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.
Chicago, Illinois Nov 4 1862
Larceny of Buffalo Bodes.—A valuable buffalo robe was stolen from a baggy in front of 8. W. Thatcher’s residence, 146 North LeSalle street, Sunday evening. Thefts and burglaries are increasing to an alarming extent.
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
Reading, Pennsylvania Nov 14 1863
THE BUFFALO IN KANSAS – To dwellers in those portions of the West where the buffalo disappeared more than a generation ago, the reports of immense herds still giving life to the plains seemed almost fabulous. — Several eastern artist of note are now on and expedition to the Rocky Mountains, and under the head of “Letters from Sundown” one of the parties is contributing to the New York Post. He thus rights of the main Buffalo herd of Kansas.
The site I saw no money could buy from my memory, I always thought that the buffalo stories which we here at the East, and the pictures which we see must be greatly exaggerated. In truth they are under drawn. For two miles on the table land before me, and stretching sideways twice as far, the earth was overwhelmed with one deluge of stampeding buffaloes. It is literally accurate to assert that one could not see the ground between them. I could think of nothing but a black sea, with humps for billows, and the thunder of a shaking prairie for the music of the surge.
Out of every gully, from each side of me, poured in exhaustless streams the laggards of the herd. – The Falstaff bulls, who carried years and abdomen; the yearlings, much like their contemporaries among our own cattle in look and size; the cows, now galloping, now coming with and ungainly trot, followed by their little new dropped calves — these rushed by scarcely sheering as they saw me, mad to reach the main herd. I raised my field glasses and far beyond the stampede saw the broad plateaus towards the White Rock Creek covered with quietly feeding bisons, as thick as on the prairie right before me. Flies on the head of a leaking molasses barrel, ants on the hill, ducks on a Florida lagoon, all familiar symbols of multitude, are hopelessly out before the task of representing that herd of buffaloes. I should like to have been accompanied by a man at home in Gunther, that I might have gained something expression for the number of millions between me and the horizon.
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.
The Baltimore Sun Maryland June 11 1864 Trained Buffalo
(same ad ran June 7, in Washington D.C,)
The Baltimore Sun Maryland June 21 1864 -found white buffalo cow & calf
St. Cloud Democrat- Minnesota- Aug 25 1864
The Daily Milwaukee News
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Apr. 3 1865
AND EXPLOIT ON THE PLAINS – FIGHT WITH A BUFFALO BULL
a commission is now in session and this city for the extermination of quartermasters in the Army touching their qualifications, etc. Among the officers summoned before this examining board is Capt. I. E. McCusick, a. C. Him. At Fort Wadsworth, Oakota Territory, a resident of Stillwater, Minn. Fort Wadsworth is on the Cateau river near latitude 46, and is a beautiful place in the summer season. It is a best of beautiful lakes, and its site was chosen by Capt. McCusick, who is familiar with that region of country having hunted Indians and Buffalos over hundreds of miles of it.
Some three or four months ago, Capt. McCusick went out with a scouting party to look for Indians, but, failing to discover any signs of the red skins he turned his attention to a herd of about two hundred Buffalos that were grazing, rolling, pawing, and bellowing on the prairie in fair view. Mounted on his favorite charger and armed with a Smith’s carbine, he made a dash at the herd, and soon succeeded in overhauling a lazy old bull weighing about 2000 pounds, who was to dignified to run as fast as the vulgar herd of cows, yearlings, and younger bulls of the drove. Leveling his carbine, he was preparing to launch a bullet in the shoulder blade of the monarch of the plains, when his horse stepped into a gopher hole, throwing the writer almost under the neck of the Buffalo. Luckily the captain fell on the fleshy part of his back, and sustained no injury. As the bull passed over him, he caught the animal by the fore hoof, and springing to his feet, through his knife and threw himself on the bull’s neck, holding onto the long shaggy hair which adorns the head and shoulders of the masculine members of the bison family. His situation was not one of the most agreeable; for the bull, not liking the familiarity of his acquaintance, endeavor to impale him upon one of his horns.
