Nancy the Elephant Tombstone Monument
A life-sized baby elephant tombstone marks the grave of a circus owner at a country church in southern Georgia.
A visit to the cemetery located next to the Pleasant Grove Primitive Baptist Church in the rural town of Moultrie, Georgia, brings a large surprise. Nestled among the traditional headstones in the churchyard is the life-sized marble statue of Nancy, a baby elephant owned by William F. Duggan.
William Duggan, born January 18, 1899, loved circuses and wanted to one day have his own. At the age of 12, he ran away to join the Sparks Circus, a wagon show that toured the southern United States and was eventually purchased by Ringling Brothers. One of Duggan’s favorite jobs at the circus was to feed and care for the elephants.
In 1934, Mr. Duggan created the Duggan Brothers Circus, which toured for about a year. In 1950, he purchased the Pan American Animal Exhibit and began planning to make it into a three-ring circus that he named the Hagen-Wallace Circus. Unfortunately, Duggan died of a heart attack on December 22, 1950, before his circus could put on its first performance. Duggan’s son decided to honor his father by commissioning the Tate Marble Company to carve a life-sized monument of his beloved baby elephant Nancy to mark his gravesite.
Standing at five feet six inches tall, seven feet two inches long, and two feet four inches wide, it is believed to be the only life-sized elephant tombstone in the world.
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