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Message Archive: Messages 4001-4100




4100. Richard Sands, 05 Nov 2012 - Richard Sands, circus owner and performer (died 1861, buried Trinity Cemetery, NY) was my great uncle. I've done a lot of research, but I have never discovered his date/ place of birth (other than just "New York") or his parents' names. I thought perhaps, in all your resources, you might have discovered some information which I don't have. Many thanks. Ned R. Sands. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Nov 2012 - A brief search didn’t reveal the identity of Richard Sands’s parents, nor the date and circumstances of his birth. Slout’s “Olympians,” on this website and which drew upon Thayer’s work, assigned him a birth year of 1814 and an origin with a Long Island, NY farming family. Gerard Crane’s testimony suggests that he was about 50 or so when he passed away in 1861, but his year tally was a guesstimate.
        A transcribed copy of Sands’s last will and testament, and the contesting action to it furnished by another researcher indicates he composed a will in 1850, when he was thought to be about age 35. Sands had a sister Eliza, married to Townsend Rowland, residing in Richland County, Illinois. He had two brothers, Elbert (1810?-1889?) and Henry, and two adopted children, Jesse and Maurice. He had a step-mother, Cecilia Sands, Hempstead, Queens County, New York, and three step-brothers, Charles, Daniel and George Sands. A woman named Anne C. Humphreys [the name Missouri Imogene Humphreys is also given] was also provided for in his last will and testament, but their relationship isn’t declared; the provision for her remained in effect so long as she remained single. His aunt was Bessie Smith of Queens County, New York. This is raw data from the transcription and should be considered such, subject to verification. Perhaps it will enable you to identify his origins.
        The properties noted were owned by Sands at his death, but whether they connect to his origins is unclear. He may simply have acquired them for other reasons, later in life; or, perhaps Hempstead was the former family farm? Perhaps Sands genealogies or the census data that is available, limited in the early 19th century, might be adequate to identify his family. In addition to federal censuses, check to see if there are any New York State censuses in the period that might be helpful. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 18 Dec 2012 - You might consider publishing your research on Sands in Bandwagon, the journal of the Circus Historical Society. Richard Sands is one of the most important figures in American field show history. He is one of the very few first-rate performers who turned out to be a first-rate circus executive, kind of the Arthur Concello of the 19th century. He was part owner of the Sands, Nathans and Company Circus in the 1850s when it was one of the leading shows in the country with four well trained elephants and one of the first steam calliopes to be exhibited. In fact, a poster showing that calliope is currently on exhibit at the Bard Center around 86th St. in Manhattan. It shows the elephants pulling the wagon and is a magnificent lithograph. There is a lot of information on Sands in newspaper ads and other advertising. Richard Conover had a carte de viste photo of Sands wedged in the frame of a picture in his office in Xenia, Ohio. Alas, it was lost after Conover’s death in 1971. It was the only picture of Sands I have ever seen, although his image appears in lithographs. He died of yellow fever in Havana early 1861 and was way too young. Please let me know if you have an interest in publishing your research on Sands. Fred Pfening, Editor, Bandwagon

    Reply: Apr 29 2014 - I happened to find your post online when curious about some family history. My name is Kristan Rowland. Townsend Rowland is an ancestor of mine. I might have some more information at home and through my father, Thomas J. Rowland. Sincerely, Kristan

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4099. Miller Bros., 04 Nov 2012 - Since reading your home page I feel okay about giving my real self to you. I'm a grand daughter of William "Sonny" Miller. He and his brothers had a "circus" in the late '20's. We are Romnichels and my grandmother was a "gypsy" palm reader named Madame Menge. She also was the half snake half women attraction. My granddad and his brother were horse traders in the south. I have no idea how they acquired the circus and animals. I do know that an alligator from the circus was given to the Prichard, Alabama zoo after they sold the circus. My grandfather would take me there to see him. He was ancient. The alligator I mean. Being a Romnichel in this day and age is still a stigma and I hope you don't judge. Please, if you have any information about "Miller Brothers circus and shows" I would love to hear from you. Cindy Maynard Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Nov 2012 - Robert Parkinson's book, the Directory of American Circuses, 1793 to 2000, simply notes the Miller Bros. Circus as existing in 1923. He didn't indicate any owners. You'll want to research the Billboard magazine which is found on microfilm as interlibrary loans. At least you now know to look in 1923. At this point in time, this is an assumption that the 1923 listing is the one you are inquiring abaout. You might wish to contact the Circus World Museum Parkinson's Research Library. Archivist Pete Shrake has what they refer to as Yellow tickets with a quick summary of any information they might have on hand. Perhaps there is a route, program, contract, etc. in their archives. If you knew where their home base or winter quarters was, you would want to research through their local newspapers which again are ususally microfilmed at the local library. If you are certain of the home base or Winter Quarters, you would want to go to the courthouse and look through their records for possible contracts, land agreements, deeds, tax records, etc. Hope this helps a little bit. Bob Cline

    Reply: 12 Nov 2012 - You should consider the following years also in your research. In 1923 the Miller Bros. Wild Animal Shows played May 11 at DeQuoin, Illinois. In 1933 The Miller Bros. Shows played May 26 at Stockton, Missouri. In 1941 the Miller Bros. Circus played May 17 at Chetopa, Kansas and October 28 & 29 at Mexico, Missouri. A note states that it probably was the Springfield Millers. The brothers were Bill, Jack, Mack, and another name looks like Myrtle that I cannot make out. In 1956 the Miller Bros. Circus played Pineville, Kentucky April 3, Hazard, Ky, April 4, Jenkins, Ky, April 5, Milton Junction, Wis June 5, Edgerton, Wis. June 6, Sauk City, Wis. June 15 and Wisconsin Dells, Wis. June 16. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

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4098. Rhoda Royal, 03 Nov 2012 - Rhoda (Rhonda) Royal’s two-ring circus was the first indoor circus in Atlanta’s new auditorium. Originally scheduled for one week was extended another week because of Atlanta’s participation. Sponsored by Atlanta’s Fifth Regiment and the Boys Club. Any images out there connected with Rhoda Royal? Atlanta’s auditorium was compared to the Coliseum in Chicago and the Hippodrome and Madison Square Garden in New York. The Rhoda Royal cancelled the Charlotte show in N.C. to extend Atlanta’s. Would appreciate feedback. Ann Taylor Boutwell, Atlanta Intown paper, “A Look Back” column Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Nov 2012 - Yes, there are Rhoda Royal photos available that covers a few different years. If you are looking for photos specific to the stand in Atlanta, that might be a lot harder to find. I would urge you to contact the three greatest photo archives available to the public at the Milner Library Special Collection at the Illinois State University. Maureen Brunsdale would be your contact there. Try the Circus World Museum's Parkinson's Research Library in Baraboo, WI. where you'll want to speak with their Archivist Pete Shrake or Ralph Pierce. You can also try the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art - Circus Collection. You'll want to talk to Deborah Walk or Jennifer Lemmer Posey. The Library of Congress has a collection of circus photos online as well. There is also the Witte Museum in Texas that holds the Hertzberg Circus collection. As to information, you'll want to dig into the Billboard which is now on microfilm. This was the entertainment trade magazine of the day. I was getting the Microfilm on an interlibrary loan from the U. of Ga. There is also a website at http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html that has some Billboard listings but it is very hard to determine exactly which issue you are looking at. Perhaps this helps you a little bit. Bob Cline

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4097. Grace McIntosh, 03 Nov 2012 - Could anyone give me some information on Grace McIntosh, a Scottish lady, who produced a tent circus while I was manager of the Kentucky State Fair in the 1960's. She was a total professional and cast an amazing troupe of artists for the circus over the five year period. She lived in Troy, Michigan at the time. Her partner was Chuck Marine from Chicago. Thanks. If you have any information please contact me at jsdeiss@gmail.com. I am writing a Curious Explorers website and focusing on many of the wonderful people who affected my life. Grace was certainly one of those. Best wishes, Joe Deiss Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Nov 2012 - Surprised no one has answered yet. Was this the M & M Productions, Grace McIntosh & Charles Marine? Just came across a run down for the Kentucky State Fair. No date, but would have been after 1965 as my sister, Peggy MacDonald, and husband, Mack, had an elephant on the show. Would have been after they retired from Polack Bros in 1965. McIntosh Bros. were part owner of Dales Bros. Circus, 1948. Find information in Billboard that year, and wives, Grace and Flo, are easy to find. Post an email, and I'll send a couple of copies. Billie

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4096. Kitty Gill, 27 Oct 2012 - I am the granddaughter of Kitty Gill (Adrianne Joan Sooby) born in 1922. She became Australia’s world champion lady buckjump rider in 1945, 1947 and 1951 at Warwick and Sydney. She was also a trapeze artist and circus performer from a very young age, being born into the last horse and wagon circus in Australia, West Bros Circus. She worked for many circuses around Australia and her husband Stan Gill owned and operated ‘Stan Gills Australia Round- Up’ just after the war. I am writing Kitty’s biography and completing the final stages, due for publication in 2013. I would welcome any information, stories, photos of her from 1922 to 1967 (when her career ended with Bullens Circus in Brisbane, when she fell from the trapeze). She was a remarkable lady and recently passed away peacefully in Sept 2012, aged 90. Thank you in advance. Tania Maden. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Nov 2012 - Hi Tania, My name is Brit Sooby - I was linked to this post by a friend. Unfortunately I don't have any information about your amazing grandmother, but I just thought I'd introduce myself, because it seems that Kitty and I shared the same unusual surname (prior to her marriage) and I have been drawn to a similar way of life. I do have to wonder if we're related in any way? I am 39 years old, a professional stuntwoman, and live in Sydney NSW. My father, Andrew Sooby is from England, however immigrated before I was born, so I grew up in Western Australia.
        I have lived a very horsey life, and horses have been the favourite aspect of my stunt career. (I do film and tv, as opposed to live shows) I found myself attracted to the rodeo scene for many years, and at one point had a job working for the horse team on a television series in Qld that required me to hop on new horses on a daily basis to see if they would buck!? (many of them did, and I got quite good at landing the falls!) Please do excuse me if I'm completely on the wrong track here! I have just not heard the surname before in Australia. Regardless, I would love an update on when your book comes out - it sounds a fascinating story. Warmest :-)

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4095. Kate Smith, fat lady, 22 Oct 2012 - I am trying to find information about a circus fat lady named Kate Smith. She would have been the sister of my great grandfather, John Smith, who was born in West Virginia in 1865 or 1866. His parents were born in Ireland, but I haven't been able to discover their names. Many years ago, my grandfather and his sister told my mother that they had an aunt named Kate Smith who was a circus fat lady in the South. My internet search has, of course, been complicated by the large number of results mentioning the famous singer Kate Smith and the expression "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings." Thanks in advance for any assistance. I would appreciate it if replies were sent to the message board rather than to my email address. Ronnie O'Rourke, Marietta, Georgia Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4094. Sam Wyant, 18 Oct 2012 - Looking for info about Sam Wyant and his ownership or connection to Miller Amusement circus around LaGrange, IL & Milwaukee, WI during the 1940's. Kay Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 Oct 2012 - A quick check of “Billboard” holdings in the online Google Books indicates that Sam Wyant and Miller Amusements, both of LaGrange, IL were in the traveling carnival business. These were motorized operations, moving over the highway by truck and trailer. You’ll get some hits for searches under both names, but nothing readily came up during a combined search. You may need to do a page by page search of the carnival news columns and classifieds to find what you’re seeking. It’s always possible that Wyant might have been an “angel,” or behind the scenes investor, or a concessionaire with the show, having rides, games or other activities booked with it. The Eli Bridge Company’s newsletter, “Big Eli News,” might also be a useful resource. If you have a death date for Wyant, or the principals in Miller, you might find obituaries for them in “Billboard,” or the successor “Amusement Business.” If they passed before “Billboard” discontinued outdoor show coverage in 1960 you might find them mentioned in the annual compilations published each year. I found a mention of the Sam Wyant Shows in 1961, providing six rides, games and concessions for an event in Milton, WI [Janesville Gazette, July 24, 1961]. There were hits for Miller Amusements in the 1960s, but I think the latter dates represent the limitation of the digitized newspapers; they existed earlier, too. One Samuel Wyant (July 14, 1914-March 1987, Wisconsin), resident of Cook County, Illinois, had a death certificate issued in Wisconsin. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4093. Tightrope walker death, 18 Oct 2012 - I don't have much info to go on. My mother remembers watching a man, tightrope walker, fall to his death when she was young. Would have been 1949-1952 in Kansas City. I can't seem to find any info on it. Cindy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4092. Bill Evans train wreck, 17 Oct 2012 - I am seeking information on William "Bill" Evans Circus train wreck that happened in the 1920's. Supposedly the Evans carnival train was wrecked en route to San Diego. He lost eight employees and most of the freak animals in his carnival. At the time he had the David E. George/John Wilkes Booth mummy on board. It was not hurt. Do you have any information or a date when this happened? Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, Carol Hicks Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Oct 2012 - See message 2588 on this message board for some basic information about the wreck involving the embalmed body alleged to be that of Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth. It applies to the E. B. Reed Greater Shows incident at Atoka, OK on July 4, 1920. There’s a bit of description of the incident in Bob Goldsack’s book about carnival trains, page 107. That coverage probably was found in Billboard magazine. Newspaper coverage termed it a circus train wreck, but the Reed outfit was a bona fide railroad carnival. The show name was not used in a lot of the coverage, which also explains much of the confusion. You may find a review of the Reed season opener in Billboard; it might mention the participation of Evans, or the presence of the embalmed body.
        Local newspapers and others in both Oklahoma [Muskogee] and Texas [Denton, Wichita Falls] have extended coverage, given that eight people lost their lives in the tragedy, attributable to railroad negligence. As suggested by contracts that are available, the show had been in Bonham, TX, went up to OK, then returned to Texas with a date at Denison. Specific route details may be found in Billboard.
        William Evans would have been the owner of a back end show or a small side show with the carnival, or a participant in such a presentation, not the proprietor of the entire carnival. The confusion about his status is perpetuated through the many tertiary accounts found online. Some further research may well de-bunk the 1938-published identification of Evans as “The Carnival King of the Southwest.” His principal claim to fame seems to have been his promotion of the embalmed body, which was that of one David E. George. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 21 Oct 2012 - Thank you so much for this information. It is greatly appreciated. Would you have anything like a bio on William B. Evans? I know he died in Chicago, IL., May 19, 1935, and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Chicago. Thank you. Carol Hicks

