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James Leo "Bert Leo" Duffy
Birth: Apr. 13, 1882
New Castle
Lawrence County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Sep. 25, 1940
Youngstown
Mahoning County
Ohio, USA

My 2nd great-grand uncle, James was the son of George Washington Duffy (1827-1898) and Keziah Agnes Hilliard Cochran Duffy (1840-1926).

James started his career in the circus business in New Castle, Pa around 1900 through the friendship with the Diamond Brothers. The Diamonds were musicians and performers who left New Castle and worked in vaudeville. James worked for a brief time in vaudeville as an acrobat. He then joined the P.T. Barnum's Circus.

In the P.T.Barnum Circus, James was a trick rider and doubled as a clown. He also trained dogs and even trained a goose to follow him in a parade.

James was known as "Bert Leo". He was also in other circuses during his circus career. He was a bare back rider and a clown in John Robinson's Circus. The last circus he was in was the Sells-Floto Circus.

James also did bit parts in silent movies in the 1920s. The following was written in a letter from my Uncle Eddie (Loyal Edward McCummins Jr.) in 1997:

"Jim was paralysed on one side and lost the use of one of his arms. This happened about 1921 in the East Coast, when one of the movie companies was making a circus movie. Jim rode standing up on two big white horses (out of four horses). The horses came around the arena and down straight away at the cameras, when something caused the horses to spit! They dropped Jim down between them! He had the reins around one arm and was dragged quite a ways before they stopped the horses! It paralysed his arm. That is when Jim became a clown. When Jim retired from the circus, he and his sister, Maggie (Margaret Duffy Mayne Johnson) bought a surrey with the fringe around the roof and also an old horse to pull it. The horse was dressed up in some old circus trappings. They advertised for "Bud the Tailor" in downtown, Youngstown, Ohio. They also had a taxi license to make extra money."-All this was told to my Uncle Eddie by his grandmother, Ollena Duffy McCummins (sister of James).

James and his trained goose appeared in the movie, "The Little Clown" with the silent movie actress, Mary Miles Minter.

James' death was caused by an accident that occured while James was on his wagon advertising for "Bud the Taylor". His horse, called Buddy ran away on East Woodland Avenue in Youngstown, OH. James was thrown to the curb and went unconscious. He suffered from a fractured skull, hip injuries, and lacerations. Upon regaining consciousness in the Youngstown Hospital, his first question was: "How about my horse?". The horse had escaped serious injury. James' buggy was damaged.

James developed pneumonia while in the hospital. He died at the South Side Unit of the Youngstown Hospital at 10:25 am on September 25, 1940.

James never married or had any children. He will never be forgotten by his great-grand niece, Jil. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  George Washington Duffy (1827 - 1898)
  Keziah Agnes Hillard Cochran (1840 - 1926)
 
 Siblings:
  George "Stephen" Duffy (1852 - 1912)**
  Henry Thompson Duffy (1867 - 1894)*
  William C. Duffy (1869 - 1926)*
  John Curtis Duffy (1873 - 1940)*
  Ollena M. Duffy McCummins (1877 - 1962)*
  James Leo Duffy (1882 - 1940)
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Burial:
New Castle Cemetery
New Castle
Lawrence County
Pennsylvania, USA
 
Maintained by: Jil
Originally Created by: Damian Omar Plaza in C...
Record added: Dec 03, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31922167
James Leo Bert Leo Duffy
Added by: Jil
 
James Leo Bert Leo Duffy
Added by: Jil
 
James Leo Bert Leo Duffy
Added by: Jil
 
 
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- Rich Vance
 Added: Oct. 12, 2014
Thinking of you...
- Joan Altman
 Added: Apr. 20, 2014

-Anonymous
 Added: Aug. 19, 2012
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