Eugene Stratton

Eugene Augustus Rühlmann (May 8, 1861 September 15, 1918) was an American-born dancer and singer. Born in Buffalo, New York, he adopted the stage name Eugene Stratton and spent most of his career in British music halls. Stratton was a member of the illustrious entertainment fraternity, the Grand Order of Water Rats.[1]

Eugene Stratton
Stratton circa 1900
Eugene Augustus Rühlmann

(1861-05-08)May 8, 1861
DiedSeptember 15, 1918(1918-09-15) (aged 57)
Other namesTwo Welsleys
Master Jean
OccupationMusic hall dancer & singer
Spouse(s)Bella Moore


Stratton first performed at the age of 10 in an acrobatic act called the Two Welsleys. He appeared as a dancer in 1873 under the name of Master Jean. He spent some time in a circus before joining a minstrel group.[1]

He went to England in 1880 and was by this time using the name of Stratton. In England, he worked his way up to the main song & dance man in the Moore & Burgess Minstrel Show, and in 1883 he married Moore's daughter, Bella. He left the minstrels to go on the music hall circuit in 1887, first as a double act, then solo. Although at one time he used an Irish voice, he mainly appeared as a "black-faced" singer. He also performed in pantomime, for the first time in 1896.

His friendship & association with Leslie Stuart gave him many of the songs for which he was known. During the period 1899 to 1911 he made records of most of Stuart's songs.[1]

He died in Christchurch, Hampshire on September 15, 1918, and is buried in Bandon Hill Cemetery in Wallington in Surrey beside his great friend and fellow music hall artiste Joe Elvin.[2]

In James Joyce’s novel Ulysses (1922) in the fifteenth episode “Circe”, there are references to Stratton, as well as the adoption of a faux Negro dialect.[3]


  • Aunt Mandy
  • The Cake Walk
  • A Carol of Stars
  • The Dandy Coloured Coon[5]
  • Hoodoo
  • Idler
  • Is yer mammie always with ye?
  • I don't know nobody
  • I Lub a Lubly Gal
  • I'm the father of a little black coon
  • Lily of Laguna (There is a poster and a recording of him singing this, with a remarkable Irish accent)[6]
  • Little Dolly Daydream
  • Love me little
  • My little octoroon
  • My second time on earth
  • She's mine, I'm hers
  • Waitress' love letter
  • When de golden sun went down
  • Whistling Coon
  • Won't you love me


  1. "Biography of a Water Rat".
  2. Music Hall and Variety Artistes Burial Places at
  3. "What a time".
  4. Leslie Stuart (1897), Little Dolly Daydream: Pride of Idaho, London: Francis, Day & Hunter Ltd., OCLC 47314690.
  5. "Roud Number: V1722". Broadside Ballads Online. Bodleian Libraries. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
  6. hawkmoon03111951 (24 January 2010). "Lily of Laguna - Eugene Stratton" via YouTube.
  • Oxford Companion to Popular Music by Peter Gammond - ISBN 0-19-280004-3
  • Harrington, J. "A Closer Look at Eugene Stratton (1861-1918).", in: Dublin James Joyce Journal 2.2 (2009): 78-88. Project MUSE. Web. 30 Aug. 2016. <>.
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