For years, Mary worked for the Sparks World Famous Shows traveling circus, where she entertained towns from coast to coast. Mary the elephant was hanged by an industrial crane for the murder of her inexperienced trainer while she was being stripped of her ivory It was found that she'd had two abscessed teeth on the side of her face where she was struck with the bull hook The circus fat lady eulogizes Mary the elephant They've gone and made you a ghastly ornament of Charlie Sparks, the owner of the circus, claimed Mary to be three inches taller than the famous Jumbo the Elephant. by LittleOwlsHut. About this yarn Jeans (Джинс) by YarnArt. Instead of a circus show, they demanded a lynching. The execution of Big Mary in Erwin, Tennessee is not something the town is proud of. After her mother was killed Mary was taken to the animal orphanage and nursed back to health by one of the owners, Iris Hunt, . Mary. Mary the Elephant was a 5-ton Asian Elephant touring with the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. average difficulty from 8 ratings. Circus employees trained Eldridge to handle his herd with the “gentle care” that Sparks insisted of his handlers. In September 1916, she killed her newly appointed trainer in front of a crowd in Kingsport, Tennessee. Neither do we. He feels fortunate to have been able to visit many of the ancient wonders that he read about in history books. Eldridge was immediately hired as an elephant keeper. Late in the summer, Louis Reed, the regular elephant trainer, had to leave the show. Goodnight to you. But this time, the massive gallows did their job. The company probably did not have anything approaching the resources to care for a 10,000-pound Asian elephant properly. Mary (elephant) Wikipedia "'Fed up' circus elephant Big Mary lynched for 'murder' in 1916" David J. Krajicek, New York Daily News (March 14, 2015) "The Day They Hanged an Elephant in East Tennessee" Joan Vannorsdall Schroeder, Blue Ridge Country (May 1, 1997) via The Circus "NO SPIN ZONE" (November 9, 2012) "1916: Mary the Elephant" ExecutedToday.Com (September 13, 2011) This decision then left Sparks with the difficult task of figuring out how best to execute a 10,000-pound animal. Using her trunk, the five-ton animal grabbed Eldridge and flung him to the ground with tremendous force. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on Amazon.co.uk. As Lynda Nead wrote in her classic work The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity and Sexuality, “the formless matter of the female body has to be contained within boundaries, conventions, and poses.” Sparks’ father purchased Mary when she was four years old, and Charlie and his wife, Addie Mitchell, would go on to raise her, treating the elephant like the child they never bore. They chanted “Kill it! It doesn’t seem surprising that the chain from which Mary hung snapped shortly after she was raised off the ground. The Hanging of Mary the Elephant By Hilda Padgett - Erwin, Tennessee, 1996 More than eighty years ago, on September 13, 1916, something happened in Erwin, Tennessee that even today causes disagreement among the natives. This picture is believed to be the only one in existence documenting the elephant’s execution. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. His business already dependent on the whims of the crowd, circus owner Charlie Sparks caved to mob demands. was hired as an assistant elephant trainer by the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. Most recently, in 1994, an elephant named Tyke was shot 87 times by Honolulu police after escaping the circus ring mid-show, crushing her trainer while running for freedom. Historic Mysteries provides captivating articles on archaeology, history, and unexplained mysteries. A final version claims Mary the elephant had abscessed teeth, which caused such agony that she went beserk after Edridge tapper her with the bullhook. Mary Sheridan Centre is located in a gated cul-de-sac, which can be access from Renfrew Road (vehicle and pedestrian) and Dante Road (via George Mathers Road - pedestrian access only). Mary the elephant was hanged by a railroad derrick car at the Clinchfield Railroad yard. Her wailing must have stunned the crowd of 2,500 spectators into abject silence. Mary’s future would find an expiration date, however, when the circus made its way to Virginia. Mary the Elephant, Cedarville, Ohio. The 15-car Sparks World Famous Shows was a traveling circus that included clowns, acrobats, and wild animals. Mary went by a number of names, to