1885

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Waukesha Daily Freeman
Waukesha Wisconsin Apr 2 1885
GRADUAL EXTINCTION OF THE BUFFALO
GATHERING THE BONES OF THE COUNTLESS DEAD FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES

The harvest of furs in the Northwest is about it ended, for the buffaloes are on the eve of final extinction. Hunters who are engaged in the business of hunting the buffalo for his hide are returning daily from the ranges on the north and south sides of the Yellowstone river, and report not a bison to be found in a country where they formerly roamed in myriads. Men who have hunted hitherto been hunters by profession are now compelled to turn their attention to something else, as there is nothing left for them to hunt. The year that Northern Pacific Railroad was completed there were no less than 5,000 hunters scattered along the line of that road engaged in slaughtering bison and other animals, _______, for their hides. Glendive, Montana, alone shipped not less than 100,000 robes, and from many other points in the Northwest great quantities of roads in hides were sent to market. In days gone by, the Laramie Plains — in fact, the extensive prairies of Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Utah — were black with the numerous herds of buffalo which roamed over that fertile country, and it is worthy of note that, notwithstanding these animals were the main subsistence of the Indians, and were hunted by the redskins for their hides and meat, nevertheless this representative American animal did not began to numerically decline until the white hunter got on his trail. The Indians realize that the buffalo was the mainstay of their lives, and therefore were not wasteful nor improvident in the destruction of game. The commerce buffalo skins has only sprung up within the past forty years, and no mortal will ever know now many noble bison have been sacrificed during that period for the hides they wore. There are many people now living who remember very well when the vast herds of buffaloes roamed over the plains bounded by the Missouri river on the east and the Rocky Mountains on the west. Many of these people were no doubt travelers on the Wells, Fargo & Co.’s buckboards, that sometimes traveled for days without being at any time during daylight out of the sight of buffalo herds.

In 1859 St. Joseph was the western terminus of rail-road communication. Beyond, the stagecoach, the saddle horse and the ox trains where the only means of commerce and communication with the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific slope. The wild riders of the pony express told wonderful stories of the myriads of buffalo migrating north and south in the great valley with the changing seasons, which stories were looked upon in those days as the fabrications of over fertile imaginations, but which have since turned out to be facts. One commerce first began to ask for bison hides, there were plenty of indolent it men in the East who took upon themselves the profession of hunters as an easy and pleasant method of gaining a livelihood. When the Pacific coast became somewhat settled, the buffalo found themselves wall than between the enemy who began to encroach upon the buffalo country by pushing trading post far out on the ranges, and establishing a traffic with the Indians for hides and robes. Before that time the red men had simply looked upon the buffalo as a means of subsistence, the flesh being used for meat and hides for clothing and housing; but when the white traders asked for the robes and offered the Indians beads, shells, paint and other trinkets in exchange, a regular system of barter sprang up between the two races which has only come to a conclusion by the utter extinction of the animal. The first great transcontinental railway in 1868 divided the buffaloes into two great bands, and put an end to their migration. The railroad also let the hide hunters, who went into the thing in a business-like way. One good shooter is the employ of some trader would have eight or ten skinners following his wake while he went on ahead and did the slaughtering. Each hunter was pretty sure to drop from 90 to 100 animals a day, and every hide secured was worth from 75 cents to $1 each in its raw, untanned state. The skinners received the meat as their portion, but as they generally selected the tenderloins and tongues, the remainder of the meat was left to rot on the prairie.

