Tag Archives: Joe Acton

Redskin To Meet Greek

The Toledo News-Bee – July 14, 1908

Can a 160 pound Greek throw a 250 pound Indian?  This question will be decided at Armory park Tuesday night when Demetral and War Eagle will clash in the main event of a wrestling program. Continue reading

Joe Acton, Ex-Champion Wrestler

The New York Times – June 27, 1917

PORTLAND, Ore., June 26. – Joe Acton, wrestling champion of America and England a quarter of a century ago, and known to sport followers as the “Little Demon,” died here today, aged 65 years.  For ten years he had been wrestling instructor at an amateur athletic club here.  He held records of victories over Joe Cannon, Edward Bibby, Evan Lewis, the original “Strangler,” and Clarence Whistler.

“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.

Acton Too Much For Connors

The Toronto Mail – April 9, 1883

PHILADELPHIA, April 7. – In the wrestling match between Joe Acton and Tom Connors for $100, Acton won.

Barnes Winner Acton Defeated

The Meriden Daily Journal – February 15, 1906

Springfield, Mass., Feb. 15. – James Barnes, middleweight champion, wrestler of America, last night, defeated Joe Acton, England’s catch-as-catch-can middleweight champion, in the best three in five falls.

Had the Englishman not insisted on three out of five he would have been returned a winner for he got two of the first three falls and won the crowd by his wonderful speed.

Barnes had more strength and it counted in the long match.  Acton won the first fall in seven minutes and twenty-three seconds by a hammer lock.

A leg and arm hold after ten minutes and four seconds caught Barnes so quickly in the third bout that he was dazed by the deftness with which Acton turned him over.

The second bout was won by Barnes in fourteen minutes with a scissors hold.


The New York Times – March 12, 1892

Joseph Acton, the catch-as-catch-can wrestler, was defeated by two straight falls Thursday night in San Francisco by Daniel S. McLeod.

Lewis And Acton

Chicago Tribune – April 12, 1887

The Strangler Finally Gets The Better Of His Famous Adversary

The catch-as-catch-can wrestling match between Joe Acton of Philadelphia and Evan Lewis of Madison, Wis., was decided at Battery D Armory last night. It was announced as for $500 a side, best three in five falls, three points down to constitute a fall.

For years, Acton has been regarded as invincible and also an honest wrestler. Ugly rumors, however, were current yesterday afternoon, and these no doubt caused many to doubt the honesty of last night’s match and remain away from the Armory. It appears that an effort was made to start betting on the contest yesterday afternoon at Dowling’s, and the result was such a rush to get money on Lewis at any odds that the crowd began to shout “Rats” whenever an offer was made.

Nobody offered a dollar on Acton. Finally, one man offered $100 to $30 on Lewis, another “raised” him by offering $180 to $200 that he could call every fall. At this Dowling ordered the names off the blackboard, saying: “This match is already won; we don’t want any betting here on a race of that kind.”

At the call of time the men closed immediately, Acton grabbing Lewis around the neck. In a few seconds Lewis was forced to the carpet, but got up quickly, with Acton having a back body-hold. They struggled for a few moments without result. Then Acton started Lewis for the carpet. Lewis turned and landed on top of Acton. The latter slipped out from under him like an eel and recovered his back body-hold. Then he got Lewis two points down, the Strangler saving himself by a bridge, which Acton tried to break. In a scuffle Lewis was forced half-way through the ropes. Lewis wriggled out of the hold and back on the platform.

Instantly Acton was on top of him and in a running scramble sent him again to the edge of the platform, where a hold on the ropes and a bridge came into service. Lewis escaped again. Acton, always on top, got hugged and jolted him until his bridge gave way, and, in ten minutes and forty-two seconds, a fall was awarded to Acton, who was loudly cheered. During the intermission Mr. Rueschaw gave an exhibition of club swinging.

When the men came out for the second bout Acton appeared blown, while Lewis was perfectly fresh. Lewis assumed the aggressive. There was a great deal of twisting and wriggling, some very clever work on both sides, and Lewis tried a hip-lock once more, raised Acton into the air, and landed him flat on his back. Time, 3 minutes and 4 seconds.

The third bout was comparatively tame. They closed quickly and, after a little maneuvering, went to the floor with Acton uppermost. The bout terminated by Lewis getting another hip-lock on Acton and again planting him on his back. Time, 5 minutes, 40 seconds.

The fourth bout settled the contest. Almost at the outset Lewis got a strangle hold, by which he held Acton for about a minute. Acton then slipped out of it, got on top of Lewis, and tipped him over his head. Lewis spun around on the top of his cranium and extricated himself. By a movement that brought down the house Acton with a back body hold slipped down behind Lewis and pitched Lewis backward over him.

The “Strangler” nearly landed on his back but managed to turn to his side. After this they stood up and indulged in efforts at tripping until Lewis once more hip-locked Acton and floored him, winning the match. Time, 6 minutes and 33 seconds. In this bout Lewis showed more skill than he has heretofore been given credit for. The contest as a whole was an interesting and at times exciting exhibition, and the spectators were pretty well satisfied.

However, the transparent fact that Acton was in no condition for a hard struggle, coupled with the peculiar betting, caused a great deal of unfavorable comment.

Joe Acton’s Victory

The New York Times – February 8, 1887

CHICAGO, Feb. 7. – Joe Acton, the champion catch-as-catch-can wrestler of America, defeated Evan Lewis, of Madison, Wis., to night, at Battery D Armory, in the presence of 4,000 spectators.  The winner took 75 per cent of the gate receipts and the loser 25 per cent.  A number in the audience pronounced the affair a hippodrome, but also declared it probably the best exhibition of skillful wrestling ever seen in Chicago.  Only once during the match did Lewis secure a “strangle” hold, and then Acton broke it immediately.  The men wrestled under special rules, which provided that two shoulders down should constitute a fall instead of two shoulders and a hip as is generally the case.  The terms were the best three in five falls, and Lewis won only the second.  At the conclusion of the match both men posted $100 to wrestle again according to regulation rules.


Atlanta Constitution – December 11, 1887

Atlanta – John Muhler has met and conquered such wrestlers as Duncan Ross, James Faulkner, Tom Cannon, Jack Connors, ‘the Jap,’ Lucien Marc Cristol, Edward Bibby, Joe Acton, Greek George and others. A match between him and Muldoon is a probability.