Grand Duke Alexis, Buffalo hunt, sent by his father to better relations with the U.S.A.
The Emporia Weekly News
Emporia, Kansas Jan 6 1871
A Fearful Buffalo Hunt.
The party that left here some three weeks ago for a buffalo hunt, consisting of William Eikenberry, George Lambdin, and four others, returned last (Tuesday) evening, having had a very rough time of it. When they were fairly in the buffalo range, and among innumerable numbers of them, and were predicting a fair day on the morrow, and were prepared for a grand hunt, they were overtaken by one of the most severe storms they ever experienced, either on or off the plains. A terrific wind during the night swept their tent away and left them exposed to a pitiless driving north wind. By almost superhuman exertions they re-pitched their tent, and placed the wheels of their wagons on the corners, and in order to keep from freezing to death they were compelled to burn their feed-boxes, provision boxes, and boxes they took along to pack meat in, and as a last resort burned Eikenberry’s wagon box. And thus they manage to pass the long and terrible cold night. Eikenberry and Lambdin had their feet pretty badly frozen, while the others were more or less touched with the severe cold. The two parties who names are mentioned have hunted buffalo time and again, and are free to say that they never experienced such a severe storm before. Although they were surrounded by countless numbers of buffalo, it was utterly out of the question for them to use their rifles.
They state that a party of hunters were out beyond where they were, who were lost for eight days, one of the party losing a pair of mules by starvation, and themselves almost suffering death.
I fear the whole story has not been told. Others may have suffered even more than those heard from. We will let the “oldest settler” rest on this storm. He has been driven into terra firma to a depth sufficient to prevent his being offensave. “A.G.O.P.”
The Daily Kansas Tribune
Lawrence, Kansas Jan 12 1871
We take the following account of an extensive buffalo hunt from the Neodesha Enterprise:
Dr. Halstead and a company of some thirty-two other citizens of Neodesha in the vicinity, who went on a buffalo hunt in October, to the region of country southwest of Wichita, returned safe and sound a few days ago. It will be remembered that Dr. Halstead when on Big Walnut had the misfortune to have his cattle stray away, and that he and his son, Charles E., came back to Neodesha to look them up, but not finding them here they went back, and finally found them at Longton or Elk Rapids, where they had been taken up. Securing the cattle they went on to where they had left their wagon “hitched up, “and pushed on to the buffalo range, going 100 miles to the southwest of Wichita, at the head of the salt fork of the Arkansas river, and near the north line of the Indian territory. They found plenty of buffalo, and in three days they had killed twenty-three head, from which they loaded their wagon. Cows and calves were plenty, and from them, they chiefly loaded their wagon. On the night of the first day on their journey home their oxen again got away and were gone fourteen days. While the doctor went in pursuit of them he left his son alone in the midst of the range of the Osages and Arapahoes. The Cheyennes were also in camp six miles from where the wagon was left. While there, two Arapahoes came up and dined with them, while four Osages tried to frighten them away to get possession of the wagon and its contents. When they found the doctor and his son wouldn’t scarce worth a cent, they became very friendly and told them where their cattle could be found – some forty miles distant, in the direction of home, where they had been taken up by a white man. The next day the Doctor started, and found his cattle as the Indians had told him. This time he was absent five days, leaving his son in charge of the wagon and beef. His son protest that, although alone on the vast prairie, without a white habitation within fifty miles, so far as he knew, he didn’t become lonesome in the least, for the wolves gave him a free concert almost all the time.
Dr. Halstead, from the time he left Bluff creek ranche till he got to Eureka, found snow from five to six inches in depth, and the thermometer ranged from six to twelve degrees below zero.
Jan 14 1871
Williamsport Sun Gazette
Williamsport, Pennsylvania Jan 19 1871
BUFFALO MEAT. The other day a refrigerator car passed through Harrisburg with buffalo meat, brought from the plains and on the way to New York or Philadelphia. The car was ornamented with the fierce looking head of a buffalo.
Feb 7 1871 Buffalo Meat 5 cents/lb
Walnut Valley Times
El Dorado, Kansas Feb 10 1871
Disposal of Public Lands
There is a bill now pending in the congress of the United States (and has passed the house) giving to each soldier of the rebellion one hundred and sixty acres of public land. Some members of congress objects to the passage of the bill because it “absorbs more than half of the public domain.” But suppose it absorbs it all? What in the world is our domain worth to us while nothing grows on it but native grass? Something, we suppose, but the net result can be fairly arrived at by finding out the aggregate amount which buffalo meat brings per annum in the market. The vacant lands are worth something more as a range for native stock, but we are strongly of the opinion, that the sooner the general government gets rid of all its land- only so it gives it to actual settlers- the better for the treasury and the people. Land unproductive will then be yielding something to increase the resources of the country, and man now earning precarious livelihood will be in a condition of independence. We regard the fact that the bill in question will absorb a large portion of public lands, as no objection to its passage. Let our soldiers, who sacrificed everything for the government, and without whom the government would have no land- have every foot of the public lands, if that much is necessary to give them homes. The only danger that arises from the disposal of the public lands is in giving to it corporations and individuals, in large bodies and there by adding nothing to the productive industry of the country. We say, give it to the soldiers if they will make it to grow an ear of corn where no corn grew before.
(It passed in June 1872)
Brownville, Nebraska February 23, 1871
The Diary of the Brownville Buffalo Hunter
Brownville, Neb., Jan.‘10 ‘71
This morning seven wagons and fifteen men of us start for a general hunt on the Republican and Solomon rivers. We made the city of Tecumseh the first day, all in good spirits, the weather been very mild and pleasant.
