Hiram W. Franklin
Clown, Equestrian, Gymnast & Circus Proprietor
A Study/Research Findings by James Bohun
Hiram W Franklin; Pad Rider, Slack-Rope Artiste & Vaulter, and 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., 1847-49; equestrian director, National Circus, Philadelphia, 1852; Welch & Lent, 1854, 1856; L. B. Lent's, 1859. Considered a good pad rider and proficient as a vaulter and slack-rope performer. Odell quotes from the New York Herald of 31 Jan 1844, which describes Franklin as "the beautiful, fearless rider and unsurpassed vaulter". It goes on to say that "his double somersault and his wild gallop on his bare-back steed are feats of the most extraordinary interest which can be conceived". By this time, the double somersault must have been a regular part of Franklin's performance. His double leaps, double somersaults, performance on his slack-wire and accomplishments as an equestrian made him one of the most versatile and talented performers of the day. Ultimately, succeeded in turning a triple somersault. Said to have thrown 76 consecutive somersaults during a single performance.
((Was in South America, Apr 1864, where it was rumoured that his ship foundered and sank; another source places the ship lost in the Mauritius in the Indian Ocean; and another still lost at sea off the Cape of Good Hope)). ref; Pub: Olympians of the Sawdust Circle, A Biographical Dictionary of the Nineteenth Century American Circus, by William L. Slout., (first published September 1977).
Franklin's International Circus (also referred to as Franklin's Circus, Franklin and Co's Circus, Franklin and Co's International Circus, or the Franklin or Franklyn International Circus). Originally created by the American clown, pad rider, slack-rope artiste & vaulter Hiram 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 two trick horses named 'Kilgourie' and 'Hernandez'. ref; Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance (ESAT).
Hiram Franklin birth abt.1825, USA. ref; 31 Mar 1851 England Cencus., 21 Feb 1853; New York Passenger & Crew Lists (Including Castle Garden & Ellis Island) 1820-1957, Ancestry.com.
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, IDNL.
1843-1844 - 'Hiram Franklin, the beautiful, fearless rider and the unsurpassed vaulter, is the gem of the company. His double somerset and his wild gallop on his bare-backed steed, are feats of the most extraordinary interest which can be conceived.' Further on it reads, The benefit of Levi North, at the Chatham, occured on February 26th; the Herald announced a few days previously that he and Hiram Franklin had engaged passage for Liverpool. ref; Macready -Forrest - Hamblin 1843-44, Annals of the New York Stage by George C. D. Odell.
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, BNA.
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, IDNL.
1847 - Rockwell's & Co's Circus, St. Louis - Hiram Franklin, a partner in Rockwell's & Co's Circus was shot in the face by actor Harrington, also a member of the Company, who then attempted to shoot William Lake and failed, subsequently turning the gun on himself committing suicide. ref: The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899.
1848 Aug 12 ~ Wm. C. Preston, Agent - Rockwell & Co.'s Circus, The Proprietor of this immense and talented Equestrian Establishment, takes great pleasure in announcing to the citizens of Fayette and adjacent vicinity, the approaching performances of the unrivalled Troupe - They feel a great pride in calling particular attention to the name of Hiram W. Franklin, whose representation you see in the large pictoral Bill in his wonderful act of throwing 76 Somersets, a number never equalled by any performer in the World; together with his terrific Double Somersets, through Balloons, over Banners, Horses &c. Also his daring, one, two, and four horse riding, with his astonishing Corde Volante Performances, which truly make him the wonder of the Age.
Artistes without number and certainly without regard to expense, have been employed during the past winter in manufacturing tne costumes, Houseings, Trappings, Decorations and other Parapharnalia to correspond with their magnificent Pageantries, Tournaments, Cavalcades and Processions, which this Company give on every representation, and which have created such a tremendous sensation everywhere upon our route, and always attended with so great eclat, that hundreds who never visited a circus before, are now found among the patrons of this Greatest of Circuses.
