1889

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The Marion County Herald
Hamilton, Alabama Jan 10, 1889
Raising Buffalo for the Shambles.

The Manitoba as fast freight from Winnipeg recently brought into St. Paul, Minn., a queer load of cattle in the shape of a herd of eighty-three buffalo. The herd is the famous wine raised by Warden Bedson, of Stony Mountain, Northwest Territory, since 1877, from a young bull and four heifers. They have been bought by C. J. Jones, of Garden City, Kan., who has for some years been making a special study of the buffalo, and he has at present a herd of about fifty on his ranch in Kansas. He began crossing them with cattle and his experiments have been successful, the half-breed buffalo being a hardy and sturdy animal, while much less wild in its nature. The raising of the bison has become a profitable business, as fifty cents a pound for buffalo meat can be obtained in Chicago. The animals will be shipped south. Cattle raisers everywhere are watching the Jones experiments with much interest, and bison in their wild state are almost unknown, a fact which makes the attempt to domesticate and perpetuate this species the more interesting. – Chicago Herald.

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The Daily Republican
Monongahela, Pennsylvania Jan 20 1889

No possible industry now opens up so full of certain and large profits as raising buffaloes. The American bison, as a wild animal, is practically extinct, as much so as the wild horse. The hides have risen in value and are almost out of the market. A fine quality of these hides, produced with all the care they might be on ranches, would command a price almost at the option of the seller. There are vast ranges of prairie where no other cattle would pay one-half the profit. The impulse of cowboys to shoot the bison at sight would have to be restrained; but that would be as well for the cowboys as for the beast. The free slaughtering of the Western plains bred a type of lawlessness that can profitable the dispensed with as civilization advances.

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The Montana Standard
Butte, Montana  Jan 24, 1889

AFTERNOON SESSION.

Hatch, chairman of committee on Territorial affairs, to whom was referred the Governor’s  message relative to the killing a bison, reported that at some future day he would introduce a bill to provide against the killing of same.

Bickford, chairman of the committee to whom was referred C.B. No. 6, relating to the boundaries of Missoula, Silver Bow, Deer Lodge and Beaverhead counties, recommended the passage of the bill with amendments.

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis, Missouri Jan 27, 1889
KANSAS LEGISLATORS VIEWING BISON.
A Fine Price for a Young Bull – Troublesome to Handle
By Telegraph to the POST-DISPATCH.

KANSAS CITY, Mo., January 26, — About one hundred members of the Kansas Legislature, most of them accompanied by their wives, arrived in the city at 5 o’clock this afternoon, on the Santa Fe Rd. They came on the invitation of Hon. J. C. Jones, the buffalo breeder, to see his herd of bison, now on exhibition here, and to take in the sights of the city. The party will remain in the city over Sunday and leave for Topeka on Monday morning. Preparations have been made to entertain them at Midland, where a grand “Dutch treat” has been ordered.

H.C. Jones, in charge of the buffalo herd, yesterday sold one fine 2-year-old buffalo bull to a Western breeder for $500. Great trouble was experienced in cutting the young bull out of the herd, and it was finally found necessary to rope him, tie his hoofs together and haul him to the depot on a dray.

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The Black Hills Daily Times
Deadwood, South Dakota Apr 7, 1889
The American Bison

Tom Hardwick on yesterday purchased of J. J. Sutherland, a 5-year-old buffalo cow, a 3-year-old bull, and a half breed cow, for shipment to Sioux Falls where Pettigrew and Tate will shortly establish a park or, as they term it, an “experimental farm” whereat will be placed a quantity of wild animals particular to Dakota, including elk, deer, moose, antelope, sheep, etc., for domestication, propagation and cross-breeding. Over twenty head of buffalo are now on the farm which is located two miles south of Sioux Falls at the end of the street car track.

