Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Queen Mab and Caspar Weis, Canton's Little People
Article - Queen Mab & Caspar Weis
Township: Canton Borough, Bradford County PA
Year: 
Photos Submitted by Janet Ordway, Betty Lamont, Don Stanton
Article submitted by Don Stanton
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Jeanne Douvain 1882-1973
Caspar Weis 1872-1965
Joyce's Search Tip - November 2008
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25 Years Ago - 1973  (Apparently from the Canton Independent-Sentinel)

Mrs. Jeanne "Queen Mab" Weis, age 89 formerly of Canton, passed away January 21 in Elizabethtown.  She was born in Paris and was the only midget in her family.  She attracted the attention of the Great Barnum and Bailey Circus and toured as the smallest actress in Europe, 38 inches tall and weighing 45 pounds.  She came to America and in 1906 married Casper Weis.  He was leader of the Midget Band and she was the star of the Lilliputians.  Thinking retirement, in 1913 they purchased Hillside, Fanny Davenport's spacious mansion one mile north of Canton.  They resided there until it was destroyed by fire in 1951.  They lost all their midget furniture and souvenirs in the fire and resided in the Elliot Apartments until Mr. Weis died in 1965, age 92.

Buried Park Cemetery
See Obit on the Park Cemetery obit pages


Canton Midget Marks Birthday, but Casper Weis only Admits to Being “Past 80”
Elmira Sunday Telegram – April 20, 1955
By, Mrs. Leon Keagle (Eleanor Parsons "Keagle") 

Canton – To most people April 19 is just another Saturday, but for Casper Weis, Canton’s famous little watchmaker and one-time stage star, it marked his birthday.  But which birthday?
That’s hard to say for, Casper, like stage stars the world over, always has been reluctant to date himself.
One contemporary who has known Mr. and Mrs. Weis for more that half a century insists he will be 86.  Another places the figure higher.  Casper himself says he is “past 80.”  But whatever his age, he is still “young at heart.”
 

Picture Caption:  Bottom - On their 48th Wedding Anniversary, September 19, 
1954
According to the 2 dates of birth we have he would have been either 77 or 83
Some years ago, Casper said he was born in Morcheningen, Duchy of Luxembourg.  His mother was normal size and his father a six-foot royal gamekeeper with rank of captain.  Of eight children, only Casper and a sister, Martha, were midgets.  He stopped growing when 42 inches tall and then weighed 59 pounds.
Mr. Weis learned the watch making trade and was satisfied with life in his home town until a musical comedy company came to town.  He was offered an opportunity to replace a midget in the troupe who was ill and, with his parents consent, went with the company.
The show toured Austria, Poland and finally reached St. Petersburg and Moscow, where they appeared before the czar of Russia.  Each member of the cast received a gift, and Casper treasures an emerald ring given him by the czar.  The company’s tour of Europe included appearances before the president of France and Queen Victoria of England.
Coming to America first in 1895, he returned in 1898 or 1899.  He remembers playing at the old Lyceum Theater in Elmira then and again about 1918.
In order to perfect his English, Casper worked in New York City at his watchmaking trade for a year and then went on tour again.
He was a member of the Coney Island Midget Village, where he led a band and played a violin.  There he and Queen Mab met about 1902.
Mab’s name was Jeanne Douvain.  She was born in Paris of normal sized parents.  At an early age she attracted attention of the Barnum & Bailey Circus and toured Europe with that show as the “smallest midget actress in the world” – about 38 inches tall, weighing 45 pounds.
She came to America about 1907, when she was 21 billed as Queen Mab” and became a popular entertainer in comedy shows.
In 1906 she and Casper were married.  Among the acts in which they appeared were “Original Lilliputian Co.”  “Hans Fritz & Co.”; “Katzenjammer Kids Co.”, “Kaptain& Kids Co.,” “Mutt and Jeff Co.,” “Soldier Girl Co.,” “Mr. Barnum Co.,” “Midget Follies Co.,” and many circuits of vaudeville.  They were featured with Barnum & Bailey’s Circus for five years.
Looking forward to retirement, they purchased “Hillside” Fanny Davenport’s spacious mansion a mile north of Canton about 1913.
Through the whim of nature, Casper started to grow taller about that time, until he reached his present height of four feet.  He had grown five or six inches.
Mr. Weis is a 32nd degree mason and a Shriner, belonging to LuLu Temple, Philadelphia where he was considered the “smallest Shriner in the world.”  His title may be in doubt since his increase in height.
Their home burned to the ground one Sunday morning in 1951.  A few things were saved, including Casper’s watchmaking tools, but many souvenirs of their past were lost.  Later they moved to a nearby apartment, where they have since resided.
On their 48th wedding anniversary, Sept. 19, 1954, friends held “open house” for the little couple.  They have passed their 51st milestone together.
On March 30, Mr. Weis was initiated into Canton Lodge No. 429, Loyal Order of Moose, and thus probably became the “smallest Moose.”