The captain avoided both horns of the dilemma, and being a man of immense physical power held fast and did not relinquish his grab. For the space of ten minutes he held fast, the bull meanwhile turning around to tickle the ribs of his tormentor. After waltzing with his hirsute partner ______ _____ animal showed signs of fatigue and thirst on about 2 yards of his tongue, the captain sees the bull by the nose with one hand, and catching one of his horns with the other gave a sudden twist and flipped the buffalo over his side. By this time, some of the men, seeing the predicament their leader was in, came _____offered assistance but the captain told them to keep back as he thought he____ _____ his own. The bull struggled _____ , but the giant Minnesotan in held ________ down, and in a short time sent his knife into the monster’s jugular, and the bull gave up the ghost. The _________ lasted about twenty minutes, and was the most scientific set to that has taken place in Dakota for many a day. The victor cut off the bull’s head, had it dried, and sent it to Stillwater, as a trophy.
The fame of this exploit reached the ears of the Indians, who were told that there was a chief among the pale faces, who could ______ a buffalo bull in a fair fist fight. On learning these facts, Red Feather, a famous chief in Dakota, _____ __ ___ to Fort Wadsworth and ___ ____his whole band __ Capt. McCusick. Lie said he_____believe the story of the white man knocking a bull down with his fist, but when they saw the brawny Capt., he said it might be so.
St. Louis Democrat.
By Captain E. A. (“Jack”) Hart
( written in May 1909)
In-August, 1865, I joined an outfit for a trip up the Smoky Hill River as guide from Fort Harker to Salt Lake. I had learned this trail thoroughly while rustling stock for the Butterfield Overland Stage Company, and, though only sixteen years old, was serving the United States Government in the capacity of guide.
“When only a short distance west of Fort Harker, we saw signs of Indians, and shortly were in trouble enough with them, as they were attacking stage stations, killing the men, and running off the stock. One small Government outfit of nine six-mule teams and three horses, with Frank Livingstone for wagon master, was entirely cleaned out of stock; but none of the men was killed. We picked up the wagons and hitched them as trailers to ours, thus transporting men, wagons, and supplies along with us. At Fossil Creek we found that all there had been murdered and mutilated in a horrible manner, and the stable and dugout burned.
After burying the dead we proceeded without further incident to Fort Fletcher, where we found troops who reported Indians “plenty.” These volunteer troops doing duty on the plains were to be retired and mustered out of service, their places to be taken by the regiment of “Galvanized Yanks” we had with us. After leaving a guard there, we pulled out again, and nothing unusual occurred before reaching Louisa Springs. Here a poor fellow came into camp bare¬ footed, and said he was the only survivor of a small party of carpenters who were building stations for the stage company. He proceeded with us, and next day we found the bodies of the entire party fearfully mutilated and their wagons burned. We buried them as best we could; adding several to the immense number of nameless graves that make portions of the old Santa Fe Trail seems like a continuous cemetery.
Dancing Round Their Victim
That night I left camp alone and rode over to the next station to see how things were. When I came near I could see a fire; but from appearances I thought something was wrong, so I dismounted and cautiously approached. The terrible sight that met my gaze I hope never to witness again, even in my dreams. The Indians had taken possession, and a dance was in progress round the fire As nearly as I could judge, about fifty Indians were taking part in the horrible ceremonies of torturing a white man.
Now and then would come a shot from a buffalo wallow across the ravine, where all left of those who had that day been on the east bound stagecoach were hiding and defending themselves by shooting any Indian that came within range of their rifles.
It was impossible to reach or aid them in anyway; so I started on my return to headquarters with the dreadful news.
I had gone but a short distance when I rode down in a swale, and as it brought the horizon above me I could see shadowy figures coming over the hill. These were Indians, beyond a doubt; so I rode carefully down toward the river, where they could not easily discover me. I felt sure they were going to spy about our camp, and. being between the two, I thought best to find a place where I could hide and wait till my companions came along the next morning. I had not long to wait; for it would soon be daylight and time for them to break camp.
With the first dawn I rode and told what I had seen.
What Happened at the Station
As we neared the station, everything was quiet. The men from the buffalo wallow came out. and very glad they were to see us. A colored man, who was blacksmith for the stage company, was the only one wounded.
But what a scene confronted us at the station! One man, called French Joe, lay stripped of all his clothes, and his body was filled with arrows. Upon the hill lay a man named Ambrose the one I had seen tortured. We buried his remains.