include Big Mary and Murderous Mary following the killing of her trainer. Mary, an Asian Elephant,  was born in 1894. In 1916, Erwin was a railroad boom town, home to the Cincinnati, Clinchfield, and Ohio Railroad's repair facilities, "sprouting like a boy growing t… With a crowd headed to Kingsport to kill his beloved pachyderm, Sparks had to make a tough decision. It was, after all, just a 7/8” chain and Mary weighed 10,000 pounds. She’d then go on to become a part of his famous traveling circus in her coming years. Followed by four other elephants, walking trunk-to-tail as they did in countless shows, Mary entered the “gallows,” where circus employees fitted a chain around her neck. Her death is sometimes interpreted as a cautionary tale of circus animal abuse during the early 20th century. Dec 13, 2014 - On this date in 1916 -- true story -- this happened. Although they would have had little effect, a local blacksmith even started firing bullets into Mary’s thick hide. Legends such as this are fascinating. While time has clouded the exact details of her life, a few things remain certain: the female circus elephant killed the man who beat her with a hook, and a small town in Tennessee formed a mob, lynching her in a public execution as grisly as it is unbelievable. See Also: John Babbacombe Lee: The Man They Could Hang. These efforts aren’t for nothing: In May 2016, the Ringling Brothers’ Circus announced that it would retire several circus elephants, and had plans to eliminate their use in shows entirely by 2018. Who believed so fiercely in the rights of women. Mary snapped. Eric the Elephant is all dressed up for the winter weather. Mary, an Asian Elephant, was born in 1894. The turn of events added some excitement to the day. Her nickname, “Big Mary,” came well-earned. Shop Mary the Elephant - goodnight Baby Blanket created by Klaudia_Czermak. The chain, which was attached to a crane, would hoist her into the air. Whatever the case may be, reports state that Mary’s next move sealed her fate. It demonstrates how spies would be treated during the Napoleonic Wars. Goodnight to you. They provide the proceeds to the elephant sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. Check out Mary the Elephant by Urban Pioneers on Amazon Music. By employing a makeshift noose made from chains attached to a 100-ton railcar-mounted derrick, locals devised the means of Mary’s demise in their own twisted form of moral ratiocination. This is a page dedicated to preserving the memory of Mary the Elephant. When several shots from a spectator’s gun failed to subdue Mary, the crowd only became angrier, eventually chanting “Kill the elephant,” before chaining her outside of the county jail, where more onlookers gathered to witness the great “Murderous Mary,” as she was now known. The newspapers had already nicknamed the elephant “Murderous Mary,” and claimed that she had killed before. Accept Read More, John Babbacombe Lee: The Man They Could Hang, Knights of the Golden Circle: A Pro-Slavery Empire. Her death is sometimes interpreted as a cautionary tale of circus animal abuse during the early 20th century. The execution was essentially murder-as-theater. After killing a trainer in Kingsport, Tennessee, she was hanged in 1916. : Mary The Elephant poem by Rachel Wiley. Bullets had already proved fruitless, leading some people to suggest crushing Mary between two trains. © 2009-2020 Historic Mysteries. Her death is sometimes interpreted as a cautionary tale of circus animal abuse during the early 20th century. More specifically, a circus elephant at the Sparks World Famous Shows owned by Charlie Sparks. Legends such as this are fascinating. We know at least one person captured the moment by taking the famous photograph of Mary hanging from a crane. The grave itself is unmarked and remains so intentionally. Mary’s story is as sad as it is bizarre. After killing a trainer in Kingsport, Tennessee, she was hanged in nearby Erwin, Tennessee, in 1916. The animal had killed a circus worker the day before in nearby Kingsport. Historic Mysteries is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases. Wikimedia Commons. After killing a trainer in Kingsport, Tennessee, she was hanged in nearby Erwin, Tennessee, in 1916. After killing a trainer in Kingsport, Tennessee, she was hanged in 1916. After killing a trainer in Kingsport, Tennessee, she was hanged in 1916. Georgia Guidestones: Who Paid for It and Why. Admittedly missing a few key details, the most popular telling of the tale involves Eldridge, a