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Message Archive: Messages 3901-4000




4000. Jackson Show, 19 Jun 2012 - Bonjour, I am looking for some information about a circus called "Jackson Show". My grandfather Gérard, now 93 and his younger brother Rolland worked there when they were young adults (30's-40's). These circus memories are about the only memories he has left of this period of his life, and our family would love to know more about it - see posters, pictures, hear stories, know what happened to this circus - anything that could bring a sparkle in his eyes and heart. This circus was based in Florida during the winter, and travelling across Canada during the warm season. My grandfather told us it was a small circus, "with only one elephant and only one tiger". Thank you for any information you could have. Genevieve Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Jul 2012 - Jackson Shows to my knowledge was never a circus but a carnival. It had about four rides and a few shows and travelled first in western Canada and then Ontario and the east coast. The family name was McFadden and he was an early motordrome wall driver and also did various vaudeville/circus acts. In the winter they had a vaud theatre shows out featuring a performing bear. I last was in contact with a relative in Bradenton, Fla, in the 1990's but she has since passed away. The son had a show playing mid east states for many seasons and it still may be going. A few old timer carnies up here remember the show. Regards, Al Stencell

    Reply: 01 Aug 2012 - Dear M. Stencell, Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. This will help my search for sure. I can't wait to show my grand-father, Gérard Lefebvre, this message. That will brighten his day for sure! Merci encore, Geneviève (p.s. would you have any other name or info, please contact me at genevieve.mayers@gmail.com)

    Reply: 10 Aug 2012 - After my grand-father Gérard Lefebvre read the above messages, he remembered the name McFadden and was so moved by the memories that he immediately searched through his old photo boxes. We found some 1939-1940 photos of the Jackson Shows, where it shows rides being built (carrousel, little cars and their wooden circular track), a tiny elehant and poney with what seems their keeper, the many tents and all the material being loaded on a train. Would anyone be interested to have a hi-res scan of these, I would be very happy to do so. Geneviève

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3999. George Hershley, 19 Jun 2012 - George Hershley - worked for Byers Bros Shows of Kennett, MO. Looking for any information about him. Muriel Pfeifer, mpfeifer@amerytel.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Jun 2012 - Additional information-there was an article in Bandwagon Vol 50 No 3 (May-June) 2006 pp16-17 about George. I am also looking for either the entire magazine, or a copy of that article. Muriel Pfeifer [information on ordering this back issue was sent to Muriel Pfeifer - J. Griffin]

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3998. Survey, circus museums, 18 Jun 2012 - Danish Circus historian Dan Roneklint Sorensen has updated his survey of Museums of Circus, Artists and Showmen all over the world. You can read his impressive survey at http://www.cirkus-dk.dk/cirkusmuseer/ Dan Roneklint Sorensen is always grateful for corrections and additions to his survey. Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3997. Orin Copple King, 18 Jun 2012 - Can you tell me a little bit about the biography of Orin Copple King and his wife Martha Rita. Are they both deceased, and if not, when did they pass on? Judy Carlson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Jul 2012 - It would appear from what I can find, he died died April 17, 2000 in Kansas. His gravestone appears here:
    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=KI&GSfn=o&GSpartial=1
    &GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSst=18&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GSsr=81&GRid=66017390&df=all&
    No word yet on his wife. Chris

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3996. Cradle, perch acts, 18 Jun 2012 - I am a fan of the circus, specifically of the circus cradle and hanging perch acts. Many years ago when I was a teenager, WTAE Channel 4 showed a series of circus films during their morning cartoon shows. Two of these films really impressed me and I have spent several years trying to locate who the performers were of these acts and also if there are any other surviving prints of these acts (the films are long since gone from WTAE). Both acts are hanging perch/cradle acts. The first act was a two man combination cradle and hanging perch act which had a super fantastic neck spin at the very end. The second act was an unusual threesome on the hanging perch. In both cases the acts included all male duos and trios which struck me as unusual given that most acts are male/female. I would be interested in any leads you could give me regarding these acts or if you know of any acts that might meet this criterion from that period that I could investigate further. I can be contacted at my e-mail of George@rivermont.org. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, George Everson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3995. Coney Island 1911, 18 Jun 2012 - I am looking for information about Coney Island 1911. That was the year Dreamland burned. I wish to know the names or any information about snake handlers that might be available. Thank you so much, Pam Sirko, Coordinator, Woodland Park Fine Arts & Authors Festival Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3994. Barnum's elephant, 18 Jun 2012 - Hello, I am hoping you can help put me in touch with someone who may be able to help me with questions that I have regarding a stuffed pygmy elephant that formerly belonged to PT Barnum. I'm looking specifically for historical facts about PT Barnum and his elephants to try to understand where exactly this elephant came from (Hermie). If you by chance know someone who happens to have any information regarding this, please get in touch, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you! Hannah Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Jun 2012 - Your question is very vague. Where is this stuffed elephant now? How long has it been there? The facility should know. How tall is it? Is P.T. Barnum being used here as a general name or do you know that P.T. Barnum was indeed the giver of the specimen? If it was P.T. Barnum, it is one time frame but Barnum & Bailey would be another, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey would be yet another set of years. So for anyone to be able to help, we would like some more information. Thanks, Bob Cline

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3993. Karns Variety Show, 05 Jun 2012 - Looking for any information on Karns Big Variety Show. Believed to be based in Winchester, Indiana in the late 1800’s early 1900. We have Posters advertising their performers including J.E. D. Martin – Great Slack Wire Artist. Appreciate any information. Please respond to gkc49@aol.com. Thank you. Gary Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3992. Manuel Ruffin, 04 Jun 2012 - I am interested in information/photographs/artifacts on Manual "Junior" Ruffim [sic Manuel "Junior" Ruffin], who served with the Hoxie Brothers Circus in the 1960s and 1970s. Sincerely, Michael P. Kleiman Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Aug 2012 - I was a good friend of Jr on the Hoxie Show hope I can be of help. Contact me in E-Mail, Funky1951@webtv.net

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3991. Merle Carr, sharpshooter, 29 May 2012 - I am a descendant of Miss Merle Carr. She was my Grandfather's sister. I have a button that my Grandfather gave me of Captain George Edwards and Miss Merle Carr's Sharpshooting Act. My Grandfather talked about his sister and Capt Edwards and their travels around the world. I would any information anyone could share regarding them. Trish Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Aug 2013 - Hi Trish, We must be related because my Grandfather, Leslie Gallagher, was the youngest brother of Merle and her sister Blanche and had two older brothers, Claude and Custer. I also have a Merle Carr and Captain Edwards medal that my Grandfather gave me. We should talk and see what we can discover. I currently live in Arlington, WA and you can reach me by phone at 360-631-3735 or email my Dad at thines@wavecable.com and he will relay the message to me. My family is also in possession of a paper brochure given out by The Buffalo Bill Wild West Show that I am sure you would like to have a copy of as it advertises Merle and the Captain and their sharpshooting act. Here’s hoping to hear from you cousin Trish. Terry

    Reply: 23 Feb 2014 - Merle Carr and “Captain Edwards” sound like fascinating characters. Does anyone know when or where either of them died? Judy

    Reply: 15 Dec 2015 - Terri, Thank you for your reply. New information has been found Regarding Mrs. Merle M. CARR [Also known as Mrs. George Edwards): According to a “Report of the death of an American Citizen,” dated 1 Oct 1942, Mrs. Merle M. Carr, age 54, died in Ambala City, Punjab, India at the Philadelphia (American Mission) Hospital. She was buried in the American Presbyterian (Punjab) Mission Cemetery in Ambala City. [Source: Ancestry.com] Would be interesting in sharing additional information about Merle Carr and Capt. George Edwards [Oliver George Edward Carr]. Contact jmsweets@sunflower.com

    Reply: 20 Jun 2015 - Merle died in Calcutta, India circa 1940. Terry

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3990. Aerialist family, 27 May 2012 - Seeking information on a family of aerialists between 1880-1900. Residents of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Name supposedly Mussel, Mussell, Mulsel, Muesell, or some other spelling. A son may have been John L., or John Lewis. Shirley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3989. Eddie Sokolaski, 27 May 2012 - Looking for an Eddie Sokolaski who was part of the Ringling Bros. Jabczynski Teeter Board Troupe in 1977. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Matt Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3988. Key Bros Circus, 26 May 2012 - Looking for photo and history, Clarence Chief Key or Claude Buck Key, Key Bros Circus for Circus City Center, Hugo, OK. Lila Douglas Swink, swink1ok@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 May 2012 - If you would search for Chief Clarence Key on this web site you will find a number of references. Chief Clarence Key was active for a number of years as a concert and sideshow performer. In 1936 he was a wild west and concert performer on the Russell Bros. Circus with his wife Tillie and daughter Mary. In 1938 Chief Keyes was featured on the Barnett Bros. Circus with the stage and screen star William Desmond. In 1945 Chief and Tillie Keys did a knife throwing, sharpshooting and fancing roping act in the concert of the Bud E. Anderson All American Circus. In 1955 Chief Key was the superintendent and boss canvasman on the Fred J. Mack circus and his wife Tillie was the cookhouse steward. A story in the July-August 1984 Bandwagon noted that he had operated his own circus in prior years, and there is a photo of him at the front door of the show along with the show's staff. In 1957 Chief Key worked with Colonel Tim McCoy on the Kelly Miller Circus and was also on the Kelly Miller Circus in 1960 with Princess White Cloud and a tribe of Oklahoma Choctaw Indians. There is a reference to a photo of Chief Keys in the September/October 2010 Bandwagon and it can be purchased on this website. John Polacsek

    Reply: 03 Jun 2012 - An additional note from the 1960 Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros. Circus route book. A page records those who have passed on to God's Big Top and lists Chief Clarence Keys as passing away on May 5, 1960. John Polacsek

