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Hello, I am looking for any information on Ralph C. Leader and his connection with the circus. I was told that he used to be in the circus as a young man. His mother died when he was 10, and his father took him and his brother (Morris Walton Leader – the Texas landscape artist) and joined the circus (likely between 1905 and 1915). I have heard he played the drums to being a ringmaster (after his voice changed – he had a really deep voice). I remember seeing a black and white photo of a ringmaster at the circus on his wall (possibly him?). When I was about 3 or 4, he took me to the Barnum and Bailey Circus in Houston, TX (1967-1968). I was curious but scared when he introduced me to a lady with snakes draped all over her, as his first wife. He seemed to know many people who worked at the circus. I would appreciate any information or help in finding fact to his presence in the circus.

Thanks, Lisa Luther

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I have read with interest your query on circus history.org concerning Ralph C Leader brother of Morris Walton Leader. I have been doing a little research on Walton Leader for a friend of mine who is a great-niece. Her grandmother was Cora Leader, sister to Clarence Percy, Morris Walton and Ralph C Leader who were children of Nathan Hammond Leader of Ohio and Marie Soule of Canada. I don’t believe my friend had known about Ralph as she only mentioned her grandmother as having two brothers – Percy and Walton. However from the 1880 and 1900 censuses, I can see that Ralph is indeed the youngest of the Leader children. I cannot add too much to your query about Ralph and the circus except to tell you that in the 1920 census of Grayson Co, Texas, ED 85 page 14B immediately following J W Johnson in household 385, Ralph and his wife Florence can be found. Ralph’s occupation is listed as “showman” – in the “carnival” industry. I don’t know if you are related to Ralph Leader or just know him from your youth. Would you be willing to share your memories or anything else you may know about Ralph with me to pass on to his great-neice?

Thank you, Ross Penny

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