Hero at Orton Brothers Circus

† Hero
ID Number:
Species: Asian elephant
Sex and age:Male, unknown years
Dead date: 1916
Death reason: euthanised: shot
Location:Orton Brothers Circus
ArrivedOrton Brothers Circus 1915-00-00
from William P Hall Animal Farm
William P Hall Animal Farm
from Lucky Bill Wagon Show
Lucky Bill Wagon Show 1911-00-00
from William P Hall Animal Farm
William P Hall Animal Farm 1910-06-18
from Norris and Rowe Circus
Born:
Document updated2012-04-22: sold 1910 on auction
1910: Sold on auction; The general circus paraphernalia, including wagons, cages, tents, cooking utensils, etc., brought very low figures, but when the purchasers reached the wild animals better prices were secured. "Hero," the nine foot bull elephant, was sold at $1,000, and "Duchess," the female, brought $1,650.
New York clippings 1910

During the tour 1916 Hero, newly purchased from William P. Hall, appearently made problems, and in May escaped the circus and a drunken trainer in Elkton, South Dakota.


This incident happened on my familys show, the Orton Bros. Circus. It is the only season they went out on rails.

“My mother was 14 at the time and since the train happened to be next to the circus lot that day, she had a good view of Newton (Heros trainer) being chased under a wagon and barely escaping.

“Hero tried to tip the wagon over on top of him.

“Running for his life, Newton barely made it aboard the train in one of the coaches. My mother said that Hero then walked along side the coach looking in each window for his prey.

“For a fleeting moment, Hero locked eyes with my mother.

“Anyway, Hero, in a frustrated state, proceeded to shove a couple of wagons off a flat car and then continued out into the countryside

William Buckles Woodcock


An angry mob demanded the elephant killed, and after spending alot of ammunition, Hero was shot dead with a The 30 30 Savage Army rifle.

Heros bullet ridden skull, part of his pelvis, some leg bones and shoulder blades can be viewed at the W.H Over Museum in Vermillion South Dakota.


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