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The Decline of the Buffalo. 

Chicago Daily Tribune
Chicago , Illinois
Jan 2 1875 


This was formally a part of the main north bluff, from which it became detached during some great natural convulsion, perhaps in the Glacial or Draft epoch. The rock is St. Peter’s Sandstone, overlaid with a thin bed of good coal, and above the usual Drift series. It’s surface covers some 80 acres. The canal and the railroad run through the deep natural cut between it and the main bluff. It is a prominent landmark, and is interesting as being the place where the buffalo (Bos Americanus) was last seen in this section. David Walker, Esq., of Ottawa, exhibited to me the semi-fossil head of a bison which he found here. He also showed some Indians skulls and other relics from the same locality.

Survey Colorado 1875-Castrated buffaloes are said to be occasionally met with where the buffaloes are abundant, being castrated when quite young by hunters. They are reported to attain an immense size, being so much larger than the others as to be conspicuous from their large size.


Sterling Standard
Sterling, Illinois
Jan 7 1875
The Decline of the Buffalo. 

A CORRESPONDENT, writing of the “great American bison, “ thinks it must be some satisfaction to him to know that he is subserving several good purposes in the social economy of the nation. But he doesn’t look nowadays as though he took satisfaction in anything. He has lost his traditional spirit and haughtiness. He no longer Lords it over the plains, but, on the contrary, skulks in the ravines like a runaway slave, and never shows fight while he sees a chance to flee. He has been crowded out of nearly all Kansas; the Indian Territory is no longer a safe habitation for him; and Colorado offers him no refuge. Turn he which way he will, pitiless destruction stares him in the face and urges him sorrowfully forward. He is on his last legs, and he acts as if he realized it. He is not a handsome or talented brute, but he has good blood in his veins, and deserves a better fate. Just how much longer he will endure cannot be accurately conjectured, but, as we say on the border concerning the Indian, “his paper is maturing fast.” The locomotive and the homesteader have been at his heels for several years past, and they will still pursue on and on to the westward until some rare and radiant sentiment-monger shell immortalize the last of his species in a venerable bullet scarred bull, standing on the summit of Mount Diablo, and gazing silently and mournfully out through the golden gate over the blue sweep of the Pacific.

Colorado 1875

1875 View of a buffalo
On loan from NYPL


The Pantagraph
Bloomington, Illinois Jan 26, 1875

A Brussels correspondent of the N.Y. World reports an interesting visit paid by him to Mr. Adraanzoon Van Koppenael,  a Dutch farmer residing near the city of Leyden in Holland – who has been for many years at work on an effort produce not simply a new “breed of cattle,” but a new species of the genus Bos; and who appears to have succeeded in the enterprise. The experiment is described as a fine old fellow of sixty-five years, full of intelligence and amiability, and confining in his veins “the best patrician and burgher blood of Holland.” His farm comprises some ninety acres “of the richest and fattest meadowland in the world,” situated near the village of Oegstgeest, near Leyden.

He told the correspondent that he had spent a million guilders (a guilder is about thirty-eight cents) in his experiments, “half of which was thrown away in trying perfectly useless plans of hybridizing.” He finally, however, discovered a law which he considers of first-class importance, and which Mr. Darwin, the English naturalist, wrote him was the most important corroboration of his theory of the variation of species that he has yet received from any source. The law simply is, that wild animals hybridize more readily than domesticated ones. We quote the remainder of the report entire:

  1. Van Koppenaul went on to state that the object he set out with was to produce a hybrid of the genus Bos that would be superior to be improved ox in health, in speed, in milking qualities and in beefing qualities- a hybrid that would be able to reproduce its kind and the constant in its adherence to the type from which it originated. His first experiment was that of crossing a Shropshire cow with the bull of the South African buffalo (Bos Caffir), and was suggested by a similarity in their arrangement of the horns of the two animals. The product was the sterile monster of hideous proportions. He next attempted a hybrid between the Brahminy bull (Bos Indicus) and a Dutch cow, the product again being sterile and worthless. The same result came from crossing the domestic animal with the Indian buffalo (Bos grunniens), and the American bison (Bos Americanus). By a lucky accident, however, he discovered that a cross between the bison and the Bramin cow was fertile, and this led him to experiments in the right direction.
  2. Van Koppenaul’s stables were somewhat like a menagerie. In a warm, sheltered pan, where the thermostat was kept at 60 degrees, were five yaks the grunting ox of Tartary. Another stable and yard contained quite a herd of Brahmin cattle. In stockade enclosures were African buffaloes and American bisons, while, fierce and sullen, in a strong prison by himself, the great aurochs (uras) of Lithuania pawed the ground and looked at the visitors with red, savage eyes. “That fellow cost me 40,000 guilders to get him here,” said Van Koppenaul, “but he is worth half 1 million, for he is the root of my new species. I bought him from a Russian nobleman in that neighborhood of Pskov, and I have had him fifteen years. In all that time he has not changed and look, nor softened in temper.” In another enclosure were about fifty animals, of nondescript appearance, all of the bovine species, yet very few resembling each other, and not like any that I have ever seen. “These are my hybrids in the first stage,” said Van Koppenaul; “they have nothing in their appearance that is inviting; but they are none of them sterile animals, and are consequently capable of being improved upon.”

In a third enclosure, a sort of paddock, with a stable connected, was another lot of animals, compromising one male, three females, and six calves. “This,” said Van Koppenaul, ” is my improved species, which I have taken the liberty to call Bos composites. It is, distinctly, a composition, and the pedigree of the animal is instructive,” he showed me a regular pedigree, made out on parchment, of the Bos composites. It was as follows:

1875 Jan 26 Bos comp pedigree











Nashville Union and American
Nashville, Tennessee Jan 29, 1875

Killing the Pets of the Great Farm that Surrounds Ben Holladay’s Baronial Castle.

A genuine, exciting and perilous wild buffalo hunt is the latest excitement in Westchester county, N.Y. Ben Holladay, the great contractor of the Pacific coast, has a farm of some hundreds of acres, about three miles east of White Plains village. In the centre of this great farm is the Holladay mansion. It is a great stone structure with the leaning toward the architecture of the old Norman castles. So large is it that only one wing been furnished there is ample room for the family and many guests. This wing, with its elegant furniture and fittings, is a marble of the neighbors. To the rear of the house are roomy stone stables filled with valuable stock, and thoroughbred English horses that take the fences and travel across the country, to the astonishment of the farmers.

Acres of ground about the house in lawns and terraces are enclosed by a massive stone wall in which there are heavy iron gates. At the main gate is a keepers lodge, also a stone, and which the gatekeeper and his family live. The gates at this entrance have cast on their surface the name of the place which they guard, Ophir Farm. Within the wall and at some distance from the house is a small stone church, complete in all its appointments. This is the Holladay church, and when the family are at home they have a minister who preaches nowhere else.

A few years ago the great Ben thought that a park full of game was all that was needed to make the Ophir farm complete. A large plot was enclosed with a high fence and stocked with deer. The notion of a few buffalo followed, and his Mailbagness sent some from the West. Seven arrived. They were perfect specimens of the animals over whose carcasses “Bison William” stopped to fame. Last spring they escaped from the park and speedily became a nuisance to the country for miles around. No fence could stop them, and they ate everything. One by one they were killed off, several having strayed into Connecticut. The man on the Holladay farm paid no attention to them, and one man told the neighboring farmers that they might shoot them if they could. Two of the largest aroused in the neighborhood and were much of the time away from the Holladay farm. Their depredations were so severely felt in the apple orchards last fall. They were seen a vocational league, but only at a distance.

