On that day, the Sparks Brothers circus came to Kingsport, TN with a five-ton elephant named Mary. An inexperienced handler worked with her, prodding her with a bull hook and royally annoying said elephant. The elephant, in a temper, threw the pesky handler against a drink stand and stomped that sucker flat!
This caused a mob to get worked up, and called for the elephant's blood! A blacksmth tried to shoot her, but her hide was too thick. Finally, the Sheriff "arrested" her, and staked her by the jail.
The circus owners tried to guarantee that the elephant was not dangerous, but hot heads prevailed and they used a railroad crane to hoist up the elephant. She was hung . . . . or hanged . . . . in the Clinchfield Railroad yard. Afterwards, Mary was buried by the railroad tracks.
It's said that when you do something really stupid or tacky, people will remember like elephants. This clearly was the case with Erwin, Tennessee: the place where they hanged the elephant. However, Kingsport got off scot-free, reputation-wise.