Ringling Bros. Circus in United States

Ringling Bros. Circus

Local name Yankee Robinson and Ringling Brothers

Owner 1884-1907: August Ringling Jr.
1884-1911: Otto Ringling
1884-1916: Albert C. Ringling
1884-1918: Henry Ringling
1884-1919: Alfred T. Ringling
1884-1919: Charles Ringling
1884-1919: John Ringling
First elephant arrived1888
Last elephant left1919
Closed down1919
Address 550 Water Street
Place Baraboo
District Sauk County
Country United States

Directors-1898: August Ringling (assistant director)
-1907: Marie Salomé Ringling (assistant director)

Key People -: Jennie Power (animal trainer)
-: Jean Marchand (menagerie superintendent)
-: George Allen (zookeeper)
-1899: William Winner (menagerie superintendent)
-1902: John O’Brien (animal trainer)
1890-1891: W. H. Spencer (menagerie superintendent)
1890-1891: Frank Bartlow (menagerie superintendent)
1892-1892: Charles Malloy (menagerie superintendent)
1893-1894: Mark Monro (superintendent)
1900: W. H. Spencer (menagerie superintendent)
1901-1919: Katie Sandwina (artist)
1902-1902: C. W. McCurren (menagerie superintendent)
1903-1904: Cheerful Gardner (zookeeper)
1909-1909: Eduard Wulff (animal trainer)
1909-1912: Louis Lorch (artist)


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
1891: Albert Mann
(assistant elephant superintendent)
1888: Mickey Mann
(elephant superintendent)
: Harry Lockhart
(elephant trainer)
-: Jean Marchand
(elephant trainer)
-1890: Albert Mann
(elephant superintendent)
1891-1891: Charles Malloy
(elephant superintendent)
1892-1892: G. W. Ezell
(elephant superintendent)
1893-1893: Mark Monroe
(elephant superintendent)
1900-1902: Emory Stiles
(elephant trainer)
1894-1908: Pearl Souder
(elephant superintendent)
1909-1910: George Kealy
(elephant superintendent)
1910-1911: Bill Emery
(elephant superintendent)
1912-1919: George Denman
(elephant superintendent)

Elephant keepers -: Tom Brady
-: John Burns
-: George Ezell
-: Joe Fisher
-: Wm. Goeble
-: Joe Gollwitzer
-: Wm. Herron
-: Charles Mann
-: Joe McCann
-: Frank McDonald
-: John Norton
-: Dan Rice
-: Martin Smith
-: James Walsh
-: Billy Weems
1901-1904: Christian Zeitz
Record history
History of updates2024-02-04

Latest document update2024-02-04 14:45:17
Google map

List of Ringlings elephants in 1911

List of Ringlings elephants in 1911
Relevant literature
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Ringling Bros. Circus, located at 550 Water Street, in Baraboo, Wisconsin, United States , was founded in 1884 and the first elephant arrived in 1888. The last elephant left in 1919. Ringling Bros. Circus closed down in 1919.

Comments / picturesElephants owned, residing and performing with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus can be found at several different locations, which have been divided up for clarification of record keeping and to give a better idea of Herd identifications. They include:
- Ringling Brothers Circus (1884 - 1918)
- Barnum & Bailey Circus (1888 - 1918)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (1919 - 1968)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Blue Unit (1969 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Red Unit (1969 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Gold Unit (1988 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus European Tour (1963 - 1964)
- Circus World at Polk City (1974 - 1984
- Ringling Retirement Farm at Williston (1984 - 2010)
- Ringling Brother\'s Center for Elephant Conservation (1995 - present)

Ringling Bros. Circus in United States United+StatesThe Ringling Brothers.

Ringling Bros. Circus in United States United+States
The 1898 Ringling Bros. elephant department, seated in front are Pearl Souder, Sam Lockhart, and Jean Marchand.

The Ringling Bros Circus was founded by seven Ringling brothers, Albert C. Ringling (1852-1916), August Ringling Jr. (1854-1907), Otto Ringling (1858-1911), Alfred T. Ringling (1862-1919), Charles Ringling (1864-1926), John Ringling (1866-1936), and Henry Ringling (1869-1918).

The Ringling Brothers Circus began in 1884 using the title "Yankee Robinson and Ringling Brothers", the only time the Ringlings ever gave themselves second billing. It was a small circus at first, conveyed by wagons, and differed little from scores of other little shows that transversed limited geographic areas.

By the late 1880s, however, the circus had established itself as one of the largest and best-run circuses in the country. John Ringling served as the advance man and Charles Ringling assumed the role of the manager.

