Annie Yeamans (1835-1912) was a second generation circus clown, born Annie Griffiths on the Isle of Man. When she was ten the family moved to Australia, which is where she first jumped into the ring. In 1895 she married American circus clown Edward Yeamans, and they toured the world.
In 1865, shortly after the couple and their three children arrived in San Francisco to try their luck in America, Edward Yeamans passed away. In order to feed the family, Annie began a second career as an actress in Dion Boucicault’s Arah Na Pogue. Shortly after that, she moved to New York, where she performed in numerous melodramas, burlesques and extravaganzas. She was a core company member of Harrigan and Hart’s stock company at the Theatre Comique for many years until the team broke up in 1885. After that, she continued to perform in Harrigan’s shows and to play in vaudeville. She died in 1912.
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.