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Charles Siegert: Death by Tiger.

Charles Siegert: Death by Tiger

Field review by the editors.

Washington, DC

Indiana resident Charles Siegert was a member of the Wallace Circus for only 11 weeks before his employment ended in September 1899. According to a news story in the Washington Evening Star, Siegert "made his bed" atop the Bengal tiger cage, which for him was routine, when the traveling show was in the U.S. capital. "In some manner," the newspaper reported, "his right leg swung over the edge and dangled in front of the iron bars." This provoked the tiger, named Old Ben, to grab Siegert's leg and sink its teeth into his flesh. Life-saving measures were attempted at Washington, DC's Emergency Hospital -- even amputation -- but the injuries were too severe. Siegert died, age 21.

A local businessman anonymously paid the expenses for Siegert's funeral, but his burial plot remained unmarked for over a century. Then circus aficionado Guy Palance raised $2,300 online for a tombstone, which was unveiled in April 2017. The polished granite monument includes an unfortunately incorrect interment date, a poem written by Palance, and an image of a tiger, like the one that bit Siegert, perched innocently upon an animal-act circus ball.

[Grave report by Kurt Deion]

Also see: Congressional Cemetery

Charles Siegert: Death by Tiger

Congressional Cemetery

Address:
1801 E St. SE, Washington, DC
Directions:
Walk into the cemetery at the intersection of Potomac Ave. SE and E St. SE. Walk straight in. At the third cross path turn left. At the fourth cross path turn right. The tiger grave will be on the right about 50 feet along the path; a large black granite stone, three rows in.
Hours:
Daylight daily; gated after hours. Office M-F 9-5. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
202-543-0539
Save to My Sights

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