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3987. Hauglid Sisters, 26 May 2012 - Just wondering about some info. The Hauglid Sisters they are my aunts and supposed to be the Dolly Sister with the Royal American showgirls. I was looking for old photos or anything about them. Thank you. Anna Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3986. John G. Skelton, 25 May 2012 - Does anyone have information about John G. ("Skelly") Skelton and his Midway Camp in Melbourne, Florida? I have recently acquired a quilt with embroidered names and messages from those who lived there during the winters over the 1930-33 time period, including Chubby, Buster, and Bubbles, the Diving Gordons, who dove "110 feet into flames." I know they appeared at fairs during the late 1920s and into the 1930s. The camp was permanent enough to have its own cafe, grocery, orchestra, and arts & crafts studio, all documented on the quilt. I am interested in developing a history for this quilt, based on the information suggested by the names. Thanks for any help - Xenia Cord, Quilt historian and researcher Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Jun 2012 - Buster Gordon was my great uncle. I am in contact with family that has pictures of the Flying Gordons in costume from the period. I will see what info we have about the midway as well. I would LOVE to have a look at the quilt and perhaps get a picture of it for our family records. I assume you are in Florida as well? Thanks, Chris

    Reply: 03 Jun 2012 - Hi, Chris - Thanks so much for your reply! I would be pleased to send you jpgs of the quilt if you will get in touch with me, xenia@legacyquilts.net. The quilt has many names and messages on it. If there are others who think a relative might have spent time at Midway Camp, I will be happy to search my names list. Xenia

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3985. Fred Karno, Hutchinson & Tayleur, 25 May 2012 - Hi, I am researching Music Hall Imppressario Fred Karno who began his career as an acrobat and worked with Hutchinson and Tayleur’s Circus Cardiff and then Manleys Circus apparently then at Burton on Trent. This was around 1882/1883. He worked with two other acrobats at various times called Olvene who was a wire walker and juggler from Nottingham (real name Thomas Hillery) and Rudolph (I have no other info on him). Karno was at that time performing as ‘Leonaro’ on trapeze, parallel bars, etc. If anyone has any information on these circuses around this time, or anything on Karno, Olvene or Rudolph, I’d be delighted to hear from them. Any contemporary photographs from these circuses would be wonderful! I’d particularly like to find a photograph of Hutchinson and Tayleur’s Grand Palace of Varieties (known as the Octogan) which was their permanent circus in Cardiff from around 1870. Anyone able to help! Best wishes, Dave Crump Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 May 2012 - Do you already have the late John Turner's entry for Fred Karno (Frederick John Westcott) in his Victorian Arena - The Performers Vol Two? If not, I can transcribe the entry? Turner lists the act as 'Alvene and Leonardo.' He was also a member of the Four Aubreys for a while? jim@stockley.co.za

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3984. Kronos, giant, 24 May 2012 - Would anyone have any background information on the life and career of a circus giant who went by the name of Kronos back in the 1950's? He is best known for playing the role of Goliath, in the 1959 Italian movie production of David and Goliath. I would also like to know his billed height and his actual height if recorded. C.K. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 May 2012 - There is one P. Kronos image on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng but it looks more of a very strong man and many other giants, http://bit.ly/KupgYB. Herman Voogd

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3983. Miller Bros. 1955-57, 24 May 2012 - I am looking for R. A. Miller's, Miller Bros. Circus, Pigeon Forge/Fort Weir, TN. Check route 1955 thru 1957 to verify the year they showed North Baltimore, OH. I helped set up the sideshow and attended the evening performance but cannot remember the exact date and year. Many thanks to anyone with info. Jim Davis Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 May 2012 - I only find the Miller Bros. Circus on the road in 1956 according to the Billboard routes. The show played Pineville, Ky. April 3, Hazard April 4, Jenkins April 5, and Cumberland April 6. Then there is a large gap in the route and they played Milton Junction Wis. June 5, Edgerton June 6, Fort Atkinson June 8, Lake Mills June 9 and Oconomowoc June 10. You should check the local papers for April and May 1956. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 28 May 2012 - I really appreciate your reply to my inquiry. Your info gives me a point to start from. Thank you so much. Jim Davis, North Baltimore, OH

    Reply: 25 Jul 2012 - R. A. Miller had his animals on the Fred J. Mack Circus out of Columbus, Ohio for part of 1955. My dad owned the show and I spent a lot of that spring riding his elephant Jesse. He was assisted by Frankie Lou Woods whose colorful language tickled my dad. Fred Pfening III

    Reply: 04 Nov 2012 - Frankie Lou (Wood) Miller was my mother's cousin. I grew up with her and R. A. Miller. She was quite an aerialist, sharpshooter, horseback rider, etc. Her father was Blackie Wood, and he was on the circus also. Patty

    Reply: 23 Jul 2013 - Miller Bros. Circus showing North Baltimore, OH. in 1956? I have discovered through Billboard archives that the show played 17 indoor dates starting in KY and working towards Illinois. The show opened there under canvas and moved into WI by July. They never showed northwest Ohio and was only on the road in 1956. Since reading of the Fred J. Mack Circus, most memories of the show that played my hometown coincide with info in their review in Bandwagon, June 1955, pages 5 & 6. A three-ring layout, record player for music, animal annex, small elephant; not mentioned were little person clown, Casey Candy Co. pitch, and the elephant truck with both doors lettered Miller Bros., Pigeon Forge, TN. The elephant truck lettering is what has stayed in my mind all these years. If it was not the Mack circus, then it could have been Leonard Bros. Circus in 1956, as that show purchased most of the Mack equipment and kept using Miller's elephant and animal annex which included animals from their game farm in Ft. Weare, TN. Does anyone have full route of either Mack or Leonard that could verify either circus showing North Baltimore, OH. and date? Thanks to any and all for your help. Jim Davis, North Baltimore, OH.

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3982. Pittsfield, MA, 24 May 2012 - I am compiling a history of circus dates in western Massachusetts. Both Mike Naughton's Yankee Doodle Circus and the Moscow Circus have exhibited in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. I would like to know dates for these shows in Pittsfield. Dick Hamilton, CHS Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3981. Helen O’Gorman or Fox, 20 May 2012 - I am trying to find information about my grandmother. She was with the Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey as the Fat Lady around 1920 – 1930. I have searched many sites and cannot find any reference to her. Her name was Helen O’Gorman – or – Helen Fox at the time. As a child I remember seeing a large poster of her and the thin man on her wall. She was sitting on a small stool and he was standing next to her. Also, heresay over the years – her name was “Dolly Dimples”. Can anyone help me? Helen Wilson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3980. Professor Duncan, 19 May 2012 - I am trying to find out any information on a Professor Duncan, collie dogs. He was performing in 1896-97 in UK. Any help would be useful. Gilbert Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 May 2012 - Search the on-line 19th Century British Library Newspapers web site, between 1894 -1897, and you will find a number of newspaper adverts for theatre variety shows in which he appears. A quick on-line search of the Sheffield University Fairground Archives reveals a couple of playbills, (Oct 1896 and Nov 1897), for the Argyle Theatre in Birkenhead, on which Professor Duncan and his collie dogs feature. Paul

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3979. John Lindsay, 17 May 2012 - I’m looking for a John Lindsay that was a circus usher 1932-1933, in Baltimore MD. He was born in New Jersey. Looking for any background history, pic etc. Doing research. Terry White Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3978. Boswells Circus performers, 16 May 2012 - Rene Real - Does anyone have any information on this man who appeared on Boswell Bros Circus in South Africa from 1938 into the late 1940s, as a juggler?
The Rethys - These artistes appeared on Boswells Circus im South Africa in 1953 with an adagio fencing act. Any further information on them would be appreciated.
Rudolf Miller - He was an animal trainer and presenter on Boswells Circus in South Africa from 1938 until the late 1940s. Any information on his subsequent career would be appreciated. Charles Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Oct 2013 - According to The book "The Pagel Story" by Carel Birkby. (1948) after leaving Pagel’s circus circa 1931 Rudolph Miller became animal trainer for Spud’s Circus in South Africa. Nikki

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3977. Circus advertisements, 15 May 2012 - My name is Evelyn Talbort from Minneapolis, MN. I was cleaning out my grandfather's attic and found an intriguing collection of what appear to be old circus advertisements each "laminated" (I don't know if that's the right word) onto a wood plank. I am wondering if it is a real piece of paper (I can feel slightly raised edges) and if that was a common way to preserve things back then? Or was this just a copy projected onto a piece of wood for a cheap souvenir? Each are dated in pencil on the back (ranging from 1872 to 1878) and advertisements include P.T. Barnum's Great Traveling World Fair and the Selbini and Villion Troupe which look match up to that time period. I am just wondering why they are all on wood and if they are truly as old as they look. I can't wait to display them on our wall! Please let me know if you have any input, thanks much! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 May 2012 - Over the years, several companies sold reproductions of circus and magic advertisements and posters. Some were sold mounted on wood panels, others just reproduced on paper as decorative objects. The images were taken from actual advertising pieces; broadsides, posters and advertisements. It is difficult to tell whether what you have are real or reproductions. Laminating or gluing authentic pieces as described would diminish their value. Robert Momyer

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3977. Flying Behrs, 15 May 2012 - My grandfather was a member of the Flying Behr’s circa 1934. He attended high school with Jack Moore also known as “Clayton Moore” the Lone Ranger. My grandfather has very fond memories of his days as a trapeze artist and he mentions a man named “Frenchie” a lot. My grandfather is 97 years old right now. I don’t know if anyone out there has any connections? Thanks-Karin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3976. Souvenir flashlights, 14 May 2012 - I am new to this message board. I am interested in obtaining images or actual examples of a certain type of souvenir from the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus from the late 1960's late 1970's. I don't know the exact name for it but I will describe it. It was a rectangular flashlight on a lanyard. The lights would be swirled around on the lanyard by the audience making for an impressive visual effect. They may have whistled as well but I am not certain of that. Any information or insights would be appreciated. Thanks, David Fox Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3975. Elephant Columbus, 12 May 2012 - I am familiar with the case of Columbus the elephant falling from a bridge in Adams, MA and dying later in Lenox, MA. The following two incidents were reported on Facebook and I can find nothing to substantiate either incident. Does anyone have info? Thank you, Jim Shulman
    Alleged Incident 1. On March 14, 1883, a Circus Train derailed in West Pittsfield, killing 4 Circus elephants. The City elders, fearing what to do with the decomposing bodies, decided to bury them in a plot of land located off the Boston to Albany stage line. This burial site would eventually be known as the Clapp Park Hill, where generations of families have enjoyed sliding in the winter.
    Alleged Incident 2. I have never heard of any elephants being burried in Clapp Park, however, I remember my father telling me of when he was a kid, in the 30's, a circus elephant died at Waconalh Park and was bulldozed into a hole that was dug there. I do not know if this is true or not, but I remember my father mentioning it more than once. Maybe someone else can add to this. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 May 2012 - Concerning Incident 1. There were only three circuses in the US that had four elephants in 1883. That was the Barnum & London show, Adam Forpaugh or the Sells Bros. The fact that it occurred on March 14th in New England is very early in the year for any tented show to be on the road. Barnum & London opened in Madison Square Garden on March 26th, so that brings to light the POSSIBILITY that the Barnum & London show was enroute to NYC. Having left Bridgeport, CT. winter quarters, its a stretch, but possible that the train was routed through West Pittsfield. However, there is absolutely no mention in their 1883 route book of an wreck or any loss of elephants in March.
        According to the 1883 route book for the Adam Forepaugh show, they didn't even begin their season until April 16th in Philadelphia. I don't have access to the Sells Bros. Route for 1883. The best source of information is going to be to go to the local newspapers if they exist. ( Ususally found on microfilm in the Library or Historical Society ) Bob Cline

    Reply: 15 May 2012 - The Sells Bros. Circus started from Columbus, Ohio on April 24, 1883. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection.