    Reply: 23 Oct 2012 - The Oshkosh [WI] Daily Northwestern of May 20, 1935, and other newspapers reported his death as taking place the night before, age 47. He was identified as a charter member of the Showmen’s League of America [SLA], an organization that still exists in Chicago. He might appear in some of the banquet photos of the SLA. It’s unclear if they have maintained an archive of member and officer photographs.
        The best place to locate a detailed obituary for him will be in the weekly issues of “Billboard” magazine. I’d check not only the “Final Curtain” obituaries column, but also the carnival pages and do a general search. If he was as prominent as some have portrayed him, perhaps a remembrance or two was printed about his character or exploits.
        The Edwardsville [IL] Intelligencer of May 24, 1934 reported that Evans had been presenting an automobile on exhibition for seven years, initially as Al Capone’s and later as John Dillinger’s. Seven miscreants blew it up, leaving him without an exhibit. It predated cars with a similar heritage that are covered in Al Stencell’s tribute to carnival back end shows, “Seeing Is Believing.” Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 28 Oct 2012 - I will check some of these books and look for more on Billboard about Evans obit. Thanks so much for you help.

    Reply: 11 Nov 2012 - Thank you for the reply. Appreciate it. You have been a big help in answering my questions. Carol

    Reply: 29 Oct 2012 - Would you happen to know when the photo that J. Robinson has on his site http://www.sideshowworld.com/110-Mummy/Booth/Mummy-1.html was taken? I ordered the book "Seeing is Believing" for my library. Thank you for telling me about it. Carol Hicks

    Reply: 31 Oct 2012 - I don’t know the date for the photos. A guess would be 1940s-1950s, but the clothing, hats and signage are the best clues to the vintage of the images. You might inquire of Mr. Robinson if the reverse sides have any relevant inscriptions. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4091. Cole Bros Circus Magazine, 16 Oct 2012 - I was wondering if someone could shed some light on a Cole Bros Circus Magazine and Daily Review that I found in an estate sale. I have searched on line to find something remotely close. The ones I have found, have a date on the front cover on top left corner and in the lower right corner, a price of 25 cents in a yellow circle, with a clown on the front cover with a yellow background. The one I have does not have a date and in the lower right corner is 15 cents in a yellow circle. Any sugestions or ideas? Thank you, M. Marino Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 Oct 2012 - Cole Bros. used that clown cover for several years. 1943 was the last year they charged 15 cents for it, then it went to a quarter. You might look on the actual show line-up or official program in the center of the book for a date. Also check the copyright dates on major ads such as Coke or the cigarette ads as they were fairly diligent in staying current with copyright dates . Bob Momyer

    Reply: 18 Oct 2012 - If you open the program up and look at page 19 - 23 it should tell you what season the program is for. The 1941 program cost 10 cents and the 1942 and 1943 programs cost 15 cents. The 1944 program cost 25 cents. Or you could look at the Chesterfireld tobacco ad on the back page it will also tell you what year it was printed as the ads are all copyrighted and dated. John Polacsek

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4090. Barnum & Bailey snake charmer, 14 Oct 2012 - I am currently looking for information on my great aunt. She was a snake charmer with Barnum and Bailey, I believe in the early 1900's +. She was approx 70 in mid 1960's. Her name was Freda Benecke (maiden) her married name was Kniebel. My father (her nephew) ended up giving All her photo albums and memorabilia back to Barnum and Bailey museum. Unfortunately, I have no further information left! There were great pictures with all the side show, I believe her specialty was charming the snakes on an elephant. Any information would be greatly appreciated. My name is Patricia Murphy and email is: 123print@optonline.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4089. Canada circus, Daniel Joyes, 13 Oct 2012 - My Great Great Grandfather Daniel Joyes of London Ontario Canada had a circus. It seems so many family members of this generation have heard the tale but are unable to find tangible information. I have been told he was a millionare but lost his his business in the Great Depression. He also owned some Carnival Rides. This would have been in the early 1900's. If anyone could share any information it would be greatly appreciated. joyes-w@hotmail.com. Thank you so very much! Wendy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Oct 2012 - 1930 census: Daniel Joyes listed as a showman, carnival, residing in Detroit, Michigan with wife Emma and daughter Daisy who was born in Canada. Also, Big Eli News, July, 1927. "Mr. Earl Eggett, of London, Ontario, Canada, who is operating the Daniel Joyes Wheel in Canadian Territory has a new Operator's Lapel Button, as a result of his recommendation from Mr. Joyes." Wish I could have found more, Judy Griffin.

    Reply: 15 Nov 2012 - Re Daniel Joyes: I never knew of the Joyes having a circus. They were ride people and had a very nice carnival and a good route. In the 1960's-70's the show played Smith Falls, Ontario each summer in the old school grounds on the main street of the town. There pride and joy was a lovely old MGR. The foreman for the ride lived in Smith Falls in the off season. The Joyes made their home in London, Ontario. When I saw the carnival they had 6-7 rides.
        Some early papers from the Herschell - Spillman Co, makers of carouselles in North Tonawanda, NY listed Daniel Joyes as an early buyer of one of their merry-go-rounds. These came up at one of the carnival auctions in Tampa in the early 1990's and were bought by one of the Carousel organizations.
        I knew Margaret Joyes when she was a friend of show owner Jack Robertson. I use to see her a couple of times a year. She had a trailer where she went to winter in Riverview, Florida. Both her and Jack died about five years back. There was a niece I believe living in Kitchener. Al Stencell

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4088. Daniel Meggs, 10 Oct 2012 - I am looking for anyone that might have known Daniel James Meggs and his wife Edna Ruth Barger Meggs, who were with "Theater" from about 1918 and in later years in the San Francisco area. Edna Barger Meggs is the daughter of my gr. grandfather, Cyrus Willard Barger, noted stage coach driver. Daniel J. Meggs died Dec. 29, 1948 in San Francisco, Ca., and have not been able to locate Edna after 1924/25 when her father died in Portland, Oregon. any help or information would be greatly appreciated, Sincerely, Cindy Blais Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4087. Ringling parade, 1947, 10 Oct 2012 - I am desperately looking for a print of the 1947 parade of the "Ringling Brothers Circus" coming over the bridge into Venice, Florida. If you can help me find that I'd so appreciate it. Please let me know asap. You can also reach me at 314-368-1943. Thank you, Sue Kraus Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Oct 2012 - Are you possibly referring to the photo with the elephants all single file going over the bridge? This particular photo would be more like 1974 instead of 1947. If this is the one, you are looking for, I'm pretty certain that is a Sarasota Herald Tribune photo and you could contact the newspaper for a copy. Bob Cline

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4986. Richard Evans, 07 Oct 2012 - I am presently looking at developing my family tree and have been advised that my great great grandad was a member of the circus and as such I am enquiring if you have any information in which you could provide me on one, Richard Evans from Wales, born estimate 1900's? Thank you in advance, Angela Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Oct 2012 - No Richard Evans but there was a Fred Evans born 6 June 1863 at Chatham (brother of William Evans) was a famous clown (Pimple) with Sanger's Circus, at Astleys around 1893. According to John Turner's book, this Evans was married twice. A relative of your Richard? jim@stockley.co.za

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4985. Ringling 1930-33, 04 Oct 2012 - Love the newsletter!!! Are there any back issues of Bandwagon that covers the Ringling Show 1930 to 1933, I am interested in the side show line up, thanks for any help. C. W. Eldridge Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Oct 2012 - Chuck, the RBBB sideshow rosters for the Garden openings were often included in the show opening reviews in “Billboard.” These might not be readily accessible to you. Often they were quoted by Joe Bradbury, who published a series on RBBB from 1932 to 1956 inclusive. That series ran in the CFA “White Tops.” The relevant issues can be found in the CHS website and back copies bought or borrowed. Joe also wrote an article about John Ringling’s six circus operation of 1929, but I don’t recall anyone writing about the 1930-1931 seasons. For those the “Billboard” coverage might be best, and you might also check issues of “White Tops” in those seasons. Side show personalities could change through the year, a situation not always reported, nor reflected in the paintings or banners out front of the kid show. Conversely, if some of the pictorials changed, owing to the arrival of a new person, that might not have been reported in the trade journals. Fred Dahlinger, Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4084. Victor Pepin, 01 Oct 2012 - Where was Victor Pepin born? I've seen it given as Albany, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and France. Thanks, Martin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Oct 2012 - Renowned circus historian Stuart Thayer states that Victor Pepin was born in Albany, New York. He cites a documented book, Victor Pepin, Circus career, Descendants and Ancestors, 1760-1900, published in 1992. The author is a great-great-grandaughter of Pepin. It's out of print, but you should be able to get the book via interlibrary loan. Thayer's short article, "Victor Pepin's Genealogy," is in Bandwagon, May-June, 1992, p. 31. That issue can be ordered as a back issue. J. Griffin

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4083. English vaudeville star, 01 Oct 2012 - This really is a long shot! I'm interested in tracing a relative of my grandmothers who had a Hollywood movie made about his life. I really have no idea what it's called or when it was made, but I think between 1940-56. It was in colour. In 1974 I was watching the Sunday Matinee Film, when my Gmother made the comment "not a bad likeness." Upon questioning she said the story was about a cousin or 2nd cousin of hers, that was all I ever got out of her. So I only have what I remember from the film. It was a biography of a New York vaudeville star on his last night, with flash-backs over his previous life. He was English, had red curly hair and I think did some kind of strongman act, the name Samson is vaguely familiar, but that could be wrong. As my Gmothers family knew Charlie Chaplin and others in London, its probable that he also knew him. Other relatives included George, Frank, William Bale - known as The Royal Zanettos( a juggling act, who often dressed in Japanese style clothes). Also Arthur Bale and the Beautiful Jessica who was first married to George Bale then Joe O'Gorman. Most of them toured USA, Australia and Europe (USA - 1893, 1907-10). Although he ended up in Vaudeville, he could easily have been in the Circus at some time. If by any miracle anyone can help in identifying the man, film etc., I would be really interested. He must have been big in New York, to have had a movie made about him, surely! Thanking you in advance. Email- sheilamail2012@yahoo.co.uk Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4082. Early automobiles in the circus, 26 Sep 2012 - I am searching all information about early automobiles in circuses including early acts performed with the automobiles. Thank you! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Oct 2012 - The subject of internal combustion and other self-propelled vehicles and the circus is a broad topic that has only been addressed piecemeal to date. To master it you’ll need to visit major collections, search digitized newspapers, a full scale planned and managed search will yield results. An overview of some of the better known self-propelled vehicle material includes the following, which is certainly not comprehensive by any means.
        Sands, Nathans & Co.’s American & English Circus became the first traveling show to utilize a steam-powered, self-propelled traction engine in 1858 and 1859, applying it to the supply of energy and movement to their steam calliope wagon. Jim Myers, an American, utilized a traction engine to move his show in England, introducing such practices there c1859. A self-propelled, steam-powered conveyance for human transport and looking much like an automobile was featured on S. O. Wheeler’s Renowned International Circus in 1864. In the same year, a Professor Austin had his “Family Steam Carriage,” a four-wheeled steam auto on display with Spalding & Rogers’ Great Ocean Circus.
        Novelty turned to practicality in 1892, and it was the Ringling Bros. that innovated with the steam traction engine. They signed an agreement to utilize a large J. I. Case Company device to pull baggage wagons and cages from the railroad yards to the tents, and also in the parade. The heavy weight and slow speed of “Hercules,” as the engine was called, limited prospects for broader application with the faster walking circus horses. Their lack of success didn’t deter Leon W. Washburn’s Railroad Shows of 1894 from publicizing the “Steam Horse ‘Ajax’” as another attempt to replace the baggage horse with a mammoth, self-powered machine. Only the slower moving railroad carnivals, which moved once a week rather than every day, would utilize steam traction engines for drawbar service and also to power electrical generators, after 1900. All of the steam-powered devices are documented in advertising engravings.
        It was during the season of 1896 that the conventional, internal combustion automobiles were first exhibited at the circus. For many Americans in smaller communities, the circus was where they first saw an actual car. A Duryea fabricated in Springfield, Massachusetts was included in the Barnum & Bailey street parades and was also to be seen in the menagerie and grand entrée. At least two photographs are known that document it, as well as a lithograph. The John Robinson & Franklin Bros. Enormous Shows Combined paid $400 to present a Haynes-Apperson before the public. The Walter L. Main Fashion Plate Show publicized a horseless carriage in 1899 and in 1900 Pawnee Bill’s Wild West presented a “locomobile” in the street parade.
        If you check the “Bandwagon” article index on this website you’ll find an article by Fred D. Pfening Jr. about automobile thrill acts. A number of these were not actual, internal combustion powered vehicles, but unpowered representations intended to look like an automobile. John Robinson’s Ten Big Shows hired “The Great Mephisto” to stage the first looping auto apparatus in 1904. The contemporary interest in speed sparked a number of auto thrill act presentations by circuses and fairs, etc. Barnum & Bailey increased the audience tension in 1905 by importing a patented French act, “L’Auto Bolide,” which involved a vehicle leaving an elevated platform at the peak of the big top, inverting, and then passing across a gap in the track before reaching the safety of terra firma. Another lady presented a second auto thrill act, “The Limit,” on Barnum & Bailey in 1906, wherein her car sped down a ramp and then did a mid-air loop. The Ringlings presented an act similar to The Limit to close their 1907 Forepaugh-Sells performance and also the show bearing their name in 1908 and 1909. Another presentation involving two French girls was presented on Ringling-owned Barnum & Bailey in 1908 and 1909, wherein the first car roared down an inclined ramp and went into a loop, at which time the second car shot past, underneath it. The last hurrah for auto thrill acts on a Ringling enterprise was on the 1911 Forepaugh-Sells unit, with another lady hired to do the piloting of the car.
        Except for some possible mentions in the writings of Dan Draper, the topic of a horseless carriage (automobile or motorcycle) substituting for a horse in an equestrian act hasn’t been covered. These may have been posing-type acts, as opposed to backwards somersaults and such between paired vehicles roaring around in a ring or down the hippodrome track. A motorcycle-based acrobatic act has not yet been produced, to the best of my knowledge, admittedly limited on the topic in recent years. The used of bicycles followed by motorcycles is a similarly unwritten story. The motor-powered two wheelers are seen in use by early in the second decade of the 20th century, as thrill and novelty act devices. Silos and dromes start to appear on carnivals about 1915; check Al Stencell’s book on back end shows for the best available coverage in print.
        Serious presentations have always been followed by burlesques, and the automobile was no exception. Automobiles modified and outfitted with mechanisms that caused them to act erratically were being fabricated by the mid-1910s. The original “Funny Ford” was the work of George Cugnin, professionally known as George Cook and part of an act called “Cook and Wiswell’s Funny Ford.” His concealed drive mechanism earned him a 1916 U. S. Patent and the contraption long-time bookings through the Wirth & Hamid talent agency. Circus producing clown Myron “Buck” Baker was the most productive builder of specialty automobiles. His work reportedly dated to as early as 1915 on Barnum & Bailey. In a spoof of the pompousness represented by John Ringling’s royal Russian Rolls-Royce landaulette, he created his one-of-a-kind “Bridal Taxicab.” Leitzel and Codona were photographed in it. Miniature gas-powered fire trucks were introduced on RBBB about 1922-1924. A pair of the vehicles remains in show ownership today.
        There’s an article “From Horse Power to Horsepower” that I published concerning the advent of trucks and tractors for traveling show use, to pull wagons. Early attempts at motorized circuses are chronicled in the beginning of an article about the Spellman circus tableau representing the nation of France, in another issue. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 10 Oct 2012 - Type “auto” in the search area on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. Also the word "automobil" will give you some images of (early) cars in the circus. Herman Voogd