The prairies of the Northwest are covered with the bleached bones of the countless dead, and here again commerce steps in to asked for something else; the very last remnant of an annihilated race. The white skeletons strewn along the Northern Pacific have hitherto given the tourist a special sense of getting his money’s worth of romance as he sped on to the National Park and the Rocky Mountains. That is all over now, for a regular business has sprung up in the buying and selling of buffalo bones. The harvest of furs has come to an end, but the harvest of bones has only just begun. Nearly every station on the Northern Pacific has a present a bone buyer, and all over the prairies can be seen, piled up for shipment, the chaotic anatomy of countless thousands of buffaloes. Farmers and ranchmen, when they have nothing else to do, harness up their teams and go to gathering buffalo bones. These are hauled to the nearest railway station, where they are paid from $2 to $3 per wagon load for them. The bones that surveyors have stood up for sighting post have been picked up and carried off with the rest. These bone gatherers occasionally run across buffalo bones with arrow-heads sticking into them. They tell the tale of the days gone by, when the red man chased the noble bison unmolested by the whites and claimed all the Western country as their hunting ground.

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The Sun New York
New York May 17, 1885
NO MORE HERDS OF BISON. HIDE HUNTERS AND SPORTSMEN HAVE WIPED THEM OUT AT LAST

Millions of them killed in Seven Years — Every One’s Hand Against the Buffalo — Not Even their Bones Left on the Plains –

Miles City, Mon., April 24. – Less than nine this spot was covered with the teepees and lodges of Sitting Bull’s warriors, then at war with the United States. In those days this region was the very heart of buffalo country. I remember accompanying the military expedition of 1877 up the Yellowstone River to the mouth of Tongue River, and encountering on the journey more buffalo that it would be possible intelligently to describe on paper. Figures carry but little idea of the vast number of animals, and were I to say that one herd we passed through, traveling for three days without being out of sight of bison during daylight, numbered far up into the hundred thousands, it would perhaps be falling short of the real number of buffaloes, that actually composed that mighty mass.

When we had passed through this herd at the close of the third day, about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the scouts reported another tremendous herd in the distance, coming directly toward us at full speed. Quickly our party sought the protection of the neighboring buttes, while a few of us climbed a rocky eminence on the open prairie, and awaited with interest the approach of the rushing mass. On they came, helter-skelter, pell-mell, and when the leaders reached the mound or hillock upon which we were perched the great herd divided into two parts and swept by us like the wind, half on either side. We gazed in wonder and awe at the sea of black, shaggy life rolling like billows at our feet. Far as the eye could see was an ocean of buffaloes, surging and swaying like waves, while the awful rumbling sound and shaking of the earth made our heads a little dizzy. All that afternoon the animals kept up their flight, and it was not until the sun sank behind the tall mountains that their numbers begin to lessen and left us free to escape from our temporary prison.

The herd which we traveled through for three days was not in motion, but was encountered in small scattered bands and lined every foot of the road we traveled. Nevertheless, it was one single herd, as it was continuous, though broken. But the last herd, which was moving at high speed, was packed so thick that I believe it contained fully as many animals as the first herd. They flew by us for five hours on a dead run, and the horizon of our site was bounded by nothing but the dark black hides of the noble animals themselves.

In 1877 the plains and prairies of Montana where the home of the buffalo. As long as the Indians remained hostile and at war with the whites, just so long was the salvation of the buffalo assured. When the Indians were captured and corralled upon reservations it left the bison to the mercy of white pot hunters and deadly repeating rifles, and the two together have done the business for them.

In 1815 the buffalo ranges extended as far east as Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa: in short, the Mississippi River Mark the eastern boundary of their grazing grounds. On the west, that main Rocky Mount ridge was the limit of their pastures, and between these two natural boundaries, the buffalo roamed over the vast plains of the West, migrating with the seasons North and South from the shores of the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. They were at the mercy of various Indian tribes, but the Indians were merciful. From this one animal, the red men drew the main necessaries of life. The hides furnished clothing, beds, and lodge coverings. The horns were used as ornaments and also furnished various kitchen utensils. The flesh was their staple food, and their sinews became arrow cords. The Indians used the animal, but did not abuse it. The herds in those days south of the present, international boundary line, strictly in the United States, must have contained not less than 5,000,000 animals. In what is now Manitoba, Assiniboin, Alberta, and Saskatchewan there must have been fully 5,000,000 more, as the Hudson Bay trappers who came south to trade with the Snake, Shoshone, and Mandan Indians always reported vast herds of bison in the neighborhood of Great Slave and Great Bear Lakes. CARL

