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Boone Society

Compass April 2006

Our Boone Family Stories & Queries

Col. Edgar Daniel Boone, born c. 1841 Died San Francisco Oct. 12, 1903

By Paul Griffiths, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, UK

Does this name crop up in anyone’s research? Col. Edgar Daniel Boone was a US Circus Owner and trainer of wild animals at his peak around 1891 – 1895. He was with the famous Forepaugh’s Circus for a season in 1891. He was married to Millie, known professionally as Carlotta.

He claimed in an 1894 press report, which I have, to have been descended from “Kentuck’s famous pioneer”. But I believe he was actually a Boon from Norfolk, England who added an ‘e’ to his name and a little bit of license for his circus act!!

Just a speculative inquiry, but any info would be nice! He was my great, great, great uncle!

(Note: Boone researcher Dell Boone Ariola found a 1900 US census from Monmouth, NJ, Borough of Bradley Beach, Park Place Ave., Boone, Col. E. Daniel, born Apr 1842, yrs b. KY, father b. KY, mother b. KY. Occupation: “Tamer of Wild Beasts”)

Although the usual census and births, marriages and deaths have not proven very helpful, the few on-line newspaper archives I have visited across the States between 1891 and 1903 have proven utterly amazing! The have confirmed the family stories I heard from my grandmother (a Suffolk Boon) and more!!

It appears he was quite a showman and lion tamer who traveled extensively – and with it came the hype. There must have been a Press Release in all the towns he visited with the circus and his wild animal arena.

There is always this claim of a link with Daniel Boone! I’ll quote a few here:

“Col. Edgar Daniel Boone is the name of the man who is at present astonishing the people of this country by his performance with five full grown ferocious lions…the colonel is a Kentuckian by birth, and a direct descendant of Kentuck’s famous pioneer…”“Col. E. Daniel Boone, manager of the menagerie…is a grand nephew of the illustrious Daniel Boone …”

“Col. Boone the lion tamer … while he was at the centennial exposition in Philadelphia there was a reunion of descendants of Davy Crocket…the assemblage suggested a Boone reunion to the colonel. He got one up in response and it was marked by the presence of nearly 200 people who traced their descent from Boone…”

“The Col has discovered a relative and co-descendant…in the person of Harry C. Blair….also a grand nephew….he is to entertain the Col to supper to commemorate their relationship.”

Whatever the truth of all that, Edgar Daniel Boone was, it seems, a brave trainer of wild animals. He led, and I feel he wanted his audience to believe he had led an even more colorful life. I have found newspaper references to his having “served under 8 flags” … his time in Peru, the Confederacy, the French Foreign Legion. Ivory hunting and lion hunting escapades in Africa, besides performing in Paris and London and other European cities with his act!

This in addition to other actual accounts including … his “top of the bill” circus act and party piece putting his head in a lion’s mouth … one of his lion’s escaping in Memphis … one of his keepers being “terribly bitten” and subsequently dying … his own Daniel Boone Arena in the Midway at the 1894 Mid-Winter Exposition in San Francisco … his getting arrested there … and getting arrested in Mexico too, the following year!

The sad post script may be that in June 1900 census … his wife Ellen has had 4 children but only one survives; she was just a month over 1 year … I haven’t found anything further about Ellen, but in the April 1910 census there is a 10 year old Delores Boone (Born in New Jersey) in the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum in San Francisco.

“I’m quite enjoying this foray into research as you must realize … I’ll do all I can do on the net … then I can see a visit to the States coming on to do some more!”

Paul Griffiths

Compass  January 2008

“The Wild Beast Tamer”

Edgar Daniel Boone


Miss Carlotta

 A few months ago, the Boone Society heard from a Paul Griffiths who lives in England, wanting to know if we had any information on a Col. Edgar Daniel Boone and his assistant, Miss Carlotta. 

Paul sent me a copy of a brochure with the comments;  “He was a US Circus Owner and trainer of wild animals at his peak around 1891-1895. He was with the famous Forepaugh’s Circus for the season in 1891.  He was married to Millie, known professionally as Miss Carlotta.  He claimed in a press report in 1894 to have descended from “Kentucky’s Famous pioneer”.  Paul believes that Col. Edgar Daniel Boone was from Norfolk, England and added the “e” to his name for a “little bit of license for his act”.

Shortly thereafter, I was searching the 1900 New Jersey census records and was surprised to find living in Neptune, Monmouth County, New Jersey, the family of a Col. Edgar Daniel Boone; his age was 58 and his wife “Ellen” was 40. Listed also was a daughter, Delores B. age 1, and a niece Susie age 18 who was born in NY.  His occupation was listed as “Tamer of Wild Beasts”.

Dorthy Mack did further research and found the Col. had died in San Francisco in 1903 and Delores was in San Francisco’s Rowan Catholic Orphans Asylum as a pupil. No other information has been found on the Colonel, Miss Carlotta/Ellen, daughter Delores or niece Susie, other than earlier trips back and forth between England and America.

Coincidentally, in September 2007, I heard from a Chris Boon in England, telling me he had a picture of a Col. Edgar Daniel Boone and he was also wanting any information available. This picture has been in his family for many years and is inscribed on the back:

Edgar D. Boone and wife
to our beloved
Brother, Walter and wife
New Orleans La. USA

May 27th 1895

Chris also has a newspaper clipping “Boone’s Arena, the Great Lion and Animal Show Opens Today. It was after 12 o’clock when the parade of Col. E. Daniel Boone’s famous wild animal show ……sending street”.

