1913 Labor Day Circus, part 2 – “Society Circus”

Last week’s column surely recalled to Wayne’s old-timers that merry Labor Day now thirty-seven years past, when some 10,000 people gathered on the School Field to eat popcorn and peanuts as they witnessed the antics of clowns, performing at that Society Circus of 1913. We told you of ringmaster Van Schaick and the clown, Theodore T. Grayson; of the bareback riders Penman, Robert and Thomas Wood; of Wallace Dickson, snake charmer and A. J. D. Peterson, bearded lady.

But there were others, too, including Dr. Norman Sinclair, “for two years all the rage in Paris and Strafford”, who performed in a comedy riding act. After Dr. Sinclair came an animal act when Tom Walton was master of the wild beasts, and of the Wild Man, a very dangerous character, who, according to the program, had been captured less than two weeks before in Ithan. As impersonated by Ralph Weadley this Wild Man escaped from a side show at an inopportune moment, much to the consternation of the audience. But this was not all. For Osgood Sayen, as “Moke”, the monkey, stepped on the tail of the lion, George Ling, whereupon William Lynch, the tiger, joined in the fracas!

In the side shows, George C. Allen, “P. D. Q. R. S. V. P. Professor Nella, who had just completed a series of Chautauqua lectures on ‘Grape Juice and Our International Relations'”, exhibited his human curiosities. Among them were Crutze, strong man, as done by Thomas Hearne, and Lady Winne, whose snakes loved her as much as the program promised her audience would do. “Even Lillian Russell is jealous” of this lady as personified by Wallace Dickson. Others in the side show were William Holiday, who would “rather eat swords than watermelon”, and A. J. D. Peterson, the bearded lady, whose name was “Princess Pet”.

Besides side-shows there were eating contests. one was a bun and jelly number, another a huckleberry pie and still another was a watermelon contest. Almost impossible to believe is the fact that one person could possibly win two of these contests, as did Nicholas Tulena when he came away with the prize for both bun and watermelon eating. And Walter Fritz, according to the Public Ledger’s account “Stained his nose with glory and huckleberry as he ate himself into first place with pie.”

Quoit pitching began early and ended late with hundreds of men taking part in the contest. Thomas Costello won first place in the singles and Thomas Disken second place, with too many other prizes to enumerate among the numerous contestants.

In the baby show, according to the Ledger, “every baby got a blue ribbon just for being a baby”. Thirty-five infants in all were in the contest and all riding in beautiful decorated coaches. of great interest, of course, were the triplets, Redmond George, Eleanor Ida and Margaret Powell, children of Mr. and Mrs. Redmond Smith, of Rosemont. And then there was Eleanor Pearl Thomas, who as “fairy butterfly” took first prize for decoration while her cousin, Marie Thomas, had third place as “nymph of goldenrod” and Jean Law, as “fairy queen”, won second prize. Carl Rex Clark, as noted in last week’s column, won first prize for novel decoration of his small hay wagon. And George and Warren Lentz received a prize for their cart loaded with Fall flowers. In addition to the triplets, three sets of twins were exhibited in this event. Judges were Mrs. Theodore E. Wiedersheim, Mrs. McComb Elmer and Mrs. August von Bernuth.

Women patrons of the Circus were more than busy around flower exhibits and fancy work, and were faithful patrons of the gypsy caravan for it was there that they could have their fortunes told.

Great interest was shown in the exhibits of old dresses, quilts, fancy work and antique embroidery. Winners in these classes were Mrs. Silver and Mrs. Pile for samplers; Mrs. G. F. Hale for old handkerchiefs; Mrs. Petery, mrs. Austin Obdyke, Miss Margaret Elder and Mrs. McKenna for old-fashioned silk quilts, and Mrs. Silver and Mrs. Chapin for antique lace work.

Prominent Wayne women who won prizes in the cookery section were Mrs. Charles Fox, Mrs. W. H. Margerum and Mrs. Robert P. Elmer for large cakes; Mrs. H. B. Lienhardt, Mrs. Virginia Johnson and Mrs. Howard Adams for bread; Miss Katharine Gallagher and Mrs. Charles M. Sheaffer for rolls; Mrs. William Holman, Mrs. William B. Riley and Mrs Sheaffer for small cakes; Mrs. Marshall Ward, Mrs. William C. Lobb and Mrs. H. J. Warfield for preserves; Mrs. Brandt for pickles; Mrs. Marshall Ward, Mrs. Oscar Ward and Mrs. Oscar Russell for preserved vegetables and Mrs. Von Bernuth and Mrs. Riley for pies.

As this columnist glances once more through the old copies of the Philadelphia Press and the Public Ledger lent to her by T. Griffiths Roberts, she notes a few names not already mentioned. Among them are W. J. Buxton, “an impressive bandmaster”; Squire M. F. D. Scanlon, chairman of the Celebration Committee; Fred H. Treat, the “Mayor of Wayne”; officers Green, Muench and Erbaugh and Sergeant Crager of the Radnor Township Police Force. To all these and to many, many others of its citizens already mentioned, Wayne owed probably the greatest Labor Day celebration ever presented along the Main Line. Compared to it, last, Monday, in spite of the tremendous flow of traffic along the Pike, was quiet, indeed!