The Brooklyn Eagle Jan 5 1869 Robe
“Very well,” said he. “Mike,” calling a hall – boy, ” run round to Snagg’s Stables, and toll him I’ll want my sleigh here at three o’clock; and say, toll him I want my best buffalo.”
No sooner had he pronounced those words than the bison of the prairies sprung up before me, as I had read of him in a hundred books, with his huge tangled mane, his small bloodshot eye, his gigantic hoof, his terrible branching horns. I immediately determined to invent a pretext for not going; but to avert suspicion, began to expatiate on the pleasures of novelty, and found it difficult to imagine anything more delightful than driving a tame buffalo. Pyncheon stared at me for some time with a puzzled look, and then, busting into course laugh, informed me that he had ordered his buffalo robe. Another vulgar abbreviation. thought I. The Americans are always in such a hurry that they have no time to pronounce their words.
One of the earliest known photographs, of wild buffalo on the plains.
The Daily Commonwealth
Topeka, Kansas 12 Sep 1869
LIFE ON THE PLAINS. ORIGIN OF THE 7TH CAVALRY HOSPITALITY OF THE OFFICERS- GENERAL CUSTER AND STURGES- ARRIVAL. OF THE EXCURSION AT HAYS- THEIR RECEPTION- ARRIVAL OF LORDS PAGET AND WATERPARK- THEIR RECEPTION IN CAMP- THE GREAT BUFFALO HUNT -PRODIGIOUS SLAUGHTER OF BISONS -SCENES AND INCIDENTS –SENSIBLE ENGLISH GENTLEMEN ETC.,
There is a quaint legend that the celebrated Father Mathew was the original founder of the Seventh U.S. Calvary and that as the organization grew around him, and the taste and idiosyncrasies of its component parts began to be developed, he came to the conclusion that the advocacy of total abstinence and the military service of the United States were incompatible, and that he should be obliged to desist from one or the other. Accordingly, he laid down his commission and retired into his own country. We do not presume to vouch for the accuracy of this statement, and only mention it for the purpose of illustrating the theory that there is ever some shade of fact or nature, immediate or remote, in the most fanciful sketches. How we met this famous corps, and what resulted from that meeting, it is our present purpose to disclose.
In a communication dated at the lovely city of Sheridan, in the “Great American Desert,” we informed the readers of this paper of our intention to tarry at Fort Hays, and join in a grand buffalo hunt- the arrangements for which were being made upon the invitation of Captain and Brevet Col. Thompson, of the 7th. who, besides being a superior officer and splendid gentleman personally, is additionally fortunate in possessing the acquaintance and friendship of the genial, amiable, and accurately shooting Morton. It was in pursuance of this arrangement that we found Col. Thompson waiting for us upon the arrival of the train at Hays, and were at once taken into custody by him. Here also we met that accomplished soldier Col. Gibson, of the 5th Infantry, who is now in command of the Post. Through the courtesy of the latter, Judge Morton and ourselves were favored with an ambulance ride to the camp of the Seventh, located in a beautiful bend of Big Creek, a couple of miles below the Fort.
At the camp, we were warmly received by several old friends and by many new ones to whom we were introduced. Among the former were Captains Bobbins and Wallingford, and among the latter were Colonels Weir and Cook, Maj. Bell, Captain. Nolan, Lieutenants Gibson and Shellabarger, and others whose names we do not recall. By all, we were treated with that frank, soldierly courtesy which is so acceptable to persons who find themselves in strange places, surrounded with strange faces. Captain Bobbins was an old acquaintance, and his kindnesses were really oppressive as well from their number as from the heartiness and indifference to self with which they were urged. We can wish him no happier fate that his fortune may equal his deserts.
We took an early opportunity of paying our respects to Gen. Custer, whom we had known before and who is as kind and attentive to guests as he is brave, impetuous, and skillful in the field. There are few cavalry leaders in the army who have made a more brilliant record than has the General, although but a young man, and for Indians warfare, we do not believe he has an equal. His special characteristics are energy, nerve, decision, a resolute purpose to overcome alt obstacles; these qualities were notably exhibited in the terribly severe campaign last winter in the Indian country, and they seem to have infected the whole regiment, for a more vigorous and dashing one is not to be found in the service. By Gen. Custer, we were presented to Gen. Sturges, who succeeded Gen. A. J. Smith in the Colonelcy of the regiment, and who is a capable, experienced and very popular officer.
By General Custer, we were informed that we had, fortunately, hit upon just the time for a buffalo hunt that two English noblemen, lords Paget and Waterpark, would arrive the next day, and that preparations were making for the grandest hunt that the Seventh Cavalry had ever participated in.
In company with a large delegation of officers of the regiment and Post, we went over to Hays City that evening to witness the arrival of the famous Ohio excursion, of which so much has been written. Their reception was an enthusiastic one. Bonfires blazed, the splendid regimental band played its most enlivening music, cheers resounded through the crowded street, and whiskey was consumed in abundance in the equally crowded saloons. There is something. bewitching about the air of Hays City that renders it extremely difficult for a stranger to leave it. Thus, though the excursion party managed, after great effort, to tear themselves away, the writer and a few friends, to whom he clung with the desperation of despair, were seen breaking for camp but little in advance of the first beams of the morning sun. Of course, a few hours of sleep became necessary to fit the party for a proper reception of the English nabobs.
