1884


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Manitoba Free Press Winnipeg Manitoba Can Jan 2 1884 SL Bedson bison herd

Manitoba Free Press Winnipeg Manitoba Can Jan 2 1884 SL Bedson bison herd

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The Daily Republican

Monongahela, Pennsylvania Mar 22 1884

THE BISON CHASE

The prairie stretches on, and on, a boundless, bellowing see!

As free as Rovers of the main, are gallant steeds and we!

Then ho! hillo!

Draw well the girth, knot tight strong for fast far we o!

Aye, ready, comrades? Ready all! The day is just begun-

Hurrah! Rare sport we’ll see, I ween, before the set of sun!

Then ho! hillo!

Our horses sniff the clear, crisp air –we mount –away we go!

Flower-gems, of every splendrous hue, set in the emerald grass,

In dewy freshness smile and beckon, as we swiftly pass.

But ho! hillo!

We cannot stay first such to-day, so on, and on we go!

Yon speck of grayish white? It is the frightened antelope,

Like thistle-down or winded thing, it flies along the slope.

Ho! ho! Hillo!

Morw worthy game than that we’ll rouse, are many miles, I trow!

Draw rein, and listen! Yes, it is! – full well the huntsmen know

That distant thunder is the hoof of limbering buffalo!

Ho! ho! hillo!

You scarce yourself can hear your shout, the roar increases so!

Ten thousand huge, black forms, impelled with overmastering fear!

For, see, the bow-armed Indian hangs upon the bloody rear!

Hurrah! Hillo!

Swing carbines! – keep sure seat! – to join the maddening rout we go!

The ground doth shudder, as in dread of earthquake’s deadly throe!

The rush, a cyclone! – din. As if the trump of doom did blow!

Hurrah! Ho! ho!

The dust, like smoke of battle, hides the fray, as on we go!

Ho, comrades hold! It is enough! We have outsped the wind!

To slaughter more were wicked waste – the slain lie thick behind!

Ho! ho! hillo!

Slay none for sport – the herd is gone, save those in death so low.

Frank E. Hale

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The Eureka Republican KS cold meat ad

The Eureka Republican KS cold meat ad

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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.

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Medicine Lodge

Cresset Kansas Mar 27 1884

Written for the Cresset.

A LEGEND OF BARBER COUNTY.

BY THE PILGRIM BARD

Still sing we of the sunny Barber,

Of the chosen land of Barber;

Of its valleys and its streamlets,

Of its rugged hills and canyons

Of its past and of its future,

Of its woe and of its welfare.

Sooner than the chief predicted,

Sooner than the “Bard” expected

Came the settlers o’er the border

Of the sunny land of Barber

Logs were hewn and cabins builded,

Even as the chief predicted;

Men plowed fields while women planted,

Planted turnip, corn and cabbage,

But alas there came no harvest.

One day came a swarm of locusts,

As with cloud the sun was darkened,

All the air was filled with humming,

All the ground was thick with hoppers;

Stripped the earth of vegetation,

Left no tree leaf in the forest,

Gone was turnip, corn and cabbage,

Gone the squatters dream of glory

And like monuments of folly

Stood the cabins by the river,

Thus tormented, nothing daunted,

Shouldered each his trusty rifle,

Saying: “We will slay the bison,

We can live upon its carcass,

Send their hides to distant city,

They will bring us gold and silver,

Keep the lean wolf from our threshold

Till again this spring time cometh.”

As the Chieftain had predicted,

Woe unto the timid bison,

For they slew them in the valleys,

On the hilltop, in the canyons,

By each river, brook and streamlet

Lay the monarch of the prairie

Hideless all and shorn of glory.

Wolf and coyote fed and fattened

On the carcass of the bison,

And the vulture and the raven

Flapped their wings and glee and triumph,

Then the red men of the forest,

When they saw the wanton slaughter

Of the monarch of the prairie,

Lit a bonfire on each hill-top.

Like so many blazing comets:

T’was the signal of the Osage

For the scattered braves to gather

At the wigwam of their Chieftain

On the banks of the Nescutunga.

Soon as all the buyers were lighted,

Well each red man knew the meaning,

And from out of each grove and canyon

Came the dusky, painted savage.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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National Republican Wa DC Aug 16 1884 Lt to hunt bison in MT

National Republican Wa DC Aug 16 1884 Lt to hunt bison in MT

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Reading Times

Reading, Pennsylvania Sep 25 1884

BUFFALO HERDS DESTROYED

Four Millions in One Year

Ten years ago the herds of buffalo which cross the track of the Union Pacific Railroad impeded the passage of the trains – Within the brief decade which has since elapsed, four million of the carcasses have been stretched upon the plain, in articulo mortis. The net proceeds of all this wasteful slaughter have barely sufficed to keep some two thousand shiftless skin-hunters in whiskey and tobacco. Reckoned in meat, robes and commercial product, there has been about one pound of wanton waste for each pennyworth of mercenary gain. And now the buffalo are practically extinct. A little meat was utilized; a few shaggy heads have been preserved for the museums; each skin stripped off and cured was the representative value of $4.50 in trade; and – only this and nothing more! Nay, the bones were left.

Where each Graham monster fell, and pulsed his life blood out upon the dust, there now remains a pile of bones; and where the slaughter was greatest the piles are numerous. Standing breast-deep in the snow, and helpless – dazed by the unseen bolts which dropped their comrades one by one, until all were down – the helpless buffalo died. For mile on mile, one, two, three hundred miles on a stretch , up and down this sheltered bottom of the Yellowstone and other great tributaries of the Upper Missouri, strewn with scarcely an interval of irruption, singly, in solid groups, and irregular clusters –

Prairie fires and the weather, coyotes, wolves, and vermin of the earth and air, have wrought their consuming effects upon them, disintegrating and scattering many and leaving eyeless skulls to glare upon the ghastly landscape. But the greater number of skeletons yet remain entire, some of them collapsed but not dismember, with bleached and ginger colored tufts of shaggy hair still clinging to them, like seaweed to stranded hulks.

