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Signor Lawanda (August 7, 1849 - 14 November 1934 ) born Hugh David Evans, was a nineteenth-century circus performer and strongman renowned for his strength. Contents 1 Biography 2 Family 3 References 4 Sources Biography Born Hugh David Evans in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, his mother died two weeks after his birth due to puerperal sepsis. Evans was put to work as a child laborer in the slate mines of Pennsylvania and in Granville, New York. Coming from several generations of slate miners in Northern Wales on his fathers side, his mother was a Pennsylvania German woman who was famed for her feats of strength in her Bethlehem neighborhood. One of her feats was reportedly lifting a 375-pound barrel of flour and carrying it up a flight of stairs. (George W Stark Detroit News) Evans was first introduced to the circus at 11 years old, when he attended the circus with his father in Rutland, Vermont. From then on it was in his blood to be a circus strongman. He practiced his feats of strength at home and would lift the heavy bundles of slate in the Quarries he worked in. Men would come from all around to challenge him at lifting the heavy bundles. By the time he was 16 years old, he was defeating all challengers. Lawanda lifting two large men using, in part, his jaws Evans left home in 1865 with a man named Comical Brown to barnstorm in the eastern United States. His father was mortified at a son of his becoming a show performer. As part of his act in his trouping days, Evans would lift a barrel of water and let four men climb astride it, weighing approximately 1000 pounds. He also would juggle a 35 pound chair, toss it in the air, somersaulting it several times, then catch it with his teeth. If someone would donate a silver dollar, he would bite it in half within a couple of minutes. He amazed circus goers and astounded P.T. Barnum by lifting a 1400 lb horse with his teeth. (Detroit Free Press November 15, 1934) In June 1882 while performing in Boston, Massachusetts at Forest Gardens, Evans became ensnared in a confrontation with John L. Sullivan, then the heavyweight champ. Evans out-lifted Sullivan by hoisting a barrel filled with water, weighing approximately 375-490 lbs, using one arm. His opponent was unable to lift the barrel and wanted to fight afterwards, but years later they would become friends.Signor Lawanda worked for Dan Rice Circus among many other circus ,he settled in Detroit Michigan and worked for E.W. Pop Wiggins traveling across the country and in to Canada, he worked for the Wonderland theatre at the end of his career,which was a theatre in Detroit at Woodward and Jefferson. Evans died on November 14, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. Family Evans's family consisted of his father David Robert Evans, stepmother Mary, sisters Jane, Hannah, Catherine, Ann, and brothers James David and Robert. Hugh married a Canadian farmer's daughter, Nellie McAleer, in January 1880 in Detroit, Michigan, and they had four sons - George, twins Fred and Frank,Timothy Catalano Grandson and John (Lawanda)Son and owner of Mavis Nu icy bottling company in Detroit, Michigan. References New York times 11-14-1934 Detroit Free Press 11-15-1934, 06-03-1934 Detroit News 11-15-1934, 03-07-1941, 03-15-1941 The Billboard 06-14-1930 Circus Route Book 1892 season Sources Evans Family Grandson of Enoch "Pop" Wiggins (witness) Persondata Name Lawanda, Signor Alternative names Short description Date of birth August 7, 1849 Place of birth Date of death 14 November 1934 Place of death