Jan. 11. – Rolled out of camp bright and early, and traveled to the third crossing of Yankee Creek, and, taking dinner there, we traveled on to the city of Beatrice, situated on the Big Blue, and camped for the night. The weather began to get colder in the night and near morning it began to snow and increasing, so we concluded to lay by that day. We spent the day in getting up wood in making fires. There were six rabbits and several quail killed while in this camp.
Jan. 13. – Got up and, had our breakfast so as to start by daylight. It was a very disagreeable day to travel, the snow blowing and drifting so that it made it hard on our teams, we finally reached the Little Sandy a small stream running into the Little Blue river, not stopping at noon to feed. We had plenty of wood, so we had a good comfortable fire
Jan. 14. – We drove out of camp bright and early, crossed Big Sandy, a very pretty little stream running into the Blue river. We then drove about three miles and passed through the thriving village of Meridian, situated on the Little Blue river. We then traveled fifteen miles and crossed the Little Blue at Hebron. We then traveled about four miles and camped on Spring Creek. On going into camp Samuel Summers killed a fine wild turkey, which we had for supper.
Jan. 15. – Got up at four o’clock and eat our breakfast and started as soon as it was light. Three of the boys, William Morris, Nate Westfall, and Capt. Starry, followed up the stream and succeeded in killing three wild Turkeys and some other small game. We then traveled until we came to a small stream by the name of Oak Creek, where two of our party had a battle on our fall hunt, about some misunderstanding. We celebrated the event by a speech delivered by the Rev. Mr. Brookens, a colored gent who was along with our party.
Jan. 16. – We rolled out a camp early and traveled up the Republican River all day. We passed two stockades on the river, about twelve miles apart; there were eight or ten families at each of them. We also passed several hunting parties going home with fine loads of game. They reported game a good ways off. We drove into camp on the Republican River about four o’clock. Upon making fire it caught in the grass and came very near getting the start of us. It raised quite an excitement in camp, and there was some lively knocking and stamping of fire there for some time. We finally succeeded in extinguishing the fire, and prepared our evening repast.
Jan. 17. – Got underway about 7 o’clock, and drove four miles and tried to cross the river, but did not succeed, the ice not being solid enough to bear our teams. We then drove about ten miles and then unhitched our teams and drew are wagons across by hand. We then drove up the river five or six miles. We found a small gang of turkeys, on driving to camp and killed five. William Moore, Capt. Starry, John Summers and H.C. Baker brought down one each. We seen several deer but did not get a shot.
Jan. 18. – Traveled all day on the dividing ridge between the Republican and the Solomon rivers. Did not stop for dinner. We met several hunting parties who reported game is very scarce unless we would go a long ways. We pitched camp bout four o’clock on one of the tributaries of White Rock; wood and water plenty. Capt. Starry killed three turkeys; John Summers and H.C. Baker killed one grouse each.
Jan. 19. – We kept on the divide all day not stopping for dinner. Seen some pretty fresh signs of Buffalo, but seen none of the beast themselves. Sam Summers, Capt. Starry and Hugh Baker started out on their ponies hunting, but seen no game except a gang of turkeys of which they killed four. Camped on a small stream running into the Solomon, about ten miles west of what is called the Hay Stack Mound, a very high hill that can be seen some twenty-five or thirty miles off.
Jan. 20. – Drove out of camp early. Three of the boys, Capt. Starry, Sam Summers and John Crook rode out on horseback prospecting for game. About noon one of them came to the teams, reporting a herd of buffalo off about three miles. We drove to a suitable place and stopped, unhitched and prepared to make chase. In the meantime we spied, as we supposed, a much larger herd than the first. So the Captain gave orders to hitch up again and drive for the larger herd, about two miles distant. Some of the boys that had never seen buffalo were very anxious to get after them; so much so that they rode a good ways ahead. Just as we were coming out of a draw on higher ground, so we could have a better view of them, they proved to be a band of Redskins, numbering about one hundred, with their ponies loaded with buffalo meat, and on the travel. It was amusing to see how quick the boys that were on ahead stopped, when the cry of the Indians was raised. We did not make chase after them, that was not the kind of game we wanted to meet. We wheeled around and made chase after the buffalo that we had first seen. After getting as close as we could conveniently with are wagons, we stopped and eight or nine of us started after them; four were mounted; we found we could not get close enough on foot, as they were moving, so the horsemen started on the chase. They run them about a mile and finally got them turned about, and here they came. John Summers, H.C. Baker, John Crook and Hugh Baker, started to head them off, and lay down flat on the ground, near where they supposed the buffalo would pass. Capt. Starry separated two from the herd and drove them toward the footmen, and here came the Captain on the full run, with his long hair flying in the air, driving the buffalo in front and heading them straight for the footmen. When about twenty yards off H.C. Baker and John Summers fired, succeeding in bringing one of them down, and Capt. Starry killed the other one. James Coons also killed one. Several others were crippled but got away. We then dressed our game and drove into camp on the Middle Fork of the Solomon. Some small game was also killed.
Jan. 21. – Left camp about half past seven o’clock and traveled five or six miles when we spied a herd of buffalo off about three miles. After driving down and camping on the South Fork of the Solomon, seven of the boys mounted and gave chase; while the horsemen were chasing the first herd, George Peabody and H.C.Baker started off on foot, and after going four or five miles they found a herd feeding quietly, and crept up to them and fired. H.C. Baker killed a fine cow. Peabody wounded one but did not get it. The horsemen killed eight. Capt. Starry killed four, Samuel Summers two, and Nate Westfall two. H.C.Baker also killed a jack rabbit.
