The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn, New York , Mar 23 1884
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BUFFALO
The evolution of the Great American Desert into a thoroughly explored and rather well occupied country has been marvelous. Beginning with careful farmers on the East, one passes through herdsman in the center to mines on the western frontier. Civilization thus, as it were, with its worst foot foremost. One of the meanest things of which it is guilty is the extinction of the noble buffalo – beast formally at the same time the lion and the jackass of the country between the Rocky Mountains and the Missouri River. In 1868 the books and the equally voracious Ochiltrees of the through trains tell us travelers on the Kansas Pacific Road, between Ellsworth and Sheridan, a distance of 100 miles, at one time passed through an almost unbroken herd of buffalos. The planes were black with them, and more than once the train had to stop and let them pass. The buffalos did not stop for the cars. Not much! It is well known that these animals used telegraph poles filled with spikes for currycombs, and smiled at the fatuity of the deluded men who had supposed that the sharp iron would turn them away. But this is not all. They were fond of wrestling with locomotives in the brave days of old. When this same Santa Fe Road was building, in the Winter of 1871-1872, unusual cold on the Arkansas forced many thousands of brutes to move northward for water. If they train, they say, came in sight when the buffaloes were on the north side of the line, the animals stood in their tracks, watching the spectacle with stolid indifference, if not positive contempt. But if the herd happened to be on the south side of the road there was a commotion. The whole number would start madly, blindly, ridiculously for the northern side of the track, apparently in instinctive dread that the cars, the engine and the long line of smoke were about to form an impenetrable barrier between them and the desired post. If the train passed ahead of any, well and good. These would leave an agony of fear on one side of the track and find delightful tranquility on the other. But if the train caught a herd bent on passing in front of it, woe alike to beast of iron and beast of bone and sinew. The buffalos would rush against the engine and between the cars, with atrocious disregard of the laws of mechanics and to the manifest detriment of horns, legs, tails and lives. Half a dozen trains were thrown from the track, and then, in practice, if not in name, the stock phase ‘Look out for the buffalos when the dust flies.” Buffalos, it is needless to say, have quite disappeared. They have gone to that bourne from which no bison returns – that is to say, those not dead and bleached as to their bones – have hidden themselves in the mountains fastnesses of Wyoming and Montana.- St. Louis Globe Democrat.
Harrisburg Daily Independent
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania May 2 1884
The advantages of preserving the American buffalo or bison to cross with our common stock has been often urged. One farmer in Manitoba has tried it, but the result, except as regards picturesqueness, is not encouraging. The progeny our course, ill built animals, and for no ordinary purpose equal to anyone of our common breeds of cattle. Of course, buffaloes are not good milkers; no wild stock is. Even for beef they are course and poor.
The Atchison Daily Globe
Atchison, Kansas May 3 1884
WAIT FOR THE BIG SHOW
NOT COMING UNTIL MAY 27
Sells Brothers’ Monster Fifty-cage Menagerie and Great Four Ring Circus
This great show, which has for some time been announced as coming to Atchison, and whose date is now positively fixed for Tuesday, May 27, is remarkable for something more than enormous proportions which the venturesome consolidation of its great Amusement Organization has given it, and that is for the confidence it displays in public appreciation, and the frank manner in which it insists upon a thorough investigation of the absolute truth of the many extraordinary announcements it makes. While it respectively solicits and sincerely appreciates patronage, it does not beg a single undeserved favor from either the public or the press. To the former it denounces lying advertisements as an attempt to obtain money under false pretenses, which they should enforce the law to punish and prevent, and from the latter it asked only such reputation as the candid critic can consciously accord. It’s proprietors are business men of character and responsibility, and we are glad to know their new departure in management is no longer an experiment, but a demonstrated and immense success, which encourages them to greater effort in so excellent a work. Their further policy is that the rarest features, no matter how expensive, pay best, if printers ink is only rightly used to bring them before the public, and hence it is that they have invested almost fabulous sums in the gorgeous free display of music, decoration and parade; in procuring the services of the greatest of artist known to the world, as equestrians, acrobats and athletes. No expense has been spared in securing of sensational features. It requires but a glance at their descriptive and pictorial bills to convince the most skeptical that the Sells Brothers are pre-eminently worthy of being placed in front rank among the amusement managers of the world.
