The Times Picayune-New Orleans-Aug 20 1861
Gettysburg Compiler-Feb 10 1862
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati, Ohio May 22, 1862
THE RACE AND BUFFALO HUNT TO-DAY.
The race of the buffalo hunt at the Cincinnati Trotting Park to-day will afford rare amusement, and we will have no doubt but that the attendance will be immense. The horses are closely matched, and the race will be strongly and tenaciously contested. The buffalo hunt will be a great feature in the day’s entertainment. The animal is a wild mountain bison, the capture of which is believed to be an impossibility, and yet a number of horsemen, including two Mexicans, have entered the list to lasso him, either by the horns or leg, and obtain the prizes. The running of the buffalo exceeds that of the fleetest horses, and only by taking advantages can the pursuing steeds come within lassoing distance of the beast. The sport will be great to-day, and none should fail to attend. Superintendent MaLaren will run out a special train to and from the Race-course, to accommodate the crowds which are expected to be present, leaving the depot at 2:30, railroad time, which is seven minutes faster than city time.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Apr 21, 1863
BUFFALOES have been lately shot within sixty miles of St. Paul, Minnesota. The Indian massacres have rendered the region so uninhabited, that bisons, wolves, etc., roamed freely where they have not before been seen for years.
The Daily Milwaukee News-Nov 7 1863
Pittston Gazette-Pittston, Pa.-Nov 12 1863
St. Cloud Democrat
St. Cloud, Minnesota May 5 1864
BUFFALO HUNT AT ABERCROMBIE.
A brother of Hon. L.R. Bentley, of this place, returned from Fort Abercrombie last evening, and reports that on the 25th ult., the boys at the post had a grand buffalo hunt, the shaggy monsters coming within less than 2 miles of the Fort. Seven were killed and eight calves captured.
St. Cloud Democrat- Minnesota- Aug 25 1864
Cleveland Daily Leader
Cleveland, Ohio Aug. 29, 1865
DAN RICE’S MENAGERIE To-day. – At ten o’clock this morning Dan Rice’s Mammoth Menagerie will make a grand parade through the principal streets of this city, and then proceed to the place of exhibition on Erie street lot, near the cemetery, within easy reach from the Kinsman street cars. Exhibitions will be given at two and seven o’clock this afternoon and evening.
Two exhibitions were given on the West Side yesterday. The mamoth pavilion was densely crowded. The collection of animals as large and select, embracing many rare and interesting specimens. But the popular feature of the exhibition is the performance of Dan Rice’s wonderfully trained animals, including elephants, big and little, kangaroos, a bison, a horse stone blind but with a head full of brain, and two of the killingest mules extant. We have never seen more fun crowded into a performance of that kind.
People who fail to attend this exhibition to-day will miss one of the few rich deserving things of this season.
The Montana Post
Virginia City, Montana Dec 9 1865
(an individual from California writes:)
A Spicy Letter from Blackfoot City.
“I have written up a whole sheet of paper, and have not told you anything as yet: I have not told you that here is the finest brass that grows in the world; that horses can travel as well on it as they can on grain; that even the cold freezing winter. I have failed to tell you of the game that abounds in this country. I will name the huge mountain buffalo, the long, ponderous bison, the stately elk, black, brown and grizzly bear, which are very numerous, black and white tailed deer, prairie chickens and grouse, as plenty as quail are in Mariposa – chickens, the finest shooting in the world on the wing. I have told you of the game and grass; now I will tell you of McClellan Gulch, where I hold forth. It is about three miles long and about half a mile of the lower end is not prospected yet; the balance is worked: and, sir, it is the riches gulch, take it all through, I ever saw in my life; that is saying a good deal, coming from where I did. Claims pay from $100, up to $1,500 per day to the sluice. I saw one claim sold for $7,500 in cash, and they took out their money in two weeks and more too.”
