"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance"
-George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, November 27, 2010

There's One in Every Family!

The 100th Carnival of Genealogy topic is "There's One in Every Family".  When reflecting on this topic, many names come to mind.  The Loomis Gang, my 3rd Great Grandpa Wood, (I wrote about earlier this summer), and various other colorful characters. Although, one comes to my mind.  My Great Grandpa Stanley Wood. 

Stanley and His father, George C. Wood.
My Grandma tells me fondly of her father's days with the circus.  And not just any circus, the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. Grandma always speaks of great fondness of her father.  Apparently Stanley ran away from home when he was 15 and joined the circus.  (How many of us said we would od this at one time or another during our lives.)  Stanley worked with the elephants and horses.  One story she tells me is of Stanley taking the elephants down to the river to bathe them.  The townsfolk would come down to the river to watch the elephants and occasonally they elephants would spray the onlookers.  I've never been able to find any record of Stanley being part of Barnum and Bailey Circus, but I haven't done much intensive research on this.

Another interesting story about Stanley that I can confirm is that he was one of the founders of the Peninsula Township Fire Department in Grand Traverse County, Michigan.    I have a copy of the newspaper article about the formation of the department and I have a photo of the founding members of the department. 

1963 Members of Peninsula Township Fire Department-Harry Heller, Arnie White, Roy Hooper, Claude Watson, Isadore Lardie, Stan Wood, and Ray Heller. Not pictured is Oakley Lardie.
 So who is your one in your family?  I'd love to hear!  Don't forget to check out the Carnival of Genealogy on Facebook!

Happy Hunting!!


  1. This is a great story! I hope you find out more about Stanley and the circus.

  2. Love this! There's something so romantic about a circus. Have you read "Water for Elephants"? Great read about running off to join the circus.

  3. Wow, I have never heard of somebody running away to join the circus in real life! I thought that was just something they did on tv. Thanks for sharing :-)