By the morning’s train (Tuesday) these dignitaries arrived, accompanied by Col W, T. Gentry, of Gen. Sheridan’s staff, who came on with them from Chicago. The Colonel will be recollected by many in Topeka as the officer who mustered in the 19th Kansas Cavalry, and he is as good a representative of the American gentle man as those with whom he traveled are of the British aristocracy. Without the least approach to flunkeyism or any apparent disposition to remind the guests that they were regarded as immeasurably above the common herd, everything possible was done to render their visit agreeable. They were treated to a grand parade and to selections of choice music, while all the officers earnestly strove to render their visit agreeable.
The excursion party returned from Sheridan the same evening, and most of them were entertained at the Post by Col. Gibson and Capt. Kimball, the gentle manly Quartermaster, who, with their accomplished ladies, displayed a wonderful fund of ingenuity in disposing of a great number of guests in a limited space. That their genius in this line was warmly appreciated we infer from the universal delight with which the excursionists speak of their reception.
The scene of the hunt was selected beyond the Smokey Hill river, some twelve or fourteen miles southeast of the post, and on Wednesday morning preparations for departure commenced. Tents, wagons, and supplies were packed, horses secured, firearms and ammunition provided, and the manifold wants, of the occasion prepared for in advance. At about half-past 9 o’clock the cavalcade, consisting of the various guests, most of the officers, and about one hundred men of the regiment,, all Under the lead of the gallant Custer, who, clad in his buckskin suit and mounted on his splendid charger, looked the very impersonation of a buffalo hunter. The party was soon joined by the Ohio excursionists, who were packed in wagons, ambulances, etc., and who, being armed with a variety of deadly implements, from a shot-gun to a squirrel rifle, presented a very formidable appearance.
Along over the smooth prairie we hastened for several miles, with no incident worthy of record until one of Gen. Custer’s hounds (he had only six along) started up a jack-rabbit, when away went the dogs, the General, the two Lords, and several others, in hot pursuit. The poor animal ran nobly for his life, but one of the General’s stag hounds, was too rapid for him, and he soon returned a trophy in the hands of Lord Paget, who had unexpectedly come upon sport with which he is perfectly familiar.
The spot selected for the camp was a most beautiful one at the junction of Big-timber creek with the Smoky Hill. It was skirted on the one side by the former stream, along whose banks grow myriads of wild plums, and on the other, a semicircle of hills shut in the lovely place. After the tents had been pitched and a lunch partaken of, the party started out in pursuit of the bisons, a herd of which the scouts informed us were some three or four miles distant. Right here let us stop to pay a tribute to Capt. Bobbins and to the noble horse which we bestrode through his kindness. It was really a splendid animal, high-headed, frisky, fast, easy-gaited, and entirely fearless of buffalo, which: cannot be said with equal truthfulness of his rider. We were a novice in horseback riding, and there are certain reasons which almost lead us to wish that, we had remained so. But there are anatomical considerations which will keep the precise facts in recollection for weeks to come. Like the particular “damned spot” which Shakespeare has immortalized, they will not “out.”
After traveling leisurely for about an hour, starting up an occasional antelope and rabbit, and giving a wide berth to the numberless rattlesnakes which infest that country, we came in sight of a splendid herd of buffaloes, indeed a succession of herds stretching away in the horizon as far as the eye could reach. The expressions of pleasure and enthusiasm at the magnificent sight we shall never forget. The word was passed along the line to ride slowly until the buffaloes should take the alarm, and then charge them one and all. The order was literally obeyed. As the bisons started into a lope, each horseman spurred his steed and rushed to the encounter. That desperate moment we shall never lose the recollection of, as with reins in one hand, the horse’s mane in the other, knees convulsively griping the aides of the excited beast, and trouser-legs struggling with upward aspirations, we were borne nolens volens to the fray.
Among the pursuers, the noblemen were “proudly eminent.” Ever in the front, dashing boldly up to the very sides of the monsters, they poured in their deadly shots with as much skill, amusement, and abandon as though they were soldiers in the American army, and the plains were their chosen stamping ground. Another character deserves special mention. A Miss Tallmadge, of Columbus, Ohio, who was a member of the party, rode her horse the entire distance with admirable grace and courage and fired into the bisons with as much pertinacity as though buffalo hunting had been the nurture of her infant years. After some thirty or forty had been killed, and the herd widely scattered the party began its retreat to camp, a few choice sirloins having been selected for the evening and morning meals.
In due time we arrived in camp, everybody delighted with the hunt and its results. The only drawback to the day’s sport was the loss of Dr. Lippincott, who got separated from the party, and could not be found, although scouts went out with instructions to scour the country light fires, discharge their pieces, etc.. The Doctor, however, strayed into the camp near the post at noon the next day, having been out all night with nothing to, eat and looking as though that one night had been a fortnight. Gen. Sturges, with Mrs. Custer and several ladies from the post, came into our camp in the evening and added much to the enjoyment of the occasion.
The sweet strains of the band awoke us at an early hour the next morning, and breakfast was soon eaten in anticipation of an early start. The description of one buffalo hunt is a description of all so that what was said for the first day must suffice for the second, except that in the latter instance the destruction was more extensive, and the fun proportionally greater. During the chase, seventy-three buffalos were killed, and as Col. Gibson, Capt. Kimball, Col. Weir, and Capt. Brewster came out to camp after we had left, and went on a chase, of their own, in which they killed seven out of a herd of nine, the grand aggregate reached eighty. We had forgotten to mention the Ohio visitors went into town the first evening and left for home, all thoroughly charmed with the wonders they had seen.
