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A Slice of History: Huff & Elston

Crawfordsville Journal, Tuesday, April 9, 1918 -

"Huff, Old Circus Man of Crawfordsville Dead in Chicago Home

Former Partner of Frank Elston in Show Business - Had Lived 40 Years in Chicago

George A. Huff, 75 years old, died in Chicago Monday. He was a former resident of Crawfordsville and the body will be brought here, the funeral being held Wednesday from the residence of Arch Martin. Although born in this city he has resided for over forty years in Chicago.


Mr. Huff was at one time proprietor of the Cliffton House, which stood on the site of the present K. P. building. Later he moved to Champaign and engaged in the dairy business. After educating his children at the University of Illinois, he moved to Englewood, Ill., where he was engaged in the furniture storage business for several years.


When a young man he formed a partnership with Frank Elston, deceased, a brother of Col. I. C. Elston, and they engaged in the circus business. It was known as the Huff circus and was a fine organization for its day. It was said to be the most gaily caparisoned organization of its time and noted for its cleanliness and beauty of trappings. A few men now living in this community had a part in the organization of the business which was only of short life, for after a most successful start, the circus met with a disastrous season, through a southern trip and was returned to this city and closed out, Mr. Huff shortly after moving to Chicago.


He was a brother-in-law of Arch Martin, Mrs. Mark Hays, Miss Lou Martin and Hal Martin, all of this city, and an uncle of Mrs. James Waugh.


He is survived by his wife, Mary A. and one son, George A. Huff, who is the athletic director of the University of Illinois, and who is also well known here, and a granddaughter, Marie."




Frank was not the black sheep of the family - but was close to it. We do not have a lot of records about Frank. Articles like this help shed light on his story. From family stories it sounds like he would often ask for help, usually the monetary kind, from his siblings. The money would go towards his various business schemes and perhaps fuel his alcohol habit as well. We know that Frank was born in 1844 and would die in 1884, presumably from alcohol poisoning. For the last three years of Frank's life he would live with his older sister, Joanna, here at Lane Place.



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