The Pittsburgh Daily Commercial
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Mar 7, 1866
Buried Cities at the Bottom of the Swiss Lakes
A late Paris paper contains the following sketch: the peasants to do well on the shores of the lake of Switzerland had often stated that, at a short distance from the land, rows of stakes might be seen through the water, emerging from the mud of the bed. No interest was, however, attached to the phenomenon till about eight years since. At the end of 1856, the waters of the lake of Zürich sank considerably, and the thrifty proprietors of land on the bank proceeded at once to add to their estates the portion of lake bed left here, in constructing permanent dykes against the return of the water. Whilst these works were being carried on, a row, or rather a system of stakes was discovered at some little depth below the surface. Excavations were begun at this spot, and the result was to disinter a great variety of objects, which proved that a large number of human beings had once had their dwellings supported over the water by the stakes. Curiosity having been once aroused, researches were prosecuted not only at Obemellon, where the first discovery was made, but all over Switzerland. It was gradually established that the mud near the shore of almost every Swiss lake supplied similar evidence. At some primeval. a population of considerable density had lived in huts constructed on stakes which rested on wooden supports driven into the bed, just as the Malays in Borneo and the Siamese at Bangkok may be seen living to this day. A wonderful number of articles pertaining to the daily life of the forgotten races have been brought to light. In some places the materials of the dwellings have been preserved in the mud; the floor of hardened earth and the twisted branches and the bark which swarmed the walls. Arms have been discovered in great quantities, tools from saws in flint to needles in bone, ornaments, children’s toys, and the remains of stored-up fruits of various kinds – nay, even a cellar or receptacle full of corn, and a loaf of bread composed of bruised grain, and preserved by carbonization. By the side of these relics are found the bones of animals which they slew in the chase, many belonging to species extinct before the rise of history, or barely mentioned in it. The urus, the bison, the elk and the beaver furnished them with food and with the materials for some of their most ingeniously constructed utensils. So plentiful and perfect are the remains found in the lakes that much more has been learned concerning the daily life and manners of men who existence was not suspected ten years ago, than is known of races which have left a famous name and history or tradition.
St Cloud Democrat, Minneapolis April 12 1866
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn, New York Jul 6 1866
A St. Paul paper publishes some facts which indicate that the cattle disease is raging among the buffalo on the Northwestern prairies, numbers of these animals having been found dead, with no marks to account for the cause of death. Many cattle have also been attacked, and died at Pembina, with what is supposed to be disease identical with that now spreading through Europe.
The Montana Post
Virgina City, Montana Jul 21, 1866
BANNACK, July 17th, 1866.
Sunday last was a “lively day,“ according to the phraseology of the country. There was one display of the “manly art,” and some bloody faces, and a one horse race. A horse was won and lost. There was another on Monday- twenty-five dollars was bet, besides some smaller bets in both races.
The first Coach of Tom Caldwell’s line from Virginia to Bannack, also arrived with the mail. He has taken a sub-contract from the “Overland,” to carry the Bannack mail – at what figures we do not know, but we learn that he has taken the “job” far too low to meet expenses, for it is seldom that any one can get a good contract from that “ big concern.” It is like Moses’ snake; will swallow all little lines and “oppositions” up.
A few days ago Messrs. Wash Stapleton and Joe Brown, killed two bisons on Horse Prairie, one of which was very large and fat. There were two bears within gun-shot at the same time, but said that they preferred the larger game, may-be they thought it safer to let Mr. Grizzly alone. It was but a short time previous, Daniel Boone, of Horse Prairie Mines, shot one of these latter animals, wounding him; Mr. B. following him into the willows, and was suddenly attacked and thrown into the water and could not defend himself, his revolver having got wet and wouldn’t “go off.” He was severely injured, but it is thought that he is nearly out of danger. The wounded animal left him after having taken his satisfaction. It seems a wonder that “Daniel” escaped with his life. Long may he live to honor the bictitious name which the boys long ago gave him.
(letter continues about the mine rich country)
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati, Ohio Aug 23, 1866
BUFFALO ON THE PLAINS.
