Thomas County , Kansas April 19, 1888
THE BUFFALOES FATE
Extinction of the Noblest of all the American Game Animals
……It is believed that there are now only a few hundred representatives of the main the bison which, when, Fremont across the continent, roamed over our great Western plains. A few small herds have very likely escaped the notice of hunters and settlers. Nearly two years ago residence along the upper Missouri and Yellowstone rivers reported that the bison was probably extinct in that region, but later the hunting party organized by the taxidermist of the Smithsonian Institution found a herd of about fifty animals in one of the valleys of Eastern Montana, where, in the midst of wild and uninhabited tract south of the Missouri, they had entirely escape notice. This region has since been occupied by ranchmen, and it is now thought that the bison in his wild state has entirely disappeared from Montana except in the Yellowstone Park and its environs, where, secure from hunters, a few specimens still exist. It is reported also that along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains a few small herds still range, almost as far south as Texas.
……About two years ago the directors of the Smithsonian Institute awoke to the fact that if they wished to replenish their inadequate and unsatisfactory collections of this great game animal, it was high time to set about the task. It was to the hunters employed by this institution that the best specimens of the last heard in Eastern Montana fell of prey. Thus the few remaining American buffalos were slaughtered in order that their skeletons and skins may perpetually recall the memory of the numerous family which was so recklessly exterminated to meet the great demand for buffalo robes. The skin was the one commodity that was always welcomed and barter by the agency of traders. Not a few of our troubles with the Western tribes have had their origin primarily in the fact that the bison had disappeared from the hunting grounds of tribes that, like their fathers before them, had regarded this animal as essential to their well-being. The wild and merciless savage had hundred the bison for centuries, yet when our fathers came to this country the plains were probably as black with herds as they had been in past ages, and so doubtless they would have continued to be.
……The latest Smithsonian report says that in a very few years more than elk, mountain sheep, goat, deer and moose will be wholly exterminated. Thus all the great game animals of our country are entirely disappearing before the advance of settlement and the ruthless assaults of the Hunter – N.Y.
Topeka, Dec 7 1888
COL. STANTON’S FINE HERD AT BISMARCK GROVE
“Cleveland” the Handsomeness Specimen of a Race Almost Extinct
……While the only simon-pure buffalo ranch on the American continent is unquestionably the one located near Garden City, it is nevertheless a fact that there is a remarkable find herd at Bismarck Grove, owned Colonel H. H. Stanton, proprietor of the Union Pacific hotel and this city.
Colonel Stanton has been a resident of this state for many years and had business interest all along the line of the Kansas Pacific long before the last herd of bison was swept from the prairies of Kansas, or ruthlessly slaughtered for mere fun of this thing or for the paltry price their hides would bring. His first venture as a purchaser of this now valuable stock was in 1879, when he brought a bull buffalo calf at Wallace, in the extreme western part of the state, for which he paid $8. The man from whom he bought represented the calf to be eight days old, though in reality it was not three, and the Col. taught it to drink milk and nursed it through its bab hood. He brought it down to Topeka and put it in the park in front of the railroad hotel, where he Did for a year, by which time it became unruly and was at the request of a Union Pacific official taken to Bismarck Grove for keeping and as an attraction for visitors. Meantime the owner had bought from someone who had made the overland trip in a prairie schooner, two buffalo heifers, for which he paid $25 each. These three animals were the origin of the present herd, and all are now dead. The bull, christened “Barney,” may still be seen, as large as life, if not quite so natural, in a glass case in the museum at the Statehouse, his remains having been skillfully preserved by a taxidermist.
THE STANTON HERD
……The descendents of these three buffalo now found at Bismarck Grove, where all were born, number in all ten. There were 17, but the rest have died with the exception of one which was given away. They are kept in an inclosure containing about thirty acres immediately adjoining the park and they may be seen at any time. The site is one well worth a trip and the slight expense that may attach to it, especially to one who has never seen the American bison in his native state.
The present herd includes two fine bull calves, dropped last spring, two heifers, five cows and a bull, six years old and as handsome as a picture. The latter has been named “Cleveland,” after that colonel’s favorite presidential candidate. The entire herd is in as fine condition as any beef cattle, though they were never fed anything but hey and are never given any shelter. In fact they don’t take kindly to shelter and whether a blizzard is blowing, with the mercury 20 degrees below zero, or the sun pouring down his scorching rays with the thermometer 110 degrees above, they set their heads resolutely towards storm or sun and take their medicine as if they liked it. Hon. W. F. Cody, “Buffalo Bill.” Tried to buy the whole herd two years ago to take to Europe with his Wild West show, but they were not for sale at his own figures, and indeed there is no anxiety to dispose of them at any figures. The railroad company has been glad to furnish them pasturage for the sake of adding to the attractions of the park, in which there are also forty-three head of deer, including two as fine bucks has ever trotted over the national deer trail towards the salt licks and northern Utah.
PRIDE OF THE HERD
……while the bison at Bismarck Grove are splendid specimens of their class, ‘Cleveland’ is decidedly the pride of the herd and as grand a creature as ever trod the soil of Kansas on four legs. He is just six years old and is a perfect specimen of the kings of the plains. There is a royal blood in his veins and his code is finer than the imperial purple. It is not possible to get at him to measure his stature and weigh him, but as he stands in the past year he appears to be as tall as a thoroughbred Norman-Percheron stallion and as massive as an elephant direct from the jungles. He must weigh fully 3,000 pounds, and it is doubtful is there is today living on the face of the earth a handsomer buffalo bull then he. His fur is just now in its best state, even thick and compact, while the long hair on his neck and legs is of a glossy seal brown. As he turns and faces the visitor, one can imagine what it must have been to see countless thousands roaming on the plains and to hear the thunder of their hooves in a stampede. “Cleveland’s” disposition is not so ugly as old Barney’s was, but at certain seasons he is very wild and there is no one venturesome enough to go into the inclosure. It is then not altogether safe to even look over the high in heavy board fence at him, for he is likely to make a run for the visitor, as the numerous holes in the fence where he has knocked off the boards will testify.
Colonel Stanton is very proud of his herd, particularly of Cleveland, and he has a right to be. He would rather lose his best hotel that his buffalo, nor would any cash price induce him to part with them. He will probably, in the near future, place them in a more convenient location and tend to breeding them and crossbreeding with cattle. He certainly has a splendid foundation to begin on and it is a lucrative business, a single buffalo been worth more than of whole drove of common cattle.