This is the story the survivors told of the terrible experiences they had been through. The afternoon of the day before, while changing horses for the stage, they were surprised by the Indians, who charged down on them and stampeded their stock. At this time no shots were fired; but all got quickly into the dugout in the bank of the ravine, where they barred the door and made ready for a fight. After awhile a halfbreed Indian who was the son of Colonel Bent (for whom Bents Fort was named) and had been educated at the Carlisle school, rode by. After making signs of friendship, he opened a conversation with them and asked if the treaty between the Indians and white men on the Arkansas had been signed. He was told that it had, which was the truth.
He then said. “If this is the case, the Indians have done wrong, and will drive the stock back.” As an assurance of his good faith, he had all the stock driven back, and asked to shake hands with the men.
This seemed straightforward, and all but one came and shook hands with him This man, Ambrose, was busy packing up grub to take with them to the next station; for they had decided to go together.
The animals were harnessed and everything about ready to depart, when the Indians reopened the fight, thus surprising them the second time.
French Joe was shot down: but Brigham, Baker, the colored man, and one other whose name I have forgotten fought their way to the buffalo wallow, being cut off from the dugout, and there made the fight for their lives. Ambrose, in the meantime, barricaded the door and fought desperately, killing, as they supposed, several of the Indians, and it was for that, probably, that he was tortured.
Part of the Indians circled about the buffalo wallow, while the rest were busy smoking out Ambrose. The roof of a dugout is covered first with poles, then with hay, and lastly with sod. Once ignited, it smolders, producing a great deal of smoke, and is very difficult to extinguish. Ambrose concluded it better to die trying to get to his friends than to be burned to death in the dugout. So he made a bold rush for them; but he was overpowered and tortured, as I have said.
This halfbreed, Charley Bent, who had received a good education at Carlisle, on his return to the plains immediately cast aside his civilized garments and resumed the war paint and breech clout He became leader of the band of Cheyennes’ known as the “Dog Soldiers,” who were considered the most treacherous of their tribe.
The Grinnells Besieged
Our outfit concluded to camp there for the night. And it was fortunate we did for the next morning there arrived in camp three men and one woman who had occupied the next station, eighteen miles west. They too had been.surprised, and though they were able to get into their dugout and stand the Indians off till dark, their house and stable were destroyed. So strongly were they intrenched that the Indians concluded it would cost too many lives to rout them.
Here is their story: Mr. and Mrs. Grinnell. Happy Joe Connors, and a man whose name I think was George Earnest, were getting ready to move into their new house, which the carpenters had just finished. Happy Joe said to Mrs. Grinnell. “Let’s have a house warming to-night.” and added in a joking manner, ” I will go and see if I can get the smoky girls to come,” meaning the squaws. At this a laugh went round, and nothing more was thought of it. Shortly afterward they saw a band of Indians coming over the prairie. This meant trouble; but
I am personally acquainted with the Bent family and Charles Bent, son of Colonel William Bent, also Captain Hart, and believe what he has said to be the truth in regard to Charles Bent. Robert L. Carr, St. Louis
Joe must have his joke and said. “‘There come the smoky boys now Guess we’ll have the house warming, all right.’
While speaking, they saw the Indians run off their stock, which were grazing nearby, so the four people made haste to get inside the dugout This structure was a good fort; for it was only half underground, with heavy logs above It stood on high ground, across the spring branch from the new buildings. There was a deep ditch leading from it to the spring, through which a man could pass to get water without exposing himself By knocking out the chinking between the logs. good portholes could be made from which to shoot in every direction. This the Indians undoubtedly perceived and contented themselves with running off the stock.
There the little party waited, wondering what had become of the carpenters who had so recently left. The Indians succeeded in setting fire to the haystacks and buildings, completely destroying them, and then to all appearance departed. When the night came those in the little fort concluded to try to escape They knew that a strong party of soldiers were on their way west, and thought they could not be far distant; so they took what food they could carry, and. seeing no further signs of their enemies, crawled down the ditch to the creek and stole cautiously away in the darkness They reached us in safety after walking about eighteen miles. As Mrs. Grinnell was the only woman in the outfit, or indeed, in that part of the country, we did our best to make her comfortable
Next morning we broke camp. We had gone about four miles west, when we found the poor carpenters murdered, mutilated, and scalped.
That night we camped at the burned station the fugitives had so recently left. Their little fort had not been disturbed, so Mr. and Mrs. Grinnell succeeded in getting what property they had left behind.