The consolidation of their various amusement ventures enables them to present the only pair of full-grown White Nile Hippopotami, the only pair of Crested Camels, the only Snow-white Buffalo, and the only Aurochs or Bison Bonasus ever exhibited; also, the only pair of Wooly Elephants from the Malayan Archipelago, the only living specimen of the great Brazilian Tamanoir, a herd of Amphitrion Lions, a Three-horned Senegambian Rhinoceros, a pair of Siberian Albino Bears, the only White Zebra, a pair of full-grown Giraffes, and of veritable host of rare wild beast and great performers besides, altogether more than enough to complete what the press everywhere pronounces to be a genuine railroad World’s Fair of Wonders, always presenting every attraction billed.
Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California Dec 20 1884
Putting an End to the Buffalo
During a recent warm day a reporter strolled into a wholesale fur dealer’s to the solace himself with a few of the hairy integuments which suggested winters cooling blast. A large pile of bison robes attracted his gaze, and to him the proprietor said:
“Better by one in frame it, my last boy.”
“Yes. In five years from now they’ll be as scarce as silver fox skins and five times as useful.”
“Why, what was the catch this year?”
“Four what? Thousand?”
“No, sir; plain four. In other words, there wasn’t any catch this year, and our firm corralled six out of the 10,000 of the catch of 1883.”
“Do you mean to tell me that the buffalo have disappeared from the face of Dakota and Montana earth?”
“Practically, yes; and from all other earth in the Northwest as well. The remnants of the big band, numbering probably, a few thousand, are somewhere north of the international line; no one seems to know clearly where, but probably in the remote vicinity of Woody Mountain. There are a few on the Upper Moreau, and still fewer on the plains between the James River and the Missouri, and about the forty sixth parallel. An old bull was recently driven into Fort Meade, along with a lot of domestic cattle, by the cowboys. He looked like the last of his race, and if he has any fellows they can be found.”
“What did you use took all a big yearly catch?”
“Well, in the year after the Northern Pacific was opened through to the Little Missouri, 1881 I think it was, Northwestern traders got in about 100,000 robes. You see the railroad let in the hide hunters, and as the buffalo happened to be south of line, and within reaching distance of the Missouri and transportation, the output was very large. Thousands upon thousands were killed whose hides were never removed, and of the thousands a large majority furnished only a few pounds of tender loin to the rapacious riflemen. We’ve been talking for years about the time when the buffalo would be practically extinct. Now that time has come, and it’s too late for protective laws. Such laws could not have been in force against the Indians, but they might have been against the white hide hunters and the rich sportsmen, who were the most wanton death dealers of the lot.”
“Can they be bred to domestic cattle?”
“O, yes, readily enough. But the hybrid, while good enough for meat, is not much use for robes. It’s a pity there wasn’t a law enacted a decade or two ago making it a penal offense for a white man to even shoot at a buffalo. The Indians are not so ruthless in their destruction as has been claimed, and, besides, when they get a robe and 10 it it is worth something. The robes tanned in the East, or by whites anywhere, are incomparably inferior to those known to the trade as Indian-tanned. The reds take a lot of pains, and seemed to have a method which, while it leaves the hide pliable, leave set of sufficient thickness and strength to hold the hair and withstand the rough usage all robes must expect to undergo.
“I should be inclined to believe, from your remarks, that buffalo overcoats will be worth a good deal a few years from now.”
“A good deal? Well, if you call $100 to $150 a ‘good deal,’ I agree with you. Seriously, there must be a substitute found for them, since I am not exaggerating and iota as to scarcity.’ – St. Paul Pioneer Press.