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4081. Trapeze artist, Australia, 25 Sep 2012 - Hi, Australia here. I am trying to find the name of my deceased father-in-law’s (John Richard Johnson) sister. Rumour has it she ran away to join a circus and became a trapeze artist. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Collene Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4080. Lion tamer 1979, 25 Sep 2012 - I met a lion tamer in Minneapolis, MN in 1979 and am curious about his where abouts. He had dark hair and I wrote to him for several months. It may have been January, not 100% sure. Bill Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4079. Mexican Morgan's Wild West, 24 Sep 2012 - I wanted to share some information that I recently came across in a local newspaper in Wayne County, Ohio where it was noted in the Wooster Republican Feb. 7, 1900 page 3 that: "Mexican Morgan's Wild West Combination is camping south of Lattasburg - begging." Over that winter there were a few other articles implying that Mexican Morgan's group was wearing out their welcome by begging door to door for supplies and food. The only other reference I found online to Morgan's Mexican Wild West show was a note in a digitized Billboard magazine on Mar. 24, 1906 page 4 that noted that: "Leon Van Dame of Warren, PA will be with Morgan's Mexican Wild West this season." Wayne Co. Historical Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Oct 2012 - A check of several listings of traveling shows failed to provide a listing for Mexican Morgan’s Wild West, and a similar void existed for the persona of Mexican Morgan. Not all Wild West troupes were traveling aggregations with a physical plant identity. Some were composed for exhibitions at rodeos, agricultural fair grandstands, as carnival back end shows and independently booked presentations. It could be that Mexican Morgan’s was one such troupe. It could have been an overland troupe, or one that loaded equines and other animals in a system cattle or horse car, with the actors moving between engagements by regularly scheduled railroad day coach or sleeper. Local liveries, a farm or other facilities could provide overnight boarding of the animals once on site, the people bunking at local hotels. The characterization of the troupe as “camping” outside of the city could infer either outright camping, with tents and such, or occupancy of a farmer’s barn in a more or less temporary manner. The word “Combination” was previously used by Buffalo Bill when he had a stage troupe on tour, 1873-1882. You can garner some insight on that mode of operation by reading Sandra K. Sagala’s 2008-released work, “Buffalo Bill on Stage.” Your local newspaper might yield additional entries and you might also broaden the search in “Billboard” and “New York Clipper.” I’d also ask Pete Shrake at the Circus World Museum library to check their “yellow tickets” and Draper index, as well as the Chindahl note cards for any Mexican Morgan references. Fred Dahlinger, Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4078. Al F. Wheeler 1930s, 23 Sep 2012 - My father traveled with Al F. Wheeler Shows in the early 1930's. I have 2 very large pictures of the company taken in New York. He was a clown and drummer in the band. His name was Levi Phillips,and was also a tap dancer. I know they traveled the East coast before I was born in 1933. Tina Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Sep 2012 - See messasge no. 4051.

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4077. Rita Galt, 21 Sep 2012 - I am trying to find information on a woman who was with the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey circus some years ago. Her name was Rita Galt. (sp?) I was told that she was a midget and rode horse back performing tricks on her horse. The horse was a Palomino. Can you tell me any thing about her? I know the person who last owned the horse. She called it Penny but I am not sure of the horse's real name. The horse was sold to my friend by a vet who took the horse for non payment of a vet bill. Or that is the story that was told to us. Any help would be appreciated as I have several pictures and films of the horse with its last owner and would like to know if what we were told was true. The vet was a Dr in the Marin - Sonoma area of the San Francisco bay area. I believe the horse was purchased around the 1960's. Thank you for you help. Joan C. Fugina Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4076. Sangers Circus, 17 Sep 2012 - I have a family heirloom of a horse and clown cast in brass by an ancestor of mine in the mid 1800's. The family story is that the horse and clown are from Sangers Circus. I would love to find out the name of the clown and horse if possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Lynda Stevens, New Zealand Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Nov 2012 - Look for Sangers circus www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. H.Best-Otte

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4075. John L. Werner, 17 Sep 2012 - Might one show have two different managers? Or two shows very similar names? According to the 28-Jun-1913 issue of Billboard available at:
http://fultonhistory.com/Newspaper%2015/Billboard/Billboard%201913/Billboard%201913%20-%202734.pdf#xml=
http://fultonhistory.com/dtSearch/dtisapi6.dll?cmd=getpdfhits&u=44472df4&DocId=4779109&Index=
Z%3a%5cIndex%20I%2dE&HitCount=3&hits=669+66a+66b+&SearchForm=C%3a%5cinetpub%5cwwwroot%5cFulton%5fNew%5fform%2ehtml&.pdf
    "Following is the roster of Oklahoma Bill’s Wild West Show: John L. Werner, manager; Charles L. Werner, secretary; George Curtiss, press agent; Gus Fairbanks, general agent; Harry Newman, toss butcher; Mr. Wright, arena director; Albert Morson, band leader; Harry Black, boss canvasman; Bill Carr, sideshow manager; Joe Casey, boss hostler; Harry Allen, 24-hour man; Wm. J. Sullivan, late of the Two Bills Shows, business manager."

    This is quite different from the information given at http://www.circushistory.org/History/Roster1913.htm: "Oklahoma Bill's Wild West and Indian Congress - Major C. F. Rhodes, proprietor and manager; J. E. Orr, assistant manager; Thos. Moore, press agent back with show; Fred Cox, equestrian director; R. C. Wade, general superintendent; Prof. John P. Patricoki, musical director; E. Orr, superintendent reserved seat tickets; T. White, superintendent canvas; Nelson H. Butler, boss hostler; John Thomas, superintendent commissary department; Harry Moore, superintendent ring stock; Tell Dale, superintendent working crew; Teddy White, blacksmith. Show opens at Point Breeze Park, Philadelphia, Pa., May 17."
    Might one show have two different touring companies with two different managers? Or might two different shows have very similar names? The reason I’m interested in this is that my grandfather’s uncle and my grandmother’s stepfather was John L. Werner of Rye, New York. John disappeared from Rye at some point after the 1905 New York State census and didn’t reappear again until the 1925 NYS census. At some point in between there he met my great-grandmother. When John finally returned to Rye, it was with three stepdaughters, three daughters and two sons in tow. His mother was highly unimpressed. Eighty years later, my granduncle was still talking about "Uncle John coming back to town and bringing a circus with him." I always thought that the "circus" was metaphorical, but now I’m wondering. "My" John’s father ran a livery stable in Rye and as of the 1900 federal and 1905 NY state censuses, John was working with him.
    The John L. Werner mentioned in Billboard first appears in 1908 – in the 09-May-1908 issue it’s stated that he "several months ago purchased Hugo Herzog’s European trained stallions and high schooled horses." (I suspect that John purchased *some* of the horses, since Hugo Herzog’s obituary in a 1911 issue of Variety states that Hugo’s brother Manuel "is at present travelling with Herzog’s Horses.") In the 30-Sep-1911 issue of Billboard, there’s a notice that Harry E. Loomes is trying to get in touch with "John L. Werner, who has a horse act, known as Herzog’s Stallions." Then in 23-Mar-1912, there’s a notice that "Hunt’s Silver Plate Shows have consolidated with the John L. Werner Trained Animal and Wild West Show... The program will include the Herzog stallions, Werner’s seven trained bears..."
    In 19-Apr-1913 there’s a notice that Oklahoma Bill’s Wild West wants musicians – at once! Musicians for a cowboy band and a band leader are asked to apply to John L. Werner. So are the two John L. Werner’s one and the same? The transition from livery man to manager of a horse act makes some sense, and the timing is right. Anyway, right now I’m just trying to sort out the discrepancy re: who was managing Oklahoma Bill’s Wild West Show. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! Sarah Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Sep 2012 - As for the early history of John L. Werner, on November 24, 1905 he was the proprietor of the Sound Beach Livery & Boarding Stables in Sound Beach, Conn. He also owned Werner's Transfer Storage Company which stored among other things automobiles, carriages and furniture. He wrote to his friend Lewis Hoffman, a circus manager in Bridgeport, Conn about his recent trip that he and his wife took to visit Hoffman. They were unable to find his address on Baldwin Street on a rainy night. On December 12, 1905 John wrote to Lew noting that this property has been sold and I have until March 1 to vacate per the new landlord Mr. Charles E. Ferris of Sound Beach. John wrote on January 1, 1907 that he had a wagon show with a 100 foot round top, seats, parade wagons, harness, plums, portable ring, saddles, etc. a complete show. The equipment was in good shape, no seedy worn out stuff. He stated that he was in the game for the 1907 coming season and would be willing to take on a partner. He was located at the circus winter quarters in Rye, New York and his address was P. O. Box 172, Rye, New York. So Werner had a circus in 1906, whether he did spot dates or was out on a route is unsure, and was planning on going out in 1907. John Polacsek

    Reply: 21 Sep 2012 - Thanks for the info! Wow, is he or isn’t he? Sound Beach is an older name for what’s now called Old Greenwich. It’s maybe 10 miles from Rye, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable that someone might live in Rye and own property in Sound Beach. The mention of a wife is interesting, because there’s no family history about my great granduncle John being married to anyone else before he married my great grandmother. On the 1905 New York state census, he’s listed as living with his parents. Marital status was not recorded on this census.
        Then again, John’s nephew – my grandfather – was reported on the 1930 census by his mother as being single and living with her. In fact, he’d gotten married the year before and his eldest child was born in 1930. His mother didn’t like his choice of a wife, so I supposed reporting him as single was her way of dealing with it. My point, in my family, it’s entirely possible that John may have been married and that his parents either didn’t know about or didn’t acknowledge the marriage. More research is indicated! The business names should be a help. :-) Sarah