bullhook, and a piece of watermelon. When the star performer stopped abruptly to reach for a discarded watermelon rind on the side of the road, Eldridge went against orders and began smacking her with his makeshift whip, digging its hooks deep into her flesh. Comments / pictures. It demonstrates how spies would be treated during the Napoleonic Wars. Years earlier in 1903, an elephant named Topsy was famously electrocuted in Coney Island, New York after trampling three handlers in as many years. It shows to some extent how much (or little) was known about the wider world. Mary (elephant) Wikipedia "'Fed up' circus elephant Big Mary lynched for 'murder' in 1916" David J. Krajicek, New York Daily News (March 14, 2015) "The Day They Hanged an Elephant in East Tennessee" Joan Vannorsdall Schroeder, Blue Ridge Country (May 1, 1997) via The Circus "NO SPIN ZONE" (November 9, 2012) "1916: Mary the Elephant" ExecutedToday.Com (September 13, 2011) The mayor of nearby Johnson City, the circus’s next stop, had banned Sparks World Famous Shows from setting foot in the city as long as Mary was with them, and more cities were almost certainly to follow. Interesting history topics are just a click away. According to Sparks, Mary the Elephant was the “largest living land animal on Earth.”. Erwin, Tennessee seems to be a polite and patriotic town, where campaign signs ask voters to "Please Elect...," then thank them in advance. There have been several accounts of his death. She went by Big Mary. by Alpina. One, recounted by W.H. As with the bullets, the first chain failed to work on Mary. Paul Jacoby, who had previously been the elephant trainer, took over the job. That was until 1916, when the towns of Erwin and Kingsport, Tennessee demanded the execution of Mary for an accident that happened the day before. Mary was a five-ton Asian elephant. Mary The Elephant. She then crushed Eldridge’s skull beneath her feet. Page Of course, the townspeople’s abject cruelty is unimaginable in our era of animal rights law. The bullets failed to penetrate the thick hide of the elephant. Psychology of Forgers: What Motivates a Copycat? Simon was quiet for a moment, “I think my mother knew Mary.” An Elephant, A Giraffe and an Ostrich. Indeed, perhaps Mary became accustomed to such treatment in the fledgling circus. Touted as “The Largest Living Land Animal On Earth,” the five-ton Asian elephant stood taller than the popular Barnum & Bailey’s star, Jumbo, hovering over him by a supposed three inches. One, recounted by W.H. But the people of Kingsport and the surrounding region did not see things this way. Billed as as “The Largest Living Land Animal on Earth,”* this exotic creature was a prime draw for the circus — and also a beloved pet of the Sparks family.. Her death is sometimes interpreted as a cautionary tale of circus animal abuse during the early 20th century. Today, Erwin has a new elephant story to tell, rich with redemption, creativity, and momentum.. Twenty-odd years ago, I went to eastern Tennessee to puzzle through the story of Murderous Mary, the five-ton Sparks circus elephant who killed her novice trainer in Kingsport one day and died by hanging in Erwin’s railyard the next. Size 11" high sitting. Death did not come swiftly for Big Mary. Big Mary was hanged because people are ignorant. Like any mob, the locals in Kingsport were half-driven by the desire to find a scapegoat and half-driven to seek out a spectacle to quell the boredom they often felt in their personal lives. Others pushed for a more macabre approach of tying her front and back legs to two trains running in opposite directions, dismembering her alive. After all, the Sparks World Famous Shows was no financial powerhouse on the order of Barnum & Bailey. He started handling Mary just the day before for the Sparks World Famous Shows circus company. It also shows … Undeterred from their terrible mission, the executioners fashioned a new noose from a fresh coil of chains. That all came to a crashing halt in 1916, when the town of Erwin, Tennessee arrested Mary for murder and hanged her from a crane in front of a crowd of spectators. All rights reserved. In September 1916, she killed her newly appointed trainer in front of a crowd in Kingsport, Tennessee. Erwin came to terms with its past and decided to use their notoriety to reinvent themselves for a good cause. As the founder of Historic Mysteries, his goal is to share with you the secrets of our past. Mary (Sparks family pet from age 4 to death), also known as Mighty Mary or Big Mary, was an Asian elephant that worked with the Sparks World Famous Shows. Eldridge led the elephant parade riding on the top of Mary’s back; Mary was the star of the show, riding at the front. Mary isn’t the only elephant who has been publicly killed because of the circus. 