Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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CARLISLE, Richard Risley, athlete, born in Salem, New Jersey, in 1814; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 25 May, 1874. At an early age he became a gymnast in a circus, afterward trained his two sons to perform with him, and the trio, as the "Risley family," became celebrated. In 1845 they went abroad, performed at Drury lane theatre, London, and before the queen. In St. Petersburg he won sixteen prize rifles by his marksmanship, and excelled all his competitors in skating. Returning to London, he wagered that he could beat any one else in the City at shooting, wrestling, jumping, throwing the hammer, and playing billiards; and he made good his boast on the following day in everything except billiard-playing, in which he was defeated. Piqued at this, he took with him to London the best American billiard-player, wagered $30,000 on his success, and lost. He then bought a country-seat near Chester, Pennsylvania, but was afterward unsuccessful in his ventures, and finally died in the lunatic department of the Blockley ahnshouse. In 1848 he brought the first troupe of Japanese acrobats to this country, at a cost of $100,000.
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