Big Day for Little Folks
By Eleanor PARSONS Keagle
September 22, 1954
Probably The Elmira Star-Gazette

Picture Caption:  Honored couple – Mr. and Mrs. Casper Weis, with Mrs. Bertha Holmes in front of the Jones summer home where the tiny couple’s wedding anniversary party was held. [This was on the site of the Weis’ home that burned]

Canton, Pa. – Mr. and Mrs. Casper Weis, Canton’s famous Lilliputian couple, greeted more that 100 friends and neighbors at their 48th wedding anniversary celebration held at the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jones, Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds more from many parts of the country sent congratulatory cards and telegrams.  Beautiful arrangements of flowers sent by their many friends attested to the esteem Cantonians hold for the little couple.
Mrs. Weis was gowned in a deep purple wool dress and wore a becoming matching hat which she herself had made, and a small yellow orchid corsage.
Mrs. Bertha Holmes of Canton, a friend of the couple for more than 50 years, assisted in receiving the guests who came from Williamsport, Avis, Troy, Canton and other points.

The decorated wedding cake was sized to the bride’s dainty proportions but inadequate for the crowd of well-wishers who were served decorated individual cakes and other refreshments by Mrs. Allen Courtney, Mrs. Edward Snyder, Mrs. Agnes McBlane, Mrs. Louise May and Mrs. L. J. Keagle.
Miss Joan Madeline Smits and Casper H. Weis were married on Sept. 20, 1906, in New York City.  In reminiscing of their wedding day, Mrs. Weis said they were in Coney Island’s “Midget City” at the time, and like many other actors wished to be married in New York’s “Little Church Around the Corner,” but could not find it.  Mr. Weis explained the church was not listed in the directory by that name, so they were married in a Methodist Church.  “The minister was so tall that he had to sit in a chair while performing the ceremony,” he added.
[piece missing] ………the countries of Europe and made appearances in South Africa and British Columbia.  Mr. Weis is a native of Luxembourg and has toured with shows in Europe as well as the United States.  He is an expert watchmaker, having learned his trade in Europe.  During much of his life in Canton he was official watch repairman for the Altoona Railroad shops.
After their marriage, the Weises played in vaudeville and musical shows throughout the United States and Europe, appearing in Lowe’s Theaters as Queen Mab and Mr. Weis.  Mab played the part of Mrs. Tom Thumb in “Mr. Barnum” in Atlantic City; Mr. Weis was Hans of “The Katzenjammer Kids,” playing the Walnut St. Theater, Philadelphia, and many other large cities.
Mr. Weis became a member of LuLu Temple Shrine while living in Philadelphia, and now holds a life membership, having been a member 52 years.  He is the smallest Shriner in the world.
Mrs. Weis was born in Paris, France, the daughter of a milliner, and the only midget in the family.  She appeared in most of………


WEIS - Famed Midget, Dies - 'World's Smallest Shriner' Dies at 92 -

Mr. and Mrs. Casper WEIS are shown in a photo taken in December of 1936. The other man was identified as Nathan Palmer of Canton and was six foot, one inch tall.

Casper H. Weis, 92, of Canton RD 2 died in the Troy Community Hospital Tuesday morning. He had been in failing health for some time. Mr. Weis was known as the smallest Shriner in the world. He was only 44 inches tall. He was born in Luxembourg April 19, 1872, and came to this country about 1897. He learned the watchmaking trade at the insistence of his father and was a graduate of a German watchmaking school where he became a "master watchmaker."

When he arrived in this country he was employed as the head watchmaker for Lit Bros. in Philadelphia and resided with Mr. Lit while he worked there. Mr. Weis was also a well known performer on the stages in this country and in Europe. In the early 1900's he was a member of the Coney Island Midget Village and there met Jeanne Douvain of Paris. They were married in 1906 in New York City and have since been known as the most famous midget couple in the world.

Once they traveled back and forth across Europe, appearing before such august personages as Queen Victoria of England, the Czar of Russia, the President of France and others. Audiences in all sections of the United States, Cuba and Canada knew them, too. They applauded him as Major Weis, impresario of midget entertainer, and hailed his wife as Queen Mab, the smallest actress in the world.