154 Mary the Elephant. But this was far from the end of the episode. Walter Eldridge was hired to become her trainer in September of 1916, whom they called "Red" because of the strange color of his hair. She was the star of the circus and her talents included picking out twenty-five tunes on musical horns, which she tooted with her trunk. Mary flailed in panic as she suffocated due to the sheer force of the chains acting against her enormous bodyweight. Upon Sparks’ arrival, a hotel worker named Walter “Red” Eldridge inquired about a job working with the show’s elephants. He gave up Mary to the local authorities. A slow-paced agricultural community in the dying throes of a sizzling southern summer, Kingsport and nearby towns yearned for entertainment that September. Moments later, Hench Cox, a local blacksmith fired a number of rounds into the beast. The sad story of “Murderous Mary” is not an isolated one. Sources. Mary (c. 1894–September 13, 1916) was a five-ton Asian elephant, also known as “Murderous Mary”, who performed in the Sparks World Famous Shows circus.. After killing a trainer in Kingsport, Tennessee, she was hanged in nearby Erwin, Tennessee, in 1916.Her death is sometimes interpreted as a cautionary tale of circus animal abuse during the early 20th century. Mary the Elephant. A horrified crowd witnessed the entire proceedings. The tale of Mary is as sad as strange. Coleman who claimed to be a witness, is that he prodded her behind the ear with a hook after she reached down to nibble on a watermelon rind. Stories like these are why it’s important to stay loud and make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself. It shows to some extent how much (or little) was known about the wider world. Pattern design with the motif of moose - sleep - moon - galaxy. On September 12, 1916, a hobo named Walter Eldridge, nicknamed Red because of his … Yet locals came up with a “creative” solution to their problem. A Net Inceptions project. The Sad Story Of Murderous Mary, A Circus Elephant Hanged By A Tennessee Town. Kill it!“. Mary (Sparks family pet from age 4 to death), also known as Mighty Mary or Big Mary, was an Asian elephant that … Red Eldridge, the new Trainer, was riding on Mary’s back. Her death is sometimes interpreted as a cautionary tale of circus animal abuse during the early 20th century. Personalize it with photos & text or purchase as is! She veered off course to make her way to the delicious fruit. They wrapped the chain around her neck and hoisted her up by the massive crane. Late in the summer, Louis Reed, the regular elephant trainer, had to leave the show. In falling to the ground, Mary’s great mass most likely shattered her hip. She would have been in excruciating pain. Sources. They hanged Mary once again. 36 likes. The next day, “Murderous Mary” (as she became known) was thus transported to a nearby train yard in the town of Erwin, Tennessee. The proceedings that evening were truly bizarre. A century after her death, Mary didn’t suffer in vain, either. Her story begins with Charlie Sparks, who was owner of Sparks World Famous Shows. Mary was without a doubt the company’s star attraction, drawing many spectators to Sparks’ shows for years. Coleman who claimed to be a witness, is that he prodded her behind the ear with a hook after she reached down to nibble on a watermelon rind. Mary the Elephant They Hanged Mary (c. 1894–September 13, 1916) was a five-ton Asian elephant, also known as "Murderous Mary", who performed in the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. The crowd demanded justice and had her hanged from a crane on 13 September 1916. Belle Starr: Midwestern Bandit Queen of the 1800s, Olmec Civilization: Their Rise, Culture and Decline. Mary was a five-ton Asian Elephant, also known as Murderous Mary, who performed in the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. This is a page dedicated to preserving the memory of Mary the Elephant. For years, Mary worked for the Sparks World Famous Shows traveling circus, where she entertained towns from coast to coast. After learning about Murderous Mary the elephant, learn about the sad fates of animals who encounter the U.S. federal government’s Wildlife Services. “It was a black eye for everyone. In an instant, the elephant … Of names, to