The amusing and exciting incidents of the grand chase were so many that we cannot hope to detail them without exhausting our space as well as the patience of our readers. It seemed remarkable to us that serious accidents did not occur. The firing was so universal and promiscuous, and the charges of the wounded buffalos at times so sudden and furious, that nothing but good luck in the one case, and well-trained horses in the other, prevented fatal results. We saw but two men unhorsed one was Wheeler of the New York Times, who collided with another individual and thrown some thirty feet through the circumambient air. He was not seriously injured, but the last we saw of him he was complaining of his wounds, but in a tone that led us to think he was proud of them after all. The other sufferer was a sergeant, the leader of the band, who also received a fall as the result of a collision, and had his shoulder dislocated.
The English gentlemen proved themselves thorough sportsmen, and thus gratified the crowd not less than by their unpretentious social manner. They are great travelers and have learned how to make the best of things as they find them. They have ridden to hounds in England, stalked elephants and tigers in India and fished and trapped in Labrador, and are frank to talk of the points of a horse, a dog or a pistol, while reticent as to questions of rank and political and social policy. We venture the assertion that they will not enjoy American hospitality and then go back to England and malign this country.
Being anxious to take Friday’s train for home, we rode into camp Thursday evening in company with Colonels Gibson and Gentry and Capt. Kimball. That night we trespassed upon the too liberal hospitality of Capt. Bobbins, and in the morning, after bidding good-bye to the friends, most of whom had come in from the hunt, and paid our respects to Col. Gibson and his estimable lady, we embarked for home, impressed with the belief that a buffalo hunt, under any circumstances, is one of the grandest things in nature, and that, enjoyed under auspices so favorable as now recorded, it is unexcelled in the whole range of active amusements.
“Buffalo Hunt” This photograph depicts a buffalo hunt along the Big Timber River, located in Ellis County south of Hays, Kansas. Some more well-known members of the hunting party include General George Armstrong Custer, Hill P. Wilson, Captain Tom Custer, and General Samuel D. Sturgis.
This image is on loan from the Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply kansasmemory.org
THE EXPERIENCE OF AN OLD TRAIL DRIVER
By Richard (Dick) Withers of Boyes, Montana – 1869
I was raised on my father’s ranch eight miles north of Lockhart, Caldwell County, Texas, and made my first trip up the trail in 1869.
Before we reached the Arkansas River I killed a buffalo cow and roped her calf. Intending to take the calf with me, I necked it to a yearling, but it was so wild and stubborn it fought until it died.
I am living at Boyes, Montana, now about one hundred miles from where I delivered those cattle on the Belle Fourche River below the old ranch. I went from Lodge Pole down the canyon to the Belle Fourche River, and within a week had the cattle branded and delivered. That was in September, and as some of the boys wanted to wash up before starting back to Ogallala, several of our outfit went buffalo hunting and we killed all the buffalo we wanted. Those were the last buffalo I have seen.
The Leavenworth Times
Leavenworth, Kansas Apr. 9, 1869
The buffaloes found in the telegraph poles of the overland line a new source of delight on the treeless prairie – the novelty of having something to scratch against. But it was expensive scratching for the telegraph company; and there, indeed, was the rub, for the bison shipped down miles of wire daily. A bright idea struck somebody to send to St. Louis and Chicago for all the brad awls that could be purchased, and these were driven into the poles with a view to wound the animals and check their rubbing propensity. Never was a greater mistake. The buffaloes were delighted. For the first time they came to the scratch sure of a sensation in their thick hides that thrilled them from horn to tail. They would go fifteen miles to find a brad awl. They fought huge battles around the poles containing them, and the victor would proudly climb the mountainous heap or rump and hump of the fallen, and scratch himself into bliss until the brad awl broke or the poll came down. There has been no demand for brad awls from Kansas region since the first invoice.
The Charleston Daily Tin Bear Comanche June 19 1869
“Tin Bear,” the most venerable of the Comanche chiefs, having lived on buffalo meat all his life, can’t make-up his mind to eat corn meal. He is therefore teaching his people to cut their hoes into arrow-heads. ** I have to assume this is supposed to be “Ten Bears”
White Cloud Kansas Chief, Jun 24 1869 Many Moons Ago
Thus did these untutored savages enjoy themselves, and never care a cent for anything, when the bold cavalier William Penn ascended the river, and chiseled them out of their property, which be bought with a keg of nails and six hatchets.
Then occurred the irruption of the Friends ,and a change came over the scene.
Where once had stood the noble oak, now rested a meeting-house, and where once roamed the bison, now flourished the Lima bean and where – where but why particularize? The cruel band of civilization destroyed the beauty of the spot, and the sentimental savage, standing upon the island wharf with the big tears rolling down his cheek, gazed with mournful and prophetie vision into the future.
Kansas Weekly Commonwealth
Topeka, Kansas Sep 9, 1869
ON THE PLAINS
At 6 o’clock yesterday morning we resumed our journey westward. Travel across these plains is rather tedious and motonous unless the route be enlivened by numerous buffaloes, upon which the traveler may exercise his skill or try his luck. But bisons are scarce along the road this season of the year, and we were only favored with the side of one and “thereby hangs a tale,” which, I believe, is not uncommon to buffaloes. A lordly and solitary bull stood on unalarmed within thirty yards of the track, and as none of our firearms were loaded except Morton’s carbine, and as we did not doubt his ability to bring down the “monarch of the plains,” we left him to the tender mercies of our friend. Carefully resting his gun upon the window frame, and drawing a bead upon the doomed animal, the great Nimrod blazed away, but without any apparent result. This experiment was repeated and repeated again, until, after the 10th shot, the bison seem to become tired of the sport, and with inevitable contempt for the marksmanship of our skillful companion, whisked up his tail, and disappeared in a neighboring ravine. Then it was that Martin relieved his overburdened feelings with the following remarkable utterance; “Concarn you, you may run and run as much as you darn please, but that meat ain’t your’n by a darned sight — I sold a hind-quarter to Judge Guthrie afore I left Topeka.” Need I add that the treacherous weapon was carefully laid away, and that it has not since been reproduced?
