Category Archives: 1887

Sporting and Athletic

The Sunday Call – January 2, 1887

Col. J. H. McLaughlin, the ex-champion wrestler, is now a conductor on a western train.

Homer Lane, once the undisputed champion collar-and-elbow wrestler of the world, is now doing exhibition wrestles every night at a resort on the Bowery, New York, with Viro Small, “Black Sam,” as a vis-à-vis.  What a terrible come down for the old man!

Untitled (Piero Celi Interview)

Atlanta Constitution – December 26, 1887

Atlanta – A French athlete, a powerful, muscular fellow, is in the city, and wants to tackle the winner in the Muhler-George contest Tuesday night. The Frenchman gives his name as Piero Celi. Celi stands five feet eight and one-half inches in his stocking feet, weighs one hundred and eighty pounds. His arms are as hard as cast iron, while his chest stands out grandly. His shoulders are square and broad, and altogether he is a magnificent specimen of the genus homo. Celi came to Atlanta on Friday night in response to a letter written him by a friend residing in this city, who knew his ability as a wrestler, and his trip was with a view to making a match with the winner Tuesday night. Last night, the Frenchman, accompanied by his friend, called at The Constitution office. Through the friend Celi made himself understood. Continue reading

A Champion Wrestler

The National Police Gazette: New York – January 1, 1887

Joe Acton 1-1-1887The world renowned Joe Acton of Philadelphia.

Sporting Notes

The National Police Gazette: New York – July 9, 1887

William Muldoon called at the “Police Gazette” office in reply to the challenge of Evan Lewis, the Strangler, who issued a challenge to wrestle Muldoon or any man in America Graeco-Roman style.  Muldoon states that he will wrestle Lewis and cover any forfeit that he may post either with Richard K. Fox or with any other stakeholder.  If Lewis and his backers mean business they will have no trouble in arranging a match, for Muldoon is eager to meet the Strangler, having never had that opportunity. Continue reading

The Referee

The National Police Gazette: New York – April 23, 1887

His Thoughts, Opinions and Expressions on Matters of Sporting Interest.

John McMahon, the famous collar-and-elbow wrestler, is again on the war path, he has posted a forfeit with Richard K. Fox and has issued a challenge to wrestle any man in the United States best two in three falls, collar-and-elbow, “Police Gazette” rules, for $1,000 a side. Continue reading

Latest Sporting

The National Police Gazette: New York – April 23, 1887

At Toronto on April 4 James Faulkner and Matsada Sorakichi, the Japanese champion wrestler, appeared in a wrestling contest.  Sorakichi and Faulkner came out stripped to the waist, the former weighing 155 pounds and the latter 138 pounds.  Both are splendid specimens of muscular manhood and look, owing to their enormous muscles, fine open chests and broad shoulders, to weigh a great deal more than they really do.  They wrestled three falls and gave a splendid exhibition of scientific work, bringing well out all of the finer points and positions of the art.  Many a so called match for stakes has been given in Toronto and not half so apparently earnestly contested as was this exhibition affair.  Catch-as-catch-can was the style all through.  For a full quarter of an hour they struggled in the first bout, each man exhibiting the agility of a cat in getting out of tight places.  Time and again it looked as if one or the other must give way.  But at the critical moment they would get from under.  A peculiar feature was the extraordinary strength of the Jap’s neck.  Any amount of straining on the part of his opponent appeared so much time wasted.  Ever and anon when Faulkner caught him by the legs he would straighten himself out and twisting like a top on his head save a fall and come up smiling for another tussel.  The greater part of the time Matsada was on the defensive, but Faulkner also proved himself remarkably quick and clever at wriggling out of unpleasant and threatening positions.  At length the Jap got a half Nelson hold and his lighter antagonist laid flat on his back.  A short interval and they tore at each other again, the work at times being decidedly rough.  This time Faulkner showed his adeptness by securing the Jap by his legs and giving him a fair flying fall.  Although it looked to the spectators as if Matsada could easily have kept his opponent from scoring, Faulkner declares that he has won scores of bouts in exactly the same way in genuine contests.  Time, 8 minutes.  Although each man was somewhat pumped from his previous efforts, the third fall, which came in six minutes, was equally as earnestly worked for as either of the others.  From the bridge the Jap got a half Nelson and hammerlock on the Englishman, and the three points went down.  The audience was evidently much pleased with the exhibition.  Mr. J. F. Scholes was referee.

“Demon” Vs. “Strangler”

The Clinton Morning News – February 10, 1887

An Exciting Catch-As Catch-Can Wrestling Match.

Joe Acton Throws Evan Lewis Three Times Out of Four – No Strangling Work This Time – Description of the Four Rounds – Lewis Wants Some More of It – The Attendance.



