Ephriam Thompson

From the list of elephant persons Family: Thompson

Ephriam Thompson
Ephriam  Thompson

Personal details
Country United States

Title elephant trainer 1904
Location at Circus Beketow in Denmark

Title elephant trainer 1900
Location at Circus Carré in Netherlands

Title elephant trainer 1887-1889
Location at Carl Hagenbeck Circus in Germany

Title elephant trainer-1887
Location at Circus Renz in Germany

Title elephant trainer-1885
Location at Adam Forepaugh Circus in United States

Biography details

Ephriam Thompson , circus elephant trainer in United States

Born 1855-07-07 in Canada dead 1916 .

Records about Ephriam Thompson from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
Born in Ypsilanti, Mich. July 7, 1855
Learned elephant training from Stewart Craven while with the 4-Paw Show and later did all the training presented by Adam Forepaugh.
Said to have left 4-Paw Show in 1886 and spent the rest of his career in Europe.
1887 Circus Karl Hagenbeck.

Died in 1916.

William "Buckles" Woodcock

Records about Ephriam Thompson from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
Thompson likely spent his later youth in Ypsilanti but his birth was in Canada to runaway slaves from Kentucky per the census.

As you know, Thompson began with Forepaugh and trained the boxing elephant John L. Sullivan. At least one newspaper account reported that a single glove was fitted to the elephant’s Trunk while Thompson (who was specifically named) donned a pair of gloves to duke it out in the ring. In 1885 Thompson went to Europe and trained a Group of 6 elephants for Hagenbeck. He then appeared with Circus Amato, Renz, and Oscar Carré, among others, in 1885-87. However, it is known that the owner of the six elephants at this time was Leo von Weste (1844-1926) a horse trainer and high school rider who sometimes presented the act; later, this Group became seven elephants. I have no record of Thompson for several years beginning in 1888 (some say he was again with Forepaugh) but during this period he probably married the female jockey rider Dolinda de la Plata. He reappears in November 1891 when he and 7 elephants are on Circus Alegria in Barcelona. From this point on, Thompson appears regularly in virtually every European city at all the great circuses though by 1895 his act is composed of three elephants. In the late 1890s he is also appearing at the big variety theatres of Europe including the Berlin Wintergarten (Nov-Dec 1897) and the Folies Bergère (late 1899). At the Carré Building in Amsterdam in Nov 1900 he has 5 elephants but by the summer of 1904 when he is with Circus Beketow in Copenhagen he shows with 4 elephants. By 1903 he is featuring his famous somersaulting elephant Mary. Thompson is back in the USA by early September 1905 for a New York City engagement at Oscar Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre followed by a tour on the Proctor vaudeville circuit. Early in June 1906 he is in Ypsilanti, Michigan, for an appearance at the local opera house and is welcomed as the Ypsilanti boy who ran away to become one of the world’s most famous elephant trainers. After a stay at Chicago’s White City amusement park in June 1906, he returns to Hammerstien's Victoria Theatre by November. By 1908, he is back in Europe. I have an 1895 German book with his portrait showing him in costume, which I can scan and send if interested. Also, the image you show of the somersaulting elephant is from a poster for Thompson’s act, one of a number of posters for his act that I know of.
Dick Flint, Baltimore

Ephriam  Thompson

Records about Ephriam Thompson from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
n 1887 Eph was performing with Carl Hagenbeck's International Circus April-Sept. He married Dolinda de la Plata nee Roba in 1887 ang had a son in 1889 named Leo. In 1902 he performed at the Blackpool Tower Circus in England.1906 Orpheum Brooklyn performing with 4 Elephants including Mary. He is also pictured performing with 3 elephants playing musical instruments with Circus Bavaria with the same 3 elephants playing skittles.in Jan 1895 he was with Circus Salamonsky Moskau performing a tight rope trick between two Elephants holding the rope.there is a photo of him performing with 6 elephants at the Hippodrome de l'alma in Paris around 1880.

I just wanted to ad some info concerning Eph Thompson that comes from a newspaper article dated July 1912 written by David. W Watt (former treasurer with the Adam Forepaugh show)
He wrote that the boxing elephant Sullivan was such a sensation in America its famed reached Europe and that the act was booked for the winter of 1887/1888 in Europe to appear in 14 principal theaters in Europe, opening in London December 1887 for three weeks then on to continental Europe.
Adam Forepaugh Jr. James McCarthy/manager and Eph Thompson /handler.

When they came back to America for the 1888 season, while in Chicago, a wealthy man from London made a contract with Eph Thompson to go to London and train six elephants, which he trained during the winter, and then the next year, they toured the principal cities of Europe.
As far as D.W Watt was aware, Eph Thompson was still living in London and in show business.
-Anon, 08 January, 2007

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). elephant trainer Ephriam Thompson in Germany. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 21 May 2024 at https://www.elephant.se/person.php?id=1608. (archived at the Wayback machine)

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Categories elephant trainer | circus | Carl Hagenbeck Circus | Thompson family | Born 1855 | Dead 1916 | People from United States

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