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Identifier: WH121


The collection contains a handwritten diary documenting the travels of three young Englishmen in America, who travelled from New York City to Niagara Falls, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, Arkansas, and Florida during the fall, winter and spring 1884-1885.

Additional loose items include a photograph (circa 1895), stationery (circa 1885), and an addressed and cancelled mailing envelope (1884). Other paper ephemera pasted in the dairy include a Cunard Line list of saloon passengers on the R.M.S. Oregon for travel from Liverpool to New York, Oct. 25, 1884; American Jockey Club programme for Tuesday, November 4th 1884; the "Police Gazette" official programme for a boxing exhibition at Madison Square Garden, November 10, 1884; a flyer for a glove contest at Harry Hill's sporting theatre, November 13th 1884; an 18-page Catalogue of the Eden Musée in New York City.

Microfilm copy of the diary is also available.

SERIES 1 DIARY OCTOBER 24, 1884-APRIL 23, 1885 BOX 1

The series contains a travel diary compiled by three young men from Great Britain and Ireland who travelled together in America between the fall 1884 and spring 1885. The diary was printed in London and the title page reads: T. J. & J. Smith's Ready Reference Folio Diary and Account Book for 1885.

J.P. Frizell is the first of the three to record the daily events that the young Englishmen experienced. His entries are mostly written in purple pencil, although a few are also entered in black ink. Frizell signs some of his entries as: "J.P.F." and "myself" or "your humble servant." He is refered to in the diary by others as: "F", "Frizzle", "Dr. J. P. Frizell", or "Dr."

Evelyn Booth appears to have compiled the bulk of the entries in the diary. He wrote in blue ink in a very fine and well composed hand. In contrast, Frizell's handwriting is much bolder and thicker. Booth is refered to in the dairy as: "E", "E.B.", or "Evelyn."

Reginald Beaumont Heygate probably contributed very little to the diary. If so, his entries are sporadic, minimal and anecdotal at best. Heygate is refered to by Frizell and Booth as: "R.B.H.", "Heygate", "Reginald", and "Regy."


The following is a list of some of the names of the people and animals mentioned in the diary:

[Alice] February 28, March [2], 3 English girl of 15
Archer, Fred November 16, December 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 27, 29, 31, January 2, January 11 Frederick James "Fred" Archer (January 11, 1857–November 8, 1886) Known by the nickname "The Tin Man," was an English flat race jockey of the Victorian era, described as the best all-round jockey that the turf has ever seen.
[Bell], Russell January 30, February 1, 4 Notable hunter in Florida, possible Civil War veteran
Belmont February 18, [19], March [2], 14 Raymond Rodgers Belmont (July 19, 1863-January 30, 1887) Student at Harvard College.
Buffalo Bill Cody December 6, 29, January 3, March 12, 14, 15 William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) American scout, bison hunter, and showman.
Campbell, James (a.k.a. “Old Yank”) October 28, 29 S.S. Oregon ship's passenger
Captain Bowling December 15, January 20 Friend of Fred Archer
Captain May March 3
Captain Miller January 18, February 17 (at auction), [19], 23, 24, March 14 Of the "American"
Captain Richards, Thomas January 18, February 6, 7, 17, 18, 23 Hotel owner in Eden, Florida
Cody February 4, 12, 27, March 10 Probably Buffalo Bill Cody?
Miss Clinton October 29, October 30 John Percival Frizell's “girl”
Eileen November 16, 17, 19, 20, December 12, 17, 18, 29, February 25 A dog (dies, pregnant)
Elbow November 20 A dog
Farini. G. A. December 13 Hunter, possible passenger from the S.S. Oregon
Greenfield, Alfred October 26, 27, November 16 British heavyweight boxing champion
Jake December 17, 18, 20 Englishman and resident of Sulpher, Texas
Littaur Possibly March [2], March 14 Companion of Belmont
Lola Diary pages 93, 113 (dates unclear) Future wife of Evelyn Booth?
Mygate February 18, [19], March [2] Companion of Belmont
Patti, Adelina October 25 Adelina Patti (February 19, 1843-September 27, 1919) Highly acclaimed 19th-century opera singer, earning huge fees at the height of her career in the music capitals of Europe and America.
Paul January 28, February 1), 13, [16], [19], [20], 22 Boat pilot
Pemberton January 1, 4-11
“The Professors,” “Dutch Doctors” February 10, 12, possibly March 1
Sheedy, Patrick November 25, March 14 Manager of boxer John L. Sullivan, notable gambler
Sooner November 28 Heygate's dog (may also be named Elbow?)
Thomas November 22, 23, 24, 25 Gunmaker in Chicago, Illinois

SERIES 2 EPHEMERA 1884, 1885, circa1895

Loose ephemera in the collection includes an unknown portrait by photographer: A.R. Perry, Hastings, England (circa 1895); blank stationary from the Palmer House, Chicago (circa 1885); and a postmarked envelope addressed to Mr. E. Booth (1884).


  • 1884-1895


The collection is open for research.


The English Sporting Men's Travels in America is the physical property of the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


Early in the morning of October 24, 1884, three educated, well-to-do young gentlemen in their 20's departed from The Grove, Sawston Village, Cambridgeshire, England and travelled to the port city of Liverpool. On October 25, 1884 they sailed aboard the Cunard Line's S. S. Oregon for Queensland, Ireland and landed in New York City, New York on November 4th, 1884. The three friends were listed in the S. S. Oregon's saloon passenger list as "Mr. Evelyn Booth, and two friends." During the Winter and Spring 1884-1885, the three men: Evelyn Booth, J.P. Frizell and Reginald Heygate travelled in America from New York City to Niagara Falls, before going on to Chicago, St. Louis, Arkansas, and Texas. They then visited New Orleans, Florida, and Alabama before returning to New Orlelans and finally England sometime in late March or early April 1884. Along the way they documented their travels and the people they met. The three men attended boxing matches, visited bars and gambling establishments, and hunted. While Heygate appears to have left the trio in Texas, both Booth and Frizell competed in shooting competitions with Buffalo Bill Cody in New Orleans.