On Saturday last they were near Mr. W. H. Dusenberry’s house, in the town Purchase. There was enough snow on the ground to make it easy to track them, and young Wolsey Dusenberry, with his friend Stephen Deblois, determined to try to kill them. They had no rifles, but putting bullets into their shotguns they started out. The buffalo kept well together and were easily followed by the hunters, who occasionally caught a glimpse of them half a mile ahead. The chase led to the hunters nearly to Kensico, ten miles, and there they suddenly came upon the buffalo in a wood. They were off before shot could be fired, and taking the back track, were followed by the excited hunters. About three-quarters of a mile from Purchase the hunters again came up with the game, and aided by their previous experience, got in a shot. It took effect in the shoulder of the bull, a monster, who weighed about 1000 pounds. Two more shots were fired before the beast was felled. The smaller animal made a desperate charge upon the hunters, who had given it’s mate his death wound. The latter sought safety in flight, and with a number of boys who had joined them took to the trees, from whose branches a shot reached the beast below. She retreated, and was pursued about a mile, and then killed, after again treeing her pursuers. The skin of the large buffalo is nine feet long and eight feet wide.



The Elk County Advocate
Ridgway Pennsylvania Feb 4 1875

What has been Accomplished in Germany and What More is Expected.

A new breed of cattle has been produced in Germany, and a correspondent of the World who visited the stables of noted breeder, writes as follows: same as previous article, with this added.
The lucky accident that led him in the right direction.
The result of the experiments was a bull weighing 1,500 pounds and a cow weighing 1,000.
I was surprised at what Mr. Van Koppenaul told me of the milking qualities of his new hybrid. The cows which he showed me where yielding an average per capita of 12,000 pounds of milk per annum, and this milk is so rich in butyraceous properties that it’s average yield of butter is one pound in nine, thus equaling the finest strains of Jersey cattle.
“Have these precious animals no-fault?” I asked.
“They have, replied M. Van Koppenaul, “a very grave vault. They are very impatient of confinement. I shall have to breed this one out of them before I can venture to think them perfect, and I do not know how to do it, unless I introduce another cross of the Bos Indicus by breeding the Trisabramak to that. Another thing, I have not room here. I need your Western prairies and your bluegrass regions to give my herds of fair chance, but I am too old to immigrate. Those who come after me will develop the experiment, and bring out its full results. After the Bos composites has been made reasonably perfect, a close and thorough system of in and in breeding will be needed to mature and round off all the excellence of the new animal. That is what I may not hope to achieve.”
After showing me much more of his menagerie and much and curious talk which I need not repeat here, I returned to the house with M. Van Koppenaul. At lunch I had the opportunity to taste the rich golden butter and cheese made from the milk of the Bos compositus, or the Van Koppenaul cow, as it ought to be called.
M Van Koppenaul informed me that it was the success of his friend Van Mons, the great horticulturist of Ghent, in producing the new hybrid fruits of such superior quality that set him up on attempting to improve the race of cattle. The known delicacy of constitution and tendency to sterility of the best strains of short horns made him think of going back to the wild blood, just as Mr. Goodrich did with the potato. He tells me that it’s remarkable fecundity is one of the most valuable traits of the Bos composites. Every cow that he has spread so far has fetched him when calves.
I think it probable that in a year or two at least M Van Koppenaul will transfer a portion of his improve stock to Kentucky. He was very particular in his inquiries about the bluegrass country, and was charmed with the glowing description which I gave him of those grand pastures and grassy open woods magnificent with trees of primeval growth.



Lawrence Daily Journal, KS- Apr 22 1875 3,160,000 lbs of bones

Lawrence Daily Journal - Apr 22 1875 3160000 lbs of bones



Lawrence Daily Journal
Lawrence, Kansas May 9, 1875
Field Sports in Kansas and Colorado 

The following interesting sporting letter, which we clip from the London (Eng.) Field is from the pen of Mr. Wm. Weston, at one time a resident of Lawrence, and now in Europe in the interest of the Kansas Pacific railway:

Few of my countrymen have any accurate idea of the wonderful facilities for sport afforded by the above region, and, having had six years, off and on, among the grouse and quail in the beautiful woodlands and prairies of Kansas, and among the bison and antelope on the Great Plains, and not being of a greedy turn of mind, I wish in a modest way to tell of the glorious fun it has been my lot to enjoy in the Far West. There is room for us all, and gain enough and to spare for even the Army of good shots that are little island could turn out. No gamekeepers, no license, and no one to see that the game laws, such as they are, are enforced; there is nought, I regret to say, to prevent indiscriminate slaughter, say the innate or of “pot-hunting” and mere butchery felt by every British sportsmen; and I feel confident that the introducing of a few hundreds of such men into that country will, by contact and other ways, make the Westerners more keenly alive to the importance of their game, and more careful in its preservation. But such may be the result in the earnest hope of at least one devotee at the shrine of rod and trigger.

(more about hunting fowl and how he hunted here, beautiful country and railroads)

Denver at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, and has its course through Central Kansas and Eastern Colorado, along the 39th parallel, the Dakotah region of Prof. Cooper. Being built (unlike our European lines) in advance of civilization, to make the country, and not to meet the requirements of it, it can readily be understood how a man can get off at a station along the line, and within an hour be in the midst of myriads of quail and grouse or buffalo and antelope, as he may desire. For over 300 miles of its entire length (which is 895 miles) this railway traverses the interminable and wonderful prairie – “that far vast land, that few behold, and none beholding understand,” the only inhabitants of which are the few dwellers at the stations and their cattle, the shaggy bison, the fleet antelope, the wolf and the prairie dog – that land so beautifully described by Joaquin Miller, where he says;

Some silent red man cross your track;

Some sun-tanned trappers come and go;

Some rolling seas of buffalo

Break thunder-like and far away

Against the foothills, breaking back

Like breakers of some trouble bay;

Some white tailed-antelope blown by

So airy like come foxes, shy

And shadow-like move to and fro

Like weavers shuttles as you pass;

And now and then from out the grass

You hear some loan bird cluck and call

A sharp, keen call for her lost brood,

That only makes the solitude

Seem deeper still – and that is all.

I made my first trip on that line in 1871, and three times did the engineer have to stop is trained to prevent running into herds of bison (or buffalo, as they are there called) which were crossing the track.

And now to business…etc.,



The Pulaski Citizen
Pulaski Tennessee
June 10 1875

The migratory nature of certain extinct animals may safely be assumed from their affinities with living species; but direct proof of this, of some value, has lately been obtained in England. In a quarry near Castleton in Derbyshire is a fissure, called the Windy Knoll fissure, which has been ascertained to contain the bones of a great number of bison, reindeer, grizzly bear, wolf, fox, hare, rabbit, and water rat. These were confusedly mingled, and the crevice has been filled partly with stalagmite, but mostly with loam. From the relation of the fissure to the drainage of the surrounding country, it has been suggested that the animals fell into it when they went to drink and were washed in by floods. Prof. Dawkins thinks it may have lain in the path of the bison and reindeer, in their annual migrations, the carnivorous animals being caught as they follow the herds to run down stragglers. From an examination of the young teeth of the bison and reindeer, he concluded that those animals passed the crevice at different seasons of the year, some falling in on their northward trip, and some on the home journey. The fissure was opened in the newer pliocene, but whether before or after the glacial era, cannot now be determined.



