Make your own free website on

Wheeler the Clown


A RomanceRomance Story from the Pages of Circus History Frederick Ferber Lands a Wife


It was spring in Paris, France, and the circus was in town (the Nouveau Cirque, to be exact). It was an exciting day and, for at least two people, it would soon turn into something more than exciting.

Frederick Ferber, always loved the circus and he had a box seat. And young Ella Bradna was about to experience her circus performing debut (in the third ring) as an equestrienne. Her act started well, but suddenly the young equestrienne was thrown from her horse and landed in a surprised Frederick's lap. Surprise soon gave way to a mutual attraction. And that mutual attraction evolved into marriage in 1903.

By this time Ella had accepted a position (still as a performing equestrienne) with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and was in the United States. A determined Fred had followed her there, and also found work with the circus, as Ella's assistant. In a futuristic display of feminist respect, Fred gallantly adopted the last name of his now famous wife rather than as her to adopt his then relatively unknown one.

Circus history had been made by a twist of fate and the inexperience of a young rider, for the two became famous as Ella Bradna, famous equestrienne extraordinaire, and Fred Bradna, first an equestrian director, then Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus' most famous ringmaster and one of the heroes of the Hartford Fire disaster. It was a 52 year marriage made in Heaven, ended only by Fred's death in 1955. (Ella followed her beloved husband in death in 1957)

Click Here to Return to Circus Main Menu

          Wheeler the ClownThis site was designed by
     Wheeler the Clown & Company or
                         All rights reserved
     This Page was updated on: 04/28/04