A letter from a member of Capt. Fisk’s expedition, dated near Fort Berthold, says:
The journey thus far has been pleasant throughout, with no danger threatening the safety, or accident causing the delay of the train since leaving Fort Abercrombie. Water, we have had plenty; grass in abundance; fuel (wood or “chips”), enough to spare. Uninterrupted good health has blessed one and all. The stock, (ox, mule and horse,) daily feeding on nutritious grasses, have grown fat and sleek, and are better to- day for service than when, over three weeks since, the Minnesota – Montana expedition took its departure from the frontier. We have fared sumptuously on game. Between the James River and that Plateau du Coteau du Missouri, our party slaughtered eighty-seven buffaloes (bulls, cows and calves), more than a score of antelope, and a number of each of elk and black tailed deer. On July 4 are mounted riflemen got up a run of a large herd of buffalo, driving them in a body to within fifty yards of the train, producing the greatest consternation among the women folks, and for a moment threatening to overthrow of the wagons, and a general stampede of the stock. At this critical juncture hundred footmen, ranged along the flank of the train, empty their rifles into the bison, killing thirteen out right, when Dean many others and causing the herd to wheel about, change direction by the right and left, and with a rush charge headlong through the ranks of the horsemen.
The expedition moves forward again tomorrow morning. Captain Fisk expects to reach Fort Union, about one hundred and eighty miles distant from this point, about 1st of August.
The Daily Milwaukee Sep 11,1866
Colonel Dodge said in 1867, “Every buffalo dead is an Indian gone.”
The Junction City Weekly Union
Junction City, Kansas Mar 9, 1867
It was ascertained last evening that the bill regulating freight and passage on Railroads, after it had been signed by the Governor and filed with the Secretary of State, and copied for the printer, was recalled by the Senate and its further consideration indefinitely postponed. The enrolled bill is supposed to be destroyed. A certified copy is in the hands of the Secretary of State, and the House by resolution requested him to publish it, and he will do so. It will make a nice lawsuit to test the matter as to whether it is a law or not.
The bill to make Railroads liable for injury to stock and repairing them to fence in their track within a certain number of years failed to become a law by its not receiving the signature of the Governor. By its own terms the company would have been bound to have constructed fences out on the Buffalo range, which would have been manifestly injust. While it is the duty of the Legislature to protect the people, it is also their duty to do no act of injustice to our Railroads. We wish capital to build our roads and must so legislate as to attracted here and not drive it away. – Topeka Record
……Officers in the Seventh Cavalry and other regiments were also fond of holding contests to determine which individual or team could kill the most buffalo in a specified time or under prearranged conditions. Katherine Gibson, wife of Captain Francis M. Gibson of the Seventh, remembered a ten-day shooting contest in which several officers and “a squad of enlisted men” from Fort Totten, in Dakota Territory,participated. Seventh Cavalry officers arranged another competitive hunt in May 1867 near Fort Hays in which two teams, each composed of eight officers, competed. The rules agreed upon were that on different days each team would leave camp at sunrise and return at sunset with its haul of tongues, the proof of the number of buffalo downed. The winning team brought in twelve tongues; the losers, who had to dine
the victors, collected eleven.20 In that instance the participants’ inexperience at buffalo hunting kept the kill quite low.
Katherine Gibson Fougera, With Custer’s Cavalry (1940; reprint, Lincoln, 1986),
144-45; Wayne Gard, The Great Buffalo Hunt (Lincoln, 1959), 64; Utley, ed., Life in Custer’s Cavalry,
Sterling, Illinois Oct 12, 1867
The editorial excursionists have been heard from. They wax belligerent as they near the haunts of the lordly bison and the festive red man. Telegram from Clinton: “we learned buffalo are effect along the Pacific road, being driven south by the Indians, and hope to get a few shots at them, if not at the red skins.” And later, from Omaha: “the moon is shining brightly on the Great Plains, over which we shall tomorrow be flying in pursuit of buffalo and the Rocky Mountains.” “Hunting the buffalo” – we quote the pleasant remark of an amateur sportsmen – “hunting the buffalo,” said he, “is an agreeable, a most delightful pastime -except when the buffalo hunts you.” The buffalo scoring over the great plains in pursuit of the excursionists, would be a scene best appreciated from the loftless crotch of a cottonwood.