    Reply: 27 Sep 2012 - Just some additional notes on John L. Werner's circus history which traces back to 1901. On July 18, 1901 John L. Werner of Rye, New York wrote from his livery stable that "this is to certify that the Goodrich, Hoffman & Southey Show Company has this day leased the show property belonging to John L. Werner consisting of 4 work horses, 1 mule, 2 donkeys, 2 ponies, one 4 horse harness, 2 harness, 2 pony harness, 3 pony carts, 6 uniforms, 10 plumes, 1 gale light, 1 Tally Ho coach and the services of Mr. Werner is included in the consideration for the weekly rental of $50.00". In February 1902 John Werner wrote Lewis Hoffman that he had a prospective buyer for some circus equipment. He also noted that when it rains it pours. "I got in trouble down here trying to help somebody else and it cost my folks only $125.00 to settle it. I have been away for 2 weeks not because I wanted to but because I had to."
        The Goodrich show was in winterquarters at Rye and Werner noted that the man who owns the barns stated that after the first of April he would need to move the circus property. In April 1902 the Goodrich Railroad Shows went on the road with Goodrich, Hoffman & Werner sole lessees and operators. The checks for the circus included Werner's name, but most of the other contracts for the show were left over Goodrich, Hoffman & Southey paper. By June 20, 1902 the three car railroad circus reached Providence, Rhode Island. It was there that a number of attachments were served on all of the shows owners and the property seized. One June 23 one of the show's lawyers wrote Lewis Hoffman that he following were to be seized by the constable - 2 black horses, one set of double harness, one tent, one pony, and one ticket wagon and contents. He also noted that "this will leave in the officer's hands besides Werner's property some live stock and other things belonging to the co-partnership". In September 1902 Werner wrote to Hoffman that he did not have any big horses to pull the circus wagon, and that he was trying to get extensions on the show's outstanding bills.
        On October 7, 1907 Lewis Hoffman received a letter announcing John L. Werner presents Herzog's High School Horses - Brought to this country from Europe for Barnum & Bailey and direct from the New York Hippodrome. The letter was from Chicago, Illinois noting that Werner had received the $10.00 from Hoffman before he left Jersey. He was presenting the horses on the stage and one horse did a cake walk while two dogs did a grapevine in and out of his legs. On November 26, 1907 Werner wrote from Seattle, Washington that he was over 3,000 miles away. He was now on the Sullivan & Considine Circuit and they controlled 83 theaters out west. Werner's route was for the week of Nov. 25 - Seattle Wash., Dec. 2 - Vancouver B.C., Dec. 9 - Tacoma, Wash, Dec. 16 - Portland, Oregon then to Frisco or Helena, Montana. Werner was proud that he was "first to introduce a 4 horse act in this country on the stage and so far it is a big hit." His act had been on the east coast for four years and he was of the opinion that he was not coming back east since he "can do better in this Golden West". From Vancouver, British Columbia Werner wrote Hoffman on December 4, 1907 that his circus equipment that was on lease had all been returned although the 2 chariots were in rough shape. In July 1908 Hertzog's High School Horses performed at the Michigan State Fair in Detroit, Michigan. John Polacsek

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4074. Beatty-Cole 1966, 17 Sep 2012 - I’m currently working on a cold case murder investigation and running down leads. Does anyone know where the Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus was performing in March of 1966? Or where I might find a route itinerary for 1966? Thanks, Joe Lepore, j-lepore@comcast.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Sep 2012 - The Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus opened April 7 - 17, 1966 in Commach, New York at the Long Island Arena. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection.

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4073. Laura Steele, 15 Sep 2012 - Trying to find info on my great grandmother. Her maiden name was Laura (Lora) Steele. She was married to and divorced Charles F. Sloan. She remarried (Rottler) and lived in Lafayette Indiana. She evidently was a circus performer who family stories said she performed the "slide for Life." Supposedly she also was on one of Wild Bill Cody's European tours. Any thoughts on how I can find more info? Patrick Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4072. Ballerina, 1943, 13 Sep 2012 - I m trying to find out any articles or photos on a woman who was in the Ringling Circus in 1943, just that one year. She was a ballerina with an elephant act. I found her name in a program, but trying to find anything at all. She is now in her 90's and I would like to present her with something of her past. Her name is Josephine Borbus. Any suggestions? Thank you for your time, Vivian Villareale Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Sep 2012 - Hello Vivian: Check on eBay web auction site for a 1943 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus program. There are a lot out there, as they were produced by the hundreds of thousands, so finding one should be relatively easy. A program of this vintage should run you about $10-20, so a small investment to bring back this young lady's memories. Good Luck! - Neil Cockerline, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 18 Sep 2012 - If she was an actual employee of RBBB in 1943, as would appear to be the case by the program listing, there are dozens of photos of that season that can be purchased from: Circus World Museum, Baraboo, WI; Special Collections-Milner Library-Illinois State University—Bloomington, IL, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL. Some of this photography is directly accessible online, at the respective institutional websites. A piece truly unique to her would be a copy of her RBBB employment card. It’s in the RBBB business records placed at Circus World Museum. It will declare her dates of employment, position and wage rate. You would need to know her exact name at the time of her employment. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4071. 1942 RBBB Circus, 12 Sep 2012 - I'm writing a history of a family member, Samuel Warshaw, who painted four giant portraits of FD Roosevelt for the Patriotic Finale of the RBBB 1942 Circus. I would like to speak with anyone who attended or participated that year, and remembers the Patriotic Finale. I should like to obtain first hand impressions on what it was like to be there. Please respond directly to this message. Thank you, Warren Zapol Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Sep 2012 - Hello Warren: Unfortunately, there aren't too many folks left from this vintage, but 2 come to mind. The first would be clown Jackie LeClair, who was on the 1942 show; if you do an Internet search on him, he does have his own web site and will answer e-mails. The second person would be Mary Jane Miller, who was a showgirl on the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1942, and she is still living in Sarasota, FL. You can do another search and probably find an address for her where you could send a letter with your inquiry. You might also e-mail The Showfolks Club of Sarasota, where both Jackie and Mary Jane can be found at dinners, parties, etc. Address your question to the Showfolks President, who is listed on the web site and he can pass your message along to Jackie and/or Mary Jane. Hope this helps! - Neil Cockerline, Sarasota, FL

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4070. Parker's Suicide Circus, 11 Sep 2012 - I am stumped. I have a letter from Parker's Suicide Circus of Shelbyville, Indiana dated 1937. The owner and manager is Sam Parker and the assistant manager is B.M. Parker. I can't find any information on the organization. Does anyone know of them? Bob Momyer Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Sep 2012 - Hi Bob, Robert Parkinson didn't pick up on this show title for his book Directory of American Circuses 1793 to 2000. I suspect your best bet in the beginning would be to try to contact the Shelbyville, Indiana area Historical Society or research their local newspapers which are most likely found on Microfilm at the Library. You can also try contacting the CWM Library to see if they have found anything since Bob Parkinson wrote his book or not. Good Luck. Bob Cline

    Reply: 18 Sep 2012 - I do not believe that Sam Parker’s Suicide Circus has anything to do with the ring performances of skilled humans and trained animals. Just as novelty and daredevil airplane operations were sometimes termed “flying circus,” (as were military airplane groups), automobile and motorcycle thrill or “hell” drivers staged “suicide circus” activity by making exhibitions of head-on collisions, ramming brick walls, rollovers, jumping off moving vehicles, leaps over obstacles, driving through faux buildings and what have you. They were rehearsed and staged events involving controlled risk, stunts as one might see used in films and such. These were undertaken at fairgrounds, sometimes as charitable fundraisers, with large picnics, etc. It’s possible that Parker used one name on his letterhead, “Suicide Circus,” but booked the presentations under another name for public use. A good starting place would be to locate references in Shelbyville [census, genealogy, local history, people with same name, etc.] and to work outward from there. Collections of bona fide circus material might contain a program or other reference to such demonstrations, especially if they were a large undertaking, but holdings of auto thrill show documentation are more likely sources of discovery. You might find some mention of Parker’s activities in news columns of Billboard magazine, and in advertisements. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 24 Sep 2012 - Thanks to Bob and Fred for their input. Bob Momyer

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4069. Judd Brown, human snake, 11 Sep 2012 - My great great grand uncle, Orange Judd Brown, spent some number of years performing as a contortionist. He was born in 1871 in Tuscola Co. Michigan. Undated Newspaper clippings I have say he was with a Dr. Hall or Dr. Curtis show (also referencing "Japanese Co"). He was also known a Monola/Manola the human snake. By 1900 he was married working as a conductor for Pullman sleeper cars. He died in 1905 at young age of 34 of kidney failure in NJ. How might I find out more about his contortionist days? Tara Shimberg Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Sep 2012 - You first need to identify what show or shows Judd Brown was on. On June 13, 1893 Pontiac, Michigan was visited by Dr. Hal A. Curtis of the Japanese Medical Company. His advertising company consisted of a series of free open air entertainments at the fairgrounds, and possibly a contortion act was part of the show. As for Dr. Curtis his part was to straighten cross eye and to extract teeth each evening free and absolutely painless. There was no review of the attraction in the local newspaper. In 1895 the Curtis & Ogawa's Combined Railroad Shows and Imperial Japanese Circus (possibly operated by Dr. Hal A. Curtis) played in Michigan. The show played May 6 -11 at Jackson, a two day stand May 17 & 18 at Ann Arbor, then May 20 & 21 in Pontiac, June 14 at St. Louis (with a story that the show closed) and maybe June 24 to 29 in Saginaw. The newspaper ads do not identify the performers but you might check the New York Clipper for a show roster. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

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4068. Bohemian circuses, 10 Sep 2012 - I have a question for your historians. I am doing some genealogical research on our family history, and discovered an old sideshow photo card of a great uncle but unfortunately no circus name is on the card. We are trying to find out which Circus he would have been a member of. At the time of the photo he was living in Bohemia, now Czech Republic. Does anyone know a good website that lists the names of the Bohemian circuses and maybe the performers of the early 1900's? Any help would be appreciated, JLBrewer, jl_brewer@shaw.ca Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4067. Brown Family Circus, 10 Sep 2012 - I have been trying to find information about a company called The Brown Family Circus that travelled throughout the southern states around the 1930's. Can you give me any information or tell me who to contact? My Grandfather was a Canadian Indian who worked for them and met my Grandmother there, who also worked for them as a medium or spiritualist. I have physicians notes that state thats where they worked/lived when he/she was being treated, but thats about all I have to go on. Any information would help. Thank You, Faythe Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Sep 2012 - Hello Faythe: You may be referring to a well-known group/family of American Indians that traveled with various circuses up through the 1950's. The patriarch of this family was known as Chief Sugar Brown and he had a large family that appeared as part of the Wild West aftershow, as well as appearing in various acts usually with horses in the main show, during "specs" or parades inside the tent and earlier in outdoor parades to advertise the circus' arrival in town. Try an Internet search for Chief Sugar Brown and you should find more information. I know he and his family appeared with the Mills Bros. Circus in the 1950's, but they trouped for many years prior to this time. Whether they had their own show or not, I am not sure, but they certainly traveled with a number of other shows as early as the 1930's and maybe even earlier. I seem to recall that the Chief was Choctaw, but of this I am not positive. Good Luck with your search. - Neil Cockerline, Sarasota, FL

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4066. Circus, Long Island, 07 Sep 2012 - I remember going to the circus probably in the mid to late 50’s on Long Island either in Plainview or Syosset. Can you tell me if I am correct in my memory and if so where was the site exactly? Thanks a lot, Les Perkel, les@wpiny.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4065. John J. Murray, 06 Sep 2012 - I am looking for Billboard issue of June 16, 1906 with John J. Murray on the cover. I am also looking for any information on my great grandfather John J. Murray and my great grandmother Florence J. Murray. They were both in the circus business. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you. Kelly Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Sep 2012 - Go to fultonhistory.com. You can search pre 1923 Billboards by key words. Google Books has post 1940 Billboards on line. Both are free. Billie

    Reply: 28 Sep 2012 - John J. Murray was on the Beckett Railroad Circus that started by playing an indoor date in April of 1887 in Detroit, Michigan. The show the played the Princess Rink in Saginaw, Michigan featuring the Gregory Brothers and Miles Orton. No mention of John J. or Florence Murray. The 1890, 1894 and 1895 Hunting route books mention both John and Florence Murray. In the performance John was listed as a clown with song. In the concert that followed the performance, Florence was a character vocalist, John was a monologue artist and the Murrays did an up to date number as sketch artists. The 1894 and 1895 route books include a photo of John J. in clown makeup and also notes he was a concert performer. There is a photo of Florence J. Murray as a character sketch artist, and also a photo of John J. Murray as a versitale performer and concert announcer. There is also an ad for John J & Florence noting that they provide 'wholesale and retail fun'. You might check at the Circus World Museum for a copy of the Hunting route books. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection.

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4064. Jack Jones, roustabout, 04 Sep 2012 - I am trying to find information on my grandmother’s brother. His name was Jack Jones. He joined an unknown circus around 1915, I think. He was a roustabout and ran the carousel in his late teens, early 20s. He was helping put up the big top when the main pole fell on him. He had brain damage and lived out his life in nursing homes in the Greene/Ozark County Missouri areas. He was in his late 60s in 1957, I think and died before 1970, I believe. I have tried to find information on any big top accident within the time frame of 1915 to 1925, but can’t seem to locate it. I may be off on the dates. I am sorry I cannot be more exact on dates/times/locations. Any information will be appreciated. Thank you. Dorothy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4063. Census, circuses, 03 Sep 2012 - I am doing family history research. Some of my relatives were involved with the Gentry dog and pony shows in the early part of the 20th century. How did the census-takers usually count people working in a circus that traveled as much as it was in a town for performances? Also, if the people were counted, how would that count be assigned to a category or location? Thanks – Tom Vint Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Sep 2012 - About the Federal Census. The first thing is to remember that early ones were taken by ordinary local people, and the important thing was the count. With that in mind it becomes obvious that people were counted where ever they were at the time, but it is also obvious that many households counted the whole family no matter where the members happened to be at the time. I know that for a fact as I am on a Minnesota and an Indiana census in 1930. Travelers were often missed entirely depending on when the locality took their census. Many entertainers were listed just as "professionals", circus, carnival etc. Just keep looking, and good luck. A researcher.