The Daily Journal
Wilmington North Carolina Sept 26 1869
Western Ladies on a Buffalo Hunt
A Cincinnati Bells Shoots a Huge Bull and Astonishes a Couple of English Lords
A correspondent of the Cincinnati Enquirer has been terribly “enthused” by the description which a “girl of the period” (West) gave him of her hunt on the western plains, in company with General Custer, two English nobleman and a numerous company. He says:
Miss Sallie Tallmadge, of Columbus Ohio, seem to be about 19 years old – we say seemed, because our gallantry was too much for even our professional impudence on this point — and was dressed in a rich brown traveling suit that well became her medium sized, graceful and dashing figure. She will be a debutante this season in fashionable Columbus circles, having only left school, Mrs. Ranney’s, at Elizabeth, N.J., in July. After finishing her education her father offered her a choice between the usual round of dissipation at Newport, long branch, Saratoga, and etc., and a visit to the prairies.
The excursion party bound for Sheridan and other points in the Far West left Columbus on 1st September, and after an exhilarating trip reached Fort Hays on the 6th inst. On the Tuesday after their arrival a grand hunt was organized. The military portion of the party consisted of General Custer, the officers of the 7th Calvary, including S.G. Stargis, Col. commanding Col. Custer, brother of the General; Col. C.W. Cook, Dr Lippencot, Major Bell, Col. Thomas and Lt Nolan: also one hundred privates and a mounted band of sixteen instruments. A large number of ladies accompanied the hunters in ambulances as far as Smokey River Valley, sixteen miles from the fort, to witness the day’s sport, if possible. General Custer had also with him two distinguished guest in the persons of Lords Berkley Paget and Henry Waterpark, of the British peerage, the latter a scion of the Wellesley family. These gentlemen were escorted to Fort Hays by Col. Gentry, who was also present. An encampment was made and Smokey Valley, and from the top of a neighboring ledge the ladies were witness to an exciting chase on Wednesday afternoon.
On this occasion 30 buffalo were killed, general Custer getting eight, “Pagett” three, and “Waterpark” four. This night most of the ladies returned to the fort, satisfied with the exciting seen they had witnessed from afar off. Not so much with Miss Tallmadge, however. She was tired of being merely a “looker-on in Vienna, “and remained with her father, brother, and Mrs. Custer at the camp. Her wish to join the next day’s gallop was gladly gratified by the officers, a dark, blooded Bay of Custer’s been placed at her disposal. Mounted upon the beautiful creature, she must have been in deed the glorious picture we are told she was. Early on Thursday morning the party rode forth in search of the game. There were one hundred and thirty men and one lady, apparently a very Joan of Arc, leading that armed band. 10 miles of prairie land had been ridden over, when Custer gave the view hallo, and the entire party charged upon and scattered a herd of buffaloes that appeared to the westward. Foremost in the wild dash the fleet courser of Miss Tallmadge bore her, until she found herself on the track of a huge bull. Full five miles of the prairie the Bay spurned beneath his heels before the side of the old fellow was reached. Two quick, well directed shots from a Colts revolver, that Miss Sallie carried, brought the bison to a halt. The big bull settled slowly to his knee, bellowed and rolled over –dead! Col. Cook, whose gallantry and admiration had kept him from joining separately in the chase, and who had followed close upon the track of Miss Tallmadge, now expected to see her stop satisfied. Not so. Her blood was up. Quick as a flash she wheeled and made for a second quarry, another sharp gallop, three shots, and the thing was over. Eighty buffaloes were slaughtered in this day’s hunt. Custer killed nine, Lord Paget six, and Lord Waterpark five, but it may easily be imagined that Miss Tallmadge was the heroine of the day, and that the old bulls head that now hangs in her father’s Hall, at Columbus, will be a memento of a hunt that will be the talk of many a camp-mess and the theme of many an aristocratic circle across the waters. We earnestly recommend a buffalo hunt to some of our belles whose pallid cheeks and languid air form but a sorry contrast to the rugged health and buoyancy, combined with the most delicate refinement that characterize the appearance of the heroine of the “Buffalo Hunt of Smokey Valley.” Perhaps the fact that Miss T. slept but three nights in bed, nearly always encamping out from the time that she was left home until she reached Cincinnati on her return, might prove some slight drawback to the pale young woman in question, by whom the easy roll of their carriages on Nicholson’s pavements is strongly preferred to the blood warming leaps and a mettled courser.
Miss Sarah “Sallie” Tallmadge was born in 1852, so that puts her at 17 years old , when she rode on the hunt.
Lawrence Daily Journal
Lawrence, Kansas Sep 25, 1869
A BELLE AMONG THE BUFFALO
Kansas creates a sensation everywhere. People who come to Kansas also create a sensation. A young lady, fresh from school, with the “Bloom of young desire and purple light of love” mantling her cheek, in the full flush of roscate health and beauty, refuses the offer of her wealthy and indulgent parents to make a summer tour of the Eastern fashionable places of resort for tourists and travelers, and comes to Kansas, hies to the plains and the prairies and creates a greater sensation in killing buffalo than if she had married a Vanderbilt or had “done up” all the fashionable round of pleasure at the Eastern watering places. Her name is Miss Sallie Tallmadge, “the accomplished daughter of Mr. T.W. Tallmadge, of Columbus, Ohio.” The Cincinnati Enquirer says of Miss T.: “she will be a debutante this season and fashionable Columbus circles, having only left school, at Mrs. Ranney’s, at Elizabeth, N. J., In July. After finishing her education, her father offered her a choice between the usual round of dissipation at Newport, Long Branch, Saratoga, etc., and a visit to the prairies, “those gardens of the desert, those unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful, for which the speech of England has no name, and girl of spirit that she was, she chose the latter. The result shows itself in the clasticity of her every movement, in the bright flash of her dark eyes, and in the bronze of her cheeks..”
