Sam Sharpley’s Ironclad Minstrels

Event Information

Hooley’s Minstrel Hall

Proprietor / Lessee:
Samuel M. Sharpley
Samuel S. Sanford

Manager / Director:
Samuel M. Sharpley

Price: $.25; .50 reserved seats

Record Information


Last Updated:
10 November 2016


Announcement: New York Clipper, 03 June 1865, 62.

     “The Minstrel Hall in the Bowery, erected for M. C. Campbell’s party, but lately occupied by Hooley’s Minstrels, closed very abruptly on May 27th in consequence of the poor patronage received. . . . Mr. Sam Sharpley is the new lessee; he will re-open the place on June 12th, with a tip-top company, known all over the country as ‘The Iron Clads.’”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 09 June 1865.
Announcement: New York Clipper, 10 June 1865, 70.

     “The Iron Clads are coming. . . . Sam Sharpley, the manager, is one of the most witty and original comedians in the business, keeping up a succession of local hits and funny squibs, while quietly taking of the follies and frivolities of the times.  The veteran Sam Sanford is also with the band; Sam was for many years manager of Sanford’s Minstrels, in Philadelphia, and may be said to be one of the pioneers of minstrelsy.  In addition to these, there are two or three other comedians in the party. . . . The vocal and instrumental departments are full, the whole forming a strong combination of minstrel talent.”

Advertisement: New York Clipper, 10 June 1865, 71.

     List of names and positions within the company.  “[T]he Finest Orchestra ever in a Minstrel Troupe.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 12 June 1865, 4.

     “Amusements This Evening.”  Works.

Advertisement: New York Herald, 12 June 1865, 7.

     “Sam Sharpley’s Minstrels, The Monitors of Minstrelsy.”

Review: New York Herald, 14 June 1865.

     “The newest of the minstrel halls in point of Management is Sharpley’s Bowery House, formerly Hooley’s.  He has an immense force of artists and presents a lively bill.  The minstrel entertainment of the present day is a great improvement upon former times.  It combines now opera, drama, spectacle, ballet, concert and burlesque, all in one programme.  Thus at Sharpley’s we have Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 17 June 1865, 78.

     “This famous band, better known as Sam Sharpley’s Minstrels, have been on an almost uninterrupted cruise for three years, dropping in at this port, touching at that one, entertaining the gay and festive cusses of the large cities, and bringing joy and gladness to the hearts of the rural lads and lasses in towns in almost every section of the Union.  When the port of Richmond was opened, after a blockade of four years, Sam Sharpley’s Iron Clads were among the first to cheer the people of that long badly governed city. . . . [S]ome gems of Ethiopian vocal and instrumental music.”

Review: New York Clipper, 24 June 1865, 86.

     “Sam Sharpley’s Iron Clads made their debut in this city at the Bowery Minstrel Hall on the 12th inst.  The house was very crowded. . . . The first part of the evening’s entertainment embraced several of the most popular ballads and comic songs of the day.  There are fourteen performers in the first part.  Sam Sharpley has the ‘tambo’ end, and Cal. Wagner is Brudder Bones.  Sam Sharpley was funny on the end; his jokes were new, and many of them original.  Cal. Wagner creates considerable fun, but he does it in a very quiet way.  There are better and worse men on the end than Wagner. . . . The instrumental music of this company is about the best we have ever heard in a minstrel band.  The ballad singing is fair, and the quartet works well. . . . A hearty call was made for the company, who appeared and commenced the second part with a full brass band, playing a quickstep from ‘Norma’ in good style.  Sam Sharpley’s banjo solo was a feature of the performance. . . . Hughey Dougherty’s drum solo, with imitations of a railroad car, etc., was one of the best performances we ever heard on the snare drum.  The burlesque of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ concluded the evening’s performances, in which Sam Sanford appeared as Uncle Tom.  The piece was well played, and gave general satisfaction.  The attendance during the week was good.”