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Famous Fulton County Residents


Our county was named for Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat, which enabled settlers to come here.


Elmo Lincoln, movie star who played the first Tarzan in 1918 in silent black & white films.


Henry A. Barnhart, Congressman 1908-18, started Rochester Telephone Company 1895, editor of Rochester Sentinel 1885-1924, wrote History of Fulton County 1923.


Oliver Powell, "The Pacing Farmer" won horse races 1895-1953, raised pacing horses and trained them, had horses that set four world records.


Jorgen Christiansen, circus horse trainer 1904-57, trained first and unique Liberty Act with Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1924 (Liberty Act means that horses perform without being tied to anything, are "at liberty".) Also toured Russia with circus in 1917 during the Russian Revolution and wrote a book about it. Was inducted into the Circus Hall of Fame 1967, Venice, Florida.


Zoppe Family, circus performers with Cole Brothers Circus 1935-40, family lives in Rochester, Indiana & travels to circus shows and fairs. Zoppes have monkey acts, trained dogs, horses, clowns, unsupported ladder act, "3001 Exploits in Space" aerial act with Ringling Brothers-Barnum Bailey Circus 1981-82.


Otis Bowen (left), Governor of Indiana 1972-80, born in Fulton county. His great-grandfather, Constant Bowen, came Rochester in 1836. Cabinet member of President Ronald Reagan 1985-88, Secretary of Health.


Floyd J. (Jack) Mattice, first in nation to broadcast a sports event over radio in 1903, attorney who defended Japanese in Tokyo War Trials in 1945, worked for FBI, died in Rochester in 1970.


Colonel Isaac Washington Brown, 1848-1914, travelled all over the U.S. giving speeches to save the birds, sponsored by wealthy philanthropist, Helen Gould. A large memorial tablet was erected on his grave by Indiana Audubon Society in 1931 (IOOF cemetery in Rochester).


Marguerite Miller, 1863-1960, her father was owner and editor of The Rochester Republican, she was a reporter and editor for a number of years, wrote a book: Home Folks: A Series of Stories by Old Settlers of Fulton County, Indiana volumes 1 & 2 1909-11. She was a speaker on the Chautauqua circuit in the 1920-30's, spoke all over the U.S. She was also a spiritualist and taught classes and prayed for the sick.


The Kings Jesters, musical trio: John Ravencroft, George Howard & Francis Bastow. Sang over WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1920's and with Paul Whiteman's Band in the late 1920's, did musical shows for NBC and CBS in Chicago in 1930's and 40's, formed their own band to play at hotels and nightclubs, then was on CBS staff in Chicago till the end of the 1960's.


Clyde Beatty, wild animal trainer, lived here 1935-40 and performed with Cole Brothers Circus which has its winterquarters in Rochester. He had lions and tigers in the same ring, even had them ride an elephant.


The Great Gretonas, high wire performers with the Cole Brothers Circus in Rochester 1935-40; Willi & Clara Lamberti, Franz Heinzmann, Eugen Lechler, Otto Gretona. Willi Lamberti rode a motorcycle on a high wire!


Paul Spotts Emrick, Purdue University Band Director for 50 years 1905-54, invented the forming of block letters by a marching band in 1907, first to do illuminated night formations, gyrating letter formations, fanfare trumpets, massed lyrabells. He conceived the idea of forming letters while watching the geese fly over Lake Manitou.


John Chamberlain, one of 10 best sculptors in the world, was born in 1927 in Rochester,which was founded and named by his ancestor, Alexander Chamberlain, in 1835.John's parents owned Chamberlain's Tavern, 128 East 8th Street. Most of his sculptures aremade of car metal in bright colors. His art has been featured in many famous museums inNew York, Chicago, Indianapolis. John died in 2011 while working on an exhibit at Guggenheim Museum, New York. (Courtesy of Pace Wildenstein.)

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