McDonough County, Illinois
Macomb Boys in the Circus Business
THE CIRCUS BUSINESS - Away back in about the year 1867 every boy in Macomb almost, was a would-be circus performer. The improvized trapeze, horizontal bar, spring board, etc, were as plentiful as the boys themselves, and a great majority of them grew quite proficient in all-around circus work.
The cause of it all lay in the fact that Jas. T. JOHNSON, circus manager, wintered here a couple of seasons and organized here for the road. He ran a regular winter circus, giving performances every Saturday night, many of his most enthusiastic performers and assistants being Macomb raised material. He put up an octagonal-shaped building on the lot just west of where THOMPSON's livery stable now stands and furnished it with a center-pole, circus ring, and circus seats. Several high classed performers of that day were retained with the combination through the winter, so that the entertainments were really good and well attended.
Names mentioned were: Frank A. GARDNER who won "world-wide fame as the most accomplished leaper and bounding jockey in the world. He started on the road with JOHNSON's little circus and afterwards traveled at different times with FOREPAUGH, BARNUM, SELLS Bros., and all the biggest circuses, always being advertised as the leading equestrian feature and the greatest bareback rider in the world. It is said he went to Australia and became proprietor of a circus himself. He was with the Forepaugh Circus the last two or three times it visited Macomb and everybody reminded everybody else GARDNER was raised in Macomb. However, he was not born here, but came here with his mother from Augusta. She was a widow and acted as a cook at the St. Elmo Hotel on the west side of the square.
Willis WOLFE who developed into a wonder as a leaper, double summersault turner and general all-around tumbler. He traveled with Burr ROBBINS, L. B. LENT and other old time first class circuses. WOLFE died in Macomb several years ago and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
Harry UPDEGRAFF--general performer.
Chas. BONHAM--general fighting man and bouncer with JOHNSON's.
Joe ADAMS of Tennessee had the candy and lemonade priviledge with JOHNSON's.
T. B. KYLE--watchman and caller.
"Cope" HOING, who years ago lived on West Carroll Street and present time is with Barnum and Bailey as animal trainer.
"Bill" SMITHERS, Geo. RICE, and other old cronies of the saw-dust ring often call at "Bill's" barbershop and exchange reminiscences of the days back in the 60s when the glories of the springboard and tights filled "Bill's" ambitious eye to the exclusion of everything else. He worked as a juggler and animal trainer and failed at most or was injured trying according to this article. He never traveled with the circus away from Macomb as his parents would not give him permission to do so. One time he walked to Galesburg to join the circus, and his parents went by train and were waiting there to return him home.
L. STOCKER, south-side jeweler was mentioned as leading the band in Macomb.
Wm. OLKKNOW in later years was boss canvassman with the Barnum and Bailey Circus and at present time is serving in that capacity with the show in Europe.
"Deacon" (Frank) GRAVES spent one season with Forepaugh's as musician with tenor horn. He likes a more quiet life and is now hustling groceries.
MACOMB DAILY JOURNAL
30 Aug 1900
Editor Hainline of Macomb, Ill., Refuses to Resign.
Washington, September 1.--An example of the way the Democratic administration is dealing with postmasterships is afforded by Macomb, Ill., the old home of Senator L. Y. Sherman. William H. Hainline, veteran Central Illinois editor and the present postmaster, on the strength of a report by a post office inspector was given by the postmaster general until tomorrow to resign. Hainline will not resign. He has told the post office authorities so in plain language, and invited them to carry out their program for his removal. Hainline's term expires December 13, 1914. The charge filed against him by the inspector was "criticizing his superiors." This charge was made after the inspector had looked through the files of the Macomb Daily Journal, owned and edited by Hainline, in which were found editorials commenting in true Republican style upon the public policies of the Wilson administration.
Senator Sherman had advised all postmasters who have been subjected to inspection with the evident view to their removal in case a resignation could not be induced to refuse to resign and allow the Democratic postmaster general to remove them.
The other cities included in the half dozen marked for decapitation, in none of which the term of the post master had expired, are Peoria, Danville, Pontiac, Bloomington and Rockford.
Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, Illinois)
Tuesday, September 2, 1913
Transcribed By: Chandra Hainline