Harrisburg Telegraph, Pennsylvania Nov 7 1867
The Evening Telegraph
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Nov 22, 1867
THE FIRST LIGHTNING TRAIN TO CHEYENNE.
A Private Buffalo Hunting Party.
From the Cheyenne (Dakotah Territory) Daily Argus, Nov. 17. Just started.
A private party of ladies and gentlemen arrived yesterday from New York, by special train. A two thousand mile buffalo hunting excursion. The party consist of Thomas C Durant, Vice –President U.P.R.R. ; George Francis Train, Mrs. Train, Miss Susie Train and maid, Pacific Railroad Commissioner White and Mrs. White, Mrs. George W. Frost, Miss Carrie Frost, Miss Abbey T. Shaw, and Captain I. W. Davis. They stopped at Kearney for a buffalo hunt, and accompanied by Major and Mrs. Dallas, Dr. and Mrs. Bradley, of the Fort, and under escort of Captain North and his Pawnee Indians, they had some rare sport on Saturday. The first buffalo hunt with ladies. Train immortalize it in an epigram.
George Francis Trains epigrammatic sketch of the buffalo hunting party of New York gentlemen and ladies, with a special car on a special train to the Rocky Mountains:-
Captain North with his Pawnee scouts
First gave the signal, then the Indian shouts
“Off saddles, bridle, for a bareback fight.”
Wild Buffalo in Indians, what a sight!
Durant, Davis, North, and Train,
Like wild fire sweep across the plain,
Down goes a pony in a gopher hole,
And on the Prairie see the Pawnee roll.
While neck to neck with giants of their race,
For many a mile we led the exciting chase,
Mid shots and shrieks and Indian cries,
The ladies shout, “THE BISON DIES.”
GEORGE FRANCIS TRAIN
Fort Kearney, Nov. 9, 1867.
Six buffalo hunting parties had individualized the season. The Frost-Collins party killed seventeen. The Colonel Butter, English officer party, shot forty. The English House of Commons, Lord Morley Cooper party, killed six. The George P. Smith, one hundred and fifty editor party, killed twenty-three.the Ossian E. Dodge party, shot four. And now the number four, New York Opera Box, Madison Avenue, Durant-Train party, Saturday, killed nine. This will and the hunting of the season, as the buffalo are already out of range. The party road fifty miles, and struck a herd of thousands. Never before had ladies and schoolgirls been surrounded by Pawnee Indians and wild buffalo. Sue Train astonished the Indians by her reckless riding. Mr. Train’s epigram on his little daughter’s bold dash among the buffalo is a decided hit. Perhaps the first time the Pawnees ever acted as escort to a Sioux Train. Here it is:-
TRAIN, THE BUFFALOES STEEPLECHASER
A little schoolgirl, twelve years old,
Went hunting buffalo with Pawnee bold,
With hair and bridle flying loose,
The Indians cheer the white papoose,
So strange eight a site who will ever see again?
A Pawnee escort to a wild Sue Train.
Colonel George P. Smith, the editorial chief of the great excursion, join the party at Julesburg. The party breakfasted with General Casement, on board the famous track-laying hotel, and after riding the Pyramids, Pagodas, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Pompey’s Pillar of our ancient city, started off for Train’s New Saratoga of the Rocky Mountains, and to Fort Saunders in the Laramie hunting-fields. Train has come up to build his grand hotel for Cozzens, and the party, we understand, will visit Denver. The Vice-President is on the business of the Company, arranging to push on the road over the mountains. Train says the country may thank him for stopping the Indian war, and in his usual caustic style has nailed the fact on the counter. Here is his epigrammatic settlement of the Indian question:-
The engine whistle of Pacific trains
Will drive the bison and the red man from the plains,
My Indian speech with old Ben Wade,
Checked a frontier war. The treaty made
Saves hundred millions of the Jay Cooke flood,
The nation’s honor and the people’s blood.
