Name: Hubert Ian Campbell 1
Name: Hubert Campbell 2
Name: Hubert T Campbell 3
Name: Alligator Joe 4
Birth: 10 JUN 1872 in Berhampur, India
Birth: 1871 in India 5
Birth: 1871 in India 6
Birth: 1871 in Indiana 2
Birth: 1871 in United States of America 3
Death: 10 MAR 1926 in Jacksonville, Duval, Florida USA 1
Occupation: BET 1910 AND 1926 Alligator Farm Owner in Jacksonville, Florida
Residence: 1910 Hot Springs, Garland, Arkansas 5
Residence: 1881 St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands 6
Residence: 1920 Jacksonville, Duval, Florida 2
ARVL: 1888 5
ARVL: 2 OCT 1911 New York, New York 3
DPRT: Dover 3
Alligator Joe Campbell from the front of his pamphlet on alligators.
Last modified Sat., July 08, 2006 - 12:57 AM
Originally created Saturday, July 8, 2006
FROM OUR PAST: Florida's original tourist theme park featured -- what else? -- alligators
By Leni Bessette and Louise Stanton Warren, From Our Past
If Alligator Joe Campbell really had rounded up "worthless dogs and stray cats" to feed the big, bull gator he rode, few would care if Joe himself wound up in the gator's mouth.
However, although Joe had ridden with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, that roundup tale was false.
Joe's real name was Hubert and he was born in India in 1872, his father a decorated English officer. His passion was alligators and after his Wild West days and a stint of ostrich riding and training, he chose to live in Jacksonville, where, for all his showmanship, he was a well-respected naturalist.
Due to the drainage of the Everglades and other state development, 2.5 million alligators were reportedly killed in the 1880s. Commercial hunters and gun-happy tourists helped decrease the population. There seemed to be no better fun than killing gators while cruising on a steamboat.
Although Campbell also hunted alligators, because he feared their extinction he merged with Jacksonville's ostrich farm, the best in the country. By adding his gator collection to the lanky menagerie, he could study and breed both species.
Hubert "Alligator Joe" Campbell's cemetery marker, with alligator atop, at Evergreen Cemetery; his epitaph reads "Loved By All." Sadie, his wife, is buried beside him.
LOUISE STANTON WARREN/Special
In 1912, when 200 ostriches strode into their new billet at Phoenix Park, Alligator Joe and his patient pod of gators were already awaiting the bubble-bottomed birds. This lively tourist destination, Florida's original theme park, percolated east of Jacksonville at Talleyrand Avenue, near Evergreen Cemetery and the river.
Ostrich racing was a great sport of the era as contemporary ads and postcards indicate. So, to prevent hurt feelings and jealousy, Campbell likewise trained his gators to race and to carry riders. The alligators' education extended to climbing and to waltzing. While the reptiles and ostriches were not competitive, they spent little time together, promoting ostrich longevity.
In 1907, the Dixieland Park exposition and resort opened at the ferry landing in South Jacksonville, where Alligator Joe, some ostriches and alligators, together with electric fountains, burros, bands and theater productions, were major attractions. The reptiles climbed ladders, slid down chutes and carted children on their broad, rough backs. Campbell was also becoming famous in the movies and newsreels for his alligator shenanigans and study of the creatures.
In 1916, the Ostrich Farm and Alligator Farm, in some queer arc, shifted across the river to South Jacksonville on the site of the Aetna Insurance building, originally Prudential Insurance. Campbell and his wife, Sadie, lived on a houseboat near the southern end of the future Main Street Bridge.
Alligator Joe and Sadie continued farming gators in what they called the swamp. As accomplished as Joe, Sadie could mimic the alligator's wild, guttural sound, sometimes a hunting ploy, which lured gators to the river's surface. Often, she accompanied him on tracking expeditions, during which she was also able to nab some floating snakes by looping their so-called necks.
While Campbell wrestled the reptiles and delivered lectures, Sadie managed the store at the Alligator Farm, displaying all possible contrivances from alligator parts, including ashtrays and purse latches (made from the smaller heads), etc. In addition to meat and hides, every part was utilized, creating products from alligator oil to claw purses, from embryos for study to egg shells for souvenirs. In addition, filling orders from across the country, together with instructions for care, the Campbells shipped thousands of baby gators in light, cypress boxes filled with Spanish moss.