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4062. Sadie Hogarth Kautz, 02 Sep 2012 - Family lore has it that my great grandmother, Sadie Hogarth Kautz, was in the circus as a bareback rider and may have worked with the Barnum Forbaugh circus. Or perhaps the Sponner Opera Company. (none of those may be true) Her husband John Henry Kautz was a musician, whom she married in 1896 in Kansas. Their 1900 residence was Danville, Illinois. I have a picture of my grandfather, Frank, as a baby in 1901 sitting in the bell of his instrument (a skinny tuba?) amid some backdrop paintings, chairs and tasseled couch. Both my great grandparents were in Kansas in the late 1890s, my great grandmother apparently recovering from an illness. If there is anyone out there with information on this, I would love to see it. Or if you can point me to a source of information that would be great also. I have searched through the records of your site online. The only thing I found was a reference I found was to a Sadie Hoffman, charioteer in he 1892 Barnum and Bailey circus. (Hogarth/Hoffman?). Would there be somewhere I could look to further verify that Sadie Hoffman was really Sadie Hogarth? I, of course, am looking for a picture of Sadie who sadly died in 1904. Thank you very much, Leslie Froisland, Campbell, California Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4061. Child sword swallower, 30 Aug 2012 - I am searching for any information about this image (http://pinterest.com/pin/4011087139162032/) of a child sword-swallower, credited to C. Clayette and with an inscription from 1903. I suspect it is just a posed shot, and that the child shown was not in fact performing as a sword-swallower, but would be grateful for any information about its origin. Russell Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4060. Muldoons, carnival, 28 Aug 2012 - Does anyone know the name of the carnival that played the New England states and New York state in the 1940s? It seems like it was owned or managed by a Bill and Josie Muldoon and had the word America or American in the name of it. My parents traveled with it. Thanks for any clue. Patty in WA Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Sep 2012 - I am correcting a previous message that I posted. I had asked about a carnival in New England and New York state in the 1940s which was run by the Muldoons. For some reason I had thought that it had the word America or American in the name of it. I recently found out that this was incorrect, and the show was called J.P.M. Shows. I am now asking whether anyone knows if they went out of business, changed their name or merged with another show. Thank you. Patty in WA

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4059. Circus poster, 25 Aug 2012 - The front porch of my late Victorian home in Pittsburgh was falling off and I hired a carpenter to do major repairs. When they took off the roof decking, they discovered what I can only describe as a circus poster pasted to the underside of the decking. First, the house was built in the summer of 1899 so the poster predates that. Second, since none of us anticipated anything underneath, the poster has unfortunately been destroyed by their random cutting through the deck boards.
    None the less, I would be interested in learning anything you might be able to say about it. There are animals: I can identify part of a hippopotamus, several walruses, a polar bear, some giraffes, animals in cages, a polar bear attacking a walrus, etc. There are some black men and there is one white man with a mustache in a scene that looks desert-like. There is some text (in all caps) "CHIEF AFRICAN AGENT BARGAINING for a SPLENDID SPEC . . ." and ". . . AGENTS IN AFRICA SHIPPING ANIMALS." These text fragments are above "framed" scenes. The first text string is above a scene with seated black men and palm trees in the background.The frames are bright red with yellow borders and have what I've always thought of as Victorian "fret work" bracket fans in the corners. Any hints would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Bill Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4058. Mae Tuey, 25 Aug 2012 - I was wondering if you would know if there are any lists of 'circus workers' from the 1890's? My great grandma, who was Lakota (Sioux) left school at an early age and ran away with the traveling circus, but we don't know which one. I have been sent an article by the Aberdeen, SD genealogist that Ringling, Barnum and Bailey was there in Aberdeen in the 1890's and in Chicago. My great grandma was born in Aberdeen, SD around 1891 and had a baby in Chicago in 1908. Was just curious if you could lead me in the right direction Would you know if there are any lists of the circus performers back then? She was a tight rope walker we were told, and her name was Mae Tuey. I had even wondered about the Buffalo Bill Traveling Circus too, but haven't done research yet to see what years that took place. Thanks so much for any info you may have! Shelley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4057. Mighty Haag band, 22 Aug 2012 - I am Pat Cross and I have in my possession sev pics that was sent to my Mother in 1922 from Clarence V. Hicks (from Jerico spgs. Mo.) who joined The Mighty Haag Circus. One is a pic of their 3 elephants and one of their camels and their trainers (handlers) in their circus uniforms. The second one is a truck with the Clown Band in the truck bed, with the director sitting on top of the cab. That Band evidently consisted of 5 band members and the director. I have another pic of a group of 6 men (5 of them look to be in their 30's, with the the one gentleman looking to be in his 50's) they are dressed up with ties, 3 with suit coats, 2 with white shirts and no suit coats, the 5 younger men had their straw hats on, the old man had on a felt hat. It might be possible that these men were the Clown Band. He has the names as follows written on the back of the pic: Buster Hartley, Cecil Garmond, George Rains, Opal Hartley, himself Clarence Hicks, and Mr. Hartley. It looks as though it was taken at a train station. I do not find any of these men's names listed as having been a part of the band. I am attempting to locate the one Clarence Hicks to return the pic to members of his family. He played a trombone and must have played in one of the Bands that my Mother played in. I blv in your article you stated that the Circus wintered in Hempstead, TX. I've gone on-line to website of Hempstead Historical Society and don't find any mention of this Circus. Do you have any record of these persons being a part of the Band? Any info would be appreciated. patcross4@att.net, Sincerely Pat Cross Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Sep 2012 - Hello Pat: This may be a long shot, but the famous Big Band leader and trumpeter Harry James' parents were band members on the Mighty Haag Circus too. In fact, Harry James was born on the show and learned to play trumpet while a child. You may try checking a Biography or better yet, an Autobiography of Harry James to see if there is mention of some of the other band members who traveled with the circus. Not to be racist, but in this era, only whites played in the Big Top band, while African-Americans played in the Sideshow Band and the Clown Band was entirely separate from the other two bands. Back in the day, many performers played musical instruments and if they did, they could earn extra money by participating in the bands. Today, it's interesting to think that many of the African-American Band Members, who were relegated to the Sideshow Band, were probably virtuoso musicians who could out-play their white counterparts, but the racial divide kept them from crossing over to the Big Show bands. Good Luck with your search! - Neil Cockerline, Sarasota, FL

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4056. John Cunningham, band, 21 Aug 2012 - I am searching for information about John William Cunningham who played with the band at Riverside CA in 1910 according to the 1910 US Census. Thank you! Jane Kirk, ejkirk27@yahoo.com [looks like Sells-Floto Circus on census - J. Griffin] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4055. Buffalo Bill's Wild West, 18 Aug 2012 - Would it be possible to email me documents you may have on any of the Terrells who started the Buffalo Bill's wildwest show? These are my great grandfathers brothers so history is very important. Also do you know of Anywhere they may be posters. Thank you and any information would be appreciated. Elizabeth Terrell Werner Stephenson, email: stephensonsincr@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Aug 2012 - Elizabeth Terrell Werner Stephenson, The Terrell Brothers were not associated with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. They were owners of the Buckskin Bill’s Wild West in 1900 and 1901. They sold their circus property in 1902 (that story is in my book). However, Fletcher and A.S. Terrell lived in Paducah, KY at this time, for a while they owned the Morton’s Opera House, and in 1891 had a Small circus and in 1897 went to Chicago and purchased equipment and went out as the Terrell Bros. Combined Shows. They owned a livery stable in Paducah. You may want to search the Library of Congress online newspapers at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov. Richard A. Georgian. Author "Cossacks, Indians and Buffalo Bill," www.RichardGeorgian.com

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4054. Tayleures Circus, 18 Aug 2012 - I have recently found out that my great great grandparents and their parents before them owned Tayleures Circus in Cardiff and that my ancestors were equestrian riders. I would really like to find out as much as I can about this circus and about them. I believe my Great Great grandfather died in Rotterdam having got thrown from a camel. Please could you point me in the right direction to find out more about this circus and my ancestors. (I believe my great grandfather was a Warne who married a Tayleur) Many thanks, Lynn Griffith Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4053. Riggs Wild West, 15 Aug 2012 - Seeking Information on Riggs Wild West. I am researching Capt. C. W. Riggs, who operated a wild west show during the first decade of the 20th century. In 1900 he advertised under "The Riggs Co.'s Great Railroad Shows" and by 1904 as "Riggs Amusement Co." These may have been businesses that supplied acts and/or equipment. In 1906 he began touring "Riggs Rough Riders Wild West & Historical Frontier Exhibition" or "Riggs Wild West." The show opened in 1906 in Augusta, GA, and toured in Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa, before closing in Arkansas, where they wintered. He was associated at least part of that time with Parker Amusement Co. Riggs toured in the same general area in 1907 and 1908, but by the end of 1908 was advertising to sell the outfit. Throughout the period, he advertised in Billboard and the Clipper. I would be particularly interested in any handbills, posters, or photographs, but would be grateful for leads on any information. Feel free to contact me directly: Mary Kwas, Fayetteville, AR, mkwas@uark.edu. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Aug 2012 - Colonel Riggs' Wild West Show played a number of amusement parks for a week or more. If you searched this website you will note that in 1907 he left the Arkansas winter quarters on April 19 and headed to play in a park at Louisville, Kentucky. The show was to leave Louisville on May 15 for a Lexington, Kentucky park date but a train wreck delayed his departure. The show moved to Ohio where they played Xenia and later Columbus, The previous year 1906 the show played the new Cleveland, Ohio Lincoln Park as one of the attractions for the week of June 17 & 24. The Cleveland Leader on June 10, 1906 ran a story about the show coming to Lincoln Park. 'Tents of Red Men Dot Lincoln Park - When the new West Side amusement resort, Lincoln Park, opens Saturday those who visit it may go prepared for many surprises in the way of unusual and excellent features. Not the least among these will be the Wild West show, owned and headed by a veteran scout, Colonel Riggs. The colonel arrived Saturday with his show on a special train from Chicago, where he had just closed a successful six weeks' engagement. This week his band of Apache warriors and the train of cowboys will pitch their tents at the park and will remain there as a permanant attraction. Upon his retirement from the United States Army, some years ago, Colonel Riggs established himself in a little Wyoming valley, since known as Riggs' Gulch. Last year Manhattan Beach park, in Denver, obtained his services in organizing a complete Wild West show, as the big attraction of their resort. The performances he gave there were most realistic. The feature of the exhibition is a lifelike reproduction of the famous Mountain Meadows massacre - a three cornered fight to the death between emigrants, a band of Morman fanatics and an Indian war party - which occurred in Utah in 1870. Colonel Riggs, then a young man, was one of the scouts for the emigrant train, and he was one of the few white men who lived to tell of that terrible scene. He now probably is the only living survivor'.The press release photo of Colonel Riggs shows a man with long hair, a moustache and probably about 45 years old, and one of Chief Buckskin Charlie and family showing a two featured male with two females in native American dress. Well for the sake of history Col. Riggs may have been born in 1870 but he was not a scout at the September 1857 massacre. The New York Times index for July 1875 has some stories of the trial of the Morman who were involved I would suggest you check the Billboard or Clipper for amusement park notes since his show in 1907 played one and two weeks stands at big parks in the middle west. About the only other place to look would be the National Archives and the Native American reservation files. It was required that a bond be posted for any reservation residents to travel with a show. Actually you will need to look under the 'fairs and exhibitions' subject heading for the correspondence. John Polacsek

    Reply: 01 Sep 2012 - Thank you John for your comment on Riggs Wild West and for the lead to the Cleveland Leader article, which I will track down. Riggs was born in 1857, so would have only been 13 at the time of the 1870 massacre. He was not in Utah in 1870, as he was still living at home in Michigan at the time. But I’m sure it made a great story for the show! – Mary Kwas, mkwas@uark.edu

    Reply: 02 Sep 2012 - Mary you should read over the material I sent carefully. Riggs set the date of the massacre at 1870 in his PR to make the story of his involvement sound reasonable. It is a false statement. Actually the massacre happened in 1857, which would make him one year old or not even born yet (if your birth date in Michigan is correct) so there is no way he could have been a guide. The trial of those involved was in 1875, (see the New York Times archives for articles) and thus there were people around who would confuse the trial in the1870s with the 1857 massacre. John Polacsek

    Reply: 05 Sep 2012 - Yes, you are quite right. I looked up details on the massacre after I had responded to you and found that it occurred the year Riggs was born. Thank you again. – Mary Kwas

