: 17 July, 2006 - This is found directly from a website about the Skelton geneology. Ella Richardville of Vincennes, Ind. gave birth to Newton Skelton. Newton Skelton is the father of Joseph Elmer Skelton. Joseph Elmer Skelton married Ida Mae Fields with a marriage application dated 4/25/05. Ida Mae Fields parents were Asa Fields and Susan Kimbell. Richard "Red" Skelton was born July 18, 1913 in Vincennes, Ind. Richard Skelton was the fourth son born of this marriage. Richard's father Joseph, passed away two months before he was born. Don't know if this helps or not. Bob Cline

    Reply: 23 Nov 2007 - I had an Aunt Florence Boynton Harvey, born 1906. She told me of the time when, as a child, she saw Red Skelton's father as a clown with the Sells Floto Circus in Augusta, Maine. I wouldn't know the exact year, but perhaps an intensive search of the local newspaper, the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine may reveal some articles regarding the circus? Stan

1196. Sleeping arrangements, 28 February, 2006 - After attending the Circus this weekend in Charlotte, a question came up. Where the Circus performers sleep, these days, when they travel? Do they still sleep in trailers or do they rent the conventional hotel room now? Thanks. Matthew W Spea. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 March, 2006 - They have their own RV's and the workers sleep in "Bunk House" semi trailers. Erny Karoly

1195. Delno Sisters, 28 February, 2006 - I am looking for info on one of the Delno Sisters. She married Roy LaPearl son of J H LaPearl but I don't seem to be able to find any info on her circus life. I know she was a trapeze artyist and hung by her teeth and was also a contortionist also rode the horses. She was with the J H LaPearl Circus and later the Great Wallace Circus after Wallace bought it from my great grandfather. I certainly would appreciate any help I can get on this. You may E mail me at Thank You. Noreen LaPearl, Rochelle, Petersburg VA. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1194. Flying Marilees, 27 February, 2006 - Looking for any information on the Flying Marilees. We were on the Hamid Morton show in the early fifties. I know they lived in Spain for a while. She was a good friend of mine and I would love to know if she is still alive. fatima Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 February, 2006 - I saw the Marilees in Copenhagen in 1973. Roger Mireless of the Flying Marilees has recently be working for the Blackpool Circus School in England. Try to mail the Circusschool at Ole Simonsen,

    Reply: 02 March, 2006 - I have contact with Mary and Lee, and yes, they are both very much alive. I worked with them in 1970-1973, and my last season with them was in Copenhagen in 1973. I saw them just a few weeks ago. If send your details to me at: then I will try and forward it to them. Regards. Allan Weppenaar Pedersen.

    Reply: 30 April, 2006 - Mary and Lee are my Aunt and Uncle, They live not to far from me, Just outside of San Antonio, Texas in Kerville. Mary and Lee are doing very well and enjoying their retirement. Contact me if you have any Questions at

    Reply: 17 May, 2006 - Lee and Mary are good friends of mine. I worked with them in 1983 on Circo Americano in Italy. I spoke to Lee several years ago and they were doing great at that time. Lee, I would love to hear from you! Farrell,

    Reply: 22 Apr 2008 - Lee was/is my uncle. I know he and Mary had retired and I believe they were living in the Texas hill country. Maybe Fredericksburg or somewhere around there.

    Reply: 17 Oct 2008 - Currently My Aunt Mary (Atterbury) and Lee Stath Live in Kerrville, Texas. they are doing well and Enjoying their retirement. Joseph Atterbury, San Antonio, Texas

    Reply: 19 Oct 2010 - If anyone has any pictures or videos of the Flying Marilees, i would be greatful to recieve them as I am good friends with Roger and he would love to see this media.

    Reply: 15 Jul 2011 - I am looking for pictures or memorabilia of the Flying Marilees. Mary is my great aunt. Thanks. R Deacetis

    Reply: 19 Oct 2012 - Mary Rose (nee Atterbury) Stath; world renown trapeze artist; born in a circus wagon, somewhere in Nebraska, on February 8th either in 1924, 1923 or 1917, and member of the Flying Marilees, gave her last performance on Oct. 13, 2012 but she missed the big trick and went on to meet "The Big Catcher in the Sky". Published in Express-News on October 18, 2012. Harrell

1193. "Mary," Asian elephant, 27 February, 2006 - I would be so grateful if someone has any information about "Mary" the Asian elephant who was one of the "original "7" of Gunther-Gabel Williams. Right now she resides at the Little Rock Arkansas Zoo. She's about 55 or so yrs. old and was on the Red Line. My daughter was her keeper for a few yrs. at the Little Rock Zoo, before she passed away one and one half yrs. ago from cancer. She loved "her" elephants, especially Mary, and often remarked once you've been with an elephant, you're never the same. I want to do a tribute to the elephants & a memorial to my daughter, and I would love to have all the info. about Mary that I can get. If anyone on this site has any information about Mary, or can direct me to someone I would be so appreciative. I have the need to do this for my wonderful daughter (zookeeper). My precious gift. Sincerely, Carol Hensel (Mom to Zoocountrygirl), Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 March, 2006 - I wrote this in Buckles Blog also because I wasn't sure which one you would read first but here it is anyway. According to the Asian Elephant Studbook maintained by Mike Keele and Karen Lewis at the Oregon Zoo, Mary was born in the wild in 1952. She was brought from the wild directly to Circus Williams in Germany but the actual dates are question marks. She is recorded as Stud# 121. Perhaps this helps a little bit. Bob Cline

    Reply: 23 March, 2006 - Dear Mr. Cline, Thank you for the information about Mary, the Asian elephant. It is a help to me. I appreciate your time. Hope you get this message. I'm new to this sort of thing, but do hope you read it. Sincerely, Carol

1192. Tom Jones, giant, 27 February, 2006 - Tom Jones, was 7 foot tall and traveled with a circus as the giant. I don't know which circus he was with. I would love to see pictures or billboards of him. Someone in our family is supposed to have them but I have been unable to get a copy. Any information would be appreciated. I was told that he would come out at the beginning of a show on a little donkey with his legs dragging on the ground, accompanied by a midget on a huge horse. Wendy Morris, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1191. Hugh Francisco and Jasper Bunt, 26 February, 2006 - Hugh Francisco and his brother Jasper Bunt worked for the circus sometime in the late 1930's. Jasper Bunt was born in New York but went to live in Gibsonton Florida with his wife Pearl. Jasper died in Florida in 1972. I know this is a long shot, but am hoping that someone out there might be able to help me. In the 1930 census he was listed as a bus driver. I believe that Hugh Francisco met my great Aunt Dorothy Small in Boston Mass. in 1939 while working for the Circus. My email address is, Thanks So much, Amy Black. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1190. Archie & Diana Bennett contortionists, 26 February, 2006 - We're looking for former contortionists Archie & Diana Bennett. Does anybody know how to contact them and where they do live now? ICC International Contortion Convention, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 August, 2006 - I too am looking for Dianna and Archie Bennett. I worked with them in Beyruth, Lebanon many years ago - if you contact them, would you please give them my email. Caz,

    Reply: 27 Sep 2008 - I too am looking for Archie and Diane Bennett. We worked at the Tropicana in Las Vegas in the late 60's. Have you had any luck yet? maggie m