Mr. Hardwick, as is well known, is one of the oldest and most successful buffalo hunters in the west — or was in the good old days when buffalo swarmed the entire country west of the Missouri, appearing often in herds of thirty and fifty thousand. Those days have, however, passed, and Tom with many other finds that particular occupation gone. The last hard of magnitude, noted south of the Yellowstone, appeared on the Cannon Ball in 83’-4. It numbered upward of 70,000 but was fearful decimated by the Piegans and Sioux, and the remnant stampeded over the line. So far as known only a few small herds range south of the Missouri today. A small band is in the Big Horn country; a few bison between Helena and Deer Lodge; a dozen or two in the Pan Handle, Texas; a herd of thirty between the Yellowstone and Missouri, and not to exceed fifteen between Ellendale and Bismarck, near Red Lake.
The number north of the line cannot be estimated, but it is not great, relatively speaking, and is steadily diminishing.

A lengthy interview with Mr. Hardwick, unavoidably crowded out of today’s Times, will appear on Tuesday.

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The Saint Paul Globe
Saint Paul, Minnesota  Apr 18, 1889 ·

LO! THE POOR BUFFALO.

Prof. Hornaday, of the Smithsonian institution, is preparing for the next annual report of the institution an interesting paper on the extermination of the American bison. In addition to information gathered by extensive correspondence on the subject for the past four years, Prof. HORNADAY’s paper will treat of the range and habits of the buffalo, and will contain suggestions relative to the methods that should be employed to preserve this distinctively American animal from total extinction. One of the most interesting chapters of the report will be the history of the famous slaughter from 1868 to 1872, when 3,500,000 of the buffalo were slain in the country west of the Mississippi and south of the Missouri; another chapter is to be devoted to a description of the herds remaining in existence, both domesticated and wild, with their number and location.

They tempt at domesticating the buffalo are thus described by Prof. HORNADAY: S.L.BEDSON, of Stony Mountain,  Mont., was the first, so far as can be learned, to enter upon the breeding and cross-breeding of buffalo. He began in 1877 with a herd of one bull and four heifers, and at the end of eleven years he had a herd of eighty-three. He sold out last fall to C.J.JONES, of Kansas City, for $28,000. Mr.JONES , who was an active buffalo slaughter in the famous crusade against the bison from 1868 to 1872, is called BUFFALO JONES, but is trying to atone, in a measure, for his slaughter of the buffalo in its wild state by increasing its number in domestication. Previous to his purchase of the BEDSON herd he owned thirty-three cows and twenty-four bulls, which he had purchased in the Texas Panhandle, and which have been added to the Montana herd. Sir DONALD SMITH has gone into buffalo-farming on a small scale at “Silver Heights,” his country residence, five miles from Winnipeg, having five head in his herd. BUFFALO BILLS Wild West Show includes eighteen head: CHARLES ALLARD has a herd of thirty-five on the Flathead reservation in Montana; CHARLES GOODNIGHT has thirteen head on a ranch near Clarendon, Texas. There are also several herds of two or three head, making a total of 243 buffaloes in a domesticated state.

Prof. HORNADAY has been able to locate the following herds running wild; In the Panhandle of Texas, on the Canadian river, thirty head; on the Red desert, South Wyoming, twenty-seven head: in the Yellowstone National park, 200 head: in the Musselshell country in Montana, ten head; and Southwestern Dakota, five head; and in the Peace river valley, Canada, a herd variously estimated at from 200 to 1,000, but which, according to the most reliable information, Prof., HORNADAY thinks will not exceed the lesser number. This, then, makes a grand total of 750 buffalo in all the American continent, where less than a quarter of a century ago they range the plains in countless thousands.

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The Standard Gauge Brewton Alabama June 6 1889 40 Years Ago

1889 Bison History

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Altoona Times
Altoona, Pennsylvania Jun 25, 1889 ·

(extract Wild West Show)

The next scene is one which cannot be witnessed anywhere except in a “Wild West” show, and that was riding a bull buffalo. The buffalo was a low, compact beast, with the bulk of his anatomy stowed at the forward end of himself. This is a habit so long indulged in by the buffalo that it has become almost a passion with him. His share of the performance was to gallop along with his tongue out until checked and his maddened career by a lariat skillfully thrown around his starboard hind leg by “Mexican Frank.” Then another vaquero rope the bison by the horns and the two horsemen drove in opposite directions. This is hard on the buffalo, but he has to endure it or lose his job.