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4052. Jon Krish, tight rope, 14 Aug 2012 - I am trying to find out information about my grandfather. I do not know too much only that he was a tight rope walker and a snake charmer. He was from Torrington CT and his name was Jon Krish and he was originally from Czechoslovakia. If you could point me in any direction, that would be very helpful. I am thinking he was doing this between the 1920’s and 1940’s. Thank you! Jonna Demaio Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4051. Al F. Wheeler, 10 Aug 2012 - I am Bill Wheeler, great-grandson of Al F. Wheeler of Wheeler & Company Circus ©1893, Al F. Wheeler New Model Shows ©1903, Downie & Wheeler ©1911, Wheeler Bros. ©1916, Silvan-Drew ©1928, Wheeler & Almond ©1933 and a number of others. I am trying to put together a biography of my great-grandfather, but the sources are extremely diverse over his lifetime and many I have come across do not have the most accurate information. I have already visited Sarasota, Peru and Baraboo, with Baraboo having the largest collection found to date of Wheeler circus records and memorabilia. I already have a number of articles published in Bandwagon. I have started collecting articles from the NY Clipper, Billboard and White Tops. I have articles from other newspapers. I have visited Poestenkill NY (his birthplace), Troy NY (where he started Wheeler & Co Circus), Schenectady, NY (where he had his early winter quarters) and his last home in Oxford, PA (where he bought the fairgrounds and built up the rail terminal to handle his 30+ car train for Wheeler Bros. Enormous Shows in 1915-1916). I will be researching those local newspapers for information. I am especially interested in information for the time period 1918 - 1928 when he was associated with a number of smaller shows like Rose Killian, M. L. Clark and Hunt Bros. There is also an intimation that he was with Ringling for part of one season during that time. I have also come across the name Frank Belmont during this period, but I have not determined his relationship (co-worker or a pseudonym for Al). Thanks already to Fred Dahlinger and Bob Momyer for their interest and encouragement. "The circus . . . first, last and always." Quote from Al F., 2 JAN 1932. William A. Wheeler,II, Springfield, VA, whewilliam@aol.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Aug 2012 - Since you have visited Baraboo and had Fred Dahlinger assisting and encouraging you, you saw a treasure trove of information. I believe there were a couple letters to Wm. P. Hall there. If you didn't see them, you may want to contact Pete Shrake, the archivist, again. You'll want to go through the microfilmed editions of Billboard and the NY Clipper. One such site online is http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html I just typed in Al Wheeler and found 500 hits while Al Wheeler Circus had 7 hits. While this site does have Billboard and Ny Clipper material on it, it doesn't pick up everything that was in those publications. Usually you can get these through an interlibrary loan. If you are not a subscriber, you might want to look at newspaperARCHIVE.com. They have millions of old newspaper articles in PDF format with a search engine. I just typed in Al Wheeler Circus and it has tons of pages to go through. Good Luck. Bob Cline

    Reply: 19 Mar 2013 - I am Ramona Phillips Eller. My dad, Levi Phillips, traveled, for a time, with Al Wheeler Shows. My pictures are dated 1930, made in New Jersey. He was a clown and I remember, as a kid, putting on his big shoes and red wig. The pictures are also in a museum in Florida. I want them to always be preserved, part of my history. I think my mother may have joined him for a short while. She would show me how she danced, and the makeup she used. I am an old woman now, and afraid none of my children will care about our history. Thank you for the info and anything else will be appreciated.
        Bill Wheeler. I also noticed the lettering on my pictures says Al F. Wheelers New Model Shows. They were made by Century Photography in N.Y.C. Aug 14, 1930 in Woodbrige N.J. Thanks again Tina

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4050. Kit, Chickie Noble, 09 Aug 2012 - I am looking for any information concerning Kit and Chickie Noble and their sons Chris and Kim. My mother was friends with them in the 60's and lost touch and I am trying to find out what happened to them for her. Regards, Max Presneill Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4049. Earl Thornton, boxer, 09 Aug 2012 - I have recently come to find out that my grandfather, who lived in Upstate, NY, was a boxer for a circus. His name was Earl Thornton. I believe this would have been in the 1930s or 40s. I don’t know what circus or any other details. Can you recommend someone I can talk to or a website I can research? Thank you, Sarah Greive Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4048. Fred Rose, Pettitt Troupe, 08 Aug 2012 - My name is Sarah Stroop I am looking for any information on my great-grandfather Fred Rose, he was a tumbler with the Pettitt Troupe post WW1 until the late 1920's early 1930's. I want to know if there is anywhere I might be able to find some pictures or documents, even just to know what circus the Pettitt Troupe traveled with and try to find more information out that way. Many Thanks, Sarah Stroop Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4047. George Williams, strong man, 08 Aug 2012 - Hi, I'm looking for any information on George Stanley Williams he was a strong man in a circus in England, it would have been in the late 1800's, he was married to a gypsy named Annie Waters, they are my great, great and a extra great grand parents. Any kind of information would be great. s.w. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4046. Acrobatic troupe early 1900s, 06 Aug 2012 - My name is Elizabeth Colen. I have a question that I am hoping you can help me answer or even point me in some sort of direction. My mother's grandfather (my great grandfather) Florian Timm was in a traveling acrobatic group when he was "younger." He was born in North Braddock, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1886 - I think he may have been in this group in the early 1900s - he joined the army and served in WWI. I was just curious what this group was, maybe know a little about it, actually anything at all would be good to know. If you have no idea (which is understandable as the only information I have is obviously extremely limited), maybe you could point me in another direction. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Elizabeth Colen Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4045. Carney wanted, 06 Aug 2012 - Seeking a carny (former or current) to provide feedback on novel that takes place at a carnival. The novel takes place at a early 1950s carnival. It is 55,000 words (223 double spaced pages). Please let me know how much you would want to be paid for general feedback. I can be contacted at shoot07@aol.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4044. Lion tamer 1900's Hurley, 04 Aug 2012 - I am researching my family tree. One of our ancestors, who we know little about, supposedly made his living as a lion tamer. He would have gone by the name of Charles or James Hurley born 1872-74 in Sunderland, England. I have a photograph of him with whip in hand that was taken in east London, UK (Bedford Place / Commercial Road) circa 1890-1910. Family legend also suggests that he took his craft to the United States but during what period I am not sure. I would value any information, contacts or suggestions that you may have. Richard Hurley, newzearich@hotmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Aug 2012 - In the late John Turner's book Victorian Arena - the Performers, there is a brief note THOMAS HURLEY - Animal Trainer, noted at Wombwell's 1869. Father of your Charles or James Hurley born 1872-74 perhaps? Also on this website at http://www.circushistory.org/Clipper/Clipper1900s.htm - James Hurley, boss hostler, New York Clipper, April 23, 1904, pp. 190, 199. Notes from the McDonald Brothers New United Shows. Everything is in readiness for the opening, April 21, Frank Stokes, boss canvasman with fifteen men; Thomas Jones, boss properties and five men; James Hurley, boss hostler, with eight men. Thirty head of stock, fourteen wagson and buggies,
        Also, in Ireland, a mention of equestrian Sid Hurley Edward Fossett’s Powell & Clarke’s Circus (World's Fair, 24/5/1930, p.30, col.2.) Powell & Clarke's Circus, Fossett, E., at Dundalk, Ireland, 19/5/1930. Mr E. Fossett; Capt. Gilbert Taylor, manager; Signor Alberta, Indiarubber man; Eugene, the singing clown; Aston Troupe, trick cyclists; Sid Hurley, jockey act; Mlle Floretta, lady juggler. In Carrickmacross on 21/5/1930. jim@stockley.co.za

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4043. Elmournes, 04 Aug 2012 - I may have responded many years ago doing research on my Godparents Thomas William and Mary Elmourne. Actually Mrs Lillian (Elmourne) MacKinnon turns 107 today according to the cape Breton Post. That is fantastic.
http://www.capebretonpost.com/News/Local/2012-08-02/article-3044861/Cape-Breton-woman-turns-107-today/1
    Her brother Thomas and family lived in a home along Sydney Road Reserve Mines in the 1960's. It was located in the field up from our Coal Company House on Station Street in Reserve Mines. The Elmournes were very kind to my family and I recall a barn with chickens my godfather would let me feed them. LOL Faintly I recall sons Billy, Joey, daughters Alexandra, Shirley and Ada? But don't quote me. I had no idea of the circus connection of my Godfather's father. That was so ineteresting to learn this bit of history while researching. Take care, I hope this helps a bit. Dolores McPhee (formerly of Reserve Mines) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4042. Fred Rose, trapeze, 03 Aug 2012 - I am looking for information on my great-grandfather, Fred Rose. He would have been in a circus from sometime pre-World War I until the late 1920s. I know that he was a trapeze artist at one point of his career with the circus. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of the circus he traveled with or the name of the troupe he was with as a trapeze artist. Many Thanks, Sarah Stroop Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4041. Luke Rooney, 02 Aug 2012 - Need info on Luke Rooney of Shields Wisconsin. Is he of the Circus Rooney family? Luke Rooney b. ca 1821-23 in Ireland married to Mary Cruse of England. Living in Shields Wisc. about 1848 to his death ca 1862. Had a daughter Elizabeth who married Henry Edw. Baker a teamster for John Robinson's Circus. Does anyone know of any connection between this Rooney family and the rather well known Rooneys also from Wisconsin who were in the circus? Rick Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Sep 2012 - Hello Rick: I thought Elizabeth Rooney was a bareback (horse) rider, is it possible she may have remarried at some point? I know that another bareback riding family, the Romigs, specifically Carl Romig was married to an Elizabeth Rooney and appeared with various circuses as The Riding Romig-Rooney Family. Their son Irving "Ricky" Romig was originally a bareback rider and later appeared as Ricky the Clown and had an early television show in the Detroit, Michigan market. Carl Romig and his wife Elizabeth Rooney lived in Pontiac, MI right behind where my father grew up and he remembered quite clearly that Mrs. Romig (Elizabeth Rooney) was quite the elegant lady and would not be seen out of the house without full make-up and styled hair, probably harkening back to her show days. My father was born in 1924, so this would have been the late 20's or early 30's, at which time the older couple had already retired, although Carl would still tour as a Clown, maybe after his wife had passed away. The time line seems right, so I would venture that we are talking about the same person and indeed Elizabeth Rooney was part of the famous Circus Family. Hope this helps! - Neil Cockerline, Sarasota, FL

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4040. Lion tamer 1960s, 01 Aug 2012 - I am trying to trace the name and date of death of a lion tamer that was killed in the ring in a circus in the United Kingdom in the sixties. The details I have are vague, but there is a background and a reason for trying to find out. My mother recently passed away and I know that although she got engaged to my father in 1964, they had unknowingly been at the same circus performance a few years earlier where the lion-tamer had got killed. I do not know the exact year - I guess it must have been after 1960 - and it would have been in the Midlands of the UK, probably Birmingham or Wolverhampton. Any ideas? Can you help from such vague information? Simon Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Aug 2012 - According to circus historian Jim Clubb (in an email to me today) . . . The trainer in question was "Captain" Nayara Swami – "the world’s only Negro lion tamer" – an Indian from Madaras who normally did a whip-cracking called "Swami and Sheila". He was aged 36 when he was killed at Abbey Park, Evesham 1950. The act consisted of a male lion, Leo, and two lionesses. The animals belonged to "Sister" Jeanette Fossett, the wife of Claude Fossett and the mother of Jessie. The show was Ringland’s Circus run by her father "Long" Tom Fossett. This lion had already injured another trainer, but I don’t know who. It was reported in the Evesham Journal that "he was dragged out of the cage by a group of clowns". This wasn’t the case. The lions had left the ring, but the tunnel gate hadn’t been closed properly and as Swami took his call, Leo came back in, grabbed him. They got the lion off and Swami was still alive, but he later died at Evesham Hospital. Although in 1950 (not the 1960s as requested), to the best of our knowledge this is the only fatality for that period. Does this help at all? jim@stockley.co.za

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4039. Von Bros. circus, 30 Jul 2012 - Anybody in Von Bros. circus remember Jean Lustig (kelly stage name) and Buttercup the clown Don Lustig. Also wanting information on Von Bros. Mormon93 Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4038. Howes Great London 1908, 27 Jul 2012 - I am interested in knowing if Howes Great London Circus played in western Massachusetts in 1908, specifically North Adams, Pittsfield or Springfield. I'll appreciate any pertinent information. Thank you. Richard Hamilton Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Jul 2012 - The Howes Great London Circus of 1906 - 1907 did not play New England. In 1908 the name of the show was changed to the Great Van Amburgh Circus and the farthest north it went was Pennsylvania. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection.