The fair young Ohio girl has showed a discriminating taste in selecting the prairies in preference to ‘the usual round of dissipation at Newport, Long Branch, Saratoga, etc.,” for her summer vacation. In her charge upon the buffalo she has rode right into fame. She has created a sensation. In killing the buffalo she has accomplished a more daring and wonderful be than if she had smashed a dozen liver-hearted snobs and fashionable squirts at the watering places.
The Jenkins of the Enquirer of course goes into ecstasies’ over the achievements of this modern belle among the buffalo. He says: “Our very finger-tips tangle with the blood sent to them by the words of that eloquent speaker. But, to the story, which, alas, must be given in the “usual style.”
“The excursion party, bound for Sheridan and other points in the Far West, left Columbus on 1st of September, and, after an exhilarating trip, reached Fort Hays on the 6th inst. on the Tuesday after their arrival a grand hunt was organized. The military portion of the party consisted of Gen. Custer, the officers of the Seventh Calvary, including S. G. Sturgis, Colonel Commanding; Colonel Custer, brother of the General; Col. C. W. Cook, Dr. Lippencot, Major Bell, Col. Thomas, and Lieut. Nolan; also one hundred privates and a mounted band of sixteen instruments. A large number of ladies accompanied the hunters in ambulances as far as Smokey river valley, sixteen miles from the fort, to witness the first day’s sport, if possible. General Custer had also with him two distinguished guest, in the persons of lords Berkley Paget and Henry Waterpark, of the British Peerage, the latter a scion of the Wellesley family. These gentlemen were escorted to Fort Hays by Col. Gentry, who was also present. An encampment was made and Smokey Valley, and from the top of the neighboring lads the ladies were witness to an exciting chase on Wednesday afternoon. On this occasion thirty buffalo were killed, Gen. Custer getting eight, “Paget” three and “Waterpark” four. This night most of the ladies returned to the Fort, satisfied with the exciting seen they had witnessed from afar off. Not so with Miss Tallmadge, however. She was tired of being merely a “looker-on in Vienna,” and remain with her father, brother and Mrs. Custer at the camp. Her wish to join the next day’s gallop was gladly gratified by the officers, a dark, blooded bay of Custer’s been placed at her disposal.
Mounted upon the beautiful creature, she must have been in deed the glorious picture we are told she was. Early on Tuesday morning the party rode forth in search of the game. There were one hundred and thirty men, and one lady, apparently a very Joan of Arc, leading that armed band. Ten miles of Prairie land had been ridden over, when Custer gave the View Hailoo, and the entire party charged upon and scattered a herd of buffaloes that appeared to the westward. Foremost in the wild dash the fleet courser of Miss Tallmadge bore her, until she found herself upon the track of a huge bull. Full five miles of the prairie the bay spurned beneath his heels before the side of the old fellow was reached. Two quick, well-directed shots from a Colts revolver, that Miss Sallie carried, brought the bison to a halt. The big bull settled slowly to his knees, bellowed and rolled over – dead ! Col. Cook, whose gallantry and admiration had kept him from joining separately in the chase, and who had followed close upon the track of Miss Tallmadge, now expected to see her stop satisfied. Not so. Her blood was up. Quick as a flash she wheeled and made for a second quarry, another sharp gallop, three shots, and the thing was over.
Eighty buffalo were slaughtered in this day’s hunt. Custer killed nine, Lord Paget six, and Lord Wayerpark five; that it may easily be imagined that Miss. Tallmadge was the heroine of the day, and that the old bull’s head that now hangs in her father’s hall, at Columbus, will be a memento of a hot that will be the talk of many a camp mess, and the theme at many an aristocratic circle across the waters. We earnestly recommend a buffalo hunt to some of our belles whose pallid cheeks and languid air form but a sorry contrast to the rugged health and buoyancy, combined with the most delicate refinement, that characterizes the appearance of the heroine of the “Buffalo Hunt of Smokey Valley,” perhaps the fact that Miss. T. slept but three nights in bed, nearly always encamping out from the time she left home until she reached Cincinnati on her return, might prove some slight drawback to the pale young women in question, by which the easy roll of their carriages on Nicholson pavements is strongly preferred to the blood warming leaps of a mettled courser.”
Asbury Park Press
I found this in another story about Custer.
when Major Eugene Carr, an Indian fighter, brought Sallie Tallmadge with his hunting party, he wanted her to promise to kill herself rather than be taken by the Indians. When she balked, the major said, “Very good; then I shall shoot you if they appear.”
Lawrence Daily Journal
Lawrence, Kansas Sep 25, 1869
THE TEXAS CENTRAL ROAD
Our railroads friends in Texas, we are glad to see, are quite as anxious for railway connection with Kansas, and thence with the Northern and Eastern system of roads, as our people and their anxiety to speedily push the Galveston road southward to the gulf. The Galveston News says:
“In a few months, the Texas Central Railroad and the railroads coming from Kansas will be three hundred and seventy-five miles apart. There are now about four hundred miles between them. But a few months ago the distance between them was upward of five hundred miles. And now we have promise that the work of construction is to go for word with more rapidity. Doubtless there will be delays, but if that reduction of the distance to the extent of sixty miles a year at each and should be accomplished, a little over three years would effect the meeting. That it will go forward with greater average rapidity than this, we have very little doubt. As the distance grows less the work will be quickened.”
