Circus employees trained Eldridge to handle his herd with the “gentle care” that Sparks insisted of his handlers. Her death is sometimes interpreted as a cautionary tale of circus animal abuse during the early 20th century. Mary the elephant was hanged byan industrial crane for the murder ofher inexperienced trainer while she was. Mary was a five-ton Asian elephant, also known as Murderous Mary, who performed in the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. Death did not come swiftly for Big Mary. One wonders if any of those assembled then saw the folly of their thinking. A slow-paced agricultural community in the dying throes of a sizzling southern summer, Kingsport and nearby towns yearned for entertainment that September. After killing a trainer in Kingsport, Tennessee, she was hanged in 1916. Kit includes Mary Maxim Ultra Mellowspun yarn and safety eyes. After falling, she is reported to have sat motionless like a rabbit. She then crushed Eldridge’s skull beneath her feet. It shows to some extent how much (or little) was known about the wider world. 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. In September 1916, she killed her newly appointed trainer in front of a crowd in Kingsport, Tennessee. 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.. We know at least one person captured the moment by taking the famous photograph of Mary hanging from a crane. It is clear that Mary simply acted according to her instinctual feelings and responded to the circumstances at hand. average difficulty from 8 ratings. This picture is believed to be the only one in existence documenting the elephant’s execution. 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. In the story I wrote for Blue Ridge Country, I shared the convictions of Ruth Piper, who believed then that her town had suffered long enough. Despite the variations in the story, one thing for certain was the towns of Erwin and Kingsport wanted justice for the death of Eldridge. Jim has always had a strong passion for travel, archaeology, and history. Mary the Elephant was a 5-ton Asian elephant touring with the Sparks World Famous Shows circus. A Net Inceptions project. A performer since the age of eight, Sparks would go on to own the Sparks World Famous Shows, a traveling circus featuring clowns, acrobats, lions and other exotic animals such as elephants, which included Mary. If coming from Renfrew Road, look out for the blue sign reading Mary Sheridan Centre on a lamp-post opposite the black gates at the entrance. At first, the chains snapped from the force of her enormous girth and whipped the air in a fury. 36 likes. There have been several accounts of his death. With a crowd headed to Kingsport to kill his beloved pachyderm, Sparks had to make a tough decision. Mary flailed in panic as she suffocated due to the sheer force of the chains acting against her enormous bodyweight. What happened next on September 13, 1916, is unimaginable. They hanged Mary once again. "Mary the Elephant" goes against naming conventions, and it won't stick any more than Topsy the Elephant did. Your curiosity knows no bounds. One, recounted by W.H. Wikimedia Commons. Mary, an Asian Elephant, was born in 1894. Undeterred from their terrible mission, the executioners fashioned a new noose from a fresh coil of chains. Mary the Elephant, Cedarville, Ohio. In an instant, the elephant … September, 1916. The crowd demanded justice and had her hanged from a crane on 13 September 1916. It demonstrates how spies would be treated during the Napoleonic Wars. Check out Mary the Elephant by Urban Pioneers on Amazon Music. 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. All rights reserved. Mary, an Asian Elephant,  was born in 1894. “She’s an example of why we should never have put these animals in such unnatural situations in the first place,” president of the Performing Animals Welfare Society Ed Stewart told The New York Daily News. 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. The Tragic Story of Mary the Elephant, Who Was Hanged for ‘Murder’ in 1916. 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