STILL HUNTING AFTER BUFFALO
The Graphic: An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper
London, England Feb 10 1877
STILL HUNTING AFTER BUFFALO
As Col. Dodge has shown in his interesting book lately published, the Buffalo, countless herds of which used to roam over the plains of the central portions of North America, are being rapidly extinguished. Every season numerous sportsmen, among whom are many parties of Englishmen, who cross the Atlantic especially for the purpose, wage war against these animals. Their operations are usually conducted thus. A party of well mounted men dash up to a herd of buffalo. Each man singles out his animal, and urges his horse to run alongside it, when he finishes it by a well directed bullet from his revolver. Far more Buffalo, however, are destroyed by the men who follow Buffalo hunting as a business, and who shoot the animals for the sake of their hides, which are used for military trappings and such like purposes. The method of pursuit is called “still hunting,” and is performed on foot and with a rifle. The party represented in our sketches consisted of two hunters armed with good rifles, and a man who was hired to skin. They had two wagons, for carrying their hides and meat to the nearest frontier town that offered a market. When camping out at night it was wintertime a “Buffalo wallow” was sought for containing enough melted snow for men and horses. The wagons were placed as a windbreak to the North and East, and in many cases the only fuel, the Prairie flats being timber less, was dry buffalo dung. The party were soon busily engaged in frying Buffalo hump, baking bread, and boiling coffee. After supper the horses were watered and fed with grain, the pipe of peace was smoked, and the travelers rolled into their blankets with the thermometer far below the freezing point, prepared to enjoy a good sleep unless their pillows were pulled from under their heads by the wolves. Upon a herd of buffalo being sighted they are approached in Indian file, each man treading in his predecessors footsteps, all crouched down, and with guns at the trail. At the Buffalo are approached in a straight line it is possible to get comparatively close to them, but the sportsmen shows his side they become uneasy, and make off at double quick pace. When within 250 yards the shooting begins. Often when a shot is fired the herd wheels round to inspect the hunters, and then make off at a clumsy canter across the Prairie. Or again they halt to sympathize with those who are wounded, which affords the hunters further opportunities of selecting fresh victims. On the occasion depicted in our sketches thirteen were left dead and dying on the field. The disagreeable operation of skinning had to be proceeded with at once, and is only wanted and our and a half to sundown, and in order to save the hams, hump and tongues, the carcasses must be skinned that night. The cold in these regions is severe, 30° below zero (centigrade), and Frost bites on ears, toes, and fingers are not uncommon. We are indebted for our sketches to Miss Leith (by whose brother they were made), of Abbythune, Arbroath.
Trapped inside a frozen hide. February 1877
In February of 1877, buffalo hunter James Ennis was camped on Sweetwater Creek in Scurry County, Texas. Going out alone on a foggy morning, he shot two bulls, skinned them, and left the hides staked out beside the carcasses. The same afternoon he wounded a bull, which turned around and charged him. Ennis dropped his gun and climbed the nearest mesquite tree with record speed. The bull kept charging the tree until it snapped in two and Ennis landed astraddle the buffalo, which happily for Jim, was so terrified that it tore off across the prairie, letting Ennis slide to the ground unharmed.
Ennis recovered his gun and, as night fell, he at last found the two carcasses of his morning hunt. He built a fire, grilled some buffalo hump, and then rolled up inside one of the hides to sleep the cold night out. Warm and weary, he dozed off, only to be awakened by a wild jostling that turned out to be a pack of hungry wolves gnawing at the bits of flesh left on the hide, frozen by this time into a steel-like tube. At dawn the wolves withdrew, but Ennis remained trapped in the frozen hide until at last a warm mid-morning sun had thawed it and he was able to crawl out. Back in camp, his fellow hunters scarcely recognized him because during the wild night of the wolves his hair had turned gray.”