More Deserted Stations
A day or two passed without anything of importance. We found the stations all deserted and destroyed; but no dead bodies. We were now at Monument Station, where the country is quite open save for the peculiar feature that gives the name – two high columns of rock and earth standing like two towers, out alone on the prairie, and back from the river about a quarter of a mile. To the east and west are high ridges: north and south it is open and rolling
We turned out our stock and beef cattle to graze, with a strong guard to protect them, and camped close by the river for a much needed rest All were enjoying it when we saw approaching from the east some sort of outfit which proved to be the westbound stage accompanied by the stage superintendent, who was driving in a buggy drawn by two mules
As they came rolling down the hill to the level ground, they were attacked by a band of Indians who had been in hiding, waiting, no doubt, to get at us. We could hear the shots and see the party on a dead run toward us. We hastily mounted and rode to their rescue, and after a running fight brought them in Little harm was done, though one or two were wounded and a few arrows were sticking in their animals
That evening it was decided to hold our present position for another day. There was supposed to be at the next station. Smokv Hill Springs a detachment of the 13th Missouri volunteers. This station was eleven miles west and not in a very desirable part of the country, and for reasons of safety it was thought best to get word to them to hold the eastbound coach till we got there. As I knew the exact location of this station. I was asked to try and reach them
The Stage Attacked
Late at night I left camp on a good horse, and crossed the river, as I thought the Indians would be watching the trail I had no trouble, and reached there before the eastbound coach arrived, and related to the boys what had happened east of them.
Early the next morning the coach came, and when told that they were not to proceed for awhile, they were at first indignant, but better judgment prevailed, and they made themselves as comfortable as circumstances would permit.
Later during the day we were startled by hearing shots, and on riding up the hill saw the westbound stage and the buggy coming at a dead run and their escort fighting a lot of Indians as they came on. When we joined them the savages seemed surprised, not knowing, probably, that we were there, as the station was behind a hill. All got in safely, and after consultation it was decided that all should return to Monument together.
Next morning we separated, sending a strong guard with the eastbound coach Mr. and Mrs. Grinnell and other employees of the company who wished, went along with this party.
We started westward again, and met another detachment of volunteers just beyond Smoky Hill Springs. They had run against Indians and had with them in an ambulance a man who had been scalped and left for dead. We finally reached Pond Creek, where afterward Fort Wallace was established.
Getting Through the Winter
The Indians soon disappeared from that part of the country for the winter (where they had succeeded in clearing out almost the entire stage line), thus giving us a rest. But cold weather was coming on, and we were in need of food and clothing, so when Bill Comstock joined us we made a trip to Fort Lyon for supplies, but were not very successful in obtaining them. The country we passed through was almost destitute of water, but after a hard trip we finally reached Sand Creek, only to find it dry to all appearances: but on digging we found a scant supply. The poor mules, which were given too much of it, swelled up and died, and many of the men were made sick. It was too strong of alkali. We camped at the historical “Chivington battle grounds,” and found many evidences of the hard fight there, a few years before [The Chivington massacre is a historical event of Indian warfare in the early ‘60s]
We made our way to Fort Lyon, got our supplies. and returned by a more westerly route to Fort Wallace., but as all the supplies they could spare were not enough to do us for the winter, it was decided to work back east again. In the meantime snow had fallen to the depth of about eighteen inches, and you can imagine us, trying to keep up the strength of man and beast, with scarcely anything to eat for many weary miles across a barren country in the dead of winter. To add to our distress, many of the men had frozen hands and feet. At old Fort Fletcher we found rations and forage scarce. We received daily one pint of common corn, each, for man and beast. This and a small chunk of bacon was all we had to live on for the next seventy-six miles to Fort Ellsworth. Here we got another scant ration, and left many of our men in the hospital at the new Fort Marker.
Fights Over Buffalo Meat
Our nest point was Salina. Kansas: but the day before reaching there I espied an old buffalo bull, which had probably been too poor to go south with the herd. After a long chase on a poor horse. I succeeded in killing him I cut out the humps and loins, and on my way back to camp had three fights with my hungry companions over the meat. It seemed as though the sight of fresh meat made them so eager for it that they could not resist the temptation to take it from me. They did not get it, however: but went on to where the old buffalo lay and brought him piecemeal into camp. My bunkmate and myself sat up late that night and broiled and ate our fill. Then, wrapping what was left in a piece of canvas; we put it in the snow under our heads and turned in for the night. We must have slept soundly: for in the morning, to our consternation, our meat was gone. Imagine our disappointment when we had to go back to the corn for our breakfast. I saved the hide from the hock joints and made moccasins for my frosted feet.