    Reply: 13 Aug 2009 - Maggie M, please send email to

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1189. Joe Masterson, Rodeo Joe, 26 February, 2006 - Is there any way I could find photos of my deceased husband, Joe Masterson, who performed with Cole Bros. Circus, I believe in the '40's. He was a trick rider and rope spinner. Many photos were lost in a fire and our three children, now adults would be thrilled to see their father back then. I believe he went by the name "Rodeo Joe" at that time. Any information would be appreciated so much. I was never fortunate enough to see a performance by him as we were married in '57 after he had quit performing and became a horseshoer until his passing. Thank you, Elizabeth Masterson Dumais, Gainesville, Florida, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1188. Bob Russell clown, 26 February, 2006 - My grandfather was Bob Russell (Russell Bros. Circus - season 1913?) I know he was a clown with various circuses from about 1890’s-1952. I have a scrapbook with circus memorabilia, newspaper articles, and photos. In the Circus Historical Society note sheet 19, July 1945, it is stated that the Original Russell Bros. Circus - Season 1913 came to the town of Sebrell, VA. This is the town that my mother (his daughter) was born and lived in the area for many years. I don’t think this is a coincidence. Does anyone have any information about Bob Russell (Robert Lee Russell)? He married Lula Belle Taylor. I have tried to find information about him for years. This is the best site I have located. Stan Trice, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1187. A. E. Parson, 25 February, 2006 - I recently discovered a buggy or wagon whip in my deceased father-in-laws shed. It has the name of A. E. Parson of Darlington WI. Is this the Albert "Butch" Parson of the Parson Bros. Circus and later ran the concessions for the Ringling Bros? Does anyone have an idea? Please let me know. Thanks, Alan J Hartman, e-mail, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 March, 2006 - Yes, there's a good chance that it's one and the same. The Parson family had possession of quite a number of artifacts and archival items from the years when they handled the concessions on Ringling and also Barnum & Bailey. The family may also have saved other personal items, such as the buggy whip inscribed with the name. You can find more information about the situation between the Parson family and the Ringlings in Jerry Apps, "Ringlingville, USA." There are Parson descendants in the WI area today. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 17 October, 2006 - Yes, that would be the 'Butch' Parson you refer to. I'm his great niece. The information you have though is slightly incorrect. Arthur 'Slim' Parson ran the concessions for/with Ringling's for nearly 20 years. During that time several of the Parson siblings wintered in South Florida. My dad spent every winter here as a child. Also there are no longer any of the Parson descendants living in WI. Francis, 'Sy', Parson, son of Frank, was the last of the second generation living in WI and he passed away in 1997. I have much Circus memorabilia, including pictures, that have been handed down in my family each generation. Mind if I ask who your late father-in-law was and where he lived? Thanks, Pat Parson

    Reply: 18 October, 2006 - A few years ago, a Wisconsin antiques dealer sold off a number of Parsons family items relating to their circus activities. They indicated that they came from family then in the state. I can't vouch for their accuracy. It would be interesting to learn more about the materials in your possession. The full story of the Parsons and their circus efforts has yet to be told. You can contact me at, Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 15 February, 2007 - Pat, I would like to ask you some questions about the Parson family activities. A contact sent to would be appreciated. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 08 Dec 2011 - I am a direct descendant of the parsons family. Eva Hill and Floyd Hill are my grand parents and I had pics but lost a lot. Would love to get in touch with Pat Parson who wrote in. Also my mother’s name is Patricia. Karen

1186. Aerialist death 1910, 25 February, 2006 - I am looking for information about an aerialist with the circus that died by falling around 1910, maybe in Mexico. I understood it was the Barnun & Bailey Circus but have a feeling that could be wrong. Sandy Henry, Fort Worth, Texas. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 May, 2006 - I believe the name was Lillian Litzel. I remember my father talking about this. wayne kerslake,

    Reply: 15 February, 2007 - I don't know the aerialist that you are looking for, but the answer given is off by 20 years. Lillian Leitzel died in a fall, but not until 1931. Charlie

    Reply: 08 Feb 2008 - Lillian Leitzel was my great aunt, her second husband was my great uncle, Clyde Ingalls, who managed the side shows for Ringling Brothers – she also wrote a syndicated newspaper column on exercise – I have many articles written about her and by her – she died when the rope broke in Denmark in 1931 – she was married to Alfredo Codona, also an aerialist, at the time. Joan Marino [] Full Name: Joan Ingalls Peterson Holladay. Home: Slidell, Louisiana

1185. Ringling Brothers 1942, 24 February, 2006 - I would like to know when the Ringling Brothers circus was in Greensboro, NC in 1942. Tony Payne, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 February, 2006 - Tony, check the Ringling Bros. 1942 route on this website. J. Griffin

    Reply: 26 March, 2006 - Tony: I checked the RBBB Route Book and they didn't play there in 1942. Best, Craig

1184. Louis Moilanen, Tallest man, 24 February, 2006 - Any Info on Louis Moilanen(Tallest man). Lived 1885-1913. Sue, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 June 2007 - Hi! My name is John Byykkonen or (Pyykkonen) Big Louie-Louis Moilanen was one of my relatives! My family has been talking and emailing each other about him lately and my Dad used to talk about him. My great great grandfather Enoch Pyykkonen came over and settled from Finland around the same time Louis did. Here is some information. John Byykkonen [graphic attachments in message not included here - J. Griffin, webmaster]

1183. Clyde Beatty Cole photos, 24 February, 2006 - Hi folks, Working on Clyde Beatty Cole H.O. scale model looking for pics photos to help project - seat trailers, water truck, stake driver, trying to model the red blue paint scheme late 1960's early 70's or info on building details. Thanks Kevin, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 April, 2006 - Just wondering if anyone knows the family of the late Clyde Beatty? I was a friend of his grandchildren Evelyn and Eddie when their mother worked on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City as a lion tamer. The main attraction on the Steel Pier was the high diving horse! Any info would be appreciated. Thanks, Mike

1182. Rose Gold, 23 February, 2006 - Rose Gold Was a very sexy performer. When did she die and for how long did she perform. Do you know where I can get some pictures of her? Thanks, Bob Taylor. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 October, 2006 - I was in the same show as Rose Gold in '57 and can email you a picture.

1181. Movie: "Rain or Shine", 23 February, 2006 - There is a Frank Capra movie called Rain or Shine starring Louise Fazenda and Joe Cook. In this 1930 movie, Cook plays the utility man in the Rainey Circus, which gives performances "Rain or Shine," except that it's always raining. Does anyone know what circus was used in the filming of this movie or where the location was? I have a newspaper article that says Ruby Haag did an aerial act in this movie. It may have only been in the background, but I'm not sure. In 1930, Ruby Haag would have been on the Mighty Haag Shows. Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1180. The American Circus (Brazil) 1915-16, 23 February, 2006 - I have a friend who is a fan of Athletic Shows "wrestlers" and is seeking information on the American Circus (Brazil) 1915-16 owned by Gastao Gracie and the Queirio brothers from Argentina. In particular a wrestler named Alfredi Leconti. William Woodcock. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
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1179. "On the Road With a Circus" by Thompson, 22 February, 2006 - I was looking through the bibliography of a book about the American circus published in 1955. In the bibliography there was listed as a source either a book or unpublished manuscript by W. C. Thompson, "On the Road With a Circus," n.p 1903. "Based on the authors experience with the Forepaugh-Sells circus about 1900". My question is,was this primary source ever published? Who was W. C. Thompson? If not is it possible that Bandwagon magazine could reprint it in a facsimile edition? I'm sure it would be of historical interest to publish this and disseminate it to a broader audience. Rufus Ledbetter, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 February, 2006 - The Thompson book was published in 1903. Floyd King described it as his favorite circus book. It was based on his viewing of the 1901 Forepaugh-Sells show, but is generic in nature except for the photos and route information. In "Bandwagon," March-April 1979, pages 25-29 is an article that describes Thompson as city editor of the "New York Evening Telegram" in the 1890s, later associated with the Thompson & Dundee New York Hippodrome, Coney Island and Pawnee Bill [unclear if solo or Two Bills]. You may find additional information about him in on-line databases. This material is in the introduction to a memoir that Richard C. Ellsworth penned in regard to a tour with Forepaugh-Sells in 1902. The Thompson book is relatively rare and not readily found, but six copies are currently available on one website ranging from $45 to $100 each. It's a complement to other articles published in the early 20th century about circus activity. Speak with your local librarian about obtaining a copy on interlibrary loan. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 05 Jan 2009 - Hi, I have On the Road with a Circus Book by W.C. Thompson, copyright 1903 in good condition. Has photos of the circus and has a signature on the inside cover page that is quite old in style, H.C. Russ. Have not tried to research that name just yet, maybe he was a clown, not sure. You may contact me if you are interested. Thank-you, Brian, [Note: the book is now on this website, click on History on the navigation bar.]