    Reply: 29 Jul 2012 - To Ted Bowman: Many thanks for your response to my message 4038. No wonder my search was fruitless. Mystery solved. Thanks again. Richard Hamilton

    Reply: 30 Jul 2012 - Very nice to see an acknowledgement. It is so very rare on these boards that an original poster bothers to come back and thank those answering their query. jim@stockley.co.za

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4037. Barnum & Bailey, Japan, 27 Jul 2012 - I am trying to find out if Barnum and Bailey took the circus to Japan in the 1800/1900s. I am being told that they never did and that there is a possibility of it going there for the first time this year. I have some 1800 (we believe) postcards that we thought we bought out of Japan AT the circus there. Thanks, heloagin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jul 2012 - The Barnum & Bailey Circus did not tour Japan. One of the owners, James A. Bailey, took his show called Cooper and Bailey to Australia in 1877. In 1878 they traveled through Australia, New Zealand and then to South America. By 1879 they were back in the United States. Barnum didn't join Bailey until 1881 when they called the show the Barnum and London Shows. It wouldn't be until 1888 when the title became Barnum & Bailey. Bob Cline

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4036. Joseph Lazarski, 27 Jul 2012 - Like many people who post, I am working on family history and trying to find information about my grandfather, Joseph Lazarski. Rumor has it that he worked for a circus and did a "buried alive" stunt. He was born in Chicago in 1907, and lived in Chicago his whole life - as far as we know. We also know he did magic tricks and played a harmonica, but not sure when or where. Any info would be greatly appreciated so we can learn more about this interesting man! - Dawn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4035. Lion tamer death, 25 Jul 2012 - Is this world wide Circus History? If so can you please tell me what the name of the lion tamer was the got killed in front of an ordnance on the coast in South Africa. It was before 1965. I have been told this was my grandfather but I have in other information his last name could have been Coetzee. My uncle was a sword swallower, knife thrower, this was about 1969-1979. He was friends with Tikki the clown in the Boswell Wilkie Circus and last years he worked in Brain's circus. Any information would be fab, thanks, regards Roz Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Jul 2012 - Roz, I think you may be misinformed about a lion trainer getting killed in front of an audience in South Africa. Further to your enquiry, I have discussed the matter with various people, including Brian Boswell and none of us can recall a death of this kind. Certainly not from the 1930s onwards. What is your Uncle's full name? Doesn't he know the name of the circus at which the lion attack is supposed to have happened? We would all like to know more about this. jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 27 Aug 2012 - It seems I mis-informed you earlier, very sorry. I spoke to Gavin Telford on Brian Boswell's circus (at their 30th Birthday party in Pietermaritzburg). He says "Willie Coetzee snr was killed during a show in Pagels circus in Pietermaritzburg. Pagel died in Knysna in 1947,and the show lasted till about 1949 when Koos Turnbull took over the name. Coetzee would therefore have been killed by lions between 1945 and 1948. jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 13 Sep 2012 - ROZ, another of Willie Coetzee's grandchildren has contacted me and would like to share family history and pictures with you. If you email me, I will introduce you to each other? She was told that your ancestor was killed while doing the 'head in the lion's mouth' trick! jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 13 Sep 2012 - Just to respond to your question, yes, that is correct, Willie Coetzee was my great grandfather. He was indeed killed by lions after he was mugged earlier that day. The blood was still fresh on him when the lion took off his head when he did the show by sticking his head when his head was take off. This was my grandmother's father. She was Dawn Coetzee which passed away last year. Her brother's name who work for the circus with his father was Willem Coetzee. I found a foto of him between her things last year after her death. This would be my mother grandfather. If you would like to get in contact with me please contact me on 0722399821 or marisca@moblieemail.vodafonesa.co.za as willie coetzee's youngest daughter Dawn her children is still alive. Regards, Marisca Hendricks, Greate granddaughter of Willie Coetzee

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4034. Barnum, US postage stamp, 25 Jul 2012 - Does anyone know why P. T. Barnum is not on a US postage stamp? This has always seemed odd to me because of his remarkable contribution to popular culture and popular entertainment. Apparently he came close in the 1940s as White Tops announced a Barnum stamp was about to be issued. The article even contained the proposed image of the stamp, but obviously no stamp was issued. In recent decades Buffalo Bill, Tom Mix, Bill Pickett, and Annie Oakley have all been honored on US postage stamps, but still no one who career was primarily in the circus. Bailey, Forepaugh, the Ringlings and Jerry Mugivan all certainly qualify as would Dan Rice, Clyde Beatty, and G. G. Williams. Does anybody know why Barnum and the other circus luminaries have never appeared on stamps? F. D. Pfening III Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4033. Marines Study the Circus, 25 Jul 2012 - I am a curator at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico, Virginia. A story of the Marines and the circus has intrigued me for many years and I am researching the topic. During the early 1930s, the U.S. Marine Corps attempted to redefine itself as the amphibious experts in a mission not embraced by other U.S. military organizations. The Marines noted that the circus successfully solved similar challenges in their operations that the Marines faced in their new mission. The Marine leaders sent a few officers from the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico to the circus (in Florida?) to study the various aspects of circus operations such as, how the circus efficiently moves from place to place, sets up/breaks down its operation, communicates and organizes, plans its logistics/supplies, and so on. These officers incorporated what they learned into the developing amphibious doctrine and exercises of the later 1930s that spelled success during World War II and beyond. My thanks to anyone who has information or leads to this story. Bob Sullivan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 Jul 2012 - This story has many versions — see message #918, #3082 and 3597 on this board for more details and references. Most of these military observations took place long before the 1930s however. Message #3082 may be the most promising for your research:
        ". . . stated that circus owner Ayres Davies did apply his knowledge to the loading of army trains in WWII after he'd suggested and described such practices to other officers. Davies was in the USMC and attended their OTS in Quantico, VA, per his biography with a 1942 circus history article:
    www.wisconsinhistory.org/wmh/archives/search.aspx?area=browse&volume=25&articleID=13777
    .
        Davies experience included employment between 1937-1939 with Russell Bros. (a motorized show) and RBBB (a railroad circus)." Lance Burton

    Reply: 15 Aug 2012 - Dear Mr. Burton, thanks very much for your quick response. I have something to chew on for awhile. Bob

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4032. Question for Natasha Gerson, 24 Jul 2012 - Dear Natasha, I am looking into the history of a family from Austria (Jewish) that may have been involved in the circus industry before WWII - name was Pearlman or Perlman I believe. Would you happen to have any information on this? Thanks, Eli Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4031. Ward and Selbridge, 24 Jul 2012 - I would like to know something about a circus known as "Ward and Selbridge". My great uncle recorded he was "traveling with show" around 1917. His home and family was in the Nebraska area. Mary Ann Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Jul 2012 - I found no mention of this show title in Robert Parkinson's book entitled "The Directory of American Circuses 1793 to 2000" or in Joe McKennon's "Pictorial History of the American Carnival, Volume II." I tried searching in newspaperARCHIVE.com and the Fulton cards website both of which carry hundreds of newspapers with a search engine including some of the Billbaord and NY Clipper as well as this website but found nothing to help you with.
        I would suggest contacting the Milner Library, Special Collections at Illinois State University in Normal, IL, who have a very large entertainment and circus oriented Archives. Be sure to try contacting the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL who hold a huge circus archive. Then before you want to stop looking, try the Circus World Museum's Parkinson Library in Baraboo, WI. All of them have ways of looking through their collections in a snapshot view to tell you if they can offer any assistance. All three of these fine institutions can be easily found on the internet and on this website. Good Luck with your search. Bob Cline

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4030. Elephant keeper, 22 Jul 2012 - In the late 1950's the Clyde Beatty Circus came to St. Paul MN as the Shrine Circus. One of the elephant keepers called my father stating they were cousins. He would have been from Canada or his family was. This cousin apparently was for real. This cousin was one of the animal keepers, about 30 years old or more but not really old, and he introduced us to Virginia the baby elephant. My mother made me dress up to meet this cousin so I couldn't have a ride on Virginia (one of life's moments I have not moved on from). Is there any way to find out who this cousin might be? I have never forgotten my missed ride on Virginia. Bonnie, California Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Jul 2012 - Hello Bonnie. From 1954 through 1958 when the show was titled the Clyde Beatty Circus and in 1959 when it was first called the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, it carried the same elephants. There wasn't any babies per se and none were named Virginia. I have a 1960 route book that lists the elephant dept. as Steve Fanning, Boss and Howard Wilson as the Assistant. The working hands were Benn H. Bolen Jr., Alvin Barnaby, Lee Nichols, Edward Connor, Hilary Naaman, Robert Steele, Claire Gardner, Bobby Cline, Ralph Basil, Gerald L. Stepp, Frank Gaines and Feliz Hermando. Maybe somebody there rings a bell.
        With that being said, there was another circus called the Al G. Kelly-Miller Bros. Circus. They indeed had a baby elephant named Virginia who came to the US in 1955. They also had a Canadian elephant Trainer by the name of Fred Logan who would eventually take over the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. elephants. Perhaps this will help. Bob Cline

    Reply: 11 Aug 2012 - Would the Al G. Kelly-Miller Bros. Circus been in St. Paul Minnesota as the Shrine Circus benefiting the Shriners organization? I can remember the dress I had to wear and counting backwards I am guessing that this was 1958 and no later than 1959. Is there any information about Fred Logan? Logan is not a name in my family but the relationship could be lost through a married name. Bonnie

    Reply: 13 Aug 2012 - The Al G. Kelly-Miller Bros. did indeed come to Minnesota in 1957 and 1959. They usually worked with a sponsor in each town and it's possible the Shriners were the sponsor in one town. If you will click the Virtual Library tab on the left of this page, then click routes, you should find the Al G. Kelly-Miller Bros. routes on the top of the right column. You'll find the towns the played in Minnesota. Bob Cline

    Reply: 16 Aug 2012 - Kelly Miller were in a lot of towns in Minnesota in 1957-1959 but never in St. Paul. I have learned a lot about Fred Logan and some of his family are still working in the circus. I have found his father's name but the search on ancestry hasn't worked so far. I guess my next step is to find one of his kids. So what happened to Virginia the baby elephant, who would have been a couple of years old, at least, when I saw her. Bonnie

    Reply: 15 Nov 2012 - Fred Logan was on both the Kelly-Miller show and the Beatty-Cole show in charge of the elephants. He was a Canadian from western Canada and joined out with Terrell Jacobs when the circus was on the back end of Conklin Shows in the 1940's. I think Freddie told me he was from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Terrell smuggled Freddie into the USA in one of the show's wagons and Freddie remained in the USA until he died a few years back. Fred and his wife had a large family -so you should have lots of relatives by now. Fred was a great guy and loyal to any show he worked on. When I was on Carson and Barnes in1969 he worked a cage act, was in charge of the elephants and was a general supt. of the show. he never stopped working. He was very well respected for his knowledge of elephants, both their training and their presentation. Regardless of all the work he did on shows he managed to be a great letter writer to fans and friends. Al Stencell

    Reply: 20 Nov 2012 - I researched Fred Logan's family tree and have sent it to his son. I did not find a related connection. So all I can guess, now, is that this "cousin" of my father's must have worked with Fred and the elephants. His son suggested that "Buckles" might know of this cousin, although he worked with Fred after the '50s. I wrote Buckles but have not heard back. Buckles has a blog but that is beyond my learning curve so . . . Fred's son said that Virginia was one of the nice elephants. I know family trees can be involved but my family was from Ontario and Saskatchewan originally. If nothing else I have a great circus story to remember. Bonnie

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4029. Great Syndicate Shows, 21 Jul 2012 - I have two very old (dated 1887) "The New Great Syndicate Shows and Paris Hippodrome" These were cut out of the attic roof in Ashland Oregon from a house that was being torn down. I bought them in 1976 and did as much as I could to find information. I found a newspaper (Front Page article) from the Ashland paper, advertising the show and it was dated July, 11 1887. They are still on the ceiling (roof) boards, just as they were cut out. Any info on pricing would be appreciated. They still look ok for age and being they were glued to the attic ceiling, it is amazing they are still not bad. Sizes are both 41" X 26." Rich Oliver, rick_revilo@yahoo.com or richlizamber@gmail.com. Thanks to anyone that can help. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4028. William Powell, elephant trainer, 20 Jul 2012 - I am looking for any information regarding elephant trainer William "Red" Powell. I think that he worked for the Sells Floto Circus in and around 1935. He is my grandfather. My brother and I have no connection with his family or descendants and would like to know more about Red, his family and his legacy. My aunt Clytie Kohler contacted you before about her father Blackie Kohler. I really appreciate anyone's help. Best, Joaquin McWhinney Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4027. Thayer/Noyes Circus, 18 Jul 2012 - Looking for information on a Thayer & Noyes Great Circus of 1867. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Have a picture that my mother had said could possibly be family. I am not sure if there is a connection. Thank you, My name is Bette C Forgy, email is texasjack@centurylink.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4026. Princess Dixie King, 18 Jul 2012 - I have trying for many years to get info on Princess Dixie King, whom was my grandmother's aunt. She told me that she was in the circus and was a lion tamer in the 20 and 30's. The aunt name was Luara Bennett. Her brothers were Tracy and Carl Bennett. If you have any info or photos I would be greatly appreciative to see them. I have photos of Carl and Tracy Bennett and some other family history, but nothing on Laura. Please email to me at bunzrus@sbcglobal.net, Janet Bunn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4025. Erma Jane Embry, 16 Jul 2012 - Erma Jane Embry – any information on her? Traveled with George Hershley and was mother of at least 5 children. Muriel Pfeifer, mpfeifer@amerytel.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4024. Hunt Bros., 15 Jul 2012 - My name is Lisa Fox-Pfeiffer and I am the director of the Burlington County Historical Society in Burlington County, NJ. There was a local circus here called the Hunt Bros Circus that operated out of Florence, NJ. We are looking for a speaker as part of our Sunday lecture series who may be able to talk about the history of the circus. Does anyone have a contact for someone like this? If not Hunt Bros, we would be interested as well in someone who could speak about circus history in New Jersey in general. Thanks for your help in this matter! Sinecrely, Lisa. My email is burlcohistsoc@verizon.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4023. William Myers, Edna Ramsey, 15 Jul 2012 - I am told that my grandfather and grandmother were in the circus. My grandfathers name was William Artie Myers, my grandmothers name was Edna Ramsey. My grandfather listed employment by the Great American Shows on his draft registration card that he signed May 31st of 1917 out of Detroit Michigan. He was a clown and she was a tight-rope walker. My father never knew his mother and was basically raised by his grandmother. I would greatly appreciate any help that you could provide me with. Thanks. Kathy McGinnis, Cape Cod MA Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4022. Sheesley Midway, 13 Jul 2012 - I have some pictures from the Sheesley Midway. I can email if any one is interested. Debbie, debbiemac62@hotmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Oct 2012 - Hi, I would be interested to see the photos of the Sheesley midway. Thanks, Al Stencell

    Reply: 13 Nov 2012 - Hello Debbie, I would be interested in seeing the Sheesley photographs. Fred Heatley, Carnival Historical & Model Builders Society (CH&MBS). fheatley@backroads.net

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4021. Myers Circus, UK, 12 Jul 2012 - As an historian in the UK, I have come across an entry in the minute book of the workhouse for the poor that the children attended Myers Circus playing in Newcastle-under-Lyme or Stoke-on-Trent in 1880. When did the Myers circus first appear in the UK as this seems to be around 20 years before Buffalo Bills Circus. Many thanks – this is part of my PhD research. Richard Talbot, Stoke-on-Trent. UK Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Jul 2012 - Myers was American. He can be seen in the record back into the 1850s, starting off as a clown I believe. Did he come over (to the UK) with Howes & Cushing anybody? Drop me a line if you like, Richard: daviepage@btinternet.com