In addition to the above talented troupe, there is attached to this Company; Mrs. Nunn, Mrs. Schindle, Mrs. A. Rockwell, Mrs. Lake and Mrs. Woods, Female Equestrians; the Queen City Brass Band; Proprietors Henry Rockwell & Co; Manager, S. Q. Stokes; Equestrian Director, Thos. Nunn; Treasurer, A. W. Pell and William Lake, Clown. Will exhibit in Fayette, Missouri on Monday, August 28, 1848, for one day only. ref; Boon's Lick Times, Newpapers.com
1848 Aug 28 ~ Fayette, Missouri, USA - The performance commenced at 2 O'clock with a magnificent spectacle entitled the 'Halt of the Bedouins', or the 'Arab's Bivouac'; Comic Song by Mr. Lake; Grand Trampoline Leaps by Mr. Hiram W. Franklin; Vaulting by the Company, led by H. W. Franklin; Beautiful Two Pony Act by the pride pet of the Arena, Master W. Grady; Horsemanship and Gymnastic Evolutions on two horses by Messrs B. Runnells and H. W. Franklin; single horse act by Mrs. Thomas Nunn; Mr. Lake and his Trained Dogs; Massaniello or Fisherman of Naples by Mr. B. Runnells; Slack-Rope feats by Mr. H. W. Franklin; Two Horse Alemande by Mrs. Thomas Nunn and B. Runnells; Mr. H. W. Franklin and his pupil, the beautiful and talented Master Wm. M. Grady in their celebrated Antipodeen Gymnastics and Muscular evolutions; Indian Warrior by John Spindle; Mrs. Lake performs difficult feats on the Slack-Wire; and Master Wm. Grady in a brilliant Single Horse Act; The precious and juvenile equestrian has already, by his beauty, talent, grace and skill, obtained the flattering soubriquet of the Young Ducrow of America. Among the stud of highly trained Horses, will be particularly noticed the feats of the celebrated Fighting Ponies. The whole to conclude with a laughable afterpiece. ref; Boon's Lick Times, Newspapers.com
1850 Mar 26 ~ Arrival at New York, USA - H. W. Franklin, 28, American, with Master Franklin, American, 'amateurs & various occupations', arrive at New York, USA, aboard the 'Ohio' from Chagres, Panama via Havana, Cuba - in the company of:- Messrs. C. Rivers, Levater Lee, Mary Livingston, J. Kirkman, Sally Kirkman, Ellen Vass, Misses Schenck (2), J. H. Price, H. Schenck, Henry Drake, P. Smith, G. F. Honey, J. Blackman, Masters Rivers (2), Samuel Lee. ref; New York Passenger & Crew Lists.
1850 Jul 8 - Great Olympic Circus (late of Astor's Place, New York) Newport., set up tent with many performers from Sands, Lent & Co, including Messrs. Richard Rivers (Proprietor) Hiram W. Franklin (the man shot in 1847), Burnell Runnals, John Glenroy, N. Robinson, George Honey and H. Conover; John Tryon served as manager. ref; Pub; The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899, by S. L. Kotar, J. E. Gessler, first published 2011.
1850 - US Federal Census.
1851 Mar 18 ~ Arrivals at Liverpool, England - List of Passengers Per Steamer 'Baltic' - including Mr. H. W. Franklin & Son. ref; Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser, BNA.
1851 Mar 30 - * Latest find Feb 2021 * H. M. Franklin, aged 26, an Equestrian, born *(
Trinstead, Middlesex ) ,is located with a younger male, W.
Franklin aged 14, also an Equestrian, born * ( ?? Middlesex) Lodging at No.3, Jermyn Street, St. James's Square, Westminster, London. ref; 1851 England Census, National
Archives, HO 107, Piece 1484, Folio 157, page 30.
1851 May 4th to 11th ~ Royal Vauxhall Gardens, Manager, Mr. Benjamin Barnett - A Galaxy of talent unequalled in England. Mdlle. Palmyra Anato, the most celebrated female equestrian in the world, together with Hernandez, the young American marvel, and Hiram Franklin (from Cincinnati, United States of America) achnowledged as the most daring rider (his first appearance in Europe), Monsieur F. Populaire, the rival Auriol., Mr. Nelson, Herr Deani, Mr. & Mrs. Lee, &c. Madame Lijars and Mddle. Pauline Cuzent, the renowned female equestrian from St. Petersburgh, have also been engaged. ref; The Era, BNA.
1851 Apr 7 - Paris, France - Hiram Franklin, the celebrated American acrobat, performed on the slack-rope, Tuesday. ref: BNA.
1851 Jul 16 - Cirque, Champs Elysees, Paris, France, of all the personnel at the Cirque this summer, Hiram Franklin is the favourite. ref; Boston Daily Atlas, pub: The Acrobat, John Stewart.