Jan. 22. – Laid over all day and have been hunting. John Summers, HC Baker and George Peabody killed one buffalo; John Crook killed one; Capt. Starry, Samuel Summers, and Hugh Baker each killed one. Then they road to camp, took two teams and hauled their game into camp.
Jan. 23. – Laid over all day and run buffalo. Samuel Summers killed two, Capt. Starry five, John Crook three, John Geiphart, Wm. Morris, each killed one. They reported large herds of buffalo south of our camp, about ten miles.
Jan 24. – Got up early and loaded our meat, drove about ten miles and camped on the same stream we left in the morning; killed no game except a couple of prairie dogs.
Jan. 25. – Got up in the morning and found it snowing, it continued until about four o’clock; the snow was about four inches deep on the level. Mr. Brookens, are colored gent amused us most of the day with songs and dances. Hugh Baker and John Crook killed one buffalo. Some grouse were also killed. We decided to start homeward the next day thinking we could finish loading our teams on the road back.
Jan. 26. – Rolled out a camp bright and early; had a very pleasant day after the storm; drove about five miles and Capt. Starry halted the train; he had seen a small herd of buffalo; in company with Sam Summers and Nate Westfall he started after them. Westfall and Starry each killed one; they then came to the teams and H.C. Baker took a pony and started down through the breaks, and succeeded in killing one buffalo. After strapping the quarters on the pony he started for the train and found it in camp on a beautiful little stream running into the Republican river, on the south side, by the name of Prairie Dog; wood and water plenty. The timber consist of cottonwood, elm, ash and also some cedar.
Jan. 27. – We concluded to lay by and hunt turkey, as there were plenty of fresh signs, and we had not killed many. The boys all got ready and started out, except H.C. Baker, he could not go on account of having a lame foot. They had good luck. Samuel Summers killed eight, Capt. Starry nine, John Crook four, James Coons three, John Summers five, William Morris five, Hugh Baker six, Westfall, jr. three. George Peabody went out after buffalo, and killed one and brought it into camp on his horse. When they all got in and gathered around the campfire the Captain left it to a vote whether we would stay there another day or not. As game was plenty in that vicinity, all voted for staying. So every fellow went to work cleaning and getting his gun in order.
Jan. 28. – All hands that were going hunting rolled out by sun rise. Several turkeys were killed. John Crook went buffalo hunting and killed two.
Jan. 29. – Got underway early. The weather was fair and until about eight o’clock, when a heavy fog came up making it very hard for us to keep our course. We lost our course several times and had to turn back, but we finally got straightened up all right. Seen one herd of Buffalo. Starry and Morris gave chase. The teams moved on and went into camp again on Prairie Dog. Starry and Morris got in about eight o’clock at night with three horses packed with buffalo meat. They each killed one.
Jan. 30. – We drove down Prairie Dog until noon, then we fed our teams and drove to the divide between Prairie Dog and Solomon; we kept on that until camping time, then drove to a small stream that flows into the Solomon and camped; water plenty but would scarce. Capt. Starry killed wild turkeys.
Feb. 1. – Rolled out of camp bright and early; drove on the divide all day, not stopping for dinner. Starry and Coons killed one buffalo and three turkeys. Camped at the head of White Rock; wood and water plenty.
Feb. 2. – Traveled the divide all day again. The wind blew very hard making it disagreeable traveling. We struck the Republican river about six miles above the upper stockade and camped. Capt. Starry killed three turkey.
Feb. 3. – Got up early and crossed the river. One of the party broke the coupling pole of his wagon, delayed us about a half an hour. We then started down the river, passing the two stockades; camped on Beaver Creek; wood and water in abundance.
Feb. 4. – Rolled out of camp and traveled until about nine o’clock, when we spied a herd of elk. We drove down to the river and unhitched and prepared to give chase. Samuel Summers, Nate Westfall, John Crook, James Coons, John Clark, William Morris, and Capt. Starry then mounted and chase them about ten miles, succeeding in killing nine. They came to camp and drove out and got them. Then we drove about five mile to Oak Creek and camped for the night.
Feb. 5. – Rolled out of camp before daylight, traveled until about four o’clock, when we reached the Little Blue river at Hebron; we crossed and camped; wood not very plenty. J. Coons killed one elk and brought the hams to camp.
Feb.6. – Traveled all day, passing through Meridian; stopped on Big Sandy for dinner. We then drove to Little Sandy and camped.
Feb. 7.– Drove out of camp before daylight, reached the city of Beatrice stopped there a few minutes, then we drove to Bear Creek, five miles from there and camped; wood very scarce.
Feb. 8.– Got up in the morning and found it snowing, we rolled out however, and drove across and eighteen mile ridge suffering considerably with the cold and eat our dinners and fed our teams. We then drove to the last crossing of Yankee Creek, and camped close to the Wild Irishman’s. By night it cleared up nice, but was very cold. While we were getting supper, the Irishman came to camp and talked a while, wanting us to come and stay in his house, we declined his kind offer on account of having our supper most ready, and had our teams fed. He saw that we were pretty short of wood, and told us if some of us would go with him he would give us some wood, three of the boys went along, he gave them all they could carry, after they had got to camp, we heard a wagon coming, some one remarked that there was a team out pretty late, he drove up to our camp and stopped, and behold it was the Irishman with a load of wood and hay, it was very acceptable. We acknowledged it by giving him several very nice pieces of buffalo meat and a turkey. He certainly was a gentleman in every respect. We can recommend him to anyone traveling that way as a gentleman, that has a good place to stop at.