The Galveston Daily News Jun 23 1875 Go West



Williamsport Sun – Gazette
Williamsport, Pennsylvania July 5, 1875

(part of an article about businesses)


“I do admire its cooling shade,1875 Maurice Morgan Schultz

‘tis pleasant unto me.

Of all the trees the Lord has made

give me the hemlock tree.”


Our carriage ride of a few hon__ terminated at the village of Wilcox, whence we started, and then all hands visited the tannery, which is the largest and one of the most interesting in the country. It is run by Maurice M and Judson Schultz. The principal product of the tannery now is bison leather, of which they worked in and tanned out 80,000 bison and 25,000 East India buffalo hides last year.

The bison hides average some 36 pounds each, of which 6 pounds go to glue stock and 6 pounds for hair, leaving 24 pounds of hide. They are tanned very quickly in two or three months time but very strong liquors are used. The leather, which averages some 17 to 18 pounds to the side, is used for insoles, heels and stock of that description, for which it is well adapted, while it’s cheapness rendered it a favorite and saleable stock for shoe manufacturers use. Schultz, Southwich & Co. deserve great credit, and merit the success they have obtained in producing this leather from hides which formally had little value, and have generally been shipped to Europe in a raw state.



National Republican Wa. DC Jul 8 1875 Grass and Bones

National Republican Wa. DC Jul 8 1875 Grass and Bones



The Newton Kansan
Newton, Kansas Jul 15, 1875


This Arkansas River from which is derived the name of the Valley, Messrs. the entire length of the valley, and in its course meanders through one of the finest countries the world ever knew; a country consisting of hundreds of thousands of acres of nature’s beautiful in bountiful blue stem meadows where annually are fatted multiplied thousands of huge bison of the plain for the joint benefit of the “big Injun,” who was always hungry, and the front tier settler, who occasionally feels inclined to eat more meat than can be raised for the first few years on the farm; a country, too, in which the hunter after romance need not look in vain for the lonely cliff and the solitary dell, the waste places in the deserts wild, where the jackrabbits gambols unseen and the fleet-footed antelope nips the nutritious grasses unmindful alike of hunter and of hound; a country under laid for thousands of miles was so porous a sub-soil that the overflow of the country is an impossibility, should all the snows in the mountains melt. And right here let me suggest that but for this quick sand subsoil, we would, from the flatness of the country, be constantly exposed to overflow.



The Inter Ocean
Chicago Illinois
Aug 5 1875

Myriads of Bleaching Skeletons Seen by Our Reporter with the Black Hills Expedition.

Which Tell the Tale of Extermination – Traditions of the Animals Ranges, Past and Present.

Appearance and Habits of the Inoffensive Beast _ A Curious Combination of Courage and Cowardice.

A Herd on the Rampage – Battling with Wolves – Maternal Instincts – For These Plains Monarchs are Being Needlessly Slaughtered.

Black Hills Expedition, Camp Harsey on French Creek, Custer’s Gulch, Debuts, July 17 1875

From our own reporter.]

In previous letters, descriptive of the country traveled by this expedition since cutting loose from civilization, your correspondent has referred in passing to a few phases of plains and mountains life as yet unrecorded and fast fading beyond the realm and reach of the historian of the frontier. Another side of this, hinted at in the recisal of the legend of the Raw Hide Butte, has suggested a chapter on a former inhabitant of the plains, but now discovered rarely in his ancient haunts along the Platte, the Arkansas, the White River, or the Running Water, and scarcely to be encountered outside the canons of the Cimmaron country, along the spurs of the Canadian, or here and there in the dear old grazing grounds of the Republican. The countless

Myriads of Buffalo Skulls

that lie scattered from the Cheyenne and Missouri to the Platte, and  eyes to the Lone Star plains and the swellings of the Rockies, tell the tale of extermination in language not too soon to be forgotten. As a result of a score of years of plains experience and observation of this remarkable and almost extinct animal, I was enabled to give the Inter Ocean’s readers the following, which is in advance chapter on the West by Col. Richard I. Dodge, the commanding officer of our expedition. This work will assume a form more permanent than that given it is the morning press, and will appear in England next winter or spring. As much of the territory referred to in Col. dodges paper furnished me was explored by this outfit on its march to the hills, and was described in detail by your correspondent at the time, the allusions made will be found familiar, and the subject treated interesting and instructive.

Ranges of the Buffalo.

Forty years ago the buffalo ranged from the plains of Texas to beyond the British lines; from the Missouri and upper Mississippi to the Eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Every portion of this immense area was either the permanent house of great numbers of buffalo, or might be expected to have each year one or more visits from migratory thousands.

Hunters tradition says that the first great break in this regular ill regularity occurred about the winter of 1844-5, in that portion of country now known as Laramie Plains. That whole section was visited by a most extraordinary snow-storm. Contrary to all precedent, there was no wind, and the snow covered the surface evenly to the depth of nearly four feet. Immediately after the storm a bright sun softened the surface, which at night throws late a crust so firm that it was weeks before any heavy animal could make any headway over it.

The Laramie Plains, been entirely surrounded by mountains, had always been a favorite wintering place for the buffaloes. Thousands were caught in the storm, and perished miserably by starvation. Since that time not a single buffalo has ever visited the Laramie Plains. When I first crossed these plains, in 1868, the whole country was dotted with skulls of buffaloes, all in the last stages of decomposing and all apparently of the same age, given some foundation for the tradition. Indeed, it was in answer to my request for explanation of the numbers appearance, and identity of age of these skulls that the tradition was related to me by an old hunter, who, however, could not himself vouch for the facts.

The next great break occurred at a comparatively recent date. The great composite tribe of Sioux, driven by encroaching civilization from their homes in Iowa, Wisconsin, in Minnesota, had crossed the Missouri and thrust themselves between the Pawnees on that east and the Crows on the north and west. A ong-continued

Was Between the Tribes

taught at least mutual respect, and an immense area, embracing the Black Hills and the vast plains watered by the Niobrara and White Rivers, became a debatable ground, into which none but war parties ever penetrated. Hunted more or less by the surrounding tribes, immense numbers of buffalo took refuge in this debatable land, where they were comparatively unmolested, remaining there summer and winter insecurity. When the Pawnee were finally overthrown and forced onto a reservation, the Sioux poured into this country, just suited to their tastes, and, finding buffalo berry plenteous and a ready ___ for their robes, made such a furious onslaught upon the poor beast but in a few years scarce a buffalo could be found in the extensive tract of country’s South of the Cheyenne and North and East of the North Platte River. This area, in which the buffalo had thus become practically extinct, joined on the southwest the Laramie Plains country, and there resulted a broad east-and-west belt from the Missouri to Montana, which contained no buffalo. In the year 1870 their original great buffalo range had become permanently divided into two ranges. The southern buffalo ranged from northern Texas to about latitude 41° 30 minutes. The northern ranged from about latitude 43° through what is known as the powder River country, quite into the British P________.

The Game of the Plains.

