Western Kansas World Jan. 17 1891
The Last Buffalo Hunt
……Buffalo had become so scarce that anything concerning them has interest for the general reader. The Laramie Republican tells of a hunting party starting out from Laramie in search of buffalo, accompanied by expert lassoers. Their objective is not to slaughter the animals, but to lassoe them, and bring them alive to Laramie. A herd has been seen by several different parties during the last year, and it’s haunts pretty well located. It is supposed to be now ranging on Red Desert, in Carbon and Fremont Counties, and that is the objective point of the Laramie hunters. The latter take with them a grub wagon and ten saddle horses, and expect to be absent four months. If at the end of that time they should return with a half dozen or more buffalo, they will have a property nearly as valuable as a gold mine, and will in all probability start a buffalo ranch on the Laramie plains, after the style of that owned by Hon. C.J. Jones, at Garden City, Kan.
……“Buffalo” Jones, as he is familiarly known, has a very large branch at Garden City, on which he has some two hundred head of full-blooded and graded bison. He has made a great success at breeding them with native cattle, and finds that the animal thus obtained is in many respects superior to the bison, the robe, particularly, being of a lovely seal brown, and as fine as a genuine sealskin. Jones has been trying to get hold of all the buffalo left on the continent, and two years ago purchase that they missed herd owned by a party near Winnipeg, paying very large price for them.
……The only other herd known to exist in this country is one at Bismarck Grove, Colo., numbering fifteen and owned by Col. H.H. Stanton, of Kansas City. They are not for sale at any price. One bull in the herd, named “Cleveland,” is said to be the finest living specimen of a race now almost extinct. These cases are mentioned to show the importance of the expedition now on its way to Red Desert, should its object be accomplished.
……That the capture of the herd is feasible is shown by the fact that a few months ago a cowboys ran across them lassoed one, threw it, and branded it, after which he turned it loose, the State law making it penitentiary offense to kill a buffalo. The difficulty the party will encounter will not be so much to capture this noble game as to get them to Laramie after they are taken, as they are the most stubborn and intractable brute on earth. It is probable that they will be taken to the nearest railroad station and shipped on the cars. There is scarcely a doubt that this will be the last buffalo hunt in the United States – it certainly will be the last in Wyoming if successful, and if through its means the species can be increased and perpetuated the expedition will not have been undertaken in vain. A full-blooded American bison is worth from $300 to $3000, where they can be bought at all.
The Indiana Democrat Feb 26 1891 Indiana Pa.
Crawford Avalanche Grayling Mich March 18 1891
Waterbury Evening Democrat June 24 1891
THE NATIONAL ZOO
It Will Soon Be a Credit to ‘Washington and the Nation.
Buffalo Bills Handsome Donation
How a Baby Bison Was Named –
What Congress Has Done for the Enterprise
American Birds and Beasts.
Special Washington Correspondence.’) (extract)
The National museum is an outgrowth of the Smithsonian institution; and the Zoological garden at the national capital is an outgrowth of the museum. Three or four years ago a few animals were collected in little pens called cages, back of the big brown stone pile which came to this country from the bequest of Smithson. Gradually additional curiosities were added, until last winter congressional notice was taken of the embryo Zoo, an appropriation was made, and now a park is in progress of completion under skillful management by landscape gardeners and natural scientists.
For some unexplained reason wild animals exercise a peculiar fascination over civilized men and women, and ever since it was ordained that the serpent should be symbolical of the enmity between man and the embodiment of evil, efforts have been made to educate, train and domesticate that peculiar species of vertebrate. In all menageries there have been snakes and snake charmers, until it has become an accepted theory that a show without a snake is a failure. Our great national Zoo is not snakeless, but the specimens are as yet confined in cages at the Smithsonian and are not granted the freedom of the park. Original ly, the collection was started bv reason of the kindness of heart of Prof. Hornaday. All manner of animals were sent here for dissection and mounting in the museum, some of them living when received but most of them dead. One of the living was spared, placed in a cage, and soon thereafter others were added until the collection became of public interest Then there was expressed a desire for the salvation of all kinds of American animals which seem likely to become extinct and the Zoo was started. A wealthy gentleman of Detroit contributed a small herd of buffaloes, and very soon afterwards Buffalo Bill contributed a live elk, called a Wapati. Then a pair of giant raccoons, a silver-tipped grizzly bear, and some rats, owls, partridges and prairie chickens were sent by believers in the American collection. Then came the birth of a baby bison, and it became necessary to enlarge the pens or cages. Baby bison waddled up to a lady who stood by the wire screen which surrounds her case one day last month and kissed her hand. There happened to be a little white human baby In a carriage close by, and her mother asked the keepers to name baby bison after her infant and it was done, so. that she is now known as “May Weedon;” and she answers to her name, too.
