Henry Patrick Madigan

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, General, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2011), Letters, Volume 19

Sir,—Can a reader of History Ireland or a member of the Madigan family help me? I am trying to find out where in Ireland the American circus manager Henry Patrick Madigan was born. I have one source—supposed to be very reliable—saying that he was born in Ireland, and another saying that he was born in America in 1815. In his household there was also an Ellen Madigan about twenty years older than himself. I wonder whether she could be his mother and, if so, whether she was born in Ireland and where. Henry Patrick Madigan was the father of John Madigan, who toured Europe with his circus, especially Sweden and Denmark. John Madigan became the stepfather of Elvira Madigan, tightrope dancer, who died in 1889 in a double suicide with her lover, Sixten Sparre, on the Danish Island of Tåsinge (Taasinge)—a kind of Danish Mayerling drama—and the subject of Bo Widerberg’s 1967 film.—Yours etc.,LISBETH KELLYEnniskeane, Co. Cork

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