They continued to keep some ostriches, and Sadie remembered a surrey race between an ostrich and a horse. She declared, in the short run, an ostrich could always beat a horse, but this ostrich, frightened by a balloon, sat down, giving the horse the advantage.
In later years, Campbell wrote a pamphlet about alligators, which included explanations of his life and work. His early gator farming was in Palm Beach, Arkansas and California. By the time he developed his Jacksonville enterprise, hoping to discourage their cannibalistic tendencies, he separated his alligators by size into pens of 200 head, numbering in the thousands.
When not hibernating, his reptiles ate a total of between five and six tons of fish a week. Old Oklawaha, which according to Joe's own pamphlet reached the thoroughly impossible age of more than 800 years, was his oldest alligator. His type ate a hundred pounds of fish each feeding.
Sadie recalled the only dangerous accident at the farm was when her pet otter escaped and bit her. Of course, she had been bitten by snakes and nipped by gators several times. Then, there was the terrible incident when a guide lost his arm while sticking his head in a gator's mouth and sightseers pulled him free.
Alligator Joe died in 1926 at age 53. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery with guess what marking his grave?
Jacksonville attorney Louise Stanton Warren and retired teacher Leni Bessette investigate the stories behind the headstones in the city's oldest cemeteries. Warren, mostly the writer, and Bessette, mostly the researcher, developed their interest while creating the Port of Jacksonville Pilot Club's annual cemetery tours. For more information, contact Warren at Louesq@bellsouth.net, or c/o Heather Lovejoy, Community News, The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL 32231, fax 359-4478.
From a website on Lincoln Heights, LA, California
Almost 100 years ago, Lincoln Heights was a popular weekend getaway destination for city weary Angelenos ready for a walk on the wild side. They crossed wooden bridges over the Los Angeles River to visit Southern California's first and largest zoological attraction: the California Alligator Farm.
In 1907, when most Southern Californians thought alligator was a kind of handbag or boot, Francis Earnest, a one-time mining camp cook, and partner "Alligator" Joe Campbell amassed a small fortune by putting hundreds of the snappy reptiles on display.
Their alligator farm was located on Mission Road and Lincoln Park Avenue, next door to the Ostrich Farm, which Earnest had opened the year before. Visitors entered through a white stucco building with a narrow, two-story columned portico, where they paid 25 cents admission, and had the opportunity to buy all sorts of reptilian trinkets, including--naturally--rubber alligators.
The real slash jawed animals were kept out back segregated according to size because the larger ones would eat the smaller ones in a series of 20 ponds. They ranged in size from a few inches to 13 feet and in age from the newly born to several hundred-year-old elders, assuming one believed the farm's promotional literature.
Two years later, Earnest bought out his partner and soon began to add iguanas from South America and 2-foot-long chuckwalla lizards, which expand their lungs until they are twice their normal size. They were particularly prone to such blowups when the gators threatened to swallow them.
A fence designed to keep animals in and gator-snatchers out surrounded the whole farm. But there was a lot of two-way traffic through the barrier.
The alligator sanctuary was a popular site for fraternity pranks. Pledges often were caught during local universities' hell week attempting to steal a snapping gator. But only a few alligators bit the hand that stole them. Other times, flood waters from heavy rains or the nearby reservoir made escape easy for the gators, many of whom ended up taking a dip at nearby Lincoln Park Lake.
By 1915, another attraction moved to the area, when movie producer William Selig transformed 32 acres adjoining the park into a private zoo. Several Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weismuller were filmed around Lincoln Park Lake, but it was Billy, reputed to be the oldest alligator in captivity, who captured most of the attention. Visitors held their breath when veteran alligator wrestler George Link wrestled Billy and other 200-300 pound gators underwater in the 1920s.
Billy became a kind of star in his own right nearly all the large alligator jaws seen on movie screens around the world between the teens and 1940s were his. Directors were fond of the reliable reptile because his jaws automatically opened when a chunk of meat dangled above his head just above the camera's field of vision. Billy enjoyed showing off by taking tour guides and other types of animals for a ride on his broad back and performing tricks for gawkers by sliding down the chutes.
For almost half a century, more than 1,000 belligerently restless gators annoyed their human neighbors with their frequent nocturnal bellowing reportedly in B-flat--and by their repeated forays into neighborhood canals, backyards and occasionally swimming pools.
But Lincoln Heights' reptile problem ended in 1953, when Earnest's grandson, Ken Earnest, moved his legacy of four legged handbags-in-waiting to bucolic Buena Park. Not long after the park closed, the rock group Bill Haley and the Comets recorded the top 10 hit "See You Later, Alligator."