Feb. 9. – Traveled all day hard, and passed through the city of Tecumseh and made home about eight o’clock at night, tired and hungry. The total amount of game killed, was 40 buffalo, 10 elk, 105 wild turkey, 3 jackrabbits, 3 porcupines, and a number of grouse.
Walnut Valley Times
El Dorado, Kansas Mar 17 1871
BUFFALO BEEF IN NEW YORK
A year or so ago a piece of Buffalo in New York was a curiosity. About half a dozen haunches found their way here, and were considered gastronomic curiosities. This winter the business of receiving and selling buffalo meat has assumed large proportions, and already over 125,000 pounds have been disposed of.
At first the epicures looked at it with some prejudice; but a single trial, as the filmmakers say, having convince them of its excellent, popular taste has become eager for it, so that the supply is hardly equal to the demand. Perhaps the condition of the meat, with the hide on, it’s somewhat takes away from its appearance; but when we recollect that it is a game animal, and has to be hunted and killed just where it is found, the artistic work of the butcher must clearly be left out of the question. Besides, the fur of the peace is an undoubted proof that it is the genuine article. Buffalo meat coming to this city is almost entirely consigned to a meeting provision house in Washington Market; and Ellis City, of Kansas has taken upon itself the credible task of supplying New York with most excellent food, a Mr. W. S. Rankin, of that place – a mighty hunter, no doubt – having assumed the responsible position of purveyor of bison.
Nothing but that cows and yearlings are hunted and killed. Buffalo bull is an impossible food – it is about as palatable as a harness trace. A quarter of a cow will average about 90 pounds, a yearling somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred. The full-grown bull is sometimes killed weighing gross 2,200 pounds. Only the hind quarters are sent to this market, the fore quarters being left on the plains, sometimes sprinkled with strychnine as a bait for the wolves, which are very destructive to the Buffalo calves. There is the peculiar quality of the meat frequently mentioned, which even transportation to are less pure atmosphere does not destroy, and it is that it remains fresh and sweet for almost an unlimited period. The buffalo reaching this market is usually nine days on its way, and may have been shot three weeks or a month ago; but it arrives in just as great perfection as if it had been slaughtered the day before, whereas beef kept the same length of time would lose much of its taste and quality, if it did not become decomposed. The meat is sold at a lower price than even inferior beef, and when we consider the heavy freight paid on a car load, $364 for twenty two thousand pounds, the price it retails for, eighteen cents, seems to be quite reasonable.
The hump, the choicest portion of the buffalo does not reach our market. St. Louis monopolizes that morsel, and her Gore man’s, no doubt, chuckle as they taste its delicious succulents, and laugh at our ignorance. If our best hotels and restaurants have not yet given it their approval, we suppose it is from their ignorance of its great merits.
The New York Times
New York, New York, Mar 26, 1871
THE BUFFALO MEAT BUSINESS
A talk with the Prairie Butcher – Mode of Hunting – Immense Number of Animals – Methods of Transportation – Refrigerating Cars, etc.
It may all do very well, providing you are a city butcher, doing a brisk business in sirloin’s, porter-house steaks and ribs, to go with your well-lined purse to the cattle mart and having critically punched and poked into the sides and flanks of sleek steers, to dry out your purse, pay for so many head, and then have them quietly let off to your pen for future consumption. On the prairies, however, where the cattle you are after range wild in countless herds, the process of selection is quite a different one. If you are in the stall-fed cattle line, you jump into a car, and it is a matter of five miles, not more; but when after the wild beef of the prairie, it is a question of about 1500 miles. If you take any of those printed slips, advertisements of a yard long issued by the transcontinental railroads, and fold it right in two, exactly where the middle comes, are at the present buffalo shambles. This imaginary line seems to be precisely halfway between New York and San Francisco, and passes through Kansas about Wamego, a station the next one to tell Topeka. From thence, all along the route of the Kansas and Pacific Railroad, stretching by the water courses of the Smoky Hill fork of the Kansas, taking in the tributaries of the Saline Fork in the Solomon River, north as far as the Platte, and south as far as the Indian Territory, the prairie is alive with buffalo.
The process of selecting your buffalo on foot has certainly an exceptional charm about it. There is no nice calculation of length and breadth of carcass, nor an imaginary lines to be drawn from the crest to the heel. All you do, if you are in the buffalo meat-business, is draw your fieldglass from your pocket, and having hired your hunters, say to them, “You see that cow there to the left? That’s one. There is a yearling some distance from her; he is lying down now. That’s two; those three cows just back of that hill will make five. That is about the style of beef that will suit my market. You will have ready, say in four days, 50 quarters up to that sample there, and have them at Grinnell, or Coyote, or Ogallah, in time for the train.” Nothing more is necessary, and you may be as certain of having them as if they were in Washington Market, hanging on the hooks of those well-known produce dealers. Thurston & Co.