To the sportsman, the most prominent fascination of plains life, is the abundance and variety of game. I use the term “abundance” in its sportsmanlike sense, meaning sufficiency. Leaving out the buffalo (which plains men scarcely considered game) there is little to be had without skill and knowledge. Nowhere on the plains, that I know of can one slaughter such numbers of beast as our bagged, we are told, by sportsmen in Abyssinia or Central Africa.

The plains hunter must work, and he must know how to work, or his bag will be of the lightest. There are no villages of natives to be sub________ to drive dangers animals too where the sportsman was recently ensconced in a tree; no hundreds of peasants to make a line of miles and forced the game to a trap; no battalions of keepers to drive birds to the sportsman sitting comfortably in his box with two or three breech loaders and a man to load them, a bottle of Roodever and a box of cigars to keep that time from hanging heavily. On the plains it is a fair fight between human sagacity and brutal instinct, and ___ with the most approved arms the odds are by no means always in favor of the human.

I have said that the buffalo is scarcely considered game by the plainsman. It is for the reason that this animal, less than any other, requires an exercise of that skill and sagacity in which the true sportsmen finds his pleasure and reward for all his toils. The man who kills his two or 3 pound trout with than aid ounce broad, correspondingly light tackle and delicate fry, has a half an hour of exquisite enjoyment of which the ground bait man can form no conception , though he may get more fish; and the successful stocking of a black tailed buck, even though it involves hours of severe labor, is more full of pure satisfaction to the thorough sportsmen than the murder of and acre of buffaloes.

I suppose that I ought to call this animal the bison. But though naturalist may insist that bison is his true name, I as a plainsman, must insist that his name is buffalo. A buffalo he is known everywhere, as buffalo he “lives and moves and has his being.” And when, as soon will be, he has passed away, as buffalo he will live in traditions and story.

General Appearance

the general appearance of this animal is well known to all. His enormous bulk, shaggy mane, vicious eye, and sullen demeanor give him an appearance of ferocity very foreign to his nature. Dangerous as he looks, he is, in truth, a very mild inoffensive beast, timid and fearful, and rarely attacking but in the last hopeless effort of self-defense. The domestic cattle of Texas, miscalled “tame”are 50 times more dangerous to put men than the fiercest buffalo. He is the most un-wildly, sluggish and stupid of Plains animals. In doubt with the smallest possible amount of instinct, the little he has seems adapted rather for getting him into difficulties than getting out of them. If not alarmed at site or smell of a foe, he will stand stupidly gazing at his companions in their death throes, until the whole herd is shot down. He will walk unconsciously into a quicksand or quagmire already choked with struggling dying victims. Having made up his mind to go a certain way, it is almost impossible to swerve him from his purpose. He is as timid about his flanks as a raw recruit. When traveling, nothing in his front stops him, but as unusual object in its rear will send him to the about at the top of his speed.

His Habits

a curious fact illustrating the habits of these monarchs of the plains cited by our author, and is a leaf from the unwritten history of the buffalo taken from the era when the Pacific railway’s first span the continent. The winter of 1871-2 was unusually severe in Arkansas. The pawns and smaller streams to the North were all frozen solid, and the buffalo were forced to the rivers for water. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad was then in process of construction, and nowhere could the peculiarity of the buffalo of which I am speaking be better studied than from its trains. If a herd was on the north side of the track it would stand stupidly gazing and without symptoms of alarm though the locomotive passed within a hundred yards. If on the south side of the track, even though at a distance of one or two miles from it, the passage of a trained set the whole herd in the wildest commotion. At its full speed, and utterly regardless of consequences, it would make for the track, on its line of retreat. If the train happened not to be in its path to cross the track, and stopped satisfied. If the train was in the way each individual buffalo went at it with the desperation of despair, plunging against or between locomotive and cars, just as the blind madness chance to take them. Numbers were killed, but numbers will pressed on to stop and stare as soon as the obstacle was passed. After having trains ditched twice in one week, conductors learn to have a very decided respect for the idiotic proceeds of the buffalo, and when there was a possibility of striking

A Herd “On the Rampage”

for the South side of the track, the train was slowed up, and sometimes stopped entirely. Late in the summer of 1867 a herd of probably 4000 buffalo attempted to cross the South Platte near Plum Creek. The river was rapidly subsiding, being nowhere over a foot or two in depth, and the channels in the bed were filled or filling with loose quicksand. The buffalo in front were hopelessly stuck. Those immediately behind urged on by the horns and pressure of those yet further in rear, trampled over there are struggling companions to be themselves engulfed in the devouring sand. This was continued until the bed of the river, nearly half a mile broad, was covered with dead or dying buffalo. Only a comparative few actually cross the river, and these were soon driven back by hunters. It was estimated that considerably more than half the herd, or over 1000 buffalo paid for this attempt with their lives.

When traveling unmolested the buffalo is extremely careful in his choice of grades by which to pass from one Creek to another so much so, indeed but though a well defined buffalo trail may not necessarily be a good route for a wagon road, one may rest well assured that his is the best route to be had. He seems to have a natural sympathy to the exercise of going up or down steep places, and crossing streams his instinct deserts him. He plunges in anywhere without fear or care, and shows less sense and extricating himself from the difficulties incidents to such action than any other animals, either wild or tame. His _________ to travel over bad ground is by no means to be taken as inability to do so. When frightened he will, at fast speed, and with perfect impunity , client banks or plunge down precipices where it would be impossible or certain death to a horse to attempt to follow. I have spoke of his liability to stampede, but, even when impelled by the badness which overpowers stampeded animals, such is his strength and power of resistance that he is rarely seriously injured by tumbles which would disable, if not kill any other heavy animal.

Now Herds are Compost

The habits of the buffalo are almost identical with those of domestic cattle. Owing either to be a mirror Pacific disposition or to the great number of Bulls, there is very little fighting, even at the season when it might be expected.

I have been among them four days, having watched their conduct for hours at a time, and with the very best opportunities for observation, have never seen any regular combat between bulls. They frequently strike at each other with their horns, but this seems to be a mere expression of impatience at being crowded. The small herds, which comprise the great herd, have each generally more Bulls than cows, seeming all on the very best terms with each other. The old Bulls do undoubtedly leave the herd and wander off as advanced or rear guards and flankers, but I am disposed to believe this do to a misanthropic abnegation of society on the part of these old fellows, to whom female companionship no longer possesses its charm, rather than to their being driven out by the younger bulls, as is generally believed. This habitual separation of the large herd into numerous smaller herds seems to be and instinctive act, probably for more perfect mutual protection. It has been thought, said, and written by many persons that each small herd is a sort of community.

The Harem and Retainers

of some specially powerful bull, who keeps proper order and subjection among them. Nothing is further from the truth. The Association is not only purely instinctive, voluntary, free from domination of power, of sexual appetite, or individual preferences, but is most undoubtedly entirely accidental as to individual components. I have, observed, carefully watched herds while feeding. I have seen two or more small herds merge into one, or one larger herd separate into two or more. This is done quietly, gradually, and, as it were, accidentally, and the active feeding each buffalo seaming only interest on getting his full share of the best grass. I have already said that the cows and calves are always in the center, the bulls on the outside. When feeding herds approach each other and merge into one, the only perceptible a bull change — and this is so gradual as scarcely to be noticed — is that the Bulls on the sides of contact work themselves out toward the new circumference, which is to enclose the whole; and when a larger herd breaks, by the same gradual process, into smaller ones, the bulls instinctively place themselves on the outside of each. When pursued the herds rush together in one compact, plunging mass. As soon as the pursuit is over, and the buffaloes are sufficiently recovered from their fright to begin feeding, those on the outside of the mass gradually detached themselves, breaking into smaller herds, until the whole large herd is in its normal condition. If each dominant bull had on such occasions to run through the herd to look up his lost wives, children and dependents, this life would not only be a very unhappy, but also a very busy one.