Before the Cowboys could pull the animal apart “Bronco Charlie” appeared. He is a coal-black negro, with legs like ice tongs, and he could ride anything from a barbed wire fence to a cyclone. “Charlie” mounted the bison, which had evidently been selected for his adaptability to the rider’s legs, the ropes were cast-off, and the beast started. “Bronco Charlie” took a header, landing on his face in the mud. But this did not discourage him. He rode to steers singly, without saddle or bridle, to the inspiring music of a cowboy orchestra of ten pieces, and wound up his exhibition by writing a bucking bronco that had never been mounted before.

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The Salt Lake Herald
Salt Lake City, Utah Jul 17, 1889

Buffalo Hunting in Wyoming.

CHEYENNE, Wyo., July 16.—(Special telegram to THE HERALD.) — Steve and Wilson Williams, ranch men at Rockdale, Carbon county, are here for recreation after an exciting and profitable buffalo hunt on Red desert, eighty miles north of Rawlins. The presence of a herd of bison at this place has been known for years, but the topography of this country has made the capture of the rare animal extremely difficult. The Williams brothers employed as assistance two cowboys who were fearless riders and skilled in the use of the lariat. As mounts they selected powerful horses of great speed and proven endurance. The chase lasted the greater portion of three days and was a series of adventures. Two full-grown cows were captured the first day, a big bull the next, while another bull and a pair of females rewarded the preserving hunters the third. The wild animals struggled fearfully but each was finally paired with a heavy work ox. One of the captives, a massive male, in bucking fell and broke his neck. On the return to the ranch Steve Williams had a narrow escape. On the second day out a mad bull gored his horse, lifting the rider and saddle and animal high in the air. One of the cowboys sent a rifle ball into the infuriated brute’s shoulder. The hunters say there are between forty and fifty full-grown bison and a few calves in the herd. They have been offered $500 each for their prizes, but demand more.

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The Courier-Journal
Louisville, Kentucky  Jul 21, 1889
CORRALLING WILD BISON.

Profitable Rounding-Up Done By a Party of Texas Ranchers In Wyoming.

A special to the St. Louis Republic from Cheyenne, W.T. says; “Five full-grown American bison, the buffalo of the frontierman and Indian, so in a close corral at the ranch of Steve and Wilson Williams, near Rockdale, Carbon county. The captors are adventurous fellows who came here from Texas three years ago.

“Of the notable successful chase, Wilson, the older brother, said: We have known for a long time that the herd ranged on Red Desert, ninety miles northwest of Rawlins, but I realized that the capture would be laborious and dangerous because the country was open and an eastern menagerie with him we corresponded offered $500 a head for the wild beeves, and Steve and I determined to make some money.

“The expedition included the young ranchmen and two cowboys, who are daring riders and perfect with the lariat. For the chase they selected powerful horses, possessing both bottom and speed. There was no trouble in locating the herd, but the animals were fearfully timid and were away like the wind at sight of the hunters. The four plainsman rode their mounts for all there was in them. Each was successful, but a big bull roped by Steve Williams would not be conquered and was killed. Before being dispatched he gored two horses.

“The second effort was fruitless, but the third added three more to the captured. Each buffalo was lashed to a heavy work ox taken along for that purpose. En route to the ranch one bison became frightened, struggled gallantly, but finally fell and broke his neck. The head, a splendid trophy, was brought to this city. The hunters say there are fully fifty buffaloes in the herd, and expressed ability to capture all if properly outfitted. They now think their prizes worth more than the price offered before the chase.”

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The Lenoir Topic N.C. Sept 18 1889
The Extinction of the Bison
N.Y. Herald

