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September 26, 1909



Burning of Museum in New York
Sent Joseph to Kansas City,
Where He Died of Dropsy.
Joseph Lucase, Famous Albino Violinist.

Joseph Lucasie, the Albino, who died of dropsy at the General hospital Friday morning, had in addition to an exceptional gift of harmony the distinction of having been one of the original exhibitions of P. T. Barnum, the pioneer showman.

It was in 1858 that Barnum heard of the strange family in Holland.

The fact that an Albino named Lucase had married an Albino wife and that both had abundant silken hair was in itself nothing remarkable. Barnum could have placed his hand on at least a dozen such couples in different quarters of the world.

It was the phenomena of two white-haired, pink-eyed children, a boy and a girl, born of this union, that made the Lucasie family worth having. The offspring of Albinos are almost without exception normal in every way, and the condition of being an Albino is said not to be hereditary.


When the Lucasie family was brought over from Holland, Joseph was 8 years old and his sister a few years younger. They were assigned to Barnum's New York city museum in 1859-60, where they were featured as having come from Madagascar and being the last of the great race of Albinos made famous by the writings of H. Rider Haggard. In this role they excited immense interest in the metropolis, attracting large crowds daily.

P. T. Barnum's Famous Albino Family.

When the Barnum museum in New York burned the Lucasie family started out on its own resources and made money. They were picked up by the W. W. Cole circus and taken to Australia, where they were featured with success in a country popularly thought to be the home of the Albino.

After their return to America they hired out to the Lemen Bros.' circus, touring the West with it until 1898. Then, Joseph's father, mother and sister died in quick succession, leaving him practically alone in the world. The disruption of the family, which had been such a drawing card as a whole, left Joseph Lucasie in rather poor circumstances. He had, however, one recourse which stood him in good stead up to the time of his death.


During the years he spent with Barnum in the museum business he had learned to play the violin. Later he had improved his talent by constant practice, so that when his father died here ten years ago he was able to go into vaudeville and make good. It is said that there are few professional violinists in the west who are not personally acquainted with Joseph Lucasie.

Mr. Lucasie at his death was large and thick-chested. His luxuriant growth of white hair had been shorn a year previous because it made his head ache and there was little of the Albino distinctions left about him apparently, with the exception of his pink eyes. He was very sensitive and disliked to be alluded to as "the Albino" or have any name applied to him indicating that he was different from other men.

His memory of P. T. Barnum was very vague, owing to the great lapse of time and his extreme youth when he was in the great showman's museum, and he could tell few anecdotes about him. Since 1894 he has lived at 1117 Norton.

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September 24, 1909


Joseph Lucasie Imported by Show-
man Fifty Years Ago.

Joseph Lucasie, who was one of the Albino family which the late showman P. T. Barnum imported from Belgium to his museum in New York city, over fifty years ago, is dying of dropsy at the general hospital. It was thought last night that he could not survive through today. His hair is white as wool and his eyes are pink.

In his show bills, Barnum advertised the Lucasie family, consisting of four members, as being the last of a famous tribe of Albinos of Madagascar. They were Joseph's father, mother and sister. Joseph was 9, and his sister 12 years old. All were musicians.

Joseph was taken suddenly ill Wednesday afternoon at his home, 1117 Norton street.

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October 4, 1907


Emma Spencer Says Relatives Want
to Get Her Property.

On a cot in one of the wards of the general hospital is a pretty young woman with large blue eyes, and a great mass of wavy, yellow hair. She is Miss Emma Spencer, 20 years old. Her condition is critical. The story she tells of why she is now in the hospital will be investigated by the Humane Society today.

Miss Spencer claims that her father, who is dead, left $30,000 worth of property to her. Her mother has remarried. The mother, Mrs. Rebekah Jennings, who lives at 1612 Norton avenue, says that her daughter is willful and incorrigible. When Miss Spencer was 14 years old, her mother caused her to be placed in the girls' reformatory at Chillicothe, Mo. The young woman claims that her mother did this to get rid of her, because her presence was inconvenient.

From the reformatory, when the girl was about to attain her majority, she was transferred to the state insane asylum at St. Joseph. She was released from there last June. Dr. F. J. Hatch, 1502 Troost avenue, who performed an operation on Miss Spencer Monday night, said last night that she is not of sound mind. She talked rationally last night.

A few weeks ago Miss Spencer filed suit against her mother to obtain possession of property which she claimed her mother had secured through undue influence.

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August 23, 1907


Crenshaw's Pet Was Convicted of Bit-
ing the Neighborhood Boys.

John Crenshaw, 1611 Norton avenue, had a dog. Willie Haas, 1327 Norton avenue, passed the Crenshaw home Wednesday. The dog bit him severely on the leg. Chreshaw did not appear in court yesterday, but his wife did.

"Yes," she admitted, "our dog bit this boy, and it has bitten other boys, too, I believe."

"You are very frank about it," said Judge Kyle, "most people try to protect their dogs, right or wrong. It is the order of this court thatyour dog be taken from whence it came and shot in the head until it is dead, dead, dead."

"When may I expect the execution?" asked the woman.

"Between sunup and sundown today," said the court, seriously.

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June 13, 1907


Mrs. Spahn, Who Played Organ Two
Hours, Rings Bells.

Mrs. Ellen Spahn, the insane woman who for seven hours played the organ last Sunday in Holy Trinity church, rang doorbells, and rapped on windows on the East side yesterday morning until she was taken charge of by the police and placed in the General hospital. She carried a prayer book with her, and talked disconnectedly to all she met of colors, religion and music. Her home is at 1603 Norton avenue and two daughters and a son have been to the hospital to see her. They will have her examined as to her sanity. She is a cultured woman about 55 years old. Grief over the recent death of a son is supposed to have cost her reason.

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