Going toward Fort Riley, we got enough to eat, and there drew full rations to last us to Fort Leavenworth. Kansas, where we were all paid off. I procured warm clothes and returned mounted to Fort Marker, where I reported to Colonel Inman to begin again in the spring as guide for emigrant trains. But the winter of ’65 left an impression of hardship upon me which will never be forgotten. – Captain Hart
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 mammoth 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
The Evening Telegraph
Dec 22, 1866
A hunting party of distinguished foreigners arrived at Wyandotte, Kansas, on the 10th inst,. from the Plains. Among them were Prince Nicholas Ouroussoff of Russia, Count Montaigne of France, F. H. Evans of England, and R. Digby of Ireland. The officers of the frontier post were instructed to furnish everything within their means which the hunting party might need to promote their comfort and success. They represented their Buffalo hunts as having been a very pleasant and successful one, Prince Nicholas having killed 30 Buffalo himself, and the whole party about one hundred and fifty of our noble American bison
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,
The Indicator Warrenton NC Sep 4 1867 Circus Ad
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.
25 Oct 1867
I am in the buffalo range, l his snort, curly, springy, matted grass is buffalo grass. The horizon bound prairie is wholly pitted with indentations as if it had the small pox last Spring. Myriads of buffaloes rolled here while shedding their hair, and pawed the pooling dirt on their irritated skins. For 70 miles have I come through these ” buffalo wallows” and over buffalo trails the broad and deep cow paths of old Eastern farms. Muskets and rifles lie on the ground about me, convenient of reach by men who shovel and pick upon the line of the road. Six graves break the smoothness of the prairie beyond the Fork. Five of the dead who sleep in them were killed by Apache arrows. There is not a house, nor a hut, nor a tent for 68 miles behind me. North, west and south is the sea of grass that rolls to the Rocky Mountains. Every ounce of food save buffalo meat, every stick of wood to raise steam or cook a pot of coffee, every ear of corn for the contractors’ horses and mules is brought from far to the East. The line of directest route bore the track away from the river. Therefore, the water for the workmen, and the animals, and the locomotives, had to be dug for, and the wells had to be huge. What a country to build a railroad in! And yet what country on earth is there in which road should be built rather than in this?
Look at this soil at this 279th mile – post. Eighteen inches of black loam overlying a deep subsoil of loamy clay, do surely guarantee heavy crops of wheat and corn to even careless farming. The grass that has sprung up in the denuded buffalo – wallows is not the short and curly buffalo grass, but is of the long and vigorous growth of the prairies east of the Mississippi. The buffalo gone, and the annual fires kindled by the Indians discontinued, and domestic stock even sparsely introduced, the vendure of this vast region will be immediately and permanently changed, and hay for the nation can be cut here. The tramping, rolling, and browsing buffalo gone, and the firing of the dead grass to start an early growth of feed discontinued, trees, by a law of nature, will immediately spring from the soil, and in 15 years the fabled “Great American Desert” will be a timbered country as it now is a land of unsurpassed excellence for grazing. With the timber will come increasing moisture and more frequent rains for cultivated crops. The “Great American Desert!” Supreme lie of our old geographies and atlases, exceeding the Muochausenisms of the maelstrom of Norway, and the more ancient humbug of the attriding dangers of Scylla and Charybdis! Why, this region, the centre of that picture which in every map of the United States 80 years ago, and down to a quite recent period, was strippled and painted fiery yellow, or left blank white, and made to represent utter barrenness and suggest thirst and death to man and animal this region is now in large part the very garden of America, and will, altogether, constitute under the name of Kansas, the richest, healthiest, handsomest, and most populous: agricultural State in the Union within 20 years from this day. Nothing is wanting to assure this destiny.