(this article continues with the exact same text as in The Buffalo Extinct  article)

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1885 - Helena Weekly Herald Montana May 21

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Helena Weekly Herald
Montana May 21, 1885

The Boston Weekly Globe. May 26 1885

THE BUFFALO EXTINCT
Millions of Them Killed in Seven Years Hide Hunters and Sportsmen Have Wiped Them Out at Last Not Even Their Bones to be Left Upon the Plains

Miles City, Mon., April 24 Less than nine years ago this spot was covered with the tepees and lodges of Sitting Bull’s warriors, then at war with the United States. In those days this region was the very heart of the buffalo country. I remember accompanying the military expedition of 1877 up the Yellowstone river to the mouth of the Tongue river, and encountering on the journey more buffalo than it would be possible intelligently to describe on paper. Figures carry but little idea of the vast number of animals, and were I to say that one herd we passed through, traveling for three days without being out of sight of bison during daylight, numbered far up into the hundred thousands., it would perhaps be falling short of the real number of buffaloes that actually composed that mighty mass.

When we had passed through this herd at the close of the third day, about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the scouts reported another tremendous herd in the distance, coming directly toward us at full speed. Quickly our party sought the protection of the neighboring buttes, while a few of us climbed a rocky eminence on the open prairie, and awaited with interest the approach of the rushing mass. On they came, helter-skelter, pell mell, and when the leaders reached the mound or hillock upon which we were perched the great herd divided into two parts, and swept by us like the wind, half on either side. We gazed in wonder and awe at the sea of black, shaggy life rolling like billows at our feet. Far as the eye could see was an ocean of buffaloes, surging and swaying like the waves, while the awful rumbling sound and shaking of the earth made our heads a little dizzy. All that afternoon the animals kept up their flight, and it was not until the sun sank behind the tall mountains that their numbers began to lessen, and left us free to escape from our temporary prison.

The herd which we traveled through for three days was not in motion, but was encountered in small scattered bands and lined every foot of the road we traveled. Nevertheless it was one single herd, as it was continuous, though broken. But the last herd, which was moving at high speed, was packed so thick that I believe it contained fully as many animals as the first herd. They flew by us for five hours on a dead run, and the horizon of our sight was bounded by nothing but

The Dark Black Hides of the noble animals themselves . In 1877 the plains and prairies of Montana were the home of the buffalo. As long as the Indians remained hostile and at war with the whites, just so long was the salvation of the buffalo assured. When the Indians were captured and corralled upon reservations it left the bison to the mercy of white pot hunters and deadly repeating rifles, and the two together have done the business for them. ……In 1815 the buffalo ranges extended as far east as Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa: in short, the Mississippi river marked the eastern boundary of their grazing grounds. On the west the main Rocky mountain ridge was the limit of their pastures, and between these two natural boundaries the buffalo roamed over the vast plains of the West, migrating with the seasons north and south, from the shores of the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. They were at the mercy of various Indian tribes, but the Indians were merciful. From this one animal the red men drew the main necessaries of life. The hides furnished clothing, beds and lodge coverings. The horns were used as ornaments, and also furnished various kitchen utensils. The flesh was their staple food, and their sinews became arrow cords. The Indians used the animal, but did not abuse it. The herds on those days south of the present international boundary line, strictly in the United States, must have contained not less than 5,000,000 animals, in what is now Manitoba, Assiniboine, Alberta and Saskatchewan there must have been fully 5,000,000 more, as the Hudson Bay trappers who came South to trade with the Snake, Shoshone and Mandan Indians always reported vast herds of bison in the neighborhood of Great Slave and Great Bear lakes.

