Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hoxie Brothers Circus - Bonnie and Jessie


From Wade Burck's "Circus No-Spin Zone:"


Thursday, May 17, 2012
Unknown elephant 1952
54th Annual National Convention of Zeta Beta Tau, Jewish college fraternity Chicago which had a menagerie set up for guest's to enjoy. Could this elephant have been from the Hawthorn Mellody Zoo? Their elephant at the time was named Jessie.
Posted by Wade G. Burck
Ryan E. said...
Your timing is impeccable. Wayne Scheiner, minutes ago, delivered to me a March 1986 Circus Report containing "Notes and Corrections" to the Elephant Census published weeks prior.

While perusing, I found the following statement: "The Hoxie Tucker elephants Bonnie and Jessie are on loan to the zoo in Miami, Fla."

I referenced the records of Bob Cline, which list:

JESSIE, FEMALE ASIAN
Born - 1949 in the wild
1951 to 1953 - Hawthorn Melody Zoo in Libertyville, ILL.
1954 to 1961 - R.A. Miller
1964 to 1975 - Ray & Betty Olive
1975 - sold to Dave Hoover
1976 to 1986 - Hoxie's Great American Circus
1986 to Present - Carden International Circus

Jessie is dead (date unknown). I was about to email a contact at Zoo Miami about these two elephants' time there when I chose to check your blog for updated posts first. Unbelievable!

Wade B. said...
Radar,
Don't piss yourself, pal. You still have a show tonight, don't you? :)
Wade



After contacting the registrar of Zoo Miami, there is not record of these two elephants at the facility in 1986. Mike Rice, current camel and zebra trainer of the Kelly Miller Circus, confirms that the Hoxie Brothers Circus held a ride contract at the Florida animal park for many years. Rice himself worked their with his male Asian elephant Raja and one of Hoxie's Asian females Stacey. He described Bonnie as a large elephant and nice looking, while Jessie was a bit "tough."

Both Bonnie and Jessie are listed in the North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant (SB 317 and SB 318, respectively), sold from "Hoxie Tucker Circus" in "Florida USA" to "George Carden Circus" in "Springfield, Missouri, USA." This transfer is recorded as about November 1986, in addition to a third female Asian elephant Betty from "Hoxie Brothers Circus" in "USA." It is interesting to note (and for unknown reason) the separation of the same show into two different locations.

Bonnie
Bonnie is listed twice in the North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant.

North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant, 08/2010

The abbreviations are described in the reference source's "Location Glossary" as "Madeline Parks, USA," "R.A. Miller, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA," "R.T. Richards Show, USA," "King Brothers Circus, USA," "Fargo Brothers Circus, USA," "Hoxie Brothers Circus, USA," "Hunt Brothers Circus, USA" and "George Carden Circus, Springfield, Missouri, USA."

Elephant historian Bob Cline records a more accurate and complete history for the animal.

BONNIE, FEMALE ASIAN
1954 - R.A. Miller Show
1954 - Franco Richards
1954 to 1960 - Ring Bros. Circus
1961 - Bailey Bros. Circus
1962 - Fargo Bros. Circus
1963 to 1965 - Hoxie Bros. Circus
1966 - Hunt Bros. Circus
1967 to 1986 - Hoxie Bros. & Great American Circus
1986 to Present - Carden International Circus

Multiple editions of the "Performing Elephant Census," published in 1969 and 1972 issues of Amusement Business, confirm Jessie's ownership with Hoxie Brothers Circus of Miami, Florida. The first includes Bonnie, Hazel, Myrtle and Suzy with trainer Ken Ikert and the second a herd of ten elephants under trainer John Herriott - Betty, Bonnie, Cora, Hazel, Hoxie, Janet, Kelly, Myrtle, Stacey and Suzie.


A photograph of Bonnie can be found at an April 2011 ShowMe Elephants article relating to the Hoxie Brothers Circus' elephant Sue.

>> Hoxie Brothers Circus - Sue," 04/30/2011

Hoxie Bros. Circus 1975; The Herriott Family.
Elephants are "Hazel", "Sue" and "Bonnie"
Courtesy of bucklesw.blogspot.com


Don Marck's 1978 Elephant Census, published in The Circus Report, reveals Bonnie with the first of Hoxie Tucker's two units. She is listed with the male African Hoxie and five other females. The female Sue is also listed with the annotation "(died)."

The last published elephant census, distributed in April 1987 in Don Marck's The Circus Report, includes Bonnie as one of George Carden's 13, mixed gender and species, elephant herd.

Although Jessie is confirmed dead, the date and circumstances (although assuming old age played a part) are unknown.