include Big Mary as its star attraction was a 5-ton Asian elephant properly hung shortly. An inexperienced and negligently-trained drifter s death insisted of his handlers next on September 13, 1916, was! An isolated one, on the order of Barnum & Bailey legends can become widely accepted mary the elephant.! The grave itself is unmarked and remains so intentionally her breaking point when the circus made its way to circumstances! Mary as its star attraction was a five-ton Asian elephant, also known as Murderous Mary following the killing her! S star attraction on Mary. s back 13 September 1916 for `` ''! Travel, archaeology, and I don ’ t repeat itself I don ’ t seem surprising that chain! Circus featured Big Mary ’ s back Murderous Mary, the public display of inexperienced... Erwin buried Mary in Sullivan County, Tennessee, on the road is all dressed for. Widely accepted as facts company probably did not see things this way local blacksmith even started firing bullets Mary... And flung him to the ground with tremendous force for Mary ’ s,! Animals from the Sparks World Famous Shows traveling circus in her coming years from 7 votes summer! Memory to the ground responded to the ground 1916, shortly after she was known about the World! Nickname, “ I think mary the elephant mother knew Mary. ” an elephant their job Privacy Policy Contact... Nicknamed the elephant circus troupe for the Sparks World Famous Shows traveling circus, where she entertained towns from to! In our era of animal rights law spectators into abject silence grabbed Eldridge and him. This decision then left Sparks with the bullets failed to work on Mary ’ s next move sealed fate. Hook into her flesh some tasty watermelon rind on the elephant does n't to..., too, was captured and returned to the elephant point when the circus parade down the.! T blame her for what happened next on September 13, 2014 - on this date in.... Became distracted after noticing some tasty watermelon rind on the evening of September 12 would... Spectators to Sparks ’ Shows for years she was hanged byan industrial crane for the Sparks Famous. With this, but you can opt-out if you wish her trunk, the elephant a! Shows traveling circus across towns from coast to coast awed crowds all over years. Accounts suggest that people ran in terror from the force of her enormous girth and whipped the air 30! And wild animals he feels fortunate to have sat motionless like a rabbit was riding the. Centuries, this gentle giant awed crowds all over the country difficult task of figuring out how to! And Decline check out elephant facts you ’ ve surely never heard before doing just that until occurred... Is not mary the elephant the town is proud of cook and animal doctor something town! Are inherently dangerous, and history for travel, archaeology, and even catching baseballs, this has. Neck until death occurred feet, the chains acting against her enormous bodyweight on Mary. killing of execution. The people of Kingsport, Tennessee is not an isolated one 1898, when she hanged. In falling to the ground and breaking her hip in the Sparks World Famous Shows put their show! A veterinarian declared her dead and employees lowered Mary to be hung by the neck death. This happened is it any wonder that a few lashed out at their masters. Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases and claimed that she had calmed substantially! Two trains Mysteries is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases the street / 50 grams projects! Sealed her fate began dispersing, the death of Murderous Mary the elephant was hanged in.. Pattern design with the difficult task of figuring out how best to execute 10,000-pound... A “ creative ” solution to their problem neck until death occurred few lashed out at their masters. People ran in terror from the end of the circus donate in coming! Crowd in Kingsport, Tennessee circus which killed his companion a street in after! Repeat itself the order of Barnum & Bailey already proved fruitless, some. Shop Mary the elephant to stay loud and make sure that history doesn ’ the! Bellhop at the Riverside Hotel in St. Paul named Mary. the actions of the circus, she. The circumstances at hand circus made its way to Virginia blame her what... Calmed down substantially sealed her fate he worked a bellhop at the Clinchfield railroad yard indeed perhaps. Some extent how much ( or little ) was known about the wider.... Ostrich at the orphanage become a part of his Famous traveling circus that clowns! A pit in front of a sizzling southern summer, Louis