Maternal Instincts

There is one very marked and curious difference between buffaloes and domestic cattle. The cows seems to possess scarcely a trace of maternal instinct, and when frightened will abandon her without the slightest hesitation. The duty of protecting the calf devolves entirely upon the bulls.

I have seen evidence of this many times, but the most remarkable instance I have ever heard of was related to me by an Army surgeon, who was an eyewitness: he was one evening returning to camp, after a day’s hunt, when his attention was attracted by the curious action of a little knot of six or eight buffaloes. Approaching sufficiently near to see clearly he discovered that this little knot were all bulls, standing in a close circle with their heads outward, while in a concentric circle at some twelve or fifteen paces distant set licking their chops in inpatient expectancy at least a dozen large gray wolves, excepting man, the most dangerous enemy of the buffalo. The doctor determined to watch the performance. After a few moments the not broke up, still keeping in a compact mass, started on a trot for the main herd, some half a mile off. To his very great astonishment the doctor now saw that the central and controlling figure of this mass was a poor little calf, so newly born as scarcely to be able to walk. After going fifty or a hundred yards the calf laid down. The bulls dispose themselves in a circle as before, and the wolves, who had trotted along on each flank of their retreating supper sat down and licked their chops again. This was repeated again and again and although the doctor did not see the finale {it being late, and the camp distant}, he had no doubt that the noble fathers did their whole duty by their offspring, and carried it safely to the herd.

How Intruders Are Viewed

when the calves are young they are Always in the center of each small herd, the cows with them, while the bulls dispose themselves on the outside. When feeding, the herd is more or less scattered, but on the approach of danger it closes and rounds into a tolerable compact circular mass. Although there is not a particular of danger in approaching such a herd, it is a novice requires an extraordinary amount of nerve. When he gets within 300 yards, the Bulls are on that side, with head erect, tail cocked in error, nostrils expanded, and eyes that seem to flash fire even to that distance walk unusually to and fro, menacing the intruder by pawing the earth and tossing of their huge heads. The enemy still approaching, some bull will face him, lower his head, and start on a most furious charge. But alas for brute courage! When he has gone twenty or thirty yards Mr. Bull thinks better of it, stops, stairs and instant, and then trots back to the herd. Another and another will try the same game, with the same result, and spite of these ferocious demonstrations, the hunter still approaches, the whole herd will take incontinently to its heels. This bullying proclivity, combined with his natural indisposition to get out of the way, has been the same cause of the death of thousands at the hands of men to whom buffalo-killing was no novelty, who needed no meat, and would not have gone fifty yards out of their way to kill, but in whom opportunity so roused that spirit of murder which is inherent in every sportsmen’s breast, that that temptation was too strong to be resisted.

How they Were Slaughtered

the butchery still goes on. Comparatively few buffalo are now killed, for there are comparatively few to kill. I was, in October 1874, on a short trip to the buffalo region south of Sydney Barracks. A few buffalo were encountered, but there seem to be more hunters than buffalo. The country’s south of the South Platte is without water for many miles, and the buffaloes must satisfy their thirst at the river. The south bank was lined with hunters. Every approach of the buffaloes to water was met by rifle bullets, and one or more hit the dust. Care was taken not to permit the others to drink, for then they would not return. Tortured with thirst the poor brutes approach again and again, always to be met by bullets, always to lose some of their number. But for the favoring protection of night the race would be for now have been exterminated. In places favorable to such action, as the south bank of the Platte, a herd of buffalo has, by shooting at it by day and by lightning fires and firing guns at night, been kept from watering for four days, or until it has been entirely destroyed. In many places the Valley was offensive from the stench of putrefying carcasses. At the present time the southern buffalo can hardly be said to have a range. The term expresses a voluntary set, while the unfortunate animals have no violation left. They are driven from one water-hole to meet death at another. No sooner do they stop to feed than the sharp crack of a rifle warns them to change position. Every drink of water, every mouthful of grass, is at the expense of life, and the miserable animals, continually harassed, are driven into localities far from their natural haunts — anywhere to avoid the unceasing pursuit. A few, probably some thousands, still linger about their beloved pastures in the Republican country. If you still hide in the deep canons of the Cimarron country, but the mass of southern buffalo now living are to be found far away from the dreaded hunter, on a belt of country extending southwest across the upper tributaries of the Canadian, across the southern end of the Staked Plain to the Pecos River. The difficulty of getting the hides to market from these remote and Indian infested regions is some guarantee that the buffalo will not be extinct for a few years.




Chicago Daily Tribune Aug 27 1875 An OutBreakChicago Daily Tribune Aug 27 1875 An OutBreak



Chicago Daily Tribune Aug 31 1875 leather ad

Chicago Daily Tribune Aug 31 1875 leather ad



Lawrence Daily Journal KS Sep 3 1875 DB English Hunt

Lawrence Daily Journal KS Sep 3 1875 DB English hunt



The Daily Commonwealth
Topeka, Kansas Sep 26, 1875

How They Hunted the Buffalo at the Fair Ground.

Yesterday came off, according to previous announcement, the great entertainment for man and beast, under the management of Mr. C.J. Jones.

The day was as fair as if Mr. Jones had ordered it expressly for the occasion. The dust, however, was unusually deep and wide and was kicked up with the greatest ease.

The crowd which came to the show from abroad was not as large as was expected. Instead of sixteen cars from the great south-west only six came, and the same number from that portion of the great north-east line between here and Atchison. We suppose that when the curtain “riz” at the fair grounds there were 2,500 persons present.

The band contest did not come off. Vollrath’s band, from Kansas City, failed to appear, and it looked at one time as if the ‘savage beasts” of the antelope and jack rabbit would not be “soothed” by any music at all, but finally the Capital Band put in an appearance in blew faithfully all the rest of the afternoon.

The lady equestrian match was the first thing. The contestants were Mrs. J. C. Allison, of Burlingame, Mrs. C. M. Luther, of Lawrence, and Miss. Nanny Twiss, Mrs. S. K. Spaulding, Mrs. Mary Parsons, and Miss Carrie Kirkpatrick, of Topeka.

The judges were Capt.W.S.Spivey, of Topeka, Sanford Clute, of Atchison, E.T. Nichols, of Emporium.

The contest was a long one and must have been fatiguing to the ladies. The contest finally narrowed down to Mrs. Allison and Miss Twiss, and the judges awarded the watch to Mrs. Allison. The writer, however, who attracted the most attention was Mrs. Luther, of Lawrence. She had a fine lead trained horse whom she put through a variety of tricks and paces, and she was, to make a short story of it, the best nonprofessional horsewoman we have seen for many a day.

Meantime the cow-boys who proposed to pursue the bounding bison were mustering in force and attracted great attention. They wore generally the slouched, flop-eared hat that distinguishes the profession, and also stern wheel boots. The two who attracted the most attention were a gentleman who sported a half-bushel or so of oakum-colored hair, and a round shouldered youth whose caller turned over and exposed the upper end of his back to that extent that it seemed as if he had put on his shirt wrong and up.