Jessie
Jessie is listed in the North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant.

North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant, 08/2010

The abbreviations are described in the reference source's "Location Glossary" as "Hawthorn Mellody Zoo (Extinct), Libertyville, Illinois, USA," "R.A. Miller, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA," "Hoxie Brothers Circus, USA" and "George Carden Circus, Springfield, Missouri, USA."

Elephant historian Bob Cline records a more accurate and complete history for the animal.

JESSIE, FEMALE ASIAN
Born - 1949 in the wild
1951 to 1953 - Hawthorn Melody Zoo in Libertyville, ILL.
1954 to 1961 - R.A. Miller
1964 to 1975 - Ray & Betty Olive
1975 - sold to Dave Hoover
1976 to 1986 - Hoxie's Great American Circus
1986 to Present - Carden International Circus

Jessie's presence at the "Hawthorne-Mellody Dairy Farms" in "Chicago (Libertyville), Illinois" is confirmed, published in an April 1952 issue of The Billboard. Additionally, it is learned the animal was acquired via animal importer Louis Goebel in 1951.

Multiple editions of the "Performing Elephant Census," published in 1969 and 1972 issues of Amusement Business, confirm Jessie's ownership with R.A. Miller (also listed as trainer) in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Jessie's transfers beginning with R.A. Miller and ending with Hoxie Tucker, including several owners in between, are discussed with personal, first-hand recollections at the Circus History Message Board, managed by the Circus Historical Society.

>> "Elephant Jesse," Circus History Message Board, 02/06/2007


A photograph and text of Jessie can be found at a May 2006 post from elephant historian Buckles Woodcock.
Frankie Lou Woods with "Jessie" owned by R.A. Miller.
This was John Cuneo's first elephant and trained by Joe Frisco Sr. she was later with Hoxie Bros. Circus and finally with George Carden. She must be about 60 now." //Buckles Woodcock

>> Fred J. Mack Circus 1955 #3," 05/18/2006

Frankie J. Mack Circus, Jessie, 1955
Courtesy of bucklesw.blogspot.com

Don Marck's 1978 Elephant Census, published in The Circus Report, reveals Jessie with the second of Hoxie Tucker's two units, Hoxie's Mid-America Circus - Myrtle, Betty and Jessie.

Jessie is featured in a February 1984 Palm Beach Post article discussing a call to police about an escaped elephant from the show's winter quarters. However, the animal only "slipped out of a leg chain around 3 a.m. and foraged around the circus grounds."

>> "Elephant Slips Loose for a Meal," The Palm Beach Post, 02/15/1984

The last published elephant census, distributed in April 1987 in Don Marck's The Circus Report, includes Jessie as one of George Carden's 13, mixed gender and species, elephant herd.

Although Jessie is confirmed dead, the date and circumstances (although assuming old age played a part) are unknown.

2 comments:

  1. Ryan E said...
    Alright Wade, here is everything I was able to find since Thursday. What do you think about the picture Buckles posted from 1955 of Jesse? I learned she was imported by Louis Goebel in 1951 to Cuneo. Between your picture and the one from Buckles, do you think that could be the same elephant three years prior?

    Wade B. said...
    Radar,
    Bob Cline's dates would seem to confirm that it is quite possibly Jessie. I am having problems with the "Carden" connection. John never, ever mentioned, that I can recall George Carden having "his" Jessie, and that is something that he normally would have hung a lot of paper about.
    Wade

    Ryan E. said...
    Wade,
    Do you think Cuneo would have been aware of Carden's acquisition of an elephant he owned for three years, forty years prior? What about the Studbook's mention that Hawthorn acquired the three Asian females Ronnie, Maude and Misty from Carden on 07/18/1988?

    Wade B. said...
    Radar,
    I am willing to bet "very aware." For what it is worth, unconfirmed, I was always told she went to a zoo.
    Wade

    ReplyDelete
  2. My name is Bruce Gramling and I work for Ray and Betty Olive in the early 1970's when they co-owned Miller Bros. Circurama along with Deb Miller who also owned The Village of 1800 in Etowah, TN. I was Jessie's handler for two seasons in 1973 and 1974. When I first became acquainted with Ray and Betty, Jessie was 23 years old and weighed 8000 pounds. She was extremely loving and gentle with the public even though she had been shot in the side with a 22 caliber handgun sometime earlier in her life. Shari Olive is the daughter of Ray and Betty and was about six years old when I first knew them from Etowah, TN and later when they moved their winter quarters to Florida DeLand. Ray was a very good friend of Arthur Jones who invented and developed Nautilas body building equipment. Bruce3779@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.