1851 Jul 27 - Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Under the Management of Messrs. Welch, M'Cullum & Co. The American and French EQUESTRIAN TROUPE will make their Grand Entree before London public TO-MORROW (MONDAY), July 28th, and continue every Evening during the Week. This Company will consist of star riders known throughout the Equestrian profession as the first in the world. Attention is directed to the following list of principle Artistes:- Madame Caroline, Madam Brower, Mdlle. Loissett, Madam Garcia, Madam Felix, &c., Premier Rider, Mr. M'Cullom; Mons. Loissett, Mons. Jarrett, Mons. Edar, Mons. Rochez and his Infant Son, Mr. Stone, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Brower, Mr. Cook, Mr. Adrien, Master Loissett, Master Green, &c. NB. The WILD HORSE OF THE PRAIRIE, every Night. Doors open at Half past 7; commence at 8 o'clock. Prices: Dress Circle, 3s; Boxes, 2s., Pit, 1s 6d, Gallery 1s; Upper Gallery, 6d. No Half-price. ref;Weekly Dispatch (London), BNA.
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, BNA.
1851 Nov 4 - Royal Vauxhall Gardens, Rotunda Theatre, London, England ~ Hiram Franklin, (from Cincinnatti) 1st appearance in England of the Great American Rider with Mons. F. Populaire. ref; The Era, BNA.
1852 Apr 3 ~ THE FINAL AND FAREWELL NIGHT ! THEATRE ROYAL, DUNLOP STREET. It is respectfully announced that the GREAT AMERICAN COMPANY OF EQUESTRIANS will finish their Season this present evening, Saturday April 3rd, and on which occasion will be presented. Extraordinary and unparalleled performances, being for the Benefit of Mr. EATON STONE, The Wild Horse Rider of the Prairies. The following New Performers will have the honour of appearing:- Mdlle. FANNY, the brilliant Parisian Horsewomen; Mrs. ARTHUR NELSON, the graceful Lady Equestrian; Young FRANKLIN, the agile Posturer Master, and Master NELSON, the clever Equestrian. Added to which, will be the Matchless and Extraordinary Feats of the Three American Stars, HERNANDEZ, EATON STONE, and HIRAM FRANKLIN; with many other Circus Novelties, and Grand Gymnasia by the full Troupe, particulars which will be found in the hand bills. ref; North British Daily Mail, BNA.
1852 Apr ~ York Hotel, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Great American Equestrian Company will open on Monday 5th April. Messrs. Welsh, Hernandez and Co, proprietors of the Great American Equestrian Establishment beg respectfully to intimate to the Nobility, Gentry and 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 for a short season of twelve nights only. The splendid Practicle Illustrations of the Art of Horsemanship will introduce the following celebrity performers:- The Incomparable Horseman Hernandez, 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'; the Brothers Elliott in their flying calisthenies; Mr. Mackett, Mrs. Nelson, Mlle. Fanny and Master Nelson appeared in graceful scenes of equitation; Mr. George Ryland, equestrian juggler; the principle clown, Mr Arthur Nelson; & Mr. Arthur Barnes, the Musical Momas. ref; Edinburgh Eveing Courant, BNA.
1852 Apr 12- Amphitheatre, York Hotel, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, Scotland - Monday, April 12, Remarkable Night of Novelty - Engagement of Miss MARY BROWN, and the LAST EVENING but Four of the Season. The Grand Galaxy of Entertainments for the present occasion will introduce HERNANDEZ, unequalled in his profession, and whose performances are nightly applauded to the Echo; the Graceful Horsewomen MLLE. FANNY; The Wonder of the World, EATON STONE, the Indian Rider of the Prairie; FRANKLIN, the Wonderful Air-Diver; Miss MARY BROWN, the Equestrian Sylph; Masters FRANKLIN, ADOLPHE, and NELSON, the Juvenile Aspirants on Horseback; ARTHUR NELSON, the Royal Jester and Clown Wit; RYLAND, the Olympic Magi; MACKETT, the Four-Horse Manager and Scenic Deliniator; YOUNG COURTEAU, the Indian-Rubber Boy. ref; 13 Apr 1852, Edinburgh Evening Courant, BNA.