But several things were to happen before the snorting buffalo were to career madly over the plain. The first was a deeply thrilling hunt of a jack rabbit by fox hounds. Mr. Jones warned everybody to seek safety from the mad rush of the animals, tipped the rabbit out of the box and gave him a kick as a can’t but if he wanted his ears to belong in the land he had better “lean out” of that. The rabbit, unfortunately for himself, failed to “tumble” to Mr. Jones’ suggestion and before he had gone two feet was stopped by two dogs, who carefully bit him in two in the middle, and then each dog went his way with the portion of rabbit that belong to him. Oh, it was enough to stir the blood of age to see that hunt.

But the hearts of the excited people had hardly descended from their throats to their appropriate location, before the wolf hunt was announced. The wolf was a mild-eyed beast who had been tied near the meek looking antelope. The wolf evidently had no taste for public life, and preferred to live “far from the maddening crowd.” Accordingly, when turned loose he started for the nearest timber, a few rods off. He was persuaded by the cowboys: several hundred hoodlums with the basements of their pants in a state of extreme dilapidation, and all the available dogs. But the wolf had determined on his course, and was not to be deterred from it. He soon disappeared in the brush, and the youth climbed on the fence and set in a long row like crows, looking into the timber where the wolf had vanished. Cle__ns averred that the wolf afterwards came around and looked in at the gate to see how the show was progressing without him, but this statement is incorrect. It is understood that the Wolf absolutely “withdrew from the convention.”

Quite an interval elapsed before the two bison were led out of their pen. A great deal of galloping and screaming was done to induce small boys and others to take back seats, but the crowd had got the idea that the buffaloes were domesticated brutes who had been engaged in agricultural pursuits at Silver Lake, and declined to fall back. They were not afraid of any buffaloes that ever plowed. The chase which followed was very funny to everybody except the beast, who were very much disgusted. One finally went through the fence in pursuit of the wolf, but was brought back. The other, thinking it was a long time between drinks, broke out into the grounds, trotted out the front gate and headed for town and, it is supposed, for Poppendick’s. While in the lane the buffalo had some conversation with the Joneses which ended in an argument whereby C. J. Jones lassoed the animal and was awarded the gold-beaded cane. The understanding was that no one was to touch the animals with his hands or teeth. This did not prevent Tom Drew from catching one of the noble beast by the tail, and a frightful struggle ensued in front of the grandstand, where, in the midst of a great cloud of dust, men, boys, horses and buffalo howled, pranced and ‘cussed.” Where the crowd emerged from the ”sulphuron canopy” a free fight seemed imminent. A lively jaw ensued in which Mr. Tom Drew and Mr. Bill Shaft cussed and discussed with great volubility. They were finally quieted by Officer Dustin and five dollars each from Mr. Jones. It was then announced that this show was adjourned sine die, and thus ended the big show, the like of which has not been seen since the “yaller dog from Tecumsy” and his colleagues “fit the” bear at Kilnes park.



The Weekly Commonwealth Topeka Sep 30 1875

The Weekly Commonwealth Topeka Sep 30 1875



The Osage County Chronicle Burlingame KS Oct 1 1875 Buffalo Jones Show

The Osage County Chronicle Burlingame KS Oct 1 1875 Buffalo Jones Show



Chicago Daily Tribune
Chicago, Illinois

Oct 3 1875

A reporter was shown through the establishment yesterday, and a variety and wealth of Nature’s coverings exhibited to him was startling. In the work-rooms there were 200 colored otter skins awaiting the knife of the manufacturer. These, Mr. Glanz explained, were more valuable than the same number of seal skins for some purposes, though not more costly. The stock consist of every kind of bird known in the market, in a profusion and variety, of kind and quality, equaled by few houses in the country. For manufacturing purposes also, every variety of trimming is kept on hand in the way of silk, satin, cords, tassels, and buttons; fur trimmings, such as black marten, silver fox, silver coon, coney (white and black), black lynx, gray fox, and scores of others. The great staple of the trade, however, is seal and mink, and these are sold in vast amounts. Trimmings are sold wholesale and retail by the yard or the 100 yards.

Seal and mink sacques,  playing and trend in all the prevailing patterns, are kept in stock, with boa and muff to match. They are also made to order if so desired, no extra charge been made for this accommodation. A perfect fit is always warranted, and absolute satisfaction guaranteed. Muffs and boas are made to match, both in fur and lining. Furs for children, too, are made in every variety. A large stock of buffalo and sleigh ropes is kept in both wholesale and retail departments. Mr. Glanz imports his foreign furs direct from Europe, while the domestic furbearing animals are trapped, one may say, exclusively for him by a large number of trappers. He pays good prices for good furs.




The Junction City Weekly Union
Junction City, Kansas Oct 23, 1875

A Joyous and Magnificent Occasion!
Everybody Interested and Everybody Delighted!
Six Hundred and Eighty-four Entries!
Magnificent Horses, Cattle, Hogs, Babies, Vegetables, Etc.!
The President on “Strivehard!”
Complete List of Awards!

For several years past Davis County farmers have been wondering whether or not they had the courage to attempt and Agricultural display. For some purpose or other are County has been decried until a doubt arose as to the ability of the country to feed its own people. There has been an air of mystery about how the people lived; nobody raised anything – that could only be done over and Dickinson county. Well, somehow the ball started, and it rolled and gathered until lo! Last Tuesday morning everybody woke up and found everybody attended a veritable Agricultural Fair: actually being held in Davis county! This there was a collection of monstrous vegetables, raised in Davis county, which looked as though they might have been raised across the line in Dickinson. Fine horses, and cattle, and pigs, fancy chickens, buffaloes, works of art, riding, driving, magnificent music, in fact an extraordinary collection of all those things usually displayed on such occasions, and above all an interested, enthusiastic and delighted people, contributed to make the First Annual Fair of the Davis County Agricultural Society, a magnificent success, leaving a great big green spot in the history of the county.

(More talk a entries, comfort, and convenience Ag. implements, needle works, buildings, Etc.,)





Among the first displays of cattle spoken of, we must make special mention of the exhibition of Capt. Robt. Henderson. He did much to encourage our first efforts at a fair. He added a novelty in the shape of a fine specimen of the American Bison; the Buffalo owned and exhibited by Capt. Henderson was a bear specimen of the natives of the plains and attracted much attention. We were glad to see this curious animal stand quietly in his stall flanked on either side by some of Mr. H’s blooded stock, as it gave additional interest to the display. Capt. Henderson also had a novelty on exhibition in the shape of a spade heifer, which is something new to us. The advantage of spaying being of the improvement of the quantity and quality of the beef. This heifer looked fine and we think the idea should be encouraged. The animals exhibited by Henderson were handsomely decorated by the committee with blue ribbons.





In the department of Fine Arts, several paintings in oil, by Mrs. D. Heath, a lady sixty-five years old, attracted a great deal of attention. The first was a pastoral scene entitled the Happy Mother’s. A mother and daughter in affectionate embrace reclining on a grassy bank, nearby sheep and lambs, cows and calves are tranquilly grazing on the verdant meadow. A farmhouse and surroundings, in the distance, completes this picture. The next was a painting representing Christ calling Peter, who is seen timidly approaching, carrying fish and lambs. The expression of astonishment on the face of Peter, at thus being unexpectedly called, is finally delineated by the artist. The third and last was a hunting scene. A band of bison, hard pressed by a party of Indian hunters are approaching the birds of a precipice, over which some are already plunging to their inevitable them. A noble bison in the foreground, with lolling tongue and frenzied eye, is drawn with bold touches of a master band.



