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New York, New York

June 27 1835



PETRIFIED BUFFALO.- This extraordinary curiosity was discovered about two years since by some trappers belonging to Capt. Bent’s company, lying on the side of one of the beaver dams of the Rio Grande of the North (a stream emptying itself into the Gulf of California) whose waters it is said, possesses the petrifying qualities to and eminent degree, it’s shores abounding in specimens of animal and vegetable productions in a petrified state. The petrified buffalo is described by those who have seen it, to be as perfect in its petrifadnon as  when living, with the exception of a hole in one of the sides, about four inches in diameter, around which the hair has been worn off, probably by the friction of the water, in which it must have lain for ages past, to have produced such a phenomenon. The tale, though concreted into almost a smooth surface, may be easily discerned. The horns, eyes, nostrils, mouth and legs, are as perfect in their stone as in their pristine state.

The country in which this rare specimen was found, is in inhabited by the Euteaux, a roving tribe of savages, who subsist a great portion of their lives on insects, snakes, toads, roots, etc. etc. This tribe being particularly hostile to the whites, rendered the acquisition of this curiosity and undertaking not a little hazardous. Notwithstanding this, and many other difficulties, to be surmounted, such as distance, expense, etc. Our enterprising citizens, Capt. Charles Bent, contemplates procuring and bringing it to the United States with him on his return home from Santa Fe, during the ensuing autumn. We heartily wish him success in his praiseworthy undertaking.



The Belmont Gazette

Belmont, Wisconsin March 15, 1837


1831-1840A highly intelligent friend who served for some time, as an officer of Dragoons on the far Western frontier has kindly placed in our possession portions of a journal kept during his campaigns, from which we propose to present our readers with a vocational extracts. The following description of a Buffalo hunt will, we feel assured, be read with a very lively interest, and furnishes not an unfair specimen of the descriptive power of the writer. The notes were made at the termination of each day’s march, when the impression of the incidents was still fresh upon the mind of the author, and are clothed in all the vividness of feeling which a participation in the scenes described could alone impart:

“As we were moving on slowly and doggedly, and still within three or 4 miles of Lake Hahawa, the advanced described about a dozen buffalo. Quickly the excitement spreads throughout the column: the horses prick their ears, sniff the wind, and paw the ground: the men rise in their stirrups, and lean forward, as if to catch a nearer view of the __-famed animals; half of them charge their carbines, to be ready for the sport, without waiting for orders, or even thinking of them. The Colonel orders a halt, to give time for the Indian in rear to come up to the front. They soon pass the column at a gallop, and bear swiftly down upon the buffalo, whilst they are still grazing. Away they go on their crooked Little ponies, at a rate which would do honor to Long Island Course. Their blankets are thrown aside, their rifles are in hand, and their crested head dresses are streaming to the wind. Onward, in emulous strife, they rush, each emulous of feeling the first victor. “Speed, Prichway! your pony loses ground.” As he runs, he slips his saddle from his home, which now, less burdened, gains rapidly upon his fellows. On they dash: now one, now another, takes the lead; and all soon disappear behind a gentle swell in this un-easy ocean. And horses were at their speed when they sunk line the hill: and now every eye is strained to see where they will again appear. Anon, a little black specks is seen on a distant billow: another and another appear. “They come, they come.” Resounds from rank to rank. As they near us, they become more and more distinct: and at length a horsemen appears in full chase. Every man becomes intensely excited: some because they had never before seen any, and others because they and often before seen many. Away with discipline! It is in vain to cry, “Steady men, steady!´ The old soldiers obey mechanically: but as for your recruits, they will not hear the order, and they scatter in all directions after the struggling buffalo. As the chase approached, each Then sent out a few picked men to secure a part of the spoil, for well we knew that the raw hunters would come much nearer killing their horses than the buffalo. The herd bears right down upon us, and at the distance of half a mile, scatters in all directions. Now spur away! There’s noble game to chase! See, on that ridge a mile to the right Francois, the interpreter, pressing closely upon a panting bull. Closer and closer he gathers: now he aims his rifle at his full broadside. The smoke rises from the pan: and the un-echoed sound falls dead upon the ear. The furious bull reels, falls to his knees, rolls his fiery eyes upon his pursuer, recovers his footing, and again bounds along with increased fleetness. Now, wild in the chase! Here a party attempt to surround the larger part of the herd – there a single horsemen pursues a single buffalo: and here a Paugh! Paugh!! They gun tell of their whereabouts in all directions. There goes a bouncing cow close by the rear of the column. Her pursuer, mounted on a fine bay horse, has almost run her down, and yet she seems loths to give up the prize: as he passes by Lieutenant S. dash my gallant bay, and show your mottle: never give up, though your competitor the fresh! Ah, ‘twill not do: the stoutest sinews will give way in this entangling grass. Away goes the sorrel in advance: and the bay reins up. Fleetly the sorrel moves: and his rider is already among a fatal shot at the cow, when he sinks to his knees in the mud, rolls upon his side, and turns his writers face towards the heavens whilst the reprieved cow is rolling off through the waving grass like a porpoise in the sea. But though she has the eluded two of her pursuers, yet she is not free from enemies. Her course bears right toward the ground designated for the hunters whom I sent out this morning. They see her approach and crouch in the grass until she has come with and rifle shot: then they mount, pursue her, place themselves on either side, and in the tragedy by driving each a ball through her lungs. Now the field is clear save here and there a party engaged in butchering their game. Pack courses and a wagon are detached for the purpose of bringing forward such portions of the beef as may we wanted, whilst the main body moves forward. We had proceeded but a few hundred yards, when a huge bull comes doggedly toward us. He had been left, as dead by the Indians: but rising again and trotting up to us, desperate and blind with pain and rage, he seemed resolved to pass through the column, and to overturn all opposition. Being met by four or five horsemen from the leading troop, he changed his course, but still within view, and moved steadily along, receiving shot after shot without flinching, till at length he came to bay, stood firm, and received sixteen balls the size of twenty four to the pound, before he fell a second time. I rode up to the huge carcass as it lay extended in the grass. His small green eyes peered venomously through his shaggy brow. His face and neck were covered with course and shaggy hair, six or eight inches long, whilst all the rest of his body was destitute of covering. His rough but wrinkled skin gave little promise of covering such savory beef, as I have just proved that it did.

