Friday, April 6, 2007
Who Murdered Little Bett and What’s Mr. Potato Head Got To Do With It?
OK, how’s this for weird? Hachaliah Bailey had a thing for elephants. The first two modern elephants to walk the ground in North America were owned by Bailey.
Elephants were such a novelty in America that people would skip church and pay to see an elephant. This didn’t sit well with the religious community. Bailey’s first elephant, “Big Bett” arrived in America in 1796. Big Bett spent the next 20 years traveling up and down the east coast making money (even on Sundays) for Hachaliah. One Sunday Big Bett and her keeper made the mistake of crossing the land of a religious, elephant-intolerant citizen who promptly shot the beloved elephant.
Hachaliah was crushed and erected a statue of Big Bett in his hometown of Somers, NY. To help ease his grief he purchased another elephant called Little Bett, The Learned Elephant. Little Bett, too, charmed the citizenry and infuriated religious zealots on weekdays as well as Sundays.
May 24, 1826 found Little Bett in Chepachet, Rhode Island. While crossing the little bridge over the Chepachet River in the middle of town, Little Bett, like her predecessor, was cut down by gunfire. Two elephants, two elephant murders!!
One non-historical theory by an unnamed blog author theorizes that a rebellious teenager who had slipped his dad’s new musket out of the house was cruising about the village with his cronies when they challenged him with….”You can’t hit the broadside of an elephant with that thing!”….The rest is non-history.
The actual historical records show that seven men were eventually brought to justice and two of them paid the ultimate price…banishment from the Masonic Order! Folks, I couldn’t in my wildest dreams make this stuff up.
The town of Chepachet to this day conceals the truth. Look at this official town site and see how cleverly they avoid responsibility for this heinous crime. Truth will out however and a small plaque on the bridge today declares that “diverse hands fired upon Betty…”
Mere yards down the road, in front of the town hall facing Highway 44, stands a large Mr. Potato Head arms outstreched. Now you have to admit, a large Mr. Potato Head in front of the town hall is weird enough. If it were a Muffler Man it would seem normal to me, but Mr. Potato Head…? To make things even more weird, this Mr. Potato Head is named Betty The Learned Elephant.
Just what are the ruling fathers of Chepachet up to? It looks to me like they want the fame and glory of Little Bett, the tens of dollars that tourists like me bring to their pathetic little economy, without admitting that their town brutally murdered America’s cerebral sweetheart of 1826!
If I thought the mighty power of this blog could help right this grievous wrong, I would call for a boycott of tourists to Chepachet, Rhode Island. To do this however they would have to have some tourists to begin with….so I’m helpless.
In my quest for weird I have discovered these facts and actually visited this historic and hallowed site so that all who visit my blog shall know the truth!!! I certify that the pictures in this post are real and not a computer trick and offer them as proof of my veracity so help me God.
Thanks for visiting.