At present hunting buffalo for market has become a regular trade, and all along the route the business is carried on. A party generally consist of four persons, at the outside six, with one headhunter, who employs the men and who always has a wagon with its team of rough Indian ponies. The hunters are of course, admirable shots, and very rarely if ever is more than one shot used. Said our informant, “one shot behind the shoulder almost always brings them down; so many shots, so many buffaloes.” They would laugh at anyone who shot twice. Their guns, their only extravagance, are as perfect as can be, always breech-loaders, in fact to the old heavy muzzle-loader is becoming obsolete. The herd is neared in such a way that the wind shall come, from the animals to the party. They can be approached readily within a mile with the team. The men then commence a still hunt. Hunting them on horseback is fun, but it is not successful. It requires great skill and patience to stalk them. People who have never been on the plains have a false idea of what prairie grass is. In Illinois the grass is as high as your middle, but on the true prairie, where the buffalo feeds, the grass he lives off from is hardly two inches high. It is not very green, _aye in early Spring –mostly it is of a russet brown, but always tender. All kinds of tame stock eat it, and improve on it wonderfully. Snow does not hurt it; the hunters even think the buffalo fat most when the grass has been covered with snow. The herd is invariably guarded by some two or three old bulls, who are very watchful. They will feed awhile, then stop, sniff the air, look anxiously around, and, if seeing nothing to excite them, will recommence their feeding. The cows and calves are always in the middle of the flock. The men dragging themselves on the ground, approach to within very long range, and, selecting those indicated, one shot always does the business. To shoot at the head of a bull is to waste ammunition; he does not mind it anymore that he would a fly. You might shoot all the lead in Galena there, and he would never notice it. If care is taken, you may kill a large number in the same herd, providing you leave the calves alone, or do not shoot a cow with a calf; this generally makes them un- easy, and they may scamper off. It is no uncommon thing for a good set of men to kill and bring in a load of twelve hind-quarters, to average 225 pounds each, in a day. The hunters are a brave, wild set, true frontiersman, making their money easily, and spending it freely. Often the pay of a month will be gambled away in half an hours’ time. Their pay is about $50 a month and found.
“Besides buffalo, there is no game but antelopes. These are much more prized for eating than buffalo. They are quick and wary, and difficult to stalk. Our hunters and people mostly live on the prairie about there in what is called a dugout. The prairie is dug up, a cellar made, the turf taken and piled up around the excavation for walls, and the whole covered over with plank. As it rarely, if ever, rains, these places are quite lasting. Indians are not very troublesome; they are mostly Cheyennes. Of course, there are occasional marauders, and not a long time ago a lot of them cleaned out some of the hunters, but having been for the most part taught how the white men can fight, our hunters have not much trouble. The Indians are very well armed though, have plenty of Sharp’s rifle’s, and use bows and arrows vigorously.”
“Will it be ever and agricultural country?” We asked.
“We do not think so; rainfalls too rarely. In the spring garden seeds planted there start well, but never come to maturity; but besides that, the grasshoppers- at seasons eat everything clean up. What is really wanted in that buffalo country are people conversant with dressing skins. There is no reason why white people should not dress buffalo robes. It is nonsense to suppose the Indians have the secret of it. Buffalo hides can be had for the asking. If not used for Winter coverings they could be converted into a most useful leather. Some have been brought here green in order that they could be tested; also, so much meat is wasted that some process of curing the meat should be tried on the spot.”
“But,” we inquired, “will you not in time exterminate these animals?”
“It is impossible; they are as countless as the blades of grass on the plains, and though thousands are slaughtered, there seems to be no diminution of numbers. What Mr. Greenlee said about their quantity is not a particle exaggerated. It will take 100 years, almost, to make them scarce, for their range of country is so immense.”
“Might we ask.” We inquired, “how you came to make a business of this?”
“It is strange,” was the reply; ”how one thing leads to another. If you will come with me I will show you.” A few minutes took us across the river, where we were shown a car of particular construction. On it was painted Weaver, Rankin and Co’s. patent car. It was an ice-chest on wheels, arranged in the most ingenious way, and in which meat could be transported any distance without any chance of decomposition. On the roof was placed a layer of ice, devised in such a way that the interior of the car was kept at a low temperature. We were shown ice still remaining on the top of the car, yet unmelted, after a transit of over two weeks. On opening the car, which was lined with zine, we scraped the frost off from the ceiling of the car. All around us home buffalo meat – at our feet the great big shaggy head of a buffalo, with his coal black horns, and all was as sweet as if but killed yesterday.
“This car,” said the gentleman, “was invented by Mr. Rankin and myself, and we propose using it for the transportation of all kinds of meat. Western cattle at this present moment allowing no chance of profit, we determined to experiment and what seemed to us about as long a journey as meat could be made to take. There is no possible reason why, if it was necessary, we could not carry a quarter of lamb, or a side of beef, and the most perfect condition from New-York to San Francisco, even in July. This is the reason why we had been experimenting in buffalo – meat in the Northern markets.” Fully imbued with the excellence of the invention and of its feasibility, we have made up our mind that some day portions of the elephants, (a baked elephants foot being the most recherché’ of articles of food, ) with fresh ostrich eggs, from Africa, will be found in New-York markets.
April 8 1871
April 13 1871
Brownville, Nebraska May 11, 1871
FROM THE PLAINS
Red Cloud and 3000 of his Nation South of Fort Hays–Buffalo.
Information has been received at the office of the Kansas Pacific railroad to the effect that Red Cloud, the Ogallallah Chief, with some 3,000 of his people, are south of Fort Hays, hunting buffalo, which are very abundant in that region. The Indians are perfectly friendly, and have permission from the Department at Washington to go on the hunt; but to guard against a possible rupture between them and the whites, the troops at Fort Hays keep a vigilant eye on the movements of the former.
The buffalo are in such numbers that the residents in the little colony located in Russell county, northwest of Fort Hays, by Mr. Webb, of the National Land Company, have killed hundreds, and now have a full supply of buffalo meat. Three of the colonists were out hunting in the fore part of the week, when one had a narrow escape. He laid down in a hollow to rest himself, when his two companions wounded a bull. The enraged animal rushed towards the man, who by this time had risen to his feet. It pursued him some distance. The man only saved himself from being gored by plunging into a deep ravine and lying down. The bull leaped over the ditch and pursued his maddened career, to the great relief of the hunter.