1852 Apr 20 - Amphitheatre, Nicolson Street. Chosen Night of Novelties and the Last Night But One of the Season, Tuesday April 20, for the BENEFIT OF MR. H. W. FRANKLIN, the Great Voltigeur and Daring Somersault Performer, who respectfully intimates to the Inhabitants of Edinburgh that his Benefit is fixed for Tuesday (This Evening), on which occasion the whole force of the Company will be put forward to render the Entertainments pleasing and attractive in the highest degree. HERNANDEZ - EATON STONE - H. W. FRANKLIN - THE BROTHERS ELLIOTT - MLLE FANNY - ARTHUR NELSON, &c. Wednesday, the 21st. The Farewell Night, under the Distinguished Patronage of the Honourable Henry Coventry, and the Officers of the 79th Highlanders, and for the Benefit of HERNANDEZ. Full details in the Bills of the day. ref; The Edinburgh Evening Courant. BNA.
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, BNA.
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, BNA.
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, BNA.
1852 Jul 4 - Welch, Hernandez & Co's American Circus and Mammoth Marquee with talented company of American Equestrians, including the world-renowned Hernandez, Hiram Franklin, Eaton Stone, and a numerous troupe of auxiliaries, 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 :- Exmouth, Monday July 5th; Honiton, 6th; Chard, 7th; Yeovil, 8th; Sherbourne, 9th; Wincanton, 10th; Day performancesat two o'Clock; Evening performances at Half-past Seven. ref; The Era, BNA.
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, BNA.
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, BNA.
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, BNA
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, BNA.
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, 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, BNA.
1852 Nov 26 - WELCH, HERNANDEZ AND CO'S PORTABLE EQUESTRIAN PALACE, with their Powerful and Talented AMERICAN TROUPE etc, - the following Celebrated Performers appeared - Hernandez, the incomparable Star Rider; Madame Henri Franconi, the Celebrated French Horsewomen from Paris; Madlle. Josephine Zameso, the daring ?; Eaton Stone, the distinguished Indian Horseman; Master Franklin, the agile Posturer; Sig. Zameso and his Talented Sons; Burnell Runnels, the Great American Double Horse Rider; Mr. Ryland, the Eastern Magi; H. W. Franklin, the Aeronaut Voltiguer; Mons. Henri Franconi, the Celebrated Professor of Equitation from Paris; and Mr. G. Knight the Shakespearian Jester. ref; Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, BNA.
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 ~ 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, BNA.
1853 Jan 31~ Royal Amphitheatre, Liverpool, England - Great Extraordinary Novelty Challenge for 200 Guineas. Superiority of the two nations contested for by Mr. Arthur Barnes, an English, and Mr. Hiram Franklin, an American athlete and greatest somersault thrower of the age. The grand match and trial of skill for 100 Guineas aside commences in the Circle at the Amphitheatre at Nine o'clock on Monday 31st. 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; BNA.
1853 Feb ~ The summersault match for 200 guineas, which has been contended for by Mr. Arthur Barnes and Mr. Hiram Franklin at the Liverpool Amphitheatre, concluded on Saturday evening, in favour of the Mr. Barnes, the agregate number of summersaults thrown being, Barnes, 363; Franklin, 313. On Saturday evening Barnes threw 76 - a larger number than any of the preceeding evenings. Franklin only threw 58. They both appeared to be very much exhausted. ref; BNA.
1853 Feb 21 ~ Arrivals at New York, USA - H. W. Franklin, 28, American, Equestrian & Master W. Franklin, 10, American, Equestrian, arrived New York from Liverpool, England aboard the 'Pacific'. ref; New York, Passenger & Crew Lists (Including Castle Garden & Ellis Island) 1820-1957.
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, IDNL, 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 Feb 22 - National Circus - Lee & Bennett, Proprietors; Frank Rivers, General Agent; James S. Leymon, Treasurer; J. Alexander, Advertising Agent. This Immense Establishment having been entirely refitted will open in a short time with the following talented company, embracing some of the first artistes in the world, several of whom have recently arrived from the East, expressly for LEE & BENNETT. Among whom may be named - Hernandez, The Rider without a rival; Hiram Franklin, The best living General Performer; George Ryland, The Vaulting Wonder; J. E. Fisher, The Athlete; Miss Mary Ann Whittaker, The Star of the Cirque; Mlle. Annette Annerean, The Daring Menage Act Rider; Madame N. Austin, The world renowned Ascensionist; Miss Virginia, The Graceful California Equestrienne; Mons. Rochette, California's Equestrian; Frank Whittaker, The much admired and favourite Ring Master; George Peoples, The Daring Four-Horse Rider; J. M. Armstrong, The graceful Equestrian and Double Somerset Thrower; Dan. Nonover, The Original and Witty Buffoon; H. C. Lee, The Horse Domesticator; Master Eugene Lee, The Daring Backward & Somerset Rider; Master Francis Lee, The Polandric Performer and Globe Runner; Master Walter Leroy, The Infant Gymnast; Master Edgar Nye, The Infant Contortionist, who rivals D'Evani, the world-renowned India Rubber Man. ref; National Circus Article, Wide West, Vol.3, No.10, CDNC.