1178. Miller Brothers Circus, 21 February, 2006 - I am in search for information on the Miller Brothers side show circus. I was told that this was a early version of the Al. G. Kelly Miller Brothers circus but still am absolutly lost on which is fact. Was there a Miller Brothers circus - or was it a side show? Or just the Miller Brothers circus? Onto the second part of my question, did they perform at the worlds fair in Chicago in either 1933 or 1934? I am seeking information on this because my great grandmother was part of this circus - or side show. She ran away and joined the Millers Brothers circus. She lived in Chicago during that time. She had two daughters and left them. My aunt says my grandma went to the Worlds fair and met her there. She had become the psychic/crystal ball fortune teller. If it was 1933 or 1934 she could not tell. They never heard a word from her again. I have a wonderful picture of her that can be viewed at sideshow Any one with any information would be a godsend. Thanks! Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 February, 2006 - Zack Miller, who with his brothers had previously operated the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Wild West, 1925-1931, had a short-lived Wild West operation on the midway at the 1933 Century of Progress in Chicago [one reference also says 1934]. It was not a circus and I doubt that it had a side show connected with it. I'd suggest starting with one of about three books that document the Miller operations, and Don Russell's book "The Wild West." Your librarian should be able to help you secure them on loan. Other coverage would be in the weekly pages of "Billboard" magazine, which carried news from the midway concessionaires. The Chicago Tribune is on-line at some libraries and it will contain fair information. Some limited coverage might be in 1933 issues of the Circus Fans Association magazine "White Tops." There's also the Miller files at the University of Oklahoma and coverage at the Chicago Historical Society. Robert Rydell has issued bibliographies and other books about fairs. In general there is abundant 1933-1934 fair documentation, but finding a single individual, especially a side show performer who may have been contracted by an intermediate agent, will be challenging. Your best bet might be to seek the counsel of a professional genealogist or local genealogy support group and get some guidance on tracing your family member via formal records. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 26 Aug 2007 - The Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City, OK, home of the famed 101 Miller Bros. Wild West Show, is researching and preparing an exhibit of Women of the 101 so we would be most interested in the name/or names, of any women who performed with the show. Yes, they did have sideshows, judging from our research. Please contact me at with information and pictures, please! Thanks, Paula Denson

1177. Virginia Smith, 21 February, 2006 - I'm interested in finding out anything I can about Virginia Smith. I believe she was with the Campbell Brothers Circus sometime around 1917. I believe she performed as an musician, possibly playing the banjo with her father in a duo named: The Musical Smiths." Thanks for any information or guidance you can provide. Charles F. Hansen, San Diego, California. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 February, 2006 - Let me give you some information about Campbell Bros. Circus first. It was owned by Al G. Campbell, Ed Campbell, Virg Campbell, Charles "Doc" Campbell, Fred Hatfield, and Lee Greer from it's beginning in 1896 to the end in 1912. Another Campbell Bros. Circus was in existance from 1920 to 1921 while being owned by William P. Campbell.
          Your best bet to find out if she was a member of these shows would be to contact the Circus World Museum Research Library in Baraboo, WI. and ask if they have any route books for this show in these years. As a general rule, the route book was genuinely created as a keepsake for the people on the show and documented names, job descriptions or departments, the route they played that year, the performance, and sometimes a daily diary. You could also search the library files for her name in particular should a personal file actually exist.
          As Mr. Fred Dahlinger points out in question # 1164, check the Sverre O. Braathen musical files located there also for band rosters. You can readily access information on the web about how to find the Circus World Museum website and Library info. Hope this helps. Bob Cline

    Reply: 23 February, 2006 - The Braathen lists do not include musical acts such as the duo mentioned, only big show bands and side show bands. The last Campbell Bros. route book was issued in 1911. The 1910 edition is reproduced in Adam Bardy's book about the Campbell show. It does not include a roster. The activity noted may have been a Campbell named operation, but owned by "Campbell Bros." The actual circumstances are often confused in handed down oral traditions. If that's the case, it might be one of William P. Campbell's operations, such as the Col. George W. Hall Circus of 1919-1920, or a predecessor, his Campbell's Circus, which is listed for 1915-1918. The H. W. Campbell Shows in the Parkinson list is better known as a railroad carnival of 1919-1921. It had a back end wild animal circus show in 1919. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 05 March, 2006 - There is much confusion about the Campbell Circuses. The Campbell Brother Circus mention in the reply of 22 February 2004 was owned and operated by Al G. Campbell, Ed Campbell, Virg Campbell, Charles "Doc" Campbell and their brothers-in-law Fred Hatfield and Lee Greer. Following the closure of their circus in 1912, William Parker Campbell, a grand-nephew of the Campbell owners and his uncle, William Parker Campbell began raising funds to buy out their uncle and cousins (Al, Ed, Virg, Doc, Fred and Lee). In 1913, I think it was, they bought the circus property that wasn't leased. The nephew William Parker, who operated the press car for the brothers' circus, already had a small show touring in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas prior to 1912. The equipment purchased from the brothers' was added to this show which continued to tour throughout the southwest until the early 1920's when it was moved to the east coast (West Virginia) where it joined one of the Bailey shows. This joint operation was incorporated in West Virginia in 1921. In short, Virginia Smith may have been with the Campbell Circus in 1917. She could also have been with the Campbell's Circus, owned by yet another William Campbell, son-in-law of Col George "Popcorn" Hall (this William Campbell also worked for, but was not related to, the Campbell Brothers Circus, and was referred to by the family as "Low Grass Bill" Campbell. William Parker was called "High Grass Bill.") Interesting thing is that Low Grass eventually joined High Grass as a partner in the Bailey/Campbell circus in 1922. In 1923, or thereabouts, High Grass and Bailey sold out to Low Grass. Frank "Watermelon" Campbell has more information about the Campbell Brothers Circus and the Campbell Circus (he is a nephew of William Parker). He may be contacted through the Railroad Museum in Enid, Oklahoma. Sam Campbell,

    Reply: 14 June 2007 - The Campbell Bros. circus wintered South of Drummond, OK in the early 1900's. Little Nick and his bearded Mother, Sidonia, spent the rest of their lives in Drummond, Oklahoma. Dovie Kaupke,

    Reply: 03 Jul 2008 - Thanks to all for your very detailed and informative responses. Since initially posting this inquiry, I found a postcard addressed to my grandmother Virginia Smith, c/o Campbell Brothers Circus, Natchez, Mississippi and postmarked October 17, 1910! Charles F. Hansen, San Diego, California

1176. Virginia Greater Shows, 21 February, 2006 - I'am looking for any information regarding a New Jersey based carnival/sideshow that was called "The Virginia Greater Shows" that ran during the 1940's. It was home based in Orange, NJ and wintered in Suffolk, Va. General Manager was Rocco Masucci and General Agent was Wm C (Bill) Murray. Thank You. Frank Priam, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 February, 2006 - McKennon's "Pictorial History of the American Carnival, Vol. II, gives dates of operation for the carnival as 1942-1963. It was a motorized operation. The best places to search for information will be: weekly issues of the trade publication "Billboard" to 1960, and then "Fun Spot" and "Amusement Business" thereafter; newspapers from their winter quarters community and the cities that they played; discussions with people in the community where they wintered; and on-line newspaper resources that can be checked with key word searching. Searching for the obituaries and other data relating to the gentlemen mentioned may also lead to descendants, who might be willing to share information. Contact might also be established with the Carnival Historical and Model Builders Society, 1922 Neely Ferry Road, Laurens, SC 29360. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 22 February, 2006 - Thank You for the response to my query. The information and advice was most helpful. F. Priam

1175. World of Mirth, 21 February, 2006 - I am looking for any history on the ferris wheel owners from the World of Mirth. They were supposedly owned by a Chester and Shirley Fowler. I don't know how far back their ownership goes but I think they had them in the 50's and 60's. I am looking for any information on the ride from around the 1950's until the circus closed. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mary Savacool, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 February, 2006 - A place to start would be Bob Goldsack's 1984 book, "World of Mirth Shows, a remembrance." You'll find Bob's contact information on this website. By the way, WOM was a railroad carnival, not a circus. A scanning of the carnival pages of Billboard might reveal the people you're seeking, but it's a long shot. Like many larger midways, WOM went to multiple wheels, two, then three and finally four. At one time they had a band organ positioned between them. The 1958 wagon list printed in the Goldsack book identifies some rides under private ownership, but not the wheels. You might also initiate contact with the people at the International Independent Showmens Foundation in Gibsonton, FL. They have an archival collection of carnival materials. The Eli Bridge Company once issues a publication called "The Optimist" and later "Big Eli News." If the Fowlers were owner-operators, they may have received coverage in it at one time. Fred Dahlinger