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3974. Curl's Shows, 07 May 2012 - Is there any information on a company called Curl's Shows that operated in Ohio and possibly other states during the mid to late 30's. My father apparently worked for them in Warren Ohio. Louise Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3973. Daredevil Bruffey, 04 May 2012 - Looking News on Elmer "Daredevil" Bruffey from a circus out of the PA area during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. A relative of mine Elmer Bruffy got attracted to the circus as a young man and performed a number of stunts including the hanging of himself, without being hung. Unfortunately, it did not work well and in September 1945, he hung himself. Can some help give me more information on this relatives and the true story here. Thanks, Dan Bruffey (dbruffey@bellsouth.net). Note: this is how I spell Bruffey and yes he did spell his Bruffy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Jan 2013 - Hello, I spell Bruffy. I do not have information on Elmer Bruffy but would like to learn more. ahowell

    Reply: 06 Jan 2013 - Elmer Lee Bruffy, "The Man Who Hangs Himself Yet Lives," died at age 53 while staging his act at the Walker County Fair in Jasper, Alabama on the evening of September 24, 1945. His appearance was made with the L. J. Heth Shows, a carnival that provided the midway. He did the free act, to attract the crowd. It was apparently of two parts, a high pole presentation, then the jump, a malfunction in the rope causing his demise. He handled his own rigging. He and his wife, unnamed [given as Margaret in 1943], resided in Richmond, Virginia, where he was buried. The Great Peters, Aloysius, was another daredevil that jumped to his death doing the same act in October 1943 at the Fireman’s Circus St. Louis. There are references to this accident as well as other information findable by means of a simple Google search for . Searching for variations, just Bruffy, confining the search solely to the title Billboard and other techniques will yield additional information. His obituary in Billboard provided no additional information beyond that contained in the notice of his accident. Here’s a link:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=dhgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA1902&lpg=PA1902&dq=elmer+bruffy&source=bl&ots=maztptdERS&sig=hOE_U31utB1XzN-rql9tdU1epOc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4TToUKeUCZSm8gSm7IHQCg&ved=0CFsQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=elmer%20bruffy&f=false
    An article about these two hang act men, and a third named the Great Gregorenko is noted at:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=iRgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT61&lpg=PT61&dq=elmer+bruffy&source=bl&ots=8nHPSItQas&sig=KV2HUHVD_a3nHxYFXHcwJFQXQ8Q&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PTfoUOfGGZLa8ASak4CoBA&ved=0CGEQ6AEwCA
    In 1943 Elmer and Margaret Bruffy were booked to do a Hindu Torture act at Rocky Springs Park in Lancaster, PA. You should be able to locate more references with further searching in Billboard [see message 4131 for links], various newspapers, online archives, etc. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 31 Aug 2014 - I worked on the Lehigh valley railroad locomotive shop in Sayre Pa years ago [1965]. I apprenticed to a machinist who had hired on there in 1927. He told me of Elmer Bruffy and his daredevil hanging act. He said Elmer built at least part of the hanging apparatus in the locomotive shop. I recall him saying Elmer was a powerful man and had a thick neck and that he died in the south when his hanging trick went bad. I'm not sure if Elmer was a machinist, a boilermaker or a helper in the Sayre shop but was likely one of them. I’m not sure he ever saw Elmer’s act or not but I think I recall him saying Elmer did the act locally at events there. If so, he likely saw it. Not much info here but somehow I never forgot the name of Elmer Bruffey or the little I had ever heard of him. Ray

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3972. Von Bros. performers, 03 May 2012 - I was in the Von Bros circus in 1965 with my dad the clown, Buttercup. My name was Kelley Jean Lustig. We were performers. Anybody out there remember us? Kelley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3971. Ohstiani troupe, 02 May 2012 - Hello my name is Romina I'm the daughter of Sergio Biasini and Ursula Morche. She is the sister of Doris Chipperfields. She worked in the German Ohstiani troupe in circus Chipperfields in 1952. I was wondering if you have any photos or anything of that troupe for my mother. She would be very happy thank you best regards. ps this is my email adress rominabiasini@yahoo.fr Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 May 2012 - There are some Chippenfields poster from 1952 on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. Could not find the Troupe but take a look here http://bit.ly/KupgYB. Herman Voogd

    Reply: 22 Apr 2015 - Thank you very much! Biasini

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3970. Frank Warner, 02 May 2012 - I have been trying to trace my family tree which in the least has been difficult. It seems that after my great-grandfather died, all of his sons changed their names, why, don't know, kind of a mystery. One of his sons changed his name from Walter Holewinski to Frank Warner and joined the Barnum and Bailey Circus. I have found some things on your site showing he worked in the stocks. My aunt Betty who is now 80, remembers the circus coming to town in NW Indiana. She remembers him taking her to the elephants that he helped train and take care of them. Problem being, there looks like there was no official name change document done making it hard to find any records. I do know that he died and was buried in California. His nickname was "carrot top" because he had red hair. Thinking the year he was born was around 1902-1904? Possibly died in the 1950's? Can you help? Tina Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 May 2012 - You should try contacting the Circus World Museum's Parkinson Research Library in Baraboo, WI. They have some of the employment records from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Pete Shrake, their archivist, will be able to tell you what years he was there, what dept. he worked for and what he got paid. That may help a little bit. If he died in the 1950's, have you tried looking in the Social Security Death Index which is on the internet or maybe you have or can gain access to Ancestry.com, a family tree builder program. If you know for sure that he died, you might try the State of California website to look around and see where it might go. More than likely, though, you are going to need the county he is buried in or the town. That would help you locate a death certificate. Bob Cline

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3969. Effie Rairden, 30 Apr 2012 - I'm on the hunt (again) for more information on Effie Rairden (Rearden) who appeared with Sells-Floto as an elephant trainer in 1926-1928 (confirmed dates; maybe earlier, maybe later; "Mlle. Fugère" act). Turns out, she was born in southern CA around 1905, as Clara Effie Pardue. In the 1930 census, she is divorced (listed as Effie Purdue), living in Ft Wayne IN, working as an Assistant Night Clerk at a hotel, and lodging with Clifford and Goldie Tobias. The only reference I can find to other Rairdens in the circus is Walter, who worked as a legal adjuster in the 1950s and died in 1965. Can anyone confirm that she and Walter were married, or if not, whom she was married to? I can't imagine that she was married to anyone outside of the circus, but I've been wrong before. Thanks in advance! Tiffany Fugère Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3968. Gill Brothers Circus, 29 Apr 2012 - I am trying to find out any information on the Gill Brothers Circus, when my father was alive he would talk a little about the Circus, and indicated that he was related to them. Here are the details of myself and my father. Father's name: John Henry Robert Gill, born 5/4/1909. Sister Alice, brother Frederck, brother Frank. Killed in Borneo in May, 1945 aged 28. My father lived in Lithgow. I am aware that the details that I have a very sketchy, however, you may be able to perhaps give me a link to follow, as I do know that there was a relationship between my father, and the Gill Brothers Circus. My full name is: Joan Helen Rose Morrell (nee GILL) I am the 2nd eldest of eight children.d.o.b. 21.3.1935. I am doing my family history and it would be good to find out if there is any connection. If you would like any type of I.D. from me, I can provide copies of my Birth cert,my parents marriage and death certs,and copies of Alice and Fred I am unable to obtain a copy of Frank,s death cert. I also can provide copies of my father,s parents marriage cert amd my mother's, parent's marriage certs. Hope you can help, sincerely, Joan Morrell (nee gill), Moss Vale N.S.W. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 Nov 2013 - My mother was Pearl Gill and was in Gill Bros Circus. You can contact me on email, shega47@bigpond.com. I maybe able to help with your enquiry. Gaby Shepperd

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3967. Great Peters, 28 Apr 2012 - Looking for information about the Great Peters or known as Iron Neck Peters. Sperry Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3966. Carl, Mayme Miller, 28 Apr 2012 - My family is building a family tree and we have little information about our grandfather, Carl S. Miller who we know was in the circus with a dog act or possibly a high-wire act. He lived in Waterloo, Ia. and we know that his wife Mayme Miller performed with him. It had to be sometime before 1916 because his draft record of that year says that he was turned down because of a broken ankle. He may have traveled with the Ortenville Circus. Any information anyone has will be extremely helpful. Thank you. Karen L. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3965. Eloise Berchtold's Elephants, 27 Apr 2012 - Does anyone know what happened to the five female elephants (Indira, Boomkra, etc.) that Eloise Berchtold owned when she was killed in May 1978? Presumably they were sold and given new names either after her death or after Morgan Berry's death in June 1979. Thank you, Babs Clarke. Nashville, TN Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Apr 2012 - Admitedly, I don't recognize the names you have offered. Would you be so kind as to tell me the other names as you know them as there are probably name changes involved. What I have recorded are the following: Asian female, Me-Thai went to the Houston Zoo. Asian male, Ranchipur went to the San Diego Zoo. Asian male, Sahib went to Bones Craig. Asian male, Teak was euthanized May 5, 1978. Asian Male, Thai, went to the Houston Zoo. Asian male, Tunga went to the Portland Zoo ( now called the Oregon Zoo ) Bob Cline