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, 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, Magilton & Fisher, a La Perche, Corde Volante feats. ref; The Era, BNA.
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 & McGilton. ref; The Era, BNA.
1859 Dec 27 - Jan 21st - Royal Alhambra Palace Circus, Leicester Square, London, England. Mr. Thomas McCollum's Great Cirque Classic, the most Laughable Harlequinade in London in which Don Juan the educated bull, the entire Troupe and other great Artistes from Rome and St. Petersburg will appear in their outstanding Scenes of Equestrian, Gymnastic Feats, Leaping and Vaulting with several new Comic Scenes by the Juvenile Performers; those performing - Miss Josephine, vaulter & rider; Miss Clementine, rider; Davis Richards, hurdle rider; Mr. Leon, the American bare-back rider; H. W. Franklin, the aerial voltigeur; Miss Roberts; Miss Bird; The Clowns, Mr. Connor, Mr. Egan & Dan Castello; The Two Lively Sprites, Masters William and Richard Connor. ref; The Era, BNA.
1860 Sep 18 ~ Opinions of the Press, Cape Argus - Cape Town, South Africa - Thomas McCollum and his Troupe appeared including: Master Leon and his trained horses; George Buckley's equestrian representation of a 'Tar at Sea'; Marcus Talbot's equestrian act; Hiram Franklin's wonderful somersaults and slack-rope dancing; Mr. Clifton, the Contortionist; and Mr. McCollum's graceful riding; all done in first rate style. ref; The Circus Collection, Harry Ransom Centre, University of Texas, Austin, USA.
1862 May 11 - Equestrianism at The Cape - A letter dated Cape Town, March 23rd was received in Leicester the other day, from an old favourite in the Profession, Peter Stevens, who is now fulfilling a highly successful engagement in Cape Town with Franklyn's International Circus. With him and his family, and it would seem that the appearance of his daughter in the arena caused the utmost interest, she being the first female in the Profession who has appeared in Cape Town. Steven's Leicester apprentice Smith (now Hernandez), is with him, and will turn out a great acquisition to the Profession it was ever his ambition to follow. It will be remembered that the Circus in Belgrave Gate, Leicester was in the hands of Stevens for several months last year, and his friends will no doubt be glad to hear of his welfare. The passage from England (so says Stevens) was beautiful, and all his family are well in health. The names of the other members of the Company include, Leon, Jean Johnson, Ethair, Madam Ethair, and Franklin. The prices of admission in the handbill are 5s, 3s, and 1s 6d. ref; The Era, BNA.
(nb. Peter Stevens died 1st Jan 1872 at Teneriffe, Canary Islands, of Madagascar Fever, after two weeks illness, Mr. Peter Stevens, Circus Proprietor, formerly of this country (Great Britain) ref; The Era, 21st Jul 1872, BNA)
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, BNA.
1862 Jul 17 - Announcements - Marriage, on 17th July at Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, Mr. Leon, of Franklin & Co's Circus, to Margaret, elder daughter of Mr. Peter Stevens, late of Leicester. ref; 13 Sep 1862, Leicester Chronicle, BNA.
1862 Jul 17 - Marriage Record - Michael Leon KILEY, Bachelor, full age, of Plein Street, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, Performer at the Circus, and Margaret Stevens, spinster, on 17 Jul 1862 at St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town, South Africa. ref; Cape Town: St George's Cathedral Marriages, 1811-1880, Anglican Church Archives Wits University.
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, South Africa. 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, BNA.
1863 Aug 8 - 'There is no longer any doubt as to the fate of poor Hiram Franklin, as the ship left Cape Town it has never since been heard of. His wife and child were with him, and I believe most of the company. Leon and Franklin were in partnership with the circus. Leon stopped behind to pay some bills, and by doing so escaped the fate of poor Franklin. I have heard that William Armstrong is married to a young English lady, Miss Jane Holloway. Tom Neville is still in Germany, Eldred is with the circus here in France belonging to Francisco and was in the United States one season and travelling with Van Amburg. Respectfully. ref; Paris Correspondent, New York Clipper, IDNL.
1864 Jul 30 - 'Rio de Janeiro' Brazil, 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.