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Born on this day
Rolf Martin Zinkernagel
1st week in year
6 January 2021

Important eventsBack

First elephant in USA13.4.1796

Wikipedia (27 Mar 2013, 08:21)

Old Bet (died July 24, 1816) was either the first or second elephant brought to the United States. There are reports of an elephant brought to the United States in 1796, but it is not known for certain that this was the elephant that was later named Old Bet.


The first elephant brought to the United States was in 1796, aboard the America which set sail from Calcutta for New York on December 3, 1795. However, it is not certain that this was Old Bet. The first references to Old Bet start in 1804 in Boston as part of a menagerie. In 1808, while residing in Somers, New York, Hachaliah Bailey purchased the menagerie elephant for $1,000 and named it "Old Bet".

On July 24, 1816, Old Bet was killed while on tour near Alfred, Maine by a farmer who shot her, and was later convicted of the crime. The farmer thought it was sinful for people to pay to see an animal.


In 1821, the Barnum's American Museum in New York announced that they had bought the hide and bones of Old Bet and would mount the remains at the museum. The elephant was memorialized in 1825 with a statue and the Elephant Hotel in Somers, New York. In 1922 the elephant John L. Sullivan walked 53 miles to lay a wreath for the memory of Old Bet at her memorial statue.

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