1888: "The Ringlings got their first elephants in 1888 "Babe" and "Fannie" (an African) and they walked overland. Mickey Mann became elephants superintendent. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)
Records about Ringling Bros. Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
1888: I referred to the Baraboo Republic of March 14, 1888 about her and Fannie’s acquisition from the Sells Bros. Here are the exact words from the paper

“The Ringing Brothers have added large, valuable and interesting features to their already grand Aggregation, by the purchase of a camel and two elephants, one of the latter being the largest in this country. The large elephant sports the towering cognomen ”Babylon” . . . The other is younger and of lighter weight, and answers to the name of “Fanny” . . . The animals were secured by the purchasing agent, Alfred Ringling , from Sells Bros., at Columbus, Ohio. The animals arrived in Baraboo a few days ago in a large animal car heated for this purpose.”

The Sauk County Democrat (Baraboo) reported to the same effect in its issue of March 15, 1888.

The Chicago Inter Ocean for April 5, 1897 ran one those typical interviews with a Circus elephant boss,in this case Ringlings’ “Perl” Souder. In it he referred to the huge Babylon, i.e. a reference to the brothers first Asian - -the one from Sells Bros. So, 10 year later she was still called Babylon.

Richard Reynolds

1890: 80 foot top, with two 40 foot middle pieces, three elephants, three camels, one water buffalo, and eighteen cages of rare animals. Frank Bartlow, Men. Superintendent. Albert Mann, Elephant Man.

1891: Frank Bartlow, Supt. of Menagerie, Charles Malloy, Supt. of Elephants

1892: Babe, Jule and Lou were added. Some sources also mention the elephants Jules, Fanny, Zip and Queen during this year. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968) G. W. Ezell, Superintendent of Elephants, Albert Mann, Assistant, Charles Malloy, Superintendent of Menagerie.

1893: Zip died and Queen was sold to G Hall. The show toured with Babe, Jule, Fannie, Lou, Fanchon, Prince, Duke and Sultan. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968) Mark Monroe, Superintendent of Elephants. Elephant Men: E. Bostick, George Bush, Frank Fetters. William Winner, Superintendent of Menagerie. Animal Men James Rafferty, John Rhettenbock, Albert Mann, Philip Busch, Walter E. Thorpe, George Becker, Tom Britten, Dick Devigne, Joe Lapoint, Alfonzo C. Clark, William Fields, John Williams.

1894: Pearl Souder, Superintendent of Elephants; J. Rafferty, Superintendent of the Menagerie. By the time Edouard "Pearl" Souder took over the Herd in 1894 the show moved on 39 railroad cars with 3 more ahead and carried 8 elephants.

1895: 15 elephants: Babe, Jule, Fannie, Lou, Fanchon, Prince, Duke, Sultan, Abdallah, Babylon, Corsair, Emperor, Pasha, Hortense, Trilby. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968) James Rafferty, Superintendent of Menagerie
Pearl Souder, Superintendent of Elephants,

1896: 12 August Baldy and Jennie were added to the Herd. (Now total 17), and at tour start the Lockart Group (among them Lockhart Jennie, Lockhart Nelly and Lockhart Charlie) was added. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)
The Herd ballooned up to 23 and included the five Lockhart elephants from England which the Ringlings later bought and Souder worked for many years.
William Buckles Woodcock

1897: Route book adverts 25 elephants. Keddah was added this year. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968). Elephant Department: Pearl Souder, Superintendent of Elephants. George Keeley, J. Wilson, John Miller, Joseph McCann, Charles Mann, Wren Gorman, Richard Jones, George Grandjean, G. W. Clark, Frederick Stanson. William Winner, Menagerie Superintendent.

With a growing Herd, the old stables were not large enough, and a new, dedicated elephant house was built in 1897. The wooden structure is one of seven original winter quarters buildings still on the property today.

1898: Also mentioned; Joe McCann, an elephant keeper. Ringling Brothers have decided to offer the government the use of a Herd of twenty-five trained elephants for light artillery service in Cuba when war shall have been declared.

1899: William Winner, Superintendent Animals, Pearl Souder, Superintendent Elephants.

Records about Ringling Bros. Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
The 1899 program had:
Ring 1
Elephants- Mons. Jean Marchand
Ring 2
5 elephants- Prof. Lockhart
Ring 3
Elephants- Herr Eduard Souder

William "Buckles" Woodcock

1900: Elephant Men: Pearl Souder, Superintendent. Dick Jones, George Newman, E. Eagell, Eugene Knowlton, Dan Keller, Ed. Cliene, Ernest Stevens, F. L. Kent, L. E. Forester. Animal Keepers: W. H. Spencer, Superintendent. John Rhettenback, John Colliton, Martin Smith, Joe Ross, J. F. Hughes, Charles Peck, George Sawyer, William Wilkins, George Becker, W. L. Johnson, Emery Stebbs, John King, Fred King, W. B. Moffatt.

1901: Elephant Department: Pearl Souder, Superintendent. Dick Jones, Geo. Newman, Geo. Ezell, A. H. Gratner, Jos. Trayon, Chas. Leeson, Mike Hinkle, L. Forrester, V. Booth, A. P. Heath, Chris Zeitz, Geo. Clark, Will Scholl.

