1872


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The Grand Duke Alexis (caricature)

The Grand Duke Alexis-Caricature

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CAROLINA WATCHMEN

Salisbury, North Carolina Jan 5 1872

Mr. William E Baker has brought several wild buffalo or bison to his stock farm at Wellesley Massachusetts, and will try the experiment of crossing them with Jersey, Ayrshire and Durham stock. This experiment has been tried with poor results heretofor.

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Janesville Daily Gazette
Janesville, Wisconsin Jan 10 1872
AN EXCITING BUFFALO HUNT
From Levenworth (Kansas) Times.

……Senator Sprague visited Kansas a few weeks ago, and, like all other Eastern visitors, wanted to see the buffalo on his native heath. Accordingly, Benjamin Akers, Esq., of this city, got up a party, and with the Senator, went out to the buffalo country. A few miles from Fort Wallace they found the bisons in thousands, and the hunters “went in.” As Akers singled out an old patriarch of the herd, chased him a few miles, and after a few successful shots brought him down. After his own game was secure, he commenced looking around for the rest of the party. The senator had also singled out an old bull, and driven him apart from the rest of the herd, and was in a little ravine about two miles distant from Akers, but in plain view. The buffalo had been wounded and showed fight. The Senator would pursue him for a short distance, but would then be compelled to turn his horse’s head in the other direction, and get out of the way of the maddened animal; once, in wheeling suddenly, his horse fell, and the bull was right upon him in an instant. Akers says this was one of the closest calls he ever saw – so close, indeed, as to leave no doubt in his mind that there would very soon be a necessity for a special Senatorial election in Rhode Island “to fill vacancy” but just in the nick of time the valiant senator regained his seat in the saddle, and was off like the wind his horse being stimulated by a sharp “punch” from the bulls horns. It seems that Mr. Sprague had pursued the animal closely, fired several shots upon him, wounding him severely, but not fatally, and that his ammunition had been given out; Mr. Akers, comprehending the situation, came to his assistance and reinforced him with a few rounds. The Senator brought in with him the head of the animal, and is having it “cured” to take home, as a trophy of his skill and prowess as a buffalo hunter.

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The Pittsburgh Post Jan 13 1872

The Pittsburgh Post Jan 13 1872

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The Leavenworth Weekly Times

Leavenworth, Kansas Jan  18 1872

A RARE OLD BEAST

        Reports from the “imperial” hunting party their North Platte, say his imperial Highness is having and imperial high old time slaughtering the imperial bison. The weather is pleasant, and all the circumstances seem to be especially suspicious. The buffaloes, fully appreciating the distinguished honor done them by helping the recipients of a visit from royalty, are turning out in great numbers, and in their best robes, to welcome his Highness with the right hoof of fellowship. The oldest cow in the herd who had eluded the shots and arrows of bloodthirsty savages for many generations – who was a mother in the days of Black Hawk, and gamboled with Pocahontas when she was a heifer – that is, the cow, – came to the imperial camp on Monday evening, and waited patiently about, like Mary’s lamb, for his Highness to come out and shoot her. Instances of such great respect for royalty are very rare on the frontier. He shot her.

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The New York Herald January 19, 1872
The Grand Duke, Little Phil, Buffalo Bill, and Spotted Tail and Company
Among the Bisons.

……The bison, or Bos Americanus, inhabits the interior of North America, especially the Great Plains between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. It is popularly called the Buffalo, but, the true Buffalo belongs to the Eastern continent, and to a different subdivision of the genus bos. The bison as a large, wild animal, with thick body and stout legs; short, black horns, rapidly tapering and with hair much more thick and shaggy in winter than in summer. It is most nearly related to the aurochs of Central Europe (that is, Central Russia) and the two species have been referred to a common genus. –

And as the herd came surging on,
with the Indians all around,
they raised a little earthquake as
they thundered o’er the ground-
Anon