CHICAGO, Feb. 8. – There were some 3,500 people at Battery D Monday night to witness the catch-as-catch-can wrestling match between Joe Acton, otherwise known as “The Demon,” and Evan Lewis, who has obtained, and perhaps deservedly, the title of “The Strangler.”  All denominations, except perhaps the clergy, were represented in the crowd at the Battery.  There were lawyers, doctors, board of trade men, merchants, and every description of sporting men, from the owner of a thoroughbred racing stable down to a shoestring gambler.  Lewis is probably a Welshman and Acton is an Englishman born.  There is considerable difference in the size of the two men.  Acton is 5 feet 5 inches high while Lewis is 5 feet 10 inches and their weights are respectively about 160 and 180 pounds.  Both are splendid specimens of physical humanity.  After a long wait varied by a few athletic exhibitions the two champions made their appearance.  The match was for the best three in five falls.

First round – It was exactly 8:30 as the men got together.  Lewis tried to get a leg lock, but Acton quickly had him on his knees and held with a half Nelson.  Lewis partially got free and made an attempt to get his favorite neck grasp.  Acton avoided it, and though Lewis threw him, he was up again without the required two shoulders being down.  They broke and got together again with a neck hold.  Lewis threw Acton with a grapevine, but again Acton avoided touching with his shoulders.  Acton then got a good grip around the body and had Lewis on his knees.  They wrestled some time in this position, when Acton got a half Nelson on the Wisconsin man and almost had him over, but Lewis got away and had Acton on his side with a grape-vine.  Acton then got a half Nelson on the big one.  Lewis bridged, and after a struggle partially turned Acton over.  “The Demon” was not daunted, and coming at Lewis again he got a good half Nelson, throwing “The Strangler” fairly on his shoulders, and winning the first fall in 10 minutes.



Second round – Only lasted three minutes.  Lewis throwing Acton with a side hold, grape-vine.  Lewis seemed surprised and did not claim the fall, but his second did, and Jack Burke properly allowed it.

Third round – Acton got a grip on the left leg, but could do nothing.  Lewis lifted the little man and tried to cross buttock with him, but failed.  Lewis then attempted to get in some strangle work, but Acton was too clever, and managed to turn him over, nearly securing a fall.  The big one got out of it, but not for long, as Acton, with a half Nelson, turned him over on his back, and though Lewis bridged, “The Demon” gradually wore him down, and won the third fall of the match, and the second for himself, in 7 minutes.



Fourth round – When they came together Lewis made a rush for his man, and lifting him in his arms as if he was a child, tried to throw him over his head.  Acton escaped.  Lewis then got a grip on Acton’s right arm, and there were cries of “Look out, Acton, he’ll break your arm.”  Lewis threw Acton with a grape vine, and it was a close call; the referee decided against it, however, and Acton, getting a half Nelson, turned the big man over.  He again tried to bridge, but could not manage, Acton winning the fourth fall and the match in 6 minutes.

Immediately after the decision it was announced that $100 forfeit had been posted by Lewis to wrestle another match with Acton in three weeks, three points down to decide, and the stakes to be $500 a side and the gate money.


Atlanta Constitution – December 28, 1887

Atlanta – The wrestling match in Concordia Hall last night between “Greek George” and John Muhler proved one of the most exciting sporting events ever seen in the south.

In the hall was an immense crowd of spectators, who showed intense interest in the match from the beginning to the close. Many prominent citizens were present. Mayor Cooper occupied a front seat, and enjoyed the sport as much as anybody else. Among other prominent gentlemen who were deeply interested, the following were noticed: Mr. Welborn Colquitt, Mr. H. W. Grady, Dr. Robert Westmoreland, Mr. G. H. Lumpkin, Captain Joyner, Dr. Amos Fox, Mr. Gentry, Mr. Cobb Jackson, Mr. A. J. Kennedy, Mr. Steve Ryan, Mr. H. H. Cabiness, Mr. C. S. Atwood, Dr. A. W. Calhoun, Mr. J. J. Orchard, Mr. H. H. Colquitt, Mr. J. H. Tennant, Mr. Ildo Ramsdell, Mr. E. B. Hook, Mr. Face, Mr. James O’Neill, Mr. Walter Venable, Mr. W. J. Pelot and many others.

It was half-past 8 o’clock when the footlights were turned up and the wrestlers entered their rooms. A young man enlivened the twenty minutes’ wait by playing a sprightly selection on the piano. The crowd became impatient and cries of “Play ball! Let her go, Gallagher! Start the match!” were heard in all parts of the hall.