George Francis may well be called the Lightening Train. Five weeks ago he was with the Wall street gold brokers, four weeks ago piloting the great Editorial Excursion, three weeks ago he was in Cheyenne selecting the spot for his grand hotel and his Rocky Mountain watering grounds, two weeks ago he was revolutionizing Kansas, defeating rebel disfranchisement and negro suffrage, and championing women suffrage and greenbacks, where he was nominated by ten mass meetings for the White House: Saturday he was smashing into the buffalo, and was here yesterday, hail fellow with the boys of Cheyenne. All the Argus has to say to the guest is, welcome to Cheyenne. Welcome Durant. Welcome the Commissioners. Welcome “The Irrepressible,” and three cheers for the ladies, who are the first to visit the Rocky Mountains by rail.
The Trails Drivers of Texas
KILLING AND CAPTURING BUFFALO IN KANSAS
In the summer of 1868 I was chosen to go with Joe G. McCoy and a party to Fossil Creek Siding on the Kansas Pacific Railway for the purpose of roping buffalo bulls to be sent East as an advertisement. It had been found that by advertising a large semi-monthly public sale of stock cattle to take place at the shipping yards at Abilene, Kansas, a ready market had been found for the stock cattle. Buyers were also needed for grown cattle. The plan adopted to call attention to the fact was to send East a carload of wild buffaloes, covering the side of the car with advertisements of the cattle. But how to get the buffaloes was the next point to be considered.
The slats of an ordinary stock car were greatly strengthened by bolting thick planks parallel with the floor and about three feet above it to the side of the car. One-half dozen horses, well trained to the lasso, were placed in one car and in the other were six men with supplies. Both cars departed for the buffalo region. In the party chosen were four Texas cowboys, Jake Carroll, Tom Johnson, Billy Campbell and myself, also two California Spaniards, all experts with the rope.
On the afternoon of our arrival on the buffalo range we started out to capture our first buffalo. After riding for a short while, we saw a moving object in the distance which we supposed was the desired game. We followed and saw that it was a man after an animal. We thought it was an Indian after a buffalo.
All of us, with the exception of Tom Johnson, who rode away to the right, started in pursuit of the desired game. We soon discovered what we supposed was an Indian and a buffalo was a white man driving a milch cow to the section house. He ran to the section house and told them that the Indians had chased him and were coming straight to the house. He said that one long-legged Indian riding a white horse tried to spear him. The supposed Indian on the white horse was none other than Tom Johnson, who was about four hundred yards away from the man. When we reached the section house, the men had barricaded themselves in the dugout awaiting the arrival of the Indians.. They supposed we were Indians until we were close enough for them to tell we were white men. They came out and told us what the frightened man had told them.
During our hunt we had to guard our horses at night from the savages. We saw three small parties of Indians, and one bunch gave some of us a little chase over the prairie.
The next morning after our arrival we spied seven buffalo bulls on the north side of the Saline River and preparations were made to capture them. Two of them refused to cross the river, and when I attempted to force one to cross he began to fight and I shot him with my Navy six-shooter. This was the first buffalo I ever killed. The others were started in the direction of the railway and when in several hundred yards of it two of them were captured. The two Spaniards roped one and Billy Campbell and I roped the other one. The buffalo charged first at one and then the other of us. He would drop his head, stiffen his neck, and await for us to come near him, then chase one of his captors until there was no hope of catching him, then turn and go after the other.
When he was near the track a third rope was placed around his hind legs and in a moment he was laying stretched out on the ground. Our well-trained horses watched his movements and kept the ropes tight. After he ceased to struggle his legs were tied together with short pieces of rope, then the lariats were taken off and the buffalo was lifted into the car by means of a block and tackle. One end was fastened to the buffalo’s head and the other to the top of the car on the opposite side. After his head was securely bound to a part of the car frame his feet were untied. Sometimes the buffalo would sulk for hours after being loaded and show no desire to fight.
In about a week we captured twenty-four buffalo bulls. Some of them died from heat and anger caused by capture, others became sullen and laid down before they were gotten near the cars, and only twelve were successfully loaded and started on the road to Chicago.
