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Stickney, Sallie

STICKNEY, SALLIE LOUISE, (1835?-January 5, 1886)

Daughter of S.P. Stickney. Sometimes billed as “M’lle Heloise.” Born in Philadelphia. After starting riding at a very early age, developed an act of leapig, cutting, pirouetting, and one-foot riding with grace and ease; possessed beauty in face and form; bore herself with charm and dignity, which ranked her at the top of her profession. [C. G. Sturtevant: “In beautiful draperies and manipulating a long silken scarf, she would ‘strike’ various poses and hold them in the scenic rides while going around the ring on horseback. She also introduced dancing, pirouettes, and rope skipping, all beautifully and artistically accomplished.”] Dan Rice’s, 1858. October, 1861, created a sensation by marrying Omar Samuel Kingsley, whose act consisted of riding in woman’s clothing under the name of Ella Zoyara. Shortly, the couple left for California and Australia. The marriage was not a wise choice because they were soon separated. They had a daughter, Dona, who became a wire performer. Sallie returned from Australia, July, 1869. Kingsley subsequently procured a divorce and remarried. She performed with various circuses until marriage to rider William Franklin, 1872, while on the Forepaugh show and eventually “drifted out of the business.” Died in NYC after months of sickness and poverty; was cared for and buried through the auspices of the Actor’s Fund. S. P. Stickney’s, New Orleans, 1849; Welch’s, 1850; Welch & Lent, Philadelphia, 1854; S.B. Howes’, 1855; Joe Pentland’s, 1856; Dan Rice’s, Philadelphia, winter 1857-58; Tom King’s, 1858; L.B. Lent’s, 1858-60; Cooke’s Royal Amphitheatre, Niblo’s Garden, NYC, 1860; Lent’s Broadway Amphitheatre, NYC, winter 1863-64; John Wilson’s, San Francisco, 1864; Chiarini’s, Havana, 1864; Wilson & Zoyara’s, Calcutta, 1867; Thayer & Noyes, 1868; Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872. [John A. Dingess: “She had her own unique style of riding, as she abandoned the conventional devices of her contemporaries, giving performance that was refreshing, original, fine, graceful and modest, one which ladies who saw her greatly admired.”]

Slout, William L., Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A Biographical Dictionary of the Nineteenth Century American Circus (San Bernardino, CA: Borgo, 1998), 290.