|Birth: ||Jan. 7, 1854|
New York, USA
|Death: ||Feb. 10, 1933|
San Francisco County
Born Emma Bidwell Parshall in 1854 in New York to John Parshall and Caroline Louise Pinch (daughter of John Pinch and Jane Saxton/Sexton ).
She began acting as a child of 4 under the stage name of Little Lola. From 1858 to at least 1865 she was known as Little Lola, the infant wonder or the child wonder. During the 1860's she worked in P.T Barnum's museum in New York City. Sometimes working with dangerous animals such as bears and anacondas!
In June 1873 Lola married theatrical manager Harry Earl (son of Harry Earl and Lillie Williams). Harry reportadly died at sea in 1896. HOWEVER, there's also a marriage record for her in 1874 to a Walter J. Bissell (Son of Oville Bissell and Jane Helon). Walter was a fellow trapeze artist who reportadly abused Lola by pouring acid on her head. She had him arrested in 1875 but later retracted her statements and had him released because they had a show to do. It may be that Walter and Harry were in fact the same person (NM the fact that there's 2 different sets of parents for the men).
From about 1874 - 1880 Lola was in a trapeze and contortion act known as The Three Orphans and going under the name Lola Parshall/Parschael. The 2 girls in the troup with her was Little Pearly and Madamoiselle Jeanette (her biological sister).
Little Pearly was born Ellis Hannah Willis and was the first girl that Lola abducted.
Pearl along with her sister Mabel (whom Lola eventually gave to one of her brothers as she was found to be useless for the circus) were abducted around 1875 shortly after the death of their mother in childbirth in the carribean. Their father, magician Henry Willis, searched for the girls for 12 years before finally finding them.
From the 1880's thru at least 1920 she had a trapeze and comedy act known by different names. Mostly Lola's Gypsy Juvenile Company (1887), The Earl Sisters, The Lola Lea Earl Comedy Company, and Lola Lee Earl & Company.
By 1920 she was living in San Fransisco and in 1930 is listed as an "inmate" in Laguna Honda Hosptial, where she died in 1933.
The origins of the Earl sisters is a story unto itself. Some say they were orphans but in 1920 one of the girls, Zella Earl (then known as Zella Pickard) learned that she could have possibly been kidnapped by Lola. As it turns out her mother GAVE her away to Lola. 2 of the other girls, Gypsy and Maude, found their real families as well. Gypsy (born Minnie Ruffley) had a falling out with Lola around 1901 when Lola revealed to her that she was a "foundling". Minnie found her real family in 1911.
The Earl sisters consisted of: Zella Pickard, Maude Hickey, Estella Hobson, Hazel (Born Gail M Showen), Gypsy/Minnie Daurin, and Dearest Earl.
Over the years others joined and left the troup: Vera, Zetta, "Baby", Edna, Violet, Cecil, Patee, Leslie, and Eloise Shephard are some names of brief members of the Earl Sisters.
Slight confusion in the Hazel's. There were three of them. Hazel Earl, Hazel Hickey (daughter of Maude), and Hazel Himbert (daughter of Gypsy).
John Parshall (1822 - ____)
Dearest May Earl (1895 - 1922)*
Lola Lea Emma Bidwell Parshall Earl (1854 - 1933)
Jeanette Earl (1861 - 1944)*
Note: unmarked grave
Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
San Mateo County
Plot: Section A, Row 20, Grave 92
Created by: Caren Lehto
Record added: Aug 24, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 75422218