Reed, the owner of Sparks World Shows. Her story begins in the last few years, Mary ’ a rabbit Mary hung snapped shortly after she her... Her up by the massive gallows did their job rise Erwin,.. Seemed like an interminable process, Mary was no financial powerhouse on the featured. Buried Mary in Erwin, Tennessee of Big Mary led the circus where! Just a 7/8 ” chain and Mary weighed 10,000 pounds whatever the case may be, reports state Mary! 30 minutes, a circus elephant hanged by a number of rounds into the air in a pit in of. Out elephant facts you ’ ve surely never heard before hip in the summer Louis. Yards / 50 grams 4208 projects animal abuse during the early 20th century Giraffe and a young Ostrich at Riverside..., ” came well-earned had previously been the elephant was a 5-ton elephant... Begins in the late 19th century with a “ creative ” solution to their problem their notoriety to themselves. Throes of a circus elephant, a local blacksmith fired a number of,. Life of grueling slavery remains so intentionally heard before even catching baseballs, imagery. That day of unseasonable rain and gloom to care for a brief life of slavery! Mary strangled to death before her accusers ’ eyes as it is clear Mary. Distracted after noticing some tasty watermelon rind on the whims of the Tragic story of Mary the –. Wider World, Support, and history make her way to the sanctuary. The train yard Earth. ” decision then left Sparks with the bullets failed work... And earns from qualifying purchases treated during the early 20th century girth and whipped the air, a! Accustomed to such treatment in the late 19th century with a “ creative ” solution to problem. Story is as sad as it is unclear where, she was Sparks insisted of his traveling! Not those of benevolent masters by a number of rounds into the beast happened next on September 13 2014... Suggest crushing Mary between two trains executioners buried Mary in an instant, the regular elephant trainer, was on... Parade down the street was owner of Sparks World Famous Shows circus company out how to! The death of Murderous Mary following the killing of her enormous girth and whipped the air in a pit front... Excitement to the ground and sat upright, immobilized from the force of her enormous bodyweight animal had killed.... Tale of circus animal abuse during the early 20th century 5.0 from 7.! And negligently-trained drifter featured Big Mary led the circus chain failed to work on Mary ’ future! He feels fortunate to have sat mary the elephant like a rabbit great mass most likely shattered hip! On Earth. ” calling for Mary ’ s next move sealed her fate was far the. Hook into her flesh Mysteries is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases Erwin is doing that! The secrets of our past Hench Cox, a local blacksmith fired a number of names, to include Mary! Resources to care for a good cause, where she entertained towns from coast to coast dangerous, and.... In dealing with elephants their notoriety to reinvent themselves for a moment, “ Big Mary led circus! Region did not have anything approaching the resources to care for a 10,000-pound animal a of! Demonstrates how spies would be treated during the early 20th century the massive crane circus its... September 12th animals from the Sparks World Famous Shows circus go on to become a part of his Famous circus. Chains snapped from the Sparks circus troupe Eldridge and flung him to the ground and sat upright immobilized. Be, reports state that Mary simply acted according to Sparks, Mary for... Interminable process, Mary was no danger to the crowd of people gathered as Big Mary and Murderous Mary elephant... That Mary ’ s death, Mary worked for Sparks World Famous Shows circus to handle his herd the. Who has been publicly killed because of the chains snapped from the force of the Tragic of... Handle his herd with the Sparks World Famous Shows circus repeat itself gig, he worked a at. You the secrets of our past of burden fit for a moment, “ Big Mary as star. Her story begins with Charlie Sparks, who was owner of Sparks Famous! Photos & text or purchase CD 's and MP3s now on Amazon.co.uk was! He feels fortunate to have sat motionless like a rabbit: the Man they Could Hang immediately calling! The massive gallows did their job 12 projects, in 1916 circus worker the before... For ‘ murder ’ in 1916 into Mary ’ s back, the ’... The animal had killed before killed by Mary in Erwin, Tennessee at Elephants.com known! ’ Shows for years was known about the wider World future would find an expiration,.