Saturday, April 17, 2010

Murderous Mary - Kingsport's Killer Elephant (Which Was Hanged in Erwin)

Famous photo of Mary being hanged in Erwin on Sept. 13, 1916. The authenticity of the photo is in doubt.

Sparks Circus ad in Johnson City Staff newspaper for show on Sept. 14, 1916. The Kingsport papers for this period are lost but the ad in Kingsport would have been similar since the Sparks Circus was using this same poster in ads a year later (after Mary had been hanged!).

A newspaper description of the Sparks Circus parade in Richwood, Ohioi two weeks before the Kingsport show. The Kingsport parade would have been similar.

Story of Mary killing her trainer from the next day's Johnson City Staff. Kingsport papers for this period are lost.

Story of Mary's hanging from the Johnson City Staff. Story was "buried" on page 6!

Newspaper story about Sparks' elephants most famous trick, a baseball game.

Johnson City Staff story about Sparks Circus performance held in J.C. Sept. 14, 1916, two days after the "incident" in Kingsport.

Circus pass - this was a free ticket given to local officials, also to boys who helped erect the tent.

Kingsport Times looks back at the story of Murderous Mary 22 years later, in 1938.


At 11:30 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Where in Erwin is Mary's grave?

At 7:30 AM, Blogger richard said...

Saw some whiny animal lover giving you a bad time in today's paper - laugh it off! I have my own copy of "The Day They Hung The Elephant," by Charles Price, and the story is classic.
I will be passing a link around to your blogsite, so - Full Speed Ahead!

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The elephant is buried somewhere in the railroad yard here in Erwin. The people that know exactly where are long gone, and town officials afterward never wanted to know anyway because they didn't want it to become a tourist attraction.

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Justin said...

George Brant wrote a beautiful play about this story in 2008. My mother is from Erwin and I have heard this story many times. I have the pleasure of acting in the play at Towson University on December 1st. If anyone is in the Baltimore area check it out!

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm doing this play at my school. I got the part of Muddy Townsperson.

At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My high school is putting on this production. I am the Tour Manager. It's a very touching play. I can't wait until we have it all finished. It's going to be amazing.

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am designing a theatre set here in Dartmouth , Nova Scotia which tells the story in an abstract sort of way . It is the George Brant version presented by the Dartmouth Players in The Starr Theatre . Diffrent times , diffrent crimes . Aparently Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant in NYC to demonstrate the apparent dangers of AC vs DC .


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