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and the grand Duke, with “Little Phil” and “Buffalo Bill, “and Spotted Tail and company- white men and red men- has had a tilt with Bos Americanus, and a glorious time, lacking only the presence of Mr. Bergh to give it the highest flavor of enjoyment. Our special despatches from Red Willow Creek, the extraordinary company, the encampment, the equipments, and all the accessories and details of this grand Imperial Buffalo Hunt, provided by Gen. Sheridan, we are quite sure have been enjoyed by our readers at the most delicious side dishes they have had even from the Herald for many a long day. And, compared with this tournament among the bisons, what are all the receptions and Pro sessions, and balls and dinners and excursions we have given the grand Duke? Mere child’s play. We have read Gerard’s thrilling exploits among the Lions of Algeria, and Gordon Cumming’s high sport in the hunters paradise of South Africa, and Sir Samuel Baker’s glorious fun among the big elephants of Abyssinia, with his Arab sward hunters; of “the wild scenes in South America” of Paez; and we have been inspired by that enthusiasm of an old Whaler in his narration of some grand onslaught upon “a school” of Wales in the Arctic Ocean, “from which we have got five hundred barrels of oil, but lost five good sailors:” but as an neat, complete, unique, romantic and delightful hunting excursion, we know of nothing and all these other adventures that can be compared with our Russian grand Dukes Buffalo Hunt in Nebraska, as detailed by our special reporter
……I saw him but a moment,but methinks I see him now, the handsome young Prince, in his “nobby” hunting suit, and his rosy Russians gathered around him; and are tough and trusty writer, “Little Phil”, and the famous “Buffalo Bill”in his gorgeous frontier trappings; and the stout old chief spotted tail and his Braves, and their elaborate Indian costumes, all grouped together on their horses awaiting the signal for the start. Next we see them dashing among the shaggy bisons and the Grand Duke, by a flank movement, right royally bringing down his Bos Americanus ; and Sheridan, right and left, laying out the monarchs of the prairie; and then we see old Spotted Tail and his young warriors in another heard in the horizon making greater havoc with their simple bows and arrows than the Americans or Russians with their choicest rifles. Our city sportsman, who knows from the experience of a days trouting or snipe shooting on Long Island the luxury of a good appetite, will understand how Sheridan and his fellow hunters enjoyed their champagne, there Buffalo steaks, shortcake and hot coffee after their days rough writing and hunting of 40 miles on snow-covered hills and in the wild canyons of Nebraska.
……And then followed the Indian powwow, after which they witnessed a wild aboriginal kick up in the shape of a war dance to the melancholy music of our Indian tum-tum, amid the shrill approval of the squaws, who were looking on the pride of their general hearts. Next comes the story of La Belle Saurage in the flirtations of our army officers, young and old, with Miss Spotted Tail, the Indian belle of the prairies, the presents of general Sheraton to her happy old governor and to his Braves and his tribe, gathered in hundreds on the ground, and the liberal presents of the Grand Duke, and then the speeches of peace and goodwill between Gen. Sheridan and Spotted Tail, embodied in the graphic and highly interesting special report of the evenings proceedings which we published this morning. It beats Hiawatha and Minnehaha: it reads like a fairytale, and the poet and the pain or will find in the scenes and strangely blended characters here depicted subjects upon which may profitably be devoted their biggest talents and skill. It will be remarked, moreover, that while Spotted Tail comprehends the obligations of the treaties he relies upon his Great Father to listen to the wants of his red children, and that he has learned something, moreover, of the advantages of free trade. His white brothers braved the choice of many traders, and Spotted Tail thinks that the same privilege would be a good thing for him; and we think so too. But it is as a peace meeting of Americans and Russians, and of white men and red men that this strange and fascinating festival on the prairies of Nebraska is particularly entitled to the attention of the statesman and the philosopher.
No doubt the Czar in St. Petersburg, before they were through with that festival on Red Willow Creek knew all about it, and wished himself among the happy hunters, whatever be may have said to Gortschakoff, Admiral Possiet, it appears did not go out with the bison killers but remained in camp to answer despatches received from Emperor.
……This important little fact makes it all right in reference to our relations with Russia, Admiral Possiet’s despatches of this buffalo hunt will completely nullify the wrath of Gortschakoff: and Sheridan’s wild Western hospitality’s to the Grand Duke will neutralize the terrible lecture of Mr. Fish to the unlucky Catacazy. This buffalo hunt in short disposes of the Fish and Gortschakoff quarrel, and we shall probably next hear from St. Petersburg that are minister Mr. Curtin has been invited to a quiet dinner with the Emperor, with the understanding that his Majesty desires free conversation with Mr. Curtin about Nebraska and those bisons, in General Sheridan and Custer, and Buffalo Bill, and Spotted Tail and his Indians.
……At all events we show steak that piece diplomacy of Sheridan and Spotted Tail with the Grand Duke against all the bellicose diplomatic notes that have been passed, or that are likely to pass, between Mr. Fish and Prince Gortschakoff on the Catacazy bagatelle and upon the opinion that Sheridan, the Grand Duke and Spotted Tail have settled the business.
……After all the rare enjoyments of this magnificent buffalo hunt, we hold that Bos Americanus wins the day, and that while the Grand Duke and his father retain their memory of this raid among the bisons of Nebraska, whatever may be done with Fish, Gortschakoff and Catacazy, there will be no war between Russia and the United States. Moral- Gen. Sheridan is a better diplomat than Mr. Fish, on General Grants great idea, “Let us have peace.”