1174. Aerial Patts or Flying Patts, 20 February, 2006 - Hello, I am just curious about my great-grandparents and my grandmother and what circus or carnival they performed for. They were know as the Aerial Patts or Flying Patts. I have a picture of an article about my grandmother when she was 9 months old or so. The writing says it was in "Billboard" on page 63 dated 06/10/1922, and I cannot find anything else. I don't know if she had any siblings her name was Charlotte Patt, and I think she was married to a man with the last name of Miller at some point, and then to my grandfather Ira "Ray" Hartley. Just curious if there is any info out there. Thank you. Sincerely, Nova Walbridge, Gladewater, TX. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 August, 2006 - My great grandfather, now deceased, years ago told me a story about his brother who was in the circus who died catching someone off the trapeze. I guess his stomach ripped reaching out too far. He saved the other person though. I don't know his name. My great grandfather's name was William Patt and I believe the act was called the Flying Patts. His father, my grandfather, was born in 1914, so I'm guessing my great grand father must have been around 20 during 1914? I'd have to check with my mother to see if she recalls his siblings names or whether there was a Charlotte. When I was about 10, my school assignment was to speak with an elder and bring back an interview. I interviewed my great grandfather. Too bad I don't have that in writing any longer. He must have told me the story about 1971. Joyce Spaulding,

    Reply: 20 May 2007 - Hi, Nova! This is Aunt Deb from Phoenix. The Aerial Patts performed in Vaudeville and circuses from around 1910 through your grandmother Charlotte Mary Patt Miller Hartley's childhood. Tony Patt died from stomach problems (probably cancer) when Charlotte was about 7. Charlotte's mother, Vera, remarried. Her new husband was Frank Zerrado, another circus performer. Charlotte was an only child, and performed on the "net." She lacked her mother's fearless attitude, so she wasn't able to rise to her mother's level. Vera's brother, Bob Fisher, was well known as the leader of the "Flying Fishers." Vera developed crippling arthritis and had to retire from aerial work. Give us a call if you want more information.

    Reply: 12 Jan 2008 - Nova, have you determined whether Tony was the brother of my great grandfather William Russell Patt? I read your Aunt Deb's reply. Thank you. Joyce Spaulding

    Reply: 03 Nov 2008 - Hi, Aunt Deb and Nova! It's Emi. I was googling Grandpa's name to try to find out the whereabouts of his first son from his first wife. Well, isn't this random? So, I just told my mom about your posts and she said that Frank Zerrado must have been his stage name because great grandma Vera was married to Frank Keelher (spelling?) and her last name was Keelher. They both past in Phoenix, AZ (c. 1970 or 1971) because they had been living with my mom's family for approximately 6 months. Vera broke her hip in Oregon and uncle Robin went up to get them and bring them back to AZ. Apparently they both died within a couple months of each other. My mom also concurs they were called the Flying Patts and Charlotte was an only child (although Frank had a child, so they were step-siblings).
        So, the other random thing is I think it's in our genes because this summer I randomly had a chance to try a free trapeze lesson and I was a natural. I was, of course, wearing a safety belt and using a net, but I was able to swing forward, swing back, swing forward while putting my things up on the bar, swining from hanging from my knees, getting back into the position of hanging from my hands, and then I did a kick forward and back, then releasing into a double back flip and landing on the net perfectly. I have it filmed if you want to see it! The spotters said, 'you've taken lessons before, right?" There is a trapeze school on Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. The lessons are pretty expensive, otherwise, I would pursue it! But, if you ever get the chance to hang from a trapeze, do it! It's such a rush! The scariest part is actually leaving the high platform to take that first swing across.
        Joyce, my mother says that my grandma Charlotte was only about 8 when Tony Patt died. My mom doesn't know if Tony had brothers. Did you find out? are we related? ;-) ? Ok, this is getting long, but you should both call my mom and get my cell number to continue our family tree research together! Love, Emi

    Reply: 16 Mar 2009 - Good Afternoon, I have found the article on the flying Patt's and I have a Tony Patt and a William Patt in my family tree. I was wondering if they could be the same Tony and William Patt that were in this circus. I have William Patt's father as being Louis Casper Patt and I have Louis Casper Patt's father as Joseph Patt. They were from Germany and arrived in the States on June 5, 1880. I have birth dates and death dates on all the above if that will help. If any of this matches the records that you have please e-mail me and can send you what else I have to see if they are in the same family. Thanks again, Tracy Clark,

    Reply: 02 Sep 2009 - My mother-in-law VirginiaSue (age 89) and Charlotte Patt were friends when they were teenagers in the 1930s in Bloomington, Illinois. She would be interested in writing to Charlotte after all these years, assuming that Charlotte is still living. Does anyone have her married name and a current address? Any information about her would be appreciated. Judy

1173. Circus Green Bay, WI 1970s, 20 February, 2006 - Hello! I am trying to verify a childhood memory to no avail. In the early 1970s, I recall being at a circus in Green Bay, Wisconsin (Shrine Circus?). One of the aerialists or tightrope walkers fell and bounced out of the net. As I recall, the performer died of his injuries. Does anyone have information about this accident? I can't recall the name of the performer. Any info would be appreciated! Jayne Carter. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 May 2008 - I was there too on a school trip and so was my brother we both witnessed it. It was about 1973 or 74. He fell from one rope and tried to swing to another rope below missing both the rope and the net. He lived for about 3 days after the accident before he died. I am trying to find the same info on this. Thanks, Dan Edwards,

    Reply: May 15 2014 - I was there that day with my classmates. I was 11 years old. Over the years, I have meet others who were there too. I will never forget that day. I have never been to a circus since! Kathy

1172. Clyde Beatty Circus, 20 February, 2006 - How many Circuses are out there that have the name Clyde Beatty? I went with my family to a Clyde Beatty Circus in Columbus,GA this weekend and was very disappointed. It was nothing like I saw on there web site, so I'm assuming other Circuses can use there name too. I couldn't find any information on the Internet so maybe you can help me. Gudrun O'Banion, Columbus Georgia, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 February, 2006 - For over 50 years there was only one Clyde Beatty Circus and with that name came a wealth of circus entertainment. Last year the Clyde Beatty title was dropped and just the Cole Bros. title remained in operation. When I searched for Clyde Beatty Circus on the internet this evening, everything I found was for the last 50 years. What you witnessed was not what can be found on the search engines. This year another circus enterprise has leased the title of Clyde Beatty from his very own son. Therefore the answer to your question is there are now two DIFFERENT circuses with the Clyde Beatty title. One is currently in use and the other that is world renowned for quality and everything circus is now in the history books. The two are NOT the same. Bob Cline

    Reply: 21 February, 2006 - The Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros Circus, based out of Deland, FL last year opted not to renew their lease of the Clyde Beatty title which is owned by Beatty's son and the show is now called Cole Bros Circus. This year Circus producer Dick Garden from Sarasota,FL has leased the title, I can not comment on the new show as I have not seen it, but Cole Bros is certainly nothing like it used to be either!

