William "Buckles" Woodcock

From the list of elephant persons Family: Woodcock

William "Buckles" Woodcock
William  Woodcock
William Woodcock and his beautiful herd, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus 1978.
Personal details

Spouse(s) Barbara Woodcock

Country United States

Title elephant trainer 1994-1995
Location at Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus (Blue Unit) in United States

Title elephant trainer 1978-1978
Location at Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus (Blue Unit) in United States

Title elephant trainer 1978
Location at Big Apple Circus in United States

Title elephant trainer 1974-1978
Location at Circus World (Polk City) in United States

Title elephant trainer 1965
Location at Polack Brothers Circus in United States

Title owner 1963-2001
Location at William Buckles Woodcocks elephants in United States

Biography details

William "Buckles" Woodcock Jr., circus elephant trainer in United States

Born 1935-02-26 in United States dead 2023-03-00 , son of elephant trainer William Woodcock Sr. and animal trainer Sarah Orton .

Owner of 10 elephants

1: Amy (owner from 1992 to 2004) 2: Jenny (Siam) (owner from 1991 to 1995) 3: Ned (Indy, India) (owner from 1989) 4: Zetta (owner from 1988 to 1988) 5: Dutch (Dottie, Pepper, Champagne, Cleopatra, Popsicle) (owner from 1985 to 1989) 6: George (owner from 1983 to 1983) 7: Peggy (Eva) (owner from 1982 to 1995) 8: Anna May (owner from 1966 to 2004) 9: Toto (owner ) 10: Jenny (owner to 1995)

Affiliation with 8 elephants

1: Calcutta II (from 1994 to 1995) 2: Mysore II (from 1994 to 1995) 3: Jean (from 1965) 4: Kae (from 1965) 5: Kathy (from 1965) 6: Millie (from 1965) 7: Opal (from 1965) 8: Betty (from 1965 to 1966)

Being son to the elephant trainer William Woodcock Sr, and born 26 Februry 1935 on the circus, "Buckles" grew up with animals, and by 18, performed with elephant Anna May in the ring. When "Buckles" was a baby, he was buckled and harnessed to keep him safe near the animals, giving him his nickname. Aerialist Barbara Ray, whose parents, LaLea and Ruben Ray, had a tiny circus called Marlowe's Mighty Hippodrome, married Buckles and joined the act. Their children, Shannon and Dalilah, and Barbara's son, Ben Williams, and his family, have all performed with Anna May.

Records about William "Buckles" Woodcock from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
William "Buckles" Woodcock
Stopped by Baraboo to water and exercise the elephants and John Herriott came up with this idea!
Ben Williams and "Anna May" in front, the Baraboo Elephants with Frankie Brown then John Herriott and Myself!
Years later Mr. Kellner contacted me saying the elephants were for sale so I explained the situation to Kenneth Feld and we were shortly reunited!

William "Buckles" Woodcock

In 2001, Woodcock permanently retired two elephants, the 17-year-old female African elephant Amy, and Anna May, the 57-year-old female Asian elephant, at Riddles elephant sanctuary in Arkansas.

Woodcock created a huge archive of photos, which can partly be see at his blog, Buckles WebLog

Woodcock died in March 2023.

William "Buckles" Woodcock s ancestral Ahnentafel:


William "Buckles" Woodcock
Born: 1935-02-26

William Woodcock

Born: 1904-05-19

Paternal Grandfather:

Paternal Great-grandfather:
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Paternal Grandmother:

Paternal Great-grandfather::
Paternal Great-grandmother:

Sarah Orton

Born: ?

Maternal Grandfather:
R. Orton

Maternal Great-grandfather:
Hiram Orton
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Maternal Grandmother:

Maternal Great-grandfather:
Maternal Great-grandmother:

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). elephant trainer William "Buckles" Woodcock Jr. in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 13 July 2024 at https://www.elephant.se/person.php?id=748. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Selected publications
  • Buckles & Company, 1949, by Marilyn Cohen. Three-year-old Anna May comes to William Woodcock to learn to be a circus performer. For the next 50 years the African Woodland elephant will be a member of his family.

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Categories elephant trainer | circus | William Buckles Woodcock | Woodcock family | Born 1935 | Dead 2023 | People from United States

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