……Every now and then some sensitive philosopher bewailed the virtual extinction of the American bison, commonly known as the buffalo. It is freely asserted that one of the most valuable animals on the continent has disappeared.
This is only partly true. The bison was a necessity to the Indians in their savage state. Without this important food supply the red man in the Northwest had to till the soil, for there was not enough smaller game to feed the tribes. While great herds wandered over the prairies the Indian felt himself to be independent of the white race and civilization. Warriors on the warpath found no difficulty in securing meat.
……But when the bison vanished Indian wars in the Northwest were an impossibility. Then only did the aborigines understand the futility of opposition to the orderly progress of Caucasian dominion. They clearly apprehend now why the white man sows seed in the ground and patiently waits for the harvest.
……The experiments made at Winnipeg with a domesticated herd of bisons showed clearly that, except as curiosities, they were not worth what it cost to keep them. Their strength was far inferior to that of ordinary oxen. While a bison cannot do the work of an ox it takes twice as much food to supply him. He is therefore a failure as a beast of burden. As meat he cannot be compared to many less expensive domesticated animals.
……The most valuable thing about the bison is his shaggy and durable fur. But the conditions of travel are changing in many good substitutes for “buffalo robes”have been provided.
No serious damage has been done to the country in the destruction of the bison. The grass he used to eat is needed for more useful herds. He no longer tempts barbarism to resist civilization. He is gone forever from the plains, and with him has gone the Indian frontier.
……At the same time the government should take care to preserve a herd or two of this most interesting native animal.

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The Roxboro Courier
Roxboro, North Carolina Sep 29 1889

Animals That Are Disappearing.

The establishment and maintenance of a zoological garden is as much a part of the proper work of government as building schools or sending out scientific surveys. It is a source of instruction to the people and an aide to the development of science, especially in this country, by preserving many species of wild animals from extinction. The buffalo is already regarded as an extinct animal. No one, it is said by competent authority, remains in the British possessions on this continent; and in this country there are two small herds, one in Texas and the other in the Yellowstone park, numbering together not more than 125. The leading scientist, not only of America, but of Europe, have been calling upon our government for years to preserve the bison from extinction, as the Russian government has done with the European bison or aurochs.

It is said that, at the present rate of progress, the remarkable Rocky mountain goat will be extinct within five years. Among the quadrupeds that are fast dying off are the elk, moose, antelope, caribou, black tailed deer, grizzly bear, wolf, beaver, otter and wolverine. The delay of a few years may mean the complete disappearance of some or most of these, and a gap in the history of the animal life of this continent that can never be filled. –New Orleans Picayune.

 

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Weekly Oregon Statesman
Salem, Oregon Nov 6 1889
BUFFALO IN EASTERN OREGON.
Kit Carson Saw Them on the Deschutes Plains When he Went to

California in 1843.

Seeing the note in regard to the buffalo calf now on exhibition in Portland calls to mind the fact that at no very distant day the bison was a denizen of Eastern Oregon.

In a biography of Kit Carson, the fact is stated that Carson saw buffalo on the Deschutes plains when he made the trip to California with Fremont in 1843. In 1877 the late Frank F.Pringle, of Prineville, broke 12 acres of sod for S. J. Newsome, on Newsome creek, Crook county, Oregon, and while doing so plowed up the skeleton of a buffalo which was barely covered with soil and in an excellent state of preservation. From observations while writing the range it is judged that this buffaloship had probably succumbed to the rigors of winter in the early fifties.

Three miles west of the Newsome place on the ranch now owned by E.G. Conant, a few years before, the Ewell brothers had unearthed a buffalo skeleton while breaking sod and seven miles from there, on Bear creek, the first settlers found several of them.

How these remains of the bison, or buffalo came to be found in this locality only is a mystery beyond ken. The bones were not petrified and were not decayed to any great extent, and they were at the surface of the ground. Therefore, Kit Carson undoubtedly saw the buffalo on the plains of Deschutes above the mouth of Crooked river, as he states to his biographer.

It is strange that while the scientists and the naturalist have been ransacking the fossil beds of Camp creek, which is just across Maury range from Newsome creek and whose headwaters are separated from Bear creek by a low ridge, they should overlook the remains of more recent animals.