Mr. Harry Hill stepped out upon the stage and was loudly applauded as he neared the footlights. He made a very neat announcement to the effect that the two greatest wrestlers living would contend for the championship of the world; that the match would consist of the two best in three, Graeco-Roman style; that the victor would receive seventy-five per cent of the gate money, and the other twenty-five per cent would go to the vanquished.

“Permit me, gentlemen,” Mr. Hill continued, “to introduce to you the combatants. Here is Mr. John Muhler.”

Thereupon Muhler stepped out and made a bow to the audience. He was vociferously cheered. He was naked down to his waist. He wore tights, a trunk and a pair of thick socks.

Mr. Hill announced, “Greek George,” and he came out and bowed. He, too, received a great deal of applause. His costume was the same as that of his antagonist, only its colors were different.

It was announced that Mr. James Lynch had been selected as the referee, and that Mr. Steve Grady would assist him. Judge Hinton Wright was requested to act as timekeeper.

The preliminaries being disposed of, the referee called time at precisely ten minutes before nine o’clock, and the two Greeks walked lightly upon the carpet. This carpet was sixteen feet square and nearly three inches thick. It was firmly tacked down to the floor. The contestants faced each other, shook hands, and then began.

The men presented a similar appearance as they faced each other. Both are wonderful specimens of physical development, and as the crowd measured with their eye the Herculean proportions of the athletes, there was an involuntary burst of applause, which caused the wrestlers to pause a moment to bow to the crowd before them. But not another moment was wasted. At it the Greeks went. From the first it was obvious that Muhler was the favorite, as indicated by such cries as “Go it, John!” and “Throw him, Muhler!” The men slapped each other on the shoulder with smart force and then they began.

Both men were striving to secure an advantage. Greek George took the attack and soon had his opponent’s head as indicated in the position of the above cut. It was thought by the spectators that “Greek George” had a sufficient advantage to throw Muhler. Not so. In a few minutes the tables were turned. Muhler, by a superhuman effort, wrenched loose his head and arms and forced his opponent to the carpet. This feat elicited great applause. The wily George was not to be caught in this way. By a dexterous twist of his back and shoulders he secured his favorite defensive position known as the

Muhler tugged like a giant to force George’s shoulders down to the floor, but all his efforts were futile. In a minute the wrestlers upon their feet. They went at it again, and for ten minutes strove earnestly to down each other. At the expiration of twenty minutes the referee said the first bout was ended, and there would be a short intermission so that the wrestlers could be wiped down.

The wrestlers came out apparently as fresh as when they started. They did some fancy work and then went at it like sluggers. At the end of twenty minutes Muhler was on his side and his adversary was sitting upon him and trying desperately to turn him over. After some very scientific work, Greek George got one of Muhler’s shoulders down. Just how it was done nobody knew, but eight minutes later, “Greek George” was lying upon his back. He could not get the bridge in time. It was a clean fall. The referee declared that Muhler had won the first fall in forty-eight minutes. The hall shook with applause.

The wrestlers came to time smiling for the second round. Muhler this time took the offensive. Some beautiful work was done by both men and they were liberally applauded. The contest became more and more exciting, and the crowd got more and more enthusiastic. At the end of twenty minutes the referee called “time.” During an intermission of fifteen minutes there was a very amusing slugging bout between Mr. Como, a wiry little fellow, and Mr. Noon, from County Galway, Ireland. Both men displayed considerable science. When “time” was called the spectators began showering upon the stage pennies, quarters, half-dollars and dollars. The boxers must have received some $15 and $20 between them.

At 10:45 o’clock the wrestlers came out again. There was some slugging and grappling for position. The men were up one minute and down the next. At the expiration of thirteen minutes, “Greek George,” by a surprising movement, threw his adversary upon his back. The referee gave the fall to George. Great applause greeted this announcement. Honors were easy, and the contest was still more exciting and uncertain. Both combatants seemed to be favorites from this point to the end.

It was exactly twenty before 12 o’clock when Judge Wright said to the crowd that the final round be begun in two minutes, and that if neither wrestler was victor before the clock struck twelve the match would be declared a draw. This announcement did not please the crowd. It was the general desire that the match be contested to the bitter end. When the men appeared upon the carpet they were heartily cheered. There was in the eyes of both a look of determination, which caused their admirers to expect some terrific work.

The exertions of the men were painful to behold. They worked as if their life depended upon the result. As the time passed they fought with increased determination. It wanted only three minutes to midnight. Both men lay upon the carpet, on their sides. If one of them could turn his adversary over, the victory would be his. But his could not be done. While both men were trying to accomplish this, the referee called “time.” Instantly the Greeks were upon their feet.

