CDV of Mr and Mrs Barney Williams – Irish songsters – surfaces

I started collecting memorabilia related to the husband-wife Irish-songster duo – Mr and Mrs Barney Williams – several years ago. I’m excited to say I recently found this CDV on eBay of The Williams’.  I’ve never seen it before. Barney is in costume for one of his most famous acts: Ragged Pat.

Barney Williams, (Bernard O’Flaherty) was born in Cork county Ireland in 1823. His parents immigrated to America when he was a young boy and settled in New York. By 1836, at age 13, he was connected with the Franklin theatre. He learned clogging while in Ireland and became the first professional clogger in America by 1840. In his early performance-days Barney performed negro minstrels, the circus, and performed a variety of song-n-dance routines. Click on the following links to read about Williams’s performance career during the Civil War in America.

Here are some of my previous posts related to Mr and Mrs Barney Williams.

One comment

  1. Theatricals.
    On Monday evening last Concert Hall was filled to its utmost tensions to witness the first appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Barney Williams in this city. A large number of persons who had secured tickets were compelled to postpone the sight for a more convenient season, owing the immense crowd. Every night since the hall has been filled, sometimes to a point of discomfort, and the performances have been greeted with rapturous applause. Mr. and Mrs. Williams were preceded to this place by a high reputation—public curiosity was raised, and a high degree of perfection was expected. It is but the truth to say that their representations have excelled expectation. Barney Williams has that unmistakable, irresistible humor that belongs to the true comedian, and often carries his flashes of wit beyond the author’s conception. He really plays with his part, turning it over and over, exhibiting every ludicrous feature, developing more humor by his manner than by the word of the play. In the number of Irish characters he has personated during the week it is difficult to select any one as his best. . . .

    Mrs. Williams displays astonishing versatility in acting. In a single piece she will personate a half dozen totally different characters, of different nations, and the change of dress is not to her as to many who attempt such a difficult task, the entire change. Every accent and gesture is fitted to the character in hand. She played on Tuesday night the part, among several in the same piece, of a Gypsey [sic] girl, singing a song that for the perfection of its imitations seemed real rather than burlesque. But her great forte is in Yankee character. Her Yankee girl is no faint outline. It is a piece of real independent, hearty, dont-stand-any-nonsense, Bunker-hillish verdancy, and excites shouts of applause.

    We are pleased to notice that the citizens of Nevada have tendered a complimentary benefit to Mrs. Williams, and that it has been accepted for tonight. . . .

    The public are indebted to Mr. J. B. Robinson for the pleasure of this visit of the above named accomplished artists, and for the excellent manner in which they are sustained in their personations. The Robinson family has in itself talents of a superior order, and have often played to full houses in Nevada.

    Mr. Robinson always plays his parts well, as does Mr. Compton and William. We saw Barney play at Marysville, and do not think he was as well supported by the ladies of the troup as by those of the Robinson family. Little Sue has not played yet, and were an attraction needed, her name to the bill to act would supply it. She danced last night, and was loudly applauded, and dances twice tonight. She is a bewitching little favorite. Why don’t they bring her out? Messrs. Folland [Follin] and Dumphries are excellent comedians, and do their share towards a good entertainment. . . .
    (Comstock’s News and Advertising pg 13 extracted from Nevada Journal Jan. 26, 1855)

    Mr. Compton who is mentioned in the above last paragraph is a 1st cousin 4X removed, that I am at this time writing a biography of.

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