Running parallel to the railroad, and on both sides of it, stratified limestone crops out from the sides of the gently – swelling, loam – covered bluffs which rim the wide river bottoms -white, cream – colored, pink, yellow, and red building stone, wholly inexhaustible, lying horizontal, requiring no other quarrying than the use of a crow – bar to lift it in blocks out of position – stone as wonderful in its adaptation for immediate architectural use as it is admirable for its beauty. In the quarry it is soft, in the sense that it is easily worked. I have seen it hewn to shape with the common wood ax – have seen it mortised with a carpenter’s chisel as quickly as a pine beam could be mortised- have seen it planed with a jack – plane, sawed with a scroll saw into brackets and ornamental door and window – caps, and cut with a “buzz” saw into yard – square blocks for street sidewalks and into bricks of required size. This material, so easily worked, hardens on exposure to the air, and,. becomes as impenetrable as Tennessee marble. It is identically the Caen stone of France. Travelers who have seen the beautiful effect which that material gives to Napoleon’s new architecture in fans can appreciate the qualities of this rock which underlie the whole of the high prairie land of Kansas, and which will make Kansas a State of stone houses cheaper than can be built anywhere else in the world, and painted while yet in the quarry with the four most popular colors.
More yet. The lifting of the vail with which first Border Ruffianism – and then the hostile Indians, have for twelve years covered Kansas and hidden from, view her marvelous endowment of beauty and wealth, reveals to us now that a part of her lavish heritage is Bituminous Coal. Kansas can afford to wait for timber to succeed the buffalo, and the annual grass – burning of the Cheyenne’s and the Arapahoe’s. There is abundant coal near Fort Wallace, and surveyors and the scouts and train – masters, familiar with every mile square of the Plains, report it in workable veins near Barker and Hayes. The “Coal Question,” – the vital one in transcontinental railroad engineering, has been solved for this line of Pacific Railway. West of Kansas the company’s surveyed route strikes sixteen feet of bituminous fuel of the best quality. The Engineers report the deposit to be sufficient not only for the uses of the Road forever, but for Colorado and Arizona as well as for all Kansas. But independent of this supply, Kansas can, from her own resources, furnish herself with coal on her prairies for domestic and manufacturing purposes. And it is timely here to say that domestic life in Kansas, and manufacturing and farming Industry, maintain in an atmosphere where consumption as an indigenous disease is unknown, and in which the delicate or diseased lungs of settlers from the East are braced to health and new leases of life are taken, on the cheap condition of mere respiration. What a superb country, and what a truly national enterprise is this that traverses it!
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.
Prehistoric Man and Great Britain Mar 23 1868 Daily Colonist
The Daily Kansas Tribune
Lawrence, Kansas Apr 10, 1868
Considerable excitement was created in town on Sunday, by the appearance of a herd of buffalo on the opposite side of the creek, west of the city. There was mounting in hot haste, a short run, a sure aim, and several bison fell. The sport is exciting in the extreme, and, when once indulged in, an opportunity to repeat the dose is never missed. —
Hays City Advance
The Emporia Weekly News
Emporia, Kansas May 1, 1868
A very lively little buffalo calf about three weeks old was brought down on the train from the West last evening and placed in Mr. Pat Hamlin’s livery stable, awaiting shipment to Ottawa to- day, where its owner, Mr. C. M. Blosser, resides. It was caught on the plains, thirteen miles west of Hays City, and though captured but a few days since, appears to accept the situation, and takes kindly to civilized habits. To those who have never seen an infantile bison it is quite a curiosity.- Lawrence Tribune
Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 15 1868
Lord Wharncliffe has succeeded in securing a herd of American bison, which run wild in Wharncliffe chase. The noble lord probably intends to play buffalo hunt, but he should be careful or the bovine game will run all over England and jump the channel before they discover that they are not on the boundless prairies.
The Atchison Daily Champion
Atchison, Kansas May 15, 1868
Leaving Hays City, with all its enhancements, including buffalo veal of an uncertain age, and hotel bills of a plump figure, we reached the classic Ellsworth in the “gray of the morning,” again to find our calculations upset. The bison hunt which we had arranged to participate in had fallen through. Indians had been seen over on the Saline; a party that had gone out to days before had not yet returned, and a prudent regard for the safety of our scalp-locks constrained assault to waive the anticipated pleasure. So we were doomed to an inactive stay in Ellsworth until Monday morning.
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.
The Daily Kansas Tribune
Lawrence, Kansas Aug 13 1868
FOR THE GREAT WEST.
The excursion party, numbering about two hundred and eighty persons, great and small, started promptly on time, at seven o’clock yesterday morning. Six fine passenger coaches, one box or freight car, and one extra baggage car, composed the train.