May 22 1871
The Saline County Journal
Salina, Kansas, June 15 1871
The Buffalo and the Wounded Calf
The vast herds of buffalo which roamed over our Western plains, although apparently wholly unrestrained and irregular in their movements, seem, nevertheless, to be governed by certain laws or instincts which they never contravene. Under ordinary circumstances the bull buffaloes are found on or near the outer edge of the herds, while the cows and calves are all collected in a central knot. This arrangement enables the bulls to protect the herd from attacks of wolves or other animals, and to catch the first scent of approaching danger. Were it not for this powerful alert guard, quantities of calves would fall a prey to the coyote wolves which constantly follow the herds ready to devour any week or disabled buffalo that is left behind or becomes separated from the rest. The bull buffaloes occasionally charge these wolves en masse and drive them away; but if one bull attacks alone, the pack soon hamstring him, and he falls and easy prey to their ravenous appetites. When a cow buffalo is killed, the calf generally stays with the carcass, when the young one can readily be captured, since it will follow a horse, or even the hunter. But when a calf has been wounded it is almost impossible to capture it, for the bull’s then take it under their special protection. One of them generally gets the calf on its head, behind the horns, as is shown in our engraving, and keeps near the center of the herd, thus carries the wounded animal until a halt is made. Sometimes the Bulls push a wounded calf in front of them, butting it with their heads toward the center of the herd, or else by putting their horns under the calf they will throw it as far as possible, always toward the center of the herd, and thus by successive flings try to keep it out of harm’s way. A bull buffalo is a very ferocious looking animal, and is fully as dangerous as he looks; so it is gratifying to know that to his own offspring he acts the part of protector and nurse, though perhaps after a somewhat harsh and uncouth fashion. -Heart and Home
(I could not find the engraving)
Local News July 2 1871
Lawrence Daily Journal
Lawrence, Kansas July 23 1871
We had the happiness to meet Senator Pomeroy at dinner at our brothers, and he obligingly intimated to me that he read my gossip regularly in the Journal. The senator looks jolly and comfortable and seems to be on the best terms possible with himself. He is domesticating too young buffalo on his famous farm at Mascoutah, and, if he succeeds and civilizing them, he will go largely out of the goat business and largely into buffalo training. ‘Peers like” that buffalo would be “risky creatures” and harness. “What he knows about farming,” no doubt, comprises all that is worth knowing.
The New York Times
New York, New York Jul 27 1871
Description of an Exciting Buffalo Hunt – Ladies Take an Active Part in the Sport.
CHARLES B MATTHEWS, formally of Buffalo, but now a resident of Kansas, in a letter to the Western New-Yorker, gives an account of a buffalo hunt, participated in by himself and wife and Mr. Wheeler, formerly of Lockport, and wife, from which we make the following extract:
“An hour more in our eyes were gladdened by seeing fifty or sixty buffaloes, which proved to be the outside skirmish line. We drove in the pickets, and in doing so we reached the summit of an eminence, from which point we believe we could distinctly see through the clear air for the distance of fifteen or twenty miles, and all the vast expanse of smooth prairie from the river back as far as the eye could reach, was completely black with buffaloes, and how much further the innumerable throng extended beyond our vision we could not tell. But without the telescope all efforts of ours to comprehend their vastness would prove utterly futile. At all events here is an abundance of game, and we are after them. The ladies being anxious to participate in the sport. Mrs. Matthews took the reins, and Mr. Wheeler and myself each took our carbines in hand, and we then drove slowly down the slope until within forty yards of the nearest squad, when an old fellow started toward the wagon. At first we thought him coming to pay his complements to the ladies, but soon he started on a full run toward the river. I then fired on him, giving him a wound which greatly retarded his movements. The ladies then took the guns and we drove a little nearer, when a shot or two from them made him ‘shuffle off this mortal coil.’ This affair, which, to us, was full of excitement and interest, was scarcely noticed by the buffaloes near _, but by this time ourselves and ponies became so greatly excited that off we dashed for the herd, and just before we reached them they parted a little, so that as we entered their ranks we got good broadside shots at a distance of from ten to fifteen rods, and on we rushed like the wind. The ladies drove while Mr. Wheeler and myself fired almost as fast as we could pull the trigger. We were so near them we could see the color of their eyes and distinctly hear the balls as they struck them. But driving at such a rate we could take no accurate aim and as only a ball through the heart or lungs or one breaking the backbone will stop a buffalo, we had gone nearly a mile before we brought one down. Our ponies now being quite out of breath, we stopped and examined him closely. He was one of the largest of the herd, and his head and neck were covered with black hair from four to six inches in length, and from the shoulders back the body was without hair. This buffalo (as well as all others at this season of the year) was perfectly hideous in appearance. I should think a good large buffalo like this would weigh at least 1,500 pounds. The shape and general appearance of the buffalo is so well understood by all that I need not speak further on the subject. It now being about noon we went a short distance, built a fire and cooked some of our fresh-killed meat, which we relished very much. As soon as ourselves and ponies were well fed we started off, and in an hour we were again among the buffaloes. In the afternoon we had several very animated races with them, each time killing some. For some distance our ponies could out run them, but for a long run it would be safer to bet on the buffalo. I think we killed none but males, as they take the outside of the herd, hence you do not see the cows and calves until you get pretty well into the herd. During all noise and commotion occasioned by our chasing and firing there were thousands and thousands of buffaloes in sight of us that kept feeding as quietly as if all was well, but regarding our performance as not worth noticing. Their numbers were so great that we seem to be skirmishing a little among their suburbs.”