The buffaloes were alright until about seven years ago, when the Indians were conquered, which opened up the country and let the hide hunters in. It took about seven years, beginning with 1870, to exterminate the buffalo along the line of the Union Pacific railroad, which in the good old times could have been seen blackening the Platte river bottom for miles. These pour silly beast were so easily killed, and from their abundance, offered so rich a reward to the hide hunter, that every idle fellow in that part of the country could make good wages by butchering them. The Union Pacific railroad split the herds in half, and the left a moiety to the north and a moiety to the south. Those in Texas were soon used up by sportsmen and professional hunters: but the great northern herd fled to Wyoming and Montana, were Sitting Bull and his followers took charge of and protected them until Uncle Sam’s soldiers began chasing him around the country as well as the bison. From 1875 to 1880 .

Fully 1,000,000 of These Brutes were killed by soldiers and other white men. I heard of one enterprising pot-hunter on the Yellowstone who actually had a Gatling gun to help the slaughter along. He employed no less than thirty skinners to tear the hides from the poor animals as soon as they dropped, and each skinner receives $1 for every hide he brought in at night. The skinned carcasses, as well as numberless un-skinned, were left to rot where they fell. In short, the manipulator of the artillery kept ahead of his employees and provided them with more than they could attend to. In those days the hide hunters began to pay attention to other brutes besides bison. In 1880 the number of buffalo bagged on the Yellowstone aggregated about 100,000. On the Missouri river and its tributaries the same number were secured, making about 200,000 in all. Sixty thousand antelope and deer skins were secured the same year on the Yellowstone and 107,000 on the Missouri. In 1881 the Yellowstone country yielded about 140,000 buffalo robes and 73,000 antelope and deer skins. The Missouri river districts sent nearly 100,000 buffalo robes to market during the season of 1881, besides seventy odd thousand antelope and deer skins. From January to December, 1882 about 80,000 buffaloes were killed near Miles City and Glendive in eastern Montana. The whole territory yielded somewhere in the neighborhood of 185,000 robes. The number of antelope, deer and elk slaughtered that year is not accurately known, but as it was a great year for professional as well as unprofessional sportsmen, the actual number of game animals that either but the dust of the prairie or yielded up their lives among the mountains must be something awful to calculate. In Idaho and Montana that season there were not less than 5000 hunters scattered along the line of the Northern Pacific.

In 1883 there was a marked falling off in the supply of robes and skins. Nevertheless, 100,000 buffalo robes were shipped from Glendive alone, and as many more from other points along the railroad. These, however. were part of the previous seasons slaughter. In 1884 there was no crop at all to speak of, an in 1885 there can be none, as there are no living bison on the Northwest to furnish any more robes. In a word, the buffalo is extinct. There may, however, be a slight exception to this , as there are a few in the northern wilds of the

Yellowstone National Park a kind of mountain buffalo, where the government protects them from annihilation by stringent game laws and a corps of gamekeepers. There is still another small herd of these brutes in northwestern Montana, in the valley of Milk river, where J.G.Baker, the great cattle king of that section, has them safely corralled and carefully guarded by his cowboys. It is purely a speculative scheme on that gentleman’s part, however, as the poor brutes are kept securely penned, and will be finally slaughtered when there is a corner in robes.