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The New York Herald Jan 25 1872

The New York Herald Jan 25 1872

 

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ATCHISON DAILY PATRIOT

Atchison, Kansas Feb 3, 1872

THE BUFFALO

 ……A proposition has been made to the government, by the Kansas Pacific railroad, looking to the utilization of the buffaloes, which now roam in vast herds upon our western plains. This plan is simply to reserve large tracts of ground for the purpose of breeding and it rearing the animals, which are to be “corralled” in Texas. The uses of the buffalo to civilization are twofold. In the first place, if not too old, the buffalo serves more very good eating — in fact, in the way of a stake he cannot be surpassed, unless, indeed, an epicure should prefer the “haunch.” Then again, his shaggy covering, reduced to a “robe,” becomes very valuable. On the whole, the buffalo or bison, unlike most undomesticated animals, is useful to man in various ways, and the idea of thus utilizing it strikes us as being a good one. Certainly lovers of good eating would be glad to be able to order of their butcher buffalo meat for breakfast or dinner as they now do in the matter of more familiar but less juicy animals.

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The Centerville Citizen  Centerville, Iowa Feb 3 1872

The Centerville Citizen Centerville Iowa Feb 3 1872

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The Wyandott Herald Kansas City Feb 15 1872

The Wyandott Herald Kansas City Feb 15 1872

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The Wyandott Herald Kansas City Feb 15 1872 The Wyandott Herald Kansas City KS Feb15 1872 meat for sale ad

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SOME TRIPS UP THE TRAIL

James Marion Garner, Texarkana, ArkansasJames Marion Garner

In the spring of 1872 when I was eighteen years of age, I went with Dillard Fant’s cattle to Wichita, Kansas. My boss was Bud Hodges. We branded out near Goliad and started with about 2,000 steers and reached our destination with about that number, having picked up as many crippled trail cattle as we lost. We experienced no bad luck until we crossed the Red River but when near the Monument Stones in Indian Territory, in a difficulty one of our crowd shot and killed one man of our outfit.

We killed and ate plenty of buffalo and antelope, mixed with, and fed lots of red men, but had no trouble with them.

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COWBOY FROM THE PLAINS OF NEBRASKA

By V. F. Carvajal, in Floresville Chronicle-Journal

In March, 1872, I was engaged by Colin Campbell to.take a herd of cattle to Nebraska for him. I went to Lodi (recent suburb of Floresville, Texas) and hired the hands to go with me ; being among them Miguel Cantu, ex-police of San Antonio, Masedonia Gortari, Aurelio Carvajal, my brother, Francisco Longoria, Melchor Ximenez, and others, whom I do not remember. We started in the same month, March, 1872. Mr. Campbell gave me $1,500 for general expenses, and went with us as far as Lockhart. I had close to 1,800 head of cattle, so we went on; we crossed the Colorado river close to Austin and went on through Round Rock, Georgetown, Belton, Lampasas, and Fort Worth, which was a small place then. At Fort Worth we bought sufficient provisions to take us across the Indian Nation, which was nothing but wilderness. We crossed Red River at Red River Station in Montague County, and went into the Indian Nation. We met some Indians and gave them three or four lame cattle in payment of custom’s duties which they claimed for us going through their territory, and on to Ellsworth, Kansas, where all the cowboys were taking their cattle. My boss, Colin Campbell, was there waiting for me, and he ordered me to go to North Platte, Nebraska, and he would meet me there. He bought me a compass and a map of the state of Nebraska. In those days the western part of Nebraska was nothing but wilderness. So we started for Ellsworth without any roads; just following the North Star by the compass and examining the map to find out where we could get water f or the cattle. In going to North Platte I got too close to a settlement of “short horns,” where there was a big river called Solomon River. My cattle were suffering f or water for three days. Before I got to the river, there came about twenty ” short horns” armed with double-barreled shot guns ; they stopped me from watering the cattle finally leaving. All at once there came a “short horn” on a big horse to where I was. I asked him if he had a section of land on this side of the river where we were watering the cattle. He said yes, about half a mile below here. I told him that I would give him $100 gold or two cows and calves if he would let us water on his land; he told me all right, but you must not cross the river here, that we would have to go about twenty miles west and cross it on the government lands. So I watered the cattle and went west and crossed the Solomon River. Then we kept traveling due north for many days ; camping one day for dinner on the divide between the Republican and Platte Rivers. Four of us having been out from camp, went back to camp and staked our horses, and started to eat our dinner. All of a sudden there came a cloud of buffaloes running toward our wagon, and three of our horses broke their ropes and started to run ahead of the buffaloes. There was one horse left in camp, so I got on him and started in pursuit of my horses that were ahead of the buffaloes. From the camp to where I overtook the buffaloes and horses there was a large city of prairie dogs and I had considerable trouble keeping my horse away from the holes. When I overtook the horses I tried to catch them but my horse was almost exhausted ; so I continued to run even with the horses until my horse could get sufficient breath to maintain his gait. I kept about one hundred yards from the horses and buffaloes, both still running. Finally I came to a nice level valley and I said to myself, if I do not catch the horses now, right here, I am going to let them go. So I put spurs to my horse and it seemed to me that he was flying. The leading horse had a piece of rope around his neck and I gained on him and caught him, holding to the rope on his neck. The other horses following as soon as I caught him. After having put my rope on him I started back in the direction of the camp. I had gone about a mile when I met one of my hands, coining to my rescue. So it made me feel happy, because I was afraid I never would find my way back, as it was getting late in the day, almost dark, and we were some fifteen miles from camp. As we were going back we met about 1,000 buffaloes coming over a ridge toward us. I asked my companion if he wanted to see my horse get on top of those buffaloes, and he answered, yes. So I turned my horse after the buffaloes and I scattered them in all directions. Finally we got into camp all right without getting lost in the wilderness. Next day we continued our journey toward North Platte, Nebraska, our destination, where we found our boss, Colin Campbell, waiting for us,, after being on the trail for six months.

