Old Bet
African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) at
Bailey Circus in United States

dead elephant ☨ ♀ Old Bet  dead elephant

Alternative name: Old Bett, Betty, Big Bett
Taxidermy locationBarnums American Museum, , United States



Species:African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Sex and age:Female ♀ 16 years old
Born:* 1800 wild
Birth place: in Africa unspecified location
Imported:1804-06-25 by Unknown
Dead: 1816-07-26
Death location: Alfred, Berwick, Maine
Death reason: shot: aggressive, shot by Daniel Davis
Burial: 1816-00-00, at just off Route 4 in Alfred, Berwick, Maine
Locations - owners
Present / last location:Bailey Circus, in United States

Date of arrival

1808-00-00Bailey Circus
from Edward Savage

1804-00-00Edward Savage
from Nathan Howes

1804-00-00Nathan Howes
from Boston Harbour

1804-06-25Boston Harbour
from Africa unspecified location

Record history
History of updates2021-11-23

Latest document update2024-01-29 16:27:24
Relevant literature
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† Old Bet is a dead Female ♀ African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), , who died 1816-07-26 at Bailey Circus, in United States, . Official death reason described as aggressive, shot by Daniel Davis.

Museum locationThe Museum specimen remains of this animal is within the collection at Barnums American Museum, in , United States, since 1821-00-00.


Old Bet was born wild 1800 at Africa unspecified location. and imported 1804-06-25 by Unknown

Comments / pictures

As the legend goes, Old Bet came to York County in July of 1816, where people ponied up the admission price to catch a glimpse. But, according to Historic Hudson Valley, a farmer named Daniel Davis reportedly was offended by the idea of taking money from poor people and decided to fatally shoot Old Bet. As legend has it, she was buried in Alfred, where a marker still commemorates her, near the York County Jail, just off Route 4 in Alfred.

In Somers, New York, a statue of Old Bet stands in front of the 'Elephant Hotel,' founded by Hachaliah Bailey in memory of his beloved animal.

Records about Old Bet from Bob Cline

OLD BET Arrives in US June 25, 1804 2nd elephant in United States
African Female 1804 - Exhibited bt Edward Savage in Boston and Salem
1805 - Exhibited in the Hudson Valley and Richmond, Va.
1806 - exhibited in New York City
1808 - billed as only elephant in America indicating that The 1st elephant was dead now.
1809 - Hachileah Bailey exhibit
Different references refer to Christopher Brown, Issac Purdy, or Andrew Brunn in charge.
Died - July 26, 1816 in Alfred, Maine - shot by Daniel Davis
1817 - Skeleton was exhibited at 303 Broadway in New York City
1818 - Mounted hide on display in New York City

Bob Cline, author of the book "Americas elephants".

Elephant Notes and news
Old Bet has aroused interest and curiosity for many years, mostly because of the mystery surrounding her time of arrival in the United States (she is either the “first”, having arrived on April 13 April 13, 1796, or the “second”, arrived in 1804), her Species (either African or Asian elephant), her name (known by at least five different names: “The Elephant”, “Old Bet”, “Betsy”, “Betty”, and “Rajah”). “Little Belt” and “The Learned Elephant” apparently are names of another elephant acquired after Old Bet died, presumably in Alfred, Maine, USA in
1816. (Shoshani et.al.)

Old Bet on elephant-news.com

Old Bet is mentioned on Elephant News:

Articles where Old Bet is mentioned on elephant-news.com
DateLinks which opens in new window
2020-10-10 The circus was born in putnam county - Elephant News

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). Old Bet, African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) located at Bailey Circus in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 24 May 2024 at https://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=2384. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:


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Categories1816 deaths | Barnums American Museum Taxidermy | 1800 births | 1804 imports | Elephants from Bailey Circus | United States | African savanna elephants

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