Dailey Brothers Circus in United States

Dailey Brothers Circus
Arumi Singh and Raymond Freivogel (Dog Red) tending the herd with "Tommy" in the center
Arumi Singh and Raymond Freivogel (Dog Red) tending the herd with "Tommy" in the center

OwnerBen Davenport
Last elephant left1950
Closed down1950
CountryUnited States

Head keepers
of elephants
1943: Louis Reed
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Dailey Brothers Circus, in Gonzales, United States, was founded in 1940. The last elephant left in 1950. Dailey Brothers Circus closed down in 1950 in Gonzales, .

Comments / pictures

For the 1929 season Ben Davenport moved to the Princess Iola's Medicine Show, playing week stands. Princess Iola, was really Eva Billings, daughter of Gay Billings, who had operated "Gay's One-Horse Circus" in the early 1900s. Princess Iola became Mrs. Davenport and in 1931 together they took the med show out again but it went broke in Sugar Creek, Ohio. Eva Davenport and her infant daughter Norma, returned to her home in Quincy, Illinois, and for a time took up residence.

Meanwhile Ben watched the ads in the Billboard and joined Milton Holland in framing a indoor circus to play Elks' Club auspices in the Pacific Northwest. They stayed out 26 weeks.

He later went back to med shows playing halls for five and six day stands. For the next two years he was rassling bears and selling medicine. By that time his trucks were worn out and he replaced them with a couple of old Chevrolets.

This was the start of the Davenport Society Circus, in 1935, using a side wall corral, two trucks and an air calliope as the physical property. This little show grew, and continued under that title through the 1939 season. In 1940 the title was changed to Dailey Bros.

Late in the season 1942 the Adele Nelson elephants were purchased with the Nelson semi.

Late in the season 1943 Dailey acquired the five Weir elephants and their trainer Louis Reed.

Records about from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
Dailey bros Circus with trainer Jimmy O'dell with the Chas. B. Weir elephants of Vaudeville fame purchased in 1943. "Maude", "Cutie", "Truxie", "Luna" and "Hank" (Henrietta).

Records about from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
I had seen Luna & Cutie kill the wardrobe lady in the first year I was on Dailey Bros. Circus.
Cutie was not a killer. Luna wasn't either.

Luna was blind in one eye, if you walked up to her on her blind side she would swing around toward you, for it scared her. (the wardrobe lady was Donna McMahon's great aunt I think. Gertie was her name.) The elephants were chained just outside the ladies dressing room, on the back side. Because it was a small lot. Gertie came in to the dressing room to plug in her lights, and she turned and went out the wrong way, walking right into Luna's blind side. When Luna turn fast she knocked Gertie into Cutie. Both elephants were scared. They reacted out of fear. They were not trying to be mean. But they stepped on her and knocked her back and forth between them. It was horrible to see and hear.There were only about three or four of us in the dressing room. There was supposed to be a watch man on duty at all times. He wasn't there. A clown and a groom on the horses grabbed her by the arm, and the bulls pulled her back in. By this time the bulls were scared so bad, they had lost all control.

Barbara Woodcock

Nemo, the only male performing elephant on the road in 1945, made a robust addition to the herd of eight. Rex Williams, of recent Beatty-Cole fame, worked as first assistant to Louis Reed on the bull line, while Raymond "Red" Freivogel had personal charge of Nemo.

1947-1948: two elephant shipments brought over by Reed for Ben Davenport. The first arrived in June 1947 and the second in January 1948. (Richard Reynolds)

The versatile and talented Arumai (sometimes "Arokiaswami") Singh came to America from his native India in 1947 with Louis Reed and a shipment of elephants destined for Dailey Bros Circus.
Ole Whitey, Bandwagon

1950: The circus closed down.

"Dailey Bros. owner Ben Davenport gave daughter Norma five elephants--Norma, Mary, Maude, Bessie and Konti--in 1950 as a wedding present after she married Pete Cristiani. They became the Norma Cristiani elephants and were used on various circuses and Shrine dates until (according to Norma) she sold them to Beatty-Cole in 1960."
Lane Talburt

After the Dailey Show closed in 1950 Charlie was sold to Gran Circo Union in Mexico. Smokey Jones took him down there. I could write a book on the stories Smokey later told about Charlie's adventures and misadventures while down there. I think he eventually died on that show.
Buckles Woodcock

References for records about Dailey Brothers Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Dailey Brothers Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=525. (archived at the Wayback machine)

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This document was updated: 2021-09-14 12:18:59

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