1171. Lafayette Amphitheatre, New York, 1825, 20 February, 2006 - I am interested in discovering details concerning the owners and design of the Lafayette Amphitheatre building in New York City, 1825. I am familiar with the Morrison citation. My focus is primarily on the architect of the building, Peter Grain. Thanks. Peter Breschard, Okemos, MI, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1170. Royal Hannaford Circus, 20 February, 2006 - Does the Royal Hannaford Circus still perform? They were absent from the Florida State Fair this year. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 February, 2006 - Tommy Hanneford recently passed away. I don't know if it was his show or his brother George that played the Tampa State Fair. My nephew "Mark Karoly", performed Tommy's comedy on horseback act for more that 20 yrs. with Tommy's Show. My nephew retired from show business a year ago last Oct. A piece of trivia for you: My Grandfather and Great Uncles played the Tampa Winter State Fair in November of 1906. I have a copy of an award they won for "superior horsemanship". I hope the circus will always be a part of the Tampa Fair in the future. Erny Karoly

    Reply: 26 February, 2006 - I would like to thank Erny Karoly for telling the latest about Mark Karoly. I used to go to DeKalb College in the 1980's. Every year (from about '87 to '98) I would see the circus. I would spend the WHOLE day at the college (from early in the morning until they packed up to leave) and "spend time" with the horses. Mark was kind enough to let me bring the horses apples and carrots. The first few years, he would give the treats to the horses and in the later years he would let me feed the horses. Being a "city" girl, I great appreciated it. I also enjoyed watching Mark and the other performers of the circus. When I moved from Stone Mountain in '99, I lost track of the circus and never made it back for another performance. I certainly miss it! It is the Greatest Show on Earth! Thanks again to Erny! Joanna Glade

    Reply: 05 June, 2006 - Hi There! It was Tommy's show that played the Florida fair. I worked for Mark in 99 and 2000 as a hand and groom, he was teaching me how to ride on the side. And yes he has retired. I'm not sure of the state that Tommys show is in now - who's running it or if his shows are still touring. I Think Struppi (his wife) has taken over command completely but I'm not sure. They still have a tent show all summer at Adventureland Park, Altoona IA. This is where I met Mark and he drug me out on the road! I miss him and the show very much, wish I had never left. Jeremy Faris.

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1169. Major Robinson, 19 February, 2006 - Major Robinson was born a dwarf in circa 1846 in Franklin county, IL. He later joined with Tom Thumb and P.T. Barnum. Major may have toured with the General Tom Thumb Company under the management of Bleeker and left for, among other countries, Australia and Japan in circa 1869. I'm not aware of any alias. My understanding is that there was a postcard of Major wearing a military uniform standing with a pigmy pony. Any information on Major is greatly appreciated. Best regards. Gary, Gary Chandler, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1168. From the webmaster, 18 February, 2006 - Those who post messages regularly may be surprised to see a new email address for posting messages and/or replies to this discussion board. The new email address is: At this time, all old messages do not reflect this change. Messages sent to the old email address will still be received. J. Griffin, webmaster. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

1167. Olde Film Footage, 18 February, 2006 - Anyone know if there is a database, listing all known (surviving) film footage of Circuses, dating from the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries? Particulary film reels of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, Adam Foreapaugh show and Sells-Forepaugh, also any other show from around that time period, particulary film of the parades and spectacles? R.L., Rufus Ledbetter, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 19 February, 2006 - I've never seen such a compilation. You might check film and video supply houses that have an on-line presence for such materials. At one time there was a printed document titled "Footage [year]" which served the documentary makers as a resource. I'm uncertain if it's been superseded by another digitized source or website.
          The Forepaugh show passed out of existence before the era of film proliferated. The earliest circus footage known to me is some of Barnum & Bailey in Great Britain, 1898 or 1899, showing the parade. I think that it was used in the Kunhardt documentary on Barnum. There's a 1904 Barnum & Bailey parade film at CWM, covering about 2/3s of the daily march. It's been written up in Bandwagon [James A. Bailey's last parades]. A short piece of the 1913 Hagenbeck-Wallace film survives, a brief look at the parade [also written about in Bandwagon, see Carver coverage of that season]. There are also short clips of a Ringling parade in an old McGraw-Hill educational film and some footage of a 101 Ranch stake driver, which would be in the 1910s, and perhaps some arena activity. Blackhawk reproduced some coverage of Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which included a view of the Forepaugh lion bandchariot in parade. There's some Two Bills Show arena footage made sometime 1909-1913. There may be an Edison film or two with a circus topic; you might learn about them and other studio titles by checking books by Musser, who wrote about early film production.
          When you get into the 1910s there's "Hollywood"-style movies with circus backgrounds. A listing of these titles was in a vertical file at CWM and I recall that it filled several pages. This sort of thing continued into the 1920s and 1930s.
          There is significantly greater coverage of actual circus activity when one gets into the 1920s. Some of these were circulated by the late Denny Berkery and others; most other such films are in institutional holdings and it may be possible to borrow loan copies.
          You may also find some newsreel coverage, such as that made of the 1923 RBBB milk fund parade. I've never seen the actual film, but still photos show the movie cameras in place. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 08 March, 2006 - There was a Keith circuit that did silent films in New York, in 1915, they used circus performers to act. Not sure if they filmed actual circus performances. Deb Johnson

    Reply: 20 February, 2006 - The Daniel J. Masson collection at the library of Congress has an Edison film, "A Day at the Circus," from 1901. The description reads as follows: "The first part shows a parade of the Adam Forepaugh & Sells Bros. Circus proceeding down a city street. People in exotic costumes ride on elephants, camels walk by, parade floats, including one depicting the story of Cinderella, are drawn by horses, animals pass by in cages, and a band plays on top of a wagon. The second part shows the parade entering the circus tent. In the third part, tumblers jump over the backs of elephants inside the same circus tent. Clowns join in the tumbling act."
          I can't vouch for the identification and date, but B&B was gone in 1901 and Forepaugh-Sells opened in the Garden and then played New Jersey and may well have been filmed by an Edison crew. It's a silent, 35 mm, 148 ft., apparently issued and described in Edison's July 1901 catalog. Unfortunately, the surviving footage represents only segments of two of the original five parts.
          If you can gain access to the American Film Institute [AFI] Catalog, which appears to be a ProQuest on-line service [sometimes local and state libraries have a license for access from their terminals at no cost], you may be able to search for other early circus films. Fred Dahlinger

1166. Harston's Grand Circus and Royal Menagerie, 18 February, 2006 - I would appreciate any information concerning "Harston's Grand Circus and Royal Menagerie" and particularly the "Rio Troupe" which consisted of Mdlle Annette Violet Brandon Annie Lang and Chas Woodward (Their act was titled Imperial Ladders.) I have a cloth banner (about foolscap size) advertising the circus performing under Vice-Regal patronage on Friday December 18th 1896. The location is not given but the banner was printed in Calcutta. The Viceroy was H.E. Countess of Elgin. Chas Woodward was my grandmothers brother and little is known of him as he "ran away to join the circus". My contact is Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 February, 2006 - Harmston's circus was the best-known and largest tent show in the East. Harmston's toured New Zealand twice. First in 1890 and then in 1898.The Alexander Turnbull library has several programmes relating to Harmston's tours in NZ and overseas. In a newspaper cutting from the 1898 NZ tour "the Woodwards" are mentioned in passing. Your cloth banner is actually printed on silk, a method Harmston's used for several years to promote their shows. Having some form of Royal or Vice-regal patronage was also a feature of their operations in the days when the British Empire ruled supreme. John Sullivan. New Zealand

    Reply: 22 February, 2006 - The name was HARMSTON'S (NOT Harston's) The principal was Mrs Harmston - Love, Ray Hurle

    Reply: 04 March, 2006 - I have a silk programme which shows the act Imperial Ladders by Chas. Woodward, Gilbert and George., Mdlle. Annette, Blanche, Brandon, Laing, Scarsdale and Miss Alice. The programme says that it was Special Command Night under the distinguished patronage and in the presence of His Excellency the Governor, Lady Ranfurly and Suite. Wellington, Thursday Evening, 13th October. Unfortunately it does not have a year. I have other programmes showing various acts with Mdlle. Annette, Violet Brandon. My great grandfather was George Harmston and performed in the Circus had a third share in the Harmston Circus. - Tony Harmston

    Reply: 14 March, 2006 - To Tony Harmston, Thank you for your response and subsequent e-mails. Your info has been most interesting - Ray. To John Sullivan, Thank you for your response, the info is much appreciated, we thought Uncle Charlie had disappeared from the family record. Ray

1165. Myers, side show RBBB, 15 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 passed and I am just finding out things about them. Their last name was Myers if you think that would help. Thank you, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 May 2008 - I've been trying to locate information on Bill and Shirley (I think) Myers or Meyers? They owned a carnival and lived their later years in Atherton, California (south of San Francisco). When I was about five (1953), they "gave" me an elephant named Peanuts. So, I know they also had animal acts. Trying to locate Peanuts is what has led me to your inquiry. Every Christmas in San Francisco, the top of the Emporium had a carnival with various rides and games. I believe this was also owned by the Myers (as they were friends of my grandfather and I could enjoy everything at no charge!). Are you in any way related to this Myer family? I also learned to speak carnival language and my mother, sister, and I used to use it all the time. Although I haven't used it in years, it can still come back to me very quickly. Any response would be most appreciated. Suzy Lujan,

