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H. J. Sargent

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For the "Sargent the Merry Wizard", see John William Sargent (1852-1920).
H. J. Sargent
BornHarry Sargent Jones
January 1, 1843
Machiasport, Maine
DiedFebruary 5, 1896 (age 53)
Leeds, England
Resting placeWoodhouse Cemetery, Leeds

H. J. Sargent (1843-1896) was a magician, illusionist, actor and manager known as "Colonel H.J. Sargent, the Wizard of the South."


When four years of age, he was taken to Boston, Massachusetts, where he was educated. As a young man he made his professional debut as utility actor at the Boston Theatre during the season 1858. Shortly afterwards he went into the mercantile business and in 1861 went to New York City. At the breaking out of the American Civil War he enlisted in the 14th Regiment and served for three years.

It appears from records of his army pension that his real name was Harry Sargent Jones; the index card shows his alias as Harry J Sargent.[1] An obituary of his wife printed in 1900 confirms this.[2]
Sargent, Harry Jones.jpeg

In 1864 he returned to the stage as a magician, and made a tour of the United States. His last engagement as an actor was in 1868, at the Mobile Theatre in Alabama. He then managed a number of traveling troupes and in 1869 he became lessee and manager of the Lyceum Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts.

He next went to Indianapolis, Indiana and afterwards managed the National Theatre, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In October 1873 he married Hannah Bailey, his leading lady at the Athenaeum Theatre, Columbus, Ohio. She was sister of another actress, Josie Bailey, who married actor Walter Eytinge.[3]

In 1875 Sargent was engaged by Robert Heller to accompany him to California, and take the management of his business.

In 1891 he performed a combined show with Hercat called "Cagliostromantheum."[4]

Mr. Sargent also returned to England, where he went from bad to worse, until he died in extreme poverty at an infirmary in Leeds, England.[5]

An obituary in the London newspaper The Era says that he was buried in Woodhouse Cemetery, in Leeds. The cemetery was closed in 1969, and its records are now in the collection of the University of Leeds.[6]


  1. National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
  2.; Page 497; See "Sargent, Hannah"
  3. New York Daily Graphic 1873
  4. David Price’s Magic