are quiet at the Dailey Brothers circus lot, today, but for two
hours late Tuesday, bedlam would have been tame by comparison.
Eighteen bulls out of the circus herd of 21 elephants went on a
rampage and stampeded out the winter quarters of the circus to roar
across the southeast end of Gonzales for more than two hours before
all were rounded up and corralled in their barn to quiet down.
the consent of owner Ben C. Davenport, the herd had been moved to
a ravine at the far end of the old fair grounds to a heavily wooded
section not far from the Guadalupe River.
The animals had been arranged to pass in a group before the camera,
but they were sluggish and refused to be speeded. Davenport dispatched
two cowboys, mounted on horses, to the rear of the herd and allowed
them to shoot several rounds from .44 caliber pistols.
combination of prancing horses and barking pistols frightened the
herd and they started off without warning, trumpeting loudly and
storming for distance in all directions.
herd, all but one - Little Butch - was safe before sunset. It was
not until many hours later that Little Butch was located in the
woods, six miles out, and brought home in Davenport's Cadillac.
men were slightly hurt in the stampede, Rex Williams, 26, former
Marine, a head elephant man with the circus, was bumped by a bull
and sent flying probably 20 feet. He was cut and bruised.
Freivogal, 30, utility man, who was in front of the herd, made a
leap for safety and stumbled as the elephants advanced. He fell
between two logs that had been rolled into place for props, and
this proved to be the lucky accident that saved his life.
herd stormed over and past him, kicking the logs as it went by,
but none tramped on Freivogal. He was bruised as the logs squeezed
against him, and scratched by the bark, but was otherwise unhurt.
two miles, the elephants scattered, singly, in pairs and in threes,
and it was more than two hours later - 4:30 p.m. - before the last
was rounded up by the frantically laboring circus hands.
roared through fences knocking them down indiscriminately, and one
bull tore off the porch of a small house. Letter boxes in the rural
route areas also went down, among them the box of Louis H. School
at State Park and one of his neighbors.
Across the Gonzales-Shiner Highway, the herd flew, some of them
being captured later against the brick walls of the Gonzales Cotton
pair suddenly smashed out of the brush land into the Shiner Road
just as a tourist car, bearing Indiana plates and containing a middle-aged
couple, drove along.
The goggle-eyed man at the wheel nearly cracked up when he saw the
elephants charging in his direction. He drove into a ditch and the
elephants passed by. Later, when he was able to regain the highway,
the tourist sped into town screaming that the elephants were after
It was the first word in Gonzales that the elephants were on stampede.
But the tourist fled the city.
Published with author's permission.