The Evening Gazette
Port Jervis, New York Aug 24 1871
Mr. Giles informs us that he shall at once send men from New York to construct the fence and fish ponds. The Smithsonian Institute has tendered its aid to the Association to procure, through Major Powell of the Colorado Expedition, specimens of live antelope, bighorn sheep, and black tailed deer, and arrangements have been made for securing moose from Nova Scotia, and elk and buffalo from the far west, at prices little exceeding the cost of transportation. It is expected that the buffalo will be merely an acquisition to the zoological department, through the successful experiments of Sir William Alexander, in his parks near Edinburgh, Scotland, where he has bred buffalo since thirteen years ago, prove that the idea is not chimerical. Once a year it is proposed to have a grand battue and barbecue, to last four days, at which time one buffalo will be turned out to grass and the tender mercies of the sportsman.
Town and Country Matters Sept 29 1871
The Daily Kansas Tribune
Lawrence, Kansas Oct 7, 1871
The Sumner City Gazette says:
A half-dozen teams came into town to-day loaded with buffalo meat. Buffalo are now within ten miles of town and can be seen grazing by the thousands. All who are fond of the sport had better go now, as they are migrating animals and may see proper to move very soon further west.
The Leavenworth Times
Leavenworth, Kansas Oct 19 1871
Kansas City Exposition
KANSAS CITY, Oct. 18. – The crowd at the Fair Grounds to-day and to-night has certainly been immense. Over three hundred exhibitors’ entries have been made, the number exceeding the X dictation’s of the managers one half. The display of science exceeds that of the St. Louis Fair, and large entries of the finest Fridays of products this country has ever seen accepting that of the Missouri Valley Association, the latter taking the premier. Among the articles exhibited by the Kansas Pacific Railroad are two buffalo calves, also some caught and specimens of green and fruits that Excel, if possible, the productions of the Middle States.
Asheville, North Carolina Oct 19 1871
The Buffaloes and the Indians.
A correspondent writes from Kansas; we suppose we could hire or borrow some rifles for hunting buffalo, but not so. Every man here owns a Spencer, or Remington, or Henry, or Allen repeating rifle, but it is not to let nor lend. One man said he had 31 shots without reloading. The sooner the buffaloes are killed, the sooner the Indian question will be settled, or it will aid it much. The Indians relied upon them for supplies of meat. Again, as the heavy tread of the buffalo ceases, the grass changes the face of the country from the once Great American Desert to the rich, rolling prairie, which old farmers here are beginning to see is more valuable for general farming purposes than the so-called “bottom lands.”
The great weight of the buffalo treads out of existence the best grass, and gives place to a short curly grass about four inches high, which alone can stand the pressure. It is this buffalo grass, and the consequent appearance of barrenness, that has driven away many in Eastern man in disgust from land that is the richest, or as rich for farming purposes as can be found in this whole country.
The buffalo are not slaughtered entirely for pleasure. Even up here the hides are worth from $2 to $7, and hundreds, yes, thousands of persons, are supported through the winter is selling and exchanging bison meat for other necessary articles. This meat is found on every table in all forms – dried, boiled, cold, sliced, & etc., and, if not told it was buffalo, many would not suspect it. When farming is dull, a squad of men go off, and, in from four to eight days returned with as much meat as they have teams to draw- this be the principal limit.
The New York Times
New York, New York, Oct 21 1871
KANSAS FAR WEST
Sketch of a Settler-Raising Buffalo Stock-Kansa and the Green Mountains Compared – The Noble Red Man and His Veracious Appetite.
From our own correspondent.
SOLOMON VALLEY, KANSAS, Oct. 12, 1871
This beautiful valley has but lately come into habitable possession by the white man. Seven years ago a few hardy pioneers settled in its most secluded spots, and defended themselves from the Indian attacks by building heavy stockades, and carrying with them large families of boys and girls who shoot the rifle as true as any woodsman. Such a family I visited last week. –“Arkansas born and raised,” the war broke them up. For his loyal sentiments, the father was obliged to flee the country with his family, leaving the old home and competence behind. Having faced Southern bravado and Southern chivalry, mounted and dismounted, he thought he might dare the Indian in his native haunt. A wagon, a team of old horses, a sack of meal, a few pounds of pork, a little coffee, constituted his stock in hand with which to grapple life in the very heart of an unsettled, almost unknown territory. But traveling westward till his good genius, or his instinct, or what you will, bade him stop, he came to the Solomon Fork and turned northward, resolving to find a home upon its banks. This he did, and unhitched his horses and pitched his camp in a most beautiful spot, twenty-five miles above the present city of Solomon.
RAISING BUFFALO STOCK.
A spot was selected where the river makes a large bend, almost a loop, and here the timber was felled and hewed, and the cabin built – a cabin of cottonwood logs that would stand a siege of white or red enemy. But the cabin built, provisions were well nigh exhausted. What do I do? Look at the herds of buffalo on the prairie, the antelope, the deer, the turkeys along the river banks. Our settler, however, wanted more than a mere supply of meat; he wanted stock, and not a single head was seen about his premises, but the two head of his old horses. Quick and thought and quick in practice, where necessity is the mother, he cut a Rob buffalo hide into strips, made him lassos, took one himself, gave another to his oldest boy. They mounted the each a horse and started into a herd of buffalo. These fright and separated, left their calves unprotected. To were captured, and formed the beginning of his stockyard. ‘Tis true. He has a herd of buffalo, tame and gentle as any domestic stock ever seen. Thus he began, and through much tribulation succeeded. Visits his house now, no longer merely a cabin, and you are welcome in the true Western form of hospitality. The saddles are hung in the porch, the walls of the sitting room are hung with Spencer rifles, and Sharps’, and the favorite Kentucky piece, “which kills every time.” His stables are filled with some of the finest horseflesh I have ever seen in the West. One mare particularly I noticed and spoke of, “Oh, Jenny, “ he said, “yes she’s a good beast; she’ll throw the biggest bull on the Plains at the end of a lasso rope.” His fields are smiling with an abundant harvest: his granary is full already with the half-gathered crop. The worn, almost depending wanderer of seven years ago, is the rich settler of today.
