TURTLE MAN

 

Emmett Blackwelder was born in Concord, North Carolina, in 1923.  He was missing all four limbs below the elbows and knees.  When Emmett was a child, his father did not allow anyone to help his son dress himself or perform other mundane tasks.  "I thought he was being cruel, but now I'm grateful to him."  Emmett said - his father's insistence had forced him to become self-sufficient.

 

Emmett's act was mostly based around juggling, for which he used paddle-balls, and he was sometimes billed as the "Stump-Limbed Juggler" In addition to working as an attraction with Hall and Christ shows for 8 years, Emmett was a skilled mechanic, holding and manipulating his tools with his mouth.

 

According to Ward Hall, Emmett was a "kind man with no bad habits".  Upon his retirement in 1978, Emmett married his lone-time love.  He and his wife lived in relative comfort in Concord until his death in 1996.

 

 Emmett Blackwelder and Ward Hall

 

 Emmett Blackwelder

 

 Emmett Blackwelder

 

Emmett Blackwelder

 

Texas State Fair Dallas - 1977 - Photographs by Nick DeWolfe - Visit Nick DeWolf Photo Archive's -  Complied by Steve Lundeen


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