1164. 1925 Photo Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus Band, 16 February, 2006 - We have been given a photo from my wifes side of the family, from her Grand mother. The pictue is about 10" x 36" of the Hagen-Wallace Circus band we think that she was married to one of the band members William Nolan? Ed W. Woeckner is the musical director sitting in a chair in his white suit. The picture is dated 1925. Do you have a list of names of the band members for that year? Lee Hatt. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 February, 2006 - I'm only a little bit of help. The Musical Director Eddie Woeckener in 1925 is still listed as Musical Director in the 1929, 1933, and 1935 programs that I have. In 1925 The show was titled The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and Buffalo Bill's Wild West. Route Books usually listed everyone associated with the show that year. Perhaps try the Circus World Museum Research Library in Baraboo, Wisconsin to see if a route book was published that year that would list the band members. It's also important to remember that there were a couple bands on the shows in the Heyday of the circus. The Side Show might have a band to drum up some business. The Big Top had the big Band. During the parades there might be four or five wagons with a band on them. They were usually all a small unit of the Big Top Band. The Big Top Bands duing the early twenties were probably very good sized bands of approximately 30 to 50 members. Bob Cline

    Reply: 17 February, 2006 - If a circus band roster was printed anywhere, it'll be found in the compilations that were produced by Sverre O. Braathen. Copies of his lists are at the circus collections in Baraboo, WI; Bloomington, IL; and Sarasota, FL. The lists include band rosters by show title [it is Hagenbeck-Wallace] and year; he also did an alphabetical listing of bandsmen and band leaders [last name, first name], so be sure to check those lists, too. There's illustrated coverage of the 1921 to 1924 annual tours of the Hagenbeck-Wallace troupes in issues of Bandwagon and White Tops; you can locate those items in the article indexes on this website. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 13 Aug 2014 - Lee Hatt - I would love to see a copy of the photo of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus band from 1925. My great uncle Leon Darrow played Cornet and I am searching for a photo of him. My email is and would very much appreciate seeing the photo. Thank you, Gail

1163. Otis Smith Carnival, 16 February, 2006 - I am looking for information about the Otis Smith Carnival. Any information regarding Nellie Cary Groves and Charles M Groves specifically. The circus that they were in was called the Otis Smith Carnival and not a circus but was known in the mid-states as a circus. Nellie was a midget and was called a princess did acrobats and Charles M. Groves was a bare back rider and did tricks. These are my Great Grandparents and any information would be appreciated. Thank you. Nicolette Guidotti, Miami, Florida. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 February, 2006 - I'm sure there are others with a bit more detailed information but the only thing I have is the name went by the Otis L. Smith Carnival and did have a circus portion on the back part of the midway where the rides were. In 1930 they had three elephants, Danny, Mama, and Eva that they bought from the Gentry Bros. Circus that Floyd and Howard King owned. That at least gives you a time period. I'll try searching around on in the next few days to see if it offers any insight. Bob Cline

    Reply: 17 February, 2006 - Otis L. Smith (1878-1943) had a circus back end show on his railroad carnival [15 cars in 1924, later said to be 35 cars] in 1930. That's also the year in which he went bust because of economic conditions in the US. "Billboard," January 18, 1930, page 74 has an article about his circus plans. Some of the equipment came from the defunct Gentry Bros. operation of Floyd and Howard King. The show closed at Utica, NY by June 16, 1930, when the closure was announced in "Greater Show World." Smith apparently initiated the action himself; his brother had a business in that community and that's where Smith retired from the road. None of the documents I have provide the circus roster. It's possible that some of the 1929 Gentry side show people migrated over to the Smith operation, but it was a long stretch from that show closing on October 22, 1929 and the Smith opening in the spring of 1930. That circus is covered in "Bandwagon," Sept-Oct 1978, pages 4-20. The Gentry rosters therein do not list the Curry couple, at least by that name. You may want to peruse "Billboard" issues for January to June 1930 as well as the Utica newspapers about the time of the closure. I doubt that any archive of Smith business records survives. I have seen an image of the show's elephants, which likely originated with the King-owned outfit; there's also an image of a railroad car, perhaps the private car that they wintered at the Bloomsburg, PA fairgrounds. The show sometimes wintered in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Smith bought into the business in 1917, had a show in his own name by 1918. Smith was also a co-owner for a number of years of the Harlem Museum, which likely hired side show personalities. Otis L. Smith, Jr. resided in Utica, NY a few years ago [address and phone number deleted from message]. He had a few images and it may be worth your while to contact him. Smith's daughter, Mabel J. [Mrs. Phil O'Neil] passed away in 1957 in Ithaca, NY, according to one source. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 12 Aug 2007 - In regards to the question about Otis Smith Circus, and about a "Princess Nellie" in particular, there WAS a "Princess Nellie" in Southeastern Connecticut, who was a "dwarf", and traveled with the circus with her husband Stanley Jober, who was also a dwarf. They played music, and lived in a tiny house on wheels. Nellie played a tiny organ, and also played the violin.
          Nellie Way was born in East Haddam, Connecticut, around 1880, but attended school in neighboring Salem, Connecticut. Both are rural towns in Southestern Connecticut. There is a paperback book currently available on Salem, and Nellie is pictured in this book both as an adult, and as a child in two school photos, one from 1890, both with her classmates in front of their one room schoolhouse. Nellie Way was one of 11 children, two other sibling also being "dwarfs", but both of those died in their youth. One of these, a brother, stands next to her in one of the two classroom photos.
          Nellie Way married Stanley Jober from Poland, and lived their life on the circus trail. They finally settled into a tiny house that her brother Walter Way built for them, in Waterford, Connecticut, on the Boston Post Road. Nellie's parents and one brother lived in the full sized house next door. The brother ran a gas station at the road out in front, Boston Post Road. Both houses still stand, though Nellie's little home, once called the smallest in America, has had additions. In the November 27th, 1937 New London Day, there is a feature article about them, with photos. Though I am still reseaerching, it appears Nellie died some time in the early 1940's, and Stanley(a heavy drinker...uh-oh!), died in the mid forties. I believe they were buried in either Norwich or Waterford, Connecticut. Reid Mariani,

    Reply: 25 Aug 2007 - Dear Otis Smith Carnival person, Since I responded to you, I have found more information about "Princess Nellie". "Princess Nellie" was born Nellie Frances Way on March 25, 1884 in East Haddam, Connecticut, though she likely lived in neighboring Salem, Connecticut during her youth. It turns out Salem children were born with a midwife who lived just over the East Haddam border. As I said, childhood school photos from the 1890's show her with her little cane, at Pond School, in Salem. In a couple of these school photos, her younger brother Maurice "Morris" Way(DOB 8-4-1886)is present. He was also a little person, and from what Salem oldtimers say, he went into the circus along with Nellie. He had died by 1937, but that's all I know. Nellie Way married "Major" Stanley Jober of Poland on April 14, 1920 in New London, Connecticut. Their professional names were "Princess Nellie and Major Stanley. Nellie died on September 29, 1941 in Waterford, Connecticut, and is buried down the road from her last tiny home, at the Jordan Cemetery in Waterford. Her headstone says, "Princess Nellie". Her oldest sister Carrie is buried next to her.

