The Gypsy Queen of Marion Ohio

Where did the Gypsy Queen come from?  Was she a voluptuous exotic dancer? What was her real name?  Was she even a gypsy at all?  She died during child labor and may be buried standing upright.

The popular story is that she was an 'exotic dancer' from the 1893 Chicago's World's Fair who fell in love with an American man named Charles Judge.

Here's what I found out about gypsies and the Worlds Fair;

The World's Fair Paris Exhibition of 1889 is the earliest account of Algerian gypsy street performers that had in their tribe, dancers, that would later spark the phrase known the world over as Belly Dancers.  Then in the 1893 World's Fair Chicago, Columbia Exposition, there was an exhibit called "Street in Cairo" where Algerian dancers preformed the provocative 'Hootchy-Kootchy' dance. One popular dancer was named Little Egypt. Gypsies, at the time, were thought to have originated from Egypt.  Some say she wasn't a gypsy at all, but that the gypsies took her in as their queen.    

The local story of the Gypsy Queen;

By 1905, Brazilian Gypsies were around the town of Marion Ohio.  A pregnant gypsy woman by the name of Queen Cleo was with them.  While she gave birth, she became ill. A doctor was called but it was too late, the young woman died. She was 30 years old.  The baby was healthy, but nothing more is known of the child. The local paper investigated, but the gypsies, who spoke little English wanted nothing to do with the the press or even the undertaker.  An old man of the tribe said to the reporter of the Marion Star, "Me don't like ye'.  And would only say her name was Mrs. Anne Judge, nothing more.  Gypsies from all over Ohio attended the funeral at St Mary's Church.

She is buried in the non-catholic section of the St Mary's Cemetery in Marion. Allegedly, she is buried upright.

Were these gypsies Algerian? Brazilian?  Gypsies are found in both of these countries.            

Pennies, coins, costume jewelery and other items are laid at the grave of Queen Cleo in the hopes of gaining some good fortune.

If you ever make your way there, be sure to give the Queen something and do not ever disgrace the site, otherwise you will become the victim of a gypsy curse.  

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  1. As someone who knows a few Rromani ("Gypsies"), I have to say your blog is riddled with misinformation, stereotypes, and racist garbage. The ONLY part of your post that is at all decent is the paragraph about the local story.

    1. My article is well researched and NOT racist as I MYSELF am PART Romanie AKA Gypsy. This bloodline is from my fathers/mothers side. Can you point out ONE post or even one SENTENCE that is racist or bigoted? There is nothing in the above article that would indicate hate speech or ignorance. The only ignorance that I see is in your anonymous comment. You obviously have not read that above article.
      Respectful, Mark Turner.

    2. Pft ..ok ..SMH..your so wrong ..this coming from one

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Gypsy culture, as we know it, originated along the silk road, and is a mixture of many races and cultures. So, it pre-dates the Roman Empire, and includes every inch of the shores of the Med. Sea and extends all the way to the Easternmost point of Asia. That would include Algeria, Egypt, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Ancient Phoenicia, and Alexandria. Constantinople was THE major hub of the silk road, and when it fell to the Ottomans, the road block displaced many bands or tribes of the traveling culture. Survival on the silk road meant knowing many different languages, and respecting many different cultures. This worldliness and wisdom translated as witchcraft and black magic to many of the places they settled... The mountain ranges of Eastern Europe was very popular for gypsy settlements... The city of Paris, France was originally settled by a tribe of gypsies from Greece, at what is known today as Il de la Cite, where Notre Dame sits.... The novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo, centered around an unfortunate misfit and his platonic love for a gypsy girl and her pet goat, who were both put to death after being accused of witchcraft...
      Today, the majority of Spanish culture, as we know it, can be attributed to the gypsies who settled there. The Flamenco is THE dance of the gypsies. Another very interesting thing about Spain is the bull fight. There are many accounts throughout history of the famous gypsy tale of the bull fight. Originally, along the silk road, when the gypsies came to town, there was a festival. People would come from all over the countryside to trade and regale. The gypsies were famous for their tales of the road and their travels, most of which had morals instilled in them. The bull fight is a tale associated to self defense. I believe, now, it is self-explained. After the bull fight, there would be a huge feast. As a child, a specific Roman Emperor attended one of these bull fights, and when he became emperor, he built arenas in every corner of the Roman Empire. The people who were responsible for that tale, settled in Spain, and were almost wiped out during the genocidal Spanish Inquisition. A great example of a Roman Bull Fight Arena is in Arles, France... Vincent VanGogh's museum is, literally, right across the street.

  3. I hope I may have answered some question as to the history of gypsy culture, and inspired more research. By the way, in the Hugo story, the gypsy girl's name was Penelope, a Greek name, and a reminder to the reader of the Greek(democratic open-mindedness) roots of the city of Paris.

  4. Hi Mark I was trying to find an email as I have found a clip from a news paper article from that time and thought it might be of some interest to you.