Monday, September 12, 2016

Vicious Elephant is Hanged -- September 12, 2016

Columbia, Tennessee Herald, 22-September-1916

On 12-Septemer-1916, Mary the Elephant, who was an attraction with the John H Sparks circus, killed her untrained handler Walter Eldridge.  Forced to kill the creature, the circus hanged her with chains from a railway crane.  A necropsy determined that she had a painful infected tooth.  The story is from the Mexico, Missouri Message, 22-September-1916.  I doubt that she killed eight people. 

"Murderous Mary," Killer of Eight, Executed With a Steam Derrick

Bristol, Tenn. Condemned as having forfeited her right to live under the laws of Tennessee, "Murderous Mary," the big female elephant with a circus, was put to death at Erwin, Tenn., the state authorities requiring it. She was valued at $8,000.  Having none of the quick poisons at hand, the showmen chose to hang the beast. A derrick car was used.  Heavy chains were looped about the elephant's neck and the steam-operated crane lifted the massive form into the air.

The showmen said Mary had killed her eighth man, her last victim being Walter Eldridge, a Virginian, who was gored to death at Kingsport recently.

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