    Reply: 29 Apr 2012 - Many thanks for your reply. The five female Asian elephants owned by Eloise Berchtold were: Indira, Boomkra, Jina (born 1964), Boomba I and Boomba II. All of these were acquired from the Toledo Zoo at various dates from 1965 to 1972. Perhaps Berchtold sold some or all of these during her lifetime? I've seen their current locations listed as "Lost." Babs Clarke

    Reply: 04 May 2012 - Babs and Bob, This is an inquiry I began last May regarding the Toledo Zoo's elephant history and its relation with Eloise Berchtold. According to spotty records in the North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant, it seems as if the female Asian elephants "replaced" each other, beginning in 1963 until 1971. It is said Berchtold's African male Koa was kept in the elephant house with the zoo-owned female Asian elephants. Eloise worked at the zoo during a two year contract with her mixed cage act and with Koa at the zoo's amphitheater. I am very interested to learn the history and transfers of these animals, as well as what became of them. My article at ShowMe Elephants can be found at.
    http://www.showmeelephants.com/2011/05/toledo-zoo-elephant-facilities.html.
    Ryan

    Reply: 05 May 2012 - Many thanks for your reply, Ryan. I've just read your very interesting article. The fate of those young elephants is quite a mystery. There must be some people (employees, friends, family members of Berchtold or Berry) who know where the elephants went. Babs Clarke

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3964. Clyde Beatty's assistant, 27 Apr 2012 - Did Clyde Beatty have an assistant named Red Hartman? I know he had an assistant that worked with him during his act on the side of the cage. Just interested! Regards! John Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3963. Mable Mack, circus, 25 Apr 2012 - My great-grandmother owned and operated a circus back in the 1920's - 1930's. Her professional name was Mable Mack. She also had a mule act. I have no idea how to go about getting information about her and her circus. She was also in the circus hall of fame. Can you help me or tell me where to look? Mrs Patricia Painter, npainter@zoomtown.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3962. Juan Lobo, cowboy, 24 Apr 2012 - I am working on a research project that involves a subject by the name of Juan Lobo & I’m hoping someone might be able to assist. For my research, I am hoping to obtain any information possible about Senor Juan Lobo, who billed himself as Mexico’s top Cowboy. As I understand, he was part of the Cole Brothers Circus from at least around the 1941-1942 time period. It seems Mr. Lobo is somewhat mysterious as I can’t find out much about him. I’ve told his real name was either Joe Wolfe or Jack Wolf, & that he had claimed to have been in pictures with Ken Maynard (although no one by any of those names are listed in any of Maynard’s movies). I come across information where might have played a small significant in Country Music History. Thank you for your time & hope to hear from anyone by e-mail that can assist. Thanks, Brian Turpen, turp@hpcisp.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Apr 2012 - If you had searched this website under 'Juan Lobo' you would have found that the July- August 1977 issue of Bandwagon had an article on the 1942 Cole Bros. Circus and a photo of Senor Juan Lobo (Joe Wolfe). I believe that this back issue can be purchased. Both the 1941 and 1942 Cole Bros. route books list Lobo as a performer and a concert feature. John Polacsek

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3961. Barnum's Nero tour, 22 Apr 2012 - BBC Who Do You Think You Are? Enquiry. I work for the BBC in London, and I am researching young lady who was a ballet dancer for Barnums Circus Nero tour , in 1891. I am looking for more information – both on her specifically and on that tour, and also looking for photos. I was hoping someone might be able to spare me some time to talk on the phone about where to concentrate a search for this material –and any expert historians I might get in touch with to tell me about the Nero tour. Gemma_hagen@hotmail.com. I would really appreciate some help, unfortunately we are up against the clock! Thanks Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Apr 2012 - The Nero tour was exhibited in 1890 as well. I would suggest several directions. Try contacting the Circus World Museum's Parkinson Research Library in Baraboo, WI. Pete Shrake is the archivist there. He can tell you if they have anything in their collection be it route books, photos etc. Try contacting the Illinois State University's Milner Library, Special Collections. Maureen Brunsdale heads this up and is a marvelous lady to work with. Try contacting the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL. They have a dedicated Circus Museum and Archive that has just been recently situated into a brand new facility. I'm not up to date on their search capabilities yet. You should be able to find contact information for all three of these easily on the internet. Bob Cline

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3960. Plunkets, acrobats, 22 Apr 2012 - In 1950's a family of acrobats performed in Hayes Center NE called the Plunkets. I would like any info on them. Lee Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Apr 2012 - The Plunkett family has been around show business a very long time. They had their stage show on the road about the time you are referring to with 15 members of the family being advertised on some of their posters. I have one poster on eBay right now with ten members shown and named. Descendents of these Plunketts are still in the circus business. I would contact Pete Shrake at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI. He is the archivist in the Parkinson research Library and can help you in your quest for more information. Bob Cline

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3959. Ada Chapman, 22 Apr 2012 - Looking for any information on the time Ada Chapman brought her Circus to perform at Cardiff’s New Theatre around about 1940/41, we think where my mother was performing with the circus in the dance troupe which I believe were called the Embassy Girls. Thank you in anticipation, A Hadley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3958. Albert Geyer, 20 Apr 2012 - Hello, What can you tell me about Albert Geyer, and what is a leaper in circus talk. Thanks, Paul Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Apr 2012 - Paul, you have to give us some clues! Roughly when? Which country? And anecdotal info of any kind? Leapers were acrobats, see "Leaping Over Eighteen Elephants" By George Brinton Beal. San Francisco Chronicle, June 14, 1931. Reprinted in Circus Scrap Book, No. 14 (Apr), 1932, pp. 10-16. Go to http://www.circushistory.org/Scrap/Scrap32Apr.htm. Also see "Truth or Fiction, Legend or Fact," by Pierre Couderc, Bandwagon, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Jan-Feb), 1964, pp. 20-23. Go to http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1964Jan.htm. jim@stockley.co.za

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3957. Daisy Belle Jones, 20 Apr 2012 - Hi, My great aunt, Daisy Belle Jones joined the circus when she was a teen-ager, probably in the late 1890s or early 1900s. She was born in 1882 in Indiana and died in 1950 in Lexington, MO. She told me she "Rode the Elephants" and was a "Dancing girl." Aunt Daisy was in several different circuses. She told me she was in the Barnum circus and the Bailey circus before they became Barnum and Bailey. She also was in the Ringling circus, plus several others. She left the circus business around 1912-14. Her maiden name was Jones, but she was married 5 times, twice to the same man, so I'm not sure what last name she might have been using. Her final marriage gave her the surname Sargis. So Her full name when she died was Daisy Belle Jones Sargis. I hope you can find some information about my dear aunt. Thanks so much for your help. Jim O'Malley, Warrensburg, MO. email: 69jelo@charter.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3956. Carl Miller, 20 Apr 2012 - I need some help please. I am trying to find any information on my great grandfather Carl Sumner Miller, he was born in Feb. 1887 and passed on 1939. Early in his life (sometime before 1917) he worked for a Circus, not sure which on. My mothers aunt said in passing that he worked with a monkey. Also in passing my grandfather told my mother that he walked a tight rope or something of that nature. I found records from 1917 that indicate he had a broken arch once and a bad hip..could possible relate if he had some sort of accident. He was short, brown hair, thin and had beautiful blue eyes. If anyone could help me, please send me an email at janenecarles@hotmail.com. I would greatly appreciate anything. He was from the Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa areas. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3955. CWM band, 18 Apr 2012 - I'm trying to find information on the Circus World Museum's circus band in 1979. I was a member of that band. I know there were numerous people coming through that summer recording and photographing the band and its performances. But, I find little to nothing about the group that was in existence during the summer of 1979. Any help or direction would be appreciated. Thanks! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3953. Art & Clara Croteau, 18 Apr 2012 - I am looking for information on my uncle Art and aunt Clara Croteau. They were in the Coney Island Circus around the 1930s, possibly 1934. The act they performed was the Wall of Death. Art would drive the motorcycle and Clara would perform tricks on the bars and etc. Thank you, Maria Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3952. Albert White, clown, 17 Apr 2012 - My wonderful Uncle was Albert "Flo" White, who was part of Ringling's Clown Alley from the late '40s through to the late '60s/early '70s. A labour of love, and proud homage, I am completing my masters' thesis on my beloved Uncle. The end result may actually result in a one-act play or readers' theatre that I am hoping to produce in St. Petersburg, FL. For anyone who can help, I am looking for two types of information about Flo and about circus life in general. Thanks for sharing any memories, particularly first-hand memories of someone I knew and loved well. Please don't hesitate to contact me directly should you prefer to talk by phone (727) 254-9250. Thanks in advance for anything you might provide.
1) Memories of Flo, firsthand or otherwise
2) Musings/memories about GLBT/gay/homosexual life in the circus - a) on the road b) in Sarasota or Venice, from roughly 1948-1974.
3) Candids of Flo
Debbie Carson, Redington Shores, FL Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 May 2012 - There is a photo of Albert White posted 4/29/12 on this website, www.bucklesw.blogspot.com. Bob

    Reply: 18 Jun 2012 - There is a picture of Albert and Gene Lewis in Pat Grahn's new book "586 Pounds of Feminine Charm" Bob Momyer

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3951. Gertrude West, 17 Apr 2012 - I am interested in finding any information or photographs of a woman named Gertrude West who as a carnival/circus fat lady in late 19th through early 20th century. I know that at some point she worked for Barnum & Bailey's as well as the Heinz carnival and she was working for the Zedman and Pollie Carnival when she died in Milwaukee in July of 1918. Thanks, Brooke, Lab/Collections Manager, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ARL, Department of Anthropology Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3950. Ferris Cline, 15 Apr 2012 - Hi. I'm trying to find out about Ferris "Whitey" Cline. He was my great great uncle. He was an elephant trainer I believe. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks, Royce Baker Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3949. Lou Ann Krause, 14 Apr 2012 - Looking for information on my uncle, William Krause’s (Ringling-trapeze) first wife. He was married to a Lou Ann in about 1941. Does anyone know her last name or any information on her. I found an Anna L. Haydon in 1941 Performer’s list and an Anna L. Krause in 1942. Also found a picture of Lou Ann Haydon with Eddie Ward in 1941, but can not see her face. Have seen articles on a Lou Ann Krause with Antoinette Concello? Any information would be helpful in my genealogy research. Thanks, Tracy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Apr 2012 - I am from Riverside CA, and was just at the Haydon Bldg. on Central Ave., I know a family of your name. Do you know of a man named Arnold? He worked at Harris Dept. Store. My aunt always took me to the RB Circus when it came to town. I will ask her for more info, and will get back to you. Are you Morovainian or of Chezk. Decent?