—– Austin and Alta Fife, “Songs of the Cowboys,” 1966
The Osage Chronicle Feb 15 1877
Half-Bred Buffaloes in the Dairy
The long mooted question whether the buffalo can not be successfully utilized for dairy purposes, says the Turf, Field and Farm, is now in a fair way of being satisfactorily settled. The apprehension hitherto entertained regarding the untameable nature of the buffalo, and that the characteristics of this branch of the bovine family would be certain to crop out through indefinite crossings, appears to be totally groundless. The buffalo, or more properly, the American bison, is being used extensively in portions of the State of Nebraska, bordering on wild plains of the far West, for stock purposes and that half and quarter bred females of the bison family yield an abundant supply of rich milk. A remarkable feature connected with this cross of the bison with domestic cattle is the fact that the color of the bison and the majority of its distinguishing characteristics disappear after successive crossings. It’s outward confirmation is also, in process of time, in a great degree lost sight of. The hunch or lump of flesh covering the long spinous processes of the dorsal vertebrae, becomes diminished with each successive cross, and will doubtless also disappear entirely as the original type becomes merged in the domestic animal.
Mr. J.W. Cunningham, now living at Erie, Pa., Formerly of Howard J. County, Nebraska, in a recent letter presented many interesting facts in connection with this subject, based upon his own experience, which renders them of great importance to the farmers and breeders of the Western country. He writes: “the buffaloes on my ranch consisted of two young cows and one bull. I fed them carefully with the cows, but then confined at night. In the spring it was discovered that two of the cows were with calf by the buffalo bull. The calves proved to be both heifers. When three years old they became mothers, the sire being of short-horn stock. The calves were weaned, and the mothers, although showing some of the buffalo characteristics, proved to be very good milkers, quite gentle, giving an average of 14 quarts of milk per day for at least five months, and such rich milk I never saw. This strain of buffalo stock extended through a considerable portion of Howard County. I have a half breed bull of this stock, which proves to be both useful and attractive. There are others, I learn, in other sections of Nebraska, who own half and quarter breeds that proved to be very hardy.” From other sources in the West we learned that the cross of the American bison with the native and graded short-horn cattle has proved completely successful, experiments having been tried on a sufficiently large scale to satisfy the most skeptical people. Utilizing the buffalo for dairy purposes is an old custom in the hot countries of the Eastern continent, where almost all the cheese is made of buffalo milk. The business in this country is comparatively new and not yet fully developed, but we may reasonably hope to see it spread like wildfire in the course of a few years throughout the entie Western county.
The Chicago Daily March 20 1877
The Waterloo Express May 10 1877
CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE June 2 1877
Arrived in Chicago today
The following was received in Chicago to-day
“St Paul, Minn. May 31.-Adjutant General ____tary Decision of the Missouri, Chicago.
____1877, I have nothing official yet from Tongue River, Lient. Fuller, of the Second Calvary, who was wounded in the fight, has arrived here, and informs me that Gen. Mills mailed his report on the 9th inst. It has undoubtedly been lost in the mail. From Mr. Fuller I learn that the action took place on Little Muddy Creek, a tributary of the Rosebud, about three miles above it’s mouth. The Indian camp, numbering between fifty and sixty lodges, was surprised at daybreak on the morning of the 7th, and the action lasted about two hours. The number of warriors engaged is estimated at 200, of whom fourteen were left dead on the field. Miles’ loss was four killed and eight wounded, including Lieut. Fuller. The troops engaged were companies F, G, H, and L, of the Second Calvary, and twenty five mounted men of the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-second Infantry. The camp was most abundantly supplied with food and goods of every kind, all of which fell into Miles’ hand and were destroyed or brought away. It is estimated that not less than forty tons of dried buffalo meat was destroyed. Four hundred fifty ponies were captured and brought off.
Alfred H. Terry,
The Chicago Daily June 2 1877 -Actual Article
Jul 7, 1877
Gen. Howard’s Movements – Whereabouts of Joseph and His Band of Hostiles.
SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., July 6. – A press dispatch from Portland, Oregon, brings news from Gen. Howard’s camp on Salmon River to June 30. Eighty-five Indians passed along Bald Mountain opposite the camp on the 29th in full view of the soldiers. Gen. Howard is hurrying with all possible dispatch, in order to pursue the direction taken by the Indians. If the trail indicates Joseph intends escaping to buffalo country, General Howard will immediately retrace his steps to Lewiston, and endeavor to head them off by way of Hangman’s. Capt. Connville, of the Lewiston Volunteers, starts to-day to skirmish the country in the vicinity of Slate Creek, to find the direction Joseph has taken.
The Malheur Indians in Baker County, Oregon, are restless, and fears are entertained that they will affect a junction with the hostiles. Squaw men say Joseph has gone towards Spokane River mid, and taken up his position in impassable gulches and canyons, intending to stay and fight it out in the Walla Walla Valley. The opinion at headquarters is that he will strike for the buffalo country. Joseph has now a day and a half start for the troops. Gen. Howard has telegraphed for Regiment of regulars, which, it is understood, can get here in 10 days from Omaha, Neb. he is now about 500 men, three howitzers, and two Gatling guns.
Trouble is reported among the reservation Indians Southeastern Nevada. Augustus Ash. United States Marshal, and Holland and Carter, Indian agents, were killed at the reservation. One of the murderers was captured at St. George, Utah.
SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., July 6 – According to a dispatch from Pioche, there is no trouble with the Indians in Southeastern Nevada but B.F. Holland, the agent of the Moapa Reservation, and William L. Carter, blacksmith, were killed by a band of for horse-thieves. All the inhabitants of the Valley turned out in pursuit. One Isaac McManus was captured, wounded, near St. George. The others are supposed to be hiding in the mountains nearby.
SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., July 6 -Gen. McDowell, commanding the Division of the Pacific, has been authorized by telegraph from headquarters at Washington to recruit the regiments in his division up to the standard.
The Inter Ocean July 19 1877
Chicago Daily Tribune
Oct. 27, 1877
Report of the United States Commissioners.
Camp of the Milk River, M.T., Oct.30, 1877. – To the Honorable Secretary of War in the Honorable Secretary of the Interior, Washington: The Commission met Sitting Bull and his Chiefs at Fort Walsh on the 17th inst. The instructions were carried out literally. Sitting Bull and his Chiefs declined the proposals. The address of the Commission and the answers of the Chiefs have been telegraphed to the New York Herald, and it is deemed unnecessary to repeat them in this telegram. After the conference was over, the Canadian authorities had a conference with the same individuals.
In reply to a request of the Commission to know what transpired in the Conference, Col. McLeod, Commissioner of the Northwest Territory, addressed to us the following letter:
Gentlemen; In answer to your note I beg leave to inform you that, after the interview of the Commissioners with the Indians, I had a talk with the latter. I endeavored to impress upon them the importance of the answer they had just made; that, although some of the speakers to the Commissioners had claimed to be British Indians, we denied the claim, and that the Queens government looked upon them as American Indians who had taken refuge in our country from their enemies. I pointed out to them that their only hope was the buffalo: that it would not be many years before that source of supply would cease, and that they could expect nothing whatever from the Queens Government except protection so long as they behave themselves. I warned them that their decision not only affected themselves but their children, and that they should think well over it before it was too late. I told them they must not cross the line with a hostile intent; that if they did they would not only have the Americans for their enemies, but also the police and the British Government, and urged upon them to carry my words to their camps, to tell all their young men what I had said and warned them of the consequences of disobedience, pointing out to them that a few indiscreet young warriors might involve them all in most serious trouble.
They unanimously adhered to the answer they have given the Commissioners, and promised to observe all what I had told them. I do not think their need be the least anxiety about any of these Indians crossing the line; at any rate, not for some time to come. In haste, most respectfully yours,
James F. McLeod,
Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding N.W.M.P.
