It turns out I had a daring namesake:

Sunday, September 9, 1905: A half mile above the row houses of East Baltimore, 25-year-old John August twisted in the air and pulled himself to a sitting position on the trapeze bar. It was a pleasant day, the last of the Industrial Trades Exposition.

Below August, nearly 10,000 spectators jammed Highlandtown’s street to watch the “aeronaut.” Others sat in chairs on rooftops or craned their necks from streetcars. As far away as the upper floors of the Belvedere Hotel, people gently nudged each other aside to obtain a better view of the man’s athletic skill and derring-do.

“Just before coming to Baltimore,” explained Calvin Raglan, treasurer of the Industrial Trades Exposition Company, “I advertised for a balloonist. There were several applicants, but John August was the only one who promised to do acrobatic stunts in the air. He was the best aeronaut I ever saw.”


There’s a reason I hadn’t heard of his later exploits.

(Thanks to MK Sansom for the link.)