Hiram W. Franklin
Hiram W Franklin; Clown, 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. 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/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; 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, 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 & Master Franklin, American, 'amateurs & various occupations', arrive 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, Miss 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; Publication, The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899.
1850 Jul 28 - US Federal Census.
1851 Mar 30 - National Census, England, Wales & Scotland.
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 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 & 28 - Hiram Franklin appears with The American & French Equestrian Troupe at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. ref; The Era, 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 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, 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 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 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.
1860 Jan 3 to 16 - Royal Alhambra Palace Circus, 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 other great Artistes from Rome and St. Petersburg 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, BNA.
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 to 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 prics 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, (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 - 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' 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.