Casper Weis' mother was of normal size and his father was a royal game keeper with the rank of captain, a six-footer and a "stout fellow" too. Of eight children, two, Casper and a sister, were midgets.

Among the acts in which the two little folk played were Original Lilliputian Co., five years feature of Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth. Royal American Lilliputian Co., Hans and Fritz Co., Katzenjammer Kids Co., Captain and the Kids Co, Mutt & Jeff Co., Soldier Girl Co., Mr. Barnum Co., Midget Follies Co., and in vaudeville on many circuits. Nearly always after matinee performances, the little folks held a reception for the children.

Mr. and Mrs. Weis became acquainted with Canton through Charles Siequist, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Weis. So, liking Canton they decided to settle down as they were a bit weary of the hurrying travel of their stage life. The Major, whom Canton folks have called "a good business man" had saved a good sum of money. He bought the old Davenport home, once a show place of the borough, and opened a watch repair shop.They became just plain Mr. and Mrs. Casper Weis of Center St., Canton - he, a good citizen and skilled watchmaker and they were a devoted couple.

The Major has belonged to many lodges and was especially proud of his Masonic affiliations. He was a life member of Richard Vaux Chapter No. 384 F. & A. M., Philadelphia; a life member of Jerusalem Royal Chapter No. 3 of Philadelphia and a 60 year member of Lu Lu Temple of the Shrine at Philadelphia. Once in a Shrine parade, they framed a jest at the Major's expense, calling him "The 21st of June, the Shortest (K)night".

Mr. Weis was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Canton and was also a member of the Canton Chapter of the Loyal Order of Moose.

Canton has long and justly been proud of her stage celebrities. The names of Mayos and Davenport are famous in Thespian annals and the name of Siequist, head of the renowned flying trapeze troupe, is also familiar there.But the name of Weis, the Major and his Queen Mab, will always be a proud name on the lips of the Canton folks. He was a fine man and a well-liked man in the community.

Surviving are his wife; a sister, Victorine, in West Germany and several nieces and nephews in Europe. Funeral services will be held at the Kleese Funeral Home, Center St., Canton, Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock with the Rev. Robert H. Cauffman, his pastor, officiating. Burial will be in Park cemetery in Canton.


Hillside

09 MAR 2004- 
My father in law bought some old postcards at an estate sale and gave them to me to sell on eBay (he is a stamp collector looking for stamps).  One of them intrigued me and I started looking into it.  Your website tells me it is of Caspar Weis and Jeanne Douvain  and some of the rest of their Lilliputian Touring Company.  I have attached a photo of the postcard. I thought you might like to add the image to your website.  Thanks for posting the information and educating me!  I have just begun researching my genealogy and am now working on my DAR application.  I have been lucky and have found a great paper trail left by my great-uncle.

Marsha Wise

Note from a relative 28 March 2005 and my (JMT) response -
Hi Hildegard. Nice to hear from you. I will put your note on the page that I have for Caspar and perhaps someone will find it and contact you. If you find more information about Caspar's ancestry, I'd be very happy if you would share it with us so I can add it to that page. I don't believe that Caspar had any children. I have never seen any mentioned. His obituary, which is included on the site, only mentions his wife, a sister, and nieces or nephews as survivors - no children at all.  Thanks for contacting me. Joyce M. Tice

Hallo dear Joyce,

within the research of my ancestors, I found your web-site and I thought the following being interested for you:

To my person: me, Hildegard Weis, I am the daughter-in-law of Oskar Weis, who is a brother of Caspar Weis and I would like to prepare a genealogy-tree.

On your sites of the internet, there's always spoken about the day of birth of Mr. Caspar Weis (midget/ lilliputian) known in Canton as being the 19th of April 1872 in Luxembourg. As far as I'm informed, this is not correct: actually, I do have the document of birth of Kaspar Hilarius Weis which says: 19th of April 1878, in Merchingen (nowadays called Merzig, in Germany  (Saarland)).

We also have the following informations:
1) Caspar had 7 brothers/sisters (if you need more informations about the names or others)

2) Informations about parents and grand-parents and something about  grand-grand-parents

What I'm looking for is: informations about the descendants (!) of Caspar Weis. Maybe they dont't call themselves "Weis" anymore, but perhaps "White" or "With" or "Wise" because perhaps they changed their surnames.

