M.L. Clark Wagon Show in United States

M.L. Clark Wagon Show
Typecircus
Founded1891
First elephant1895
Stopped elephants1940
Closed down1945
CountryUnited States

First partner with his brother Wiley C. Clark at Clark Circus aka Clark Brothers Circus, ML. Clark later left and started his own show, together with his two sons Lum and Willie.

"Little by little he expanded the show until 1895 when the first elephant was purchased. The elephant was Mena, and came from the Carl Hagenbeck zoo in Hamburg, Germany, along with a bactrain (two humped) camel. The elephant was small, but well trained, when she arrived in Mena, Arkansas, by train and was delivered to the Clark show.

Early in the spring of 1908 M. L. purchased two baby elephants from Louis Rhue, of New York City. These were a male named "Tony" and a female named "Babe." They were not trained and for the whole season they were hauled over the roads in a wagon pulled by four mules.

For many years an old colored man with a white mustache cared for the Clark elephants. His name was Bill Badger, and was called "Old Badger." Badger had been on the Sells Bros. Circus in the late 1800's and was listed in the Sells route books as William Badger, head elephant man. Badger was with Clark in Mexico for the fight. For years the Negro traveled over the road with the Clark elephants riding a spotted horse named "Robert." Badger died around 1915.

Mena was sold to the Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros. Circus in 1940. Mena died on the Kelly-Miller show, on October 25, 1943, in Waurike, Oklahoma."

In 1907 the title was changed from M. L. Clark Combined Shows to M. L. Clark and Sons Combined Shows and Trained Animal Exhibition. M. L. and son, Lee, worked as a team.

M. L. Clark died at Alexandria, Louisiana, on October 4, 1926, at the age of 69 years. His daughter, Pearl LaComma, age 36, died on February 1, 1927, in San Antonio, Texas.

Lee Clark continued to tour the show until August, 1930. While the show was tottering on its last legs through the mountains of Virginia and Maryland, he went broke and had to sell the show.
"

Homer C. Walton. Bandwagon, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Mar-Apr), 1965, pp. 4-11.

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