    Reply: 21 Apr 2012 - Thanks for the reply. I read, in one of the articles that mentions Lou Ann, that she went to California after one of the circus season’s was over, not sure what year, but mid 40’s. The Krause name, in this instance, is Latvian. Tracy

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3948. Genders, 12 Apr 2012 - I lived with the Genders while in grade school. Many circus families fostered their kids while the parents were on the road. Curt and I shared a room at the Genders home on Waldemere street in Sarasota. We have not seen each other since. John Joyce, Tallahassee Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3947. Winona Co., MN 1934, 12 Apr 2012 - Can you tell me if there was ever circus that would have been in Winona County, Minnesota in late 1934 that would have had an Al Roberts or Myrtle Flynn/Baker working for it?? How would I find those records? Al would have died in November. Is there any info on that? Thank you, Ashley A. Troyer Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3946. Circus display, 11 Apr 2012 - I am a reference librarian at Avon Lake Public Library, Avon Lake, OH. Our summer reading theme will be "Reading under the Big Top!" and our library will be decorated from top to bottom with a circus theme. As the librarian in charge of finding collections for display in our secure glass cabinet, I would like to put in items related to our summer theme for the months of June and July. Finding your organization online and seeing some of the members are from Ohio, I was wondering if you would know of anyone in the Cleveland area that might be interested in sharing some circus items with our patrons in our display case. Please contact me if you are interested, and I will get back to you. Looking forward to hearing from someone! Sue Hurbanek, Reference Associate/Periodical Manager, Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd., Avon Lake, OH 44012. 440-933-8128, Ext. 248 or 249 Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3945. Gunther Gebel's widow, 10 Apr 2012 - Is Gunther Gebel Williams' widow Sigrid still alive? Nancy. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Apr 2012 - Very much so - She is the Owner and CEO of Florida Sun Weddings - http://floridasunweddings.com. jim@stockley.co.za

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3944. Circus, New Zealand, 10 Apr 2012 - Looking for the name of a circus in England in the early 60's. The circus came from New Zealand, stayed for a while, but had trouble with the animals and someone was killed in an accident, and they went home. Would anyone know the name of the circus? Looking to find a member of the circus. Please reply to Joe Balitza. Thank You, Joe B. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3943. Raleigh Patchell, 09 Apr 2012 - My great great grandfather was Raleigh Patchell (1859-1957). He grew up near DuBois, PA with Tom Mix. Family stories say that as teenagers, Raleigh and Tom performed for circus' across Pennsylvania. Raleigh walked the tight rope and slack wire, and Tom did rope tricks and bar back horse riding. I'm looking to find any information regarding Raleigh Patchell in PA circus records. I would love to know if there are any pictures or stories about his performing. Thanks so much for any information you can provide and let me know if you need more information. Stacy Bellavia Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3942. Bostock family, 08 Apr 2012 - I am researching the Bostock cinema group who purchased the Empire cinema in Harwich in 1929. I understand the family were a travelling circus? Im afraid I don’t have much information or photos. Can you point me in the right direction to find any info re the cinema group or photos? Many thanks, Steve Delves Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Apr 2012 - The Bostock family is known primarily for their traveling menageries, of which several were sometimes in operation simultaneously. Their lineage goes back to the early 19th century and also includes fairground ride and circus operations, as well as the Wombwell, Edmond and other familiar names. Several books and numerous articles are in print about the family. One of the last such operators was Edward Henry “E. H.” Bostock (1858-1940). His living wagon and band carriage are at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. It was his son, Arthur Douglas Fairgreave Bostock (1886-1963) who was involved with cinema ownership and management. In his younger days he served as manager of his father’s Royal Italian Circus. His son, Edward William Augustus Bostock (1920-2003) was also involved with the cinema. Here’s a link to a tertiary genealogy site to get you started:
    http://www.bostock.net/tree/bostgen/names/leek/arthur1886.html
    E. H.’s brothers, Frank and James W., spread the name’s fame in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A bandchariot from the family’s Royal Italian Circus may be the one in existence at the Circus World Museum, acquired some time later by the Fossett circus family. Fred Dahinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 20 Jul 2012 - In regard to the Bostock family, the best collection on the Bostock's is at the Nation Fairground Archives at Sheffield University, U.K.. Contact Professor vanessa Toulmin there. She is a world authority on film and cinemas and they also have one of the best early cinema collections. Regards, Al Stencell

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3941. Blowdown, Dover NH, 07 Apr 2012 - Back in 1935-'36-'37. I was in a circus tent when a violent storm took the tent and blew it over. I can't remember the year. It happened in Dover NH. Several people were killed and many injured. Do you have any information on this accident? Maybe a newspaper report. Thanks for trying. Marilyn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3940. Santus family, 05 Apr 2012 - All, I am seeking information regarding the Santus family troupe during World War II. Information im seeking includes where was their home town, where did they perform and how did the war affect them. douglasbrough@yahoo.co.uk Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3939. Carl Hjelm, 04 Apr 2012 - I am looking for a Swedish relative who worked as saddler with Circus Hagenbeck around 1910. His name was Carl Magnus Hjelm b. 1850 or if he had a son also working as saddler. Kjell Hjelm Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 May 2012 - This is a response to Carl Hjelm, trying to find information about a relative Carol Magnus Hjelm. I came across this just now while looking for a Carol Magnus, a Swede, I believe, who was not a saddler but a sort of agent for Hagenback and Barnum. Could this be the same person? They both were active around 1910. Jim Christy

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3938. Forrest Freeland, 03 Apr 2012 - Is there any more information on Forrest Dean Freeland or any pictures of his art work? He was my grandfather. He was estranged from my father so I know very little about him except that he worked for the Detroit Free Press as a political cartoonist and that he once owned a circus. According to your circus history site, he was actually the art director for the Detroit Free Press and he worked for Ringling-Barnum Circus. I would love to learn more and also see a picture of one of his circus posters. Kathy Freeland Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Apr 2012 - Kathy: Forrest was a first-class and well-known artist who did work for many shows. If you send your e-mail address to me at cbmus@bellsouth.net I will be glad to send you some scans of his work. Regards, Dave

    Reply: 23 Apr 2012 - One of my favorite circus posters was by Forrest Freeland. I would be happy to send a picture of it to you. Rob Owen mrggowen@ncia.net

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3937. Patterson Bros., 02 Apr 2012 - I would like to know if anyone has any information on an employee of Patterson Bros Circus circa 1938 by the name of Harry B Brown. I am doing a geneology search and he was my grandfather. He was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the time of employment. Thank you, Harry B Brown III Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3936. Train derailment, 31 Mar 2012 - I am looking for information on a train derailment in ne Texas close to Omaha Naples Texas area, not sure of the dates but thinking maybe 1940s, or after. Cindy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Apr 2012 - Please see messages #1933 and #2588 for pertinent information on the DOT collection of Interstate Commerce Commission accident reports and some other possible sources. Omaha and Naples were both served by the St. Louis South Western also known as the “Cotton Belt” at this time. The ICC materials indicate two nearby possibilities in the 1940s: a collision at Mount Pleasant, TX, on August 13, 1945, and a head-end collision at Corley, TX, on November 18, 1948. Transcripts of the ICC reports should be available from other sources, but it’s likely such an accident would have caught the attention of nearby city newspapers, especially if it involved a circus or carnival train. Lance Burton

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3935. Bertram Mills Circus, 30 Mar 2012 - My name is Brian Tucker from Birmingham in the UK and recently, during the course of family tree research, about a dozen wonderful old photos came into my possession of a long lost uncle named Robert (Bob) Crook working in a very prominent position with Bertram Mills Circus during the 1930's. I know nothing about my uncle or how, as the son of a Butchers daughter, he came to work with the circus and I am hoping to find some answers by identifying the other men featured in these photos who, by their dress and appearance, seem to have held senior positions in the circus hierarchy.
    I have been circulating the photos in the UK via the Worlds Fair newspaper and a 'Travelling People' forum but so far only one man has been identified - Charles Leighton who worked for Pavlova until she died and then joined Bertram Mills as the Advance Booking Manager in 1930. I am now widening my search and if there is anybody out there across the pond with any knowledge or memory of the Bertram Mills Circus in the 1930's or 40's please send me an email and I would be delighted to send you copies of these photos. Failing that any advice or help whatsoever would be very sincerely appreciated. Thank you. Brian, brian.tucker@blueyonder.co.uk Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3934. Leitzel & North, 29 Mar 2012 - I was reading the latest edition of bandwagon and was reading an article written by Vera Bruce's mother shortly after her death. She mentions in the article that Lillian Leitzel was involved with someone in the Ringling management just before she got together with Alf. Was this John Ringling North? Is there any proof or a secondary source for this? There's no mention of it in Henry Ringling North's book Circus Kings. Joy@macbroscircus.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Aug 2012 - Joy: There is no history of Leitzel "getting together" with Alf. T. Ringling. She was married to Side Show manager Clyde Ingalls, and he could be the reference to a show staffer you mention. Her next marriage was to the flying trapeze icon, Alfredo Codona, in 1928. Leitzel died in a fall from her failed rigging, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1931. John Ringling North was the son of the sole girl of the family, Ida Ringling and Henry North, and brother to Henry Ringling North. John knew Leitzel, but was far too young to have been involved with her. Roger Smith

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3933. Minnie Wells, 27 Mar 2012 - I am looking for a photo or image of circus star Minnie Wells. She was a lion tamer, actress, song and dance lady who appeared most often in the east from about 1870-1890s. I have found information about her but would like to find a photograph. Any ideas? Thanks, Jan Cerney, Researcher from South Dakota Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Oct 2016 - Jan, Did you have any luck finding a photo of Minnie Wells? Thank you, Danny

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3932. Jose DeLeon, 27 Mar 2012 - I have a signed postcard of a Jose DeLeon, a no-arms circus performer in early 20's. I would like to know what happened to him and what circus he was actually with. Info I have found seems that he got lost after the mid 1950's. Thank you - Judy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3931. Flying LaClairs, 26 Mar 2012 - What can you tell me about the 'Flying LaClairs'. I know Clarence and Jim Croutcher were members and I have some old photos. JDF Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3930. Bob Dover, 26 Mar 2012 - Can you tell me some history on Bob Dover please? Thanks, Renee Mikkalson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Mar 2012 - See posting 680.