There we delivered the cattle to the parties to whom he had sold them.

This story is not eloquent ; but it is genuine, and perhaps will never be repeated again.

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Public Ledger March 13 1872

Former Range of the Buffalo

……From numerous data cited in the last number of the American Naturalist, it would seem that the buffalo formerly ranged over nearly the whole of North America. Cortez found a specimen in 1524, which had been brought from the country north of the river Gila, where nerds of them were found. Lawson, whose works were published in London in 1700, speaks of two buffaloes that were killed on Cape Fear river in North Carolina. Schoolcraft says that the city of Buffalo perpetuates the tradition of the former existence of the buffalo near Lake Erie. Charlevoix, writing in 1721 from the site where Detroit now stands, says: “At the end of five or six leagues, inclining towards Lake Erie, one sees vast meadows which feed a prodigious number of these cattle.” There is no evidence to show that this noble animal was once plentiful on the Kanawha river, in Virginia. Audoboon states that in is boyhood “buffaloes roamed over the small prairies of Illinois, and herds of them stalked through the open woods of Kentucky and Tennessee.” Central, Illinois, from the writing of the early Jesuit explorers, seemed to have been the paradise of the buffalo. Teeth of the bison have recently been found in the Quaternary clay in Gardiner, Maine, while their remains have been found very far north in British America.
……That the bones of these animals are common anywhere in the vast region over which they once roved is not remarkable. Lyell has beautifully said: “ Instead of it’s being part of the pain of nature to store its enduring records of a large number of the individuals plants and animals which have lived on the surface, it seems to be her chief care to provide the means of discumbering the habitable areas lying above and below the water of those myriads of the solid skeletons of animals and those massive trunks of trees, which would otherwise choke up every river and fill every valley. To prevent this inconvenience, she employs the heat of the sun and moisture of the atmosphere, the dissolving power of carbonic and other acids, the grinding teeth and gastric juices of quadrupeds, reptiles, and fish and the agency of the invertebrate.”

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The Inter Ocean
April 29 1872
Kansas.

Wheat in southern Kansas is looking well. Buffalo were killed last week within twenty-five miles of Wichita.

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The Vinton Record McArthur Ohio Buffalo Land May  23 1872

The Vinton Record McArthur Ohio Buffalo Land May 23 1872

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Spirit of the Age, Vermont June 27 1872