In a “minor note” we recently stated that the Galveston road ought and we believed would be completed in three years. The above statement of facts from our Galveston exchange corroborates our confidence and belief. We can assure the News that this and of the road will be constructed at a more rapid rate than sixty miles per year. In from six weeks to two months an additional section of twenty-eight miles, to Garnett county seat of Anderson ‘those gardens of the desert, those unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful, for which the speech of English has no name,” and girl of spirit that she was, she chose the latter. The result shows itself in the elasticity of her every movement, in the bright flash of her dark eyes, and in the bronze of her cheeks.” (this continues with the same story as above)
The New York Times American Desert Oct 14 1869
It was exhibited a the State Fair, recently over and is to be sent east as a good specimen of the productions of the Great American Desert – as a sample of what can be grown in a region where you may still see hundreds of buffalo skulls strewing the ground, and where but last year the bison and the elk ranged sole inhabitants. And so passes away the fiction of the “Great American Desert.”
The New York Times
New York, New York Oct. 14, 1869
THE ELDORADO OF EMIGRANTS
I cannot but believe that these are merely the vanguard of the immense columns of emigration that will rapidly fill these Kansas prairies with the most skillful, thrifty and industrious of the European populations. And certainly the rewards which have crowned the labors of the Kansas farmers this year are enough to stimulate a prodigious influx.
Throughout the whole State the crops this year have been remarkable. In many cases, as that St. Mary’s Mission, the yield of wheat has been over 42 bushels per acre, and there are large districts in this region that have average 52 bushels to the acre. All other cereals have produced in the same proportion. The court has been very fine in uplands as well as in the lowlands, and, indeed, farmers have learnt with gratification and surprise that, in respect of corn, the upper plateaus show as good results as the bottom lands. Nor, indeed, does there seem to be any limit – even to the farther most Western border of Kansas – at which, if you tickle the soil with a hoe, it will not laugh with a harvest. At Sheridan the Spring a field of corn was planted as an experiment to see what could be grown on these higher plateaus, (for the country around Sheridan has an elevation of over 3000 feet above sea level.) Well, to the astonishment and the delight of those who made this initial trial, the field has yielded above forty bushels to the acre. Let me mention another “big thing,” by way of sample of what this productive land can do. In a garden in Ellsworth, which is 223 miles west of the Missouri River, and which but a twelvemonth ago was fifty miles beyond any cultivated settlement, there was grown this Summer a squash six feet long, four feet in circumference, and, weighing 286 pounds. It was exhibited at the State Fair, recently over, and it is to be sent east as a good specimen of the productions of the Great American Desert – as a sample of what can be grown in a region where you may still be hundreds of buffalo skulls stream the ground and where but last year the bison and elk ranged sole inhabitants. And so passes away the fiction of the “Great American Desert.”
The Leavenworth Times
Leavenworth Kansas Oct 28, 1869
FROM NORTHERN KANSAS,
Great Immigration – Advance in Property – Wonderful Changes – The Central Branch Railroad – Its Increase in Business –
Wheat and Corn Crop – Future Prospects – Water and Timber – The Weather – Political, doc.
[Special Correspondence of The Times and Conservative.]
Atchison, Kansas, Oct. 27, 1869.
Northern Kansas, in particularly that portion through which the Central Branch railroad runs, was never in so prosperous a condition as at present. The great tide of emigration has set in, and parties from nearly every State in the Union are now swarming upon the boundless, wide prairies and securing a farm and home, while it can be bought for a mere song. All kinds of property has more than doubled in the northern tier during the past year; and while there are still thousands of good chances for the immigrant, every day’s delay reduces the best chances, for nearly all go on the principle of “first-come, first-served.”
It seems almost impossible to comprehend the wonderful changes and improvements made in this part of the State during the past two years. At that time there was not one hundred buildings on the whole line of the Central Branch railroad, and now the number has increased to upwards of five hundred, and ten or a dozen prosperous towns have sprung up to accommodate the large and rapidly growing trade. Where the Indian and the bison roamed only a few years ago, we now the hold improved farms, and the prairies dotted with houses and all kinds of agricultural implements, and laborsaving machinery.
There never has been so many farm improvements made in Northern Kansas as during the season of 1869. Two years ago one passenger and smoking – car combined, carried all the passengers, baggage, freight, express and mail matter. Now a passenger coach goes out crowded, and from ten to twenty cars each day, loaded with lumber, agricultural implements and machinery, groceries, provisions, hardware, furniture etc. This business, if we can judge the future by the past, is in its infancy, for it has been steadily increasing ever since the road was opened, and promises to be one of the best paying roads in the State.
More wheat and corn have been raised in Northern Kansas this season than all the time before or since the country was settled. Never before have the farmers been so bountifully rewarded for their labors, and since their crops have been harvested, the prices are so low that the farmers are compelled to hold them until a better time comes, when they expect to receive a fair compensation for toiling three long years in a country that has been swarming with grasshoppers.
Should Kansas be blessed with a favorable winter, there is no telling what the crop of fall we will amount to next season. There has been an unusually large amount of wheat sowed this fall, and at present the indications are that there will be an unusually large yield. Nearly all that has been put in is up and looking finely, and should our crops next year, in proportion to the amount sowed, be as large as that raised this season, there is no telling what the population of our youthful State will be at the end of another twelve months. It certainly would not fall much short of a million inhabitants.
There is no part of Kansas so well watered and so heavily timbered as that composing neck counties of the “Northern Tier.” Some of the largest streams in the State run through this section of country, while the various kinds of timber furnish a supply of fuel and plenty of post for fencing. Wire is being pretty extensively used by the farmers along the Central Branch, and where the post are close enough together, wire is found to be a plenty cheap and substantial fence.
