Hiram  W Franklin 





Hiram W Franklin; Clown, Pad Rider, Slack-rope Artiste & Vaulter.

One of the first American leapers to accomplish a Double Somersault from the Battoute Board (1850's); 

Palmer's, 1835; Sweet & Hough, 1835; Nathan A. Howes', 1836; June, Titus, Angevine & Co, 1839-42; Howe's & Mabie, 1841, 1843; Rockwell & Stone, 1838, 1842; tight rope, Nathan A. Howe's winter 1842; trampoline, John Tryon's, Bowery Amphitheatre, NYC, 1843; tight rope, Rockwell & Stone, 1843-46; Rockwell's Amphitheatre, Cincinnati, 1846; tight rope, Robinson & Eldred, 1847; Rockwell & Co., 1847-48; equestrian director, National Circus, Philadelphia, 1852; Welch & Lent, 1854, 1856; L. B. Lent's, 1859. ref; Olympians of the Sawdust Circle.


Franklin's International Circus (also referred to as Franklin's Circus, Franklin & Co's Circus, Franklin and Co's International Circus, or the Franklin International Circus). Originally created by the American clown, pad rider, slack-rope artiste & vaulter H W Franklin in the 1850's. Disbanded in San Francisco in 1857. It was however resurrected in Cape Town, South Africa in 1862 when Franklin, who had arrived at the Cape with Thomas M'Collum's Circus, went it alone. The company performed there without break for more than five months, becoming a serious rival for the companies of Sefton Parry and Mrs Tellut in terms of popular support. Franklin and his circus apparently had a good relationship with Sefton Parry however, the two helping each other with benefit evenings (eg, those for Sefton Parry on 30 Apr 1861., Mrs Parry on 28 Oct 1861., and Leon in 1862) and even, towards the end of the Circus's stay and Parry's 1862 season, they joined forces to present a short series of extended programmes, consisting of "Comedy, Ballet, Dancing, Songs & Acrobatics" in Cape Town, running from 8-10th and from 12-14th May 1862. *Members of the Franklin Company included H W Franklin himself, Miss Carrie, Mr & Mrs Ethair, *Young Hernandez, an American Rider (nb. not Jas (Jean) Hernandez who died 19 Jul 1861 Singapore), Jean Johnson, Mr & Mrs Stevens, Miss M. Stevens & Master Willie Stevens and the show also advertised two trick horses named 'Kilgourie' and 'Hernandez'. ref; The ESAT Entries. 


1835 -  'A note on Hiram Franklin, the 'American Apollo'. Began his career as a clown in the circus in 1835. 

ref; Publication: The Acrobat by John Stewart. 


1841 - Hiram Franklin was clowning with Joe Pentland at the Bowery, New York, USA and doing slack-rope and light riding. ref; Publication: The Acrobat by John Stewart. 


1843 Jan - H Franklin with Welch & Mann's Circus aka Rockwell & Stone's. ref; New York Clipper.


1844 Mar 31 Sunday - American Theatrical News, Hiram Franklin put up his name for a farewell benefit at the Chatham on Thursday, where he made his bow to an immense throng. He is to sail immediately for England, where several of our Equestrian Performers have met with the kindest welcome. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1846 Sep 23 - Rockwell & Stone's Circus, Geneva, NY., Mammoth Circus - performers Herr Cline, tight-rope performer; Levi North, horseman; Hiram Franklin, acknowledged the best general performer living, excelling in vaulting, single & double somersaults and leaps, horsemanship and slack-rope feats; Mr. McFarland, vaulter; John Gibson, clown; Mrs. Gossin, rider, Messdames Whitaker, Williams, Wood, Robinson & Brown. Comics, Gossin, Williams, Robinson, Mrs. and F. Whitaker, Alonzo Hubbell, the modern Hercules, Master Stevens, Kincade & Master Sharpe. Henry Needham, Equestrian Manager. 

ref; New York Clipper, Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection. 