If you are interested/ if you can help me, please re-contact me back, Lot's of thanks in advance for your help! I'm looking forward to hear from you,

Yours sincerely,
Hildegard Weis + Gabriele Weis (daughter of Hildegard Weis) hiwe@tele2.es [Email address did not work - my response rejected]


In a message dated 7/10/2011 9:40:47 AM Eastern Daylight Time, hiweis@googlemail.com writes:
Hello Joyce,

I found your internet site concerning Caspar Weis & Queen Mab under the following adress:

http://www.joycetice.com/articles/little.htm

First I'd like to explain, why you couldn't answer me directly: My email-adress has changed, it's now:

                                hiweis@googlemail.com

I'd like to add new informations to the site:

I stated that the informations given by Mr. Goettert on this site dated 02-02-2011 (enumeration of the childs of Ludwig WEIS, forester, with his wife Henriette WILHELMI), needs to be corrected in quantity and also in partly more exact birthday-dates as follows - I put the new informations in bold:

1. Ernst-Ludwig-Karl, named "Louis", born on 19-08-1876, Altenkirchen-Leuzbach, Westerwald

2. Caspar Hilarius, born 19-04-1878, Merchingen/Saarland, the lilliput,
    married 1906 New York Joan Madelaine SMITS alias DOUVAIN (Queen Mab)

3. Maria Catharina Elisabet, born 21-05-1880, Merchingen, died on 24-01-1961

4. Martha Catharina, born 26-02-1882, Merchingen, actrice (lilliput),
     married 1908 Merzig Lawrence Peter RAMSEY, born 1887 Washington

5. Christina Hedwig Ernestina, born 06-10-1883, Merchingen

6. Anton Aloys, born 09-06-1885 Bietzen, died on 07-12-1920, Hilden

7. Oskar Maria, born 30-12-1888, Harlingen, died on 15-05-1962, Dillingen/ Saar,
married  Maria Brixius on 12-/13 January 1920, Mettlach/ St. Gangolf-Besseringen

8. Victoria Johanna Maria, born 14-07-1897, Harling,
married Wilhelm SCHWIND, 10-10-1921, Merzig

If it's possible for you, can you update this in the internet-site?

Some more questions:

a)
Furthermore,I'm still interested in knowing, if there are descendents of Caspar Hilarius Weis (lilliput) and his wife Queen Mab (lilliput), please see here above?  [answer form Joyce: No children, so no descendants]

b)
Or otherwise, are there descendents who are still alive today and whom we could contact?

c)
Also I'd like to know if there are descendents also of  Martha Catharina (actrice, lilliput, please see here above)

If my English is not clear, please don't hesitate to re-contact me on this email-adress.

Lot's of thanks for all your work + engagement you dedicate on these things, I was very happy to see all you've already collectionned for this site.

Kind regards + have a nice week-end,

Hildegard Weis
email: hiweis@googlemail.com
tel. :    0049-(0)711-687 67 91, Stuttgart, Germany

Newspaper articles found in Canton attic (With pictures) 

Tiny Canton Theatrical Troupers -Friday October 4, 1935

Mr. and Mrs. Casper Weis, Canton theatrical people, shown with George Bubb, once their booking agent. Mr. and Mrs.Weis, the latter known professionally as "Queen Mab" live across the road from the two homes closely related to the theater-Crockett Lodge, built by the Mayos, and the Davenport residence. 

Note from Joyce - Both Don Stanton and I are confused about the real name of "Queen Mab." Most articles tell us her birth name was Jeanne Douvain, but the 50th anniversary article calls her Joan Madeline Smits.  We would be very happy to have this resolved if anyone has conclusive informaiton about her identity.
In a message dated 1/4/2011 6:04:59 AM Eastern Standard Time, hdgoettert@gmx.de writes:
Hello Joyce,
My comment: The marriage record from Manhattan Methodist Church tell us, that her surname is SMITH. See attachment! I have solved the problem for me speaking of Joan Madelain SMITS/SMITH alias DOUVAIN.
In the meantime I have recorded Caspar's family with 7 children and theyr marriages.
It's a pitty that I get no contact to Mrs. Marsha Wise, teacher in Canton, which gave you a picture from the Weis couple, and to Mrs. Hildegard and Gabriele WEIS, which gave you informations, at last in El Salvador. I'm interested in one or two pictures from Caspar and Queen mab in good quality (minimum 150 dpi) for the family story Weis, which will be published.
If you are interested in the other family members WEIS, let me know it.
Best regards.
H. Dieter Göttert
 
"Queen Mab" Height 40 inches
The German Lilliputian Troupe Lit Brothers'  Free Theatre
Queen Mab and Mr. Weis
The Famous Lilliputians
Saturday, March 15, 1913 
Compliments of Orpheum Theatre
The following note gives us the parents and siblings of Caspar Weiss:
In a message dated 5/31/2008 , [address removed] writes:
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren!