The weather for the past few days has been unusually cold in the Northern part of the State. In some places along the Central Branch ice has frozen an inch thick, and the cold, piercing winds from the Northwest have swept across the prairies so suddenly, that the farmers have not been prepared for anything of the kind so soon. Warm, Indian summer weather, in a single day, has been changed to freezing cold, but no one has any idea that this kind of weather will last long.
The Leavenworth Times Buffalo Brand Trademark Nov 9 1869
Lawrence Daily Journal Dispute over number of bison Nov 14 1869
We understand there is a lively dispute as to how many buffalo were killed by the Stevens excursion party. Some say twelve, an even dozen, of the noble bulls bit the dust, and have bellowed their last bellow. Others, with a more conscientious regard for truth and veracity, maintain that there were but eleven of the bison killed. We propose a truce, a compromise on eleven buffalo and one antelope !
The Freemont Weekly
Freemont, Ohio Nov 12 1869 Man Steals Robe
Medina Co. O. A stranger hired a horse and buggy, from a livery stable, in Wadsworth, on the 19th, intending to steal it, but was suspected and followed so closely that he abandoned the property at Warren, where it was secured, minus a buffalo robe.
The Girard Press
Girard, Kansas Dec. 9, 1869
Letters from the Senior
Jones Hotel December 1, 1869 (original)
For centuries since the settlement of this vast continent this country has remained the sporting ground for the bison and the buck, roamed by the wild Red Men and Wilder animals of the plains; useless to man. And yet – a sad comment upon the intelligence of our people – we saw in the distance the white tents of soldiery, as though the savages of times past made dangerous the settlement of to-day. “Why this array of military?” Would be a question first to come before the mind, and it is enough to make a Christian weep to tell. They are here, kind reader – though we blush to say it – to protect the works of internal improvement and international communication, and defend the laborers in the construction of this great civilizer and Christianizer of the world. In plainer language still, the general government of the United States has sent them here to put at abeyance a people stirred to ask of violence by the cowardly puppet who disgraces the State in the halls of our national legislature.
The Emporia Weekly News
Emporia, Kansas Dec. 10. 1869
ABOUT BUFFALO HUNTING
BY DANIEL GOPHER.
Let observation, with extensive view Survey mankind from China to Peru.
There is a disease prevalent among the people who inhabit the eastern portion of this country, which annually carries off a large number of most respectable citizens. Among the first symptoms is a desire to consult late maps of the great West, particularly those which exhibit the Great American Desert divided from Missouri by the river of the same name. Then the afflicted person is seized with an irrepressible desire to buy firearms, and unless he is carefully watched by experienced friends, will, in a remarkably short time become possessed of from one to three wagon loads of the most deadly weapons, with which, after it a little further progress of the malady, he will suddenly disappear. The next thing seen of the invalid, he will suddenly burst upon the astonished view of the quiet citizens of Leavenworth, with a car load of accoutrements and himself standing in a pair of top boots that terminate only at the arm pits. I am not aware that any name has yet been given this disease, in the East; but here we call it “buffalo hunting.” I presume that nearly every man east of the Mississippi river has been more or less afflicted with it, but it has not heretofore proven as fatal on the west as on the east side of the Alleghenies. The reason for this is probably found in the fact that the noble warriors and peerless maidens of the Cheyennes and Arapahoe’s are not fully appreciated by the western men, who, when they are captured by the Indians, stubbornly insist on designating the manner in which they shall be cooked, whether broiled, baked, or made into soup, while the Yankees appear correspondingly in different about those little minor details, so they are permitted to kill a buffalo first.
I’ve long thought it to be the duty of somebody out this way to furnish a few instructions to these hunters from the Atlantic slope, in order that they may not seek relief in vain for their disease. Old plainsman may object to this on the ground that eastern buffalo hunters have already killed a large proportion of the bison, and that this wholesale slaughter should be stopped instead of encouraged, but that when a man feels that it is his duty to do a certain thing, let nothing deter him. There were I shall drop in the hands which will be found valuable:
- Be sure to buy fire-arms before leaving New York. Nearly everybody neglects this. Small pistols, the latest patterns of rifles that will load themselves, and double-barreled shot-guns with patent cartridges, that were warranted to kill every time, should be secured at once. The pistols are convenient at short range to stick into the unfortunate bisons year after you have dropped him with your double B shot. Large shot tear the game, and render it useless. Buffalo are very tender. Any body can kill a buffalo. Shot-guns are also better than rifles because it is sometimes necessary to shoot the game while it is moving; and then, by firing on a herd, you are apt to kill eight or nine, by letting off both barrels at once, if your gun scatters. Lord Napier, who headed a hunting party a few years ago, killed 17 at one shot with his English fowling piece, and would have wounded another if his horse had not stepped into the chimney of a prairie dogs house. The Indians like shot-guns best, and if you are captured, the presentation of one may secure you the privilege of choosing your route to the spirit-land. The scenery is very fine on some of these routes. They are “Studded with stars unutterably bright,” which is quite an item.
- It is seldom that any bison are seen before reaching the Missouri river, and travelers are not permitted to carry their guns in the sleeping-cars. The usual practice of loading up while crossing the ferry on the Mississippi is not necessary, as there are not Indians and buffalo in Missouri’s in sufficient numbers to attack express trains.
- Everybody has heard of the Missouri Valley. Well, there are no buffalo there. No country containing over 50,000 inhabitants is permitted by the legislature to have herds of bison within its borders, as they would interfere with hotel runners and omnibuses. So hunters need not get excited as they step on Kansas soil, as the game is still several miles distant.