New Natural History-LOC
OUR RUMINATING ANIMALS
THE BISON THAT ONCE RANGED OVER ONE-THIRD OF NORTH AMERICA IS ALMOST EXTINCT
Animals Closely Akin to it that Have Also Disappeared Rapidly—Creatures with Horns that are Essentially of the Same Type—The Camel Leads the List of Ruminants—The M__cture of Hoofed Beast—Fossil Remains that Almost Bridge Over the Chasm Now Existing Between Non-ruminating Beast and Ruminants.
The American bison, universally known in the United States as the buffalo, is one of the grandest of all the creatures which “divide the hoof and chew the cud.” It has a large head, with shortish, rounded horns, and there is a sort of hump over the shoulders, due to the height of the withers, which as in a specimen in the museum at Washington may be five feet eight inches high. The hindquarters, however, are low and comparatively weak. The body, generally, is covered with short, more or less dark brown woolly fur. Long, darker hair on the head hides the eyes, ears, and base of the horns, while a shaggy coat, or mane, clothes the neck, withers. Shoulders, and thence downward to the knees. There is a long beard beneath the chin and the tail is tufted at its end. The length of the head and the body to the root of the tail may exceed ten feet by two or three inches.
the buffalo should be a very interesting animal to all American citizens on account of the great danger which exists of its becoming utterly extinct. Only thirty-one years ago they still numbered several millions, more than five millions at the least, whereas in 1889 there were but some twenty individuals in Texas, a few in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Dakota, and two hundred preserved by the Government in the Yellowstone National Park. We have, however, recently been assured that some private individuals citizens in the United States are trying to preserve and propagate the buffalo. Canada, which now exhibits such interested examples of political and social “survival,” has been practically conservative as regards the bison, since it appears that some 500 individuals of a race known as the wood bison still survived there. We trust that all lovers of nature will have cause to be grateful to the Fiftieth Congress, which at its last session voted $200,000 for the establishment of a National Zoological Park on a grand scale in the District of Columbia, with the intention that American quadrupeds now threatened with extermination should enjoy a lecture us captivity, when it is hoped they may breed. If this project be duly carried out, we may be confident that the bison will breed there cents these animals have been known to breed in captivity as long ago as 1786.
Strange to say, this animal seems to have been first seen by Europeans, not in a wild state, but preserved in a menagerie. It was thus seen by Cortez in 1521, when he reached Anáhuac, where the Mexican King, Montezuma, maintained a collection of wild animals, among them a bison, which must have been brought a distance of 400 miles at the least. It was first met with wild, in 1530, by Alvar Nunez Cabeza, in southeastern Texas, while an English traveler, Samuel Argoll, sought it somewhere near Washington in 1612. At one time
it existed in enormous quantities, the prairies being absolutely black with them as far as the eye could reach. Col. Dodge tells us in his “Plains of the Great West” that even so late as May, 1871, he drove thirty-four miles and a light wagon from old Fort Zara to Fort Larned on the Arkansas, for at least twenty-five miles of this distance he passed through one immense herd, composed of countless smaller herds of buffalo then on their journey north. The whole country appeared one great mass of buffalo, moving slowly to the northward: and it was only when actually among them that it could be ascertained that the apparently solid mass was an agglomeration of an innumerable small herds of from 50 to 200 animals. Its range once extended over about a third of the whole of North America. In some places, as in Georgia, it almost reached the Atlantic Coast, extending thence westward through the Allegheny Mountains and forest to the prairies of the Mississippi — always its special home – and southward to northeastern Mexico: also across the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico and Utah, and northward to the Great Slave Lake. Readers who may be interested to know further details about the bison and its approach to extermination are referred to J.A.Allen’s admirable monograph, “The American Bison, Living and Extinct, “ and to William T. Hornaday’s work. “The Extermination of the American Bison.” Published at Washington under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.
In consequence of the settlement of the country by Europeans the area inhabited by the bison was gradually contracted, until, about 1840, once mighty herd occupied the country of its former range. The completion of the Union Pacific Railway in 1869 divided this great herd into a southern and northern division, the former comprising a number of individuals estimated at nearly four millions while the other contained about a million and a half. Before 1880, till in 1889 the species became reduced to the numbers before given for that year.
But to know all about the form and structure, the habitats and distribution of this animal will go a very little way toward enabling us to answer a very important question, with asking which we might very well have begun this article- the question “What is the animal which Americans know as the buffalo?” To answer this we must learn something of its relations to all the other animals, beginning, of course, with these which are most like it and may be supposed to be very closely akin to it.