It was very interesting to see how well trained were the horses. They seemed to know what movements to make to counteract those of the captured animal. It was almost impossible to entangle them in the rope, for they knew by experience the consequences of being entangled.
After hanging upon each side of the cars an advertisement of the cattle near “Abilene, they were sent to Chicago via St. Louis, causing much newspaper comment. Upon reaching Chicago the buffalo were sent to the Fair Grounds, where the two Spaniards, Billie Campbell and I roped them again to show the people how it was done. This advertisement feat was followed by an excursion of Illinois cattlemen to the West. The ‘people were taken to the prairie near Abilene and shown the many fine herds of cattle. Several people invested in these cattle, and in a short time the market at Abilene assumed its usual life and activity. The year of 1868 closed with Abilene’s success as a cattle market of note. Soon Texas cattle became in great demand for packing purposes.
Later in the fall of the same year, 1868, I went on a hunt with a party about seventy-five miles south of Abilene to the valley between the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers, where we saw countless numbers of buffalo. As far as we could see the level prairies were black with buffaloes. The grass was eaten off as smooth as a floor behind these thousands of animals. We killed all we wanted in a very short time.
Ad from the Daily Ohio Statesman Sept 14 1868 buffalo in circus
The Evening Telegraph, Pa. Oct 22 1868
The Union Pacific Railway
The General Ticket Agents’
Kansas Excursion – Buffalo Hunt – Union Pacific Railway – General Sheridan
From Our Own correspondent.
Fort Hays, Kansas, October 13, 1868.
The General Ticket Agents’ “Kansas Excursion” over the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, reached this place yesterday morning, and were kindly received and welcomed by Major-General P.H. Sheridan and staff. After some little time spent in social converse, the party started further West to see “Mr. Lo,” and other poor Indians, and enjoy, if possible, a hunt after that celebrated American animal so familiarly but erroneously called buffalo.
The party left Sedalia, Missouri, 189 miles west of St. Louis, on the morning of the fifth after partaking of an elegant breakfast at the Ives house, and reached Kansas City at noon. In that beautiful city of upwards of ten thousand inhabitants is a fine courthouse, seven churches, three banks, three newspaper offices, five hotels, two iron foundries, and several wagon and other factories, decides to railroad machine shops. That place is the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, and the western terminus of the Pacific Railway of Missouri; and as soon as the magnificent bridge across the Missouri River is completed, it will also be the Western terminus of the Kansas branch of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. George Noble, Esq. and B. Marshall Esq., the Assistant Superintendents of the Union Pacific Railway, eastern division, joined the excursionists, and at one o’clock the train started west.
The country through which the General Ticket Agents and their friends passed from St. Louis to Kansas City, over the Pacific railroad of Missouri, is a succession of valley, hill and river scenes, buried and beautiful. The road, fifty-four miles west of St. Louis, crosses a small stream which empties into the Missouri River at that point, and runs along the south bank of the Missouri to Jefferson City, the capital of the state of Missouri. The situation of Jefferson City is elevated and picturesque, commanding a fine view of the River and the country for many miles, as well as the cedar-crowned cliffs on the opposite shore. It contains a population of six thousand, and in addition to the State House, Governor’s. mansion, penitentiary, State armory, six churches, for hotels, and one newspaper, there are some small factories. The Gaseonade river is crossed by the Pacific Railroad of Missouri on a high bridge memorable for the terrible disaster which occurred in August 1854, on the opening of the road from St. Louis to Jefferson City. On that occasion a portion of the bridge broke down, and forty-five lives were lost and more than that number of persons badly injured. Mr. W. O. Lewis, the general ticket agent of the road, and Mr. Henry Hale, assistant superintendent made themselves special favorites through their kindness and attention to their guest.