- You had better put all your pistols on here, however, and strap your guns over your shoulders in the form of an X. Don’t fail to have a large knife with a handle stuck in your boot leg, and another down your back, easy of access from the coat collar. A Derringer pistol in each breeches pocket, although they can be seen, will do no harm. When you have all the arms on you can carry, give the rest Friday, and go to the hotel.
- You now have only about 400 miles to go rear game, and as you have your arms already loaded there is nothing to do but to get your ticket. Be sure and do a great deal of talking all this time, and advertise for scale proposals for shipping your gain East. Then gets a and push out for Hays City with your arms all on. Nobody wears arms out that way, and your appearance will be a cheerful novelty. This is the point nearest your game where you can procure a brass band, which is necessary, not only in hunting buffalo, but in capturing antelopes.
“Ring the bell for Sarah.” played on a bugle is the only thing that will attract antelope within gunshot. It will also frighten away wolves at night and soothe the savage beast. Also be sure and take a long enough wagons to bring your game to the railroad. A great many come home empty-handed because they neglect to provide transportation.
It is not necessary to say anything about Indians. It is enough for you to know that they
“See God in clouds or hear him in the wind,” and that the Government will protect you. The low price of gold alone Deters the Arapahoes and Cheyennes from interfering.
They might do it with gold at 2.80 but not at 1 .28. Never. “Not for Joseph.” —Conservative.
The Osage County Chronicle
Burlingame, Kansas Dec. 11, 1869
CEREMONIES IN LAYING THE CORNER STONE
OF THE FIRST WELSH UNION CHURCH.
John H. Barrows made the following address:
But, as I look out upon these boundless prairies over which our church, that is to be, will keep its sentinel watch for years to come, as I survey these bounteous fields, beautiful in their graceful undulations, and blessed under God’s perpetual smile. I cannot recall certain historic associations which may add interest, if not sacredness, to the ceremonies of the hour. Sixty-six years ago these fields were a part of that empire of the 1st Napoleon. Purchased in 1803 by Jefferson. For half a century they remained almost uninhabited except by the savage and the bison. But in the fullness of time, emigration swept across the Mississippi, driving the Indian to new war-paths and the Buffalo to new pasture-grounds. Then this fair domain became a battlefield between freedom and slavery. It was a momentous question for civilization and Christianity – “who shall on this garden of the Lord, the Southern slave-master or the Northern freemen.” Kansas passed through great straits of affliction. Bands of Ruffians, the hired minions of slavery, swept over from the Missouri border, controlling elections, sacking cities, and murdering the defenders of freedom. The nation became involved in the struggle. It was after the great oration on the “Crime against Kansas,” that Charles Sumner, a statesman, whose learning, genius, and sturdy devotion to liberty, have gained him a proud fame, on both continents – was beaten down with coward brutality on the Nation’s Senate floor. But Yankee heroism, typified in Old John Brown, at length prevailed, and freedom became enshrined and entrenched in the laws of Kansas, even before the great conflict came with Lincoln’s edict of emancipation inscribing liberty on the war flags of Grant and re-writing the constitution of the nation.
(continued-good read, but nothing more to do with bison)
We build than a church on the soil of freedom. But it is no ordinary enterprise that we here inaugurate. Unlike most new communities who know no difference of sect among those who worship Christ as the Divine Savior. As Presbyterians and Congressionalist, and Methodist, Baptist and Episcopalians, we cheerfully joined together to build a Church of Christ. We believe our plan of union is based upon common sense, economy, and true Christian charity. Henceforth, let no one say “I am of Paul and I of Appollos and I of Wesley and I of Calvin,” but, forgetting such offensive words, let us all cry out, in the liberty of the Gospel, “We are of Jesus Christ alone.” Into that trench, so broad and deep, we must cast all our narrow secretarian and bigotry, and cover it with such a weight of Christian stone that the archangels trump on the resurrection morning will not disturb its quiet slumbers.
The Brooklyn Eagle Dec 30 1869 Robe Ad
A JKM collection, National Museum of Wildlife Art.
“A Hold-Up on the Kansas Pacific 1869” is one of four ink-on-paper drawings from 1913 by Martin S. Garretson (1866-1955) that chronicle the downfall of the bison on the American Plains. All four are reproduced in “The Bison: American Icon.”
The Daily Phoenix
Columbia, South Carolina 29 Dec 1869
A Christmas Reflection
The New York World says: As a nation, we have many reasons for greeting the anniversary with thankfulness. We are at peace; the land is fat with plenty; and our material prosperity, in the face of the burdens which the war cost upon us, is greater than the most sanguine among us would have dared to hope for. The year past has witnessed the completion of the most important single work which has been wrought upon the continent. It has seen the Atlantic and the Pacific united, and heard the deeps calling to each other across immeasurable spaces of mountain and plain. A few years hence, a thronging community will inhabit spaces which have hitherto been the pasture-grounds of the bison, the lair of the wolf, and the domain of the savage. Where the wigwam stood, shall stand the church, and where the bravo chanted his war song about the camp-fire, the preacher shall intone more peaceful messages to mankind. Mr. Webster’s description of the morning drum-beat which rose with the sun and kept company with the hours, eucircling the world with one unbroken stream of the martial airs of England, may, after a time, be modified and applied to the church-bells which, greeting the sun, shall girdle the continent with a zone of morning music. It took a thousand years to girdle the old continent with crosses and lift the rosary of ‘ minster towers against the sky. We have done our work with more celerity, and we have reason, on this Christmas morning, to congratulate ourselves upon the progress we have made.