Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Final Issue 2018
Novels in Three Lines, if Félix Fénéon had written for Billboard Circus News
Rolf Potts

Babe Boyakin, a well-known circus and carnival man who was reputed to be immune from snake bites, died at the County Hospital last week after having been bitten by a rattlesnake. Boyakin was struck by the snake while he was playing with it, following his purchase of the reptile. He had been performing in theaters with a hypnotic act, which included a lecture about snakes.

Joe Sully, an acrobat, died of injuries received while rehearsing his act. A new man had taken the place of the deceased’s trapeze partner. His usual partner had taken ill and could not make it to rehearsal.

W. H. Miles of the Gollmar Brothers Circus, was shot through the abdomen by Deputy Sheriff E. J. Putman at Earle, Arkansas. Sent into to the sideshow tent to quell a disturbance, he found Deputy Putman inside and persuaded him to go outside. On the way out the deputy, who was said to have been drunk, became agitated and fired his pistol.

Mrs. Harry Janicke, veteran of various Wild West shows, died at Lord Lister Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Her death was the result of injuries suffered when she was run over by a taxicab. She was professionally known as Prairie Nell.

Alonzo Moore, famous clown with the Sells-Floto Circus, lost his life during a motor excursion to Buffalo Bill’s grave, when his automobile rolled off a 200-foot cliff in Bear Creek Canyon. Charles Hite, assistant manager of concessions, was injured internally and may have suffered serious neck injuries. Julius Pearse of Pearse Fire Supply Company leaped as the automobile started down the embankment, and was unhurt.

Nebraska Bill, a well-known Wild West showman, died in a sanitarium at Hawthorne, New York, of cancer of the lip. It is supposed the cancer was caused by being struck with a whip some time ago while doing his whip-cracking act. He had recently taken his talents to vaudeville.

Ada Moxon, aged 92 years, died in the Wayne County poorhouse early this winter. For 35 years she had been one of the leading bareback circus riders of the country. She was known professionally as “Elsie, the Fairy Equestrienne.”

Jim Nugent, who works the trapping wagon with the Al Barnes Circus, was killed just as the train was leaving St. Charles, Missouri. It had stopped on a trestle when Nugent, who had been asleep, stepped off the platform and plunged 100 feet to the canyon below. He had not been aware that the train was on the trestle.

Major Louis Davis, a circus dwarf, 37 inches in height, died at his home in Granville, West Virginia. For fifty years Major Davis trouped with the Barnum & Bailey Circus as a sideshow attraction. A month previous to his demise the deceased made all preparations for his death, even paying for his funeral expenses in advance.

Madame Marantette passed away at her home Mendon, Michigan. Marantette performed until she reached the age of 70, and she matched her snow-white hair with a white costume, white horse, and white poodle. In her will Madame directed that “Chief Geronimo,” her horse, and the poodle, “Tiny,” be killed, and that the poodle be buried in her casket.

Joseph Lavender, who died last week in Kansas City, was widely known in the circus business as “Frenchy, the Chandelier Man.” He was a whiz with gasoline, handling it with the utmost fearlessness. Although he was a hard drinker and was badly burned on numerous occasions, these accidents were always due to the ignorance or carelessness of others.

About Rolf Potts

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