After passing the Kansas river, the Union Pacific Railway, E. D., runs almost directly west. The passenger stations are:-State Line, Armstrong, Muncy, Secondine, Edwardsville, Tiblow, Lenape, Stranger, Fall Leaf, Lawrence and Leavenworth Junction, Lawrence, Buck Creek, Williamsville, Perryville, Medina, Newman, Grantville, Topeka, Silver Lake, Cross Creek, St. Mary’s, Wamego, St. George, Manbatten, Odgen, Fort Riley, Junction City, Chapman’s Creeks, Detroit, Abilene, Sand Spring, Solomon, and Salina.
At Salina the excursionists rested for the night, at a hotel By Mrs. Bickerdyke, a lady who did a vast deal of good during the late war, and really mean that distressed, the sick and wounded of both armies. It is stated or this much respected lady that she had free access to both armies in her mission of love and mercy, and enjoyed general passes from Pres. Lincoln and Jefferson Davis to go when and where she pleased. Early yesterday morning Mrs. Bickerdyke furnished her guests with the splendid breakfast, after which the iron horse bounded westward again with its load of precious freight. Before reaching Rock Springs station, two miles beyond Barvaria, one of the most gorgeous views of the rising sun ever witness was enjoyed by each one of the excursionists. It was of surpassing beauty, and to all the strangers the sun appeared much larger than on any previous rising. Indeed, some were appalled at the magnitude and brilliancy of the bright and beauteous orb of day as it illuminated the horizon and then slowly and majestically arose to full view. Passing Rock Spring, the stations of Fort Harkner, Ellsworth, Cow Creek, Wilson’s Creek, Bunker Hill, Fossil, Walkers, and Fort Hayes were successfully reached, when the “Kansas Excursion” party were 288 miles from Kansas City; 571 miles from St. Louis, and 1577 miles from Philadelphia. Here, as before remarked, General Sheridan and staff welcomed them, and after a formal introduction, through Col. C.N.. Pratt, the general manager of the excursion, to each of the ladies and gentlemen, a further Western announcement greeted the ears of each one. ‘Where are you going?” Asked the resident of Fort Hays. “To hunt buffaloes and Indians, “was the prompt response of a dozen. At this juncture, general Sheridan remarked that there would be no disappointment in seen buffaloes, that he greatly doubted the site of the Indians. His prediction was verified. Within five miles of the fort, the buffaloes or bison made their appearance, probably twenty miles distant, on the north side of the track. Many doubted what they actually saw, for the reason that the bovine animals were so far away, and to the eye they seem no larger than bees. Soon, however, more were observed, and much nearer the train, and consequently, of greater proportions. Then the daring hunters began to grow restive, and as every revolution of the car wheels carried the party forward the buffaloes grew more numerous and the excitement increased with every instant of time. The attention of one was scarcely called to this heard before another was called to look in a different direction, and finally they began to appear on the south side of the track and much closer to the train than those north. Before gaining a point ten miles west of Fort Hays a herd of thirty-nine huge buffaloes, or bison, were observed on the south, not more than from two to three hundred yards distant. Instantly forty-two carbines, rifles, and guns were leveled at them, and bang, bang, they went as rapidly as the “shootist” could load and discharge their pieces. The herd started on a full run, tandem, was several of their calves rollicking around and apparently pleased with the sport. For nearly four miles they ran parallel with the cars, without the slightest apparent deviation in space between them and the train, and finally they gained on the locomotive and cross the track ahead of the train, compelling the engineer to check up. As soon as all this herd had crossed over, the cars stopped and out on the prairie each of the excursionists ran after some of the game which they felt sure had or would be secured. In a few minutes after, one of the herd, an immense female bison, fell on her knees, when all closed round her and one gallants sport out with a huge dirk and cut her throat. This daring act created a shout. Victory had perched upon the banner of the travelers, and what had been imagined an hour previously was at that important hour a stern reality- a bison had fallen. The Army had conquered. A noble specimen of Bos Americanus was lying at the feet of those whose faith had been made strong by the dying animal before them. Immediately some two dozen stalwart men out with pocketknives and deliberately attacked the head. It was an amusing spectacle, but has no provisions had been made for butchering, necessity mothered the intervention and but little time elapsed before both hindquarters, the head, eyes, tongue, tail, hoof, and many parts of the hide were safely deposited in the baggage car. The hunt and chase were a