As the sun was setting we descended from the highlands separating the water: of the Des Moines from those of the Ioway, and winding down a long steep descent, all clothed in long and luxuriant grass, and overlooking tributaries of three rivers running in directions widely different we at length came to a beautiful meadow on the banks of the Bison river. The river, after running along the bluff for seven miles, suddenly turns off, and at that distance of about three hundred yards from the bluff, again turns parallel to it, thus leaving a delightful little recess for a camp ground, dry, level, grassy, and fringed with trees. Our tents are pitched, our horses are grazing, our fires are blazing around, the packs and wagons have arrived with the products of the chase, we have broiled are steaks and roasted our marrow bones, and have feasted upon them and now we are happy.”


The Times Picayune New Orleans Dec 9 1838

The Times Picayune New Orleans Dec 9 1838


The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati, Ohio

Nov 23, 1878

(written in 78, about the 1838 times)


Wiping out the Shaggy Monsters that Roam on the Plains – The Butchery in Northern Texas – An Englishman’s Experience – Killing the Bison For His Hide – The Life of a Professional Buffalo Hunter – Three Seasons on the Plains – How the Hides are Cured – Pickling the Tongues – Fearful Fate of a Horse Thief.

[New York Sun.]

Forty years ago (1838) the trappers of the Western plains sold the pelts of beavers, otters and _____ and killed the bison only for food. Myriads of these shaggy monsters roamed the prairies. Washington Irving, in his “Tour on the Prairies,” sought a herd boundless and undulating as an ocean, all surging northward. They were two days and nights in crossing the Smokey Hill River. There was then a limited market for buffalo hides, and the herds were hunted by the Indians only. They dried the meat for winter use, and use the skins for tepees and blankets. Uncounted millions of the animals wintered in the parks of the Rocky Mountains and on the fertile plains of northern Texas. The cows calved in April and by the 1st of May the shaggy _____ were headed for the Missouri. They advanced northward with the season, browsing upon the sprouting, juicy grasses. They crossed the Missouri River and ran away up into British America. With the approach of winter they swept back into the sunny parts of the Rocky Mountains and spread themselves over the plains of Texas. (The complete story is on Texas History page)


Milwaukee News June 18th 1839


 OUR COUNTRY- one clear bracing morning last autumn, as we were stepping in the Schenectady cars at Albany, whom should we meet but a New York friend, in his shooting jacket, accoutered with poach and gun, in the act of putting his dogs in an adjoining compartment.
“So ho, friend! Wither are you bound?” We inquired.
“I am only going for a few days’ shooting in the country.”
“Upon a fine Prairie in Michigan – only about 300 miles from Detroit. I am told there is fine shooting their.”
This single incident, which is literally true, speaks volumes upon the extent of our country, and the spirit and habits of our people, and the facilities every where enjoyed for intercommunication. Detroit is 800 miles from New York, and our friend was bound for the prairies, a long way beyond. And yet he was starting forth for a shooting excursion, with as little care of the distance, as an English fox hunter would experience in going upon a chase to a neighboring county.
……Our friend had find sport during his excursion, as we happen to know, as one of our firm, who was himself wandering the prairies at the same time, fell in with him in the hey-day of his frolic. The sportsman informed us the other day, that having procured the best ‘fly’ that he ever say, he was going down to the Kennebec for a day or two on a fishing excursion!
……Nor is the spirit of dashing enterprise and exclusive characteristic of Americans. Foreigners coming hither soon have their dens expanded by the broad expanse of our country, elevated by the height of our mountains, and inspirited by the chase of bears and buffaloes. For instance, in the case of Sir William Stewart, whose pictures of bear and buffalo hunts amid the stupendous peaks and glens of the Rocky Mountains, have been exhibited for a few days at the Apollo gallery -the Baronet, as we are told, having spent five years among the scenes described, started on his return to England, and reached New York on his way. Lingering here a few days his mind reverted to the wild sports of the west. It was asking too much to leave them so soon: so back he started, twenty-five hundred miles into the wilderness, for the pleasure of one more buffalo hunt before he should finally embark for the shores of Albinion.-He went, and plunged again into the wild pleasures of the Snake Indians, and hunted buffaloes and grizzly bears for another two years, and is now once more on his way to his own land.-N.Y. Adv.