Chris believes that since this inscribed picture to his “brother Walter” has been in his family for so long, and that Walter is a family name, including his father that is named Walter, that this Col. Edgar Daniel Boon/e is a relative.

If anyone has further information on this family, please contact me.

Dell Boone Ariola

Compass-January 2009

The Rest of the Story

Col. E. Daniel Boone and Miss Carlotta

Tamer of Wild Beasts

Some of you may recall a past query and a short article that appeared in Compass in Jan 2008 regarding a Col. E. Daniel Boone (Tamer of Wild Beasts) and Miss Carlotta. We now have the final ending to this very interesting story:

Rochelle Cochran (Editor of Compass) first heard from a gentleman, Paul Griffiths who lives in Staffordshire, England. Rochelle, Dorthy Mack and I did some initial research on the Col. and Miss Carlotta here in the US. At that time, we didn’t know if they were American or English.

A few months later, Chris Scott Boon in Nottinghamshire, England put a query on the Boone Society’s Guest Book asking for information, and I responded to it. Chris and I exchanged information and photo’s and I uploaded a copy of Chris’s photo of the Col and Miss Carlotta to my website at

After that, it didn’t take long to fit all the pieces together, and now we have the rest of the story of Col. Edgar Daniel Boone and Miss Carlotta.

Dell Boone Ariola

“Family” Reunion… Thanks to Compass and Boon(e) Researchers!

By Paul Griffiths, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, UK

When Dell Boone Ariola published the story about Col. Edgar Daniel Boone and Miss Carlotta in the January 2008 issue of Compass I was convinced that Chris Boon, who had submitted the photograph of the couple (which had an inscription on the reverse to “our beloved brother Walter”) must be related to the Colonel and distantly to myself. (Edgar Daniel Boon(e) had a younger brother called Walter, born in 1851).

I E-mailed Chris with my thoughts…but with only the family Christian name Walter and a rather vague later connection to Greenwich in London to link us it did not look too promising at that stage. Chris felt his family was perhaps of Irish origins, his grandfather Alfred James Walter Boon having come to England from Dublin in 1901. Neither was he aware of any Boon family connections with East Anglia, where Edgar Daniel came from! Almost as far apart were their religions, the Boons in East Anglia had been stalwarts of Non-Conformity (Congregationalists) but Chris’s family were Roman Catholic!

Chris delved further into the mystery and obtained his grandfathers marriage certificate (Greenwich 1905) which showed his great grandfathers name as Walter Boon. I was now even more convinced that this was the brother Walter referred to on the back of the photo!

Approximately at this point, Bob Boone (now deceased) became involved as there were links with some research he himself had actually done ‘on the ground’ in East Anglia. He was so helpful that I am sure he inspired Chris to take a trip across the Irish Sea to Dublin to look at more records, which are not available on-line. There he discovered the link, Walter Scot Boon born in 1851, a gardener, had indeed moved from East Anglia to Ireland, and as Chris put it…”to pass the time had a couple of children” one of whom was his grandfather! Thanks also to two other Boon family researchers, Peter Boon and George Boon, Chris now has a family tree stretching back to the mid 17th Century!

Or to summarise, Chris Boon descends from Walter Boon son of Alfred and Amelia Boon and the brother of Col. Edgar Daniel Boone, a great uncle of my grandmother Marion Millie Boon.

And the photo that started the pursuit … sent from New Orleans on May 25th 1895, it was probably taken to celebrate the Col.’s marriage that month, as recorded in the “Louisiana Marriages 1718-1925 Record”, to Millie Carlotta, aka Ellen Kelly, (after many, many years together!!!).

So it was that one sunny Sunday morning in May, Chris journeyed the 50 or so miles from his home in Nottinghamshire to meet up with me in Staffordshire. We then spent two hours looking at the story of Col. Boone and his adventures from the American Civil War, to his performances in Circus, Expositions, Vaudeville Theatre and Carnival Midways up until his death in San Francisco in 1903! Chris also shared his own box of wonderful family mementoes, and although we searched to find photos that showed the “famous” Boon nose profile we didn’t find any! We parted with the promise that we will keep in touch and that I will keep him up to-date with the Col. Boone story as I discover more!

Incidentally, I have recently come across letters in the Smithsonian Archives in Washington written by Col. Boone in 1901. Constantly moving from one venue to another across the US with his lions had taken its toll and at 60 years of age he wrote to the Director of the National Zoo “I am tired of knocking around, would like a steady place, when ever you want a head keeper I think I can fit the bill…I am not afraid of work and attentive to my business…I am tired of travelling and want something steady..” Despite a follow up letter, with which he looks to have included details of ‘The Great Boone Railroad Shows – and Trained Animal Arena, which described him as the Worlds Greatest Wild Animal Trainer, he unfortunately didn’t get offered a post!

I’m still looking for Col. Boones son, Edgar born about 1889 and his daughters, Dodo b.1886 (Yes, that was her name!!) and Dolores b. 1899 (who spent time in San Francisco Orphanage Asylum until she was discharged to her sister on May 22nd 1910). If any of these names appear in anyone’s research I’d love to hear from them.

Paul Griffiths