Sparks Alice (Jumbo Lou) an Asian elephant at Lewis Brothers Circus


 ☨ ♀ Sparks Alice (Jumbo Lou)  

Identification


Description

Species:Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Female ♀
Origin
Born:* wild
Birth place:
Death
Dead date: 1941-06-18
Death reason: accident: train wreck
Locations
Present / last location:Lewis Brothers Circus, in United States

Date of Arrival
(Presently sometimes errors!)

1934-00-00Lewis Brothers Circus
from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus
Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus 1932-00-00
from Sparks Circus

Document updated2009-01-15: Death, Text
Relevant literature
Description

† Sparks Alice (Jumbo Lou) is a dead Female ♀ Asian elephant, (Elephas maximus), who died at Lewis Brothers Circus, in United States, of accident in 1941-06-18. Official death reason described as train wreck. (see detailed list).

Origin


Sparks Alice (Jumbo Lou) was born wild .


Comments / pictures

Mr. Ilfield, here are a couple of pictures of your family's show, similar to yours, from my collection. "Alice" was imported by the Sparks Circus in 1922, ten years later this show (now owned by Ringling) was taken off the road and the elephants absorbed into the Ringling herd. This picture taken in 1934 and was "Alice" first season with Lewis Bros. having been purchased from the Ringling show the previous winter and died when the truck she was riding in was struck by a train at Conneaut, Ohio 6/15/41. I have always been of the opinion that this was the only elephant the show ever owned but several people have claimed otherwise.
Lewis Bros. Circus 1934 #1, Buckles Web Log, 10/03/06

