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I was born in the year 1829, in the city of Constance, Baden, one of the provinces of Germany. My father died in 1840, I then left my
home and went to Switzerland to live with my uncle I remained with him two years. He then bound me out to a butcher to learn the trade
in the city of Zurich. In 1845, I left Zurich for Paris with only five francs. After I arrived in Paris I worked at my trade two and one-half years. Within this time, I saved three hundred and fifty francs. My mother being poor and needy, l sent her three hundred francs to assist her in procuring the necessaries of life, also, to obtain food for my little brothers and sisters. I then left Paris with my fifty francs, and traveled mostly on foot, for nine months, to the city of St. Petersburg, in Russia. I arrived there in 1848, in the month of July. I obtained employment from a butcher for one year. During the great struggle between England and Russia I enlisted as a private in the army. I was at the siege of Sebastopol. I remained in the army fifteen months.

Returning to St. Petersburg. l engaged, as elephant driver, with Mr. Grotzburg, who was then the owner of the largest menagerie in the world. I drove the elephant four years. Mr. Grotzburg's son was taken sick, and I took his place as a lion tamer. It was then that I first entered the den with four wild forest lions, in the year 1854, at the city of Berlin. During the next six years, I remained with Grotzburg as lion tamer. In 1858, I married a Miss Mary Sclulosz, in the city of Kolmar. In 1860, in the city of Paris, I receive from the Emperor the gold medal, as being the most noted lion tamer in the world. In 1861, l left Grotzburg, and took a voyage with Mr. Jacob Casanovia to Africa; and there in the wilds of that country, procured a vessel-load of animals and, returned, in 1862, to Vienna. After a vacation of two months, I returned to Mr. Grotzburg. I then traveled from Vienna to Cologne in France. In 1865, my wife died in Cologne, and left in my care two small children. We then left Cologne and traveled through France and Switzerland to Florence, in Italy. l then made the second trip to Africa with Mr. Jacob Casanovia, in 1866. We took passage on the first steamer that passed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. After six weeks of struggle, we started on our journey back, with ten young elephants, six of which died before we reached home. Among those that lived was the famous elephant Sultan, now the property of Mr French, which is well known throughout this country. Mr Jacob Casanovia was taken sick on the steamer from Suez to Florence, and died two days before we arrived. l remained in charge of the animals, in Hamburg, until Mrs. Casanovia disposed of them, two being sold in England to the Queen's Menagerie. I went with them and trained them. Eleven months after, J.M. French's agent arrived in Hamburg and bought six lions, also, the elephants Empress and Sultan. While in England, I received a message from Mr. J.M. French's agent to return to Hamburg and take charge of the elephant Empress on his voyage to this country. I arrived in New York on the 1st of June, 1869, on the steamer Holsatia, and from 1869 to 1874, I have remained with J. M. French as the famous lion tamer.

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Paul Schroff - "Lion Tamer"

Paul Schroff was born in Germany in 1829, his talent as a lion tamer, and elephant handler brought him to Detroit in the 1870's.  He married Wilhemina Roediger and purchased a farm at the corner of Campell and 11 Mile Roads. By the 1880's, Mr Schroff owned a farm, hotel and saloon, a private managerie (at Woodward and 5 Mile Rd.) and operated the "Detroit Zoological Garden" at Michigan Ave. and Tenth Street.

For more information on the Schroff family in Royal Oak see Muriel's column in the the archives of the
 About Us link.

Paul Schroff

      Schroff farm at 11 Mile and Campbell Rds.

From the "Illustrated Animal Kingdom" by Paul Schroff.
The largest Elephant in the world standing eleven feet four inches high, weighing six tons 480 pounds.

Empress is one hundred and thirty-one years old is of the Indian species; was captured on the Indus River in the year 1746, when but five years old. She has been owned by nearly all of the crowned heads of Europe, and in 1862, was presented by the Czar of Russia to Kreutzburg, an exhibitor of wild animals from whom she was purchased for J.M. French's Oriental Circus and Egyptian Caravan, costing, when landed in New York, nearly $42.000. She can be seen daily in the gorgeous street procession and in the Menagerie department of the exhibitions. She is the greatest curiosity living.

The Elephant has long been trained to swell the pomp of pageants and add to the terrors of war as well as to perform the useful offices of a beast of burden and draught. Hannibal marched into Italy with numbers of these animals, and the tusks found imbedded in the soil along the bands of the Arno and now shown in the museum at Florence, are popularly considered to have belonged to those which perished in the passage across the territory which was then a deep, tangled morass. Haroun-al-Raschid, among the presents dispatched to Charlemange, sent an Elephant, which was embarked at Pisa. A.D. 801, and was conveyed to Aix-la-Chapelle.

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