Tag Archives: Rice, Ryan & Spalding

The Boy that Ran Away to the Circus and Other Stories





In an interesting note circus horse driver Tom Lynch (1856-1938) was born in Carleton Place. He was a trainer and 40-horse driver. At age 15 Tom ran away from home to work for a stableman in Ottawa; pursued by his father, boarded a train and headed for the United States and reached Philadelphia.

First job, assistant hostler, Rice, Ryan & Spalding, 1873. P. T. Barnum’s, 1874; Melville, McGinley & Cook, 1875; Great London, 1876-79; Barnum & Bailey, and Ringling Bros.’ until his retirement, 1936, with 34 years as superintendent of baggage stock. Drove the 40-horse hitch. [New York Herald Tribune: “His horse sense was uncanny, and even when he was in his seventies, the wagons rolled with smooth celerity, whatever the weather, as Tom Lynch prowled from one trouble spot to another about the lot.”] Died, Bridgeport, CT, age 82. Member of the Elks, Odd Fellows, Eagles and Moose. Wife’s name Rebecca, non-professional.



Rice, Ryan & Spalding 40- Horse Hitch

The Perth Courier, June 21st, 1867.

Bailey & Co’s Circus 

At an early hour on Friday morning, Perth presented a scene of unusual animation and bustle, scores of heavily loaded wagons and more pretentious buggies, with here and there a sort of two-wheeled equipage termed a gig, wended their way through clouds of dust, and by 9,30 o’clock several thousand people had arrived in town to see that wonderful sight popularly known as ‘the Elephant.’ which in the present instance was Bailey & Co’s Circus and Menagerie. Amorous  swains and and loving damsels, benedicts and bachelors, matrons and maidens, small boys and little girls, happy in the expectation of soon beholding something extraordinary, perambulated the streets with admirable perseverance, and kept a sharp lookout for the appearances of the procession.

Entree Into Town

Before 10 o’clock, the music of the Brass Band was heard in the direction of the ‘Long Swamp,’ and in a few moments the first wagon, drawn by eight horses, and conveying the Hippopotamus, reached the Lewis House, and followed by fifteen immense vehicles, containing various sorts of wild beasts, proceeded through the town. The dust was simply horrible, but despite this disagreeable circumstance, a large crowned accompanied the procession in its course.



The performance had been announced for 2,30 o’clock, and the interim was employed in erecting the Pavilion and making preliminary arrangements. One or two “side shows” speedily got under way, and attracted considerable numbers, who evinced a very laudable curiosity to witness the ‘melting’ sight of a sudatory “Fat Woman. ” somewhere in the neighbourhood of a quarter ton weight; and the “tall’ spectacle of a man ninety-five inches high. Pending the opening of the “Big Show,” the assembled masses dispersed in all directions, and anxiously awaited the hour at which the proceedings were to commence.

Slightly Crowded

Finally the time at which the outside world might enter the huge tent drew near, and in a short time every available seat was occupied, and many hundreds had to be content with standing room. As the day was exceedingly warm and upwards of three thousand persons were crammed closely together, it may well be imagined that comfort was entirely unknown, and indeed many were under the necessity of leaving.

The Menagerie

Placed in wagons on either side of the entrance, were the wild beasts; the collection, however, was not nearly so varied as most people expected. The hippopotamus, apparently almost overcome with the heat, came in for a fair share of attention; the lions, leopards, elephants, another smaller animals, were also viewed with no little interest.


The Circus

The athletic, gymnastic, and equestrian feats of the various performers, were quite equal to any ever before witnessed in Perth. The poses of the Australian Family, the splendid exercises on the Double Trapeze, and the daring horsemanship of James Melville, elicited frequent bursts of applause as hearty as it was deserved. the Trick Pony, the Comic Mules, and the Performing Elephant, all sowed a high degree of systematic training; and altogether the Circus proved a decided success, not only in a pecuniary point of view, but also in the general satisfaction it afforded to the vast assemblage both in the afternoon and veining. Early next morning the entire company departed for Smith’s Falls, in which classic village two exhibitions were given on Saturday.


Since writing the above we learn that the hippopotamus died when on the way to Kingston, in the beginning of the week. The poor animal appeared to be suffering even during the time of its stay in Perth, and many of the coguoscents, then declared that it would not survive for any length of time. Its live was insured for something like $3,000.




When the Circus came to Carleton Place

The Continuing Curse of William Street in Carleton Place

What Happened the Day the Circus Left Carleton Place

Just Beat It! Carnival Riot in Carleton Place at Riverside Park

The Horses of Carleton Place– Wonder if they ever had a Merlin?

My Greatest Summer Show on Earth!


8 horse hitch– almonte fair