In August of 1943, Old Pitt, an elephant who was part of the Cole Brothers Circus, was struck and killed by lightning when a severe storm hit during a matinee performance in Dillon, Montana. The reportedly 102-year-old elephant was buried right where she died.
Old Pitt spent much of her adult life in the circus. For many years, she toured with her longtime owner John Robinson and his large herd of circus elephants in Robinson’s Great Show. They often performed military-themed acts, earning them the nickname “The Military Elephants.” When Robinson hit financial troubles, he sold most of his stock to the Ringling Brothers Circus. He kept four of his most senior elephants, including Old Pitt.
The remaining elephants occasionally still performed in circus tours, though they spent the majority of their time roaming the grounds of his Ohio farm. When Robinson died, his wife gave Old Pitt, the last of his famed elephants, to the Cole Brothers Circus. She was with them for just a year until her unexpected death.
The circus members gave her a proper burial at the Beaverhead County Fairgrounds and commissioned the granite grave marker. Seventy years later, visitors can still visit her burial site.