Animals

Massarti the Lion Tamer Killed in 1872 by His Lions

Manders’ Menagerie was a traveling circus that relied on Massarti the Lion Tamer for one of their most famous acts. Massarti, who was born Thomas Macarte* in Cork around 1838, had been hired by Mr. Manders in 1871 to replace the African lion tamer, Martini Maccomo,** allegedly a native of Angola who had arrived in…

Read More

The Queen’s Ass

Some of the first exotic animals to enter France and England in the early 1700s were the chimpanzee and the rhino. They would later be upstaged by the zebra, with one zebra arriving in England in 1762. The zebra was a wedding gift from Sir Thomas Adams and given to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had…

Read More

Canine Vengeance in the 1800s

One nineteenth-century owner of a dog related a tale about canine vengeance. Later, his story was published in an English newspaper in 1868. Here is the story almost verbatim. I purchased “Watch,” the hero of my tale, when he was only six months old, from a farmer in the island of Foulness. He was then,…

Read More

Victorian Electric Traps for Rats and Cats

Victorians had all sorts of problems and rats and cats were one of their biggest problems. For instance, on an island off Cornwall, known as Looe or St. George Island, one Victorian gentleman found rats overrunning the island. They were so bothersome that no matter how much effort people put into exterminating them, they reappeared.…

Read More

Raising Turkeys for Market in the 1800s

In the 1800s, turkeys were raised with the idea of the ultimate end: killing them and eating them. Turkeys were not exactly domesticated either. Apparently, when they were chicks they were nomads and when they gained locomotion they scurried away at the slightest provocation. They also had a habit of making beelines for distant haunts,…

Read More

Richard Hoodless, The 19th Century Horse Swimmer

There are all sort of heroes, but one unusual hero was a nineteenth century farmer named Richard Hoodless who was living near the Grainthorpe coast of Lincolnshire. When he was not farming, he was “said to devote himself to saving of mariners from drowning, ad this [was accomplished] without any of the usual apparatus for…

Read More

Tales of Monkeys as Pets in the 18th Century and 19th Century

Many people desired a pet monkey in the 1700 and 1800s. One nineteenth century gentleman claimed a pet monkey was “a mischievous beast … but affording so much amusement as to compensate for the trouble,”[1] and another person wrote, “there is no pet which can be so interesting or amusing as a monkey.”[2] Because of…

Read More

Carp in the Pants

A country gentleman kept a court leet at his manor. However, because there was so little business, the judge came but once a year. Whenever the yearly court was held, the country gentleman always invited his neighbors to a fine feast.

Read More

Fattening Fowl in the Mid to Late 1800s

Fattened fowl were an extremely desirable commodity in England and France in the mid to late 1800s. Many attempts were made to fatten fowl not only because consumers wanted better meat but also because sellers found fattened fowl a highly profitable business. But it was not always easy to fatten fowl, even if they were…

Read More

Work Horses in the Regency Era

Horses were an important part of earning a living during the Regency Era. One way horses helped out was hauling loads in and around cities, and they were also a vital necessity on farms because agriculture was still one of the main ways Regency people earned livings. Moreover, Regency people used different horses depending on…

Read More