1851 May 4, 5 & 11 - Including the Nassau Balloon Ascent at The Vauxhall (London) tonight, 1st appearance of the great American rider 'Young Hernandez', with Mdlle. Palmyra Anoto, Hiram Franklin &c., &c., 

ref; London Morning Post, London Morning Cronicle & The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1851 Jul 27 & 28 - Hiram Franklin appears with The American & French Equestrian Troupe at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1851 Aug 6 & 7 - The British Embassy, Paris. Lord Normanby's Reception... 1st appearance in Europe of Hiram Franklin, the celebrated American acrobat performed on the Slack-Rope.., attended by all persons of note in Paris, including the President of the Republique. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1851 Nov 4 - Royal Vauxhall Gardens, Rotunda Theatre, London, England ~ Hiram Franklin, (from Cincinnatti) 1st appearance in England, the Great American Rider with Mons. F. Populaire. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 Apr 5 to 16 - The Great American Equestrian Company ~ Pablo Fangue's Amphitheatre, York Hotel, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, Scotia., Will open on Monday 5th April 1852. Messrs, Welch, Hernandez & Co., Proprietors of the Great American Equestrian Establishment beg respectfully to intimate to the Nobility, Gentry & Citizens of Edinburgh, that, in consequence of the courtesy of Mr. Pablo Fanque, they will have the opportunity, before commencing their season in Birmingham, of appearing in the Nicolson Street Amphitheatre. For a short season of positively only twelve nights. The splendid Practicle Illustrations of the Art of Horsemanship will introduce the following celebrity Performers:- The Incomparable Horseman, Herdandez., The Wonder of the World. Mr. Eaton Stone, The Distinguished Indian Horseman of the Camanches. Mr Hiram Franklin, The Great Aerial Evolutionist with Young Franklin a young boy who displayed a strangely serpentine elasticity of body; Mr. Arthur Nelson, The Musical Momas. ref Edinburgh Evening Courant, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 May 3 - Welch, Hernandez & Co's American Circus & Mammoth Marquee, with talented Company of American Equestrians, including world renowned Hernandez, Hiram Franklin, Eaton Stone etc., Grand Procession at 11 o'Clock at Exeter, Monday & Tuesday May 31st & June 1st; Sidmouth, 2nd; Lyme Regis, 3rd; Bridport, 4th; Weymouith, 5th. 

ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 May 16 - Welch, Hernandez & Co., etc including Hiram Franklin visit Tewkesbury, May 17;  Cheltenham, 18 & 19;  Gloucester, 20; Stroud, 21; Wootton-under-Edge, 22; Bristol, 24;  Clevedon, 25;  Western-super-Mare, 26; Bridgewater, 27; Taunton, 28; Wellington, 29th. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 Jun 20 - Welch, Hernandez & Co's American Circus & Mammoth Marquee, amongst a host of Artistes appearing will be Hernandez, Hiram Franklin & Eaton Stone, visiting Launceston, 21; Tavistock, 22; Plymouth, 23, 24, 25 & 26th. 

ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 Jul 4 to 10 - Welch, Hernandez & Co etc.., Hiram Franklin, visiting Tewkesbury May 17, Cheltenham 18 & 19, Gloucester 20, Stroud 21, Wootton-under-Edge 22, Bristol 24, Clevedon 25, Weston-super-Mare 26, Bridgewater 27, Taunton 28, Wellington 29th. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 Jul 11 - Vauxhall Gardens, London  - During the coming week the celebrated American Hiram W Franklin will make his appearance on the Corde Volante. His marvels created a great sensation at the Cirque Olympique, at Paris. 

ref; The Atlas., The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 July -  Hernandez & Co, American Circus & Mammoth Marquee with a talanted company of American Equestrians, including the world renowned Hernandez, Hiram Franklin, Eaton Stone and numerous troupe of auxilliaries, will visit the following towns, entering in Grand Procession each day at Eleven o'Clock with their beautiful American Carriages and unrivalled Stud of Horses. Wells, Monday July 11th, Frome, 13th, Bath, 14th and 15th, Trowbridge, 16th, Devizes, 17th. 

ref; The Era, BritishNewspaper Archive.


1852 Jul 25-27 - Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London - Appearing, Welch, Hernandez & Co., American Circus & Mammoth Marquee with an American & French Equestrian Troupe, appearing Hiram Franklin, Eaton Stone, Hernandez etc., etc., 

ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 July 29 to Aug 2 - Royal Vauxhall Gardens, London - A Musical Festival with The Italian Singers (Monday 2nd), the entire Troupe of Her Majesties Theatre, with artistes including Hiram Franklin, the American Marvel on the Corde Volante. 

ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 Sep 27 - Important Announcement - Welch, Hernandez & Co, have the honour to announce that they will open for a limited season, their elegant pavilion, erected expressely for Birmingham, regardless of expense on or about Nov 1st. The following great Artistes will appear :- Hernandez, Eaton Stone, Hiram Franklin, Mons. Corteau, and Stoke's Troupe of American Artistes, now creating an immense sensation at Astley's Royal Amphitheatre, London. Particulars will be duly announced. ref; Aris's Birmingham Gazette, British Newspaper Archive, BNA.


1852 Nov 4 to 8 - Welch, Hernandez  & Co's American Equestrian Palace, Derby Road, Nottingham; Open every evening ! Glorious Success ! 10,000 persons have already visited to witness the Wonderful Performances of the follwing celebrated individuals :- The Daring Hernandez, the Unique Eaton Stone, The Gymnast Hiram Franklin, the Graceful Burnell Runnells, the American Stars, etc., ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1852 Nov 28 - Nottingham - The riding by Masters Hernandez & Franklin cannot be excelled, and the slack rope performance of Mr. Hiram Franklin is wonderful. They opened at Leicester on Monday. ref; The Era, BNA.


1853 Jan  16 to Feb 23 - Halifax, Yorkshire, England - Hernandez & Stone's American Circus - The Equestrian establishment opened here last Monday, and has been crowded nightly with the elite and fashionable of this populous and wealthy manufacturing town. The riding of Young Hernandez creating quite a furore, and the astonishing feats of Hiram Franklin, the great somersault thrower and slack rope artiste, are hailed with enthusiasm. Mr. Eaton Stone in his unique and original act, also recieves well deserved approbation. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1853 Jan to Apr 2 - Touring UK.  Many references to the Rivalship of the English & American Athletes. Royal Amphitheatre. Great Extraordinary Novely Challenge for 200 Guineas. Superiority of the two nations contested for by Mr. Arthur Barnes and Mr. Hiram Franklin, the greatest somersault throwers of the age. This grand match and trial of skill for One Hundred Guineas aside, will commence in the Circle of the Amphitheatre at Nine o'clock on Monday Evening next 31st instant, at the same hour. Competent Judges will be appointed to count and take down the number of somersaults thrown by each performer, and the party who throws the greatest number during the week will be entitled to the 200 Guineas. 

ref; The Liverpool Mail, British Newspaper Archive.


1856 Mar 27 - Col. Rowe's Pioneer Circus, Montgomery Street, San Francisco - Hiram Franklin performing, The Perche Equipose, Stilt Vaulting, Double Leaping, Corde Volante & Comic Scenes, alongside Joseph A. Rowe, Mr. J. E. Robinson, Mr. John E. Fisher,  James Hernandez, Chin Chow, Nat Austin &  Mons. D'Evani,.

ref; Article - Another Recollection of the Pioneer Circus, New York Clipper, Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection,  13 Sep 1873. 


1857 Feb 7 - Dramatic & Disultory News - Hiram Franklin with Rowe's Pioneer Circus in San Francisco, USA., (James Andrew Rowe, Equestrian 1817-1887) and Our Old Friend Hiram W Franklin, the truly Great American Gymnast is with the San Francisco Minstrel's at Maguire's New York Opera House, NY.ref; New York Clipper, IDNL.


1857 Oct 10 - Franklin & Co Circus disbanded in Sacramento, California, USA., and Messrs. Hernandez & Fisher were to have sailed for New York on Sept 16th. ref; New York Clipper, Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection (IDNL). 


1859 Feb 19 - Messrs. Hiram Franklin, George Dunbar and John McGilton left San Francisco on 12th February onboard the Steamship Kangaroo, to join Howe's American Troupe in England. ref; New York Clipper, IDNL.


1859 Mar 13 - The Alhambra, London, England - Howe's & Cushing's Company as the 'Californian Wonders'; Messrs. Franklin, Dunbar, Magillon & Fisher, a La Perche, Corde Volante feats. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1859 Apr 2 - Among celebrated circus performers who over the past few years visited California with Gold-Fever - Jas. Hernandez, W. H. Wallett (Clown), Thos. Neville, Tom King, Melville, Nichols, Prof. Risley, the India Rubber Man, Wm. Warrell (Clown), Hiram Franklin, Northrop (Clown), W. H. Foley, J. A. Rowe, Mrs. Whitaker., etc,

ref: New York Clipper, IDNL.