Nov 18 1871
Atchison Daily Patriot
Atkinson, Kansas Nov. 27, 1871
STORM ON THE PLAINS
A letter from the traveling correspondent of the Lawrence Journal says that the recent storm on the plains was very severe. A large number of Texas cattle were frozen and the herds dispersed. Several herders were frozen to death, and five bodies were brought into Hays city last night, frozen stiff. They were supposed to have been buffalo hunters, as a number of buffaloes were found near them which had perished in the storm. Great anxiety is felt for a large party of buffalo hunters which have not been heard of since the storm. Beebe brothers of Ellsworth lost 51 horses and 23 cattle. The cold was unprecedented.
Walnut Valley Times
El Dorado Kansas – December 1, 1871
Various reports are in circulation in regard to parties of buffalo hunters, numbering some twenty-five or thirty, having perished. The facts are that at least two parties are out who have not been heard from. Five dead bodies were brought into Hays City last night, frozen stiff. In the immediate vicinity where they were found were large numbers of buffalo, which had perished in the storm.
Beebe Brothers, of this place, lost by the storm fifty-one horses and twenty-three head of cattle. Twenty-eight horses perished belonging to Mr. Thomas Cole, of Kansas City. They were used for herding cattle. Not only have large numbers of cattle perished, but those that are alive are scattered to the four winds, it being impossible to keep them together or to control them. All that part of Kit Carson situated on the north side of the railroad is buried.
-Republican Journal J.S.B.
Lawrence Daily Journal, Kansas Dec 24 1871
Dec 6 1871
The Leavenworth Weekly Times
Leavenworth, Kansas Dec 7 1871
-No mail from Denver for the last few days. The mail train West on their Kate. P. Road was delayed on Thanksgiving day, four hours, west of Kit Carson, one hour by the passage of an immense herd of buffalo, further west then they were ever known before at this season. This is because of the burning of the grass last fall and the severe weather following.
The Indiana Progress
Indiana, Pennsylvania Dec 7 1871
Experiment with Buffaloes.
Rarey has taught us the secret obtaining horses. By carefully manipulating the noble “animal” according to his system, the most vicious and unmanageable equine brute becomes as gentle as a lamb. But there is now the promise of Rarey’s rare achievements in the line in which he has one distinction being thrown completely in the shade by another tamer of unruly beast. This is the one W. E. Baker, of Wellesley, Mass., who has undertaken the task of domesticating buffaloes, for breeding and dairy purposes. To this and he has purchased three buffaloes; two bulls and one heifer, fresh from their native prairies, proposing to try a cross both ways, between Jersey, Ayrshire, and Durham stock and buffalo. Of course he is hopeful of success, as the shaggy-maned strangers are behaving themselves remarkably well by all appearance taking very kindly to, the habits and ways of civilized life; and he expects that in two years at furthest he will be able to give his friends a treat of buffalo butter. The experiment is a curious one, and for his own sake, if not for that of the buffaloes, now threatened with extermination, it is to be hoped that Mr. Baker may succeed; but we fear that this enterprising gentlemen has a tougher job on hand then he imagines. If he can manage to tame his new stock, then he stirnicultural project may lead to interesting results; – but there’s the rub. We confess we should not like to trust the creatures too far. There is a sleeping demon and buffalo, as Baker may yet find to his cost.
Dec 15 1871
The Leavenworth Weekly Times
Leavenworth, Kansas Dec 21 1871
A BUFFALO HUNT.
Senator Sprague’s Fight with a Bull
Senator Sprague visited Kansas a few weeks ago, and like all our other eastern visitors, wanted to see the buffalo on his native heath. Accordingly, Ben. Akers, Esq., of this city, got up a party, and with the Senator, went out to the buffalo country. A few miles from Fort Wallace they found bisons in the thousands, and the hunters “went in.” Mr. Akers singled out and old patriarch of the herd, chased him a few miles, and after a few successful shots, brought him down. After his own game was secure, he commenced looking around for the rest of the party. The Senator had also singled out an old bull, had driven him apart from the rest of the herd, and was in a little ravine about two miles distant from Akers, but in plain view. The buffalo had been wounded, and showed fight; the Senator would pursue him for a short distance, but would band be compelled to turn his horse’s head in the other direction, and get out of the way of the maddened animal; once, and wheeling suddenly his horse fell, and the bull was right upon him in an instant. Akers says this was one of the closest calls he ever saw – so close, indeed, as to leave no doubt in his mind that there would very soon be a necessity for a special Senatorial election and Rhode Island, “to fill vacancy;” but just in the nick of time the villiant Senator regained his seat in the saddle and was off like the wind, his horse been stimulated by the sharp “punch” from the bull’s horn. It seems that Mr. Sprague had pursued the animal closely, fired several shots upon him, wounding him severely, but not fatally, and that his ammunition had given out; Mr. Akers, comprehending the situation, came to his assistance and reinforced him with a few rounds, when the bull was promptly brought down. The Sen. brought in with him the head of the animal, and is having it “cured” to take home, as a trophy of his skill and prowess as a buffalo hunter.