Friday, November 27, 2009

JOHN AND HARRY NELSON: Courtesy of Sandy Weber and Patricia Barlow

Harry and John Nelson

John (bottom) and Harry (top) Nelson

Harry Nelson and Rita, by Ray Wolfe (1947)

Heya Pat!

I received a couple of nice notes from Patricia Barlow who, it turns out, is the grand-niece of Ringling clowns John and Harry Nelson (I don't know how she found that page of photos and videos I have online)!

Anyway, she sent a couple of photos of the Nelsons which I thought were very interesting.

This is what she has to say:

Clown stiltwalkers, John and Harry Nelson (in the photo) were my Great Uncles! They were a great part of my life, as a young girl (I am now 71)- when they were home from the Show periodically, they lived next door, with their sister - my Grandmother.

Also, around 1947-49, my cousin Raquel Nelson was with the Ringling circus. She was featured side ring foot juggler.

The Nelson Family Circus started in England....went to South America and ultimately returned to live in Brooklyn N.Y.

The 6 daughters were acrobats and bareback riders - 2 sons acrobats, stiltwalkers and clowns and the oldest son was manager with his Father.

The Nelson Circus started in England and then South America...never performed as a family in the US-But the family members all continued, in other circuses, throughout the US - all in acrobatics.

John and Harry were the only full-time clowns.

As the other family members married and started raising families, they left circus life.

With Thanks,
Patricia Barlow

Anyway, take care and my best to you and your family!

Your Pal,
Sandy Weber

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With enormous assist from Diane & Jim Bauer, a Slideshow was produced including John & Harry Nelson, Ancestry of the Nelson Circus, The Nelson Sisters, etc. This can be watched on U-Tube. Part 1 of 4 is already posted. The link is "" or just do a U-Tube search for "carlswans" and a video with "Ancestry - Nelson Family" Slideshow produced by Carl Swanson (