1859 May 1 - The Alhambra Palace, London, England ~ appearing Messrs. Dunbar, Hiram Franklin, Fisher & McGillon. 

ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1860 Jan 3 to 16 - Royal Alhambra Palace, Leicester Square, London, England, (Proprietor Mr. Thomas McCollum) - Two performances daily - Fourth week of the most Laughable Harlequinade in London., in which Don Juan, the educated bull, appears; H W Franklin, the aerial voltigeur, and several Continental artistes of great celebrity, are now appearing at this popular place of amusement. The entire Troupe will, during the ensuing week, appear in their astounding Scenes of Equestrian, Gymnastic Feats, Leaping and Vaulting, several new Comic Scenes, by Juvenile Performers, Mid-day Exhibition especially recommended for the visit of the aristocracy, families, &c, Morning at Two, Evening at half-past Seven.  

ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1862 May 22 - Theatricals in Cape Town - Of late the Cape has been well supplied with amusement. Franklin & Co's Circus Company, consisting of Messrs. Leon, Stevens's Family, Mr. & Mrs. Ethair, Mr. Jean Johnson, &c., have met with unexampled success, and after closing for a week have reopened to capital houses. Another Circus Company, under the direction of Mons. Oliver, arrived from Calcutta, and have gone to Port Elizabeth, where it is expected they will do well, as there has been a regular public entertainment in that town. A proper Circus is to be erected there for them by the Proprietor of the Cape Town Circus, Mr. Taylor. Parry's Company have divided. The energetic Mrs. Clara Tellet leases the Cape Town Theatre, and Mr. Parry goes to Port Elizabeth with a few assistants to perform in a small Theatre lately built there by a Company of Ameteurs. The non'commissioned officers of the 11th Regiment are going to re-construct the old Garrison Theatre in which Mr. G. V. Brooke, Mr. F. Younge and Miss Cathcart (now Mrs. Heir) performed on their way out to Melbourne about seven years ago. ref; The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1862 Jul 17 - Announcements - Marriages, on 17th July at Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, Mr. Leon, of Franklin & Co's Circus, to Margaret, elder daughter of Mr. Peter Stevens, late of Leicester. 

ref; 13 Sep 1862, Leicester Chronicle, British Newspaper Archive.


1862 Jul 19 - Last appearance of Franklin & Co's Circus, after which the company left the Cape on 24th July sailing for Mauritius, and untimately on to Calcutta, India. ref; Franklin's International Circus, The ESAT Entries. 


1862 Aug 31 - Theatricals at The Cape, (From our own correspondent) FRANKLIN & Co's CIRCUS starts from here for Mauritius on 24th July, after a stay of three months. Their success has been a great one. - Oliver's Circus Company are still doing well at Port Elizabeth and will probably visit Graham's Town and King William's Town. - Mrs. Clara Tellat has been performing at the Cape Town Theatre to, but average houses, through the severe inclemency of the weather. - Mr. S. Parry is at the Port Elizabeth Theatre, where weather has been finer. - The Christy's Minstrels (Proprietors, Messrs. Wilson & Nash) are announced to arrive here by next mail steamer, under the agency of Mr. J. R. Taylor. Their success is likely to be very great, as nothing in their style of entertainemnt has ever been seen here, and they will just arrive in the very best time of year. ref: The Era, British Newspaper Archive.


1863 Aug 8 - Report in the New York Clipper - Hiram Franklin and his fate. Wife and son with most of the company lost at sea, off Cape Town. Son & partner Leon remained behind and so avoided the same fate. ref; New York Clipper, IDNL.


1864 Jul 30 - 'Rio de Janeiro' 5th June 1864 "Dear Friends, In the Clipper some time ago, you made an inquiry concerning Johnson & Franklin. The last heard of them here is that Johnson was in Cape Town and Franklin and his family drowned while going from Cape Town to Madagascar...Yours E.A.W. ref; New York Clipper, IDNL.