And extinct bison from the Pleistocene rocks of Texas, has been distinguished as the “broad fronted bison.” There is, however, one species still living – the aurochs. It is not only confined to the old world, but is now nowhere to be met with except in the primeval forest of Lithuania, Moldavia, Wallachia, and the Caucasus, where it is artificially preserved. Formally it doubtless ranged over a large portion of Europe. It is very like the American kind, but is slightly larger with more powerful hindquarters; the fore part of the body, however, is not so massive, nor is the main so luxuriant.
The European aurochs and the American bison thus formed a pair of species which are separated off all other animals by the details of their structure. Their nearest ally appears to be the Asiatic animal known as the yak; a beast which in a wild state inhabits Chinese Thibet. The yak differs from the bison and not having a main, but it has something the appearance of a medieval knights caparisoned horse with flowing drapery on either side.
The article continues on more about the yak and other ruminants.
The Colonies, London Oct 31 1891
BISON AND AMERICAN CENSUS
……It is not generally known that the bison still exist in Europe. The European variety (Biso Europaus) appears to be identical with the North American bison in all essential respects and in its general appearance. The theory of a land connection between Europe and America is thus supported by one of the most characteristic animals of the Far West. The American bison is all but extinct; there is a remnant of “wood buffalo” in the Athabasca region and a preserved band in the Yellowstone Park, not to speak of the tame ones in menageries and the herd of “Buffalo Bill.” In Europe the ancient bison of the Lithuanian and German forest is still preserved in the woods of Biolowicza by the Czar of Russia.
……Statistics of horses and mules in the United States, as given in the American census returns, showed that on June 1, 1890, there were in all the states and territories 14,076,017 horses, 2,216,936 mules, 49,109 asses. The increase of horses between 1880 and 1890 was 44.59 per cent., as compared with 44.95 per cent. in the period 1870-80, and 14.34 per cent. in 1860-70. The increase in mules in 1880-90 was 26.66 per cent.; between 1870-80 is was 61.08 per cent. ; and in 1860-70 there was a decrease of 2.24 per cent. In June , 1890 out of the total number of horses and mules 86.95 per cent. were horses and 13.05 per cent. were mules. The greater number of mules are in the South Atlantic states, the figures being 32.04 per cent. mules to 37.96 of horses.
Plymouth, North Carolina, Nov 20, 1891
HE FOUGHT COMANCHES
LAWRENCE CHRISTOPHER CHRISS. BUFFALO HUNTER
Opinion of Comanches and Adventures With Them – Skinning an Indian
Lawrence Christopher Chriss, an old-time buffalo hunter of west Texas, now living in El Paso, says a correspondent of the New York Sun, is as full of good stories as a fig is full of seeds.
Chriss had been known, in years gone by, to slay with his trusty rifle not less than 1,734 buffalo in one month, and while he regrets the extermination of the American bison, he is proud of this fact. He asserts that the buffalo hunters did more to make the settlement of this part of the country possibly than any other men. “So long as the buffalo were here,” says he, “the Comanches could not be driven out of the country.”
“Buffalo hunting in the old days was pretty exciting sport,” said Lawrence Christopher Chriss to-day, “but it couldn’t hold a candle to Comanche hunting. The Comanches were the most cruel, bloodthirsty demons that ever escaped from hell and settled on the green earth. I remember on one occasion in the winter of ’73-4, that 10 Comanches ran across to a camp of buffalo hunters and found there a young boy who had been left while the hunters were out tending to business. The Indians destroyed everything in the camp and killed the boy. There was a quantity of jerked buffalo meat hanging on the mesquite trees around the camp. The Indians cut the boy up and hung his flesh in strips with the buffalo meat to dry. This was Wild Horse Springs, about 20 miles north of where Midland now is. I was one of the party of hunters, and when we got back to camp and saw what had been done to the boy we started out in a hurry to run down the Indians. We caught them 40 miles from there and killed seven of them. One of those we killed had the boys scalp and one of his ears strung on a string around his neck. The father of the boy, who was one of the party, was so enraged that he emptied his six shooter into the body of the dead Indian. That did not satisfy either him or the rest of us, and someone proposed that we should skin the Indian and keep his hide to remember him by. We were expert skinners, and it didn’t take long to remove that red devils hide with the buffalo knife. I did most of the skinning myself, and I found that on the inner portion of his thighs, where they had pressed against the horse, the skin was at least an inch thick. He was so fat that it reminded me of skinning a hog. We stretch the skin out and let it dry in the sun, and afterwards took it to Dallas. A man who was running a hotel and barroom there was so tickled at the idea of having skinned a Comanche that he offered me free board and lodging and all the drinks I wanted if I would give him the skin. I did so and he put it up behind his bar, and for a month or more after that he had a tremendous rush of business.”
Arizona Silver Belt Globe Az Dec 26 1891