Elephant Tombstone, Colquitt County

moultrie-ga-elephant-tombstone-william-f-duggan-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2012

Ask anyone in Moultrie about the “elephant” and they’ll gladly direct you to the Pleasant Grove Primitive Baptist Church , where you’ll find the final resting place of William F. Duggan, Sr. (18 January 1899-22 December 1950). Locals contend that this is the most famous landmark in Colquitt County and since it’s thought to be the only life-sized elephant tombstone in the world, the distinction seems appropriate. The life-size sculpture depicts Nancy, a baby elephant owned by Duggan, who had just bought a circus at the time of his death. As a boy, Duggan worked with elephants in various circuses and always favored them. His son had this sculpture commissioned after his death. Athens-based photographer Dagmar Nelson shares a bit more of the history here.

Author: Brian Brown

Brian Brown is a documentary photographer, author, and historian who lives in Coastal Georgia.

13 thoughts on “Elephant Tombstone, Colquitt County”

  1. As the living grandaughter of William F Duggan Sr, I believe Nancy the baby elephant which was replicated in my grandpas’s tombstone; returned to the mix of other circus animals that had been acquired by my grandad. In all the subsequent years of storytelling, I never heard anything more noteworthy about this animal of which my grandad and grown very fond of. At 57 years old, this landmark remains on my bucket list of items to see! Laura Petruschell Lavin

    1. Laura, do you know of your granddads dealings with the circus has anything to do with Moultrie being mentioned in the new Dumbo movie?

  2. I was there last Tuesday for the burial of a cousin whose grave is only yards from the Duggan tomb. I have several generations of relatives, McMullens, buried there. The elephant is quite impressive.

  3. I am related to the Duggans and as a child I played on Nancy. I have many family members buried there including Confederate soldiers

    1. I live in north Florida and have visited ‘Nancy’ several times. I’ve always wondered what happened to the real Nancy. Do you know?

      The Smithsonian Zoo acquired an African elephant named Nancy who was apparently born in 1950. I don’t think it’s the same animal. Here are three links to sites mentioning that Nancy.

      http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Publications/ZooGoer/2008/4/Elephant_sidebar.cfm
      http://www.showmeelephants.com/2011/05/national-zoo-dzimbo.html
      http://www.helpelephants.com/national_zoo.html

  4. This cemetery has 5 generations of my family buried there dating back to the Revolutionary War days! But yes, Nancy is unique.

    1. This is for the ones who takes care of the grounds where the big white elephant is… this is our uncle’s grave and I am asking everyone for the sake of respect for our uncle… ‘ please don’t climb on it’… the ones who take care of the grounds, would you please see that no one climbs on it?… that’s like someone walking on a grave… for respect sake, would everyone please not do that?… people may have a picture taken beside it but please not with someone sitting on it… thank you so much for honoring our request for respect…

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