Now Los Angeles' memories of what constituted the city's wildlife are kept alive only in a few dusty books, in collections of antique postcards and by a single pictorial tile set into a Pershing Square bench at 5th and Hill streets.
The farm in Buena Park beset by dwindling attendance and an expired lease closed and moved its animals to a private preserve in Florida. The closing was a five day rodeo catching all of the alligators, crocodiles and caiman. They were flown by a 707 to a private estate in Florida. Arthur Jones, the inventor of "Nautilus" sports equipment, was their host. The two-acre park at 7671 La Palma Ave. was popular for years, drawing 130,000 a year at its peak. By 1984, attendance had dipped to 50,000. And in 1986, in a move seen by many as the beginning of the "new wave" of entertainment outlets along Beach Boulevard, Medieval Times opened its doors to rave reviews and very large audiences.
The site of the Buena Park Alligator Farm is now home to tourists. In 1992 a 205 room Radisson Suites hotel was built on this site, which has been vacant for several years.
From the LA Times & edited.
August 3, 1997
L.A. Scene / The City Then and Now
Reptile Farm Gave L.A. a Wild Time
Florida Times Union
Where can that gator be?
World reports on missing reptile
An important thing when transporting 6,000 alligators to a place 100 miles away is not to get there with 5,999.
A single missing alligator overshadowed one of the great livestock drives in the history of North Florida. In June 1937, 6,000 alligators from Jacksonville's Florida Alligator Farm were moved to the farm's new quarters in Daytona Beach. The Alligator Farm had hitherto been on the banks of South Jacksonville, where Baptist Medical Center is today.
Residential development was encroaching on the alligator farm by the late 1930s. Jacksonville was, indeed, the only make city in the South to have 6,000 alligators reposing just a short swim across the St. Johns River from its downtown. The wire services of the world sent reporters to Jacksonville to cover the great saurian migration. Movie news was here, too. Ross Allen, director of the Florida Reptile Institute at Ocala and gator-trusser deluxe, was in charge. Hundreds leaned over the wooden fence and watched the great 'gator-wrapping.
History does not precisely record when Alligator No. 39 turned up missing between snout-count and Daytona Beach. For days, a town that had coexisted with 6,000 alligators for 40 years was in a snit over one that missing. In due course, 39 was roped wallowing in the mud next to the Modern Wet Wash Laundry at the foot of Gilmore Street. It finished life at the Jacksonville Zoo.
Sarah Emma Tolmie b: 23 OCT 1883 in Quebec, Canada
- Title: Florida Death Index, 1877-1998
Publication: Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004
Note: State of Florida, Florida Death Index, 1877-1998, Florida: Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, 1998
Text: Online publication - Ancestry.com. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.Original data - State of Florida. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998. Florida: Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, 1998.
- Title: 1920 United States Federal Census
Publication: Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005
Note: United States of America, Bureau of the Census, Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1920
Text: Online publication - Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: <a href="http://www.archives.gov/publications/microfilm-catalogs/census/1920/part-07.html">NARA</a>. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 on roll 323 (Chicago City.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1920.T625, 2,076 rolls. Jacksonville, Duval, Florida, ED , roll , page , image 413.
- Title: New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Publication: Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006
Text: Online publication - Ancestry.com. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.Original data - <li>Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C.<li>Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957; (National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, 8892 rolls); Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C..
- Title: Various Sources
Note: Various Sources. newspaper articles, internet, post cards, stereo cards, family recollection, etc. cemetery records and tombstone
- Title: 1910 United States Federal Census
Publication: Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006
Note: United States of America, Bureau of the Census, Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910
Text: Online publication - Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: <a href="http://www.archives.gov/publications/microfilm-catalogs/census/1910/">NARA</a>.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910.T624, 1,178 rolls. Hot Springs, Garland, Arkansas, ED , roll T624_50, part , page .
- Title: 1881 Channel Islands Census
Author: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Publication: Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004
Note: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881, Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881
Text: Online publication - Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 Channel Islands Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. 1881 British Isles Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited use license and other terms and conditions applicable to this site. Appreciation is expressed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for providing the 1881 England and Wales Census Index..Original data - Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881.Images © Crown copyright. Images reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England. The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided. Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use should be made to <a href= http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/imagelibrary/ >The National Archives Image Library</a>, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225 Fax: 020 8392 5266. Infringement of the above condition may result in legal action..