A portion of the company were business men, who had some matters to attend to in the western towns, and took advantage of the cheap rates to go out to transact their business, intending, also, to kill a score or two of buffalo, take a look at the plains, astonished the unsophisticated natives of Hays City and Sheridan, etc., thereby killing ever so many birds with one stone. The majority, however, went out purely for the fund of the thing and to kill buffalo, and as they nearly all were armed with tour-inch pocket pistols, it is not probable that nary bison will ever be heard of any more. Judge Banks and Marshals Barnes and Spicer intend to hold court someplace between Hays and Sheridan, for the purpose of inflicting a fine on the Kiowas and Cheyennes, for there are many misdemeanors and violations of city ordinances. A good deal of roast chicken and boiled ham was taken along, the we believe they intend, after passing Hays, to throw away all such trash, as the abundance of buffalo meat they intend to procure will cause other eatables to not be needed.
Their other doing will be recorded in due time, as we have a pair of reporters along who intend to dish up everything of note.
The Daily Kansas Tribune
Lawrence, Kansas Aug 16, 1868
The march of excursions takes its way Eastward, although the excursions themselves go Westward. First came Topeka, then the “head center,” and last of all, Leavenworth. Topeka killed no buffalo, no Indians; the “head center” brought back one scalp and many other weightier proofs that the noble bison was indeed defunct. Now what can our friends of the great emporium do to be that? The coming week will witness their excursion and plunk.
Ad from the Daily Ohio Statesman Sept 14 1868 buffalo in circus
The Tri Weekly Old North State NC Circus ad Oct 17 1868
The Daily Kansas Tribune
Lawrence, Kansas Oct 20, 1868
The Last Excursion. — Mr. Eidemiller’s buffalo-hunting excursion will leave Leavenworth at eight o’clock on next Tuesday morning, and will arrive here at ten o’clock. All in this city who wish to accompany them, should secured tickets and time. The party will be absent four days, and ample time will be given on the plains for slaying ye noble bison. Fare for round-trip, $8.
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.
Nov. 24, 1868
HUNTERS. – Yesterday morning’s train took a party of our amateurs on a hunting excursion to the Far West. When they return, bison, elk, fallow deer and black bear meat will be plenty in our midst.
Clearfield, Pennsylvania Dec 10, 1868
The Buffalo and the Indian.
There is great commotion at the West among the Indians and buffaloes. The destinies of these two kinds of wild creatures seem to be mysteriously intertwined, and it has long been predicted that the extermination of the one will be simultaneous with that of the other. In time of peace, the Indians go out in force to the regular haunts of the buffalo at certain seasons to lay in their supplies, and they returned to their lodges with their ponies loaded down with the spoils of the chase. But the invasion of the grazing grounds of the buffaloes and the hunting grounds of the Indians by the Pacific Railroad has revolutionized the habits of these wild creatures, and disconcerted and demoralize them. The Indian tribes that are on the war path are put to the trouble of driving the buffalo on the route they have to take so as to ensure a supply of food. The buffalo in the commissariat of the Indian. In place of driving wagons loaded with supplies, he drives the buffaloes, and kills them as they are wanted. It is not pleasant to think of the annihilation of the bison. But the causes seem to be at work that are to bring about that result. In the good old times, when the Plains were quiet, and only dozens traversed them where thousands now do so, the herds of buffalo were counted by fifty and a hundred thousand. They now seem to be squandered, and to be divided into small herds. There are still millions of these animals, but they have become disorganized and scattered and those localities penetrated by the Pacific Railroad and currents of emigrant travel the following description of the American bison, which we take from the Fort Hays correspondence of the Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, is correct and interesting:
The American bison is generally larger than the cows or 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 usually covered with great shaggy masses of hair, while on other 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 course-grained beef, but more tender and juicy, and has the game flavor. 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 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 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 of 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 in Philadelphia or New York. The cost of securing them, and their freight would be comparatively trifling, when their value is considered. The trade cannot much longer be postponed. If the bison can be caught and killed, and portions of the meat prepared and sold East, at a 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.
The day is not far distant when the beef of the bison will supply the tables of the inhabitants of our large cities. When that day arrives the doom of the bison will be scaled. Should any Indians the left then, it will be interesting to consider how they will live — for the buffalo is their only source of support.
Harrisburg Telegraph, Pennsylvania Dec 15 1868