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3929. Terrell circus, wild west, 26 Mar 2012 - Fletcher (& Ed. C.) Terrell circus & wild west shows. Cousin Bill Thompson (still living) worked there as a child. Harry Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3928. Bloomington/Normal Performers, 23 Mar 2012 - Hello All, I am so happy that I found this site while searching for circus model parts online! I am a long time Circus enthusiast and I also make Circus related artwork. I recently moved to Normal, IL and was pleasantly surprised to find out about the Circus history here. I grew up in Ohio where my first job was working at both Geauga Lake and Sea World and feeling like one of the "carnie folk" who has to deal with the "rubes" that would come stay in my hometown. Does anyone have any suggestions for famous Circus performers or sideshow acts from the past that came to Normal/Bloomington that I can highlight in my research and in my portraits/models? Carrie, carriebattista@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3927. Haley, trick riders, 22 Mar 2012 - Can anyone out there shed some light on Thomas & Kathleen Haley Horse Trick Riders. Doris Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3926. Clown, 1939-44, 19 Mar 2012 - I'm trying to recall the clowns who visited Boston's Children's Hospital during the years 1939-1944. I was in the hospital for some months with polio in 1939 and remember our favorite was the "bad piglet" who got away from the traditionally dressed clown and ran down the aisle between our beds. I also remember a sad-faced clown in raggedy clothes who kept trying to build a tower of blocks that would get knocked down, and he'd rebuild. He seemed kind of boring at the time, but remembering how he just paused and then rebuilt his standing tower was somehow what I kept remembering all the years when I learned to walk again, would fall down, pause, and tell those muscles to get up and get going again. Always remeber those clowns with gratitude, laughter, and love. I was pretty sure it was the Ringling Brothers who came (and in later years did outdoor shows us polio "graduates" could come to at Children's Hospital) but Mr. Kelly's biography says he didn't join that circus until later. Any help or photos would be appreciated. Margery Stern (at the time) Riddle, Oakland California Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Mar 2012 - Margery, the RBBB clown famous for having little pigs was Felix Adler. Google his name, for both “everything” and also “images” and you’ll see the man that entertained you many years ago. There is a lot of information available about him. Whether he was the specific clown that visited the Boston hospital I don’t know. Perhaps someone with expert knowledge of circus clowns would know of another that utilized piglets.
        If you send a query to Jackie LeClaire, a retired RBBB clown who has a website with a contact address, he may be able to identify the other “block building” clown for you, as well as confirming Felix’s identity.
        The Big Apple Circus had a Clown Care unit in recent times. It’s been demonstrated that their activities helped to promote healing and recovery, as you personally experienced. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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3925. Boneless Wonder, 19 Mar 2012 - I have a postcard of my great-great uncle, Joe Humphrey. Supposedly he left home about 1905 from East Liverpool, OH at age 16 and joined the circus. Postcard was printed by Commercial Photographic Co out of Davenport, IA. He was billed as the "Boneless Wonder". Postcard shows him in 5 different poses. Any help would be appreciated on finding out what circus he travelled with and where he went with them, Briana Holcepl Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3924. Bandwagon, 18 Mar 2012 - The November-December 2011 edition of the Bandwagon was mailed on Friday March 16th to all of our members. Bob Cline Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3923. Adagio trio, 18 Mar 2012 - Does anyone have a vhs or dvd regular video tape of the tv show The Ed Sullivan Show dated October 27, 1963 it is the Moscow Circus show on his Ed Sullivan show and on it is an adagio trio consisting of two men and one lady doing an acrobatic adagio act. If you have it could I purchase it from you please respond to this email and let me know thanks It might be the trio I am looking for from question on circus history no. 3890 that I sent an email to about it. Wayne Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3922. Henry A. Maltby, 17 Mar 2012 - I'm doing research on Henry A Maltby (1830-1906) who owned a circus, "Maltby's New York Circus," during 1852 and perhaps later. According to this circus message website, Maltby purchased what had been "Sam Lathrop's Circus" while it was performing in Houston, Texas, in January of 1852. It does seems incredible since he was only 21 and with no prior connection to any circus. Maltby's circus peformed in Austin and Corpus Christi soon afterwards, but I lose it from there. Does anyone have information about Maltby's circus and what finally happened to it? While at Corpus Christi performing at Henry Kinney's Lone Star Fair in May of 1852, the circus featured Ella Mann as equestrienne, whom Maltby must have obtained from New Orleans. Thank you. Norman Delaney, Corpus Christi, Texas Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Mar 2012 - Dave Carlyon’s biography of Dan Rice includes a reference to Maltby’s on page 131. Thayer’s work on Maltby likely originated from his own reading of period newspapers, augmented by the notes of Charles Myler, which are in the stored Hertzberg Collection. You’ll have to contact the Witte Museum concerning availability and access. Carlyon’s footnote 8 on page 433 provides Carlyon’s sources, Thayer and other newspapers. Message 854 on this message board provides a response from Thayer. It suggests that Maltby essentially inherited the circus upon the departure of Lathrop. If you’ve not accessed it, Stuart Thayer’s Annals of the American Circus 1793-1860 remains the top piece of research on the antebellum circus. Thayer did little genealogical type searching, which may have resulted in his possibly erroneous conclusion about Maltby being the money man, at merely 21, but some have been born with gold in their pockets. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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3921. Peanut vendor spiel, 15 Mar 2012 - My grandmother lived near the fair grounds (Midsouth Fair in Memphis) in what would be the 1950's. She was very poor and used money she won in various events (swimming, riding, shooting) to buy feed for her horse(s) along with working what jobs she could and she was no slouch. About one in ten times when she has too much to drink she'll start either Fidlin Dan or the Peanut Vendor Spiel as mentioned in post 3843. The entire spiel as she tells it (perfect recitation every time) is:
"Come see the world famous zebra! Twenty stripes around his belly three stripes around his-
HOLD on there lady! Don't step in that-
SHAME on you boys for shovin' that straw up that monkey's-
ASK your momma for fifteen cents to see the elephants-
PEANUTS five cents a sack!"
To the best of my memory, that is the Spiel in it's entirety. Thank you for your time. Anon Imus Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3920. Rattlesnake McConnell, 15 Mar 2012 - Looking for someone called Rattlesnake McConnell or MacConnell. He was living in Ny did tricks with for circus. Shelly B. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3919. Johnny J Jones, 15 Mar 2012 - Anyone know anything about the Johnny J Jones traveling carnival; or a ‘performer’ named Nellie Beggie? Thanks. She was originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (I understand that technically a carnival is not a circus, but still wondered if anyone knew anything.) Thank you. Jo Nelsen, Pasadena, CA Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3918. Elephants, 1883, 15 Mar 2012 - Someone posted this on FaceBook and I have never heard of this or could find any evidence besides the story of Columbus falling through the bridge in Adams, MA and dying in Lenox, MA and buried there. Any truth to the story below? jesjmskali
    "On March 12, 1883, a Circus Train derailed in West Pittsfield, killing 4 Circus elephants. The City elders, fearing what to do with the decomposing bodies, decided to bury them in a plot of land located off the Boston to Albany stage line. This burial site would eventually be known as the Clapp Park Hill, where generations of families have enjoyed sliding in the winter." Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3917. Cooke's Circus Dynasty, 14 Mar 2012 - Forgive me for advertising but I thought members would be interested to know that Stuart McMillan has finally self-published his book on the Cooke Circus Dynasty in England, Scotland and America. The Cookes were one of the most famous names of the Victorian Golden Age of Circus and Stuart has produced a lovely book of 279 pages, with colour illustrations, contact Stuart to order your copy at s.mcmillan1@ntlworld.com. Jim Stockley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3916. Northern Ireland, 1990, 12 Mar 2012 - I was hoping you would be able to tell me the name of the circus that was in downpatrick, Northern Ireland in 1990? I think it would be around February-March time. If this is possible would you be able to provide me with information on any employees that may have worked there as my dad was part of this circus and I would very much like to find him. Thank you, Megan Rogan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3915. Manning Pletz, 12 Mar 2012 - My Grandfather was Manning Bruce Pletz. Known as “ Midway Bert” He and his family moved to San Antonio when the Barnum and Bailey Circus moved its winter quarters to San Antonio in the early 1900’s. My dad's nickname was “Con” after Con T Kennedy and he subsequently gave me the name of Con as my Middle name. He also was named after a G. W. Farley who was involved with the circus and show business. I have photos of both men with my Grandfather as well as circus pictures from a Christmas celebration at the Guenter hotel in San Antonio from 1915. My dad and his brothers grew up around the circus. I am trying to get more history and information on Manning Bruce Pletz as well as Con T Kennedy and G. W. Farley (My dad’s name was George Farley Pletz and I think G W Farely first name was George—Can you help. Walter C. Pletz Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Mar 2012 - The Barnum & Bailey show, including the predecessor Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson and successor Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey, occupied a winter quarters in Bridgeport, Connecticut from 1881 to 1927, other than when they were abroad in Europe from late 1897 to 1902. They never had a facility in San Antonio, TX.
        A leading carnival operator, Clarence A. Wortham, did have quarters in the Texas city. Wortham bought property there about 1914. The October 30, 1915 issue of “Billboard,” page 25, notes that Manning B. Pletz was with the C. A. Wortham Shows and also includes a small cameo photo of him. It states that he winters in San Antonio and is an energetic worker for the Showmen’s Christmas Celebration held at the Gunter Hotel. The piece is available at www.fultonhistory.com, by doing a specific search for “midway bert.” There were seventeen hits for him on the first search, so there is a good amount of information directly available to you. Exploring variations on his name, searching for the Wortham show titles, etc., will yield additional information.
        Con T. Kennedy was part of the carnival world of Charles W. Parker, marrying Parker’s sister and thereby becoming his brother-in-law. There is basic coverage on both Wortham and Kennedy in Joe McKennon’s book “Pictorial History of the American Carnival.” Bob Goldsack’s book about the Parker carnivals augments it with additional information.
        Your best sources for further information about the men you seek are the carnival news columns of the weekly trade magazines “Billboard” and “New York Clipper.” Searches for Kennedy will return many hits. Finding Farley may take a bit more diligence because of the use of initials and the commonness of the name. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 30 May 2012 - I appreciate the information on Manning Bruce Pletz. Can you help with how to find the Billboard and New York Clipper sites to gather more information. Any help will be appreciated. Walter C. Pletz

