Reader Favorites: The Day They Hanged an Elephant in East Tennessee



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Absolutely horrible story. As annoying as they can be....wish PETA had been around then.

Vicky Quinones Romens more than 2 years ago


BAD elephant!!!

badelephant more than 2 years ago


I've always been a little scared of elephants anyway, the elephants and humans would probably be better off if we left them in the wild.

Matt more than 3 years ago

truth or fiction?

Some say this never happened< I lived in Kingsport Tn for 15 years and have spoken to many people who grew up in that area and all say the same thing. they heard this story told many times and many ways I walked the train yard where Mary is said to buried the ground is deep in coal ash and has not been disturbed for many years If in fact there is something buried there ground sensing radar units could be used to confirm or dispel the myths around this event. the most informative book on this event is available on line and written by someone who did a lot of research on this. his name is Charles Edwin Price the book is called the day they hung the elephant

Vincent Sharrettoniyz more than 3 years ago

What the Hell

This makes me so upset. I cried while reading this I absolutely love Elephants and if you ask me he deserved it for jabbing her. It's cruel and she shouldn't have had to endure the pain of her broken ribs before she died. I can't believe it. People are horrible.

Kali more than 3 years ago

Name of town

Erwin is German, it is pronounced Ervin

B.W. more than 3 years ago

From Erwin

No one in Erwin pronounces it 'Ervin'.

Mark more than 3 years ago


This really pisses me off. Not because they hung her. Although that pissed me off. But because of the idiots who didn't bother to make sure it wasn't a medical issue as to why she was like that. Elephants are very intelligent animals. So I think that whoever had pissed her off was the one who was killed. Because elephants have a memory like humans we remember things people have done to us

Marissa more than 4 years ago


This took place in 1916 in Tennessee. People in those days did not know or care that elephants might have intelligent brains, and there certainly were no animal rights laws or activists back then. People hung "murderers" in the village square as entertainment in those days. Accept it for what it is - a sad story that took place long ago when society was much different than it is today.

Keith Elliott more than 3 years ago


why did they hang an elanfont that wrong

kkjk more than 4 years ago

They should hang elephant trophy hunters

This is a typical (well, not so typical) example of how humans are portrayed as "victims" of random animal encounters, while countless millions of animals are shot, trapped, hooked and poisoned by people, often for recreation. Pure hypocrisy.

If this happened today, I hope they would at least understand and retire her to a farm or special zoo.

Alec Sevins more than 4 years ago

Humanity is cruel and stupid!

Idiots do stupid things, and it pains me that our stupidity was taken out on this beautiful creature. Its like working with a horse that won't budge. You have two choices: 1. the animal is being stubborn and you need to try harder or a different method, or 2. Something is wrong and they must be in pain or discomfort. You need two things around animals, PATIENCE and a Sense of HUMOR!

Hannah Mckenna more than 4 years ago

I can not believe,

I'm ashamed To call myself a East Tennessean. The reason We hung actual people was and is to so others, What happens when you comment this crimes. So why honestly Hang A Elephant the owner is just a COWARD AND ANYONE INVOLVED / HELPED IS JUST AS COWARDLY.

Shawn Beets more than 4 years ago

Asian Elephant

mary = female asian elephant = did not have tusks. the newspaper column was sensationalized. the photo also depicts her without tusks. it is far more likely that mary followed the rules of zoology and did not have tusks to begin with, than it is to believe that someone had the ability or courage to saw the tusks off of a five ton human killing elephant on death row.

Elefante Mecanico more than 4 years ago

Asian elephant tusks

Both male and female Asian elephants have tusks

Elephant check more than 4 years ago

RE: Asian Elephant Tusks

Wrong! Female Asian elephants rarely have tusks, if they do it's a fluke of nature and they're called 'tushes' because they're not proper tusk. Tushes are so small that you can only see them when the elephants mouth is open.

Check your elephants better more than 4 years ago

Mary the Elephant in Tennessee

Another band immortalized Mad Mary in song. It's quite a toe-tapper and crowd pleaser.Check out the video at:

Kimber more than 4 years ago

RIP, Mary.

This is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Terrible. That poor, beautiful elephant. I will never be able to get this image out of my head.

Valerie more than 4 years ago

Hillbilly elephant hate

Proving that the Tea Party was around in 1916..only ignorant hillbillies would do something so cruel.

Leon Foonman more than 4 years ago


How delusional are you? If you want to turn this discussion into a political one, let me ask you this. Why are millions of innocent animals still being euthanized every year in our supposedly civilized society? The tea party has nothing to do with elephant Mary's murder. Both the left-wing and right-wing turn their heads away from animal abuse. The reality is is that there are gravely sick, twisted sociopathic individuals in our society that do this kind of stuff because our politicians on both sides turn a blind eye to it. Obtaining votes for themselves is easier when they promise handouts instead of promising action and god forbid, actually having to fight for a cause. And, unfortunately, these politicians will let these travesties happen for mere votes without any regard for suffering. RIP Mary - A truly sickening image that I wished I never saw. May you rest in happiness and tranquility.

Mari more than 4 years ago

Semitic Genius

TEA party? More likely the NAZI party. By the way, if your taxes are not high enough, perhaps you could pay mine. TEA is an acronym for Taxed Enough Already. I'd imagined a beak nosed nap head would be intelligent enough to comprehend that.

Norman Johnston more than 4 years ago

mary the elephant

it wasnt hillbillies that hung the elephant! it was the circus owner,aYANKEE! you are ignorant for profiling,and putting down southern and or mountain people. KNOW THE HISTORY OF A SUBJECT SO YOU DONT END UP WITH YOUR FOOT IN YOUR MOUTH!....not hating,just saying!

David W. Gross more than 4 years ago

elphant hanging in Erwin TN

My faterinlaw was 8 yrs old and was there when it happened

Nancy Yatesy more than 2 years ago

Foolish remark

It certainly takes one to call one Mr. Foonman! The tea party has nothing to do with what happen back in 1916 and what happen to this poor elephant. It's a shame you can't get your mind off politics long enough to read about a story of a tragedy that could have happened anywhere but took the op to make fun of hillbillies as well! Well, let me tell you, in Tennessee we like Elephants a lot! Check out the Elephant Refuge at Hohenwald, TN. You keep your politics to yourself!

Becky Gill Thomas more than 3 years ago


I don't condone the mistreatment of women, Children or ANIMALS-unless I can eat a deer after shooting it! But actually we aren't hillbillies or Rednecks! We are just good Ole country people! The definition in Webster's Dictionary for Hillbillies is a Michigan Dirt Farmer. And a Red neck comes from the Cole miners.... That made a stand against the Governments and their petty wanna bee's. .. So read your history before you start pointing fingers. .. But I hope I gave you a little education cause us country people/Cherokee aren't as dumb as think...I have a college education and there are many Doctors from ETSU in TENNESSEE THAT ARE WORLD RENOWNED! Blessings to you and your family. ..

Dennis Mcnabb 138 days ago

So tragic

I know I heard about this and another elephant name topsy I cried for them so sad

Terri more than 4 years ago

Sparks Circus

Charlie Sparks did run a clean circus in an era when many circuses were not welcome in "nice" towns. I'm not sure if the statements about his being jealous of larger units are fact or speculation, I think speculation.

Steve Shelton more than 4 years ago

Mary the elephant

Excellent song on Mary by Them Bird Things entitled "Pachyderm Nightmare" at

Leon Strange more than 4 years ago

BRC News Sprocket2

BRC MA 18 Cover