Cayetano (also spelled Gaetano) Mariotini was originally from Cuba. He moved to New York City in 1809 and ran a circus with Jean Baptiste Casmiere Breschard and Victor Pepin. The circus traveled around the eastern seaboard for the next three years. Their circus moved west to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1814. Breschard and Pepin soon went back east, while "Mr. Cayetano" operated his own circus in what was then the West (Ohio and Kentucky). Cayetano performed as a clown, an acrobat, and a horse rider. On June 25, 1812, he was the first to exhibit an elephant (named "Old Bet") in the United States. Cayetano worked his way south along the Mississippi River, performing in Natchez, Mississippi, from October 1815 through February 1816.
From Natchez, his company went to New Orleans, built a wooden arena at the Place Publique, which became known as the Place du Cirque and in later years as the Place Congo (Congo Square) (Sublette 141). He performed from April 6, 1816 until his death (Hoh and "Suit"). In 1816 he built the Olympia Theater next to the circus, but the theater was unsuccessful ("Suit"). While in New Orleans in January 1817, he developed a pantomine of Andrew Jackson leading the Battle of New Orleans (Kotar and Gessler 85). His circus was closed during the summer of 1817 due to an outbreak of yellow fever. He himself died of the fever in November 1817 (Slout). After his death, his estate was sued and liquidated to pay his debts ("Suit").
References in the Anthology
Hoh, Lavahn G. "The Circus in America: 1793-1940." IATH: The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. The University of Virginia. Web. 2004. 15 March 2012. <http://www.circusinamerica. org/public/timelines?date1= 1801&date2=1824>.
Kotar, S. L., and J. E. Gessler. The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899. Jefferson, North Carolina: MacFarland & Company, 2011. Print.
Slout, William L. Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: A Biographical Dictionary of the Ninteenth Century American Circus—Ca-Cl. The Circus Historical Society. <http://www.circushistory. org/Olympians/OlympiansC1. htm>.
Sublette, Ned. Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review, 2004. Print.