Evelyn Thomas Barton Booth, a.k.a. Thomas Evelyn Barton Booth was born on April 26, 1860 in Laragh House, Stratford, County Wicklow, Ireland to George Booth (1829-1892) and Georgiana Susanna Arabel Barton (d.1868). George Booth held the office of High Sheriff (1865) and Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for County Wicklow. The couple had two other children: Christina I. B. Booth (b.1861) and James Erskine Wise Booth (1862-1931). Evelyn Booth lived in England from a young age and attended Harrow in Middlesex before matriculating to Trinity College at Cambridge University on June 1, 1878. In addition to his trip to the United States during 1884-1885, Booth later returned to New York City on the S. S. Oregon on December 21, 1885. On January 8, 1886 he signed articles of incorporation and copartnership with William F. Cody and Nate Salsbury whereby Booth invested $30,000 in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and received 25% of the profits. He declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States on May 2, 1888 in the 1st District Court, Laramie County, Wyoming stating he had emigrated to America in November 1884. During the intervening years, Booth, a wealthy gentleman, promoted boxing matches and by the late 1890s was part of the Klondike Gold Rush to Dawson, B.C. He may also have been the inspiration for a short story carried across the country in many newspapers in October 1897: Pollinet's Duel by J. C. Higginbotham. In 1900, Booth and his wife, Lola Booth (of German extraction born in the United States on February 22, 1872) were living in Victoria, B.C. and by 1901 in Milton, Oregon. Evelyn Booth died on August 23, 1901 at the age of 41 at St. Mary's Hospital in Walla Walla, Washington. His death was due to shock from fatal burns caused by a brush fire. Booth is buried in the Milton-Freewater IOOF Cemetery near Milton, Oregon.

The second and youngest member of the company was Dr. John Percival Frizell. He was born on February 2, 1862 in Belfast, Antrim County, Ireland the son of Dr. Charles R. Frizell (b.1792) and Mary Ball. Frizell may have been a childhood friend of Booth's. He is listed on the disembarkation records for the S. S. Oregon, along with Evelyn Booth and Reginald Heygate, as "J.P. Campbell," male, 24 years of age, a gentleman born in Ireland." Frizell could have also attended Cambridge University, but eventually graduated from the King and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland (Dublin) and became a practicing physician. On the trip, Frizell, an avid hunter, also enjoyed boxing, and was interested in chemistry, anatomy and medicine. He was listed as Dr. J. P. Frizell or Fritzell in newspaper accounts of a shooting contest held between himself, Evelyn Booth and Raymond R. Belmont near New Orleans, Louisiana on Friday, March 27, 1885 as part of the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Like Booth, Frizell subsequently immigrated to the United States in 1889 and declared his intention to become a citizen on October 24, 1893 in the District Court at Seattle, Washington. He married a widow, Sadie W. Guinn (b.1866) on December 26, 1894 in Los Angeles, California, but divorced her in 1900 before marrying Mrs. R. Ferguson (1866-1945) of Bakersfield, California in Washoe, Nevada on September 23, 1900. Frizell later married Lena Frances Parker (1880-1910). On November 17, 1919 in Yreka, Siskiyou, California, the couple had twin daughters: Lena Parker Frizell (1910-1997) and Frances Percival Frizell (1910-1994), but Lena Frizell died a week or so later. Frizell eventually married a fourth time to Agnes M. Mack (1881-1918). Dr. J. P. Frizell lived and worked primarily as a doctor and surgeon in various towns and cities in southern and northern California until at least 1918. He also speculated in mining in Northern California and joined various expeditions to the Klondike (1898), and Alaska (1900, 1903) that were reported in the newspapers of the time. The date and location of his death is unknown.

Reginald Beaumont Heygate also accompanied Booth and Frizell on their trip to New York City in November 1884. He was born on October 10, 1857 in Eaton Square, Belgravia, City of Westminster, London, England, the second son of William Unwin Heygate (1825-1902) and Constance Mary Beaumont (d. October 7, 1929). The couple had three other children: William Howley Beaumont Heygate (1854-1928), Mary Florence Heygate-Philpott (1861-1929), and Harry Beaumont Heygate (1872-1897). William Unwin Heygate of Roecliffe Hall, Loughborough, Leicestershire, held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Leicester (1860-1865), for Stamford (1868), for South Leicestershire (1870-1880), and was Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Leicestershire. His son, Reginald Heygate attended Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire, England before matriculating in 1876 to King's College, Cambridge University where he received his B.A. (1880) and M.A. (1883). He was the Assistant Private Secretary to Home Secretaries Sir William Harcourt (1880-1884), and Viscount Cross (1886). At the age of 45, Reginald Heygate died on January 5, 1903 in Middlesex, London, England and was buried at Southend. He left an estate valued at just 687 pounds and 12 shillings.


1 box (.25 linear feet)

1 microfilm reel (Mflm 130)

Language of Materials



The English Sporting Men's Travels in America diary and related ephemera were purchased from the Alta Bookstore, Provo, Utah in 1975.


The Western History/Genealogy Department has additional collections containing material related to the English Sporting Men's Travels in America travel diary including:

William Frederick Cody / Buffalo Bill papers WH72


Number of Boxes: 1

Microfilm: 1 reel




Donna Hamilton Will Gregg Martin Leuthauser

March 2015


Abby Hoverstock

February 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States