Pe-at-a-qua, the great Comanche chief caused an excitement and much merriment by his appearance on horse back, dressed in full feathers and paint. He performed a daring feat by mounting in writing Henderson’s buffalo. Thousands of men, women, and children, crowded as near as possible to witness this novel performance, and finally the wild animal of the plains “got on his ear” and leaped off at full speed down Washington street and off in the direction of his home. The Indians sat on his back as if he had been of comfortable chair. The excitement and fun was great. This best Buffalo Jones in the great show at Topeka.





Class A Cattle

Robert Henderson 1 heifer, 3 years old……………….Diploma

1 spayed heifer, 3 years old……….”……..

1 buffalo………………………….”…”…….

Class “B” Horses and Mules Etc.,




Nebraska Advertiser
Brownville, Nebraska Oct 28, 1875
A Mountain Adventure

M.E.Irving, the mountain hunter (says the Denver News), recently came into Colorado Springs from the mountains, and reported the discovery of a pony in company with a herd of bison, known to range among the Hills about the northern base of Pikes Peak. The pony had often been seen by other hunters leading the bison herd, and had long been known as the property of an old citizen now absent. Irving, believing that he could capture the pony, was appointed by Justice Lyon a deputy constable for that purpose, and he accordingly left Colorado Springs about 10 days ago, mounted on a mule, with lariat, rifle and mountain outfit. On Tuesday he returned, bringing with him the pony.

His manner of capturing the animal was an achievement that stands alone among lariat throwing exploits. The third day out in the mountains he discovered the pony in a small park of some fifteen acres, together with several bison in a large herd of elk. The pony, it appears, was feeding off a little distance from the herd. Irving, by lying close to the back of his mule, and permitting it to feed slowly along, succeeded in getting between it and the other animals, when he rose up in his saddle and gave an unearthly scream, at the same time bearing down on the pony, which, with a snort and a bound started off in an opposite direction from the now frightened herd. The bison and elk were soon out of sight.

The pony took toward the southern edge of the park, where it disappeared up a deep, narrow, rocky cannon. Irving, finding it impossible to urge his mule along the almost impassable gorge, dismounted, and leaving the animal secured to a tree, continued the pursuit on foot. For nearly two miles he followed the devious course of the cannon, which in places was not more than 3 feet wide, it’s walls rising perpendicularly to a height of several hundred feet. The cannon unexpectedly opened into a park of some two or three hundred acres, around which mountains rose with gradual slopes, covered with a dense growth of the piñon tree. Following the path of the pony among the pinons, along the base of the mountain. Irving was startled by a strange noise, the like of which he had never heard before, and which filled him with a nameless dread. He hastened on, however, and soon came upon the pony, securely in the power of a mountain lion, which had fastened his teeth into its side, pulling it down to the earth.

Irving’s first movement was to secure the pony with his lariat, one end of which was fastened to his belt. No sooner had he accomplished this than he was discovered by the lion, which, loosening its hold on the pony, sank down by its side in a crouching attitude, with its gaze fixed upon the hunter, and ready to spring upon him with the crushing power peculiar to such animals. With the celerity and accuracy of the experienced hunter, Irving sent a ball from his Winchester through the brain of the lion, which bounded into the air with a roar that might’ve been heard a mile, and quickly expired.

The pony, slightly injured, tugged lustily at the lariat in its efforts to regain its freedom. But Irving says that after reading the execution to him he seemed to give up and became quite docile. The hide and the head of the line was secured by the hunter, and was on exhibition at Colorado Springs yesterday. The length of the animal from nose to tip of tail is 11 feet 4 inches. The pony has been advertised that constable’s sale, and many bidders are awaiting the day of sale. It is a shaggy, vicious, wild looking animal, which would pass for a cross of the bison and the bronche.



Clearfield Republican
Clearfield, Pennsylvania Nov 3, 1875


In view of the fact that from one cause or another, not all of your readers will have a sight at the Exhibition of 1876, and that but a tithe will be seen by those who do visit it, I doubt if I could do better than furnish you an account of those things to be exhibited, most worthy of notice, as they reach here. The celebrated Group of America, one of the most noted works of art, in Hyde Park, London, it is to be placed in the Art Department of our Exhibition.

The central figure represents America (close to the bottom of the page) as a quarter of the globe, mounted on a bison, charging through the long prairie grass. There’d bands is directed on the one side by the United States, and on the other side by Canada, who presses the rows of England to her bosom. The seated figures in the composition are Mexico and South America.

The figure of America is of Indian type. She is habited in native costume and wears a feathered head-dress; the housings of her wild charger are of the skin of a grizzly bear. In her right hand is a stone-pointed lance, with Indian tatems of the gray squirrel and hummingbird; in her left she bears a shield with blazon’s of the principal divisions of the hemisphere – the eagle for the States, the beaver for Canada, the lone star for Chili, the volcanoes for Mexico, the alpaca for Peru, in the Southern Cross for Brazil.

In the rear, aroused by the tread of the bison through the grass, is the rattlesnake. The features of the figure representing the United States are of the North America Anglo-Saxon type. Her tresses are surmounted by an eagle’s plume and by a star, which is repeated on her baldrick at the point of the sceptre, in her right hand, while in her left is a wreath formed by leaves of the evergreen oak, as an emblem of the Northern States, and a blossom of the magnolia grandiflora, as that of the Southern. At her feet lies the Indian’s quiver, with but one or two arrows in it.

Canada, who is habited in furs, shows features of a more English type. In her headdress are woven the maple leaves of the mainland, and the Mayflower of Nova Scotin. In her right hand are ears of wheat, and at her feet a pair of snowshoes. Mexico, a male figure, it is characterized by a of face somewhat of the Aztec type. His emblems are a Mexican headdress, staff and feather cincture, with the cohenial cactus at his feet. He is in the attitude of rising, restless and disturbed, from his Panthers skin.

In the figure of South America, the half-breed type Indian and Spaniard is exemplified. Seated on a rock, he is habited in sombrero and poncho and Indian girdle; in his left hand is the horsemen’s short carbine of the country, and in his right a lasso. Close to him is a Brazilian orchid, a horn of the wild cattle of the plains, etc.



The Jeffersonian
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania Nov 4, 1875

Life among the Indians: Being extracts from the Journal of Thomas C. Battey.

6th mo. 16th. – Arrived at the Kiowa camps after three days travel, with a small party of Indians, who were sent to the agency for me, and to obtain rations. The distance about one hundred and fifty miles north-west from the agency. They are here making preparations for the great medicine dance. The whole Kiowa tribe, as well as nearly all the Apaches; about five hundred Comanches; besides several Cheyennes, Arapahoes and other Indians team together, makes a very large encampment. This is situated in a beautiful broad valley, through which flows a fine stream of Clearwater, nearly devoid of alkali. It is called by the Kiowas, Ugwoo-o-poh — Rice Creek.

