After their capture

After their capture

The tragic end of Charlie Ed

After the elephant hunt: Part four in our four-part series.

After six weeks roaming the hills around Cranbrook in 1926, little circus elephant Charlie Ed has finally been caught and walked back into town on September 14, just in the nick of time before the first snow.

He’s one of three elephants that got loose from the Sells-Floto Circus in August 1926. Tillie was captured nine days later; Myrtle died of pneumonia following a month in the bush.

But little Charlie Ed is the happy ending Cranbrook was holding its breath for. And the growing city puts all its pent-up nervousness into celebrating his safe return.

On September 19, Charlie Ed will board a train with a $1,200 ticket to California, where he will meet up with the rest of the travelling circus.

First, he gets a proper Cranbrook send-off. That Sunday morning, Charlie Ed is led through town to meet Cranbrook’s Mayor T.M. Roberts outside the Royal Bank.

In honour of his six-week ordeal in the wild, Charlie Ed was to be given a new name – Cranbrook Ed – though it’s clear only Cranbrook knows him by this name.

To christen the elephant, Mayor Roberts pours a bottle of champagne over Charlie Ed’s head. The elephant takes it gracefully. Perhaps a little foolishly, the mayor then chooses this moment to present a bouquet of flowers to the lovely Marie Patterson, who has just won the Cranbrook Gyro Club auto contest.

“The newly christened, apparently thinking that he could show His Worship how such presentations should be made, grabbed the flowers and making a pass with them to his mouth, as if to eat them, then waved the bouquet on high, much to the surprise and delight of those present, then he dropped them at the feet of the honoured young lady,” wrote the Herald on September 23.

Then Charlie Ed is treated to a tray of delicacies at the Victoria Cafe, before being packed off, trunk and all, on the noon train.

While the story ends there for Cranbrook, it’s not the end of the trouble for the elephants of the Sells-Floto. In fact, like Myrtle, Charlie Ed, Tillie and even little Mary, who started the trouble, met with tragic ends at the hands of humans.

Two years later, the Sells-Floto is in Lewiston, Idaho during a heat wave. Desperately thirsty, Mary takes off. Confused by the shimmering reflection of the glass, Mary smashes shop windows as she runs through town. She finally stops at a garage where people had just been washing cars. She drinks and her handlers arrive and manage to calm her down. Unfortunately, Lewisham’s mayor Dr. Braddock, an avid big game hunter, has run for his gun. Without evaluating the scene in the garage, he shoots Mary dead.

As for Tillie, she leads a long life (for a captive elephant), passing from Sells-Floto to Ringling Brothers. But she dies in 1941 in Atlanta, Georgia, one of seven elephants poisoned with arsenic. No culprit is ever identified.

And what of Cranbrook’s beloved Charlie Ed? Well, he is retired from the circus in 1934 when he is cast in the film “Clive Of India”, alongside Loretta Young. After his second brush with fame, Charlie Ed is retired to the San Francisco Zoo. Tragically, in 1936, he gores his keeper to death. Charlie Ed is killed by a firing squad, stiff ropes pulling his four legs apart. He is 27 years old.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read