Wie ich auf Ihrer Website (http://www.joycetice.com/articles/little.htm) entnehmen kann, sind Sie an der Familiengeschichte der Familie Caspar Weiss interessiert.

Ich wohne in Merchingen (s. u.) und kann bestätigen, dass Caspar Hilarius Weiss lt. Familienbuch Merchingen, Nr. 651 am 21.04.1878 (KB 7 / S.155) in Merchingen getauft wurde. Die Eltern sind der Vater Ludwig Edmund Gabriel Weiss und seine Ehefrau Henriette Wilhelmi, mit evangelischer Konfession. Als Geschwister von Caspar Hilarius werden Maria Katharina Elisabeth (~ 21.05.1880 7/161), Martha Catharina (~ 26.02.1882 7/167 oo 16.05.1908 Lorenz Peter Ramsey ex Washington in Merzig) und Christina Hedwig Ernestine (~ 6.10.1883 7/171) genannt.

Weitere Einträge, wo die Familie herkam und wo sie hinzog finden sich lt. Familienbuch Merchingen in den Merchinger Kirchenbücher nicht.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Josef Bohr

Josef Bohr



May 18, 2010
Dear Joyce;

Thank you for solving a mystery of mine and answering some questions I have had for some years. You see I remember Mrs. Weis (Jeanne Douvanne) as a child. My father and mother were friends of Mr. and Mrs. Weis for many years through the Lodge #429 of Bradford County Pa. Moose Order. My father's name was Peter Wytrwa and my mother's name at the time was Theresa Clark, both of the Pa. area. Although Mr. Weis had been dead for many years when I first met Mrs. Weis, I remember many photo's of him in their retirement apt. in Canton Pa. In fact as a child Mrs. Weis would babysit me, for my parents, and would dress me up in great costumes, complete with "big hats" both men and women, for "tea time" play. And although I can say Mr. Weis "Casper" as so many people called him at the time, and I never met, Mrs. Weis and my parents would refer to him often. I also remember Mrs. Weis often referring to him as "Casper the ghost" who was still ever so around her, even after passing. My father knew Mr. Weis by far as anyone of their Moose Order..considering they were both 32nd degree Mason's. And Mrs. Weis was a pleasure to meet if you can imagine. But also quick to "correct me" the old fashioned way "a light hand slapping" if I didn't ask before taking one or two cookie's. But most of the memories I have are better ones. Just so you know I re-discovered The Weis's when doing my own family research regarding my father and ultimately coming across your photo's of the Weis's. Thanks for bringing back some good memories for me. Scott Wytrwa, Montour Falls, NY.


In a message dated 2/2/2011 11:28:25 AM Eastern Standard Time, hdgoettert@gmx.de writes:
Joyce,

you have already overtaken a note from me at january 4th 2011.

Now I can submit  you all the family of Caspar WEIS:

WEIS Ludwig, forester, born 1851
married 1876
WILHELMI Henriette

children of the couple (all born in Germany):
1. Caspar Hilarius, born 1878 Merchingen/Saarland, the lilliput,
    married 1906 New York Joan Madelaine SMITS alias DOUVAIN (Queen Mab)
2. Maria Catharina Elisabet, born 1880 Merchingen
3. Martha Catharina, born 1882 Merchingen, actrice (lilliput),
     married 1908 Merzig Lawrence Peter RAMSEY, born 1887 Washington
4. Christina Hedwig Ernestina, born 1883 Merchingen
5. Anton Aloys, born 1885 Bietzen
6. Oskar Maria, born 1888 Harlingen
7. Victoria Johanna Maria, born 1897 Harlingen

Now I have a favour to ask for you. Can I have a scan of typical picture of the couple Caspar and Queen mab to overtake it in the life story of this family, which will by prepared by me for an annual (2011)? Please, be shure that I name the source resp. the submitter of the picture. The can should have 200-300dpi to get a good print quality in the annuel (book).
I hope you have the pictures in your archieves and can help because I have no other chance. The quality of the pictures at your website is not sufficient.
Thank you very much in advance.
Best regards.
Horst-Dieter Göttert
 

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 13 JAN 2004
By Joyce M. Tice
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