A traffic in their bones has sprang up, which will, in a year or two, clean up the great buffalo cemeteries of the West, leaving not one remnant of a great race of animals in the country that was once their home. At nearly every station on the railroad last year could be seen piled up for shipment the chaotic anatomy of countless thousands of buffaloes. Cattlemen were paid $2 and $3 a wagon load for them. Cowboys with little else to do, and even lazy Indians with an eye to the almighty dollar, went into the scavenger business and collected buffalo bones for lucre. For months , car load after car load, to the number of thousands, passed eastward to Minnesota, Indiana, and Illinois, where they were turned to account as fertilizers. Even the skulls and bones that surveyors have stood up as sighting points have been picked up and carried off, such in the demand for them. Delivered at the factories the frames are worth $25 a ton, the freight charges ranging from $8 to $10 per ton. Horns alone bring $40 a ton, and umbrellas and fans. From a portion of the head glue is obtained, ad the neck bones and shoulder blades are worked up into the popular buffalo horn buttons. A great many of our buffalo bones, horns and hoofs are annually shipped to England, and after being turned over once ot twice by the cutlery factories of Sheffield, come back to us in the shape of fine knife handles and other articles of finished cutlery. England also imports great quantities of beef shanks for the manufacture of fertilizers. There is no use of enacting any saving laws for their protection in our country now, as there are non to protect. The harvest of skins has ended. The American bison is an extinct animal.

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THE SUN Baltimore
Maryland May 28, 1885
PHILADELPHIA’S ZOO Some of It’s Remarkable Features

(extract) One of the most interesting features of the garden is the herd of buffalo. They number nine, with a promised addition of two more in the near future. Reference to these animals suggest the interesting reflection that the bison is rapidly becoming an extinct animal. It will not be many years before it will be unknown outside of the circus menagerie and the ‘zoo.’ Arthur E. Brown, superintendent of the Philadelphia garden, declares it to be a fact that “where ten years ago buffalo existed in thousands not one is now to be found. In Nebraska a few years ago,” he adds, “the traveler found it impossible to get out of sight of buffalo, so numerous did they exist. Today there are none in the State. It has not been a great while ago since a Nebraska man came all the way to our garden to buy one. I supplied him from our herd. The same thing may be said of Kansas, which seventeen years ago was covered with bison. It is a question of a very short time when the American buffalo will be as extinct as the German Auroch, or wild ox, which years ago ranged over Central Europe as freely and as numerous as did the bison in America. Today the Auroch is not to be found outside of a zoological garden. The trouble is due to a laxity of our game laws, or rather to the indifference of the government in not providing the means for enforcing them. Elk and buffalo are slaughtered by the thousands in territories where laws exist for their protection. If the present condition of things continues, in twenty-five years large game will be as scarce west of the Missouri river as it is in the state of Pennsylvania.” The buffalo flourishes in the East, as does the elk. Other Western game, however, does not thrive on this side of the Missouri. For example, the pronghorn antelope, the mule deer, the mountain sheep and the white tailed deer will not domesticate. Upon being brought East they speedily weaken and die. Various theories are assigned for this phenomenon. Superintendent Brown’s is doubtless the most correct. He believes that the fault lies in defective nutrition and atmospheric conditions combined. The need of certain mineral salts, to be found only on the plains, he also thinks, has its affect. Just why the buffalo and the elk can be kept in the East where other Western animals cannot exist is unaccountable, unless it is because they once range to the Atlantic coast, whereas the less hardy animals never ventured east of the Mississippi river. Of the nine buffalo here all were bred in their present quarters.

 

The Clay Center Dispatch
Clay Center, Kansas May 28 1885
Hunting Buffalo near the Saskatchewan Battleford Correspondence of the Port Arthur Sentinel.

