Bailey Circus in United States


Bailey Circus
Typecircus

Owner 1808-1816: Hachaliah Bailey
Place Fairfax County, Virginia
Country United States

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Description

Bailey Circus, in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States .


Comments / picturesIn 1808, while residing in Somers, New York, Hachaliah Bailey purchased an African elephant for $1,000 and named it "Old Bet." Old Bet appears to be one of the first elephants brought to the United States; she had previously been on exhibit in Boston in 1804, but Bailey found her for sale four years later in a New York City cattle market.

(An alternate version of the story relates that Hachaliah Bailey purchased Old Bet from a sea captain, possibly his brother, who had acquired the elephant for $20 in London prior to the War of 1812.)

Bailey originally planned to use Old Bet as a draught animal on his farm, but she attracted so much attention that he decided to found a travelling menagerie instead. He started out to show Old Bet with a wagon of hay, a horse to draw it, and an assistant. The admission fee for an entire family was either a coin or a 2-gallon jug of rum. In 1808, Hachaliah Bailey rented two-thirds of Old Bet to Benjamin Lent and Andrew Brown, who also had a right to display her.

On July 24, 1816, Old Bet was killed while on tour near Alfred, Maine by a farmer who thought it sinful for poor people to waste money on a traveling circus, and Bailey memorialized her in 1825 with a statue and the Elephant Hotel in Somers, New York.

Bailey Circus in United States United+States

As a memorial to his elephants Hachaliah Bailey built the Elephant Hotel, on a piece of land he had purchased from Thomas Leggett in 1807 for $1250.

References for records about Bailey Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Bailey Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=634. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Stuart Thayer, USA
  • Page 9, Elefanten in Zoo und Circus, Dokumentation 2 Nordamerika, 1997, by European Elephant Group: Haufellner, Schilfarth, Schweiger


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