1902: Elephant Men: Pearl Souder, Superintendent. Joe Fisher, Tom Brady, R. J. Taylor, Dan Rice, George Ezell, Wm. Goeble. Animal Men: C. W. McCurren, Superintendent, Emory Stiles, Brad Jacobs, Tony Henderson, John Rittenbock, W. L. Johnson, John Colliton, Robert Daniel, Bert McKinzie, Fred Dangle, A. L. Porsch, John Hatfield, Tom Roach, S. A. Deselm, Frank Bennett, Joe Ross, Albert Yorkewitz, George Frankland, John C. Carr, Geo. F. Smith, Bert Stone, Carl Berger, J. H. Scott, J. F. Hughes, George Allen.

1903: Elephant Men, Pearl Souder, Superintendent, Chris. Zeitz, L. P. Kennedy, Wm. Manning, Geo. Sosdorf, Mike Kehoe, Leonard Vickers, Albert Stadler. Animal Men: Wm. Juengst, Superintendent, Tony Henderson, S. A. Deselm, Frank Gardner, John Heilig, John Hatfleld, Carl Kelly, James Joyce, Oscar Olson, Charles Ray, Arthur Boilard, A. Yorkervitz, J. F. Hughes, M. Ashley, Will Dougherty, H. W. Bartlett, Harry Clark, Ed. Montgomery, Will Hogan, Arthur Eddy, G. Williams, Henry Maloney, Ross Smith.

1904: The Ringling\'s purchased 8 elephants from Hagenbeck in 1904 according to Lorenz H. book.[Source]

1905: 24 elephants. James Bailey, sole proprietor of the Adam Forepaugh and Sells Bros. Circus, set up an auction of the shows equipment but ended up purchasing everything back and sold half of the interest to the Ringling Brothers.

1906: Ringling\'s acquired complete ownership of the Adam Forepaugh and Sells Bros. Circus from James Bailey\' s widow.

Ringling Bros. Circus in United States United+StatesPhoto of a Ringling parade in Bay City Mich. in about 1906 according to Mich. Historical Society. Show carried about 24 elephants at this time.

1907: The brothers purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus and ran the two circuses separately until they merged them into one unit 1919, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, when they also moved the winter quarters to Sarasota, Florida.

Records about Ringling Bros. Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
1908: After the Ringlings bought the Barnum Show in November of '07 they decided to take 4-Paw-Sells off the road. Now with surplus elephants on hand, eight were leased to the Gollmars and six went to the Barnum Show but upon arrival in Bridgeport a fire in the bull car took the life of the big African male "Mike".
The surviving five brought the 1908 Barnum Herd up to 22."

William "Buckles" Woodcock

1910: There is a new elephant with the show. It is only thirty-six inches high, and is a big feature in the menagerie.
New York clippings 1910 22 elephants at Ringling, 20 elephants at Barnum and Baileys, and 10 elephants at Forepaugh and Sells.

Ringling Bros. Circus in United States United+StatesAsian elephant Gypsy, after having been strangled by ropes pulled on each side of the car by teams of horses. This took place at the first under canvas stand of the 1910 season. That was at Danville, IL on April 28th. While being unloaded that morning, 9 elephants stampeded doing much damage to local property. The one executed was said to be the leader. The surviving 8 “offenders” were sent back to Baraboo for “training.”

Ringling was having serious elephant management problems at the time. In 1909 there were three runaways. Elephant superintendent Bill Emery was new to the job that year, having replaced the veteran Pearl Souder. Emery lasted through the 1911 season after which he was replaced by George Denman who had the bulls on the 1910 and 1911 Forepaugh-Sells shows. He would become RBBB’s long running elephant supt.
Richard Reynolds, at circusnospin.blogspot.com/

1911: 21 elephants: Modoc, Baldy, Big Jennie, Lockhart Jennie, Lockhart Nellie, Babe and Trilby. Among added elephants during the years before were: Clara, Judy, Juno, Bessie, Jess, John, Dutch (Duchess), Hattie (Haddie), Sammy, Mary, Hazel, Pinto, Clyde and Wilhelmina. 21 elephants. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968, Circus parades Charles Philip Fox, page 111). From Buckles Woodcocks blog:

1912: Total 28 elephants? Another 7 elephants added from Forepaugh 1912: (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968) 1. Ringling Nelly, 2. Columbia, 3. Veneda (Venita, Vanita, Jenny), 4. Dutch (Duchess), 5. Sells Queen, 6. Romeo, and 7. ?? (presently unknown name)

1918: George Denman listed Clara,Judy, Juno, Bessie, John, Dutch (Duchess), Hattie (Haddie), Sammy, Modoc, Queen, Jennie, Mary, Baby, Hazel, Pinto, Clyde, Nelly, Trilby, Rio, Wilhelmina, Romeo, Venta and Columbia. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968). Jennie died in Columbus, Ohio, 1918.

1919: Ringling Bros Circus merged into Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

References for records about Ringling Bros. Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Ringling Bros. Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=627. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Ringling Bros. Circus on elephant-news.com

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