1897


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Guardian London, Greater London , England April 21 1897
Mr Whitney writes:

……There does not seem to be much difficulty in destroying the musk ox when once you have arrived in this country; if not a stupid beast, which the Indians seem to deny, he is at least and inexperienced one, and, knowing more about wolves than men, devotes his attention rather to the dogs then the hunter. Before reaching the Barren Grounds proper Mr. Whitney made an excursion after wood-bison, but failed for the same reason as Mr. Pike – that is, through the over-impatience of his Indian companions. If he is right in his belief that not more than 150 of these creatures survive, we cannot regret that he was unsuccessful in diminishing their number. Mr. Whitney seems to hold that these bisons are not of a distinct variety, but merely a remnant of the massacred prairie herds which has taken refuge in the northern edge of the woods during the last half-century. In any case we hope they are not so near extinction as he believes; white men hardly ever see them, and the Indians are, like them, dwindling away. It seems a pity that, in land suited only for the habitation of the musk-ox and the bison, even the musk ox and the bison should not be allowed to exist.

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The Times Pennsylvania March 26 1897

FATAL BUFFALO HUNT

A NOBLE CHIEF OF THE PRAIRIE PREFERS DEATH TO CHAINS

BUCKS HORSE DISABLED

A Gallant Battle by a Bison Bull Against Three Cow-Boys
……The superb bison at the Zoological Gardens known as John L Sullivan broke his neck yesterday. He met his death after a heroic battle for freedom. The battle ground was in the Zoo and a thousand men, women and children paid to see the buffalo chase, while twice that number stood on the elevated roadbed of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which skirts the garden. The army of people were thrilled by the brave and spirited defense Sullivan made against the combined efforts of three stalwart cow-boys, three strong ponies, three lariats and the big thick rope. Sullivan was only conquered by death, after he had gored a pony, broke several lariats and made the cow-boys weary. While wintering on Staten Island the Wild West Show lost almost a dozen buffaloes, and as spring approached in the time for the departure of Buffalo Bill’s aggregation for England grew nearer Col. Cody began to look about the country for bisons. When he heard that Sullivan and Old Pete, the big bulls of the Zoological Garden, in this city, could be bought he closed a bargain at once, the purchase price being several hundred dollars.

THREE FAMOUS COW-BOYS
……The show sails on Thursday next for London, and Buck Taylor, Billy Bullock and Joe ,Esquirel, the well-known cow-boys, with three big ponies, came over yesterday morning from New York to lasso the buffaloes. Shortly after 11 o’clock the cow-boys succeeded in conquering “Old” Pete, and he was led with little difficulty between two horses to the stockyard of the Pennsylvania Railroad, in West Philadelphia.
Sullivan, a big, vicious bull, whose pugnacious nature led to his sale by the society, was to be tackled later on. Sullivan, a proud and spirited animal, had made a bad record during the year. He thrice had put his head through a three-ply fence, broken down gates, almost killed “Rocks,” a bull much smaller than Sullivan, and had periodically knocked silly big, robust Dominick McCaffery, an ambitious bison and former champion of the buffalo yard.

A BIG GATHERING OF SPECTATORS
……The reservation of the bison cover three acres. It is square in shape, has a shed in the southern corner and it trees surrounded with the firm board box stands near each of the four corners of the yard. It was well-known that there was to be a buffalo hunt at the zoo and the people began to gather at noon inside the garden and the prominent point in the neighborhood of the buffalo yard. Twelve impecunious boys were on a slim tree near the fence. Several branches broke and six at the lads came down in a heap before they expected. There were numerous wrestling matches between youngsters for choice perches on the other trees and a constant and selfish crush among the old and young who crowded the railroad embankment. The mob would make a break every time and train was heard, and then the fellows in the rear would have a struggle for positions with the curious at the front. The walk in front of the yard was packed, many of the visitors being fashionably dressed women. A hundred or more boys had paid to see the fun. They were unable to look over at the bonnets of the women or through the bodies of the men. Some crawled to prominence through the legs of the men, but a big majority of the youngsters risked the danger of falling among wolves and foxes and climbed on the top of the pens and clambered up other neighboring cages.

THE HUNT BEGINS
……It was just 2 o’clock when the three cow-boys, mounted, jumped into the yard at the northwest corner. They each carried a lariat. Buck Taylor was seated on “Cheiftain,” a pretty bay with white marks. There were scores of dime novel readers there and they saluted the “King of the Cow-boys” in picturesque sentences. Taylor wore maroon colored shirt, embroidered, corduroy trousers, top boots and a white sombrero. A rich red and black silk handkerchief, which his girl had given him, was around his neck and a big diamond glittered on his black silk necktie. Billy Bullock and Joe Esquirel, who were less richly dressed, use the peculiar costume of the cow-boys. Bullock rode “One of a Kind” and “Streaks” was under Esquirel. The herd was gathered under the shed, discussing the abduction of Old Pete, when Buck Taylor through his noose at Sullivan’s head. It did not get there, but it started the battle. Sullivan and his relations dashed out from the shed, followed by the horsemen. Taylor led again, but missed him, and Sullivan dodged the lariats of Bullock and Esquirel. Sullivan was mad and with “McCaffery,” Rock and the other bison on his heels dashed around the yard. Bullock put his noose over the horns of the swift-footed beast, but Sullivan quickly shook it off and turned toward “One of a kind.” Bullock got out of the way and then Taylor again headed for Sullivan.

IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE
……The noose shot through the air, and, with the spontaneous shout from the crowd, Sullivan came to us stand with such abruptness as to almost lift Taylor off his horse. While the people were cheering Sullivan made a dash across the yard and swung around the tree in the northwest corner. The infuriated bull and the combination at the other end of the line played a desperate game of see-saw. The other horsemen were hurrying to the assistance of Taylor when the maddened Sullivan made a fierce pitch.
……The line broke and in an instant he rushed Chieftain and his rider. Taylor made an attempt to turn his horse, when the bull swept down and with a wild toss of his head ripped open the right haunch of Chieftain with his sharp, curved horn. The bull made another plunge, but the crowd saw the blood streaming from Chieftain, and gave a cry of alarm in time for Taylor to pull his horse away from the bull. In a second the gate was opened and Taylor and his horse dashed ahead of Sullivan and escaped from the bull. Billy Bullock and his partner made a dash for Sullivan and he was about to plan his horns into “One of a Kind,” when the Cow-boys were told to come out of the yard and Sullivan was left still champion of the Zoo. Dr. Huidekoper, dean of the veterinary school at the University, was in the crowd and he was soon by the side of Buck Taylor’s horse. The horn had opened an artery and torn muscles and flesh protruded from the wound, which sent out a stream of blood. Dr. Huidekoper immediately stuffed handkerchief into the wound, and then the horse was led to the stable, where the doctor filled the wound with oakum and had it bathed with cold water.

AN ATTACK ON FOOT
……Sullivan had to be captured, and Buck Taylor had mounted “Streaks” to return to the attack, when Agent O’Donnell, of the society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals, stopped him. Agent O’Donnell had agents Cox and Bowes with him. They said courteously, but earnestly that they would not allow the other horses to return to the yard. Sullivan was a mad beast of wonderful power and they believed that he would kill the other horses. “I don’t want to break your ____,” said Buck, “but we must take that buffalo, and I hope you won’t object to us doing it on foot.”
……“We won’t object to that, “replied agent O’Donnell, and then the towering “King of the Cow-boys” and smaller, but equally ____, companions sealed the fence of the buffalo yard. As Taylor’s smiling face was ___seen in the area he was given and enthusiastic welcome, like that which the _____ Mastantini is want to receive in the _____ pits of Spain. “Don’t git skeered, Buck, ____boy,” shouted a freckled face boy on the _____of a nearby tree: “were wid yer.”
……Taylor’s smile broadened, but he lost no time in hurling his lariat at Sullivan. The other Cowboys were on us Swift run at the ____ of Sullivan, when Taylor’s swung his lasso around the big neck of the bull, Sullivan dashed around, almost dragging Taylor ___feet. At last Billy Bullock and Esquirel caught up with Taylor and the ___ cow-boys slackened Sullivans speed gradually stopped him. Esquirel ____ his noose under the forefeet of the bull.. When it was drawn tight the cow-boys thought they had their buffalo, but Sullivan snapped the lariat. While he dashed about one side of the tree, near the shed, ___ cow-boys ran the other way. They looked for a rope, and “Weasel Bill” Loomis suddenly dashed into the arena with a thick rope. Esquirel, after several attempts, put the noose over the horns of Sullivan, and he madly plunged. The crowd sent up ___of victory, but at that moment, by a sublime effort, the bull for the ropes from the hands of the men.

A RUSH FOR COVER
……“Weasel Bill” was convinced that Sullivan was on to him and Loomis shot over the fence like the tail end of a cyclone. One lariat at was still clinging to the neck of Sullivan and the three cow-boys chased the buffalo for five minutes before Billy Bullock fished up the line. Two held him while Taylor hauled the rope again over the horns, and again Sullivan dashed about, finally getting himself tangled around the post of the shed. He was pulling down the shed, when the skinned hands that held the ropes let him plunge free of the post. Sullivan was blind with madness and dashed around the northwest tree. In an instant the cow-boys ran the ropes into the hands of the crowd of men at the bars and the plunging bull was tied fast, while the crowd shouted itself hoarse. The cow-boys had just left the yard and were preparing to lash to horses together to take Sullivan to the train when the bull grew fierce in his endeavors to free himself.

DEATH OF THE BRAVE BEAST
……With the wild plunge his forefeet caught the rope, and Sullivan dropped on his left shoulder blade. Buck Taylor thought the bull was choking, and with Dr. Huidekoper and the other cow-boys jumped into the buffalo yard. The noose around the neck was loose, but Sullivan was gasping his last breath. There was intense excitement, and the men began to blow into the nostrils of the fallen champion. It was of no avail. Sullivan would not go to England -he was dead. The poor beast in his fight for liberty had broken his neck. The tragedy caused great sorrow. Keeper John Ford, who knew Sullivan since his infancy, wept and Head Keeper Byrne stood at the side of the dead bison and spoke of his virtues. John L. Sullivan was born in the garden a dozen years ago. His sire was fresh from the prairies and his mother was one of the most respectable buffaloes that ever lived at the Zoo. When Sullivan’s three wives and other relatives saw that he was dead they gathered around him and licked his head.

BUCK TAYLOR’S SORROW
……“I didn’t expect all this,” said Buck Taylor. “That buffalo was one of the finest bisons I ever saw. As for my horse, I would rather have lost $5,000 then have him gored the way he was. I had no spurs on or I would have got out of the way. I want to take my pony with me to England. We must sale on Thursday next. Dr. Huidekoper says he thinks he can have him in fit condition to be taken to New York by that time, and I leave ‘Chieftain’ in his charge. He will have the best all over at the college and no expense will be spared in giving him comfort and the finest medical skill.” The cow-boys were cast down at their ill luck. Buck Taylor stood in the telegraph office and had wired to Nate Saulsbury, one of the owners of the Wild West show: Sullivan broke his neck. What will I do with his body?