Alfred H. Terry,
SECRETARY SCHURZ’S INSTRUCTIONS.
The letter of instructions to the Commission, drawn by Secretary Schurz, contained the following passages, which, taken in connection with the foregoing telegram, show that the action of Sitting Bull was not a surprise to the Government, and that the principal purpose of the mission has actually been attained:
it is the object of your mission, undertaken at the suggestion of the Government of the Dominion, to ascertain what danger there may be of hostile incursions on the part of Sitting Bull and the bands under his command upon the territory of the United States, and, if possible, to effect such arrangements, not unacceptable to the Dominion, as may be best calculated to avert that danger.
After reciting the circumstances under which these actively hostile Indians, pursued by the United States military forces, sought refuge where our troops could not follow them without violating the territory of a friendly power, the letter of instructions continues:
it is reported, and there is good reason for believing, that these Indians have availed themselves of the security thus enjoyed to replenish their stock of ammunition, and thus to enable themselves to resume their hostilities against the United States as soon as they find it convenient to do so. According to all recognized principles of international law every Government is bound to protect the territory of a neighboring friendly state against acts of armed hostility on the part of refugees who for their protection from pursuit have crossed the front tier. While the Government of Great Britain will be most mindful of this obligation, the President recognizes the difficulties which in dealing with a savage population may attend its fulfillment, and he is therefore willing to do all in his power to prevent any interruptions of the relations of good neighborhood and to over a disturbance of the peace of the border, even to the extent of entering into communications within Indian chief who occupies the position of a fugitive enemy and criminal.
Therefore the Commission were directed in the name of the President to inform Sitting Bull and his fellow-Chiefs that they would be permitted peaceably to return to the United States, and occupy such reservations as might be assigned them, upon condition of surrendering their arms and ammunition, horses and ponies. The letter further says:
In case the Indians refused to return to the United States upon such terms, you will then break off all communications with them, and the Government of Great Britain will no doubt take such measures as may be necessary to protect the territory of the United States against hostile invasions. This result, of course, and so matter, and it is regarded here as a satisfactory ending. The dispatches will be laid before the Cabinet in the usual course, but there will be no further instructions to the Commissioners, as no necessity therefore exists.
The Inter Ocean
Nov., 10 1877
Fight Between Mexicans and Indians Cattle Thieves in Texas
New York, Nov. 9. – A Fort Walsh letter, dated Nov., 1 says: Sitting Bull’s future home is to be on Deer River. He and his band will be securely guarded by the police, but the most efficient watch over him will be that of his neighbors, the Blackfeet in the Plain Crees.
RED DEER RIVER
is much favored by buffalo and smaller game, and Sitting Bull will find a good market for skins at the Hudson Bay Company. Three days ago he was told by Col. McLeod that he was to hold himself in readiness to move to his new quarters; that the Queen had, through her servant at Ottawa, provided a good home for him, where he could live at peace.
made an eloquent reply, saying: “I came to you, in the first place, because I been hard driven by the Americans. They broke their treaties with my people, and when I rose up and fought not against them, but for our rights as the first people on this part of the earth – they pursued me like a dog, and would have hung me to a tree. They are not just. They drive us into war, and then seek to punish us for fighting. That is not honest. The Queen would not do that.”
After thanking the Queen, he said: “ Tell her that my people will be good. I will take my people to the Red Deer country, and now I declare before you that I will not make any trouble or annoy you, or give pain to the Queen. I will be quiet. I will never fight on your soil unless you asked me to help you – then I will fight. Place me where you like: I will be at peace in Canada. But you, you are brave soldiers and not treaty-breakers, thieves, and murderers, you would think me a coward if I did not die fighting the Americans. Therefore, while I go to Red Deer now to live at peace (here the speaker almost shrieked) I will come back when my Braves are strong, or if they will not come with me, I will come alone and
FIGHT THE AMERICANS UNTIL DEATH
You, I love and respect. Them, I hate, and your Queen’s soldiers would despise me if I did not hate them. That is all. I’m ready to go with you to the Red Deer.”