When the party struck buffalo, a permanent camp was pitched, and the “buffalo runners” (horses trained to the work) were caught and examined. Scouts were sent out to locate a herd, and on their return all the men intending to take part in the run presented, themselves mounted, with gun on arm. and whip suspended by thong to the wrist. Under direction of their captain they quietly separate in skirmishing order, and advancing under cover of the undulations of the ground, almost, if not altogether, surrounded the entire herd. At a given signal all dash for ward, and as they charge the light of battle shines in their faces and their very steeds quiver with excitement. Hurrying to the top of a hill a non-combatant sees a wide and almost circular plain filled with horsemen and wild, terror-stricken animals, dashing hither and thither, and over all the confused tumult the bellowing of bulls and the sharp crack of the rifles are heard. See that beautiful back dash up to a fat bull and almost halt, while its rider sends the death dealing bullet. Like a flash the buffalo turns and charges the horse, but a slight pressure of the knee causes him likewise to swerve, and the buffalo rushes past. In another instant the horse is again alongside, and a second shot rolls a magnificent fellow over dead. All this is fair fighting compared with the treacherous “pound” designed by the great chief of this district, viz: Pound-Maker; and from which he got his characteristic name. The entrance to this enclosure is by an inclined plane made of rough logs leading to a gap through which the buffalos suddenly jump about six feet into a ring, and from which there is no retreat. In their entrance converge little heaps of brush and buffalo dung for several miles into the prairie which surrounds the clump of woods in which the pound is concealed, and these lines serve to decoy the buffalo to their doom when they have been driven into the neighborhood. When this piece of strategy is effected the animals run round and round violently, and the Indians affirm, always with the sun. The scene now becomes a busy and sanguinary one, the work of butchering going on until the last buffalo is killed. Such are the tactics indulged in by the braves under Chief Pound Maker of the Battleford district.

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The Daily Republican
June 19 1885
KILLED FOR THEIR HIDES BUFFALO SEEN NO MORE ON WESTERN PLAINS Fully One Million of Them Slaughtered in Five Years Suggestive Figures Traffic in Their Bones

A Montana letter to the New York Sun says that the buffaloes were all right until about seven years ago, when the Indians were conquered, which opened up the country and let the hide hunters in. It took about seven years, beginning with 1870, to exterminate the buffalo along the line of the Union Pacific railroad, which in the good old times could have been seen blackening the Platte river bottom for miles. These poor silly beast were so easily killed, and, from their abundance, offered so rich a reward to the hide hunter, that every idle fellow in that part of the country could make good wages by butchering them. The Union Pacific railroad split the herds in half, and left a moiety to the north and a moiety to the south. Those in Texas were soon used up by sportsmen and professional hunters; but the great northern herd fled to Wyoming and Montana, where Sitting Bull and his followers took charge of and protected them until Uncle Sam’s soldiers began chasing him around the country as well as the bison. From 1875 to 1880, fully 1,000,000 of these brutes were killed by soldiers and other white men. I heard one enterprising pot hunter, on the Yellowstone, who actually had a Gatling gun to help the slaughter along. He employed no less than thirty skinners to tear the hides from the poor animals as soon as they dropped, and each skinner received a dollar for every hide he brought in at night. The skinned carcasses, as well as numberless unskinned, were left to rot where they fell. In short the manipulator of the artillery kept ahead of his employees and provided them with more than they could attend to.

In those days hide hunters began to pay attention to other brutes besides bison. In 1880 the number of buffalo bagged on the Yellowstone aggregated about 100,000. On the Missouri river and its tributaries the same number were secured, making about 200,000 in all. Sixty thousand antelope and deer skins were secured the same year on the Yellowstone and 107,000 on the Missouri. In 1881 the Yellowstone country yielded about 140,000 buffalo robes and 73,000 antelope and deer skins. The Missouri river districts sent nearly 100,000 buffalo robes to market during the season of 1881, besides seventy odd thousand antelope and deer skins. From January to December, 1882 about 80,000 buffaloes were killed near Miles City and Glendive in eastern Montana. The whole territory yielded somewhere in the neighborhood of 185,000 robes. The number of antelope, deer and elk slaughtered that year is not accurately known, but as it was a great year for professional as well as unprofessional sportsmen, the actual number of game animals that either bit the dust of the prairie or yielded up their lives among the mountains must be something awful to calculate. In Idaho and Montana that season there were not less than 5000 hunters scattered along the line of the Northern Pacific.