 

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The Jefferson Gazette
Lawrence Kansas Nov 9 1899

Trails of Our Pioneers (extract)

Had the Indians and the hide hinters any conception of the awful slaughter being made after the Pacific and the Santa Fe railroads crossed the plains, possible the buffalo would not have been so ruthlessly killed. It was not an exaggeration to say that one the buffalo trails once could virtually walk for miles and by stepping on the buffalo carcasses, avoid touching the ground. The Indians believed that the buffalo issued out of a cave in the south and that the great spirit furnished more buffalo as fast as they were killed. Some went so far as to have claimed to have seen this cave and that it was to be found in the great “Staked Plains” of Texas.King of the Buffalo Range

Buffalo hunters established hunting camps convenient to the buffalo ranges and at these it was no uncommon thing to see buffalo skins corded up like cord wood, in piles of thousands. During the days of greatest slaughter, Lawrence was made something of a supply depot for hunters and thousands of buffalo hides were often stored here. In one great shed that stood near where Harris & Gibson’s mill now stands a boy was playing over the hides and suddenly disappeared. Months afterwards, his body was found between and under the great piles of skins where he had slipped down between the ricks of hides and smothered to death.

In those days the choicest steak was sold at retail for five cents per pound in Lawrence, and to the prudent mind, the inquiry comes what was done with all this meat of the thousands of slaughtered buffalo? It was nearly always left to rot or become the food for wolves and buzzards. The amount of meat cured or eaten was very insignificant; being certainly not more than one thousandth part of what might have been saved. Surely, enough meat was wantonly destroyed to have fed one million people for years. And the meat! Old hunters and plainsmen claim that a juicy tenderloin buffalo steak was equal to the best domestic beef. The tongue was the only part taken from the buffalo by the hunters, and that only to show the number killed by them. The meat from an old bull was as tough and unpalatable as that of a domestic bull, but the young buffalo and cows were delicious eating. The hunter’s favorite piece of meat was taken from the “hump” on the shoulders, which was a great hunk of lean, very tender and juicy. They preferred this cut to any other of the animal.

 

 

The Daily Democrat
Huntington, Indiana  Nov 16, 1889

A HUNTER, chasing the last of the bison, says the herd or bison in Carbon county, Col., will soon disappear. In a recent chase three old ones were killed and five young ones were captured. The live bison are held at $500 each.

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The Evening World NYNY Nov 30 1889 

The Evening World Nov 30 1889

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The Independent Record
Helena, Montana Dec 23 1889
THE GAME OF MONTANA

(extract)

The hunting season is about closed for this year. After 1st January it will be unlawful to kill any game before the 15th of September, 1890. Big-game of Montana consist of bison, elk, moose, mountain sheep, black tailed and white tailed deer, antelope mountain goats, bear-cinnamon, black, silver-tipped and grizzly – prairie chickens, grouse of three different species, crested pheasants’ jackrabbit and cottontail rabbits. Here is a variety to suit the taste of almost anyone, except he be in search of tigers, hippopotami or elephants. Even Sir Samuel Baker, who wrote a series of delightful tales of hunting in the island of Ceylon, where elephant, elk and wild bear abound, would not have been averse to tackling such superb game as exist in Montana.

Of course the wild animals of the state are gradually being thinned out, and year by year the hunter is obliged to go further into the mountains in search of big-game. Yet there are spots known to a few where deer can be found within twenty or thirty miles of Helena. But the retreat of the elk and moose are hard to penetrate. It takes a daring hunter and one well equipped for climbing the loftiest mountains and penetrating the deepest pine forest to be successful. The Yellowstone park, of course, is now the paradise of elk in Montana. They are protected from the incursions of the hunter, and there aught, now, to be many hundreds. As late as fifteen years ago large herds came down as far as Gardiner in the winter time to feed, and about fifteen miles above was a band of several hundred bison or mountain buffalo. There is little or no difference between them and the plains animals, except such is brought about by the change of habit. In Whitetail park at the head of South Boulder in Jefferson county, there were formally quite a large herd of bison, called by some wags Major Brooke’s cattle , on account of the fact that the major, while a member of the legislature some years ago introduced a bill for their preservation for a number of years. The bill provided severe penalties for an infraction of the law, but it probably had no material effect in protecting the animals, four, if they were hunted at all, it was by the venture some prospector, and he might kill all he wanted and no one would be any the wiser. They were regularly hunted by the Nez Perce Indians years ago, who made annual visits to the Park for that purpose, and many large poles and other evidences of their visits are still to be found in that locality.

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