The Murder of The Buffalo,

……Few persons probably know how rapidly the American bison is disappearing from the Western plains. At one time it is said they were to be found everywhere West of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, but for many years they have been extinct east of the Mississippi River. The war of destruction, however, appears to go on more bravely in proportion as they are driven into narrower and narrower limits, and it is not unlikely that the fate of the European bison, which once abounded in the woolly wilderness of Germany, Northern Gaul and neighboring parts of the continent, but which is now to be found alone and rarely in the forest of Lithuania, will soon be theirs.
……Some idea of the extent of this ruthless slaughter may be formed from the fact that 25,000 bison were killed during this month of May south of the Kansas and Pacific Railroad for the sake of their hides alone, which are sold at the paltry price of two dollars each on delivery for shipment to the Eastern markets. Add to this 5000- a small estimate- shot by a tourist and killed by the Indians to supply meat to the people on the frontier, and we have a sum total of 30,000 as the victims for a single month.
……If the bison were wild and savage animal- if to kill one required any special skill or bravery or nerve, there might be some justification for this enormous slaughter. But the fact is that the bison is an exceedingly mild- dispositioned animal. His looks indicate ferocity and malignity, but his nature does not correspond with his appearance. Even in the breeding season, when the common bull is frequently dangerous, when the stag and the elk attack everything that comes in their way, and when most animals are pugnacious, the bison will go by on the other side to avoid a man. It is only when he is wounded by a blundering aim or irritated by a persistent pursuit that he shows fight enough to make hunting him enjoyable. Besides, the Indian ponies are trained to dodge his onset, when Madden beyond endurance, so that the hunter who can manage to stick to his horse has little to do but to sit still and keep firing until he can make a fatal shot.
……Everyone remembers how Prince Alexis, under the leadership of Gen. Sheridan, participated in this “sport,” to the intense gratification of his royal father and to the profit of the special correspondents. It is doubtful, however, whether even our royal precedent can justify this kind of so-called hunting. However this may be in the eastern states, the following paragraph from the letter of an Army officer shows that in the Western states this kind of “sport”is estimated at its true worth, while, at the same time, its reference to the number of persons who are following the Russian Princeling’s example confirms the apprehension that the American bison will soon become as fabulous and animal as the dodo:
……“To shoot a Buffalo’ seems of mania. Men come from London-Cockney’s, fops and nobles-and from all parts of the Republic to enjoy what they call sport. Sport! When no danger is incurred and no skill required. I see no more sport in shooting a Buffalo than in shooting and the ox nor so much danger as there is in hunting Texas cattle”

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Chicago Daily June 27, 1872.
The Fur Trade

The Business on the Upper Missouri- Immense Slaughter of Animals- Value of Robes and Furs

From the Sioux City Journal, June 20.

……Few of our people comprehend the magnitude of the fur trade which finds an outlet through our city, the larger share of which is controlled by Messrs. Durfee & Peck, of the Northwestern Transportation Company. Including those in transit from above, the firm has this year secured 40 tons of antelope and deer skins. On an average these skins weigh two and a half pounds each, which makes a total of 32,000 skins, worth at the least calculation $40,000. The accumulation of buffalo robes reached $10,000, and, estimating these to be worth $6.50 each, which is a low estimate, their value is $65,000. There are the skins of 2000 wolves, 1000 foxes, 500 elk, and 600 beaver, estimated to be worth $15,000. In addition to the above there are skins of bears, wild-cats, jackrabbits, badgers, muskrats, minx, etc. the total value of which is placed at $5000.
……As before stated, the above includes furs now received or in transit. The amount yet to come forward this season will swell the numbers of skins to more than 50,000. What we have made mention of is only that portion which passes through Durfee & Peck’s hands, and there are a score of parties to secure for themselves more or less, though in no such quantities as the firm named. Think of what a fearful slaughter of animals it requires to furnish this vast number of skins.
The upper Missouri fur trade does not by any means constitute the whole business of the firm in this line. They expect to receive this year and that Indian country living south of the Union Pacific Railroad at least 7000 buffalo robes, and minor furs in proportion, and the cash valuation of their fur trade this season alone will not fall short of $225,000, of which amount about $125,000 is derived from the country bordering on the Upper Missouri.

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The Junction City Weekly Kansas Slaughtering Bison July 6 1872

The Junction City Weekly JC KS Slaughtering Bison July 6 1872

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The Hutchison News Kansas Buffalo Land book July 25 1872

The Hutchison News KS Buffalo Land book July 25 1872

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Buffalo Bill Memphis Daily Appeal Aug  13 1872

Buffalo Bill Memphis Daily Appeal Aug 13 1872

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The American Bison

The Dixon Sun, Ill. Nov. 18th 1872

……The animal is rapidly disappearing from the Western plains. At one time, bisons were to be found everywhere West of the Hudson River, but they have for many years been extinct in the regions east of the Mississippi River. As the bison are driven into narrower limits their destruction becomes greater, and it is highly probable that this animal within the next thirty years will become entirely extinct. As a proof of the wholesale slaughter of the bison, it may be stated that during the last May twenty five thousand of these animals were killed South of the Kansas Pacific railroad for the sake of their hides alone, which were sold at two dollars each for shipment to the East. In addition, it is estimated that about five thousand bisons were killed by the Indians to supply the people on the frontier with meat, so that at least thirty thousand bisons have been killed in one month and the Southwestern territories.