THE BLACKFEET INDIANS
say they won’t stand any nonsense from the Sioux. The Nez Perces, who fled here before Joseph’s surrender, nearly all returned. They attempted to “squat” between this post and the Buttes, but were warned off. Some of them have crossed the mountains into British Columbia, probably with the intention of joining their old allies, the Okanagans.
The World’s Fort Walsh special says that when Sitting Bull was ordered to move to Red River he made an eloquent speech, signifying ready compliance and an ending fealty to the Queen. He promised that when his Braves were strong he would return and fight the Americans until death. On leaving the Ford Sitting Bull wept.
MEXICANS AND INDIANS
Galveston, Texas, Nov. 9. – The News San Antonio special says information has been received here that on 19 October a party of Mexicans, eighty-seven in number, under command of Don Narcisco Anago, of San Carlos, Mexico, had a battle in Texas, near the Guadalupe Mountains, with a party of Indians who had been depredating in Mexico, near Chihuahua, killing six bucks, capturing six squaws, and sixty-eight head of stock stolen from the people living near San Diego, in Mexico. These Indians were from Fort Stanton reservation, in New Mexico, on the American side of the Rio Grande. The Indians killed were provided with reservation blankets and other articles from the United States government. The scalps were taken to Dell Norte, in Mexico, as was the stock, which was identified by the owners of the animals.
Washington, Nov. 9. – The Ponca Chiefs met in the council-room of the Executive Mansion to-day the President, Secretary of the Interior, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Four Indians presented the grievances of their people, removal from the reservation, and losses of properties in consequence. One said: “I was living on that old reserve, but all at once I was taken up as by a whirlwind, and disturbed in my place just as I had learned to plow, and was made to take another road, which is new to me. We are all perishing where we are now. In less than three months time over 30 people have died, and so have many cattle.” The president, replying, said: “I have listened attentively to what you have said. I will do the best I can for you, and when I have considered the matter I will send for you again.” The president then shook hands with each Indian chief and half-breed attendants, saying he would see them again tomorrow or hereafter, and this ceremony ended.
Chicago Daily Tribune
Nov 26, 1877
FORT LARAMIE, Wy., Nov.25.-Lieut.Lemley, of the Third Calvary, who had command of the Arapahoes on their removal from Red Cloud Agency to their winter-quarters at Fort Casper, Wy., arrived here last night. Fort Casper is about sixty miles from Fort Fetterman, the Old Overland Rd., California. He left of Red Cloud Agency Nov. 1 with 1,200 Arapahoes and fifty Cheyennes, principally squaws and papooses, have been separated from their people since the light of Gen. McKenzie last December, and reached Fort Fetterman Nov. 13. They stopped four days, waiting for ammunition, which did not arrive, thereby causing much disappointment to them, as they depended solely upon this self-support during the coming winter. The Indians were left by the escort. The Arapahoes behaved well on the march. The principal chiefs, Black Coat and Sharp Nose, having great control over them, will prevent depredations been committed. Lieut. Lemley reports buffalo, elk, and deer as for running the country, so many not having been seen for many years.
(next article in the same paper)
DEADWOOD. D.T., Nov. 25. – On Thursday the outgoing Bismarck coach was attacked by Indians near Sulfur Springs Station, about fifty miles from here. They fired a volley the driver and passengers, but all escaped unhurt by leaving the coach and taking to the bluffs. The Indians captured the coach and horses. They ransacked the mail-bags and pride, but unsuccessfully, to open the treasure-box. They killed horses in the decamped with the other two. Several minors from the surrounding camps are reported missing, and fears are entertained that they have fallen victims to the red-skins, who are again in this vicinity in considerable numbers. It is the opinion of the best- informed these Indians are a part of the large body is moving from the Red Cloud Agency to the Missouri River, and, doubtless, the same who attacked Lieut. Kislingbury