Animal is Slain After Much Shooting -Axes Help Bring Brutal Death Quickly.
Today in Darlington County History – the 102nd Anniversary of the Killing of a Circus Elephant just off Highway 102, between Patrick and Hartsville, South Carolina.
The event happened where Bay Road comes into Hwy 102 just above Hartsville. The animal was tracked and slain. A large Oak Tree serves as a reminder of where he dies and was buried
From the Manning Times, Wednesday, March 18, 1914
ELEPHANT AT PATRICK
Excited People Form Posse and Kill Big Beast.
South Carolina’s well established record for big game shooting was broken Wednesday night when the biggest animal to be dispatched in this State in its history fell before the onslaught of a large party of well armed men. An exceedingly robust female elephant was the victim of the attack by citizens of the Patrick community near Hartsville armed with guns and other weapons.
The mammal was killed about 9 o’clock after more than 100 shots had been fired into her body. The most violent excitement followed the announcement that a member of the jungle’s royalty was at large in the neighborhood. Wild rumors spread telling of damage done by the big beast and as they traveled they grew like Topsy and the snowball. Investigation indicates that no damage resulted for any but the unfortunate animal.
The big female elephant killed on Big Juniper creek escaped from a wagon circus which was booked for Patrick Tuesday. A crowd had assembled for the performance and wonder was expressed at the non-appearance of the circus, when news was received that the elephant had broken bounds and was at large. The animal created great excitement. Many of the amazed citizens had never before seen an elephant. The posse that took up the beast’s trail grew until it was said that fully 500 men were oning in the chase. One man says that he fired 60 shots from a magazine pistol into the animal. Men who were in at the death say that not less than 6,000 shots were fired during the hunt. The elephant became unruly and broke away from its keeper as the circus was proceeding from McBee to Patrick.
It was ascertained later that the elephant killed was the property of a small show owned by a man named Gillespie, which the night previous had given an exhibition at McBee, some eighteen miles above Patrick. The elephant had gotten away after the performance. His old keeper went to Hartsville, and from him it was learned that the elephant. had been recently sold to Gillespie by Ringling Brothers’ circus, and that it had cost $6,000.
He had just turned the animal over to its new keeper and trainer and had gone away when he heard of its death. He says that it had been his charge for six years and was perfectly gentle, and that it would have followed a dog or horse about and would have harmed no one. In deed. it only showed fight after it had been shot in the eye, and after it was brought down from exhaustion and approached by its pursuers. Gillespie has not put in an appearance. though he may have gone out to the scene of the killing. His only hope of recouping for the loss of $6,000 is insurance, which it is presumed he carried.