“Greek George” came to the front of the platform and said he would resume the match either next Thursday or Friday night. The details of this match will be given in tomorrow’s Constitution.


Atlanta Constitution – December 27, 1887

Atlanta – The great wrestling match, an event which has been looked forward to for several weeks, will take place tonight. The contestants will be “Greek George” and John Muhler, the two most scientific wrestlers in the world. The match will take place in Concordia Hall. The stage will be arranged like it was for the wrestling contest between Muhler and O’Leary. A thick carpet will be fastened down securely. This will be about two inches in thickness and will cover a space about sixteen feet square.

The doors of the hall will be opened at 7:15 o’clock, and the match will begin at 8, or a few minutes thereafter. Mr. Dennis O’Leary has been chosen as the second for Muhler and has indicated his willingness to serve. Greek George has not yet named his second. He will select some well-known Atlanta gentleman who is familiar with the rules which govern wrestling contests. Tickets may be had at any of the following places: Steve Grady’s, the New Era saloon, and Jim Lynch’s saloon. Reserved seats cost $1; general admission 50 cents.

The crowd of spectators will select the referee just before the match begins. Either Mr. Jim Lynch or Mr. Henry Beermann will be chosen. Both of these gentlemen are ardent devotees of athletic sports, and are themselves skillful wrestlers and boxers. Besides, they are conversant with the rules of the ring. Either one would be perfectly acceptable to both contestants and their backers. No person will be permitted to go upon the stage except the master of ceremonies, the referee and the wrestlers. A brass band will be present to enliven the entertainment.

The indications are that an immense crowd will be in attendance, and the crowd will be composed of the best class of Atlanta’s citizens.  Doctors, lawyers, merchants and society men will be there in large numbers. Delegations will be here from Marietta, Decatur, East Point, Stone Mountain, Augusta, Savannah and Macon. The only drawback is the limited dimensions of the hall. Only a small proportion of those who are anxious to see the contest can secure seats. The hall seats comfortably between 600 and 700 people, and there is standing room for perhaps 100 more. But the indications point to a crowd of several thousand.

“Greek George” will be naked from his waist up, and will wear the regulation tights from his waist to his feet. He will wear blue and red socks. His tights will be flesh colored. Muhler will be dressed in precisely the same way, only his tights will be blue and his trunk black, and he will wear red socks.

“Greek George” weighs, in his wrestling condition, about 185 pounds, and his adversary is perhaps six or eight pounds heavier. Both men are in perfect fighting trim. They say they were never before in so good a condition. Both wrestlers are brimful of enthusiasm and confidence. They expect to do the best work of their lives. Each man is confident of victory. Many large and small bets have been made on the result. Not the slightest odds are offered on either man.

The Savannah News published a statement day before yesterday that Duncan C. Ross, the well-known athlete, had endeavored to arrange a match with “Greek George,” and the latter had left the city so as to evade him.

Regarding this statement the Greek says: “I tarried in Savannah several days with the express understanding that Ross would make a match with me. I waited for him but he did not come, and I know he had no intention of meeting me. This not the first time I have sought a match with Ross. I challenged him twice when I was in New Orleans, and he was in Texas, but we did not come together. Again I tried hard to get up a match with him when we were both in Denver. Again in Jacksonville. But Ross was always afraid to meet me, at least that is the inference I draw from his behavior. Now, if Duncan C. Ross really desires to wrestle with me, I will cheerfully make a match with him for  $200 a side, just as soon as my match with Muhler is over. I am willing for the match to take place in Savannah, Charleston or Atlanta. I hear that there is an unknown Frenchman here who wants to wrestle with the winner of our match, and I wish to say that whether I win this match or lose it, I am willing to wrestle him for $100 a side in private.”


Atlanta Constitution – December 30, 1887

Atlanta – Neither “Greek George” nor John Muhler is satisfied with the outcome of the wrestling match which took place last Tuesday night in Concordia Hall. Muhler was eager to continue the match until he or his adversary should get the decisive fall but “Greek George” was not willing to prolong the struggle beyond midnight. It has just transpired that George was not in his best condition Tuesday night. Several previous nights he had not slept well. He expects to be in good shape when the contest is renewed. Muhler is full of confidence. He believes he is the better man. Next Monday night the two wrestlers will again test their skill, pluck and endurance. The next match will be “catch-as-catch-can,” the most exciting form of wrestling.

“Greek George” has gone to Savannah to meet Duncan C. Ross, who is a great all-around athlete and fine wrestler. The young men of Atlanta, since the match between Muhler and “Greek George,” have become deeply interested in athletic sports, especially wrestling. Muhler is a skillful boxer, and is teaching several young men how to use the gloves.