Monday, February 27, 2006

Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros. Circus 1942

I remember D.R. telling my dad the story of their first elephant "Hattie" she was originally a Ringling elephant going back to about 1895 but was now in the Hagenbeck-Wallace herd lying dormant in California in 1939. Obert and D.R. drove a truck out there and Cheerful Gardner showed them around (D.R. said he was terrified) and they settled on "Hattie" who was purchased 1/1/40. She was a sweet old cow, Cheerful could have unloaded anything on them.
In 1941 they bought a second elephant even older, "Mena" who came from the Hagenbeck Zoo in 1890 for the M.L. Clark wagon show. They now had a herd of two until Hattie died 11/3/41 in Cranfield, Okla.
So now we get to 1942 and we see "Mena" and "Tena" pictured above with Obert Miller on the horse. World War II arrived and "Tena's" previous owner, Russell Hall, was drafted into the Army and given 30 days to dispose of his elephant. Mr. Hall was a descendant of Col. George W. "Pop-corn" Hall out of Janesville, Wis.
Andrew Downie first owned "Tena" with his Downie Bros. Circus, framed in 1926.

Unfortunately I have jumped all around with these Kelly-Miller elephants rather than have the years in proper order. Yet I am sure the hard core "elephant nut" will figure it out.


CircusBrat said...

Good Morning Bloggers,

Have I ever mentioned how great my dad is? Well, let me just tell you a quick story. A few weeks ago my cousin Dee asked if I would like her leather sofa recliner, a leather recliner, and matching sofa table, end table and Coffee Table. Of course I said yes, since secretly coveting her living room set for the last two years. I originally had a friend’s husband going to help but he ended up needing to work. So, I had to go with my fall back….Dear old Dad. Of course all of you know it was his birthday and I did fill badly about slaving him like a Hebrew on his birthday but if you can’t rely on your dad who can you rely on. The day before I get a phone call from Dee she said that her boyfriend John has a friend coming and that my dad would not have to come up. She said they felt bad making dad work on his birthday. They also, thought that if he got hurt, being at the ripe old age of 3 score and 10, it would take longer for him to heal and that she had a few boxes that needed to be moved and didn’t want to impose on Uncle buckles to move her stuff also. Of course I had to laugh and thoroughly gave her a hard time. I did call dad that Saturday night and advised that he did not have to come up. But as I knew dad would he said he would be there to scoop me up. Any way, he scooped me up at 9:15am and off to the Uhaul and back to my place to remove my old sofa to take to the Community thrift store, then off to Dee’s house. We get there he backs in the Uhaul like an old pro. My cousin and her boyfriend John mention that his friend is on his way. Dad and I being the old circus pros looked around and said we can do it. We were almost done when two other friends showed up to pick up Dee’s big TV. They helped us with the big stuff sofa, recliner, and tables. As we locked the truck down we told them we would meet them at my house. John and Dee both said wait for us to get there to help unload. Of course we reassured them we would wait. We get back to my place and out goes the tables, out goes the twin bed set, out goes the tables, basically we had the entire truck unloaded and in my house except for the couch by the time they showed up. Dad was back on the road headed home by 12:30.

I couldn’t have been blessed with a better father!!!!! I know I said happy birthday yesterday and thank you but just for good measure….Thank you Dad you are the best!!!

Anonymous said...

great story

dutchess said...

You are truly blessed Dalilah. I hope you paid for the burger and beer this week. Circus folks can work circles around others no matter the age. People are amazed at the work I do here by myself. We owe the circus more than we can ever repay except to try to keep it alive and something to be proud of.

GaryHill said...

Dalilah, you were so little when I worked for your Dad, but it always amazed me how gentle and kind he always was to you and your brother Shannon! Truer Love is never matched compared to a Dad and his kids. Your Dad is the kind of man that the mold was unfortunately broken after he was born, but he has shown the way for so many of us young men that worked for him! I would like to think I'm a better Dad to my son partly because of how Buckles treated me and others like me! He is a Great Dad and a Great Man and Friend! God Bless all that is his! Gary

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there another "HATTIE" on Kelly Miller in the 60s?

Anonymous said...

Help me get some names straight that keep appearing. Who is DR and who is Ben who keeps popping up?

Buckles said...

DR is Dores Richard Miller former owner of the Kelly-Miller and Carson & Barnes circuses.
Ben is Ben Trumble herpetologist extraordinaire.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember reading somewhere,where the was a
Hattie Lockhart,which was part of Samuel Lockhart's elephant act here in America around the early 1900's.
(I think Bob Cline mentioned it some time ago).

Buckles said...

Ths Otto Floto Dog & Pony Show advertised in 1902 having leased 4 elephants from Ringling Bros. and worked by Samuel Lockhart.
"Haddie", "Wilhelmina", "Trilby" and "Tom Tom".
Further publication stated that "Tom Tom" died opening day in Kansas City, Mo. and that act had returned to Ringling Bros. by mid-summer.

Randy said...


Hattie died in Grandfield, Oklahoma, not Cranfield, as posted.