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3914. 1954 emigrant Canada, 10 Mar 2012 - I emigrated to Canada aboard the Canadian Pacific Steamship "THE EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA," sailing from Liverpool on November 5th 1954 arriving in Montreal on November 13th 1954. On board was a young South African who said that his occupation was CIRCUS PERFORMER and that he would be looking for work in Canada. After all these years, I still wonder who he was and whether he ever did find work in a circus either in Canada or the USA. Drop me a line if this is known to you. briwilmen@rogers.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3913. Kitchen, wagon carver, 06 Mar 2012 - My friend, told me that her grandfather Kitchen carved the wagons for Barnum and Bailey Circus. Do you have any information on this? Ridenhour Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Mar 2012 - Establishing the circus connection in the career of Mr. Kitchen would be helped considerably by knowing his years of existence [birth and death] and the locale of his residence [city and state] at the time of his possible employment. These would provide some immediate insight as to whether he may have been aligned with the Barnum & Bailey show [formally in existence 1888-1918] in Bridgeport, CT, or another enterprise. A prior partnership [Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson] takes the history of the show back to 1881. There are some who also use “Barnum & Bailey” in lieu of the full title of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, which was formed for 1919 and thereafter, unto today.
        Most of the wagons owned and used by Barnum & Bailey either pre-existed the circus, or were made by others for it. The leading builders from whom they procured parade wagons and cages with bas relief ornamentation were the Fielding Brothers and the Sebastian Wagon Company in New York City. They, in turn, either subcontracted or were furnished with carvings supplied by leading carvers in the city, such as Thomas White, Samuel Robb and others in their employ. You can gain insight into this activity via Fred Fried’s book “Artists in Wood.” You should be able to obtain a copy via interlibrary loan, or in the second hand book market.
        There is a possibility that some carvers may have been part-time, winter employees in the Bridgeport winter quarters, repairing carvings on existing wagons. Unfortunately, there isn’t much surviving in the way of employment records from the show that would readily identify a particular employee. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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3912. Halftracks, circus, 06 Mar 2012 - I'm looking for any info on military halftracks used in the circus. I did find one post here about it but I was unable to contact the poster. here is a quote from that: The chassis of the ex-Army half track survived in the Sarasota area and may have gone to a collector of military equipment. Bob Horn knows the story on it. Fred Dahlinger. I did find this pic of one used to drive posts http://halftrackinfo.com/index.php?topic=452.0. I collect these old halftracks. Thanks, Steve, Knights Landing, California Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Mar 2012 - Beyond witnessing the existence of the lower frame of the former 1949-1955 RBBB halftrack in a rather swampy area in Sarasota, while in the company of Bob Horn [who is still alive and well in the locale], all that I knew about the device I published in Bandwagon, Sept-Oct 1999, page 5, in an article about stake drivers. You can acquire a back copy of it. Someone subsequently told me that the chassis had been sold and there were plans to rebuild it. I would recommend that you contact Bob Horn, as he may know who acquired it. Here’s a link to a current project he’s undertaken:
    http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011110619832
    I have a vague memory that there was also a halftrack on one of the Hugo, OK circuses, perhaps Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros. One of the high grass circus authorities ought to know more about it and the ultimate disposition. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 20 Jul 2012 - Hi, Several shows besides Ringling had half track as stake drivers, etc. I remember Carson and Barnes had one when they showed my town in 1961. I think the tracks had been removed and rear wheel added and it was carried on a low boy semi trainler. Bill Rhodes is the best on show tractors, half tracks and you can finds several of his books published by a publisher that does books on transport vehicles, etc. Al Stencell

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3911. Passenger lists, 05 Mar 2012 - How can I find out who traveled on the ships to England (1889) and also on the return journey (1990)? I cannot seem to find the passenger lists anywhere. Details are in PDF link to the article below.
http://imgcache.newsbank.com/cache/ean/fullsize/pl_003052012_0024_22327_971.pdf
The CITY OF ROME sailed from New York, OCTOBER 16, 1889 and Disembarked On 24 October 1889 in MIlford Haven, Wales (143 people)
The FURNESSIA sailed from New York, OCTOBER 19, 1889 and returned to New York on Feb 20, 1890 (240 people). Thanks, David Q., Hawaii Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Mar 2012 - A route book, of sorts, was issued for the 1889 Olympia appearance of Barnum & Bailey. Contact one of the public circus collections or locate another copy in a different repository and perhaps they can provide copies of the pages listing the roster of personnel. What won’t be clear is whether those folks arrived on the two ships you note, or if they found passage to England in another manner, or were hired locally. For that you’ll need to find the ship arrival documentation. Perhaps a British reader can advise where such documentation can be found in England? Unfortunately, arrivals for the Furnessia in 1890 are not included in the Ellis Island online website because it opened in 1892, but the data for earlier Castle Garden arrivals is also available. This link should get you started: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ote/ships/castle-garden.htm. J. Griffin

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3910. Dr. Turner's, 03 Mar 2012 - My Great Grandfather said that he was part of a circus that was run by a Dr. Turner around 1919. This circus apparently travelled through the US and Canada. Do you know if there was a a Circus of the sort? Zack Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Mar 2012 - A query about a person starts with knowing the person’s name. If you post your great-grandfather’s, perhaps he’ll be known, identifiable or can be searched out. Knowing the location of his residence during his time of circus engagement might also help to initiate or refine a search.
        The only Turner-named circus that seems to fit, though remotely, is Happy Dick Turner’s, c1898 as a dog and pony show [Chindahl list], and 1906 [this website, Circus & Directories], and perhaps other years. If you Google those three words together you’ll find several entries, mostly on this website. There’s entries for 1890 [he and Mrs. Turner on with J. G. Foley’s Ten Cent Circus in 1890 [this website, Circuses-Briefs Bits]. Sturtevant references an Otis Turner in 1900 [this website]. On the individual pages, simply search for “Turner” to find the entries. These should not be confused with the earlier and more famous circus owners named Turner, Aron [Aaron] and more, viewable on this website in Slout’s Olympians.
        There was a Dr. Turner somehow associated with the Barnum & Bailey circus c1904 and perhaps other years. The WWII era Home Fleet of Insurance Companies publication News From Home, Ken Dunshee, editor, had a piece that included some photographs taken from a residence occupied by this Dr. Turner that looked onto the NE corner of the show’s winter quarters in Bridgeport, CT. I penciled a note on a photocopy stating “Dr. Turner was menagerie boss,” but don’t think that is quite accurate. Perhaps someone else can bring definition to this Dr. Turner? I bring it forward because a recollection of “Dr. Turner’s circus” might mean something other than direct ownership. Barnum & Bailey was sold to the Ringlings in late 1907 and toured independently until 1918.
        There’s also something of a spelling variation, Turnour, that might provide some possibilities. It’s also possible that the “Dr.” wasn’t a medical recognition, but another form of personal address. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 09 Mar 2012 - Thanks for the reply to my question. In regards to my Great grandfathers name, it was Hallie M. Main. He said he worked for the show as a barker. I do appreciate all the information you provided. Zack

    Reply: 10 Mar 2012 - A HeritageQuest search for Hallie Main provided only one hit, for a 1930 female. If you can check www.ancestry.com you might find others that are applicable. Knowing your great-grandfather’s birth year and residence during his circus association might help to further refine his circus employment status possibilities.
        The men that spoke outside of the sideshow to attract an audience were known in the circus business as “talkers” and sometimes “blowers” by 1870, with “orator” seen in 1881. “Lecturer” is also in the 1880s record, in both the sideshow and also inside the menagerie, suggesting inside the tent educational speaking as well as perhaps outdoor oration. “Outside lecturer” is used in 1885 as a specific location identity. “Barker” is a journalistic and non-circus term that saw use as early as 1898 and then more frequently in the early 20th century, sometimes on Coney Island. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 10 Mar 2012 - Several Billboard, issues state that a Doc Turner had a pit show on carnivals in the early 1900s, for at least fifteen years. For example, in 1912, with Wortham & Allen Carnival (Turner's a 7-in-1 Show), and in 1915 with Con T. Kennedy. One item said Doc Turner had his show out for fifteen years. J. Griffin

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3909. Congo Cargo circus railroad car, 03 Mar 2012 - I have a black and white negative of this car taken in San Francisco in 1950. Can anyone tell me the name of the circus? Thanks, Arnold Menke Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Mar 2012 - Congo Cargo was applied to the sides of an 80-foot box car, with two pairs of double doors on each side. It was part of the three [perhaps four] car, railroad-based, walk-through attraction operated by Sam Houston starting in 1946. It continued into 1947. There was the 80-foot box, a conventional circus-style stock car and a combination baggage-coach car, and perhaps a second passenger car. The inside attractions included a midget Japanese submarine, a primate claimed to be a gorilla [named Chita] and several cages of animals. It came out of Baldwin, Park, CA in 1946, toured around and then headed to oblivion in Mexico. Houston may have owned two of the cars as late as 1955. There’s a pair of Charles Puck photographs on page 79 in the book “Show Trains of the 20th Century” depicting two of the three cars. Houston’s daughter, Lynne Bell, preserved documentation relating to the operation and made it available to Buckles Woodcock, who posted it on his blog. Here’s a link to one item, and there are others, at least six. The stock car did bear the word “circus,” but it was not one in fact.
    http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2009/11/sam-houston-collection-1-from-lynne.html
    Message 3371 on this message board has other related information about similar walk through, railroad attractions. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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3908. First Black showgirl, Ringling, 02 Mar 2012 I was browsing through Circus History.com and read where someone asked who was the first Black showgirl with Ringling Bros. It has been over 40 years since I (yes, that showgirl was me) spoke with anyone connected with the show. I would appreciate it if you or anyone could give me an address, e-mail, telephone mumber or a street address of either Bob Dole, who was our mamager at the time, Tuffy Genders, who was the General manager at the time, or anyone else who remembers me from the 1967-68 era of Ringling Bros. I regret never getting or giving anyone information as to how I could be reached, now my grandchildren ask me questions and I have very little to show them. I went by the name Toni Williams at the time and since then I have written a "Play, called "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" which, I am expecting to launch on Broadway, sometime within the next few years. Currently I am working as a Psychologist (psychotherapist). I have six children ages 47-25, fifteen grand children, and counting and I would love to hear from anyone who knew me with the show or anyone else who is interested in corresponding. Over the years I have changerd my name agin, it is now Zarinah akbar my email address is fzarinah@yahoo.com my phone number at work is 1-610-372-2525 ex- 113. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Apr 2012 - Hello Zarinah: I think you may be referring to Bob Dover, who would have been Performance Director on the RBBB show when you were with it. Both Mr. Dover and Tuffy Genders are now deceased. It would be GREAT if you could write an article about your experiences with the RBBB Circus, as you certainly broke the color/race barrier on the show, which is historically significant. Please consider this and contact the BANDWAGON Editor, Mr. Fred Dahlinger, Jr., whose contact information is available on this web site. Thank you for your contribution to circus history! Neil Cockerline, Minneapolis, MN