    Reply: 15 Mar 2011 - I am Joanna Cowan I believe we must be related as these were my great grandparents also. My email is

    Reply: 24 Jun 2013 - I am Edward J Shucosky Sr. Stanley & Nellie are my great aunt &uncle. My email is I have more informatiom on them. Thank you, Ed

1162. Vancouver, BC circuses 1930s, 15 February, 2006 - Would you be able to provide me with any information on circus performances at Vancouver B.C.'s Athletic Park in the 1930's? Thank you, Alan, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1161. Hazel Mae and Iva Mae Dean, 14 February, 2006 - Looking for information on Hazel Mae Dean and her daughter, Iva Mae Dean who performed in the Ringling Brothers Circus circa 1914. My girlfriend has a picture of them posing with P. G. Lowery. Sam Pinckney, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 February, 2006 - You may want to contact Dr. Clifford Watkins, author of a biography about P. G. Lowery. He may now be retired, but may still reside in the community where he was a university professor. The following information was readily found in a Google search: Clifford E. Watkins & Associates, Inc. P.O.Box 18076, Greensboro, NC 27419-8076 (336) 601-1478. If that's not accurate, simply check other Greensboro directories. There is no route book for the 1914 Ringling show and a roster will be difficult to locate. Often an agent booked the sideshow talent, not the show itself, so there's a second layer of management to penetrate. You might scan the pages of "Billboard" and "New York Clipper" to learn if they provided the names of the side show dancers. There may additional 1914 Ringling images taken by Steve Albasing ["101 Heck"] that document the side show personnel. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 16 February, 2006 - Mr. Dahlinger, appreciate the information and advice. Sam Pinckney

    Reply: 16 June, 2006 - Hello there. I understand that you wanted some information on P. G. Lowery. The address that Fred gave you in his response is accurate. You may also call me at 336-855-1173. Regards, Clifford E. Watkins

1160. Mystery Canadian Calliopes, 14 February, 2006 - In 1957 at the Owen Sound Centenial parade they had a steam Calliope. Up until recently I thought the Calliope was from the Minnie Thompson Museum in Stratford Ontario. Apparently they did not restore theirs until 1960. The question now is if it was not this one, what did I see? Secondly, The Minnie Thompson Calliope was sold when the City of Stratford decided not to assume taking over the MT Museum. Does anyone know where the Calliope went to? I heard it went to the US but no idea beyond that. Thanks for any information that you might have. May I also extend an invitation to all to join the Circus modelers group at for discussion of prototype and modelling circuses. Peter Bowers, Owen Sound, ON Canada. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 15 February, 2006 - A steam calliope fabricated by L. K. Wood of Mendon, Utah in the 1950s has been at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan since at least 1960. They've used it for various celebrations and it's wagon mounted. A fellow named Tom Bishop had a steam calliope in Ridgeville, Ontario, mounted in a wagon. It was utilized in various events in the 1980s but last I heard was in storage in 2004. There's also a former Lake George steam calliope, from the "Chautauqua Belle," mounted in a wagon at the Pump House Steam Museum in Kingston, Ontario. A nice fellow named Jack Telgmann was involved with transferring it to a wagon. All of these instruments were made in the last thirty to forty years and are not vintage circus instruments. The Minnie Thompson device is not a calliope per se. It was ingeniously created from an assembly of industrial whistles, with a reed organ cabinet for a keyboard housing, etc.
          About the only traveling steam calliope in 1957 was Harry Shell's, coming out of Farmington, Missouri. He booked promotional appearances throughout North America circa 1955-1960. Fabricated about 1955, he toured the device in a home-built wagon until selling it to the River Museum in Winona, Minnesota, which operates it infrequently today. The shape of the wagon, on dual pneumatics, was inspired by the calliope wagons built by Sullivan & Eagle 1902-1910. You might check the Owen newspapers of 1957 and learn if the calliope earned a place in the event coverage. Fred Dahlinger

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1159. Frank Chester photographer, 13 February, 2006 - Does anybody have information on Frank Chester. He was a photographer based in Boston. He took photos of the Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1930's and 1940's. Thanks, Bob Griem, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

1158. Cole Brothers tintype, 12 February, 2006 - I have a chance to purchase a 6th plate tintype of the Cole Brothers but I am uable to find any pictures of them to cross reference. Could you help me in any way? Thank you sincerely, Brian Roberts. 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: 13 February, 2006 - There never were any Cole Bros. per se in the circus business during the era of tintype popularity [mid-1850s to circa 1890, showing some of Ringling activity]. The title has a popular origin with the W. W. Cole circus [singular name] 1871-1886. "Cole" was used as a singular name, by George S. Cole, as in Cole & Lockwood, 1894-1895. The first use of Cole Bros. as a title was on a show owned by Canadian Martin J. Downs, 1906-1909. There were no bonafide Cole brothers, then or in later uses of the title from the 1910s to today (actively in use, 2006). So, the question becomes who is the seller representing as the Cole brothers? If it's an act of the name, you might find reference to it in George C. D. Odell's "Annals of the New York Stage," or in a large theater image collection. Slout's "Olympians," available on this website, doesn't list a circus act of the name in the 19th century. If the tintype is a generic one of "Cole Bros." circus activity, then you're looking at something from 1906 or later. For further assistance, you're welcome to forward a scan to Fred Dahlinger

1157. Postcard, Calamity Jane, 12 February, 2006 - I have a xerox copy of a photo postcard of Calamity Jane. Written on the photo is, "to my friend Haag." Also printed by a company at the bottom of the card is "Calamity Jane and her famous mare, Bess." The next line also printed by a company reads, "From ...? to Hawks." Can anyone help me date this photo? I would think it would be from the 1890s or early 1900s. Also, can anyone figure out what the missing word is in the last line. It appears to be a small word and looks like a U or H turned at an angle. Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

1156. Circus Rapid City SD 1909-10, 12 February, 2006 - I am interested in learning about a circus that came to Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1909 or possibly 1910. It is one of the few events about which we have some information concerning an aunt of mine who died in the fall of 1910 after an medical operation in Rapid City. She, my mother and other members of the family attended the customary parade (from the train station to the circus grounds?) and my mother's very young sister became seperated from the others, crossed in front of on-coming animals causing a stir in the audience, and got home on her own. It would be of use to me to pin down the date on which this occurred. Thanks for any help you can provide, Tom Johnson, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message 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 - The Campbell Brothers Great Consolidated Shows was in Rapid City, SD, on 28 July 1909. Suggest you check the local newspapers on July 28 and 29, 1909 for any stories concerning the shows performance and incidents that might have occurred. Richard Georgian, Lehigh Acres, FL,

1155. Shows playing the Seattle WA area, 12 February, 2006 - We have seen a real drop in the numbers of circuses that make it to Seattle in recent years. Ringling usually makes it to Tacoma in the Fall, now, and Cirque du Soleil is coming back again in Spring. I would love to have any information anyone has on shows that play the Seattle area, even Vancouver BC. Thanks much, Amy Bogino Eernissee. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 12 February, 2006 - Hi Amy, There seems like there is a real drop in the number of circuses, period! The Washington State area is known for having a lot of pro-animal rights influence, which could be why many shows pass it up. However, there is a wonderful youth circus out of Wenatchee, WA that tours the Pacific Northwest, now in it's 54th season. Try looking under "Wenatchee Youth Circus" on the search mode of your computer. I know you will enjoy this show. You may also want to consider joining a circus organization such as the Circus Historical Society, or the Circus Fans Association of America. Many active and retired show people already do. This is a good way to be kept up to date on what's going on in the circus world, and where the shows might be. Jim Cole

    Reply: 13 February, 2006 - Thank you, Jim. I recently found out that the Wenatchee Youth Circus plays the Seattle area every July. I will keep my eyes out for them. Amy Bogino Eernissee

    Reply: 08 Dec 2007 - I saw the name Eernissee in a reply. I have been looking for information about my great great uncle. His name was Frank Aerie Eernissee, he was from South Dakota. He told of running away and joining the Circus as a young man. I know that he was in the army during WW I. He then lived in Bismarck ND where he married my great great aunt Caroline (Carrie) Delzer Holt. Kaye Salverda,

1154. Rawls and Imhoff, circus artists, 11 February, 2006 - I have two pictures of clowns that I bought at an estate sale. The first picture is a Lithograph with four famous clowns Felix Adler, Otto Griebling, Lou Jacobs and Emmitt Kelly. The picture also has a dog dressed like a rabbit. The signature on the picture in pencil is Robert Rawls. Also Rawls is printed on the Lithograph with the date 84'. The second is an original watercolor of clowns in a line with musical instruments such as drums and horns. The signature on this original watercolor is (I think) Imhoff. I have been trying to find something about these two artist on the Internet without success. Can anyone help me with information about the artists, were they also clowns with the circus? Any information would be greatly appreciated. S. Kennedy, Pensacola, FL @ 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: 12 February, 2006 - The Robert Rawls you speak of could possibly be the well known circus sign painter/artist from Hugo, Oklahoma. I'm not certain it's the same person, but it might be. Check the phone directory for Hugo OK. I don't recognize the other name. Jim Cole