Had a talk with several of the herd men of the tribe respecting the change in the intention of government as regards the release of Santana and Big Tree. They cannot comprehend why government should violate its pledge to them in consequence of the misdemeanors of the Modoes : a tribe living so remote from them that they did not even know of their existence. It looks to them as though Washington was very willing to class them as enemies, while they are doing all they can to provide their friendly intentions. I informed them of my writing to Washington ; desiring them to refrain from any hostile manifestations until they should learn what Washington would do when he reads my letter.

The lawyers are busily engaged in hauling Cottonwood trees for the medicine house, accompanied by music and dancing.

17th. – The music of the soldiers, who, if I understand aright, are not allowed to sleep during the erection of the medicine house, continued through the night. On going out early this morning crowds of the Indians, old and young, were marching in companies towards a grove of small Cottonwood trees, and been invited to go along. I accompanied them. Soon, several small cottonwoods were cut down by the women, ropes attached to them, several hands to a rope making light work of the hauling, particularly as it was made of frolic.

After breakfast the hauling of larger trees was proceeded with. They were drawn by horses, by means of ropes attached to the saddles. A young warrior and a girl road upon the horses, several of which were hitched to one tree, and drawing abreast, some of the writers beating drums, and all singing. This business continued through the day, except for an hour or two in the middle of the afternoon, when the old women – the grandmothers of the tribe, had a dance. The music consisted of singing and drumming, done by several old women, who were seated upon the ground in a circle. The dancers — old, gray-headed women — from sixty to eighty years of age, performed in a circle around them for some time, finally striking off upon a waddling run, one behind another: they came back and doubling so as to bring two together, through their arms around each other’s necks and trudged around the circle for some time longer, then sat down, while a young man circulated a pipe, from which he each in turn took two or three whiffs, and this ceremony ended.

6th mo. 18th, 1873. _ Work at the medicine house drew to a close. The large trees and brush were all hauled by the middle of the forenoon. The putting up of the long cotton-wood poles to support the covering, was hard work. They were thirty-five or forty feet in length, green and heavy, and required a great amount of noisy talking, loud hallooing, and hard lifting to get them to their places. This been done, and the brush thrown over them for a shade, the medicine house was completed a little past noon.

The soldiers of the tribe then had a frolic in and about it, running and jumping, striking and kicking, throwing one another down, stripping and tearing the close off each other. One tall Indian claps me around for a back-hold wrestle, but though I did not attempt to throw him, by exerting my little strength in the right direction, he found it to nearly resembling work to lay me on the ground, so gave it up. Before this frolic was over, a party of ten or twelve warriors appeared, moving a kind of shield to and fro before their bodies, making it some manner, (as I was not near enough to see how it was done,) a grating sound, not unlike the filing of a mill saw.

The medicine house is situated nearly in the centre of the encampment, is circular in form, about 60 feet diameter, having its entrance towards the east. It is built by erecting a forked post, twenty feet high, perhaps, for a central support, while around this, and at nearly equal distances, are seventeen other forked post, forming the circumference of the building. These are from twelve to fifteen feet in height and all of cotton-wood. Small cotton-wood trees are tied on the outside of these with ropes of rawhide, limbs and leaves all on them. Outside of these, small cotton-wood trees are placed in an upright position, thus forming a wall of green trees and leaves several feet in thickness, in the midst of which many hundred spectators afterwards found a cool retreat, where they could observe what was going on without making themselves conspicuous.

Long cotton-wood pole extend from each of the post in the circumference to the central post, and then cotton-wood limbs are laid across these, forming a shady roof, one third of the way to the centre. The central post is ornamented near the ground with the robes of buffalo calves, their heads up as if in the act of climbing it; each of the branches above the fork is ornamented in a similar manner, with the addition of shawls, calico, etc. and covered at the top with black muslin. Attached to the fork is a bundle of cotton-wood and willow limbs, a buffalo robe and horns, currently bound together, so as to form a rude image of a buffalo, to which were home strips of new calico, muslin, strouding, feathers, shawls, etc., of various lengths and qualities. The longer and more showy articles were near the ends. This was placed in a position to face the east.

The lodges of the encampment are arranged in circles around the medicine house, having their entrances towards it, the nearest circle been some ten rods distant.

In the afternoon a party of about a dozen warriors and braves proceeded to the medicine house, followed by a large part of the encampment. They were highly painted, and wore shirts only, with head-dresses of the feathers, which extended down the back to the ground, and were kept in their proper places by means of an ornamented strap, clasping the waist. Some of them had long horns attached to their head-dresses, were armed with lances and revolvers, and carried a couple of long poles, mounted from and to end with feathers, the one white and the other black. They bore also shields highly ornamented with paint, feathers and hair.

They took their station upon the side opposite the entrance, the musicians standing behind them. Many old women occupied a position to the right, and near the entrance, who set up a tremendous shrieking the drums began to beat, and the dance began, only the party above described participating in it. They at first slowly advanced toward the central post, followed by the musicians, several of whom carried a side a of rawhide (dried) which they beat upon with sticks, making about as much music as to beat upon the soul of an old shoe; while the drums, the voices of the women and the rattling of pebbles in painted instruments of rawhide, filled out the choir. After slowly advancing nearly to central post, they retired backwards, again advanced a little further than before; this was done several times, until they crowded upon the spectators, drew their revolvers, held them up and discharged them in the air. Soon after, the women rushed forward, with a shrieking yell, through their blankets violently upon the ground, snatched them up with the same tumultuous shriek which had been produced before, and retired, which close this part of the entertainment. The ornamented shields used on this occasion, were afterword hung up with the medicines.

Soon after followed the great buffalo medicine. Ninety Indians — men, women and children — disguised in buffalo robes, (having the pates and horns on them,)  in imitation of buffaloes, collected upon the side of a hill, just outside the camp. At the proper signal, the great medicine chief standing some distance to the left of the entrance of the medicine house, holding something in his hand that made a smoke — they came, and a long procession, took several turns around the medicine house before finding the entrance, when they cautiously entered, nearly the whole population of the encampment standing about midway between the first circle of lodges and the medicine house; when the last buffalo had entered, all these started upon the run for the entrance, followed by a great many on horseback.

Upon entering the medicine house, the buffalo were found lying down, huddled together around the central post, heads either towards it or directly from it. The great medicine chief painted white, wearing a buffalo robe and fur head-dress, stood opposite end facing the entrance, holding in his hands something similar to the squirt gun of our boyhood days. He was accompanied by two old men, also wrapped in buffalo robes. After some fifteen or twenty minutes of silence the two old men advanced and commenced an examination of the buffalo, feeling them, okay easily holding up a small stick, apparently pulled out of the side of a buffalo, and addressing a few words to the medicine chief, who would step forward and squirt a small quantity of the contents of his gun into the hair of the animal; one of the other man would then make a short speech, holding up the stick to view, and concluded by placing it upon the buffalo from which it was first taken. Here upon the wild tumultuous shrieking of the woman filled the air. This was repeated several times, and finally at a signal from the medicine chief, the ceremony ended.



The Hawaiian Gazette Honolulu Nov 10 1875 Correspondence from Europe Wrote

The Hawaiian Gazette Honolulu Nov 10 1875 Correspondence from Europe Wrote



Chicago Daily Tribune Nov 23 1875 Indian Territory

Chicago Daily Tribune Nov 23 1875 Indian Territory