In 1883 there was a marked falling off in the supply of robes and skins. Nevertheless, 100,000 buffalo robes were shipped from Glendive alone, and as many more from other points along the railroad. These, however. were part of the previous seasons slaughter. In 1884 there was no crop at all to speak of, and in 1885 there can be none, as there are no living bison on the Northwest to furnish any more robes. In a word, the buffalo is extinct. There may, however, be a slight exception to this , as there are a few in the northern wilds of the Yellowstone National Park a kind of mountain buffalo, where the government protects them from annihilation by stringent game laws and a corps of gamekeepers. There is still another small herd of these brutes in northwestern Montana, in the valley of Milk river, where J.G.Baker, the great cattle king of that section, has them safely corralled and carefully guarded by his cowboys. It is purely a speculative scheme on that gentleman’s part, however, as the poor brutes are kept securely penned, and will be finally slaughtered when there is a corner in robes.

To sum up the matter, these figures of hides and robes exported from this section represent about two-thirds of the actual number of animals killed. Fully one-third of all the great host decayed with their robes around them. Not more than two-thirds of the skins were saved. Traffic in their bones has sprung up, which will in a year or two clean up a great Buffalo cemeteries of the West, leaving not one remnant of a great race of animals in the country that was once their home. At nearly every station on the railroad last year could be seen piled up for shipment the chaotic anatomy of thousands of buffaloes. Cattlemen were paid $2 and $3 a wagon load for them Cowboys with little else to do, and even lazy Indians with an eye to the almighty dollar, went into the scavenger business and collected buffalo bones for lucre. For months car load after car load, to the number of thousands, passed castward to Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois, where they were turned to account as fertilizers. Even the skulls and bones that surveyors have stood up as sighting points have been picked up and carted off, such is the demand for them. Delivered at the factories the farmers are worth $25 a ton, the freight charges ranging from $8 to $10 per ton. Horns alone bring $40 a ton, and are extensively used by makers of umbrellas and fans. From a portion of the head glue is obtained, and the neck bones and shoulder blades are worked up into the popular buffalo horn buttons. A great many of our buffalo bones, horns, and hoofs are annually shipped to England, and, after being turned over once or twice by the cutlery factories of Sheffield, come back to us in the shape of fine knife handles and other articles of finished cutlery. England also imports great quantities of beef shanks for the manufacturing of fertilizers.

There may be a few herds north of the international boundary line in the Canadian northwest, but sharpshooters will make short work of them before many months. There is no use of enacting ____ saving laws for their protection in ___ country now, as there are none to protect. The harvest of the skins has ended. The American bison is an extinct animal. But if they can, let them take comfort in the reflection that, even though slaughtered and swept from existence by the white race, they have been of some use as buttons, bands, umbrellas, and the like, to the generation of men and women that is dying with them.

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Atchison Daily Patriot
Atchison Kansas Sep 23, 1885
CLIMATE CHANGES.

The great change that has already and is continually taking place in the climate and vegetation of Kansas is a fruitful topic of conversation between observing and thinking men. Kansas was once a desert, not only in the geographies of the school children but in stern reality. To-day it is the garden spot of a continent. Where arid wastes once were, now luxuriant vegetation abounds. Where once the parched ground was, now the dews and the rains make glad the green and tender things that are pleasing to the eye and attest Omnipotence. There are many theories as to the change. Not long since we’ve referred to that of ex-Speaker Warren Kiefer, of Ohio, which he calls the “Buffalo Theory.” We quote from him:

“while it may be very true,” he said, “that the cultivation of the land has had a great deal to do with the rainfall, there is another cause which dates further back. The great American desert extended not very many years ago over an immense tract of land reaching as far as the Rocky mountains. It was not only a desert and name, but one in reality, as hardly anything grew on it and the soil was sandy and barren. At that time buffaloes roamed over this country by the thousands, and covered immense tracts of land. It was the buffaloes, I claim, that kept vegetation back. Whenever they roamed only a small quantity of buffalo grass grew. As they were gradually driven or killed off, other grasses begin to come up, and rain followed. While the buffaloes are in themselves of great value to the country, I don’t know that what it was best after all that they were driven off.”