success. While some were engaged in the manner referred to, others bounded forth after the retreating animals, and within three hours twelve immense buffaloes are bison were killed and more than that number badly wounded. Those having arms, in their zeal for greater success, scattered over a space of from 10 to 15 miles, and within the range of vision from hundreds of thousands if not a million of buffaloes were seen. This may be regarded as exaggeration, but none of the party who witness the magnitude of the buffaloes estimated their number any less. And to give you further evidence of the quality in view, it is also a fact that the train, in going some ten miles further west, between Ellis station and Ogallah, the cars had to stop still four different times to let the buffaloes pass. Never before, and the lives of either lady or gentlemen present, was such as seeing witnessed; never did they enjoy such rare and magnificent sport. The reader cannot imagine, in the remotest degree, what such a hunt for wild game on the vast American prairies really is. To know, these grounds must be visited, and the Buffalo or bison seen as they were observed and killed and wounded yesterday. At 6 o’clock the excursionists returned to Fort Hays, where a sumptuous banquet was in readiness. The good things were enjoyed to the fullest extent, and about 8:30, ”Home Again” and “Home, Sweet Home” were sung by the entire party with all the fervor and feeling of some of your celebrated Philadelphia seen societies, and the party departed Eastward, and more than delighted with the pleasures of the hunt and their extraordinary success.
The Buffalo or more properly the American bison, is but little known, notwithstanding no occasional exhibition of one or two in connection with some of the traveling menageries of the country. In this way but a faint idea can be formed of the animal, except as to color and size, and nothing about the caged bison or buffalo indicates its strength, power, durability, speed, or habits. To see and appreciate it the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, affords opportunities which cannot be excelled, if equaled, on this continent or in the world. It is along the route of this great national highway, west of Fort Hays, where they abound. To say there are large herds of them would be to convey a very inadequate conception of their existence. Millions upon millions of them browse upon the extensive and beautiful prairies of Western Kansas, and run wild over that vast domain and south to north from north to south. As far as the eye can reach over the undulating plain, they can be seen.
The American bison is generally larger than cows are oxen of this country, and heavier weighing from sixteen hundred to two thousand pounds. The color of the hair is a ‘dun” or brownish-black, except the long hair, which is tinged with a yellowish rust color. The head, shoulders, and neck are unusually covered with great shaggy masses of hair, while on the portions of the body and legs the hair is rather short and fine. Along the back it is coarser, and about half the length of the hair on the neck. The physiognomy is rather repulsive, and indicates ferocity if aroused or excited. The flesh of the bison is similar to coarse-grained beef, but more tender and juicy. When the hump is nicely cut in steaks and properly broiled, or when cooked in the Indian style, by sewing up the meat in the hide and baking in an earth oven underneath the surface of the ground, it is ranked among the most delicate of American dishes. The time is highly prized among epicures, and much preferred to that tongues of cattle. The decided preference is for this portion of the bison has often resulted in Hunter’s slaying them merely for the tongues of the animals, and leaving all other portions for the wolf and the vulture to feed on.
The Indians in Kansas are almost entirely dependent upon the bison for their food, clothing, dwellings and fuel. The hides with the hair, furnish the finest “buffalo robes,” while the dressed hides are also a considerable article of commerce, and quite profitable. It is rather astonishing that, with the present admirable facilities for reaching all the Eastern cities and trade centres, some enterprising son of America has not devise some mode of capturing the bison, and having them transported to market in the cars of the “Union” or “Empire” lines as fast freight, and does realize a magnificent profit out of the operation. There is no portion of the bison but what can be made marketable if in Philadelphia or New York. The cost of securing them and their freight would be comparatively trifling, when their value is considered. This trade cannot much longer be postponed. If the bison can be caught and killed, and for portions of the meat prepared and sold East, at the satisfactory profit, how much more remunerative to bring them East on the hoof, and dispose of them alive! The man or men who start this movement will inevitably reap a rich harvest.
Harrisburg Telegraph, Pennsylvania Dec 15 1868