    Reply: 13 Jul 2012 - The late John Turner has a listing for James Washington Myer in his book 'Victorian Arena - the Performers' Vol One: (briefly) Born Rhode Island 1823, came to England and performed for Queen Victoria in 1851, Myers Circus noted in London 22 May 1858. In 1867 his whole troupe went to France, visited Rome in 1872, Vienna and Berlin 1873, back to England 1876. Sold up and disposed of lions and horses etc 18 Oct 1882. JW Myer then travelled with Hengler's until his death 1 Dec 1892 in Bristol. There is more detail in John's entry if you need it, I hope this is enough to answer your question. jim@stockley.co.za

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4020. Hippodrome doll, 12 Jul 2012 - I am seeking/searching for any info that you may have, or be able to direct me to, regarding the "hippodrome doll". I have been searching online for several months, and have landed basically zero. The doll, I believe, was part of the Ringling association, as it was located in Watson, Montana, near the town of "Ringling", in the early 1930's. The doll has a label stitched into the 'clothing', and spells out "hippodrome". Any suggestions? Thank you, GLS - rockyflyer@att.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4019. Julius Gerlick, 10 Jul 2012 - Hi, never thought I'd find his name anywhere, but I just did! Julius Gerlick was my grandpas brother. I heard stories that he worked for the circus with gargantua the gorilla but wasn't sure if it was true or not. I'll be, I guess he did. Too cool. Jerrod Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Dec 2012 - Julius Gerlick was my grandfather. I'm trying to find pictures and more information about his circus career. Jennifer

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4018. Julia Buckholts, 10 Jul 2012 - I am a family historian researching an individual for a client that has a circus connection. I am hoping you may be able to answer some questions that will help inform the narrative. The person I am researching is Julia Buckholts (born Julia Biggar, 28 July 1857). She married George W. Buckholts 25 December 1873 in Boggy Depot, Atoka County, Oklahoma (then Blue County, Indian Territory). The marriage lasted for about 15 years, ending in divorce in 1888. She would later marry and divorce three other husbands (surnamed respectively, Terry, Omo and Elmore). I am still trying to nail down her death, but she is said to have died in 1926.
    The reason I am contacting you is that there is a bit of family lore that says before the end of her marriage to Buckholts, Julia ran away from her marriage for about two years and "joined the circus." While with the circus she worked as a fortune teller. We still don’t know the particular circus with which she was affiliated, nor exactly when she would have been with it. From all available evidence, it would appear her “circus sojourn” would be sometime between 1879 and 1883. She lived in various communities in southwestern Oklahoma, basically in the triangle formed by Oklahoma City, Ardmore and Lawton.
    So my questions for you are the following:
1. What circuses likely would have gone through southwestern Oklahoma from 1879-1883?
2. Would any of them likely employ a fortune teller (either as a main act or a sideshow attraction)?
3. Would there be any record of any female fortune tellers named Julia or Julie (e.g., Julia Biggar, Julia Buckholts, Julia Terry, Julia Omo, Julia Elmore, or a stage name like Madame Julia)
4. Finally, she appears to have befriended a performer named Madam Chira, in 1906 living in Fayetteville, Ark. If I have the right one, Madam Chira was Sarah Chira, who died in 1910 in Brooklyn, New York. Do we know if Sarah Chira/Madam Chira ever travelled with a circus/tent show in the American Midwest.
    I realize this is a bit of a long shot but given your knowledge of circus history, I was hoping someone on the list might have the resources to uncover the answers that are unavailable to me. Christopher Brennan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4017. Vicki Lynn, performer, 10 Jul 2012 - I am trying to locate information about a trapeze artist and contortionist who was a child performer. Her “stage” name was Vicki Lynn. She billed herself as the World’s Youngest Trapeze Artist. She performed at times with the Ringling circus my guess s in the 60’s. For some of her other work her agent was Lorene Snodgrass form Belle, WV. Thanks, Floyd Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4016. Harry Murray & family, 10 Jul 2012 - I am looking for information on Harry Murray, my GGreat Grandfather who was with the Advance corp in 1883 with the PT Barnums Greatest Show on Earth in Wisconsin. He married Norma Augusta Miller. They had two daughters, Grace and Blanche that did vaudeville acts with the circus. My Great Grandmother Grace told us when we were little that they were also learning to become bareback riders. I haven’t been able to find any info on them. Has anyone run across any pictures of Harry Murray or his family? I have 2 old pictures of Grace and her sister Blanche that says the “Murray Sisters” on them but does not say where they were taken or by who. Any help would be appreciated. They also spent a lot of time in Illinois. Thank you. Pat Halliburton, tphalliburton@aol.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4015. Maltby's, German girls, 07 Jul 2012 - This is a tough one. In May of 1852 when Maltby's circus came to Corpus Christi, Texas, a local resident, recently arrived from Berlin, wrote about the arrival of "circus riders, fast runners, German girls, and barrel organs." She added, "It vexes me that the women of our nation sink so low here." What would "German girls" have to do with the circus? Thank you. Norman C Delaney, kelltheluff@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Jul 2012 - There are references to German girls in association with organ grinders in the mid-19th century, but there’s no clarification within the transcribed letters of Maria von Blücher associating them with the barrel organs. Such instruments originated from Waldkirch, Vöhrenbach and perhaps elsewhere in the Black Forest, and some natives went abroad with them to earn a living.
        von Blücher was probably making a general observation about fellow immigrant German girls, and not their specific relationship to the circus per se. Whatever social strictures she was accustomed to in her homeland were likely oppressive in comparison to the relaxed social customs then prevalent in Corpus Christi. She was placing herself in contrast to the context of the other girls from Germany, for the benefit of her parents’ reading.
        The arrival and presence of a circus was cause for community gathering, and thus her observation of the larger population. The impact of the circus presence upon local residents is delineated in Thayer’s book Traveling Showmen, Janet Davis’s Circus Age and Mark Renoff’s The Big Tent. No similar study has been done for the circus in Texas, but the conditions were likely similar. There’s need for a study of Texas’s unique circus heritage, particularly one about Mollie Bailey, whose career is considerably different that related in the single biography in print. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University, Sarasota, Florida

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4014. Elephant, Lancashire, 07 Jul 2012 - Some time ago in 1949/1950, a circus elephant was shot near Preston Lancashire as it had broken its restraining chains whilst being transported by train to their winter quarters. I know that the local army barracks supplied a squad of soldiers to help the circus vet. Is there any record of this incident? I look forward to a reply from someone. I was one of the soldiers mentioned above. Thanks, Stanley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Jul 2012 - Visit www.britishnespaperarchive.co.uk and search 'elephant preston' Several newspapers carried reports, around 17th December 1949, about a '3 ton' elephant called Tarka 'believed to have been worth £3,000' 'who went mad on a train' and 'died in a hail of bullets from a bren gun' The elephant was 'cut up by a local firm of horse meat suppliers' resulting in further headlines 'Tarka goes to the Dogs' and 'Elephant's Eye for University Research. - Paul.

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4013. Luigi Zanelli, 07 Jul 2012 - It has been passed down to me that my great great grandfather and his sons travelled across France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland with a circus. His name was Luigi Zanelli. My email is Skye.40@sbcglobal.net. Thank you, Dorothy Zanelli Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4012. 3 Cosmos, 30 Jun 2012 - I do not know whether the 3 Cosmos circus act were from America or Vienna? Can anyone help?They performed in wiener Stadhalle in 1963 in Vienna. They were possibly brothers and sister act? Many Thanks. Sallie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4011. Pauline Hill, 28 Jun 2012 - Does anyone know anything about Pauline B. Hill being engaged to John Ringling North? Pauline Hill was my grandmother, and before she died, she told me that "her first love" was and always would be John Ringling North? She/they had a spat & broke off the engagement in Fla. She went to the state of Ohio and got an art teaching degree from Oberlin & later she married a Lawrence Sidney Wells. She said that when the circus came to Niagara Falls, Mr. North Had my mother and Aunts and Uncle go to the circus for free? Everyone is passed on now that might know anything about this, except my Uncle John Wells and mother (and when they were younger they were mad at Grandma for not marrying Mr. Ringling! So they could be in the circus and live a fancy circus life. HAHA). My Great Grandmother, Hill was supposed to have been an excellent seamstress and made circus costuming? Is there any way to validate this? Thank You. Sandra Lawrence Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4010. Circus, Prussia, 28 Jun 2012 - I am trying to find the name of a small circus that operated in late 1890's (or before) up to at least 1930 in Brandenburg/Berlin area of Prussia. It wintered in Nowawes/Babelsburg area. My great grandfather was Ludwig Hamann who was an acrobat and escape artist. I have a couple of pictures of him, one wrapped in chains and the other with a straight jacket. Ludwig died around 1910 but his wife and children kept performing in the circus though I do not know what kind of act they performed. I know it isn't much info to go on, but hope somewhere there is a record of this circus. Thanks, Greta Mankins, from Texas Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Oct 2012 - Search for Hamann on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. You will find 4 posters of Nora Hamann who had an act with birds round 1892. Family maybe? Herman Voogd

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4009. Polish circus strongman, clown, 26 Jun 2012 - Polish/American Strongman/clown—I am trying to find information about my grandfather who was born in Poland about 1905. He was in the circus and performed bed of nails stunts, as well as balancing chairs on his chin and balancing ladders by holding a leather strap in his teeth while acrobats climbed the ladder. We have a clown costume that was his as well. My grandfather came to the USA sometime in the 1920’s and lived in NYC, Kingston, NY and Hartford Connecticut. In America he used the name John Joseph Senkowicz, but in Europe he may have used the last name of Gazda. Has anyone ever heard of a Polish circus strongman/clown named Senkowicz or Gazda? Thank you for your time. Maryann, Herkimer, New York Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4008. Hap Hazard, 26 Jun 2012 - Please, can anyone tell me with what circus Hap Hazard (also spelled Hazzard) worked previous to his act with Howe's Great London Circus in 1921? He might have initially gone by the name of Harold, or Hal, Hart. Thanks very much, he's my great-grandfather. Melissa Hart Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4007. Litchfield, performer, 25 Jun 2012 - Has anyone heard of a circus performer with the last name of Litchfield? He was either an acrobat or a contortionist. cancer123 Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4006. Dagmar Pedrola, 25 Jun 2012 - Looking for any information on Dagmar Pedrola, tightwire performer active from the late 1960s into the 1970s. I worked with the Sells & Gray and Hoxie Bros. tent shows in the early 1970s, which is when I met her. Nothing romantic, just a couple of kids having fun, playing music in our off time. I have been trying to locate her or at least learn what her career was like, and have found surprisingly little on the internet, other than a couple of articles and photos from long ago. I did see a notice on a blog from someone named Jim Cole, who says he saw her at the Showfolks party in 2006, where she got up on stage and sang a little. That was the only mention I have found since the 1970s, and I have seen nothing else more recent. I have also been unable to find out much about her parents, Rudi and Gerda. I would appreciate any information or leads anyone can offer. Thanks! Steve Gibson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Jun 2012 - Dagmar is on Facebook as Dagmar Beavers. Hope this helps. She said she thinks she remembers you. Jerry Jacobson

    Reply: 07 Jul 2012 - Thank you for the information. I did see that in my searching, but I wasn't sure it was her. In fact, I recalled her last name when I knew her was Mootz, but I kept seeing Pedrola in my web search. I have contacted her through facebook and we'll see what happens. Thank you again! This is a great service you provide, and surely a valuable resource for research into circus history (aptly named).

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4005. Harold "Pinky" Ringuette, 23 Jun 2012 - I'm trying to track down info on my Grandfather, his name is Harold "Pinky" Ringuette. He was with a circus for a short time but I don't know which one but it would have been in the early 30s. After that he was a clown with the Shriners in north Dakota. Is there a list of circus's and there personnel I might be able to look through or something like that? Steven Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4004. Lead Elephant Head, 23 Jun 2012 - I recently came into possession of an elephant head made out of lead, the front has the face with tusks, the rear is concave with two brass screw anchors and is hollow inside. On top of the head between the ears is a banner with what looks like several plus signs and three tassels. The head is seven inches from the top of the head to the end of the truck and seven inches from ear to ear. Because the back is concave with the screw anchors I can't help but to believe it was used as a display on a wagon. Does this sound at all familiar to anyone? If so could you please tell me what circus may have used this and/or what era it is from? Thank you for any information, David Pierson, Columbus, GA, Dixieborn1958@aol.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4003. Byers Bros, 22 Jun 2012 - Byers Bros Shows, Kennett, MO. Any information on George Hershley from this circus? There was an article in Bandwagon Vol 50 No 3 (May-Jun) 2006 that I am trying to find. Muriel Pfeifer, mpfeifer@amerytel.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4002. Cowboy, Leeds UK, 20 Jun 2012 - I am trying to find out which Cowboy/Outlaw came to the UK and we think frequented Leeds in a Circus in the late between 1850 and we think the latest date could be 1920. Regards, Jessica Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4001. Roy & Maggie Roller, 20 Jun 2012 - Trying to locate information on my grandparents. They were with a circus in 1920s in Texas. I don't know very much but would like to know if they were performers or workers or what they did. Grandmother: Maggie Gertrude Stults Roller. She was about 15. Grandfather: Roy Roller. Age unknown. Thank you for your assistance. Elizabeth Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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