Conneaut, OH accident, 23 April, 2006 - At Conneaut, Ohio in the 1940's two (and possibly three) elephants were killed when the truck carrying them stalled on the New York Central railroad tracks and was struck by a train. The elephants were buried in a grave located on Lake Road, between Conneaut and Ashtabula Ohio. I would like to determine the date of the accident and the name of the circus that was involved. Thank you, Richard (Bud) Halliday, Sacramento, CA.
Reply: 24 April, 2006 - Part of this story is told in Slim Lewis' book "Elephant Tramp," where he tells of Bill Hart driving a Lewis Bros Circus semi in front of a moving train, causing the death of two elephants and their trainer Paul Miller. A 1942 elephant census dated the accident as June 15, 1941 and identified the elephants as "Jumbo Lou" and "Two Ton Tony" but one of them was definitely Sparks Alice, whom I believe Buckles shows as coming on the Sparks show as a youngster in 1929 and putting in some time on Ringling-Barnum before being sold to Paul Lewis. Ree-gards, Ole Whitey
Reply: 24 April, 2006 - You must be referring to Lewis Bros. Circus. Their only elephant "Alice" was lost when the truck in which she was riding was was struck by a train in Conneaut, Ohio June 15, 1941. Buckles
Reply: 24 April, 2006 - The show qwas called Lewis Bros. Circus and Wild West. I have an elephant named Two Ton Tony died June 15, 1941 from the truck wreck and another named Jumbo Lou which died three days later on June 18, 1941. Bob Cline
Reply: 25 April, 2006 - "Alice" was imported to the Sparks Cicus in 1922 and remained until that show was taken off the road following the 1931 season. All 9 Sparks elephants were then absorbed into the Ringling-Barnum herd in 1932 which already had an elephant of the same name, hence "Ringling Alice" and "Sparks Alice". Following the 1934 season "Sparks Alice" was sold to Lewis Bros. Circus and remained there until her death in 1941. I have a number of pictures of her during this period, always alone so I would appreciate any background on "Jumbo Lou" and "Two Ton Tony". BUCKLESW@tampabay,rr.com
Reply: 26 April, 2006 - I pulled my copies of newspapers out and sent them to Buckles today. The newspaper photos in 1938 refer to the full grown female Asian as Jumbo Lou. This occurs in 1939, 1940 and 1941. The 1939 paper refers to elephants and mention Tony by name. By the time of the accident, Tony is mentioned as being three years old however they refer to Jumbo Lou as 49 years old. Since she was imported in 1922, her age doesn’t figure out correctly. There are several articles also that state replacement elephants have been bought and should be delivered to the show on June 30, 1941 but I cannot find anything that says they actually arrived. In fact a July 23, 1941 article is a typical press release and still uses Tony and Jumbo Lou by name as the elephants about to appear in your town. Buckles is the undisputed Elephant Historian, hands down. He has been an invaluable source of help over these last two years of emails and his daily blog. I have to then assume that Jumbo Lou is a name change for the elephant known as Sparks Alice. Tony on the other hand is a mystery. I don’t even know if Tony was used to name a Male or a Female in this case. Bob Cline
Reply: 06 December, 2006 - I am Paul Lewis's niece. Uncle Paul was the owner of Lewis Brothers' circus. I remember well the early morning telephone call from Ohio telling us that the two elephants, trainer and dog, I believe a large greyhound, had been hit by a train and killed. My father, a lawyer, younger brother of Paul, immediately chartered a small plane and pilot and flew to the scene to handle legal aspects of the incident. The larger, older elephant was named "Laura," but called "Lou" when my uncle acquired her. My Dad renamed her "Lew" because of Lewis Brothers' circus. The smaller elephant may have been named Tony. Neither my sister nor I can recall. It was a male, and never fully trained for performance, so appeared only in the menagerie, in the"spec" and such. He was killed before he could reach his potential. He was about half the size of Lou or Lew. My father, in a little written history pegged the date at 1942. I think 1941 is correct. I had a copy of the Canneault (or nearby) newspaper for the day after the accident, or the day of, but cannot find it. I think my sister has it, and I'm trying to get a copy from her. Then we'd have the exact date. I may have another source for that information. The train signal was not working, and that was the cause of the accident. The June 18, 1941 date in Reply 24 sounds correct to me. Re: Reply 26: Replacements were never bought, but my uncle hired an elephant act to complete that season and thereafter. Insurance was virtually impossible to get, so he had none. Interesting sidelight: My father's notes say that Lou (Lew) was twice taken to Washington, D.C. to participate in inaugurations of Republican Presidents, but he doesn't tell us which ones. I do remember their taking her to our Jackson, MIchigan depot to welcome Wendell Willkie when campaigned in Jackson for the Presidency. Jackson is one of two towns claiming to the the birthplace of the Republican party, the other being Ripon, Wisconsin. T.H. STANTON, bgsths@msn.com
Reply: 18 Sep 2007 - I want to thank you all who responded to my question about the two elephants that were killed (along with their trainer, Paul Richard Miller of Charlotte, Michigan and a Dobermann Pinscher) at Conneaut,Ohio. They were all riding in the trailer of a semi that was struck by a New York Central passenger train, the "Lake Shore Limited", at 5:10 AM Sunday, June 15th, 1941. The trainer, Paul Miller was killed instantly as were the two elephants and the dog. The elephants were 40 year old "Jumbo Lou" weighing 4 tons, and 14 year old "Two Ton Tony" Coming from Burma and India, both were expertly trained by Miller. The driver of the truck was Charles Oswald who disappeared after the accident and could not be located. There was no crossing guard and a string of box cars on a siding to the East obscured Oswalds view of the oncoming West-bound train. Jumbo Lou was hurled nearly 50 yards west of the crossing and died of a broken back. Two Ton Tony was thrown about 25 yards and died of a crushed head. The circus was Lewis Bros. owned by Paul M Lewis of Jackson, Michigan and played the next day in Corry, PA. - the show did go on. I visited Conneaut on September 9, 2007 and have copies of the Conneaut News Herald of June 16, 1941 which have the details of the accident and will be happy to send a copy to all who are interested. Richard (Bud) Halliday - halliday@cwnet.com

Circus History Message Board, 04/23/06



Reference listKoehl, Dan, (2021). Sparks Alice (Jumbo Lou), an Asian elephant at Lewis Brothers Circus in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 17 April 2021 at https://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=3332. (archived at the Wayback machine)


Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Bob Cline, Cheraw, South Carolina, United States.

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  • Categories1941 deaths | Elephants from Lewis Brothers Circus | United States | Asian elephants



    This document was updated: 2020-10-18 06:25:24


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