Alas! It is a melancholy site to view these grim mementos stretched along the line of ruthless march! But such few people as pass that way are not of the kind who have regrets. Only the half starved Indian draws his belt tighter across his empty stomach as he recalls the juicy tender loin , the toothsome hump rib, the savory tongue, and the fat fleece of the flush times which have passed forever, and is fain to make a sorry repast of the milky pulp which his squaw scrapes from the inner bark of the cotton-woods in the river bottoms.

Once on a time even the dry and rainless table lands were animated and populous with ravenous creatures, which continually hung upon the flanks of the moving herd. Cowbirds mingled with the restless bovines, buzzards filled the air, and whatever the roving Indian or the merciless white hunter disabled or rejected, was forthwith appropriated by the insatiable scavengers of the plains. Gangs of coyotes licked their chops and whined; gaunt grey wolves were ever scheming to cut out the weakling calves and superannuated bulls. And they were always thirsty, as well as hungry, for water was hard to find. But in lieu thereof they drink blood.

Now over all the wide expanse the landscape seems but an endless waste and desolation. Not a living creature is seen to move. The earth is parched and dusty, and the pungent  aroma of the everlasting sage brush is almost stifling in the fervent heat. The intervals are long between the alkaline or stagnant pools which afford the only water to slake the thirst, and man and beast grow faint with the weary march. Wherever the eyes rest, there are the gruesome piles of whitening bones. It is not a pleasant place for a picnic! And there are bones of antelope as well as of buffalo, and in some sections, which in the latter years have been appropriated for grazing ranges for domestic cattle, there are bones of innumerable steers which had perished in the blizzards of a hard winter– all mingling in a common grave.

In the spring and early summer there is a vivid and ranker growth of grass around each pile of bones, and comptemplative speculators long since deplored the waste of so much fertilization material, which might be utilized. As the country became settled, it began to pay to haul off small quantities in wagons. As last came the railroads; and now hundreds of teams are employed in their lucrative business of gathering the bones, which readily command a market price of eight dollars per ton. A single skeleton is worth nearly as much as the rawhide which covered it in the flesh. Golgotha has become a sort of Golconda, and men are growing rich upon the legacy of the defunct bison. The bone placers pay even better than the mining of gold placers. For the present the bones are being shipped mainly to Philadelphia, where they are ground and sold for fertilizing purposes, but it is the purpose of an enterprising company to erect a mail at Bismarck for the manufacture of bone meal, and to have it in operation by the coming fall. How are the mighty fallen? To such base uses have they come at last. “Dust to dust” and this is the end of all things.

 

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The Black Hills Daily

Deadwood South Dakota Oct 12, 1884

A Remarkable Buffalo Hunt

Glendive, M.T., Oct. 9 – People living near here surprised the other day by hearing a loud trampling, and through the clouds of dust, kicked up they discovered a herd of buffalo make for the river at a mad pace. The animals appeared to be well high run down, but many of them were furious. As they came to the bank of the Yellowstone they plunged in pell-mell, one on top the other, and for a time it is the many of them would be killed, but nearly all got out an injured. They had hardly reached the other side when a yelling, swearing crowd of white men and Indians came up on foam covered horses. They paused here long enough to get refreshment, and they resumed the chase.

There were four or five hundred buffalo in the herd, and they were making for British America as fast as their legs could carry them. From the hunters it was learned that the hunt began down in Dakota, Cannon Ball river, where not less than 5000 of the animals were found grazing. A few of the men had followed them the entire distance, but, although the party that passed here numbered only thirty, its members estimated that from first to last three or four hundred men taken part in the slaughter. Some of the men who started out with the original party had remained behind at various points to secure the hides, and others who had only joined for the sport, had dropped out after satisfying themselves with the chase. The rapidity which these magnificent animals are slaughtered is shown by the fact that the hunters passing through here said that they would have the hides of the remnant of the herd before reaching the boundary line.

Probably this is one of the last big buffalo hunts that will ever occur in this country. The Indian, now that he is assured of enough to eat at the agencies, is as reckless in his slaughter of the bison as the white man. He seems to consider the game as nearly extinct, and he goes in recklessly with the idea of having all the sport he can before the end is reached. The wanton destruction of this herd has caused great indignation throughout the entire section traversed, but as it seems to be the policy to exterminate the bison nothing will be done about it.

 

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The Inter Ocean

Chicago, Illinois Dec 3 1884

THE REPUBLICAN VALLEY

and its multitude of well-kept farms, it’s line of active and prosperous towns, a test the excellence of the soil as well as the general character of immigration within its limits. The climate is the boast of everyone who has made their home for any length of time within this region. People from all sections who are troubled with pulmonary or asthmatic difficulties find ready relief. There are no fogs, no ague, and but few fevers; the air is clear and pure, the winters short and usually open. It is a common thing for the farmer to plow in November and December, to sow spring wheat in February, and to plant corn in April.

Where buffalo ranged for hundreds of years there is certainly much natural pasturage for cattle, and we have conversed with gentlemen who only thirteen years ago chased the bison in the Republican Valley. Every few miles upon either side empty creeks fed by never failing springs, and scattered throughout the country are water powers, but few of which have been utilized; most of them are permanent, but some only furnish power a portion of the year.

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The Hazelton Sentinel Dec 4 1884 Buffalo Robe Ad

The Hazelton Sentinel Dec 4 1884 Buffalo Robe Ad

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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.”

“Frame it?”

“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.”

“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.

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