Riverside, CA Elephant Accident, Apr 1908

Glenwood Hotel circa 1906 Just Before the Stampede



Riverside, April 17. -- Death and destruction followed in the wake of a stampede of elephants in this city early yesterday afternoon as the result of an explosion in the Standard Oil Company's storage tanks.
MISS ELLA GIBBS, a church deaconness is dead.
L. G. WORSLEY, a driver for the Standard Oil, is fatally injured.
Half a dozen more are more of less seriously injured, not to mention the destruction to property in the business district.
About 1:30 yesterday afternoon a dull boom was heard and the Sells-Floto shows, which were encamped about two blocks from the oil tanks, quickly dispersed the crowds and lowered their tents. Frightened by this undue excitement, the herd of elephants became uncontrollable and charged through the east side of town, knocking down fences, outhouses and despoiling orchards. Quick action on the part of the keepers, however, was the means of rounding up all but the largest of the elephants.

Enters Hotel Court.
He it was who did the damage. Changing his course the infuriated beast dashed toward the center of the city, one mile distant. Turning into the court of the Glenwood hotel he cast his eye on MISS GIBBS, who was in the yard in front of the house.
The elephant pinned her against the house between his tusks, threw her to the ground and trampled upon her, crushing her chest and inflicting fatal injuries. The animal then proceeded to the court yard, the guests rushing, panic-stricken, indoors. D. F. CHAPMAN, a guest of the house, attempted to swerve the animal from the court. He was knocked down and had several ribs broken and was otherwise injured.
The beast crashed through the door, walked through the barber shops and out into Main street, crossed the street and crashed through the heavy plate glass window in a store. Before being rounded up at a down town public stable the animal trampled on another man and seriously gored him with its tusks.

Keeper Hurled Over Fence.
One of the keepers attempted to subdue the animal, but ws hurled over a high fence, sustaining painful injuries. Not until four other elephants were brought into the stablewas the huge beast gotten under control and taken to the circus grounds. By this time the entire town was in an uproar. The ladies of the East Side were afraid to venture into the streets, fearing that the herd had not been captured.
The keeper of the elephants, whose name is not known, was the means of saving at least two lives before the big brute was again under control. At the corner of Orange and Seventh streets the elephant had thrown FRANK A. BIRD and was about to crush him with his full weight when the keeper came up close behind and fired three shots from a revolver into the elephant's neck. This caused the big beast to swerve around, his attention being detracted from his intended victim. In the meantime, however, BIRD had sustained a broken leg and other injuries.

Fires Bullet Into Animal.
In the court yard of the Glenwood hotel D. P. CHAPMAN was thrown by the elephant, and might have sustained fatal injuries had not the same keeper arrived on the scene in the nick of time. He fired the remaining four shots from his revolver into the elephant and the brute at once turned his attention from the man of the ground to his assailant. The left trousers leg of the keeper was ripped wide open by the infuriated beast and the leg was painfully lacerated. The flesh from the keeper's right hand also was torn away.
At the stable, where the elephant was brought to bay, another of the circus attendants who assisted in the capture was severely bruised, although being rescued before any bones had been broken.

Sits Still As Beast Passes.
At the Glenwood hotel, EVA HOWE, a guest, was sitting in a swing when the infuriated beast made full at her. She was about to flee, when the elephant's keeper, who was close behind, advised her to sit still. As a result the elephant rushed by her without molesting her.
It is reported that WORSLEY, driver of the oil wagon on which the fire started, is close to death and could not survive the day.
MISS ELLA GIBBS, who died at 9:45 last night, was a deaconess in the First Congregational Church of this city.

Injured Man Dying.
With the exception of L. G. WORSELY, the driver of the oil wagon, all the injured in yesterday's oil fire and elephant stampede are resting easily today. WORSELY although still alive, has small chance of living through the day. The circus and elephants have left town to the relief of the townspeople.
WILTON LACKAY, the actor, was sitting by a window in the hotel Greenwood, which was shattered by the elephants. Although showered with broken glass MR. LACKAY escaped uninjured.

Oakland Tribune California 1908-04-17