    Reply: 12 February, 2006 - The Robert Rawls your looking for is more than likely Bobby Rawls, he is from a well none circus family, was raised in the business and is a fantastic artist. Bobby did clown, and also did a tight wire act when he was younger, Bobby has a sign shop I believe in Durant, Oklahoma, his brother David owns the Kelly-Miller Circus out of Hugo, Oklahoma. Hope this helps, Bobby Fairchild

    Reply: 13 February, 2006 - Many thanks to Jim Cole and Bobby Fairchild for their help with my questions. They have given me a good start on the information I seek. Thanks again for your help. Also, just a little info on my family connection to the circus. My Great, Great Grandfather was in the P. T. Barnum Museum in the 1920's, in New York City. He performed there for 6 to 8 weeks for Mr. Barnum. He was known as the Wisconsin, Infant Drummer Boy (3yrs old). He played there with his Father and Grandfather (last names Bagley). Our family has a thank you letter from P. T. Barnum and Flyer from the Museum. So I guess you can say I have some circus blood in me. Thanks again S. Kennedy, Pensacola, FL.,, Don & Sherry Kennedy

1153. Dog Acts, 10 February, 2006 - I'm looking for information on circus dog acts of any kind. In particular, I'd like to know of any acts that were famous in their day. Thank you, Joanne O'Sullivan, Editor, Lark Books, Asheville, NC, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 11 February, 2006 - One name in particular comes to mind as being the classiest dog acts I ver remember, that was a man named Victor Julian. I believe he used only poodles. The entire act was a fashion show of costumes that were far greater than anything I could describe to you. He performed in circuses for years as well as managed great TV spots. Johnny Peers and his Mutts was hysterical and Dick Kohlreiser had his Dog pound review. I'm sure there are other dog acts worth mentioning but these three are at the top of my favorites. Bob Cline

    Reply: 11 February, 2006 - Dear Joanne, That's quite a chore, as there have been hundreds of dog acts in the circus. A few well known dog acts, past and present would be: Gee Gee Engesser's Alaskan Huskies, Mary-Ruth Herriott's Poodle and Pony Circus, Victor Julian's Pets, Stacey Moore's Mess o' Mutts, Johnny Peer's Muttville Comix, Joanne Wilson's dog act, David Rosaire's Perky Pekinese, Dwight Moore's Mongrel Review, Cimse's Russian Wolfhounds. Those are only a few, there are many more that could be added to that list. One of my all time favorite performing dog's would have to be "Pee Wee" who was presented by the famous clown Lou Jacobs on Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus several years ago. The act involved Pee Wee, a small dog, being fitted with rabbit ears, and Lou Jacobs who came out dressed as a rabbit hunter. Jim Cole

    Reply: 11 February, 2006 - See this article that is online on this website ”Memories of My Days in the Circus Ring 1920-1957" By Jorgen M. Christiansen, Bandwagon, Vol. 8, No. 3 (May-Jun), 1964, pp. 4-10. There is a photo of Christiansen's dog act. - J. Griffin

    Reply: 23 June, 2006 - Hi Joanne: I saw your listing looking for information on dog acts. I am a vintage photo collector and have several hundred photos of dog acts and performing dogs mostly from the 19th century or early 20th century. I am looking to publish them, is that what your interest was about? Gary Bart

    Reply: 24 June, 2006 - type dogs in the search area on the home page. If you go to the special search page then choose Search category; go to category Animals and subcategory Dogs. You will get more then 400 images with (circus)dogs but often in combination with other animals. Good luck. Herman Voogd

    Reply: 07 Nov 2010 - Hi, I am responding to a very old write in, 2006, you are looking for dog acts, I, Yvonne presented in 1954 Christian Dogs, then later the name changed to Yvonne's Dogs, after returning from the US, to Europe. Worked the season 1958 with Ringling, (center ring) and returned in 1960 to Europe, working in Hansa Theater Hamburg. Yvonne

1152. Bandwagon on Mighty Haag, 10 February, 2006 - Can anyone help me identify a bandwagon on the Mighty Haag Shows? I have a postcard from 1910 of Nellie King in a bandwagon. The wagon appears to have a calliope in the front half with a lion's head carved in a circle over the top cover. The middle section is open and the back section looks like a carriage with a horse carved on the side. The middle section does have a carved circle, but I can't make out the image. Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, replies may not be sent for month(s), note the message number to check for replies after the message is archived.

    Reply: 11 February, 2006 - Darren, I can't identify the wagon but all the newspaper articles I've found in the 1910 to 1913 area all say the Mighty Haag show had a calliope. One article named the calliope player but I'm afraid I can't recall his name off hand. Bob Cline

    Reply: 11 February, 2006 - Your description seems to fit the Pawnee Bill steam calliope, which Nellie King [Oram] played on Mighty Haag. See Bandwagon, January-February 2001 [correction, 2005], page 12 for an image. It's of the split roof design, with a horse on the front section, a little trumpeter in the center oval and a carved mask, possibly a lion face, at the top of the rear panel. The history of the calliope is covered within the article. Fred Dahlinger

1151. Bogino family, 08 February, 2006 - I am trying to find any information on the Bogino family. They came from Northern Italy with Ringling in the mid 40's. They did acrobatics and horses and even did some sort of ice skating act. They were Aurelio, Bruno, Emore, Iginio (gino) Ada, Lidia and Benny. They appeared in The Greatest Show on Earth, The Big Circus, Merry Andrew, El Cid and apparently a couple of episodes of It Takes A Thief. Gino married Mary Ann(who was a Rockette) and traveled for a while with his brother Benny, billed as the Three Boginos. Later Gino and Mary Ann and their children, Amy (that's me) and Dina traveled and performed a family risley acrobatic act and a juggling act. We performed with various shows throughout the 60's including Hoxie, Bartok, Vargas, and others. The family friends and fellow performers I recall are the Suarez, the Navarros, the Ukmars, the Wazzan's, the Wainwright's, the Wong's, The Gaonas, The Alberrocini's, Kay Rosaire, Anno Berrocini, Hugo Zacchini. My parents divorced in the late 70's and my siblings and I left the circus behind us. My dad died nearly 15 years ago now, and we are interested in hearing from any of our old friends, as well as hearing anything about the Bogino's from their early days in the US. Please feel free to contact me at Thanks! Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 10 February, 2006 - Hi, Some of the family friends you list are active members of the "Showfolks of Sarasota" club. You may want to try their website: They list an e-mail address, that you can write to. Some of their members also monitor this CHS website, you may get additional response. Seems I recall a Bogino Family on Hunt Bros. Circus in the early '60s. Jim Cole

    Reply: 11 February, 2006 - Hi Amy, My goodness, what a nice blast from the past! You and your family were a most entertaining asset to Circus Bartok! I believe your Dad was married to Karla Wallenda at one time, and your half brother is Ricky Wallenda. Your Mom was a very beautiful and talented lady and you girls were a delight to be around. Your Dad also helped sell souvenirs for Roland Kaiser, who was our Concession Manager at the time. Karla lives here in Sarasota, as does Fatima from the Wazzans, and many others you named. Hope this helps. Love to you and your family. Bunni Bartok.

    Reply: 12 February, 2006 - Thank you Bunni and Jim. I do appreciate you both taking the time to respond! Thanks for the reminder about Showfolks. I have emailed them in the past, but will try again! Thanks again, Amy Bogino Eernissee

    Reply: 28 February, 2006 - Hello Amy, The Bogino Risley act worked with us in Sweden right after they did the movie, so it must have been in the early 50s. After Sweden they worked in England in theaters. In those days they had variety acts in theaters. I had a nice visit with them in London. Then, we met again in America. When the family went back to Italy, Eginio and Benny tried doing a comedy act for a while. I believe Benny went back to Italy and Eginio did a jungling act. He did work a short while in a circus here but if I recall did not finish the season. fatima wazzan

    Reply: 24 June, 2006 - Hi Amy, This is Frank Bogino son of Aurelio and Emore I am your cousin - now living in Italy - The Bogino Family is probably the only rizley acrobatic act that ever worked on ice and actualy did acrobatic tumbling with ice skates on their feet and in 1952 did a command performance in London for Queen Elisabeth and that day performed the triple somersault a believe that this trick was never performed again by no other rizley act. Please contact me. Frank Bogino

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