Part 692p – Smith Groh Genealogy – The Mystery of Brayton C. Placeway – Barnum and Bailey Circus – Gablonz, Austria

21 May 2012

Good Day,

At this point in my genealogy search of the information and data of ggg-grandfather Brayton C. Placeway, I have to make sure that I can disseminate noteworthy news and records.

From the 1 February 1915 Emergency Passport Application and the 25 February 1915 Pinckney Dispatch article “Just Arrived From Germany – Brayton Placeway and Wife Reached Here Last Week”, I learned that ggg-grandfather Brayton had married his second wife, Johanna (née Plischke) sometime around November 1914. I also find out that Johanna (née Plischke) was “of Austria”.

According to the Pinckney Dispatch article ggg-grandfather Brayton had worked and toured Austria and Germany with the Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. The Emergency Passport Application lists that his occupation as of 1 February is that “of Theatrical Artist”. Who knows what type of job he may have had with the Circus?
The Pinckney Dispatch further states that he had been a “Germany-English interpreter for a gas company in Gablonz, Austria.

Three leads begin to open up a number of research paths. The three leads are:

1. Theatrical Artist and Barnum and Bailey Circus
2. Johanna (née Plischke) of Austria
3. Interpreter for gas company in Gablonz, Austria

And where does ggg-grandfather as a Theatrical Artist fit into a role with the Barnum and Bailey Circus? Did he tour with the Circus and eventually meet Johanna while on tour in Austria?

Information and dates from the Princeton University Library and the McCaddon Collection of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, 1871-1907, expand that:

1897-1902: 5-year Barnum and Bailey European Tour. Ringling Bros. Circus becomes dominant American Circus

1907: Ringling Brothers purchase “Barnum and Bailey Circus” (shows remain separate).

1919: “Ringling Brothers Circus” combined with “Barnum and Bailey Circus” to create “Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus”

And of course this leads me to the questions, based on the presumption that ggg-grandfather was, as listed in the 1910 US Census as of 15 April 1910 an Apprentice Seaman with the US Navy and a patient at the United States Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia:

1. During what years was he with the Barnum and Bailey Circus?

2. When did he work as an interpreter for a gas company in Gablonz, Austria?

3. And what type of "Theatrical Artist" was he with the Barnum and Bailey Circus?

I have to ask these questions. It is all a part of my research into the past life or lives of ggg-grandfather Brayton C. Placeway. And the more and more I read, the more and more curious and inquisitive I tend to become.

Enjoy, and stay-tuned for more...



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