    Reply: 21 Apr 2012 - Zarinah: I need to correct my earlier response, as I have recently learned that Mr. Genders is alive and living in retirement in Tampa, Florida. Apparently he maintains a very low profile and is not involved in the remaining circus community in Sarasota, Florida, where many ex-Ringling people have retired. Unfortunately, I do not have any contact information for him, but I wanted to correct my earlier statement. Neil Cockerline, Minneapolis, MN

    Reply: 02 May 2012 - FYI. Robert Fuller Houston is the curator of the Philadelphia Museum of the Circus and presents an exhibit "Of Africans & Circus Rings." You can reach him at 215-235-0596. Bob Judge

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3907. Chief Debro, 01 Mar 2012 - I’m trying to find information on Chief Debro of Kendallville, Indiana. When and where did he die, and where is he buried? I have been unable to find this on the internet. Thank You, I love your website! Mike Mapes Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Mar 2012 - Undocumented, Chief Debro was Frank Shade or Frank Delos Shade, 1850 - July 12, 1924. You might want to contact the Kendallville library to see what information might be available or other local or county historical societies, etc. that might have information. - J. Griffin

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3906. Politics, band wagon, 01 Mar 2012 - I’m researching an article about common expressions and their origins in 19th century Americana; one of the expressions in question is “jump on the bandwagon.” I’m trying to find any solid information on the relationship between circus bandwagons and political campaigns. The best information I’ve been able to find on the subject indicates that the word “bandwagon” (actually “band wagon” with the quotes) was first used in print by P. T. Barnum in his 1855 autobiography; the oldest reference to a political bandwagon that I can find is a political cartoon by George Yost Coffin c. 1896, which shows a bunch of politicians trying to climb aboard the McKinley presidential bandwagon. If anyone can help me pin down instances of politicians using bandwagons as part of their political campaigns sometime in the latter half of the 19th century, I would be much obliged. Note that as far as I can tell, the stories of Dan Rice campaigning for Zachary Taylor’s 1848 campaign are apocryphal. Thanks, Tom Scudder Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3905. Fat lady, 29 Feb 2012 - I am a free-lance writer working on a project about obesity in American, and as part of the history of obesity, wondering if there is someone who is an expert on the orgins of the fat lady in the circus? I am looking for insights, as well as a bit of history, and any anecdotal information that could be of help. Or looking for sources who might have this information. Perhaps this is an obvious question, but why were obese women more popular than obese men? Thank you. Tom Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Mar 2012 - In the world of entertainment you have to consider "sex" or the idea of it as the major attraction in many shows. In burlesque there were groups of larger women billed as "Beef Trust Revues". Fat lady races in front of dime museums. Fat women because of the sex angle were always more popular than fat men. One of the keys to observing this is to see how fat women are displayed in the advertising. Often they are depicted in small bikinis jumping out of the water at the beach. Some of this is explained in my book: Circus and Carnival Ballyhoo - side show freaks, jaggers, and blade box queens. ECW PRESS.com. A. W. Stencell

    Reply: 04 Mar 2012 - I’d recommend looking into the history and development of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum in New York City and the exhibition of various people therein. The presentation of obese [contemporary term] people, was only one example of the array of special people viewed therein. It wasn’t necessarily the first such institution to do so, but it was among the most prominent and aggrandized, visited by tens of thousands and setting a pace for other science, natural history and dime museums. Some quick searching will reveal posters and other documentation. A few pieces are in the Durant picture history of the circus, but they are for the Barnum museum, not his circus [which started later, in 1871].
        There were also itinerant attractions, small tents with an outside banner line featuring a single attraction, or augmented with others. These toured the hinterlands on their own and sometimes signed on to travel with a circus, or followed in its wake. They were originally known as “outside shows,” because they were outside of the pavilion, the big tent where the circus was staged. The affiliation generally dates back to the 1830s, but the documentation is slim. A few of the people working these itinerant outfits sold little booklets, often as not filled with inaccurate stories of their trials, tribulations and success in overcoming obstacles.
        Robert Bogdan’s book “Freak Show” has some useful material, especially concerning the marketing presentation of “freaks.” The works by Al Stencell, who has already commented, are surely worth reviewing. The sideshow is a topic that is often misinterpreted by contemporary scholars and writers retro-applying today’s moral judgments. Be sure to examine the lives of these people in the context of the entire society in the period when they were publicly presented. A good question to start with is: “Who employed them?” Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 30 May 2012 - Not only fat women but some men and also children here http://bit.ly/JMv8OX www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. Herman Voogd

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3904. Ebeneezer Cox, 27 Feb 2012 - Can anyone tell me anything about Ebeneezer Cox born 1866 New Zealand who ran away to join the circus. I have a photo of him performing possibly as an acrobatic. I am researching the Cox family and any info would be helpful. I have no idea what country he settled in. With thanks, Carol Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3903. Alf T Ringling, 25 Feb 2012 - I am searching for any information regarding Alf T Ringling's second wife. Her name may have been Elizabeth Shuttleworth, possibly from Selma, Alabama. Thank you for reading this. Laura Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3902. Tullis, barker, 24 Feb 2012 - Tullis Circus barker late 1920s. My biological grandfather last name of Tullis was suppose to be a circus barker originally from Leon, Decatur County, Iowa. I know that the circus traveled around at least southern Iowa and possibly northern Missouri. I was told he died in a circus accident in 1926. Any information on circuses from that time and area would be appreciated. Thank you. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3901. 1899 season, 24 Feb 2012 - I am looking for information about what train was used by Ringling Brothers 1899 season that started in Chicago on April 15 and ended on Nov. 22. Also looking for info. about the two Hemphills that worked on the two advertizing cars. Send response to pdhmn6@frontier.com. Thanks Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Feb 2012 - The season of 1899 marked the tenth year in which the Ringling Bros. traveled the country on a special train of cars owned by their circus. The railroads supplied the tracks, crews, locomotives, cabooses and storage yards for their movements and other related operations. Specific data on the 1899 Ringling train isn’t readily available. You might have some success in searching online and other newspaper files.
        The 1898 consist, as specified in the Ringling Bros. composite route book, was: 4 elephant cars; 12 stock cars; 28 flat cars; and 10 sleepers; a total of 54. These likely moved in two and sometimes three sections. It was 65 cars in 1900, so some modest increase was surely in effect for 1899, probably about 60. The initial train from Baraboo to Chicago would have been only the animals and equipment necessary to fulfill the indoor engagement in Tattersall’s, which commenced on April 15, 1899. The tents and other outdoor apparatus, as well as the bulk of the sleepers weren’t needed until the under canvas engagements started on May 2 at Rockford. The entire train would have been assembled for that engagement.
        The Ringling train of 1890 commenced with cars from the Forepaugh show and also ex-Burr Robbins cars from Thomas Grenier. The Ringlings subsequently bought some new sleepers and refitted other system tourist cars, coaches or compartment cars. They generally utilized Barney & Smith of Dayton, OH as the supplier for their stocks and flats. Some coverage of the early Ringling train can be found in Richard E. Conover’s Bandwagon article, “The Early Ringling Railer.” You can locate it in the article index on this website. Initially it was composed of cars of varying lengths, but the brothers strove to achieve a fleet of stocks and flats that were all sixty feet in length, the industry standard. These were all wooden-framed cars, with metal fittings.
        There were three advance cars, out ahead of the circus, in 1899 and for a number of years before and after that season. Your inquiry about the Hemphills is best addressed to Pete Shrake at the Circus World Museum library. He can check their name finding aid, the yellow tickets. You’d better supply first names, in the event there are many. Further coverage on circus trains can be found in the books The Circus Moves by Rail, Trains of the Circus 1872-1956 and Show Trains of the 20th Century. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 28 Feb 2012 - Ringling’s 1899 Route Book is reproduced here: http://www.circushistory.org/History/Ringling1899.htm
        A listing of personnel for the advance cars shows Otto Hemphill assigned to Car #1 and William Hemphill on car #2, but does not indicate their specific positions/jobs.
        As for “what train was used” – if you’re attempting to find out what railroads the show moved on, the route book will also help. It mentions a couple of western dates were reached via the Union Pacific and the Santa Fe. For other towns along the route, you’ll need to check period maps (many available online through genealogical sites) for the railroads serving the communities; bear in mind the rail network was far more reaching and complex in 1899 than it is today.
        For example, the show was in Wisconsin from August 12 - 18 starting at Wausau, served by both the Chicago & North Western (CNW), and the Milwaukee Road (MILW). There are two options for the Sunday trip south to Beaver Dam. Travel CNW from Wausau to Green Bay to Clyman Junction, where the train would be interchanged to the Milwaukee Road (MILW) for the last leg into Beaver Dam. Plan B might have been more direct to take the MILW to New Lisbon to Portage to Beaver Dam. Next day was Berlin (MILW from Beaver Dam to Horicon to Berlin), to Oshkosh (MILW from Berlin to Ripon to Oshkosh), to Janesville (shortest route would be CNW from Oshkosh to Fond du Lac to Janesville), to Monroe (MILW from Janesville west to Monroe) to Freeport, Illinois, (Illinois Central from Monroe to Freeport).
        One minor point – the 60' length for stock and flatcars was a circus industry standard only, railroads were still using 30' freight cars for the most part at this time. Lance Burton

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