Black Diamond at Al G. Barnes Circus

Male Asian elephant Black Diamond at Al G. Barnes Circus

Black Diamond and Homer D. "Curley" Pritchett, San Antonio 1928.
Photo: Tom Scapalanda. Buckles Woodcock colllection
† Black Diamond
ID Number:
Species: Asian elephant
Sex and age:Male 32 years
Dead date: 1929-10-16
Death reason: euthanised: shot
Location:Al G. Barnes Circus
ArrivedAl G. Barnes Circus 1928-00-00
from Wilson's Greater Shows
Wilson's Greater Shows 1927-00-00
from Monroe Brothers Circus
Monroe Brothers Circus 1925-00-00
from Atterbury Brothers Circus
Atterbury Brothers Circus 1919-00-00
from William P Hall Animal Farm
William P Hall Animal Farm 1919-00-00
from R.T. Richards Circus
R.T. Richards Circus 1917-00-00
from Wheeler Brothers Circus
Wheeler Brothers Circus 1916-00-00
from Hugo Brothers Circus
Hugo Brothers Circus 1915-00-00
from Barton and Bailey Circus
Barton and Bailey Circus 1915-00-00
from William P Hall Animal Farm
William P Hall Animal Farm 1914-00-00
from Gentry Brothers Circus
Gentry Brothers Circus 1900-00-00
from Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark (Neue Pferdemarkt)
Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark (Neue Pferdemarkt) 0000-00-00
from Firma Carl Hagenbeck
Born:1897 wild
Document updated2009-11-23: previous locations
2010-09-26: previous locations
Records about Black Diamond from Bob Cline
DIAMOND ( Black ) 1900 to 1914 - Gentry Bros. Circus
Male Asian 1914 - bought by Wm. P. Hall
1915 - Barton & Bailey Circus
1915 - Hugo Bros. Circus
1916 - Wheeler Bros. Circus
1917 to 1918 - R. T. Richards Circus
1919 - Wm. P. Hall farm
1919 to 1924 - Atterbury Circus
1925 - Monroe Bros. Circus
killed Ben Sweet at Oilton, TX. On Jan. 1, 1926.
1927 - Wilson Greater Shows
1928 to 1929 - Al G. Barnes Circus
Killed Eva Speed Donohue Oct. 12, 1929 in Corsicana, TX.
Died - Oct. 16, 1929 in Kennedy, TX. ( execution by gunshot )



In January 1926 Black Diamond killed the elephant trainer Been Reed in Texas, and had always a system of chains, in order to restrict his movement and possibilities to hit or grab people with his trunk.

Homer D. "Curley" Pritchett is reported to have known Black Diamond for 28 years, and trained him seven years. In 1928 while the Circus toured Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas, Pritchett was approached by Mrs Eva Speed Donohoo, who offered him job at her ranch "Shoestring" Plantation near Kerens, Texas. The conversation happemed to be in front of Black Diamond, eating his hay. Pritchett accepted and left the Al Barnes Circus and the elephant.

One and a half year later, when Al Barnes Circus came to Corsicana again, Pritchett went to visit the elephants, and even helped take him out of the boxcar.

Next day, during the town parade, Black Diamond spotted Pritchett and his employer Eva Donohoo, and went berserk, rammed a car, tossed Mr. Pritchett over a car breaking his arm, and threw Eva Donohoo to the ground and killed her. Donohoos tombstone in Oakwood Cemetery reads: "Eva Speed Donohoo, Nov. 18, 1877 - Oct. 12, 1929, Killed By Al G. Barnes Circus Elephant."


Four days later in Kenedy, Texas, owner John Ringling issued his verdict: "Kill Diamond in some humane way."

Dead Black DiamondDifferent suggestions were discussed and tried, including cyanide in his food, but with no success.

Finally a volunteer firing squad unloaded their weapons into Diamond while he was chained between some trees.

Parts of Black Diamond was stored in a basement at Houston's Harris County Museum of Natural History, and later bought by Mr Carmack Watkins, who put them on display in his Trophy Room.

Sources, among others

  • Bob Cline, Cheraw, South Carolina, United States.
  • http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2005/09/black-diamond-2.html
  • http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2007/10/black-diamond-3.html
  • roadsideamerica.com

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