The subject is an interesting one, and we now quote from the Kansas correspondent to the Germantown telegraph:

“It has been truly said that the degree of civilization of the country can be correctly measured by the vegetation as well as by the character of the inhabitants of the country. As proof of this, we have but to consider and take into account the changes that have taken place in the west during the last thirty years. Thirty years ago the Missouri river was the eastern boundary of the Indian and buffalo district, and the prairies were covered with white was called buffalo grass. When civilization began to move west, the Indian and the bison advanced also, and the grass that had covered the prairies for perhaps centuries gave place to these grasses allied to the tame grasses of the east.

Of course the progress of this change was slow, but during this time the original buffalo grass has become extinct along the Missouri river, the first change being to the “wire-grass,” so called from its resemblance to wire and its toughness. Then came the broad leaf or “blue stem” grass, which furnished an excellent quality of hay. But a few years elapsed before this grass began to give way to clover and blue grass, which are the only grasses grown in the eastern parts of those states bordering on the Missouri.

As one proceeds west he can easily detect the tendency of the grasses toward the original buffalo grass, until within 200 or 300 miles from the river this will be found to be the principal grass of the country. The migration of the bison west is always followed by this change in vegetation. It is also noticeable that with this comes the change in the wild flowers and birds of a country. Where the Indian and the buffalo roam it is very seldom the beautiful wildflowers, now so abundant in the civilized portions of the west, can be found.

Nor do we find such birds as the robin, meadow lark or the blue jay and many others of their like in the lands of the Indian and bison, and majority of the weeds which now grow on prairies were unknown thirty years ago. Some of your readers may ascribe the change to the grass “running out,” but why should it grow prolifically where the bison still roam? The cause of this change has never been satisfactorily explained by those who have given the matter much study.”

But whether this “Buffalo Grass” theory be correct or not, it is true that the change that has been wrought is most wonderful. The desert of twenty-five years ago is a garden, than which none is more beautiful and productive to-day.

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Tunkhannock Republican
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania Oct 2, 1885
BISON ROBES. Number of the Animals Killed by Indians

Though the Indians have the credit of not destroying more bison than they could actually utilize, some tribes appear to have been less careful. Thus, the Sioux are said to have occasionally killed thousands in a single hunt. Mr. Caitlin describes one of these grand hunts, which occurred in 1833, just before his arrival at the Fur Company’s settlement, at the mouth of the Teton, when about six hundred Sioux horsemen started to ride down a large herd of buffaloes, returning at sunset with 1,400 fresh buffalo tongues, all of which they exchanged for a few gallons of whiskey: but not one skin, nor even a pound of flesh, was saved from the victims thus ruthlessly slaughtered.

A few such statistics as these go far to contradict the theory that the Indians so greatly respected these heaven bestowed herds that they never destroyed more than they actually could use. The white hunters have a very different impression. Very characteristics is the sort of apologetic form in which some persons officially described as “otherwise intelligent” vindicate the slaughter by white professional hunters as being more than compensated for, from a bison’s point of view, by “the extermination of wolves and Indians.” A large number of wolves had been killed by strychnine. How the Indians were reduced in number is a larger question.

Very elaborate calculations have, however, been made regarding the slaughter by Indians to obtain a sufficient number of robes for their own use, in addition to those sold year by year to various fur companies.

Of the latter, the return for ten successive years was ninety thousand annually, and, as each robe involves the death of three bison, this was no trifling item. One of the most moderate estimates suggest two hundred thousand as the number of robes annually manufactured, and these it must be remembered only represent one-third of the bison killed during those four months of the year when the hair is in good condition. A far larger number were killed for hides in the remaining eight. – Gentleman’s Magazine.

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The Times Pennsylvania Nov 15, 1885

The Times Pennsylvania Nov 15th 1885

( I included this ad because of the artwork that went into making it, something, for the time)